Bradford International Film Festival 2013

The Bradford International Film Festival returns on the 11th April, and until it ends on the 19th it will be showcasing the best of both Bradford’s history in film and the wider world of cinema. The festival’s neighbour, the Leeds International Film Festival, may be the better known of the two, however the BIFF is very much it’s own distinct beast. Using the National Media Museum as it’s central hub, the festival has over the last 18 years risen sharply in profile thanks to a combination of new-release premières and special screenings of classics, special guests from the world of film and beyond and an assortment of immersive events and activities. This year’s 19th edition of the festival is set to be one of the biggest and broadest so far, starting with the exclusive opening screening of the latest Steve Coogan/Michael Winterbottom collaboration The Look Of Love (formerly known as The King Of Soho) and taking in interactive big-screen video-game sessions, taking place all festival long with special drop-in sessions, screenings of cult classics such as Sans Soleil and Decasia, a run of Saturday matinees, events on local film-maker C.H. Wood and the portrayal of Bradford on film, a one-day seminar on Jacques Derrida’s Spectres of Marx and a special live ‘Best Of’ edition of Adam Buxton’s hit BFI show BUG and much more. This eclectic collection will then be rounded off with a closing party featuring bequiffed film critic Mark Kermode’s skiffle troupe The Dodge Brothers. This year’s festival will also be celebrating the centenary of Indian cinema, with a large roster of events including the anticipated film adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s acclaimed novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which was partially shot in Delhi.

Ever since it began in 1995, the BIFF has been well-served by the facilities at the National Media Museum, which include Leeds’ nearest IMAX screen. This has undoubtedly been a large factor in the festival’s rise to prominence, and it has now become a landmark event for Bradford – receiving noted praise from The Bishop of Bradford Nick Baines – and a major voice in the crowded circuit of UK film festivals. As well as filling the month of April with an assortment of film-based events, the BIFF also sets out to support local small film-makers, with an event showcasing submitted short-films and the return of the acclaimed ‘Filmmaker’s Weekend’, which brings in top film-makers and industry insiders from all over the country for a series of workshops, seminars and networking events. It’s these events, along with the special ‘BIFF By Night’ run of events to complement the programme (including live radio broadcasts and DJ sets) which lend the Bradford International Film Festival it’s distinctive flavour. As well as being a celebration of the local, it also very much has the requisite scale to be a major event on the national film calendar, and it refreshingly focusses on  progression in cinema as much as it celebrates the historic past.

You explore the delights of the festival schedule in more detail here. Stay primed for the widescreen weekend too, taking place from 26th-28th April.

Sean Hayes

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