Chris Fell, Director of Leeds Film Festival

ON THE BLOG: LIFF on Film Festivals funding

The Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF) has received MEDIA funding for 17 years. Want to know why? Find out from festival director Chris Fell, who lets us in on how LIFF's aims align with the Film Festivals funding scheme – which has its next deadline on 27 April.

Tell us about Leeds Festival – what makes it unique?

“The world’s first moving images were shot in Leeds in 1888 by French inventor Louis le Prince and today the city is a major centre for film production, exhibition and education. Leeds International Film Festival, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, presents a very diverse and accessible programme where audiences experience the wonders of the city and its heritage at the same time as the incredible global filmmaking culture.”

To be eligible for the Film Festivals scheme you have to programme at least 70% European films. Can you comment on European film in relation to the festival and its aims and values?

“We’re dedicated to sharing with audiences the full spectrum of global filmmaking culture, particularly work from new talent that does not receive a release in the UK. We believe that the filmmaking of Europe is the most diverse and exciting of all, and supporting new talent from across the continent is a priority for us. We’ve received MEDIA funding since 2000, transforming the engagement of our audiences with European cinema.”

Can you share any feedback you received from Creative Europe? What made your application successful?

“The Commission has given us very positive feedback about the diversity of our selection of European filmmaking from across the continent, as well as how the film programme is presented to audiences in terms of access, interpretation and the participation of filmmaking talent. LIFF is organised by Leeds City Council and through being part of a local authority we can ensure our programme engages with the city and its communities.”

What advice would you give to potential applicants?

“I would say some of our biggest inspiration has come from visiting other European film festivals, experiencing their programmes and meeting their participants: highlights for us have included visits to Clermont Ferrand, Karlovy Vary, Krakow, Montone, Oberhausen, Rotterdam and Wrocław, as well as Berlin, Cannes and Venice. Witnessing activities of other film festivals and growing European connections can help to build a strong foundation for an application to Creative Europe.”

What does the grant enable you to do?

“The grant supports screening fees, print shipments, guest travel and accommodation costs, and production of the catalogue and screening programme for eligible European films, both narrative and documentary. This support enables us to programme, present and promote an extensive, diverse and in-depth selection of mostly unreleased filmmaking from across Europe and to welcome to Leeds directors, producers and other talent from many European countries.”

"This year we’re delighted to share some of our selections made possible by the funding elsewhere in the UK, staring with a season of LIFF European favourites in Hull, UK City of Culture 2017.”


For another perspective on the Film Festivals funding scheme, read our interview with the directors of Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival.

Image: Leeds International Film Festival 2016 and festival director Chris Fell