If you live in or near Leeds, you’re probably aware of the city’s bid for the 2023 European Capital of Culture. If you’ve spent time here, you’re also probably well-versed in the DIY art and music scenes that are such a crucial part of Leeds’ identity. Maybe you didn’t know however, that our city’s history is steeped in cinema. After all, Louis Le Prince shot the first ever moving picture here way back in 1888.
In October, No/ Gloss Film Festival returned to Canal Mills with a delectable selection of short films and underground features. Mockumentary ‘Busking Turf Wars,’ about a fictional Leeds busker and his rise to mediocre-dom was a stand-out for me – dryly humorous and devoutly Yorkshire.
Over Hallowe’en weekend, Red Bull Music Academy put on a screening and Q&A at Hyde Park Picture House of David Robert Mitchell’s ‘It Follows’ with a live orchestra playing the soundtrack composed by acclaimed video game musician, Disasterpeace.
Last week the 30th annual Leeds International Film Festival roared into Leeds Town Hall, opening with Paterson, Jim Jarmusch’s latest tender, poetic effort. The following evening saw Spike Lee’s new film Chi-raq debut at Hyde Park Picture House, with the Abandoned Yorkshire Photography Exhibition also taking place at Left Bank Leeds all weekend. It’s amazing to have Oscar-worthy blockbusters and directors within our vicinity, living up to LIFF29’s impressive program of Todd Haynes’ Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, and the film adaptation of Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn.
With the introduction of new venues in 2016 such as Ilkley Cinema, the Brudenell Social Club, and Armley Mills, this film festival proves Leeds to be one to watch when it comes to film.