Cheltenham International Film Festival takes place 24 May - 5 June 2021 with a programme of new, acclaimed films by emerging filmmakers from all over the world. Screenings will be supported by live conversations with directors, producers and actors; guests are being lined up, announcements will be made on this web site.

In 2021, we shall pay tribute to Stephen Frears, one of the great directors of British cinema. It is particularly relevant that we acknowledge Stephen’s contribution to filmmaking in 2021, the 50th anniversary of his debut feature film, Gumshoe, starring Albert Finney. We plan to screen Gumshoe along with one other Stephen Frears film and to have a “Live in Conversation” with the director.

As in previous years (Poland 2019, Italy 2020) we plan to have a “Country Focus” in 2021. Given the uncertainty of travel restrictions because of Covid-19, our “Country Focus” in 2021 will be the UK, highlighting the work of emerging British filmmakers.


The Festival will screen up to 10 films in competition. The film festival jury includes: Dom Joly (entertainer/writer), Steve Knibbs (BBC reporter), Mahnaz Mohammadi (Iranian filmmaker/women’s rights activist), Carl Hunter (director/musician), Deborah Parker (CEO Cinema For All), Anna Smith (Chair London Film Critics Circle), Ged Doherty (Chair Brit Awards/co-founder Raindog Films), Oliver Clarke (Göttingen Lumiere).


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In 2020, we were the first international film festival in the UK to stream its entire programme (40 films and 10 filmmaker Q&As from around the world) to audiences throughout the UK. The Festival was critically-acclaimed and commercially successful; and is the subject of a case history published by the British Film Institute (BFI). In the event, we shall continue to organise an online film festival alongside the ‘live’ event reaching out to audiences around the country with a complementary programme of new feature films and guest celebrity interviews.  Read more


The organisers are working with Cheltenham Borough Council, local charities and schools, institutions of higher education, government-funded film bodies plus award-nominated/winning film industry professionals to launch Cheltenham Youth International Film Festival. The youth festival will run alongside the main film festival and is dedicated to support and inspire young people in the community – diverse in makeup and inclusive of all - to engage with cinema and to take an active part in the cinematic arts.  Read more


In 2021, we introduce the first annual lecture to be delivered every year during the film festival. This year the lecture focuses on diversity in the film industry delivered by respected British feature film and television director, Amma Asante. Amma will address the subject of diversity within the context of her own experience, the challenges she faced as a British-born woman of Ghanaian heritage, on the way to a successful career as a film and television director. The lecture will be delivered at Cheltenham Ladies College (tbc).  Read more


Film submissions are welcomed via FilmFreeway. If you have a feature film, narrative or documentary, or film short, narrative or documentary, please visit our page on FilmFreeway to submit your film: