Film festivals across Scotland

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  • Actor Ewan McGregor attending a premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival
    Actor Ewan McGregor attending a premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival
  • The Loch Ness Film Festival logo
    The Loch Ness Film Festival logo
  • Photographers at the Edinburgh International Film Festival
    Photographers at the Edinburgh International Film Festival

From the world renowned Edinburgh International Film Festival through Lanarkshire’s brilliantly offbeat Deep Fried event, Scotland is home to a variety of captivating cinematic celebrations. 

Edinburgh film festivals

One of the oldest and most prestigious events of its kind, the Edinburgh International Film Festival offers an amazing movie experience from June through early July. Established in 1947, it has been at the forefront of promoting international cinema since its inception. Road To Perdition director Sam Mendes at the Edinburgh International Film Festival

Hosting a string of high-profile premieres in recent years, including The Hurt Locker and Disney•Pixar’s Brave, Scotland’s foremost film festival rivals even Leicester Square’s spectacle.

Are you a fan of big-screen bumps in the night? Would you rather spend a night with Nosferatu than sit through another rom-com? Then Edinburgh’s Dead by Dawn festival is perfect for your inner horror fan. Normally held in Lothian Road’s renowned Filmhouse on the last weekend of March, cinemagoers can sink their fangs into a range of fan-made films and cult horror classics until the wee hours over the four-day festival.

Each year the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival showcases pieces purely focused on the outdoor enthusiast. With competitions held for the best climbing film, this event combines a passion for cinema and outdoor activities like no other festival in Scotland.

The Glasgow Film Festival

The Glasgow Film Festival may not be as well-known as its illustrious capital cousin, but it remains a uniquely interesting event. Founded in 2005, the February festival has carved a reputation for staging thought-provoking film features. Whether reuniting the cast of cult favourite Gregory’s Girl or hosting viewings in a pool, you can’t criticise the Glasgow gathering for lacking personality!

The Loch Ness Film Festival

The Highlands host an intimate yet expansive range of movies during the Loch Ness Film Festival. Airing everything from documentaries, amateur shorts and features, the grassroots event is a non-profit organisation, with all funds raised going to charitable causes. Promoting indie Scottish films since 2010, it’s appropriate the festival’s logo is an image of Nessie where the mythical beast’s head is a clipboard and its legendary humps appear as film reels.

The Deep Fried Film Festival

If nothing else, Lanarkshire’s Deep Fried Film Festival can claim to be the only event that hands out movie honours named after fish shop favourites. Aside from giving accolades like the Sausage Supper and the Chips & Curry Sauce in its Golden Fritter Awards, the festival showcases an array of short and feature-length independent films every August.

Africa in Motion

Held on the last week of November, the Africa in Motion film festival spans both Edinburgh and Glasgow. Heralding the culture of African film-making with an eclectic range of works, films are often accompanied by directors’ Q&As, workshops, music performances and arts exhibitions. Unlike any other event in Scotland, it provides a rare view into a lesser showcased side of world cinema.


Shetland’s annual film festival takes place in August/September at the state-of-the-art Mareel centre in Lerwick. As well as film screenings, lectures and panel discussions, Screenplay is renowned for showcasing the work of local film makers of all ages, giving you a unique chance to experience wonderful local arts in a beautiful island setting. Hear national and international film industry professionals and film academics giving their insights and absorb yourself in an amazing film or two.

Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema

Held in March in Scotland’s oldest cinema, The Hippodrome in Bo’ness, the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema is Scotland’s only festival dedicated to silent cinema. Watch rare and classic silent films, accompanied by a brilliant line-up of silent film musicians who will be playing live during the screenings.

Kinguissie Food on Film

Taking place in February, the Kinguissie Food on Film festival boasts an exciting line up of foodie films, creative events and a wonderful food hall. Treat yourself to delicious artisan produce and enjoy some great foodie films.

Discovery Film Festival

Take the kids for an unforgettable day out at the Discovery Film Festival: Scotland's International Film Festival for Young Audiences, held at the Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre in October/November. See their faces light up in amazement at the colourful animations, exciting adventures and unforgettable dramas unfolding on the big screen.

Encompassing a breadth of films for all tastes, Scotland’s festivals celebrate cinema in a distinct and welcoming way.