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Elizabeth Costello of Leigh Short Film Festival

Festival / Interview / by Festival Formula

Leigh Short Film Festival is in its 5th year and going strong. We spoke to Development Director, Elizabeth Costello, about her experiences and how the importance of a strong team work ethic has kept this festival on its feet.

Tell us about your festival

Leigh Town is situated between Liverpool and Manchester both cities famous for their art and culture. Leigh Short Film Festival celebrates and showcases low budget short films. It’s a not for profit festival with all proceeds invested into Community and Charity. Our focus is to highlight filmmaking opportunities for young people.

It is entirely volunteer led and we offer work experience and volunteering.

There are four submission categories: –

  • Animation
  • Young Filmmaker (U25)
  • North West
  • General all other submissions

The main festival is for one evening where we screen a selection of short films, we take our audience on a journey which is varied in film selections with an overall priority to entertain. On the night we have an online voting system, where the audience has the overall vote on which short film wins the Festival. We are now entering our fifth year, with so many achievements and successful festivals behind us. We’re extremely proud to have two Patrons Christopher Eccelston and Ben Batt who fully support what we’re about and our focus on working with young people. The festival has developed far beyond our expectations, with its unique set up and ethos to give back. It’s an amazing team of volunteers who are behind the Leigh Short Film Festival. A collaboration of filmmakers, film society and technical professionals.  A collection of people whose energy and passion has brought this great event to Leigh. 

What made you start your film festival?

As a group of people with an interest in films we knew locally of the growing interest in filmmaking. We wanted to give local filmmakers a platform to showcase their work. In our first year 2014 we sourced the short films, we are now on Film Freeway and receive submissions from around the world. We still have the same team together who remain focused keeping the festival developing. We cannot compete with the heavily funded and professionally recognised festivals but what we do offer is real passion for the craft and a desire to celebrate the great work out there.

What are you most looking forward to in your next edition?

We had an outstanding 2017 festival with 10 out of 12 Directors attending. This gave the audience a chance to ask questions in the post screening Q&A. Also working in partnership with our local University has given filmmaking students the opportunity to gain first hand festival experience including networking and meeting Directors.

We hope 2018 will see more of this with more shorts submitted that have been selected by or won awards at major festivals.

What have you learnt the most from being involved with a film festival?

Constant networking with filmmakers is key.

How does your selection process work?

When films are submitted to Film Freeway the selection panel score the shorts. After the closing date, we take the films that have scored the highest and move them forward into another formal selection process. This is when a small selection panel decide what will be put into the festival. The selection panel is made up of festival Directors and invited guests.

What’s your protocol for sending out rejections?

After the selections are made we send out a formal Yes or No to every film submitted.

This is within three weeks of the closing date.

Length of short film – discuss…

This is a strict 20 minutes and under

Describe your festival in five words or three emojis

Great Film for Everyone

What’s a personal favorite film festival of yours?

Manchester Film Festival

Development Director, Elizabeth Costello

What do you wish more filmmakers did, and didn’t do?

Everyone on the festival selection panel will have a different opinion

Mine is Less misery more comedy

What questions do you get asked the most by filmmakers?

How do you select the films what criteria do you use?

What’s your favourite film?

That depends on the genre but for now its.

God’s Own Country – An outstanding film for its performances, directing and cinematography.

And drink of choice whilst the festival is underway…?

Bacardi and Coke

It’s not too late to submit to Leigh Short Film Festival. Deadline is 31st July with the main event being held on 20th October. Get submitting or get your ticket!


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