330 screenings, nineteen premieres…and a makeshift wartime hospital
When you’ve been going three decades, you know you’re doing something right - and Leeds International Film Festival #32 promises to trump all others, with 330 screenings including seventeen UK and two world premieres.
Venues such as Leeds Town Hall, Hyde Park Picture House, Vue in The Light and Everyman Leeds will all be taking part in the filmtastic fortnight, which this year runs from 1-5 November. A BAFTA and Oscars-qualifying event, it attracts some 40,000 filmgoers annually.
LIFF 2018 even goes beyond the silver screen, with two powerful installations at Leeds Town Hall
The opening film of the festival will be the world premiere of local boxer Josh Warrington’s film Josh Warrington: Fighting for a City at Leeds Town Hall. The film was produced by Leeds-based Moneyglass Films, with investment from Screen Yorkshire, and documents Josh’s life over a two-year period as he works his way up to becoming the IBF featherweight champion. Josh will be in attendance to mark the opening of the film and the festival on a special night for him and the city of Leeds.
Other opening night highlights include a preview of Mike Leigh’s Peterloo, which has received rave reviews in the Guardian and the Independent following its release at the Venice Film Festival this year. The film focuses on the Peterloo massacre; the true story of a notorious and bloody clash between protestors and the authorities in nineteenth-century Manchester, which resulted in the deaths of fifteen people.
The festival continues its legacy of showcasing Yorkshire-based talent in its Official Selection, with Bill Buckhearst’s Doncaster-set coming-of-age debut Pond Life receiving its world premiere, and Iraq’s nomination for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar The Journey - by Leeds-based director Mohamed Al-Daradji and producers Human Film screens - for the first time in the North.
Other directorial debuts include Eva Trobisch’s All Good (Germany), Muayad Alayan’s The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (Palestine/Netherlands/Germany/Mexico), Tonia Mishiali’s Pause (Cyprus/Greece), and Meryem Benm'Barek-Aloïsi’s Sofia (Belgium/France/Qatar).
Meanwhile, Cannes winner Capernaum and Shoplifters - LIFF 2018's closing film - is joined by festival hits such as Berlin Golden Bear award-winner Touch Me Not, Jean-Luc Godard’s The Image Book and Widows from Steve McQueen, the Oscar-winning director of 12 Years a Slave.
This year will also see a strand called ‘Time Frames’, featuring a series of new and classic films that document events over a 24-hour period. The opening film will be Happy New Year, Colin Burstead by British director Ben Wheatley, who’ll be conducting a live Q&A at the screening on Friday 2 November.
Thrilling world cinema will also be a Time Frames staple: from U- July 22, based on the horrific Utøya island attacks of 22 July 2011, to Danish thriller The Guilty, a real-time Danish thriller set entirely in an emergency services call centre. Modern greats, meanwhile, include Magnolia, La Haine and a masters focus on Sidney Lumet and William Friedkin.
LIFF 2018 even goes beyond the silver screen, with two powerful installations at Leeds Town Hall. Sound&Fury’s intimate, immersive sound installation Charlie Ward puts audiences at the heart of a makeshift wartime hospital, where an unlikely therapy brings solace and comfort to those injured in the battlefield, while dystopian sci fi film The MOMENT invites audience into its bespoke mobile cinema: by wearing neurosensory headsets, their brainwaves will create one of 101 trillion film edits.
Tickets and passes are now on sale: prices range from £6-£9 (concessions available), while a full festival pass costs £100 and grants access to every single screening over the two weeks. Visit www.leedsfilmcity.com for details and the full line-up or call the Leeds City Centre Box Office on 0113 376 0318
All images: Leeds International Film Festival