My Three Top Picks: UK Film Festivals 2018

The red carpets are calling…

If you’re anything close to a film buff then you’ll be more than aware that the Academy Awards are just around the corner.

Taking place at 12am this Monday 5th March; thousands will be tuning in to see the brightest of the Hollywood stars strut their stuff on the iconic red carpet and pick up their golden gongs. For those who are besotted with the lives of the A-Listers this is the kind of event that lights up social media feeds all over the world, but for more discerning film lovers it’s simply another PR hype machine created to boost the egos and line the pockets of a stratospheric elite.

Take a wild guess which kind of movie-fan I align myself with…

Hipster-cynicism aside, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wake up every morning after the Oscars to eagerly check the results, the iconic nature of the event brings still brings with it a breathless anticipation that (although short-lived) is infectious – as we discover which lucky few can henceforth refer to themselves as an ‘Academy Award winner’. With that being said there are a whole raft of equally distinguished awards that are given out every year by a number of judging panels and boards within our own borders.

I make a point of visiting a handful of different film festivals each year, which I’m happy to endorse as a much richer alternative to sitting at home in the middle of the night vacantly staring at hundreds of rich people slapping each other on the back. Oops. There goes that cynicism again. Before I slip into another rant, here are the five film festivals that are currently penned in my diary for 2018:

Manchester Film Festival – 1st-4th March 2018

Despite only being four years old this year the Manchester Film Festival has picked up real steam with a truly eclectic line-up of independent releases for voracious film lovers to get stuck into. Over 100 films will receive their UK and World premieres at the Festival this year including works featuring Nicholas Cage, Sean Penn, Jodie Foster, Faye Dunaway and Shia Labeouf. Access is incredibly affordable for punters like us with a 4 film pass costing only £17.50.

Puppet Animation Festival 24th March-14th April 2018

One of the older festivals on my list, this venerable event is marking it’s 35th year in 2018 and is a must for any parents who are looking to instil a love for puppets in their kids. Over 140 events take place all throughout Scotland across 30 venues and are aimed at kids aged 0-12. Theatre companies, animation groups and artists alike flock to Scotland during the festival to host workshops and help children create their own puppets, visual theatre and animated films: a must for any young budding film-makers.

Sheffield Doc/Fest 7th-12th June 2018

Featuring the very best documentaries from around the world, the Sheffield Doc/Fest is a great excuse to venture up North during the balmy summer months. For a few days in June the city will be taken over by film makers, producers and a whole host of all-round interesting folk making this a great time to get some networking done. Amongst the stellar lineup of docs you’ll also have the opportunity to try your hand at a number of Augmented and Virtual Reality Experiences.

There are tonnes more great festivals scheduled for the rest of the year in and around the UK, don’t forget to support your local events!

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