Sundance London, BFI London Film Festival, Bolton Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival

Sundance London, BFI London Film Festival, Bolton Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival

Screen turns the spotlight on the approximately 50 film festivals that take place around the UK each year, from focused showcases bringing niche films to local audiences to major international extravaganzas.

We have focused here on festivals running for a minimum of four days and including feature films in their programmes. If you would like your festival to be considered for inclusion, please contact us here.

Admissions figures are based on averages, or most recent figures, provided by the festival. 


Carmarthen Bay Film Festival 

Festival director: Simon Howlett
Dates of next edition: May 20-23, 2024
Paid admissions: N/A
Funding: Film Hub Wales, Wales Interactive, Lunix OM, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Film Carmarthenshire
Notable guests: John Parr, Jamie Anderson, Benjamin Field
About: Running since 2012, Carmarthen Bay takes place in the Welsh coastal town of Llanelli and screens all of its programme for free. The festival has grown significantly during its tenure and recently added two more editions — Ffresh Festival for media art students in Wales; and International Media Festival of Wales, recognising all aspects connected to the process of filmmaking, content creation and production.
Submission deadline: February 2025 (TBC) 

Romford Film Festival / Romford Horror Film Festival 

Festival directors: Spencer Hawken and Natalie Bays
Dates of next edition: May 24-28 2024, (RIFF); February 29-March 3, 2024 (RHIFF)
Paid admissions: 2,000
Funding: In-kind support
Notable guests: Robert Davi, Luke Goss, Rutger Hauer, Giovanni Lombardo Radice
About: Romford runs two separate festivals — Romford Film Festival in May and Romford Horror Film Festival (or HorRHIFFic as it prefers to be known) in late February, early March. The festival also collaborates with the Eurasian Creative Guild to screen films from central Asia that rarely get screened in the UK.
Memorable moment: “In 2020 we were the first festival to run post-Covid lockdown and operated a physical festival over five screens, adhering to strict social distancing guidelines. We also had our highest ever attendance with just under 3200 attendees over 10 days, with attendees desperate to have some sort of normality.” — Spencer Hawken.
Submission deadline: March (RIFF), December (RHIFF)

raindance film fest

Source: Raindance Film Festival

Raindance founder Elliot Grove presenting the 2019 festival


London Indian Film Festival (LIFF)

Festival director: Cary Rajinder Sawhney
Dates of next edition: June 17 - July 3
Paid admissions: 8,000-10,000
Funding: Bagri Foundation, BFI, Film Hub Network
Notable guests: Shekhar KapurGurinder Chadha, Asif Kapadia
About: Europe’s largest annual South Asian Film event, LIFF takes place synchronously in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. Line-ups traditionally include UK premieres of titles from the region, and the festival also hosts its Brit-Asian Shorts and Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition. It frequently boasts up to 50% non-Asian audiences and the director describes it as “the punk rock of Indian film festivals”.
Memorable moment: “Being one of the three festivals still standing in May 2020 lockdown, when we switched our programme online and tripled our audience.” — Cary Rajinder Sawhney.
Submission deadline: March 2025 (TBC)

Sheffield DocFest

Festival director: Annabel Grundy (managing director), Raul Niño Zambrano (creative director)
Dates of next edition: June 12-17, 2024
Paid admissions: 35,000
Funding: Sheffield City Council, BFI, sponsorship, project grants
Notable guests: Michael Moore, Paul Greengrass, Werner Herzog
About: The UK’s biggest documentary festival, Sheffield celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2023 where it screened 37 world premieres including Chris Smith’s Wham! The festival also hosts an extensive industry strand that features MeetMarket, giving around 50 projects the opportunity to pitch to national and international industry. Many notable documentaries have gone through the festival’s market including 2023 Oscar nominee All That Breathes. DocFest also gives out awards in Competition, first feature, short, youth jury, audience, alternate realities and a Tim Hetherington award.
Memorable moment: “Opening night of the 2022 edition with the UK premiere of Moonage Daydream by Brett Morgen. It was a magical moment to screen the film in the iconic Sheffield City Hall where Morgen himself mixed the sound live during the screening.” — Raul Nino Zambrano.
Submission deadline: March 2025 (TBC)

Raindance Film Festival

Festival director: David Martinez (executive director); Martyna Szmytkowska, Malaika Bova, Suzanne Ballantyne (artistic directors)
Dates of next edition: June 19-29, 2024
Paid admissions: 16,000
Funding: Film London, BFI
Notable guests: Olivia Colman, Jude Law, Sally Hawkins
About: Hosted in the heart of London’s West End, Raindance is a showcase for independent film with the tagline “Discover. Be Discovered.” and is also the founder of the British Independent Film Awards (Bifas). Its industry showcase includes each day dedicated to a different craft and a script competition while other prizes awarded include best UK feature and best debut feature. The festival celebrated 30 years in 2022 and has recently moved from its usual October slot to June.
Memorable moment: “At my first Raindance in 2012 Alan Rickman showed up uninvited at our Opening Gala on Haymarket. He asked for Elliot [Grove, Raindance founder] and told him he wanted to ’just want to quietly sit on the back of the room, no photos’. That to me proved the reach of Raindance, the love and support from the local industry, and the relaxed environment we create at the festival.” — David Martinez.
Submission deadline: February 2025 (TBC)

Ramsgate International Film Festival

Festival director: Sylvie Bolioli
Dates of next edition: June 25-30, 2024
Paid admissions: 1,000
Funding: Film Hub South East, BFI, Kent Community Project, Ramsgate Town Council
Notable guests: Valarie Leon, Nick Broomfield, Rupert Jones
About: Earlier this year, Ramsgate International Film & TV Festival nearly faced closure but its patron Brenda Blethyn along with a group of filmmakers and enthusiasts stepped in to save the day. Despite having no cinemas in the town, the festival still hosts an extensive programme at various makeshift venues and hands out a major sculptural “Anchor” award, designed by the late Dominic Grant.
Memorable moment: “When French actor/filmmaker Clémentine Célarié and her producer arrived for the UK premiere of Pierre Et Jeanne, they were a bit shocked to discover their film would be screening at a constructed screen created in a youth arts project building as the town had recently lost its cinema. But the filmmakers soon warmed to the environment and atmosphere that the locals had created for the festival. The producer even donated his airfare back to the festival on realising its plight.” — Sylvie Bolioli.
Submission deadline: February 2025 (TBC)

Sundance Film Festival: London

Festival director: Clare Binns (Picturehouse), Kim Yutani, Ana Souza, Mike Plante (programmes), Wendy Mitchell (producer)
Dates of next edition: June 6-9 
Paid admissions: Unavailable  
Funding: Sundance Institute, sponsorships, partnerships
Notable guests: Ben Whishaw, Tobias Menzies, Emilia Jones
About: Fresh off its 10th anniversary, Sundance London brings all the highlights from its iconic parent festival with the 2023 edition opened by Charlotte Regan’s Scrapper. All titles are eligible for the audience award. The programme is curated by Picturehouse Central, where the festival is held, and the Sundance Institute and recently introduced a busy industry strand featuring networking events, pitching panels and masterclasses.
Memorable moment: “The opportunity to present Gregg Araki with a Gregg’s vegan sausage roll was also not missed this year.” - Paul Ridd (formerly Picturehouse)
Submission deadline: N/A

Windrush Caribbean Film Festival

Festival director: Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe
Dates of next edition: June 1-30, 2024
Paid admissions: 350
Funding: BFI, sponsorship
Notable guests: Adjani SalmonClint Dyer
About: Launched in response to the Windrush scandal, this festival aims to celebrate the rich heritage of Caribbean storytelling both in the UK and further abroad. Screenings and events are hosted at venues across the country with the aim of showcasing Black creatives on screen and reinforcing the impact of contributions from the Windrush generation to the UK.
Memorable moment: “Our 2023 edition was also the 75th anniversary of the Windrush ship arriving at Tilbury Docks. There were many memorable moments including London premiere of cricket documentary 501 Not Out, which was attended by Brian Lara who flew in from Trinidad and Tobago during the week of the 1st Ashes test match.” — Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe.
Submission deadline: December 31, 2023


Chichester open-air screening in Priory Park

Source: Chichester Film Festival

Chichester open-air screening in Priory Park


Africa In Motion

Festival director: Elizabeth Chege
Dates of next edition: August 31-September 8, 2024 
Paid admissions: 650
Funding: Screen Scotland, Filmhub Scotland
Notable guests: Rosine MbakamAmil ShivjiNtare Mwine
About: The largest African film festival in the UK, Africa In Motion takes place in Edinburgh and supports and showcases work from African and Black diaspora artists. The festival also regularly highlights the influence the Black diaspora has had in the music scene which recently included a focus on punk and death metal.
Memorable moment: “When we partnered with Lupita Nyong’o on her YouTube animation project.”
Submission deadline: TBC for 2025 

Chichester International Film Festival

Festival directors: Walter Francisco, Anne-Marie Flynn
Dates of next edition: August 9-25, 2024
Paid admissions: 8,300
Funding: BFI’s Film Hub South East
Notable guests: Ralph Fiennes, Kathleen Turner, John Lithgow
About: Recently passing the 30-year mark, Chichester is the largest festival on the South Coast and now showcases up to 150 feature films each year. The 2023 edition featured 25 UK premieres as well as retrospectives on Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchett - the latter of whom was set to attend prior to strike action. Screenings are held at seven locations across the city including open-air screenings in Priory Park and classic silent films with live musical accompaniment in the gothic St. John’s Chapel.
Memorable moment: “The Q&A with Alec Guinness talking about Tunes Of Glory screening.” — former artistic director Roger Gibson. 
Submission deadline: May 3, 2024

Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF)

Festival director: Paul Ridd
Dates of next edition: August 15-21, 2024 
Paid admissions: 10,300
Funding: Screen Scotland, the Scottish government’s Festivals Expo Fund, the PLaCE Programme (a partnership between the Scottish government, City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Festivals)
Notable guests: John Huston, Gene Kelly, Jennifer Lawrence
About: Founded in 1947 when it was known as the International Festival of Documentary Films, Edinburgh is the world’s oldest continually running film festival. After a turbulent past year, in which the festival’s parent charity went into administration and a streamlined 2023 edition was hosted in tandem with Edinburgh International Festival and headed by programme director Kate Taylor, Andrew Macdonald was appointed the new chair of the festival while Picturehouse’s Paul Ridd was named director. More details of the 2024 edition are expected later in the year.
Memorable moment: “Bette Gordon reconnecting with Fran Rubel Kuzui after three decades, Ira Sachs meeting writer Brandon Taylor, the many conversations sparked by the Lynda Myles Project, and the sight of filmmakers Paris Zarcilla, Devashish Makhija and Huw Lemmey flinging EIFF staff around at the EIFF ceilidh.” — Kate Taylor. 
Submission deadline: April 19, 2024


Festival directors: Greg Day, Alan Jones, Paul McEvoy, Ian Rattray
Dates of next edition: August 22-26, 2024
Paid admissions: 8,500
Funding: sponsors, ticket sales
Notable guests: Guillermo del Toro, Christopher Nolan, Simon Pegg
About: This horror festival has become a staple in London’s Leicester Square every August bank holiday weekend since its first iteration in 2000. FrightFest regularly welcomes some of the most prolific names on the genre circuit and screens many world premieres which in 2023 included Joe Stephenson’s Doctor Jekyll starring Eddie Izzard. In addition to the August festival, it also hosts a special Halloween event and a two-day “terror-thon” in Glasgow.
Memorable moment: “The three-minute standing ovation for the late, great George A Romero. Guillermo del Toro telling the audience that we were ‘the Woodstock of Gore’. And the audience spontaneously singing happy birthday to [the late] David Soul.” — Greg Day. 
Submission deadline: June 1, 2024


London Spanish Film Festival

Festival director: Joana Granero (festival director), Patricia Pérez (head of programming)
Dates of next edition: September 18-25, 2024 
Paid admissions: 2,000
Funding: Spanish embassy, sponsorship, ticket sales
Notable guests: Victoria Abril, Javier Bardem, Maribel Verdú
About: Dedicated to contemporary and classic Spanish cinema, this festival has been running for nearly 20 years. It hosts an additional ‘Spring Weekend’ festival each year too that consists of four days of screenings with its most recent edition featuring the UK premieres of Juan Diego Botto’s On The Fringe and Mikel Gurrea’s Cork. A jury awards an overall best film prize.
Memorable moment: “Spotting Steve Buscemi about to go into a screening of a racy Spanish comedy. Or Elle MacPherson and Mike Leigh going into a period action movie.” —  Joana Granero.
Submission deadline: May 31, 2024 


Festival director: Hiu Man Chan
Dates of next edition: September 9-29, 2024
Paid admissions: 2,500
Funding: Sponsorship, ticket sales
Notable guests: Lim-Chung Man, Alex Law, Tessa Keswick
About: Founded in 2021, Odyssey showcases cinema from greater China and Chinese communities around the world. Each year has a different theme for its programme - this year’s being food and travel. Over 70 feature films and shorts are screened across six cities in the UK as well as several industry events.
Memorable moment: “In 2023, Odyssey became the first film festival of its kind to curate our programme based on the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, responding to the theme of “Global Sustainability”. The Sustainable Development Goals became the festival strands, something the filmmakers themselves never thought of.” - Hiu Man Chan.
Submission deadline: April 5, 2024 


BUFF 2022

Source: Muriel Narh

Justin Chinyere (festival director); Amirah Garba (festival coordinator); Clare Anyiam-Osigwe (lead script judge); Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe (founder)


BFI London Film Festival (LFF)

Festival director: Kristy Matheson
Dates of next edition: October 9-20
Paid admissions: 290,000 (including online)
Funding: Revenue, government grant, in-kind services
Notable guests: Robert DeNiro, Jennifer Lawrence, Daniel Craig
About: Established in 1957, LFF is the UK’s biggest film festival and takes place at London’s Southbank each year in addition to a host of other venues across the UK and online. Its extensive programme showcases over 300 films, TV series, virtual reality installations including an annual ‘surprise film’, with recent titles including The Menu (2022) C’mon C’mon (2021) and Lady Bird (2019). LFF awards a best film prize from its competition strand (picked by a jury), the Sutherland Award in the first feature competition, the Grierson award for documentaries and the short film award. The festival also runs a substantial industry programme which includes co-production events, a works-in-progress showcase and talent development schemes. Kristy Matheson recently took over from Tricia Tuttle as head of the festival after five years at the helm.
Memorable moment: “The depth of enthusiasm from audiences was incredible. Another big highlight was watching the creative team behind The Kitchen introduce their film on closing night.  It’s hugely ambitious and universal in its themes but so deeply rooted in London, it was a special moment.” - Kristy Matheson. 
Submission deadline: May 24, 2024

