Leeds Welcome | Leeds Young Film Festival – Our Picks of the Schedule

Leeds Young Film Festival – Our Picks of the Schedule

The days are slowly adding up in March, which is good reason to rejoice as that means the temperature gets warmer (supposedly), bank holidays loom closer, and the annual excuse to overindulge on chocolate in the name of religion is nearly here.

Easter being right around the corner means one of Leeds’ most loved events is too: the Leeds Young Film Festival.

Running from the 24th – 31st March the festival will be spread between Leeds Town Hall, The CarriageWorks and The Hyde Park Picture House.


Now in its 17th year, LYFF’s organisers know exactly what goes down well with youngsters and families. This year they have tailored their best festival programme to date, full of workshops, events and, of course, spectacular films – from the familiar to the unseen.

We’ve handpicked the events we’re most excited about.

The Film House 

@ Leeds Town Hall

In partnership with Leeds’ interactive cinema company Sneaky Experience, The Film House will transform Leeds Town Hall into a wealth of spectacular settings during the week long festival, with tickets for each event flying out already. Alongside the interactive events, there will be a number of standard blockbuster showings like The Hunger Games Mockingjay 1 & 2 and Zootropolis, as well as adult-based interactive events such as the much anticipated prison experience alongside The Shawshank Redemption in the town hall’s cellars.

Our picks:

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Every child’s dream comes to life at Leeds Town Hall, where Willy Wonka’s jaw dropping chocolate factory will be replicated for all to enjoy before, during and after the showing of everybody’s favourite adaptation of the Roald Dahl book. There will even be an adult-only showing where the films darker side is brought to life.

25/3, 28/3 & 29/3 at 10am & 2:30pm each day

Adults only 27/3 at 6:30pm

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

If you haven’t seen Star Wars yet, LYFF are bringing you the perfect opportunity to see it in the stunning setting of Leeds Town Hall. If you have seen it, then you will no doubt be itching at the bit to see it again! Unfortunately the hall won’t be transformed into the Millenium Falcon, but knowing Star Wars fans, there for sure be a few wild Wookies about.

30/3 at 6:30pm

Not For Rental

@ Hyde Park Picture House

Chosen by a group of young film buffs known as Media Fish, the Not For Rental schedule promises a delightful range of independent and archival film and documentary. The Hyde Park Picture house will be the setting for the chosen anime, foreign language and cult films.

Our picks:

The Idol 

The story of Mohammed Asaf, the winner of the 2013 ‘Arab Idol’ who broke into his audition after illegally fleeing his home in Gaza, Palestine. The documentary is composed of real footage from Mohammed’s spectacular journey, and is subtitled throughout. 

28/3 at 6pm

He Named Me Malala

The story of Malala Yousafazi, who was the target of a Taliban attack due to her outspoken advocacy of female education. After surviving the attack, her story went global and the young woman became an international figurehead for women rights and led to her being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

29/3 at 6pm

Animation Central

@ The CarriageWorks

New for 2016’s festival is Animation Central. The exciting project will run workshops from The CarriageWorks from Friday to Monday, as well as showcasing your favourite animated films, such as Finding Nemo, Inside Out and a special Frozen sing-a-long.

The workshops will be an exciting addition to any aspiring filmmaker or hands-on creative. The sessions will include – but are not limited to – Lego Animation, Minecraft and Stop Motion as well as a script writing session with the team behind Mr Bean and a lesson in story telling and voice acting from the voice behind Miss Rabbit from Peppa Pig amongst many other workshops.

Our picks:

BAFTA Kids presents: Adventure Time

Watch three exclusive episodes of the wacky surrealist show before anybody else in the UK. The Land of Ooo will be transformed into a 3D playground for Finn and Jake in the show’s first ever stop motion episode. It’s gonna be math, apparently.

26/3 at 2pm

24 Hour Animation Challenge

11-15 year olds will be able to take part in this 4-day intensive drawn animation workshop. Working with David Bunting, who has worked on Shaun the Sheep, Bob the Builder and The Thunderbirds, the group of artists will learn the skills needed to become a professional animator.

25/3 – 28/3 at 10am – 4pm each day 

Reel Kids

@ Hyde Park Picture House

Reel Kids are taking over the Hyde Park Picture House again, but this year they are focusing on small-budget films, offering the viewers to gain exclusive showings of relatively unknown international films.

Kids will be coming to the rescue against nefarious plans in Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang, The Secret Society of Souptown and Labyrinthus. Fantasy and animation lovers will be spoilt by Mune, Trenk the Little Knight and the acclaimed adaptation of The Prophet.

Our picks:


German portrayal of Johanna Spyri’s 1881 best seller of the same name. Heidi is a young orphan girl living a pleasant life in the Swiss Alps with her Grandfather, before her Aunt takes her to Frankfurt to live under strict control of her new Nanny.

26/3 at 10am

The NeverEnding Story

A personal favourite growing up, The NeverEnding story is still a go-to film on a gloomy day. The fantasy adventure manages to play with every emotion while you fall in love with each fantastically unique character. 

26/3 at 12pm


@ Hyde Park Picture House

Leeds International Film Festival is bringing an exclusive selection of its 2015 audience favourites to The Hyde Park Picture House. The handpicked features are still not available to view anywhere in the UK, and are each tailored for young people.

The schedule includes documentaries such as Breaking a Monster and international screenplays Lovemilla and Crow’s Egg.

Our picks:

Landfill Harmonic

A stunning documentary about a small town in Paraguay where a music teacher manages to change lives with his uplifting idea of transforming litter into musical instruments. 

27/3 at 4:30pm

Assassination Classroom

Bizarre Japanese feature length in which a rogue un-killable teacher (who just so happened to be a  yellow octopus-like alien) has just stole part of the moon and must be stopped. The film promises hilarious fun from start to finish as each student figures out what their useful superpower may be.

26/3 at 6pm

Tribute Screenings

@ Hyde Park Picture House

The beginning of this year was a sad one for British creativity with the unforeseen passings of David Bowie and Alan Rickman just days a part. As a tribute to the two internationally loved household names, LYFF will be screening Labyrinth and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in their honour.

25th Anniversary Screenings

@ Hyde Park Picture House

LYFF takes us back to 1991 for their annual celebration of 25 year old films. This time around they are going down the spine-chilling route with horror classic People Under the Stairs, and post-apocalyptic romance Delicatessen.

As ever, the week of fantastic events will be followed by two coveted award shows: the Independent Directors Young Filmmaker Award and the Leeds Young Filmmaker Golden Owl Awards. Together they will encompass and merit the most promising filmmakers from around the country, as well as schools and community groups in Leeds committed to youngsters in the industry.

The festival is one of the biggest events on the city’s calendar and would be a crime to miss, especially as many of the events are free or incredibly cheap, and even though it’s directed at youngsters, we can tell by the exciting schedule that many adults will be using their children as an excuse to indulge in their own favourite films and dusty creativity.

For more information on the festival and a look at the entire schedule, visit 

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