Film festival’s new home points to strong ambitions

The Birmingham Film Festival has moved venue this year to the city's Millennium Point  to accommodate a big upturn from film-makers, industry and audiences. Alongside a packed film programme, it will also host events from leading industry bodies, including a major industry event, supported by the West Midlands Screen Bureau.

The festival - which runs from November 20-25 – has seen a major expansion in entries since its inaugural year in 2016, including a:

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  • 180% increase in total number of films entered from 327 to 930

  • 125% rise in full-length features from 27 to 61

  • 250% boost in documentaries from 48 to 170.

The festival is also seeing big jumps in the number of submitted music videos and screenplays. 

The submissions are helping drive a growing reputation as an international venue for rising talent. This years entries have come from 51 countries with 75% under the age of 30.

"It is our ambition to become a place where international producers will want to come to show their work," said Festival Director, Kevin McDonagh.

But he is also aware of the importance of the festival to building the local business.

Close to 30% of entries are from local film-makers and 9% are from education institutions, which have taken advantage of a free submission offer. The audience will have an extensive choice of films and screenings at a number of venues, including Millennium Point, Mockingbird Cinema and Canalside, The Cube.

The festival includes a number of key awards, headed by the BFF Best Overall Film.

One important feature this year will be more industry events with the organisers looking to carve out a place in the industry calendar in the UK and worldwide.