Fifteen days, two World Premieres, seventeen UK Premieres, 330 screenings, an expected 40,000 visitors, if it’s November, it must be Leeds International Film Festival, the largest in England outside of London. Report by NEIL MUDD.
Leeds’ featherweight boxer Josh Warrington is guest of honour at the Official Opening Film of this year’s Leeds International Film Festival. In Josh Warrington: Fighting for a City, the young fighter carries the hopes and expectations of his home city to defy critics and doubters alike.
Other first night treats include the hotly-anticipated Sorry to Bother You, fresh from its screening at the London Film Festival, and Peterloo, veteran film-maker Mike Leigh’s retelling of the bloody events surrounding the Peterloo Massacre of 1819.
Festival audience favourite Ben Wheatley takes part in a Q and A about his new film Happy New Year, Colin Burstead, part of this year’s Time Frames strand which highlights films taking place over 24 hours. Elsewhere The Guilty is a real-time Danish thriller set entirely in an Emergency Services call centre. There is also a welcome opportunity to reconsider Matthieu Kassovitz’s incendiary bravura classic La Haine.
Bill Buckhearst’s coming-of-age story Pond Life set in Doncaster receives its World Premiere, while Leeds-based director Mohamed Al-Daradji’s Oscar nominated film The Journey is screened for the first time here in the North.
Other debuts receiving a UK premiere include Eva Trobisch’s All Good, a powerful study of rape trauma, Muayad Alayan’s politically divisive The Reports on Sarah and Saleem, about the consequences of an extramarital affair between a Palestinian man and an Israeli woman, and Tonia Mishiali’s tale of a woman trapped in a loveless marriage, Pause.
There is a screening of legendary French director Jean Luc Godard’s The Image Book, which was described by The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw as ‘eyeball frazzling’ and ‘thrillingly dissonant,’ while Oscar winning film-maker Steve McQueen returns with heist thriller Widows.
Leeds Town Hall hosts two fascinating installations: the 14-18 NOW and Fuel commissioned Charlie Ward, which places audiences in the heart of a makeshift wartime hospital, and sci fi film The MOMENT where audiences don a neurosensory headset to create trillions of film edits just by the power of their imagination.
BOOKING INFORMATION | The full LIFF2018 programme including tickets and passes will be online at leedsfilmcity from today. Booking is available via the website, in person and by phone at Leeds City Centre Box Office on 0113 376 0318.