Leeds Young Film Festival

Leeds Young Film Festival takes place every Easter and welcomes young people and their families to the largest film event of its kind in the north of England.

Now in its 17th year, the festival features a programme of the best new and unseen cinema for young people from around the world, made both for and by young people, as well as classic screenings, moving-image related workshops and masterclasses. It takes place in three of the city’s most loved venues and is the highlight for film lovers, filmmakers and budding film stars from the age of five years upwards.

Leeds Young Film Festival 2016 takes place 24 March 2016 to 31 March 2016.

Leeds Young Film Festival works closely with a group of young consultants aged 14-19 called MediaFish, who help programme, design and deliver the festival, make films and shape the strategy of Leeds Young Film.

“Film needs children and young people to keep falling in love with it, and the LYFF is the perfect place for them – always smart and adventurous, never less than fun.” (Danny Leigh)

“The Young Film Festival at Leeds is celluloid heaven for mini-movie buffs.” (Mail on Sunday)

Programmes and Competitions

Leeds Young Film Festival is keen on supporting independent, emerging or established, national and international filmmakers and hosts competitions both for short films BY young people, and FOR short and feature films for young people.

Programmes and Competitions for film made BY young filmmakers

Young filmmakers up to the age of 25 can submit their films to the Golden Owls Award, the Independent Directions Young Filmmaker Awards (the INDIs) and the International Short Films BY Young Filmmakers programme.

The GOLDEN OWLS AWARD is a Leeds-wide Oscars’ style celebration of young filmmaking. Submissions for the Golden Owls Award are open to Leeds based filmmakers only and can only be made through our website.

The INDIs is a national film award championing the talent of the UK’s young independent filmmakers up to 25 years of age. The competition is open to young UK filmmakers only and films must not be longer than 10 minutes and have been completed in January 2015 the earliest. Films that do not match these criteria will be automatically disqualified. All finalists will be screened at a day of celebration of young independent filmmaking on Tuesday 29 March 2016 where a panel of industry professionals will be on hand to provide feedback and to decide on the winning films. Shortlisted filmmakers are expected to attend this event. The winner in each age category will receive a trophy, Arcadian Cinematic Sound Pack software for their next film projects and qualifies to compete for the overall INDIs prize. This £250 grand prize will be awarded by the IAC (Institute of Amateur Cinematographers, for the best overall independent film in competition. Additionally, we are happy to announce that all shortlisted INDIs will also compete for the £250 MMBF Rising Star Award offered by the Matthew Martino Benevolent Fund (

The International Short Films BY Young Filmmakers is our new programme aimed at bringing together young filmmakers from around the world. To qualify, filmmakers can be up to 25 years old and the films can be up to 10 minutes in length. Films that do not match these criteria will be automatically disqualified and no refund will be granted. We will ask for proofs of age when your film is shortlisted. Shortlisted films will be shown as part of the festival’s programme, giving emerging filmmakers a great chance to showcase their work on the big screen.

Programmes and Competitions for films made FOR children and young people

The festival aims to show young people a world of film beyond Hollywood cinema.

Feature Films FOR Children and Young People are an important part of the festival’s programme. They are eligible for our prestigious Jury Awards, that are awarded by a Young Jury in three age categories: Category 1 – suitable for all (BBFC classification U or PG),

Category 2 – suitable for children and young people aged 12 or older (BBFC classification 12 or 12A), Category 3 – suitable for young people aged 15 or older (BBFC classification 15). Please specify upon submission who your film is suitable for. To qualify, films may be live action or animation, fiction or documentaries but they must be at least 60 minutes long.

Short Films FOR Children and Young People must be suitable for all ages and shortlisted films will be part of the festival’s programme and be eligible for our Audience Awards. They may be live action or animation, fiction or documentaries but they must not be longer than 15 minutes.

“The [Golden Owl] awards has been a huge motivator for Dylan he is filming his next film now and has written 20 new scripts for the next episodes. I think the work you all do is great to encourage young people to really go for their dreams.” (Dylan’s mum)

“Charlie’s win [of the INDIs 2015] really was completely unexpected. We are so grateful – It is an amazing opportunity for Charlie and to have a brand new camera to go with his collection of charity shop/car boot cine super 8’s and it will change his life so much.” (Charlie’s mum)