An International Film Festival Comes To Cheltenham


On 27th May, 2019, Cheltenham – home to some of the UK’s most celebrated festivals, including Performing Arts (1926), Music (1945), Literary (1949), Jazz (1996) attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year –  welcomes the launch of the annual Cheltenham International Film Festival.  

Over six days, the Cheltenham International Film Festival will screen the work of emerging filmmakers in competition, and pay homage to the legacy of cinema by screening the early films of directors who have achieved critical acclaim and commercial success. The Festival programme also has a “Country Focus”. Next year it is Poland; screening the work of Polish directors who are beginning to attract global recognition and acclaim.

According to the organisers, the Festival is an opportunity for film industry personalities and professionals, film enthusiasts, students of film and the general public to interact via panel discussions, master classes, talks, Q&As. Participants and visitors to the festival will also have an opportunity to enjoy and engage at receptions, parties and a closing night gala awards dinner.

The organisers are also working with the British Film Institute (BFI) and leading film companies on a programme for young filmmakers looking to make the transition from shorts to features. This will cover subjects such as film finance, sales and distribution.

Commenting on the Festival, Founder/Director Leslie Montgomery Sheldon said: “Cheltenham has a proud tradition of festivals which attract world-renowned writers, musicians, politicians and even astronauts. We now have a film festival to attract, support and promote filmmakers at the start of their career and to honour filmmakers who have contributed to the history of cinema”.


Leslie Montgomery Sheldon – Founder/Director of The Cheltenham International Film Festival.

Sheldon said he recognised the importance of attracting “names” to the Festival and is inviting well-regarded industry professionals and names well-known to the public to participate in Master Classes, panel discussions, Q&As and on the Festival jury; Paul Ashton, Head of Film at Creative England, Pippa Markham (leading theatrical agents, Markham, Froggatt & Irwin), Laurence Marks (BBC comedy-writing team of Marks & Gran), Lindsey Dryden (Sundance Award winner) and Phil Hunt, MD of Bankside Films, with more “names” being added all the time.

There is also the hint of a major film premier and preview at the Festival, Sheldon said: “Watch this space”.

Note: Among the celebrated who have beaten a path to Cheltenham’s festivals through 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.


Entries for film submissions are now open.

To submit a film to The Cheltenham International Film Festival, visit:                                            


©  |  Cheltenham International Film Festival  |  2023