A look at what’s to come: Leeds International Film Festival 2018
Thursday marks not just the start of November but the beginning of the 32nd Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF). Cramming 330 screenings into 15 days, the festival sees Leeds become host of 17 UK film premieres and 2 world premieres.
LIFF attracts artists and exhibits stories and subjects from across the globe. Despite its “international” banner, however, the festival is opening with something closer to home this edition. Josh Warrington: Fighting for a City is a documentary film following the Leeds born-and-bred International Boxing Federation featherweight champion of the same name. Tracking the trials and tribulations of becoming a sporting triumph with a focus on family and where Josh came from, the film is local in more ways than one. The film was produced by the Leeds-local Moneyglass Films and received investment from Screen Yorkshire through its Yorkshire Content Fund, which sponsors Yorkshire-based productions by Yorkshire-based companies. Sally Joynson, Chief Executive at Screen Yorkshire said: “It will be a very special night for Leeds and presents a unique opportunity to shine a spotlight on the city’s international sporting and cultural credentials.” Being screened with Josh in attendance at the heart of Leeds inside one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, Leeds Town Hall, a sense of homecoming truly surrounds this world premier.
While LIFF might be a leading proponent of local artistry and filmmaking, this does not in any way diminish its scale. Being the largest English film festival outside London, the organisers of the festival describe it as “a leading driver of audience development for film culture in the North of England and a national platform for the work of UK and International filmmaking talent … LIFF aims to share the full spectrum of dynamic filmmaking culture with increasing and diverse audiences through a highly accessible, deeply engaging, and unique annual programme’. It attracts 40,000 people annually tp venues across the city, from the luxurious Everyman Leeds, inside Leeds’ impressive Trinity Shopping Centre, to the long-standing Hyde Park Picture House, hidden in the depths of student houses.
This year the festival received over 5,700 submissions from 116 countries and will exhibit cultures the world over. From coming of age in Yorkshire in the world premiere of Bill Buckhearst’s Pondlife to a child surviving alone on the streets of Lebanon in the Cannes triumph Capernaum, LIFF offers its screens to story-tellers everywhere.
Something unique to LIFF 2018 is its Time Frames strand, focussing on cinema that takes place in 24 hour periods. Audiences can see Ben Wheatley’s Happy New Year, Colin Burstead which is set to hit BBC Two this Christmas; Utøya: July 22, based on the 2011 Utøya Island attacks in Norway; and immersive installations offering unique insight into the recovery of soldiers in World War One.
The full LIFF 2018 programme including tickets and passes is online at www.leedsfilmcity.com and booking is available via the website, in person and by phone at Leeds City Centre Box Office on 0113 376 0318