Cheltenham is a Regency town situated in the Cotswolds. The town draws tens of thousands of people to its famed festivals which include Music (1945), Literary (1949), Jazz (1996), Poetry (2011) and Film (2019). And every year 250,000 take part in Cheltenham Festival one of the premier horse racing events in the world which features the Gold Cup.


Through the decades, the world’s leading filmmakers, actors, musicians, writers, artists, poets and respected figures from politics, science and even astronauts have come to Cheltenham: Mike Leigh, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dame Judy Dench, Bill Nighy, Roger Daltrey, David Attenborough, Prince Charles, Salman Rushdie, Van Morrison, Michael Palin, Bob Geldof, former British Prime Minister, David Cameron, Hilary Clinton and Blondie singer, Debbie Harry, among them.


The Cheltenham International Film Festival launched in 2019 with a big splash screening films from all over the world, premiering new films, organising filmmaker Q&As and putting on Master Classes in the arts & crafts of filmmaking as part of its programme of education. Already the Festival has an impressive alumni of guests which include: Mike Leigh, Jan Komasa, Josie Rourke, Steven Berkoff, Simon Pegg, Simon Bird, and emerging filmmakers from Bulgaria to Canada from Iran to Germany.


In 2020, the Festival was prepared to welcome the twice Oscar-nominated director, Stephen Frears, and celebrated producer, Stephen Woolley, to to the Festival, when the pandemic lockdown forced the organisers to cancel. But as soon as the festival was shutdown, the organisers decided to put the whole show online, partnering with Shift72. In the event, the Festival went ahead and received media recognition and audience support for being the first international film festival in the UK to go online.


Over the past two years, we have had the pleasure to welcome name and emerging directors to participate in the Festival, among them:

Mike LeighCarl HunterMahnaz Mohammadi
Joise RourkeSimon BirdStephen Komandarev
Steven BerkoffLukasz GrzegorzekRubika Shah
Jan KomasaStephen CooksonKarl Markovics


©  |  Cheltenham International Film Festival  |  2023