8th Annual

Manchester Lift-Off Film Festival

March 11, 2019 to March 15, 2019

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C/O Lift-Off Global Network HQ
Pinewood Studios, England
Manchester M1
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 1753 651700

OPEN CALL FOR ENTRIES • Select a Category of Entry to continue.

Feature Length Live Action Narratives
Feature length (40mins and above) live-action narrative films. Any premier/screening status - no restrictions.
Feature Documentries
Feature length documentaries (30mins and above) live action narrative films. Any premier/screening status - no restrictions.
Web Series
Any premiere/screening status - no restrictions.
Short Live Action Narratives
Short live action narrative based films of any genre, 40 minutes in length and below. Any premier/screening status - no restrictions.
Short Documentaries
Short documentary films of any genre, 40 minutes in length and below. Any premier/screening status - no restrictions.
Short Animations
Short animated films of any genre and style - 40 minutes in length and below. Any premier/screening status - no restrictions.
Music Videos
Music Videos of any genre, 10 minutes in length and below. Any premier/screening status - no restrictions.
Smartphone Films
Films shot using only a smartphone device. Any genre, any length and below. Any premier/screening status - no restrictions.
Scripts, Screenplays and Teleplays
No restrictions on length or genre. The best scripts will be nominated for the Lift-Off End of Season Award Show at Pinewood Studios.
360 VR - Virtual Reality Content
To be screened using Samsung Gear VR. Any genre, any length. Shorts, Features, Live Action Narrative, Documentary, Animation, Music Videos. No restrictions on premier or online status.


Interest in indie cinema in the north of England is growing rapidly. Local filmmakers are starting to build themselves a powerful name within the business and producers are beginning to enter the indie film markets with big budgets for fresh talent.

Manchester is the second city of the United Kingdom, the new home of the BBC. We aim to capitalise on the opportunities within the filmmaking and media capital of the North of England. The city is an absolute powerhouse in the generation of culture and artistic risk-taking.

❀ Manchester Lift-Off Film Festival. is a week long celebration at the end of March where true independent talent and fresh voices are showcased with the opportunities to have their work gain global exposure. We are not a red carpet celebrity-driven event - this is a film festival designed to find pure filmmaking talent aside from the gloss, putting talent before technology and showcasing only the best in true independent cinema.


Manchester is a city on the boom. The aptly titled Media City is the home of the BBC, along with Granada Studios, excellent film schools and a prestigious accredited drama school. Manchester serves as the capital city of Northern England and the second city of the United Kingdom.

With world fame and a global draw Lift-Off will be welcoming indie film from all around the world and we want the best of the local filmmakers from Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and beyond to submit their work into us. We want Manchester Lift-Off to serve as an exceptional platform for homegrown and global talents.

Manchester's character is defined as much by its people as it is by its history and achievements. The city is one of the most multicultural in the UK, with nearly 200 languages spoken. Over the centuries many people have chosen Manchester as their home. Greater Manchester’s Jewish community, for example, is the largest outside of London. A huge Chinatown, centred around the impressive imperial arch, is the second largest in the UK. Ever popular for its countless restaurants, Asian supermarkets and events, Chinatown fills the area with vibrant colour and flavours.

With so many cultures rubbing shoulders with one another, it’s no surprise that Manchester has an excellent reputation for entertainment, food and drink. It is a city on the rise and we want you to become a part of it!

❀ Manchester Lift-Off is one of the ten Lift-Off Film Festivals spread throughout the year.

❀ The Lift-Off Film Festival Network now offers to all of our Officially Selected Filmmakers the opportunity to gain fair VOD distribution agreements on multiple platforms.

❀ Want to see us in action? Head to our website and watch the video featuring some of the highlights of our 2015 Season Awards held at the world famous Pinewood Studios - including interviews with our filmmakers and the Lift-Off Film Festival Network Co-Founders. www.lift-off-festival.com

Manchester Lift-Off is a film festival that forms part of a wider network of connected film festivals around the world. A unique channel consisting of ten global cities and an on-demand platform. By submitting to any Lift-Off Film Festival you are giving your work the unique possibility of joining the only real alternative to global distribution and an institution determined to create a fairer industry.

Lift-Off's aim is to help you launch your professional life within film.

Showcasing your work around the world, building press coverage, exposing you to sales agents, distributors, global production companies, talent agencies, and worldwide producers.

The festival will welcome work from all over the North of England and the rest of the world. We expect to receive films with courage, personable endeavour and unique voices.

Feedback Options.

When you screen with any Lift-Off City we will be asking the attending audience for their feedback, and we will be sending that feedback to you. Audience responses are vital in understanding how your work sits on it's own merit, and we don't shy away from sending you the best of the best and the worst of the worst.

When your film screens around the world you might be surprised what you can learn.

We can also offer simple feedback sent in from our judges at no charge, however sometimes this can be as simple as a single sentence and not very productive for you. So, with the help of our team we have come up with a solid/full-rounded feedback procedure called Extended Feedback.

We offer this to our filmmakers who are willing to pay for the valued time of the person assessing their work. Based on levels of experience and involvement, we offer Extended Feedback at the following levels...

Festival Founder Feedback
Industry Professional Judge Feedback
Peer Feedback

The qualified reviewer gives a full breakdown covering every aspect of your work. This includes analysis of the film language, the acting, the technical aspects and the artistic intention. Included with this are next step recommendations and a retrospective review all in a concise and easy to decipher PDF.

The feedback submission options are displayed at the side of this listing.
Each one is a flat fee, for any type of script or film and includes the submission to this festival.


Find our other festivals on Withoutabox!

If you wish to spread your risk, all of our other Lift-Off Film Festivals are listed on WAB.

All of them are at different stages of deadlines, so prices will vary, please take your pick and follow the links provided below…

Berlin Lift-Off Film Festival
Tokyo Lift-Off Film Festival
New York Lift-Off Film Festival
Toronto Lift-Off Film Festival
Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival
Amsterdam Lift-Off Film Festival
Paris Lift-Off Film Festival
Sydney Lift-Off Film Festival
Melbourne Lift-Off Film Festival
London Lift-Off Film Festival

Awards & Prizes

The Lift-Off Film Festival Global Network is fast becoming a community within itself. Our prizes and awards stretch from the submission level, all the way through to our season awards at the end of each year. We offer as much as possible to all who submit, our officially selected filmmakers, our nominees and winners.

This is what all Lift-Off Film Festivals have to offer our submitters, high scoring films, official selections and winners...

At the submission level.

❀ Value for your submission fee. Exclusive content emailed to every submitter up-to 24hrs from the time of submission.

❀ Submission to any of our festivals in 2018 entitles you to free entry to all of our 2018 festivals around the world! Your submission confirmation email will include a 100% discount code which you can use upon purchase of your festival attendance tickets. 

❀ High scoring films. If your film scores high but isn't included in our final programme you will be invited to our Lift-Off Online Film Festival initiative, an online competitions which run parallel with the respective live city screenings - where the top two winners get official selections at either of the next two Lift-Off cities.


At the festivals...

Shorts, Music Videos and New Media...inc Web Series.

❀ Short Film Prizes. Live Action Narrative and Documentaries. Official Selections all proceeding Lift-Off Film Festivals.

❀ Nominations Short Films. When short films screen at any Lift-Off Film Festival they are automatically open to receiving nominations for the Lift-Off Season Awards held at the world famous Pinewood Studios in December.

Nominations for Shorts, Music Videos and New Media.
Best Short Live Action Narrative
Best Short Documentary
Best Short Animation
Best Music Video
Best Web Series
Best Director (open for shorts, features and new media)
Best Actor (open for shorts, features and new media)
Best Acting Ensemble (open for shorts, features and new media)


Features. Live Action Narrative. Documentary.

❀ Feature Film Prizes. Live Action Narrative and Documentaries. Official Selection at the next proceeding Lift-Off Film Festival.

Nominations for Feature Films.
Best Feature Live Action Narrative
Best Feature Documentary
Best Feature Animation
Best Post Production
Best Art Direction
Best Hair and Make-up
Best Cinematography
Best Director (open for shorts, features and new media)
Best Actor (open for shorts, features and new media)
Best Acting Ensemble (open for shorts, features and new media)


❀ Script Selections ❀

The top 5 Screenplays will be showcased across the Community platform, featured in the Lift-Off newsletter which is sent to our 35,000 filmmakers, and shared across social media.

Screenwriters will be invited to include their work in our online Community portal. The portal is a curated database of quality scripts that are looking for production.

Lift-Off Community directors and producers are actively looking for projects to develop. They can use the portal to find their next potential projects, and contact the writers directly to discuss the optioning of scripts, development and rights.
All entries should be completed scripts, short or feature length, and you should be actively looking for collaboration or development.


After the screenings and season awards.

Optional inclusion | Best of Collection Lift-Off On-Demand.

❀ Online VOD Distribution. Any film which is screened during the season at any Lift-Off Film Festival is invited to earn money by being part of Lift-Off's Best of Collection.


Lift-Off Family Membership?

After all of the above you will be regarded as part of the Lift-Off Family for the years to come. We want you to continue to engage with us, and as we grow we will welcome select directors in helping us to build our own productions, projects, and hopefully join our jury and selection committee.


Ben Pohlman (CEO); Ben Pohlman (CEO); Ben Pohlman (CEO); James Bradley (Mr); James Bradley (Mr); James Bradley (Mr); James Garish; James Garish; Lift-Off internal judge.; Lift-Off internal judge.


Please add manchester@lift-off-festival.com to your acceptance of email addresses to avoid any urgent notification emails being sent to your spam, or being missed.

All entrants will be notified in writing of the status of their submission by mid February. If you change your address after submission of work, please inform us. We announce the programme and update the status of your work via Withoutabox, if you require any other means of notification, please inform the festival.


We only accept secure online screeners. Notifications will be made via Withoutabox on the notification date.