Two great Yorkshire film festivals this November

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This November sees two film festivals take place in the Yorkshire region, one in the iconic city of York and the other in Yorkshire’s most established film base, Leeds. Everyone enjoys a good trip to the cinema so why not prolong the experience by getting stuck into these two fantastic film festivals and see the latest from local to world film? These festivals are for the avid fan to the hard-core producer.

Let’s start with the Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF), established in 2011 it takes place in the heart of York this year across 15 different venues. In just three years the festival has already proved itself as a major player with filmmakers around the world. I attended a few of the screenings last year and it’s not only a cool way to see great independently produced films, but also a great way to see the city. From screenings in small intimate cinemas such as the brilliant and comfy 1331 to larger spaces such as the historic 250 year old York Theatre Royal. The range of genres is even more impressive than the venues – from horror to art, comedy to music and experimental to documentary, the list goes on to make for a truly unique experience.

With over 300 films on show over four days (7th – 10th November) and a range of special master class talks and workshops from industry professionals such as Warp Films, BAFTA and Channel 4, this one is not to be missed for all Yorkshire film lovers – I personally recommend it.

If that leaves you wanting more fear not, Leeds has its very own festival, the Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF) which runs for 16 days (6th – 21st November). Now in its 27th year the festival boasts an incredible plethora of modern films from a range of upcoming and well respected filmmakers. Venues include Leeds Town Hall, Belgrave Music Hall, East Street Arts, Everyman Cinema, HiFi Club, Hyde Park Picture House, Seven Arts and the comfort of the Leeds Vue cinema. International films from different genres are on show with some special events, such as a horror marathon in Hyde Park Picture House, keep it fresh.

Both of the festivals have screenings I would recommend watching out for this year. The ASFF festival had some tremendous documentaries, dramas and thrillers last year and this year looks just as impressive. Ones to watch out for at LIFF are Alexander Payne’s ‘Nebraska’, a man intent on getting his hands on a million dollars he believes he has won only to be stopped by the authorities each time. Another film that sounds interesting is ‘Computer Chess’ by Andrew Bujalski – this film is based around a weekend tournament for chess software programmers. Both these films are intriguing and I’m looking forward to watching them!

Both festivals have an awards ceremony and allow the audience  to get involved. The ASFF have ‘The People’s Choice’ award and the LIFF give the accolade of ‘Audience Award’. After watching a screening at the ASFF, festival goers vote for their favourite film. At the LIFF the audience rate all of the films they’ve seen depending on how much they enjoyed each one. The film with the most votes or best rating wins the award in the rather glamorous end of festival ceremony.

The Leeds festival has already had to squeeze more screenings in due to popular demand so I would get in quick. Both these events are worth attending, so what are you waiting for? Get your tickets!

Image credit: Leeds Film

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