Starting in the 1920s with the Festival of Performing Arts, Cheltenham is now synonymous with festivals – music (1945), literary (1949), jazz (1996) and science (2002) - which attract world-renowned writers, musicians, politicians, even astronauts, pulling in hundreds of thousands of people ever year; including 250,000 people during the week of the Cheltenham Festival.

The town’s reputation for Festivals is further established when the Cheltenham International Film Festival (CIFF) opens on 27th May 2019, running for six days through 1st June 2019. The CIFF is dedicated to screening in competition the films of emerging directors from around the world with the aim to discover and support filmmakers early in their career.

Attaching the name/brand 'Cheltenham' to a film which has been selected to be screened at the Festival or wins one of the category awards will add status and prestige to a film.

Out of competition, the Festival will pay homage, every year, to celebrated directors.  In 2019, the  Festival will honour Mike Leigh and screen two of his early films, selected personally by the director.



In addition to film screenings, the festival will host master classes, workshops, panel discussions, audience/director Q&As, talks, special screenings, parties, receptions, network events and dedicated events for students of film.  Our plan is to create a festive atmosphere with opportunities for the general public, film enthusiasts, students of film and film professionals – all to interact in a delightful Cotswold setting.


To translate creativity and artistic values into economic and social benefits for the town. 


Among the celebrated who have beaten a path to Cheltenham’ festivals over the years are Prince Charles, Hilary Clinton, Van Morrison, Roger Daltrey, Gary Barlow, Stephane Grappelli, Jamie Cullum, Roger Moore, Tony Curtis, David Attenborough, Nicola Benedetti, Michael Parkinson, Kofi Annan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Salman Rushdie, Ornette Coleman, Clive James, Frank Skinner, Bill Nighy, Russell Brand, Nigella Lawson, Sally Field, Eric Idle and so many more.



Simon Pegg


Leslie Montgomery Sheldon

Insight at The Festival


A programme for emerging/young filmmakers

The future of the film industry depends on filmmakers who are coming into the industry and/or who have started to make their impression with film shorts and early day feature films.

Insight at the Festival connects experienced filmmakers with young filmmakers on the threshold of a career in film;  exchanging knowledge, ideas, opinions via master classes, workshops, panel discussions, Q&A and talks. 

Insight sessions cover a range of film crafts and opportunities to gather knowledge and understanding about the business of independent film production.  Master Classes range from makeup, special effects and composing music for film to raising finance and getting your film sold and distributed.  

Among those taking part in the film craft sessions is the leading cinematographer Piotr Sobocinski Jr, who is coming from Poland, a country which has produced so many internationally-recognised and award winning Directors of Photography.  And, the family name of Sobocinski is synonymous Polish cinematography.

Among other speakers and participants taking part in Insight are well-established film industry professionals such as Alice Cabanas of the BFI, Phil Hunt MD of leading film company Bankside Films, Gail Egan, producer of The Constant Gardener, and Rich Warren, Festival Director of Encounters, advising on how to get the best out of film festivals.



Ilze Petersone | Philip Raby | Chris Baker I Jeff Downes | Graham O’Dwyer | Jacob Ward | Jolisa Rowley | Elise Martin I Dave Reynolds | Amy Michelle Sutton | Owen Diplock | Jess Bartlett | Maz Reynolds | Molly Beresford | Tyler Gordon-Fordyce | Katie O’Toole | Tommy Southgate | Mitchell Ward | Mike Fletcher | Amber Maher I Claire Knight I