LIFF: Leiden International Film Festival

Yes, DutchReview is again talking about Leiden, but instead of telling you why we love it so much or spamming you with stunning photos of the city, let’s talk culture! Altough Leiden is a small town, it does welcome one of the most important film festivals in the Netherlands, LIFF, the Leiden International Film Festival. Taking place from October 28 to November 6, the festival is one of the major cultural events of Leiden.

10 years of cinema

Founded in 2006, the festival lasted then only for a long weekend, and 10 years later, it’ll welcome thousands of visitors during 10 days in the lovely Leiden. LIFF has become one of the leading festivals in the country showcasing arthouse and mainstream movies from all over the world. In 2015, more than 85 films were screened, from 28 countries; among them, Steve Jobs, Le Tout Nouveau Testament, Carol, and many more. The festival is a great opportunity to go see films you wouldn’t watch otherwise and to discover talended directors.  This year’s theme is ‘So much more’, more to see, more humour, more pleasure, more action, more nonsense, more romance, more everything!

Leiden International Film Festival

LIFF 2016 programme

This year’s programme is disclosed and the 11th edition of the festival promises good surprises! The festival will open with Arrival, by Denis Villeneuve, the story of a linguist recruited by the army to help them establish contact and translate alien communications.


This science fiction drama stars Amy Adams (Batman vs. Superman, American Bluff) and Jeremy Renner (Captain America, Avengers).

Hunt for the wilderpeople, an hilarious film in the New Zealand wilderness by Taika Waititi, will be the star of the public opening.

On November 6, the LIFF will close its 11th edition with the debatable The birth of a nation, by Nate Parker; reviews are somewhat reserved about this film recounting the true story of Nat Turner, a preacher and literate slave who orchestrates a slave rebellion in 1831.


The rest of the programme is as gripping as the main films! Count with the highly praised director Xavier Dolan and Juste la fin du monde, his latest film starring Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel. Or with French director François Ozon and Frantz and with First girl I loved by Kerem Sanga, a regular director of LIFF. Kids won’t be outdone: Behind the telescopes by Lavinia Meijer (world première during the festival), and classics as Big Hero 6 and The Jungle Book will be screened during the festival. The list is long and doesn’t stop here: Asian movies (The Mermaid, Chongqing Hot Pot, The Wailing), drama (A peine j’ouvre les yeux, From nowhere, Little Men, American Pastoral), thriller and horror (The windmill massacre, The fury of a patient man): there is a film for everyone! For the whole programme, click here.

Leiden International Film Festival
LIFF ©Dutch Faces


American Indie Competition

Another important moment of the festival is the American Indie Competition. It started four years ago to discover and promote unknown directors from the United States, and mostly from the American independent cinema. The aim is to establish a bridge between emerging American filmmakers and the Netherlands, and to give them the opportunity to become known in Europe. Previous winners of the competition are Me and Earl and the dying girl by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (2015), Whiplash by Damien Chazelle (2014) and Short Term 12 by Destin Cretton (2013). Twelve films are competing this year, from love stories to difficulties if adolescence, from fraternities to jazz legend, and from road trip to legendary athlete, it promises to be good and interesting!

Leiden International Film Festival
LIFF ©Coen Bastiaanssen

LIFF from 28 October to 6 November
Prices : film ticket 9 €, 5-strip ticket 40 €, 10-strip ticket 75 €


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