THE FESTIVAL - 25th May - 31st May 2020

Films Screened in Competition:

The Festival screens the best of new, independent films from around the world. Films selected for the Festival are screened in competiton and out of competition. Films in official competition are judged by a jury of film industry professionals and representatives of the arts and the entertainment industries.

The 2020 jury includes: Ged Doherty (President of Brit Awards and co-founder of Raindog Films with Oscar-winning actor, Colin Firth); Dom Joly (award-winning British entertainer); President of Sochi International Film Festival, Luba Balagova, Deputy Director of Göttingen Lumiere, Oliver Clarke; BBC Award-winning writer, Maurice Gran; BAFTA-award winning director, Esther May Campbell; BBC reporter, Steve Knibbs and Film/TV agent and BAFTA Board member, Sara Putt..


The organisers are proud to welcome Stephen Frears to the Cheltenham International Film Festival in 2020. Over the past 50 years, films made by Stephen Frears have contributed to the legacy of great cinema, produced by the UK and distributed around the world. Stephen continues to make films that resonate with audiences but we shall screen two of his earliest films when he, too, was an emerging director showing great skill and promise.


Our Country in Focus in 2020 is Italy. We shall screen the work of new and emerging Italian filmmakers; announcements will follow. As part of the Italian season, the Festival organisers will mark the centenary birth of Federico Fellini, screening two of the master’s film classics 8 ½ and Juliet of the Spirits. As a complement to the to the Fellini screenings, the organisers will soon announce a surprise guest coming to Cheltenham to talk of their experience of working with one of cinema’s greatest directors.


Integral to the Festival is “Open Call”, a series of Master Classes in the arts & crafts of filmmaking taken by film industry professionals with many years of experience. The programme will include cinematography, music in film, directing actors, special effects plus all you need to know about producing a film, finance, structure, legal and what to expect from a film festival. The Oscar-nominated film producer, Stephen Woolley, recipient of a BAFTA for Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema leads a parade of gifted and respected film industry professionals taking part in Open Call.


New in 2020, is the Cheltenham Youth International Film Festival to run alongside the main festival, reaching out to young people who are detached from the arts and have had little to no access to the culture of cinema and the art of film. The Youth Festival includes workshops in the basics of filmmaking and special film screenings by and for our young audience. The Youth Festival is all-inclusive with a focus on young people who are marginalised by background, circumstance and the communities they live in.

Click the link below to find out more about last year's film festival and to take a look at the 2019 full festival programme.