Bolton International Film Festival

Festival director: Adrian Barber
Dates of next edition: October 2-6, 2024
Paid admissions: 5,000
Funding: Bolton Council, BFI Film Hub North, BFI Audience Fund, Bolton at Home
About: Born out of a small community arts project, Bolton has grown significantly since its first edition back in 2017. The festival screens titles from emerging filmmakers, and hosts around 20 industry events on a range of topics, such as sales and distribution and screenwriting. The event hands out more than 20 awards.
Notable guests: Diane Morgan, Julie Hesmondalgh, Joe Lycett, Matt Greenhalgh
Memorable moment: “The festival’s patron Maxine Peake joined us to a packed house in 2018 to share her stories of growing up in Bolton, recounting studies at Rada, then breaking onto the scene with Victoria Wood, and on to more recent accounts from her career in stage, television and film.” — Adrian Barber.”
Submission deadline: June 18, 2024 

British Urban Film Festival (BUFF)

Festival director: Justin Chinyere
Dates of next edition: October 12-18, 2024
Paid admissions: 650
Funding: Sponsorship, funding
Notable guests: Karen Bryson, Adjani Salmon, Femi Oyeniran
About: The longest-running Black-owned film festival in the UK, BUFF spotlights diverse voices from marginalised backgrounds. The festival also has its own production arm BUFF Originals, which was set up in 2021, and in 2023 moved from London to Leeds and Halifax. 
Submission deadline: 
July 3, 2024

Cambridge Film Festival

Festival directors: Owen Baker, Cristina Roures and Espe Moreno
Dates of next edition: October 24-31, 2024 
Paid admissions: 6,000
Funding: BFI Film Audience Network, sponsorship, donations, revenue
Notable guests: Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett, John Hurt 
About: Founded in 1977, Cambridge is the second longest-running festival in the UK and boasts around 100 films in its annual line-up. The festival also runs a Youth Lab aimed at young critics, with the likes of Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo as mentors, as well as an industry day. All the UK premieres compete for audience awards voted for after screenings. 
Memorable moment: “The festival has a long history of revealing new talents who will shape the future of cinema. A good example is of is a chap who had his student short selected for the programme through our open submissions process back in 1996, named Christopher Nolan.” — Cristina Roures.
Submission deadline: July 25, 2024 

Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival for Young People

Festival director: Joan Burney Keatings
Dates of next edition: October 1-31, 2024 
Paid admissions: 13,000
Funding: Department for Communities through Northern Ireland Screen, Belfast City Council
Notable guests: M. Night Shyamalan, Kenneth Branagh, Saoirse Ronan
About: Aimed at young people, Cinemagic takes place annually in Belfast and counts Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Farrell among its patrons. Its Cinemagic Young Filmmaker Competition, for the under-25s, has produced notable alumni including Evil Dead Rise director Lee Cronin and The Dig co-directors Andrew and Ryan Tohill.
Memorable moment: Vincent And Me was the first film ever screened at a Cinemagic Festival and in 2019 to mark the 30th anniversary of Cinemagic we screened it again to a whole new generation of young audiences, and this time we welcomed to Belfast, the star of the film, actor Tchéky Karyo, famous more recently for playing on screen detective Julien Baptiste.” — Joan Burney Keatings.
Submission deadline: August 1, 2024 

Discovery Film Festival

Festival director: Mike Tait (festival producer)
Dates of next edition: TBC (2023 edition ran October 21-November 5)
Paid admissions: 800
Funding: Creative Scotland
About: Based at Dundee Contemporary Arts in Scotland, Discovery is aimed at children and teenagers and works on a pay-what-you-can basis. All programming is done in-house with a team of young ambassadors aged 15-19 and hosts several educational programmes.
Memorable moment: “It’s always been exciting when we have unearthed big hitters ahead of their time. Back in 2010 we featured Boy at a point when Taika Waititi was still relatively unknown, in 2012 we screened Alicia Vikander’s Kronjuvelerna (The Crown Jewels) years before her stellar career really kicked off.” — Mike Tait.
Submission deadline: TBC

Doc’n Roll Film Festival

Festival directors: Colm Forde and Vanessa Lobon
Dates of next edition: October 24 - November 10, 2024 
Notable guests: Björk, Jarvis Cocker, Foals
Paid admissions: 9000
Funding: Ticket sales, in-kind sponsorship, film submissions 
About: This UK-wide festival focuses on spotlighting independent music documentaries and is now entering its 11th year with screenings across London cinemas and 12 regional cities. As of 2013, Doc’n Roll also runs a UK event cinema, distribution, and world sales service to connect independent music documentaries to audiences in the UK and Europe.
Memorable moment: “Spotting Björk at the inaugural edition! It was surreal to encounter the iconic musician at our event as a regular audience member. The serendipitous encounter added an extra layer of magic to the festival’s debut.” — Vanessa Lobon
Submission deadline: July 18, 2024

FilmBath Festival

Festival director: Jasmine Barker
Dates of next edition: October 8-17, 2024 
Paid admissions: N/A
Funding: BFI, IMDb
About: Running for over 30 years, FilmBath was previously known as Bath Film Festival and counts Ken Loach as one its patrons. The festival hosts the IMDb film awards, presenting a new filmmaker award (£2,000) and a Script to Screen award (£7,000) for short films and ran in partnership with Bristol local and IMDb CEO Col Needham. The line-up is made up of well-known international titles, and the festival champions female filmmakers through its F-Rating - a Fairtrade-style stamp awarded to films directed by and/or written by women.
Submission deadline: July 1, 2024 

Folkestone Documentary Film Festival

Festival directors: Charlie Phillips, James Collie
Dates of next edition: October 17-20, 2024 
Paid admissions: 1500
Funding: Film Hub South East Film Exhibition Fund, Creative Folkestone, Folkestone Town Council
Notable guests: Marie LidénLaura Wadha, Kim Hopkins
About: What started as a monthly documentary film club has quickly established itself within the UK documentary festival scene within the three years it has run. Highlights of Folkestone include a free industry afternoon hosted during the festival which is aimed at emerging documentary filmmakers while each edition is rounded off with a community meal, open to the public and industry. 
Memorable moment: “In previous years, we’ve had dog-friendly screenings on Saturday mornings creating a great atmosphere of human and canine community, We’ve also developed a tradition of always having a film about very old standing stones.” — Charlie Phillips. 
Submission deadline: May 6, 2024 


Festival director: Simeon Halligan
Dates of next edition: October 3-6, 2024
Paid admissions: N/A
Funding: Ticket sales, sponsorship
Notable guests: Reece Shearsmith, Mick Garris, Alice Krige
About: One of the UK’s leading genre festivals, Grimmfest is hosted every October in Manchester with an intentionally small selection of films (no more than 21) including world and UK premieres. It was founded in 2009 and is run by a team of filmmakers with their own production arm – Grimmfest Films.
Submission deadline: August 2, 2024

Iris Prize LGBTQ+ Film Festival

Festival director: Berwyn Rowlands
Dates of next edition: October 8-13, 2024
Paid admissions: 11,200
Funding: The Michael Bishop Foundation, BFI, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Creative Wales, Welsh government, Pinewood, various universities and publications
Notable guests: Dee Rees, Simon Russell Beale, Cheryl Dunye
About: Held in Cardiff annually, Iris has been running for 17 years with a programme that centres on queer stories. The festival also claims to award the world’s largest short film prize of £30,000, while all the shortlisted films in the best British category are made available on Film4’s streaming site, All4. The festival also invests £20,000 per year towards one British documentary through its Documentary Film Finance Fund. 
Memorable moment: “Simon Russell Beale in 2008 disagreeing with a member of the public who felt strongly that lesbians should play lesbians on screen. His response: “It’s called acting dear” – the discussion continues…” — Berwyn Rowlands. 
Submission deadline: June 2, 2024

Little Venice Film Festival 

Festival director: Marc Cameron
Dates of next edition: October 22-27, 2024
Paid admissions: N/A
Funding: Westminster Community Arts Fund, Little Venice, Hyde Park and Westbourne ward, Zopa Bank
Notable guests: Troy Kotsur, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo 
About: Taking place in west London’s Little Venice district, this film festival focuses on showcasing features, shorts and documentaries surrounding the lives of marginalised groups alongside independent cinema from the UK and abroad. It also hosts several specialised screenings for disabled, deaf, blind and neurodivergent audiences. 
Memorable moment: “For me, it was seeing how much the screenings for deaf and blind people at the Electric Cinema, Portobello meant to everyone who attended. Especially Oscar winner Troy Kotsur, who supported the screening of his film To My Father and the opening night screening of Charlotte Regan’s Scrapper at Maida Vale Underground Station. In a conversation with Troy after the screenings, I could see their importance in his eyes.” - Marc Cameron.
Submission deadline: October 1, 2024

Native Spirit Festival

Festival director: Tweed
Dates of next edition: October 12-November 7, 2024
Paid admissions: N/A
Funding: Private sponsors, donations, sales
Notable guests: Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, Asinnajaq, Red Haircrow
About: The UK’s first independent festival promoting Indigenous filmmakers and Narrative Sovereignty. It is non-competitive and promotes Native Film and hosts talks and performances in both the UK and Spain.
Memorable moment: “The 2011 Delegation of Indigenous Elders from Maya, Kuna, Mapuche, and Aymara communities in North, Central and South America, the eldest being 115 years old.” — Tweed.
Submission deadline: March 20, 2024


Abertoir, The International Horror Festival of Wales

Festival director: Gaz Bailey
Dates of next edition: November 14-17, 2024 
Paid admissions: 4,000-4,500
Funding: Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film Hub Wales
Notable guests: Sean S Cunningham, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Gary Sherman
About: Based in a small town on the Welsh coast, Abertoir celebrates genre and horror films from big-budget Hollywood to home-made shorts. Last year’s iteration closed with Paris Zarcilla’s Raging Grace and the line-up regularly includes theatre shows, concerts and masterclasses. Short film competition features two prizes; an audience award and Méliès d’argent for best European short.
Memorable moment: “Our 40th anniversary screening of Alien, introduced from space…! A recorded introduction from writer Ron Shusett was sent up on a special device right to the edge of space, playing out with the stars and the curvature of the Earth in the background, before crashing back down to Earth again. I’m afraid to work out how much per minute that cost, but it was well worth it!” — Gaz Bailey.
Submission deadline: June 30, 2024 

