British Urban Film Festival looks north to Yorkshire in 2023

Friday 29th September

The UK’s longest running showcase of urban independent film is coming to Leeds and Halifax. It marks the first ever British Urban Film Festival outside London and will launch with an opening weekend in Leeds on Saturday, October 14 and Sunday, October 15. The festival continues in Halifax on Monday, October 16, through until the awards climax at Dean Clough in Halifax on Friday, October 20.


Following last year’s film festival at Rich Mix in East London, a proposition was made for BUFF to be hosted in West Yorkshire as part of the region’s year of culture celebrations in Leeds (in 2023), and in Calderdale (in 2024). The deal was brokered by Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, Sarah Richardson, Assistant Director Customer Services for Calderdale Council, Bobsie Robinson, Cultural Services Manager for Calderdale Council and BUFF co-chairs, Clare & Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe.

Over the past 18 years the British Urban Film Festival platform has galvanised filmmakers and audiences with its annual award-winning film and industry programme which has been recognised domestically and internationally by BAFTA, the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival, the British Independent Film Awards and the African Movie Academy Awards.

With West Yorkshire currently served by film festivals in Leeds and Hebden Bridge, the town of Halifax (based in Calderdale) will play host to BUFF’s weekday film schedule, closing with the showpiece awards ceremony at Crossley Gallery in Dean Clough Mills. Also known as Culturedale, the region is fast becoming a major hub for international film and television production attracting companies like the BBC, Netflix and Disney Plus to produce and shoot movies and television programmes including Happy Valley, Gentleman Jack, Six Triple Eight and Secret Invasion.

Cllr Jenny Lynn, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, said: “We are proud to be supporting the British Urban Film Festival (BUFF) in its 18th year, as it moves its operations from London to West Yorkshire. We’re excited to welcome the BAFTA-accredited festival to Calderdale in the runup to our landmark Year of Culture 2024, and at a time when our national profile as a filming destination is going from strength to strength. Inclusion is really important to us – we want all our diverse communities to enjoy culture. BUFF is a beacon for uniting people through film, and will draw audiences from all backgrounds to explore modern stories in Halifax and the wider region.”

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin said: “West Yorkshire’s creative industries are thriving, with more and more organisations recognising that this is the place to be. I’m thrilled that this amazing film festival is heading north, giving visitors a chance to explore our magnificent region. This will provide an inspirational experience for those in our communities and beyond, as we build a stronger, brighter region that works for all.”

Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe, co-chair and founder of the British Urban Film Festival, said: “As a proud parent, it’s great to see something that you give birth to, flourishing and maturing with every passing year and after 18 years, BUFF is finally spreading its wings and starting a new life away from the nation’s capital. I’m excited to see what lies in store for the film festival as it approaches its 20th birthday in 2025.”

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