Cinema Versa is the home of documentaries inspired by the underground festival aesthetic, featuring outstanding films giving voice to vital issues and marginalised figures , fascinating profiles of musicians, and special events involving partners from Leeds and Yorkshire.
Underground Voices and Music FilmsThere are two major themes. Underground Voices champions human rights, mavericks and outsiders from front-line reportage of the Arab Spring in ½ Revolution to Brazilian tribes-people in The Hyperwomen. Music on Film constitutes the second major theme of cutting edge documentaries in Cinema Versa. Styles and genres are represented across the board, from grass-roots punk to stadium rock, from world-weary soul to the home-made DIY aesthetic.
Special EventsCinema Versa is complemented with a series of special events and collaborations including continued partnerships with Arts and Minds and Jumbo Records. This year we are also delighted to celebrate the work of the great Leeds record label Leaf with an event including live music by pianist Matthew Bourne and new partnerships with Unchosen, Pavilion and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. All the films / events in this programme »
Fanomenon is the home of cult films at Leeds International Film Festival, shared by the latest horror sensations, out-of-this-world sci-fi experiences, amazing animated adventures, light and dark comedies, and the outright bizarre.
Fanomenon PanoramaFanomenon Panorama is a special selection of brand new genre films that opens close to home with Ben Wheatley’s brilliant Sightseers, which takes in Yorkshire in its pitch-black story of a camping holiday killing spree. Expectations will be high for the debut from Brandon Cronenberg with visceral sci-fi Antiviral and horror fans will be lining up for the likes of Maniac and Excision. Amidst all the films will be the Méliès d’Argent competition, which sees an eclectic mix of features and shorts from every corner of Europe competing for the coveted award.
Fanomenon RetroThe vaults of global genre cinema are vast and every year Fanomenon presents a special selection of rarely seen landmarks, fan favourites, and curiosities. Thanks to the support of the UK’s Zipangu Festival, Fanomenon presents archive prints of two classic Japanese monster movies and a super rare martial arts movie set in North Korea. Tarantino’s new movie is inspired by ‘60s Django westerns and Fanomenon presents a classic Django double bill. Finally we celebrate the early career of controversial German filmmaker Jörg Buttgereit. with two rarely seen films, Nekromantik and The Death King (Der Todesking).
Cult European ComediesCult European film comedies are big favourites at LIFF, and the darker, the better. Deadpan Belgian classic Aaltra is a hilarious wheelchair road movie about two feuding neighbours. Former LIFF audience hit The Art of Negative Thinking (Norway) returns with its pitch-black clash of despair against hope. Stormland is the tragicomic story of a hapless Icelandic rebel, and in Black Brush (Hungary), four young slackers try their hardest to avoid real work. Finally, a second gem from Belgium, the animated plastic toy wonder of A Town Called Panic.
Fanomenon Night of the Dead 12Finally Fanomenon wouldn’t be the same without its three fan favourite marathons and this year they are all bigger and better than ever before. Night of the Dead XII returns to the Hyde Park Picture House for another all-night endurance test of undead delights and this year we’re starting earlier to give you horror-addicts even more of what you love. Four of the features are UK premieres and with the usual addition of fantastic short films, guests, giveaways, competitions and more you can be sure it will be a night to remember. Tickets are already selling fast so don’t miss out.
Fanomenon Day of the Dead 6Day of the Dead 6 is the darker and nastier twin sister of Night of the Dead delivering the best new horrors from across the world - this year from Germany, Norway, Indonesia and USA. All the features are UK premieres and genre fans won’t be disappointed as the wonderful splendour of City Varieties plays host to ghosts, demons, serial killers and very nasty gangsters. The features will be fleshed out with some great shorts and passholders will get a special ‘extra’ just for them. Buy passes for Night and Day of the Dead together and you save even more money!
Fanomenon Anime Day 2012The hugely popular Fanomenon Anime Day returns to LIFF this year on Sunday 11th November, also presented on the first day of the Thought Bubble Festival 2012 and in partnership with Scotland Loves Animation. Starting at 12 noon in the superb setting of the Victoria Hall at Leeds Town Hall, the Fanomenon Anime Day will present 10 hours of fantastic new animated entertainment from Japan. The five anime features in the line-up are all English Premieres: Asura, Berserk part 1, Berserk part 2, Tiger & Bunny and Wolf Children. All the films / events in this programme »
The Official Selection brings to Leeds some of the most acclaimed and talked about films of the year, many showing for the first time in the UK. The selected films are considered by the Film Festival team to represent the incredible diversity and brilliance of global filmmaking.
DiscoveryWhile the selection includes previews of high-profile new releases, the priority for selection is finding outstanding films from new or established talent that deserve more attention at an international film event. Discover brand new talent like Dominga Sotomayor (Chile) with Thursday Till Sunday and Ektoras Lygizos (Greece) with Boy Eating the Bird’s Food. Experience the new work of great, established filmmakers whose films are rarely screened, like João Canijo (Portugal) with Blood of My Blood, Xiaoshuai Wang (China) with 11 Flowers, and Hong Sangsoo (South Korea) with In Another Country.