Belfast Film Festival (BFF)

Festival director: Michele Devlin
Dates of next edition: TBC (2023 edition ran November 2-11)
Paid admissions: 10,000
Funding: Northern Ireland Screen, Belfast City Council, Film Hub Northern Ireland, BFI, British Council
Notable guests: Jamie Dornan, Kenneth Branagh, Clio Barnard
About: Founded in tandem with a city-wide community arts festival in 1995, Belfast is known for site-specific screenings such as Evil Dead in the Ormeau Park and 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Titanic Dry Dock. The festival champions local titles with its Irish Shorts competition and NI Independent strand, and introduced an international competition in 2022 open to first and second features, with the top prize going to Mohamed Kordofani’s Goodbye Julia in 2023. It also runs a sister festival in June (18-23), Docs Ireland, which celebrates documentary filmmaking and promotes international co-production, sales and distribution.
Memorable moment: “Director Michael Moore taking part in a Q&A at 2016’s BFF and ordering a pizza delivery up on stage because we’d worked him so hard all day he didn’t have time to eat. We still have the signed pizza box framed on our office wall.” Michele Devlin. 
Submission deadline: August (TBC)

CineCity The Brighton Film Festival

Festival director: Tim Brown
Dates of next edition: November 8-17, 2024 
Paid admissions: 10,000
Funding: BFI Fan 
Notable guests: Agnes Varda, Nick Cave, Ben Wheatley, Peter Strickland
About: With the tagline ’Adventures in world cinema’, CineCity showcases global cinema on the South East coast. Taking place in Brighton each year, the festival celebrated its 21st edition in 2023 and recent highlights have included a 70th-anniversary event for the 1948 drama Brighton Rock. Prizes include an emerging filmmakers award for under-25s and CineCity open for local films. 
Submission deadline: September 13, 2024 

French Film Festival UK

Festival director: Richard Mowe
Dates of next edition: November 6 - December 12, 2024 
Paid admissions: 19,565
Funding: Sponsorship, Unifrance, Screen Scotland, French Institute, and National Lottery Film Festival and Screen Programme Fund
Notable guests: Vincent Perez,
About: Bringing French cinema to over 40 locations across England and Scotland. Last year saw the festival add a showcase section for French titles with UK distributors, and partner with Curzon Home Cinema for a discounted package. The festival also helps foster dialogue between French and UK filmmakers, and collaborates with Arras Film Festival, Angoulême Film Festival and Dinard Film Festival. Celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2022.
Memorable moment: “When Jean Reno attended the festival in Glasgow he spotted the Lord Provost’s limousine at an official town hall reception, fell in love with the vehicle (a Daimler) and was given the car and the Lord Provost’s chauffeur to run him to the airport the next day.” — Richard Mowe.
Submission deadline: TBC

Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF)

Festival director: Chris Fell
Dates of next edition: November 1-17, 2024
Paid admissions: 27,300
Funding: BFI, Leeds City Council
Notable guests: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Ken Loach, Patrick Stewart
About: The only major film festival organised by a local council, LIFF has been running for 37 years and also hosts an additional animation and children’s festival. The line-up includes high-profile festival titles (it opened with Poor Things in 2023) in its official selection, as well as strands for documentaries, shorts and genre titles. The event features audience awards for both fiction and documentary features.  Last year, the festival partnered with Films Femmes Afrique in Senegal for the spotlight programme ‘Women Creators of the Future’, featuring films by and about African women from across Africa and the diaspora.
Memorable moment: “The closing night presentation of Charlotte Wells’ Aftersun at LIFF 2022. Made even more memorable by the presence of Leeds actor Harry Perdios who plays Toby in the film, and over 50 of his family and friends were in the audience watching his big screen debut.” — Chris Fell.
Submission deadline: July 31, 2024

London International Animation Festival (LIAF)

Festival director: Nag Vladermersky
Dates of next edition: November 22-December 1, 2024
Paid admissions: 3-3,500
Funding: Film London, Arts Council
Notable guests: Don Hertzfeldt, Jacques Drouin, Barry Purves, Elizabeth Hobbs
About: Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the festival aims to showcase that ‘animation is for everyone’ and not just children. London International Animation Festival (LIAF) screens more animated shorts than any festival in the UK in addition to highlights from the indie animation scene around the world. The festival gives out cash prizes for best international and best British film as well as awards for best children’s film and best abstract film.
Submission deadline: July 31, 2024

London Korean Film Festival (LKFF)

Festival director: Eunji Lee
Dates of next edition: TBC (2023 edition ran November 2-16)
Paid admissions: 4,000
Funding: Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; Korean Film Council
Notable guests: Choi Dong-Hoon, Im Sang-Soo, Jeon Go-Woon 
About: The world’s longest-running festival dedicated to Korean cinema, LKFF showcases more than 35 films with each edition - the biggest programme of its kind outside of Korea. In 2023, the festival celebrated 140 years of diplomatic relations between Korea and the UK and hosted its opening and closing ceremonies at the BFI Southbank.
Submission deadline: TBC 

Manchester Animation Festival (MAF)

Festival director: Steve Henderson
Dates of next edition: November 10-15, 2024
Paid admissions: 8,000
Funding: BFI, sponsors and partners including Blue Zoo, Jellyfish Pictures, BBC, Aardman Animations
Notable guests: Peter Lord, Joanna Quinn, Barry Purves
About: The UK’s largest animation festival, MAF is preparing to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2024. In addition to screening features, shorts and immersive films, the festival runs an Animation National Forum day featuring panel discussions, keynote speeches and the MAF Market for studios and companies. Awards are given out both for films and individuals working in the animation industry. 
Memorable moment: ”Having Sir Michael Palin at the festival was incredible. He is incredibly nice, if you came to MAF at the same time that Death of Stalin (which he stars in) was playing in the cinema that the festival takes place in, you would have found Mr Palin himself holding the door open for you at the end!” - Greg Walker. 
Submission deadline: 
July 31 2024

UK Jewish Film Festival

Festival director: Michael Etherton (chief executive)
Dates of next edition: November 7-25
Paid admissions: 10,575
Funding: Foundations and trusts, institutional and individual donors or partners, BFI Audience Award
Notable guests: Keira Knightley, Helena Bonham Carter, Steve McQueen
About: Dedicated to films that explore Jewish life around the world, the festival is hosted across UK cinemas as well as online and hosts a paralleling event in Geneva shortly after. Two short film funds - one for features and for documentaries - also run each year to commission and produce seven new films. The festival features four awards; best film, documentary, young jury award for best short and an audience award. Last year’s edition opened with One Life and included an introduction from director James Hawes. 
Memorable moment: “I remember one Q&A with a glamorous French star when the interpreter turned out to be completely inebriated and unable to translate. He was booed off stage but as luck had it, an audience member turned out to be a distinguished French interpreter for various prime ministers and presidents and she rushed on-stage to save the day. She has been with us ever since.” — Michael Etherton. 
Submission deadline: June 30, 2024

Previously in 2024 


Horror-on-Sea Film Festival

Festival director: Paul Cotgrove
Dates of 2024 edition: January 12-14, 19-21
Paid admissions: 2,000
Funding: Sponsorship, ticket sales
About: A Victorian hotel in Southend-on-Sea feels an appropriate setting for a festival dedicated to horror and genre films. Horror-on-Sea has been running for over 10 years and its programme comprises 36 feature films and over 50 short films. The festival is a launchpad for B-movie horrors and often hosts a world premiere each night of its run. 
2025 Submission deadline: September (TBC)


BFI Future Film Festival

Festival director: Aleks Dimitrijevic
Dates of next edition: February 15-18, 2024
Paid admissions: 2,000
Funding: BFI, sponsors, partners
Notable guests: Daisy Ridley, Reggie Yates, Kit Connor
About: The largest industry film festival in the UK for 16-25 year olds, Future connects aspiring young screen creatives with industry experts, as well as providing them with opportunities to meet fellow young creatives, find collaborators and build their networks. Events are hosted in person at London’s BFI Southbank and online through Zoom, YouTube and Instagram Live.
Memorable moment: “Our 2023 edition was particularly memorable thanks to Spike Lee who, visiting London to receive a BFI Fellowship, held a masterclass for young filmmakers and also recorded a special video message to welcome audiences on our opening day.” — Aleks Dimitrijevic.
Submission deadline: September (TBC)

Glasgow Film Festival (GFF)

Festival directorAllison Gardner
Dates of next edition: February 28-March 10, 2024
Paid admissions: 34,000
Funding: Screen Scotland, BFI, Glasgow Life and Event Scotland
Notable guests: David Tennant, Emily Watson, Simon Pegg
About: As a leading film festival in the UK, Glasgow brands itself as ‘one of the friendliest film festivals in the world’ and will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2025. The festival showcases cinemas both from Scotland and around the world (its 2023 line-up featured 123 titles, including the UK premiere of Adura Onashile’s Girl) and cites Toronto International Film Festival and SXSW as its influences. The event’s only competitive prize is the audience award, given to an outstanding feature film by a first or second time director. Glasgow’s busy industry focus runs March 4-7, and was attended last year by Reclaim The Frame director Melanie Iredale, the British Council’s Catherine Bray and filmmaker Jeanie Finlay.  
Memorable moment: “The year Richard Gere attended [2016] and it was the same night as the Oscars. He said “It’s the Academy Awards tonight? Where am I? I’m in Glasgow.” — Allison Gardner.
Submission deadline: October (TBC) 

