10 Film Festivals in London

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Jour de fête (1949). Directed by Jacques Tati

The weather is getting cold and dark – so it’s the perfect time to go to the movies!

Luckily for Londoners, ’tis the season for film festivals. Here’s our pick of 10 film fests that are either happening right now, or very soon. As you can see, it’s a global smorgasboard of cinematic choice!

1. UK Jewish Film Festival, 7-19 Nov
The annual UK Jewish Film Festival ends today, and if you’ve got a ticket to tonight’s closing gala, you’re in for a treat. The final two movies to be shown will be Israeli director Shelley Kling’s 2008 film Gefilte Fish (Hebrew with English subtitles) and the UK premiere of Hello Goodbye (French with English subtitles) at Tricycle Cinema. If you missed out, get the jump on next year’s programme at www.ukjewishfilmfestival.org.uk.

2. London Kurdish Film Festival 20-30 Nov
This event is in its sixth year, and showcases movies from both Kurdish and non-Kurdish directors. Films (127 in total) will be screened in six London cinemas: Rich Mix, Riverside Studios, Amnesty International UK, Birkbeck College Cinema, Shortwave Cinema and Spring Studios.

3. Festival of German Films 27 Nov-3 Dec
There’s a diverse mix of German filmmakers’ work at London’s 12th Festival of German Films, which is held at Curzon Soho. This year’s programme kicks off with Same Same But Different – a love story shot in Cambodia that stars David Kross from The Reader – and includes films ranging from costume dramas to action flicks to comedies, as well as the latest in cutting-edge German filmmaking. The festival will also pay tribute to popular German actress Romy Schneider by showing a selection of her films.

Sleep Dealer - Latin American Film Festival4. Discovering Latin America Film Festival 26 Nov-6 Dec
London’s 8th Latin American film festival kicks off next week. The festival will show films from South American countries including Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Venezuela that often wouldn’t make it to the big screen in the UK. Special guests include awarding winning Argentine director Amat Escalante, the world-renowned Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón, and new Colombian sensation Jorge Navas.  Screenings will take place at London venues including Tate Modern and the Institute of Contemporary Arts.

5. London African Film Festival 26 Nov-3 Dec
The African Film Festival is all about cutting-edge technolgy, young filmmakers and new narrative forms. Held over eight days at five London locations, a mix of feature films and documentaries will be shown. The festival is being held in conjuction with the conference Producing and Distributing African Film in the Digital Era, at the University of Westminster‘s Africa Media Centre.

6. French Film Festival 8 Nov-20 Dec
In its 17th big year, the French Film Festival takes place across three cities, London, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Running for more than a month, the festival presents French-language films from blockbusters, to classics, to innovative new cinema. In London, the festival’s tribute to director Jacques Tati ties in with the Barbican’s Tati Directorspective, which runs throughout December.

7. Pan-Asia Film Festival, 27 Nov-11 Dec
Presented by Asia House, this festival aims to provide a snapshot of current filmmaking across Asia. The programme includes the latest work from Oscar-nominated director Zhang Yimou (House of the Flying Daggers, Hero) and films from China, Japan, Iran, Taiwan, Bhutan and the Philippines – all with English subtitles. Screenings will be at London’s Apollo Cinema in Regent Street.

8. Turkish Film Festival 5-19 Nov
This is another one you’ll have to be quick for, as it ends today! You can still catch some of the finest in Turkish filmmaking at the Apollo Cinema tonight, though.  The festival has been going for 15 years now and shows no sign of abating, so if you want to start planning for next year, or even think about submitting a film, visit the website:

9. Darwin, Evolution and the Movies Film Festival 20-28 Nov
This is part of this year’s celebrations of Charles Darwin’s 200th “birthday” this year. The Darwin, Evolution and the Movies festival features films and live comedy with “evolutionary” content, such as Alien, Jurassic Park and  2001: A Space Odyssey. In keeping with the anniversary theme, the first day of the festival – 24 November – marks 150 years since the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species.

10. ¡Mira México! 21-27 Jan
One to look forward to: in January The Barbican, in partnership with the Mexican Embassy to the UK presents a Mexican film season. The programme shows both new and archive films including recent, highly acclaimed works such as the darkly comic Meet the Head of Juan Pérez, the unmissable Lake Tahoe and a rare screening of Mexican silent film Ghost Train (El Tren fantasma) with live music accompaniment.

Want more movies? Read our  feature on Film Festivals in London.