Program Categories

American Indie Competition

Original, authentic, and always special. American indies are films made without big money from Hollywood. You’ll not only see America’s finest independent films, but also the stars of the future. These writers, actors, and directors have talent and stand at the beginning of a promising career. See them in our American Indie Competition today - or at the Academy Awards tomorrow. Because we know how they started: as filmmakers who wanted to make films their way. And you can always taste that independent flavor. Watch the trailers from this competition here.

First Feature Competition

Discover new talent at LIFF! In our First Feature Competition, we present international filmmakers and their first feature film. Twelve films, made by your future favourite directors. Watch them first at the Leiden International Film Festival. Watch the trailers from this competition here. 


Not all films fit neatly into categories, and that's a good thing! Otherwise, we wouldn't have been able to enjoy this category. Sometimes you just want to see a film that you really don't understand, which is weird, mindblowing and totally BONKERS. 
BONKERS! is a mix of innovative, strange and otherworldly films that break the boundaries of genres and search for new ways to challenge the filmic status quo. Sometimes absurd, sometimes shocking, but always memorable. Journey with us down the rabbit hole and experience the film festival in its - shall we say - purest form. Watch the trailers from this competition here. 


In Panorama you’ll see the best new films from across the globe. Panorama features early premieres from the world’s greatests (Haneke! Clooney! Lanthimos! Östlund!), festival favorites from Berlin, Cannes, and Venice, but also unknown gems that will only make it to the Dutch silver screen in Leiden. Widen your horizons and see the entire the world of movies, from arthouse to mainstream - and everything in between. Watch the trailers from this competition here. 

Nordic Watching

Back in action: Nordic Watching, with everything we love so much. Imposing mountain ranges, absurd humor, and frighteningly human characters. Put on your woolen sweater and enjoy these kinematografiske masterpieces. Watch the trailers from this competition here. 


For this year's best short films, LIFF has got you covered! The Pronck International Shorts is our competition for short films from all over the world. And fortunately, the Bonkers Shorts Competition has also returned: the little, but equally insane brother of the Bonkers! Program.


A film festival is about more than just watching a film! Therefore, we have added some unique and remarkable elements to our specials, to stimulate (or disable) all - yes all - of the senses. Watch the trailers from this competition here.

LIFF Limited Edition

We included a limited number of special screenings in our program. These unique experiences are tailormade for each of these films by our wonderful guests, and are so secret we don’t even know what will happen. But we do know that they will happen only once. Come join us in this experience.