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5 top UK film festivals to submit your film to in 2024

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Written by Esther C

Published Nov 09, 2023

Film festivals are a brilliant way to get your feature-length or short film in front of audiences, not to mention an opportunity to win awards, cash prizes and maybe even receive a distribution offer. This list is made up of well-established and respected UK film festivals, and you don't necessarily need to be a UK resident to make a submission.

So if you're are an independent filmmaker with a finished film or even a current work-in-progress, make sure to put these submission dates in your diary so you don't miss out on getting your film into one or more of these 2024 film festivals. And if you need help with your submissions, check out our guide to building a press kit (with examples).

Contents

  1. Leeds International Film Festival
  2. Raindance Film Festival
  3. London Independent Film Festival
  4. Wimbledon International Short Film Festival
  5. Bolton International Film Festival

1. Leeds International Film Festival

"Tommy Guns" winner of Best New Director Feature Film at 2022 Leeds Independent Film Festival
"Tommy Guns" winner of Best New Director Feature Film at 2022 Leeds Independent Film Festival

The Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF) has become one of the UK’s leading annual events and supports new filmmakers from the UK and across the world to platform their work. You can qualify for Academy Award, BAFTA and BIFA award consideration by submitting to this festival, so showcasing here would be instrumental in promoting your film.

The festival has many categories and is open to both feature films and shorts. The duration of features must be 41 minutes and over and for short films 40 minutes and under. Submissions for the queer and dance shorts categories must be 20 minutes or under. 

Festival dates: 1 - 17 November 2024

Submissions open: Now

Submissions close: 31 July 2024

Categories: Official Selection, Retrospective, Cinema Versa, Fanomenon and Short Film City

Entry fee: Entry through FilmFreeway - £32 — £55 shorts, £55 — £85 features.

2. Raindance Film Festival

"The Golden West" winner of Best Short Film at the 2023 Raindance Film Festival
"The Golden West" winner of Best Short Film at the 2023 Raindance Film Festival

Raindance Film Festival is the largest independent film festival in the UK, welcoming 16,000+ visitors each year including buyers, distributors, financiers, producers, press, and film lovers. The festival is located in central London, giving both UK and international filmmakers the opportunity to enjoy a West-End premiere experience.

There are categories for both feature films and short films, and the winners of Best Animation Short, Best Documentary Short and Short of the Festival categories will qualify for Oscar and BAFTA consideration.

Festival dates: 25 October - 4 November 2024

Submissions open: Now

Submissions close: 5 February 2024

Categories: Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Music Documentary Feature, Narrative Short, Documentary Short, Animation Short, Queer (Feature), Immersive Experiences

Entry fee: Entry through Filmfreeway - £27 - £45 shorts, £56 - £85 features.

Thinking of hiring a film location for your next project?

Choose from 1000+ spaces and locations on Tutti and deal directly with space hosts for a quick, hassle-free booking process.

3. London Independent Film Festival

"In Solidarity with Ukraine" winner of Best Documentary Feature at 2023 London Independent Film Festival
"In Solidarity with Ukraine" winner of Best Documentary Feature at 2023 London Independent Film Festival

The London Independent Film Festival is dedicated to supporting first and second time filmmakers with categories that cover low-budget features (over £100K) micro-budget features (under £100K) and no budget features (under £10K), as well as multiple short film categories including music videos

The 11 day festival is hosted at the famous Genesis Cinema in east London and is a great way to network with other creatives and industry professionals. It even includes popular training programs for filmmakers to take your career to the next level.

Festival dates: 19 - 28 April 2024

Submissions open: Now

Submissions close: 8 February 2024

Categories:  Low-budget Feature (over £100k), Micro-budget Feature (under £100k), No-Budget Feature (under £10k), UK Feature, Documentary Feature, Sci-Fi / Horror Feature, Female Director Feature, LGBT film, Short Film, UK Short, Short Documentary, Animated Short, Experimental Short, Short Short, Horror / Sci-Fi Short, Music Video

Entry fee: Enter through Filmfreeway - £50 — £60 shorts, £85 — £99 features.

4. Wimbledon International Short Film Festival

"Buzz" winner of Best London Filmmaker at 2023 Wimbledon Film Festival
"Buzz" winner of Best London Filmmaker at 2023 Wimbledon Film Festival

Wimbledon International Short Film Festival is devoted to short films, whatever the genre. Categories include Young Filmmaker (under 25), London Filmmaker, Documentary and Animated. The film duration must be between 10 seconds and 14 minutes 59 seconds long. 

The festival is keen to showcase UK talent as well as filmmakers from around the world, so this is a great opportunity to showcase your work whether it’s your first film or you’re on your way to becoming an established filmmaker. 

Festival dates: October 2024 (TBC)

Submissions open: January 2024

Submissions close: July 2024 (TBC)

Categories: UK Short, International Short, Environmental Short, Young Filmmaker (Directors must be aged 25 or under on 1 October 2024), Documentary Short, London Filmmaker, Animated Short

Entry fee: Enter through FilmFreeway - £5 — £30

5. Bolton International Film Festival

"Avocado Pit" winner of Best International Short at 2023 Bolton International Film Festival
"Avocado Pit" winner of Best International Short at 2023 Bolton International Film Festival

Bolton International Film Festival is a popular choice among filmmakers, it is BAFTA and BIFA accredited and is listed in the "Top 10 Best Reviewed" and "Top 50 Most Popular" on FilmFreeway out of over 12,000 festivals worldwide. This short film festival aims to springboard its filmmakers by connecting them to talent executives, producers, funders, sales agents and distributors, that many filmmakers find difficulty accessing. 

In addition to the films there are also also industry talks, masterclasses and networking sessions, and every screening is followed by engaging Q&A sessions with the filmmakers.

Festival dates: Physical 2 - 6 October 2024 / Online 9 - 20 October 2024

Submissions open: Now

Submissions close: 18 June 2024

Categories: International Short, UK Short, Made up North, Documentary, Comedy, Animation, Three Minute Quickie, LGBTQ+ short, Immersive Experience (360/VR), Experimental, Horror, Sci-Fi / Fantasy, Women in Film, Fashion Film, Dance Film, Music Video, Animation (Student), Student Post Graduate (M.A), Student Under Graduate (B.A) 

Entry fee: Enter through FilmFreeway - £22 — £50

Final thoughts

Film festivals offer new filmmakers opportunities to connect with industry professionals, showcase their work to new audiences, and win awards and cash prizes. Many filmmakers have got their big break by being discovered at film festivals and some feature films have been picked up for major distribution deals. So if you're a filmmaker looking to launch your career and get your name out there, you have absolutely nothing to lose by submitting your film to one or more of these prestigious UK film festivals.

Thinking of hiring a film studio?

Choose from 1000+ spaces and locations on Tutti and deal directly with space hosts for a quick, hassle-free booking process.

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