Keswick Film Festival

Festival director: Ian Payne
Dates of next edition: February 29-March 3, 2024
Paid admissions: 2,300
Funding: Commercial sponsorship, ticket sales
Notable guests: John Hurt, Ken Loach, Andrea Arnold
About: Born out of a local film club, Keswick Film Festival has been running since 2000 and relies solely on volunteers. Its main venue, the historic Alhambra Cinema, hosted an array of festival hits including Blue JeanEO, and All The Beauty And The Bloodshed at its 2023 edition.
Submission deadline: January (TBC) 


BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival

Festival director: Kristy Matheson
Dates of next edition: March 13-24, 2024
Paid admissions: 29,000
Funding: ticket sales, sponsorship, BFI resources
Notable guests: Ben Whishaw, Terence Stamp, Hugh Grant
About: The biggest and longest-running LGBTQIA+ festival in Europe, Flare has taken on a few different names since being founded in 1986 including Gay’s Own Pictures and the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (LLGFF). Its inclusive and diverse programme consists of three main strands – Hearts, Bodies and Minds – as well as a recently added Flare Expand strand for LGBTQIA+ projects using immersive art, virtual reality and other emerging technologies.
Submission deadline: December (TBC) 

Borderlines Film Festival

Festival director: Naomi Vera-Sanso
Paid admissions: 22,000
Dates of next edition: March 1-17, 2024
Funding: BFI Audience, The Elmley Foundation, Hereford City Council 
Notable guests: Terence DaviesToby Jones, Stephen Frears
About: The largest rural film festival in the UK, Borderlines screens across Herefordshire, Shropshire, Malvern and the Welsh borders. With an aim to bring cinema to local communities, films have been screened at unique venues including village halls, bookshops and churches.
Submission deadline: December (TBC)

Crystal Palace International Film Festival (CPIFF)

Festival director: Roberta Gallinari
Dates of next edition: February 29-March 23, 2024
Paid admissions: 2,200
Funding: Local company sponsors, film submissions and ticket sales
Notable guests: Paul Weller, Johnny Vegas, Mike Reiss
About: Hosted at a variety of venues across southeast London, Crystal Palace puts an emphasis on the social event that comes with watching films. The festival also gives out a Rising Star award, providing a young filmmaker with paid work experience in the industry.
Memorable moment: “Mike Reiss doing a sold-out talk on ‘The Secrets of The Simpsons’ – he writes on the show and talked for over 90 mins with loads of great and juicy stories.” — Roberta Gallinari.
Submission deadline: December 2, 2024 

Manchester Film Festival (MFF)

Festival director: Neil Jeram-Croft
Dates of next edition: March 15-24, 2024
Paid admissions: 5,800
Funding: Sponsors, ticket sales and film submissions
Notable guests: Simon Pegg, Shia LaBeouf, Mark Gatiss
About: Gearing up to celebrate its 10th edition, Manchester Film Festival follows up every screening with a Q&A and is known for its after-parties hosted each night of its 10-day run. The festival also presents a two-day industry programme complete with over 20 panels and gives out several awards as well as running an un-commissioned screenplay competition. 
Memorable moment: “2023’s Love Without Walls after-party, we moved on at 1am to head to karaoke but unfortunately were denied entry due to members of our party being a bit too merry!” - Neil Jeram-Croft.
Submission deadline: November 2024 (TBC)

Oska Bright Film Festival 

Head programmer: Matthew Hellett 
Dates of next edition: March 11-17, 2024
Paid admissions: 3,500
Funding: BFI
Notable guests: Steve Oram, Ben Wheatley and Andrea Arnold
About: One of the world’s leading festivals for films made by or featuring people with learning disabilities or autism, Oska showcases around 100 films each year in addition to promoting accessible screenings, running training for venues and developing skills for aspiring filmmakers. Founded in 2004, it runs every two years and in non-festival years, Oska tours various other festivals around the country and abroad to present features, run workshops and host seminars.
Memorable moment: “At one edition of the awards ceremony, we planned for The Daniel Wakeford Experience to do a surprise performance. They were set up behind the cinema screen. The screen dropped slightly once the awards were over, and everyone thought something had gone wrong. However, it was all part of the plan, and the screen dropped to reveal the band playing. It was a great moment!” — Lizzie Banks, deputy artistic director
Submission deadline: May 2024 (TBC)


Queer East Film Festival

Festival director: Yi Wang
Dates of next edition: April 17-28, 2024
Paid admissions: 5,000
Funding: BFI, Arts Council England
Notable guests: Anucha Boonyawatana, Perci Intalan, Tsai Ming-liang
About: An inter-disciplinary festival, Queer East highlights films from east and southeast Asia that centre around LGBTQIA+ themes. It takes place across multiple venues in London and is running into its fifth edition, with its 2023 line-up including Sung Bin Byun’s Peafowl.
Memorable moment: “Reading through our audience feedback over the past few years, many people emphasise the importance of showcasing films and cultures that they might not otherwise get a chance to see. How vital it is for queer Asian communities to see themselves being represented on the big screen; and how encouraging it is that a platform like ours can spotlight young and emerging Asian talent.” —b Yi Wang.
Submission deadline: January 2025 (TBC)