Here’s everything you need to know about Leeds International Film Festival
This year’s programme will run from Friday 3rd to Sunday 19th November – and students can get discounted tickets!
It’s showtime! Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF) is back and bigger than ever, running from Friday 3rd November to Sunday 19th November 2023.
For those who don’t know, LIFF is a celebration of everything film related here in Leeds, ranging from award winning films, to never before seen documentaries, making it an exciting occasion for film enthusiasts across the board.
This year, attendees are being treated to 17 days of cinematic magic, including three full weekends, for the first time in 35 years.
Screenings will be available at a variety of Leeds’ most iconic cinemas, such as Hyde Park Picture House, The Everyman and Vue Cinema – to name a few.
LIFF 2023’s spectacular line up consisting of comforting romcoms to thrilling horror films and everything in between.
Whether you’re into old black and white transatlantic classics, documentaries about the ethics of gaming technology and deepfake pornography, thrillers based on true stories or heart-warming (if ever so slightly cringey) coming of age romantic films, you can be sure you’ll find something that’s up your street.
Aside from the showings, LIFF is also offering the opportunity to attend workshops with industry professionals and panel discussions with some of the filmmakers and crew, giving you an exclusive glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes.
We’ve dropped some of the titles you won’t want to miss below.
1. Poor Things
LIFF says: “This is the extraordinary tale of Bella Baxter (Emma Stone), a woman brought back to life by eccentric scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe). With no knowledge of the world or societal norms, Bella’s insatiable curiosity and voracious sexual appetite drives her to run away on a madcap adventure with playboy Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo).”
LIFF says: “When sign language interpreter Dovydas (Kęstutis Cicėnas) arrives to interpret a dance class that Elena (Greta Grineviciute) is teaching, there is an immediate and undeniable chemistry between the two of them. As their relationship begins to blossom, Dovydas tells Elena that he is asexual, and together they must find ways to navigate their love. Kavtaradzė has crafted an exquisite modern-day romance that leaves a lasting emotional impact.”
3. All of Us Strangers
LIFF says: “The latest film from Andrew Haigh (Weekend, 45 Years) is a sensual melodrama about love and loss with inventive touches of magical realism and a killer 80s synth pop soundtrack. Grounded by two great performances from its leads, Andrew Scott plays Adam, a depressed screenwriter who encounters a mysterious neighbour (Paul Mescal), which breaks him out of a rut. As a relationship develops, Adam is preoccupied with memories of the past and returns to his childhood home where his parents appear to be living as they were on the day they died, 30 years before.”
4. Anatomy of a Fall
LIFF says: “In the snowy French Alps a man falls to his death from an upper-storey window. There are no apparent witnesses but some evidence that suggests foul play. Novelist Sandra (Sandra Hüller), the man’s wife, is the only suspect. Sandra defends herself and her life, personality, sexuality, even her art are put under increasing scrutiny. What emerges in Anatomy of a Fall is a gripping, brainy and dynamic courtroom drama that explores performance, gender, and the ways we use language in relationships.”
5. Goodbye Julia
LIFF says: “Mona’s life – wealthy, Muslim, cosseted – is very different to Julia’s – poor, Christian, tough. A few years prior to the south of Sudan’s separation, the capital Khartoum was segregated by mutual distrust. Mona accidentally knocks down Julia’s young son and, instead of owning up, she drives off and is pursued by Julia’s husband Akram, who is now in danger. A story that begins as high-stakes drama morphs into something surprising, gentle and revelatory. Friendship holds these women together, but a secret pushes them apart.”
6. I Used to Be Funny
LIFF says: “An exceptional filmmaking debut from writer/director Ally Pankiw (Feel Good, The Great), featuring a knockout leading performance from rising star Rachel Sennott (Shiva Baby, Bottoms). Sennott stars as Sam Cowell, a stand-up comedian and nanny struggling with PTSD in the aftermath of a trauma. When she learns that Brooke (Olga Petsa), the teenage girl she used to care for has gone missing, Sam’s past memories begin to flood her present. Pankiw effectively uses a non-linear narrative to unfold the friendship between Sam and Brooke, and gradually brings Sam’s trauma to the surface.”
7. Break the Game
LIFF says: “Narcissa Wright is one of the world’s leading ‘speedrunners’, live streaming her attempts to break the world record for the fastest completion of the classic Nintendo game, The Legend of Zelda. When she came out as trans, she received love and support from some of her followers but also suffered a great deal of online hostility. Director Jane M. Wagner cleverly uses imagery from the game to reveal Narcissa’s frustrations and her eventual bid to break out of her digital isolation and embrace love and adventure in the outside world.”
8. Your Fat Friend
LIFF says: “In 2016, Aubrey Gordon wrote a candid letter about living as a fat person. Posted online under the pseudonym Your Fat Friend, it resonated around the world, and so began the journey from anonymous blogger to inspirational queer fat activist. Shot over six years, Jeanie Finlay presents a warm portrait of her life and incredible rise through much success, and criticism. Winner of audience awards at film festivals around the world, Your Fat Friend is a funny, insightful and frank look at a unique voice challenging the perceptions of fat people in modern society and the capitalism of body positivity.”
9. Another Body
LIFF says: “Sophie Compton and Reuben Hamlyn’s superbly inventive documentary explores a new ethical problem arising from rapidly escalating technologies. The film follows an American college student’s search for answers and justice after she discovers someone has taken her image and used it to circulate deepfake pornography online. The effects on her personal life are devastating, the perpetrator is hard to identify and legal protection for her is minimal because the concept is so new. The filmmakers use the same technology to protect the identity of their subject, making Another Body a shocking and important film.”
LIFF says: Premiering at Berlinale 2023, Ramona is a genre-bending exploration of class, motherhood and the power of community which blurs the lines between fiction and documentary. Camila has been cast as Ramona, a pregnant teenager from the outskirts of Santo Domingo. From a more affluent background, Camila feels uncomfortable with the role, so journeys to interview real young mothers from the area to understand their experiences. What begins as a behind-the-scenes making of a film, soon transforms into an exploration of the complexities of teenage pregnancy, as each girl candidly shares her story and takes on the role of Ramona.
As if it doesn’t get better, students are eligible for discounted entry, with tickets costing £7.50 for feature films and £6 for LIFF SHORTS. You can purchase these online at leedsfilms.com, over the phone on 0113 376 0318, or by visiting Carriageworks Theatre on Millennium Square.
Featured image via Leeds International Film Festival .