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Inside Leeds International Film Festival 2018

It’s the best thing to come out of Hyde Park since LS6 pancakes

Leeds International Film Festival is just around the corner, and there are over 300 films to be enjoyed, right here on your doorstep. The festival is the largest in the country outside of London and will be entering its 32nd year in the city, but that is really no surprise. I mean, why would you want to write an essay when you can watch a film?

Officially beginning on November 1st, the event spans over two weeks, wrapping up the features on the 15th. In this time, you can experience a World War One military hospital in Leeds Town Hall, vintage screenings at Hyde Park Picture House and everything in between in the Everyman Cinema. The main venues are Leeds Town Hall, Hyde Park Picture House, Everyman Cinema, and Vue in The Light.

Ok, so many of the films you might not have heard of before, but you will be so glad gave them a chance. Nobody wants to watch Netflix for the seventh night in a row when you can cross the street and enjoy some vintage films. If you are going to do it for anything, do it for your edgy Leeds persona. Just imagine how good your vintage movie ticket would look on your Insta story.

To help you narrow down the wide range of films available, the programme is split over five distinct sections:

Official Selection:

These are the real box-office smashers. Everything the critics have topped for big awards this season from Hirokazu Koreeda to Steve McQueen. Many of these are debuts and offer you a fantastic pre-release glimpse of what to expect for 2019 cinema.

Films to note: Beautiful Boy (Hyde Park Picture House) featuring Timothée Chalamet from Call Me By Your Name explores a heart-breaking look at drug abuse in father-son relationships. Girl (HPPH, Town Hall) is a film about a fifteen-year-old girl whose male body is proving a hindrance to happiness.

Cinema Versa:

This "traverses intellectual, political and environmental landscapes" to truly challenge your thought process, and fray your emotions. Bring tissues and an open mind.

Films to note: Disco and Atomic War (Town Hall) This Estonian film presents a playful critique of the erosion of the Soviet Cold War as a result of pop music, techno on the western front and flares and neon and dawn. Sounds like a regular night at Beaver Works tbh.

Lock Her Up (Town Hall) is a mesmerising and at times existential experience that blends women’s rights with the prison system in 10-minute immersive audio tapes, all taking place in the Victorian cells underneath the Town Hall. It is worth a look just to get a glimpse of these rooms not generally open to the public.


If you’re a fan of the creepy or otherworldly, this is the section for you. A combination of fantasy, sci-fi, thriller and horror come together to create a genuinely gripping showcase of the bloody and freaky. Halloween isn't over until we say it is.

Films to note: Killing God (Vue), just as it sounds – both murdering God and also a God that is hell-bent on killing. Gripping 92 minutes of remote country house horror as a group of friends decide which 2 people on the face of the earth should be saved.

Time Frames:

Possibly more thought-provoking than the documentaries of Cinema Versa (Media, Film and English Lit students we're looking at you), all of these films happen in a 24-hour period and cause the viewer to question the illusion of time and the fleetingness of love.

Films to note: The Ear (Town Hall) a once-banned Czechoslovakian film from 1970 sees a husband and wife spend the night tearing wires from their bugged home under a totalitarian regime in a heated black and white epic.

Night on Earth (HPPH) experience 5 stories from taxi-cabs in a 1991 deadpan style film that will leave you questioning how much your Uber driver knows about you.

Leeds Short Film Awards:

This is a qualifying event for the Oscars and BAFTAs, so if you want to impress people come award season, check this one out, you pretentious lot.

Films to note: Int’l Competition 3 : I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself (Everyman) lays bare 6 young artists in their quest for a better life in the painful glory of youth. Go if you want some comfort that everyone feels as lost as you x.

Leeds Int’l Queer Short Film Competition 1 (Everyman) gives us a compelling insight into the gritty world of the marginalised Queers in all their fabulous, misunderstood glory. If this were on twice, we’d go see it twice. Seriously. Do not miss this.

The best way to watch more than one film is to get the "LIFF Buzz Pass" which is the cheapest price for us students. Individual tickets are generally £6-£9, but students can get into the more expensive showings for £7.50 (with your student ID). There is also a free guide available from The Town Hall which tells you about the when/where/what of every single film. All of the information and ticket offers can be found here.