The North of England goes Film Festival crazy as Leeds and Sheffield profile the best in cinema

Written by Laurence Boyce on . Posted in Festivals

 Rumba ImageTwo of the largest film festivals in the UK get underway this week, providing a wealth of films for those who are in the North of England. Tuesday 4th November sees the opening of the 22nd Leeds International Film Festival (, which runs from 4th-16th November, whilst Wednesday 5th November will see the start of the Sheffield Doc/Fest, ( )  which runs from  5th-9th November. Both promise special guests, previews, masterclasses and enough films to keep audiences more than satisfied – if slightly exhausted.

Monsieur CokThe 22nd Leeds International Film Festival, the biggest regional film festival in the UK, presents more than 350 screenings and events in a dozen venues to thousands of filmgoers eager to discover what is really happening in contemporary cinema. There’s the best of world cinema in the Official Selection, numerous music and human rights documentaries in Cinema Versa, a cavalcade of genre films in Fanomenon, experimental wonders in Kinetika and Thought Bubble, a celebration of sequential art. Also look out for the wonderful Short Film City, a brilliantly comprehensive and diverse selection of the best shorts from around the world ( ).

This year’s opening gala film is UK premiere of Rumba from the acting / directing trio of hit film Iceberg, which screened at Leeds Film Festival in 2005. The film is an exhilarating and unique blend of physical comedy, glorious gum-ball colours and absent dialogue, and is something quite unique.The opening gala will take place at the Carriageworks at 6pm on the 4 November, with acting and directing duo Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon attending this screening.

Other highlights of the Leeds International Film Festival are too numerous to mention, so visit for more information.

 Cinema fans should also get their train tickets booked as the Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival (Doc/Fest) will boast more than 100 films from the hottest directors from around the world.

This year, the festival will embrace the excitement of the US presidential elections with a series of films on Regime Change: documentaries that explore the effects of a shift of power.  Following on from the success of last year, Doc/Fest 08 will also be repeating its Green, Bent, Anti Doc, Sports and Music strands. And new for this year is Kinky Docs: a celebration of sex and its representation in documentary, while Doc/Fest’s retrospective of Japanese documentary classics will also continue in 2008, specially curated by Mark Cousins.

Doc/Fest will open with the Thriller in Manilla, directed by John Dower, who will be attending the festival. For the first time Joe Frazier and his corner, including his trainer and his son, recount their version of his 1975 fight with Muhammad Ali – now considered to be the greatest boxing match in history.

Again too many highlights to mention so visit for more info.