12 of the best UK film festivals this Autumn

Autumn’s chillier climes make for the perfect excuse to stay indoors, and there’s nothing quite like a good film when it comes to escapism – or stimulating debate.

Thankfully, there are some great film festivals taking place across the UK in the next few months. Milo McLaughlin takes a look at some of the best upcoming cinematic events.

[A red carpet gala at the London Film Festival – picture: Getty]

Cambridge Film Festival

19-29 September, more info

The Cambridge Film Festival opened this year with the UK Premiere of Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine plus Hawking, a new documentary about renowned scientist Stephen Hawking. The famous physicist also attended the opening night gala event, which was broadcast to over 60 other venues across the UK. The festival, now in its 33rd year, also aims to champion up and coming filmmaking talent.

Raindance Film Festival, London

25 September – 6 October, more info

The Raindance Film Festival is Europe’s leading independent film festival, screening 100 feature films and over 150 short films. In previous years the festival has featured the likes of Christopher Nolan, Shane Meadows and Quentin Tarantino, and 2013’s event will no doubt introduce a whole new generation of talent to indie film fans.

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival

25 – 29 September, more info

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival is an international celebration of the art of film, in Berwick-upon-Tweed on the Scottish-English border. The theme for 2013 is ‘North by Northeast’ and is aimed at exploring Scotland’s Nordic heritage and cultural connections to Northern Europe. It opens with the international premiere of Scandinavian thriller The Hidden Child.

Take One Action Film Festival, Edinburgh & Glasgow

27 September – 12 October, more info

Take One Action is a film festival dedicated to global change. Screening Scottish and UK premieres of new films that deal with global political issues as well as discussion with filmmakers, campaigners and politicians from around the world, there is even an opening ceilidh.

Grim Up North Presents: GRIMMFEST Manchester

2 – 6 Oct 2013, more info

GRIMMFEST is Manchester’s annual celebration of new and classic horror, cult, extreme fantasy and sci-fi movies, which features 39 films over five days in three venues. Highlights this year include a screening of the fully-restored 40th Anniversary re-release of the original version of The Wicker Man: The Final Cut along with a Q&A with director Robin Hardy, a make-up workshop and Q&A with World War Z prosthetics expert Shaune Harrison, and a Hellraiser screening with original cast in attendance.

Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

1 – 26 October, more info

Consisting of nearly 300 events, workshops and screenings around Scotland aiming to challenge and change attitudes towards mental health, the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival will this year focus on the theme of reality, with documentaries taking centre stage. Now established as one of the largest social justice festivals in the world, it also encompasses arts, literature and theatre.

BFI London Film Festival

9- 24 October, more info

The London Film Festival shows no sign of slowing down in its 57th year, with 235 feature films and 134 short films from (appropriately) 57 countries around the world during its 12 day run. The festival’s Opening Night Gala will be the European Premiere of Captain Phillips from British director Paul Greengrass, and new films from directors Stephen Frears, the Coen brothers and Steve McQueen.  The festival also highlights documentaries, animation and experimental films.

Iris Prize LGBT Film Festival, Cardiff

9 – 13 October 2013, more info

The annual Iris Prize Film Festival celebrates LGBT cinema from Wales and beyond. As well as showing new films that concern issues surrounding the LGBT community, the festival also awards a £25,000 prize to one filmmaker to help them make their next film. It’s the only prize of its kind for lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and intersex cinema.

London International Animation Festival

25 October – 3 November, more info

Aiming to prove that ‘cartoons aren’t just for kids’, this annual festival offers an overview of the international indie animation scene. 2013 marks the tenth year of the event, which takes place at various venues in central London including the Barbican. As well as screenings there are masterclasses, workshops and other events.

Abertoir Film Festival, Aberystwyth

5 – 10 November, more info

The Abertoir Film Festival is the national festival for horror in Wales, held in the Aberystwyth Arts Centre. It will open with a special 50th anniversary screening of The Haunting, plus a Q&A with its star Richard Johnson. They will also be paying tribute to horror star Peter Cushing in his centenary year with a restored version of a Hammer classic and a retrospective on his career.

Aesthetica Short Film Festival, York

7 – 10 November, more info

The Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) is hosted by Aesthetica Magazine with the aim of championing and supporting independent short filmmaking from around the world. ASFF will screen films in 15 historic locations across the city of York, and also has an extensive program of filmmaking masterclasses.

Bath Film Festival

14 – 25 November, more info

This year’s Bath Film Festival is still being programmed but the organisers promise “a combination of exciting previews, special events, classic films in new coats, and a selection of movies that mysteriously and undeservedly got misplaced before they reached a cinema in Bath.”

Are you going to any of these film festivals? What are you most looking forward to?

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