Leeds International Film Festival proves record box office smash

Caption: This year's Leeds International Film Festival attracted record audiences to screenings such as the classic '2001: A Space Odyssey' at Leeds Town Hall 

The organisers of the Leeds International Film Festival are celebrating after attracting record-breaking audiences.

The 18-day festival organised by Leeds City Council drew audiences of 35,000 people to see 270 screenings and events at venues in the city centre last month. This is the highest-ever total in the 26-year history of the event and represents an increase of approximately 10 per cent on last year.

Opening gala screening ‘Argo’ set the tone for the event which is the biggest annual film festival in England to be held outside London, with Ben Affleck’s comic thriller proving so popular a second screening had to be arranged at Leeds Town Hall to cater for the level of demand.

Another big success was Danish psychological drama ‘The Hunt’ directed by Thomas Vinterberg and starring Mads Mikkelsen. The film proved a major hit with film fans in Leeds, who voted it the overall winner of the Leeds 2012 Audience Award.

French production ‘Mon Amoureux (My Sweetheart)’ by Daniel Metge claimed the Louis le Prince International Short Film Winner 2012, while ‘The Pub’ by Briton Joseph Pierce won the World Animation Award 2012. As a result of their success, both films now go forward for possible Oscar® nominations.

All the UK short films shown during the festival may also be in line for further success, with the event for the first being an officially recognised qualifier for Britain’s most prestigious film awards – the Orange British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs).

Two other films which will go on to possible international honours are Fantasy European Feature winner ‘Eddie the Sleepwalking Cannibal’ and Fantasy European Short winner ‘The Fright’, which will now go both forward to compete for the coveted Méliès d’Or at Sitges International Festival of Fantastic Film in Spain next year.

One of the themes of this year’s Leeds International Film Festival was horror films made in Leeds and Yorkshire, with ‘Heretic’, ‘Before Dawn’ and ‘When the Lights Went Out’ all proving popular with audiences.

The latter came complete with its own unique ‘attraction’ – the chance to spend time in the actual ‘haunted’ house in Pontefract the story was based on.

Competition winner Mahdieh Moeineddieny, who lives in Horsforth and is originally from Iran, visited the house last week with her younger brother Reza - with interesting results.

Mahdieh Moeineddieny explained:

“We arrived there at about 9pm and nothing happened for a few hours. So we went to explore the house and upstairs we saw a dark shadow which we could not explain as there were no lights. We thought it might be a trick so checked for hidden cameras but couldn’t find any. We both sensed an energy coming off it but it wasn't scary, it felt positive. After a few minutes it moved and disappeared. We stayed until 4am but didn’t see anything else. I’d love to go back and find out more about it!”

Reflecting on the success of the festival, Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“We are delighted with the success of this year’s Leeds International Film Festival, and the record attendance shows what an impressive line-up it was this year appealing to cinemagoers in such large numbers.

“The festival is now getting much-deserved international recognition and continues to get bigger and bigger, so a big thank you to all who supported this year’s event and helped to make it happen.”

Director of Leeds International Film Festival Chris Fell said:

“I am delighted with the audience reaction to the 26th Leeds International Film Festival. More than 14,000 votes were received from audience members for their favourite film of the festival, and the overall average rating for films was the highest ever in the event's history.”

Presented by Leeds City Council, the Leeds International Film Festival 2012 was supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union and the National Lottery through the British Film Institute and Creative England.

For more information about this year’s Leeds International Film Festival, visit the website at www.leedsfilm.com


For media enquiries please contact:

Roger Boyde, senior communications officer,

Leeds City Council, Tel: 0113 247 5472

Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk