About LIFF

What is the Leiden International Film Festival?

11 days filled with premieres, special film events, parties and more: that’s the Leiden International Film Festival. LIFF was founded in 2006 and has grown into one of the most important film festivals in the Netherlands. The 2023 edition will take place from October 26 to November 5, and will feature over 100 films from all over the globe, ranging from arthouse films to mainstream movies, and everything in between!

For seventeen years, the Leiden International Film Festival has shown a wonderful selection of films that stand out and are worth a look. Premieres of gems that no one knows about yet, indie films that will be talked about for years to come, and award-winning crowd pleasers from major international festivals.

The eighteenth edition of the Leiden International Film Festival focuses on the three pillars that have made the festival so great, each with its own competition during the festival: Independent (independent films, American Indie Competition), Emerging (makers of the future, First Feature Competition) and Extraordinary (exceptionally special, Bonkers! Competition).

That is what LIFF is all about: screening the best films (for the first time) in the Netherlands, and all that without making a big fuss about it!


Films from established authors and independent makers with their own style. Premieres, previews, and festival favorites.

American Indie Competition

Original, authentic, and always special. American indie is filmmaking without the big money of Hollywood. In this program, you will see not only the best independent American films but also the stars of the future. The makers are talented, promising, and at the beginning of their careers. Today in the LIFF American Indie Competition – tomorrow on stage at the Oscars. But we know how they started: as filmmakers who want to do things their own way. And that’s something you keep seeing.

Year Movie Director(s)
2022 Vengeance B. J. Novak
2021 Mass Fran Kranz
2020 Nomadland Chloé Zhao
2019 The Peanut Butter Falcon Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz
2018 Leave No Trace Debra Granik
2017 Menashe Joshua Z Weinstein
2016 Burn Your Maps Jordan Roberts
2015 Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
2014 Whiplash Damien Chazelle
2013 Short Term 12 Destin Cretton


Discoveries from all over the world. Upcoming and standout films by talented and promising directors and actors.

First Feature Competition

In the First Feature Competition, we present international filmmakers and their first full-length films. Discover your future favorite director today – at the Leiden International Film Festival.

Year Film Director(s)
2022 Everybody Hates Johan Hallvar Witzø
2021 Death of a virgin, and the sin of not living George Peter Barbari


A film festival is often about more than just watching films. The screenings that are so special that they simply don’t fit inside a box can be found under Extraordinary: Selections.

Bonkers! Competition

Bonkers! is a whirlwind trip through innovative, strange, and otherworldly films that break the boundaries of genres and look for new ways to reverently smash sacred houses. Sometimes absurd, sometimes shocking, but always good, or at least good for a discussion afterwards. Join us down the rabbit hole and experience the film festival in its, shall we say, purest form.

Year Film Director(s)
2022 The Menu Mark Mylod
2021 Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes Junta Yamaguchi
2018 Sorry to bother you Boots Riley


Looking for more information or wish to come into contact with LIFF directly? Check out the LIFF Press page. Here you will also find images, logos and information about press accreditation for Leiden International Film Festival.


Alexander Mouret Award

Named after our former festival director, the Alexander Mouret Award celebrates excellence for a film that dares to take risks, is driven by genuine interest and is clear of pretentiousness. It’s our ultimate LIFF film of the year.

Year Movie Director(s)
2022 How to blow up a pipeline Daniel Goldhaber
2021 Ich Bin Dein Mensch Maria Schrader

Youth Jury Award

The Youth Jury has been part of LIFF since 2021. Young talent and enthusiasm for film come together in this jury. The youth jury adds a new, fresh look to the film festival.

Year Movie Director(s)
2022 Close Lukas Dhont
2021 Ninja Baby Yngvild Sve Flikke

Audience Award

The title says it all: the Audience Award is won by the film that has been given the highest score by the LIFF audience. Your vote counts!

Year Film Director(s)
2022 Rose Niels Arden Oplev
2021 Maixabel Icíar Bollaín
2020 Supernova Harry McQueen
2019 Hors Normes Éric Toledano en Olivier Nakache
2018 Werk Ohne Autor Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
2017 Vele hemels boven de zevende Jan Matthys
2016 Toni Erdmann Maren Ade
2015 Le Tout Nouveau Testament Jaco van Dormael
2014 Pride Matthew Warchus


Bezoeker van LIFF Summer Special die samen Sunset Boulevard kijken bij een ondergaande zon. class=

LIFF throughout the year

The Leiden International Film Festival has devoted itself to defining the cinematic image of Leiden throughout the year. We do so by providing programs in collaboration with other events such as the ‘El Cid’ introduction week for students. In addition to collaboration, we host our own programs, such as the annual LIFF Summer Special – three days of open-air cinema at a beautiful location in Leiden.


LIFF is active in secondary schools throughout the year. With film teaching materials, and with the Scholieren Filmfestival Leiden, a unique project in which we help six Leiden schools organize their own film festival.