31 oct - 10 nov 2019

Program 2018

American Indie Competition

Original, authentic and always special: American indie is filmmaking without Hollywood big money. In this program, you’ll find not only the best independent American films, but the stars of the future as well. The filmmakers are talented, promising and at the start of their careers. Today in the American Indie Competition, tomorrow on stage at the Oscars. But we’ll always know where they started: as filmmakers that wanted to be different. Listen to the American Indie Playlist here.


The panorama program is our selection of the best new films worldwide. Here you’ll find big Dutch premieres, the world’s best directors (Vinterberg! Pawelowski! Sorrentino! Koreeda! Lowery!), festival favourites from  Berlin, Cannes, Sundance and Venice, as well as many unknown treasures with a Leiden big screen exclusive. Broaden your horizon and meet the many faces in the world of film, from arthouse to mainstream and everything in between.

Nordic Watching

Familiar and comforting like a warm blanket, but crisp as fresh snow. The Nordic Watching program has everything we love so much: cold mountains, absurd humour, and characters that stay with you. So put on your knitted sweater and enjoy these cinematic highlands – err, highlights.


Not all films fit into a category, which is lucky, cause otherwise we wouldn’t have this one. Because sometimes all you want from a film festival is to see something you can make absolutely no sense of, something that is completely BONKERS. An entirely new program, for the first time at LIFF, perfectly suited for only a very select type of people.

BONKERS! is a mind-blowing trip along innovative, odd, and otherworldly films that surpass genre and are forever searching for new ways to politely destroy barriers. Absurd, shocking, but always very good - or good material for discussion during drinks afterwards, at least. Follow us down the rabbit hole and experience the film festival in its, let’s just say, purest form. For now, enjoy our BONKERS! playlist.

Science & Cinema

Where is this world coming to? Science, fiction, utopia and dystopia come together in the Science & Cinema program, where we approach scientific themes using classic science fiction films, and where filmmakers share their vision of a possible future. Curated in collaboration with EYE.


Experience historic films in a unique setting and get transported to the world of the Egyptians and the Roman Empire, in the museum that brings their history to life: the National Museum of Antiquities.

REEL China

Big blockbusters in China, but without any good reason entirely unknown in Europe. LIFF brings them to Leiden!

Museum Volkenkunde

This year, we’re screening films that are related to Bali in one way or another at the Volkenkunde Museum, especially selected for their Bali exhibition.


Last year’s best shorts, divided into three unique programs.

In the American Indie Shorts program, you’ll find filmmakers that, in a few years’ time, will turn up in the American Indie Competition. In Best of LISFE, you’ll see a selection from the Leiden International Short Film Festival program. In Cinema Brewers Shorts Selection, you’ll not only find the best shorts, but a good cause as well: with every sold bottle of Cinema Brewers beer, a donation is made to the filmmaker with the best short film of the year.

Classic LIFF

Classics inspired by this year’s program, screened exclusively in the LIFF Red Carpet Lounge.

LUX Film Prize

The three best European films of this year are nominated for the European Parliament LUX Film Prize: Styx, The Other Side of Everything and Woman at War. All three films are screened at LIFF, free of charge offered by the European parlement!

Every year since 2007, the European Parliament LUX FILM PRIZE has shone a spotlight on films that go to the heart of European public debate. The Parliament believes that cinema, as a mass cultural medium, is an ideal platform for debate and reflection on Europe and its future.

The films selected for the LUX FILM PRIZE competition raise awareness about some of today’s main social and political issues and, as a result, help to build a stronger European identity. By illustrating the diversity of European traditions and shedding light on the process of European integration, they help celebrate the universal reach of European values.

The LUX FILM PRIZE has become an indicator of quality in backing European film productions. Its winning films have become hits within the EU and beyond, helping to publicise films that otherwise may not have been seen or discovered by many people and highlightingurgent issues.

When the Parliament created the LUX FILM PRIZE, it decided to focus on distribution because it believes that this is the ‘Achilles heel’ of European cinema. Unlike the largely unified North American market, the film industry in European countries faces huge organisational and economic difficulties, which are rendered even more difficult by language barriers.