From Argo to AmourThe Opening Gala on 1 November at Leeds Town Hall is the gripping action thriller Argo, Ben Affleck's widely acclaimed third film which has wowed audiences at its first festival screenings in Toronto, Telluride and San Sebastian. Following Argo, the Official Selection presents long-awaited new work from other filmmakers whose earlier films have also been released in the UK: the director of Festen, Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark) is back with The Hunt, Dogtooth’s Giorgos Lanthimos (Greece) with Alps, and Potiche’s François Ozon (France) with In the House. Closing the Official Selection this year on 15th November is Michael Haneke’s extraordinary drama Amour, winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or and a towering finale for this year's enthralling Official Selection. All the films / events in this programme »
Given the huge archive programme this year, our retrospectives have evolved out of Official Selection and into their own new section. The festival is proud to present some of the most incredible films from acclaimed directors, as well some little seen classics from the last 100 years of cinema which are seldom seem in the UK, let alone on the big screen.
Andrei KonchalovskyAndrei Konchalovsky is one of the great Russian directors of the modern era, although his superb early Soviet films are often overlooked since he went on to make a successful career in America in the 1980s. He acted in various films in the early 60s including Andrei Tarkovsky’s Ivan’s Childhood with whom he also co-wrote Andrei Rublev. He made his directorial debut with the Kurosawa inspired The First Teacher, then went on to make the extraordinary Asya’s Happiness, banned by the authorities for 20 years before being rediscovered in the late 80s. LIFF celebrates his early work with rare screenings of both these films, his two classic literary adaptations of Chekhov and Turgenev and the unique, epic Siberiade.
Kinuyo TanakaWhile Kinuyo Tanaka (1909-77) is widely recognised as one of the greatest actresses in the history of her nation’s cinema, a lesser known fact is that she was also the first Japanese woman to build a body of work as a filmmaker in her own right. This year’s LIFF Special Focus aims to remedy this by presenting two of Kinuyo Tanaka’s rarely-screened directorial works alongside a selection of her finest performances in films by three of the masters of Japanese cinema, Kenji Mizoguchi, Yasujiro Ozu and Mikio Naruse. Presented in collaboration with the Centre for World Cinemas, University of Leeds.
Partners in CinematographyThe great directors of European cinema are justly celebrated in film criticism and academia, from the lists of all time greats to the auteur theory. But the key authorial role of the cinematographer is often overlooked. Partners in Cinematography is a snapshot of five masterpieces of modern cinema that were created by particularly fruitful, long-term director-cinematographer partnerships. Jean-Luc Godard and Raoul Coutard, Ingmar Bergman and Sven Nykvist, Eric Rohmer and Nestor Almendros, Bernado Bertolucci and Vittorio Storraro, Wim Wenders and Robby Müller, all of these accomplished and influential cineastes have had successful careers independently and in partnership. We are showing five of many great films that have resulted from their collaborations.
Portuguese CinemaRecent world cinema hotspots, where we’ve seen an exciting glut of inspiring new films, challenging conventional approaches to narrative and cinematography, have occurred in Iran and Romania. With the success of Miguel Gomes’s Tabu, currently doing the rounds of the Arthouse cinemas to great approval from critics and audiences alike, has prompted us to show a small series of recent highlights. Alongside Tabu, we are screening Miguel Gomes’s previous feature, the vivacious and uncategorisable Our Beloved Month of August, which was not so well distributed on its original release a few years ago. Alongside it we are showing two films from the innovative and influential figurehead of the international slow cinema movement, Pedro Costa and the moving literary documentary José and Pilar.
Silent Film ClassicsOften described as the greatest period in the history of filmmaking, the era of silent films has left us some extraordinary treasures. LIFF26 presents five special silent film shows at three different venues. At Leeds Town Hall we present the jaw-dropping Soviet documentary Turksib, Carl Dreyer’s silent masterpiece Passion of Joan of Arc, and expressionist horror The Golem. At the Hyde Park Picture House the Minima band perform with Japanese classic Crossways, and the Cottage Road celebrates 100 years with a silent comedy night.
Stanley Kubrick at Leeds Town HallFinally LIFF26 presents three of Stanley Kubrick’s greatest works in the stunning setting of the Victoria Hall at Leeds Town Hall. Barry Lyndon (1975) has to be seen on the big screen, an epic costume drama with magnificent production and stunning cinematography. Presented in a brand new digital print, The Shining (1980) is like no other horror film ever made and features some of the most unforgettable imagery and scenes in the genre. Then a film that almost needs no introduction, one of the greatest films of all time screening in an incredible setting: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). All the films / events in this programme »
Every section of Leeds International Film Festival is a unique programme, each one almost a film festival in itself. You could just see all the screenings in Short Film City and experience the vast diversity of the real world of cinema with films from every continent.
CompetitionsLeeds International Film Festival is now a recognised festival in the categories of short films for both the Academy Awards and BAFTA. The British, International and World Animation Competitions are at the centre of the Short Film City programme, celebrating the outstanding new talent emerging from across the world. The International Competition, presented over six screenings, is inspired and named after Louis le Prince, the Frenchborn film pioneer who made the first ever moving images, right here in Leeds in 1889.
Panoramas and Special EventsAlongside the Competitions this year, Short Film City presents three Panorama programmes: the annual homage to fabulous French short filmmaking, a special focus on new Portuguese shorts, and an extra animation programme dedicated to British talent. In a special free event, the Magma Festival in Sicily has curated a programme of shorts especially for Leeds, and the city’s Cherry Kino lab provides in-depth and hands-on short filmmaking experiences with real film. All the films / events in this programme »