Short film festival organisers preparing for their most ambitious event yet

Cinema enthusiasts behind the borough’s biggest celebration of zero-budget film are preparing for their most ambitious event yet.

Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 10:36 am
From left: Old Courts Jill Challinor, Rob Tongeman and Elizabeth Costello from the film society, Sarah Brandon and Adrian Hall from Alra and Paul Costello

The renamed Wigan and Leigh Short Film Festival is taking place over three nights in the coming weeks showcasing young and North West talent as well as directors from across the country and further afield.

The main event has previously taken place at The Turnpike Centre in Leigh but has crossed the borough this year and will be at The Old Courts.

And the move has brought with it a longer festival, with the usual night crowning the audience’s choice of overall winner joined by a Friday evening dedicated entirely to films from this region.

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Director Luke Bradford receives the Leigh Short Film Festival overall prize for Risk. On stage with host Alexi Papadopoulos and actor Darren Jeffries

As in previous years the whole thing gets under way later this month with the young film-makers’ competition for the best of the next generation of talent at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (Alra) North.

Festival chair Paul Costello said: “The festival is growing in strength and now in our sixth year this promises to be the best yet. The festival is a collaboration of people who get together to create events celebrating and showcasing short films.

“We receive submissions from around the world and this year’s have been outstanding. It’s great to see the North West film-makers’ entries grow, allowing us to have a separate event featuring these amazing short films, and we are delighted for the first time to have two events at The Old Courts in Wigan.”

The films chosen range hugely in subject matter and also run the thematic range from edgy comedy to grass-roots documentaries to shocking dramas and chillers.

The submissions also span half the globe, with talented Wigan film-makers and those from across the UK joined by entries from countries such as Greece and Canada.

Those taking part will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of previous winners including hilarious dark comedy Jake The Magnificent, the touching drama The Tree House and last year’s champion, the thought-provoking Risk.

Awards are also handed out for the best animation, the best work by a young director and the finest North West production.

The festival, put together by a team of volunteer film fans, is supported by its four patrons, who include Atherton-raised actor Matthew McNulty, former Timelord Christopher Eccleston and Leigh MP Jo Platt.

The film festival begins with the young film-makers’ event at Alra North on October 26 before the North West night on November 15 and the main event on November 16, both of those taking place at The Old Courts.

Tickets are now available. To book or find out more, visit