Get your film ready for Leeds Young Filmmakers’ Golden Owl Awards 2017

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Leeds Young Filmmakers’ Golden Owl Awards 2017 is an exciting filmmaking competition for young people aged 19* and under, taking place in partnership with Leeds Young Film Festival 2017 (LYFF). On Thursday 30 March 2017, Leeds Town Hall will be host to an Oscars-style awards extravaganza, celebrating the filmmaking talents of young people across the city. Now…

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BFI Film Academy Leeds 2016 open to Yorkshire’s young film talent

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Are you 16-19 and passionate about film? Want a career in the industry? If so, the BFI Film Academy Leeds is for you. Delivered by Leeds Young Film, Beta Filmworks and Access Moving Image, the course is a fantastic opportunity for young people from West Yorkshire to develop the knowledge and skills to make a career…

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Competitions & Entries

Golden Owls

The Leeds Young Filmmakers’ Golden Owl Awards are an exciting filmmaking competition for young people aged 19 * and under. The Golden Owl Awards celebrates the best of young people’s filmmaking across the city and offers an opportunity for you to see your work on a big screen in front of an audience of friends, parents, carers, teachers, filmmaking professionals and other young film enthusiasts.

The competition is supported by Leeds City Council through the Leeds Young Film Network, ArtForms and Leeds Young Film Festival in partnership with Vista. It reflects the Council’s vision for Leeds as a Child Friendly City described in the Children and Young People’s Plan 2015-2019 and helps to meet several of its priorities.

Entries are now open for the 6th Golden Owl Awards, taking place in 2017. Click here for more information and to download an application form.


Formerly the National Young Filmmakers’ Award, the INDIs is a national film award championing and celebrating the talent of the UK’s young independent filmmakers aged under 25.

Supported by both the IAC and MMBF, the competition is one of the most prestigious awards in the UK, receiving entries from hundreds of young filmmakers. Shortlisted films are screened in front of a jury of professional filmmakers, critics, programmers and writers, who will be on hand to offer advice and support to help launch your filmmakaing careeer. Whether you are a first time filmmaker or have been making movies for years, we want your film!

We will be accepting entries for the 2017 INDIs competition, taking place in 2017, shortly. Please check back for details.

LYFF Entries

LYFF screens over 100 feature and short films annually. We support young and old, emerging or established, national and international filmmakers and host competitions both for short films BY young people, and for short and feature films FOR young people.

We accept entries from filmmakers of all ages and abilities through Film Freeway.

Young independent filmmakers have the chance to win £500 worth of cash prizes.

Leeds Young Film Festival is not currently accepting submissions for the 2017 edition, but will be soon. Please check back for details.



Leeds Young Film Festival is the UK’s most interactive young people’s film event with annual audiences of over 10,000 children, young people and families. It encompasses The Film House, Leeds Animation Festival and Not For Rental and screens films from around the world made both for and by young people, alongside moving-image related workshops and masterclasses. Other features include the Independent Directions Young Filmmaking Awards (The INDIs), the UK’s only young filmmaking award celebrating purely independent work and Leeds Young Filmmakers’ Golden Owl Awards, showcasing the talent of young filmmakers from across the city, in partnership with ArtForms and Vista.

The Film House 2016

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
The Film House returned to Leeds Town Hall at Easter with a brand new show for all the family. In partnership with Sneaky Experience the hall was be transformed into  Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory with lots of scrumdiddlyumptious experiences to enjoy before, during and after the film. This magical adventure led people on a journey through the factory, meeting the Oompah Loompas and Charlie himself. In the various rooms participants got to decode secret messages, locate special ingredients and help fix the ‘Big Sweetner’ machine which had broken down. A special props pack was provided to use during the film to make the adventure come alive.

The Shawshank Redemption
Leeds International Film Festival and Sneaky Experience presented an interactive screening of Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption in Leeds Town Hall. After the children had left for the day and the Chocolate Factory had been switched off for the night, Leeds Town Hall was transformed into the ‘Ohio State Reformatory’ for a special Shawshank Redemption experience. Customers got to join the other inmates and experienced a taste of prison life in the company of Andy, Red and the prison guards in the cells before a screening of the classic film.

The Film House will return in 2017, but look out for The Film House on the Square outdoor screenings from 27-29 July 2016 as part of the Summer Series on Millennium Square.

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Not For Rental @ Hyde Park Picture House

Not For Rental is a specially curated programme of films, aimed at young adult audiences aged 15 plus. Curated by MediaFish, the film club organised by Leeds Young Film, the films are screened in partnership with Hyde Park Picture House.

Not For Rental is an opportunity to see British, independent, classic and cult films on the big screen, as well as a chance to see recent films that you may have missed first time around. Previous films have included Her, Boyhood, Nightcrawler, The Babadook as well as The Breakfast Club, Peeping Tom, Brazil and many more. Join the newsletter mailing list to be kept up to date of the next Not For Rental screenings. For more information about MediaFish, click here

Animation Central at Carriageworks Theatre

A brand new addition to Leeds Young Film Festival for 2016, Animation Central at Carriageworks Theatre offered young people and their families everything they ever wanted to know about animation, with special guests from lots of favourite films and TV shows. There were workshops and masterclasses for children of all ages and abilities, from making an animated flickerbook through to creating digital 3D effects. Bob the Builder story artist David Bunting ran a special 24 hour animation film challenge and there were screenings of the best animated films throughout the Easter weekend. The technology zone allowed people to play with some of the latest gadgets, including how to build your very own Virtual Reality headset using Google Cardboard and Minecraft fans learned how to hack your way into the Minecraft world.

Following an incredibly successful first year, Animation Central will be back at Carriageworks Theatre at Easter 2017.

Animation Central

Reel Kids

Reel Kids is a new strand for the festival launched in 2016 that gives people the chance to see films that filmmakers made with children in mind. These stories from around the world, give you the chance to see how other young people live their lives and the things they get up to. Screenings at the Film Festival are often the only chance you’ll get to see them, although they’ve all won awards from other film festivals around the world, so if you missed them this year, make sure you see what we have to offer in 2017 – you won’t be disappointed!


Leeds Young Film is passionate about the benefits of using film, both making and watching, within school and is currently working with Into Film on a range of CPD offers for both primary and secondary schools.


Improving Literacy Through Film CPD

Working alongside Beta FilmWorks and an independent education consultant, LYFF has launched a year-long programme for primary school teachers to improve literacy at KS1-6 using film in the classroom.

This year-long programme is aimed at Literacy and Computing subject leaders and all practitioners with an interest in using film more effectively in the classroom. The programme guarantees improvement in:

  • Attainment;
  • Speaking and listening, reading and writing;
  • Attendance & behaviour;
  • Teachers’ planning and delivery (resulting in higher Ofsted judgements for those involved);

The course will include relevant film and literacy research, the impact of film education on literacy learning, activities to support filmmaking, how to measure and document progress and planning for next steps. It runs from the Autumn Term 2015 to the end of the Summer Term 2016 comprising:

  • Three face to face training days – introducing strategies and practical activities to improve literacy using film and filmmaking, collaborative planning, sharing outstanding practice;
  • An interim school visit from a course leader;
  • celebration event at a local cinema for the schools involved in the programme;
  • Ongoing access to online resources with the opportunity to share planning and ideas.

Please email for more information or visit

“This program has been brilliant. It has given another focus to the teaching of English and has invigorated the pupils in both reading and writing. Our reading assessments, in particular, have shown accelerated progress. We will continue to use the program’s strategies in school and cascade it to other staff as an example of good practice.”

Gillian Young, Headteacher, Rosebank Primary School, Leeds

We are also running FREE introductory sessions around using film to support literacy attainment. If you are interested, please email

Leeds Film Academy


Delivered as a partnership between Leeds Young Film, Beta Filmworks and Access Moving Image, the BFI Film Academy aims to help train and inspire the next generation of British filmmakers, supporting talented and committed young people aged 16-19 to develop the commercial and cultural knowledge and skills to help make a career in film a reality.

The BFI Film Academy offers training for every film industry role, from writing and directing through to production, sound design, editing and camera, and provides learning around film history and cinematic storytelling to inspire a broad appreciation of film culture. Participants will get to work alongside professional directors, writers, producers and actors from films such Wedding Belles, 4 Lions and We Are Poets and hear from others involved in TV shows such as Humans, Outlander, Game of Thrones and Emmerdale.

The programme is accredited and participants can obtain either a Silver Arts Award or an NCFE Level 2 Award in ‘Preparing to Work in the Film Industry’.

Over the last four years nearly 70 young people have completed the course and many Film Academy alumni have successfully furthered their careers in film. Gage (BFI Film Academy graduate 2014) has since made his first feature film which premiered during Leeds International Film Festival, Rebecca (BFI Film Academy graduate 2012) won a student RTS Award and Molly (BFI Film Academy graduate 2014) gained a place on the Film Academy residential at the NFTS (National Film and Television School), and then went on to work at the BFI Film Fund offices in London. Alfie (BFI Film Academy graduate 2012) won the AXA award for most talented newcomer, receiving £40,000 worth of equipment and mentoring.

“The Leeds BFI Film Academy scheme cemented my interest in filmmaking and made me sure I wanted to pursue film as a career. I had great fun on the course, and after completion gained a place on the Film Academy residential at the NFTS, and then went on to work at the BFI Film Fund offices in London. I am now acting as Producer’s Assistant on a feature film, giving me indispensable insight into the production process. I’d highly recommend the Leeds Academy to any young person who thinks they might want to pursue filmmaking in the future!” Molly (BFI Film Academy graduate 2014)

Applications are now being accepted for the 2016 BFI Film Academy programme and you can find out more about the programme and apply here

Deadline to apply is Friday 30 September 2016



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Leeds Young Film Festival
Leeds Town Hall
The Headrow

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0113 376 0318

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0113 247 8398







Our Mission Statement

Leeds Young Film, part of Leeds City Council’s City Development Department, creates and sustains opportunities for young people and their families to develop their creativity and education through exploration of the moving image and interactive arts, from greater access to international film culture to experience of filmmaking, career development and showcasing.

These opportunities are delivered through programmes which work alongside and with young people, both in and outside of settings such as formal education. Activities include: MediaFish, Not For Rental, BFI Film Academy, Cinema Takeover, various filmmaker competitions, Leeds Young Film Festival and year-round film screenings.

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