Film | Leeds International Film Festival is packed with Oscar contenders

Image: Flickr

One of the highlights of the city’s culture calendar, Leeds International Film Festival returns for its 28th year with a programme packed full of new releases, cult classics, underground breakthroughs and spectacular documentaries. The festival takes place November 5th-20th with over two hundred and fifty screenings across the city. In previous years films that have being shown at this celebration of all things cinema include Gravity, Argo and The Artist, which all went on to win Oscars after showing at the festival, so take a chance on a film and maybe you’ll see the next big thing before it’s cool. With tickets costing just £6 for students there’s no excuse to not get involved, and be sure to check out for the complete programme and information on tickets and venues.

Testament of Youth, Image: Heyday Films
Testament of Youth, Image: Heyday Films

Testament of Youth / The Taking (Opening Gala)

A double bill of Yorkshire’s finest opens the Festival this year, starting with the adaptation of Vera Brittain’s classic World War One memoir, Testament of Youth. Starring rising talent Alicia Vikander, Game of Thrones resident moody bloke Kit Harington and ‘The Wire’ alumni Dominic West, it’s set to be an emotional affair. Showing straight after is The Taking, a taught thriller directed by Dominic Brunt, known to most as Paddy on Emmerdale. This is his second film, filmed completely on location in the Dales, and with the cast and crew in attendance, it’s sure to be a great way to kick off proceedings.

Concerning Violence

A Swedish documentary film about the struggles of Africa against colonial rule in the 1960s and 70s, Concerning Violence is an unflinching portrait of a country driven to the edge that is guaranteed to make you think. It was also the recipient of an award at the highly prestigious Berlin Film Festival earlier this year.

Showpieces with Alan Moore

One of the most celebrated comic book artists of all time makes a rare public appearance to present his new work, Showpieces. A collection of short films, these are the first works Moore has written for the screen, and having the man himself in attendance will make the evening all the more special.

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

This completely unique documentary offers an unprecedented peak into the iconic world of Studio Ghibli and legendary director Hayao Miyazaki, responsible for capturing the hearts and imaginations of countless children and adults alike through films such as Spirited Away and Ponyo.

Birdman (Closing Gala)

Birdman, Image: Worldview Entertainment
Birdman, Image: Worldview Entertainment

One of the most hotly anticipated films of the year, Birdman is receiving its UK premiere at LIFF. Directed by the man behind Babel and Biutiful, this dark comedy is a superhero film with a difference, and stars Michael Keaton, Edward Norton and Emma Stone. If the insane trailer is anything to go by, it’s going to be unmissable.

The Best of the Rest

The Imitation Game (starring Benedict Cumberbatch), Tusk (from Dogma director Kevin Smith), The Drop (starring LIFF favourite Tom Hardy), Winter Sleep (winner of this year’s Palme D’or at Cannes), What We Do in the Shadows (vampire comedy from the Flight of the Conchords team), Once In A Lifetime (a one-off day long festival showing some of the finest music documentaries, including The Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense).

Hannah Woodhead

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