I heard about the Leeds International Film Festival by accident, really. I’d missed the
Queer Film Festival earlier in the year due to a busy few weeks at work and various other things that popped up and then I happened upon a retweet on the wonderful world of Twitter that led me to doing a little research into LIFF29 and finding out about some interesting evenings out in my home city.
The 29th Leeds International Film Festival is happening at various venues acros Leeds from the Everyman in the Trinity to the Town Hall, North Bar and Chapel FM to name but a few until 19th November having started on 5th and is one of the largest UK celebrations of cinema and includes Leeds Free Cinema Week (25 screenings which are free to enjoy and can be booked online). Some of the events are free or a pass for the whole event is £95 (£170 for a couple)- I missed getting this this time around but have already set an in-phone reminder to check them out in 2016 (prices may differ) alternatively you can (still) buy individual tickets for between £5 and £8 a piece. What a steal.

Films range from Shorts to documentaries like Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip Live to Carol (closing the festival on 19th); to say there’s something for everyone would be an understatement. One of my favourite things about events like this are that you get to see pieces of film that you might not usually and there’s the opportunity in this particular festival to see real art. 

If you’re keen to catch as much as you can at the festival, I can’t recommend the Eventbrite App enough (not just for this but generally, you can search by area and book online and I often find unusual and free activities in this way that I otherwise wouldn’t hear about). 

That’s how I came across the showing for the Short Film Audience award.

This was a free showing of 18 short films averaging just 4 minutes long each where the audience picked at the end and voted (with some difficulty) for just one as their favourite. There were 4 showings of these shorts over 4 nights and I attended the final of those at Leeds Town Hall. The finalists had been picked from over 4000 entries from over 100 countries and the 9 month selection process must have been incredibly difficult.

The shorts ranged from the comedy Brass Heaven with focus on the words and context to The Golden Watch which I found interestingly described as “a tragicomic study of human existance” (I had thought of it as a metaphor for life). There were animations like Sry Busy which was reminiscent of Salad Fingers for those who are familiar with the Youtube sensation (I wanted to use ‘Cult Hit’ there but didn’t know if this was accurate or apt). Many of the shorts used no dialogue at all (like Snowfall) that allows the audience to come up with their own narrative with the interesting effect of everyone having a slightly different view of what the story or the meaning behind it is.

My favourite (I don’t think the ballot was secret) was Otherwise Engaged from homegrown director Alicia MacDonald; a satirical view of real life among increased technology and social media. This had me laughing out loud (excuse the pun – I actually did lol) and forced the audience to evaluate their relationship with technology and real life people. Isn’t it incredible how a short sketch centering on Instagram can instigate so much conversation about a topic that’s now central to our lives?

The winner is to be announced shortly so keep your eyes peeled on the LIFF29 social media channels and, if you can, catch one of the eventsbefore 19th November.,


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