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18 Unmissable Film Festivals in Scotland

Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Edinburgh International Film Festival

Scotland has been an incredible, scenic backdrop for a lot of iconic blockbusters on the big screen throughout the years. But did you know Scotland is also home to a wealth of new and up-and-coming film festivals? As well as the popular classics, these festivals showcase some incredible talent, directing and acting across many genres and topics.

Here is just a flavour of some of the film festivals you can get involved in throughout the year.


Join in a dynamic and captivating programme of events which boasts the undeniable talent of over 40 leading international and Scottish-based theatre artists and animators.

Good for: anyone who loves a bit of animation.

A favourite amongst locals and visitors alike, the Fort William Mountain Festival returns again in 2023 for another weekend of fantastic workshops, educational films, exhibitions, talks and more. Stay tuned for more details!

Good for: people who want to get hands-on.


A well-known occurrence in the film festival calendar, 2023 will see a range of creative talent return to Glasgow’s venues. The festivals’ programme will of course out-do itself again, showcasing moving image, classic retrospectives and educational events for young people.

Good for: the big blockbuster hits!

Awarded one of MovieMaker’s 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World 2019, this is definitely a must-visit festival. Comprising international and Scottish talent, this friendly and inclusive festival showcases emerging filmmakers and ground-breaking work.

Good for: the big-hitters!

Scotland’s first and only festival of silent cinema is back in 2023. Returning to Scotland’s oldest cinema, The Hippodrome, this film festival brings together old classics dating back to the 1920s, as well as having previously featured Rob Roy (1922) and Laila (1929) in 2019.

Good for: the good ol’ classics.


Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival is the biggest festival of experimental film in Scotland. Set in Hawick in the Scottish Borders, it’s described as having ‘a distinctive focus on unusual, experimental filmmaking that blurs the boundary between cinema and visual arts’. This year’s edition features more than 90 films across four days of cinema screenings, moving-image exhibitions, live performances, and even a ceilidh.

Good for: a uniquely intimate blend of film and visual arts

Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival

Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival


Taking places across the Outer Hebrides each year, this fantastic film festival is full of screenings, masterclasses and events across creative venues and pop-up locations. The dates and programme for 2023’s festival will be released soon, but will no doubt impress yet again!

Good for: a bit of everything!


Based in Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders, this non-profit organisation is dedicated to creating a vibrant international platform which aims to break down the barriers between people and encourage cultural exchange, dialogue and understanding. Join in a fantastic programme of screenings, art, music, visual arts, workshops, food and drink and much more.

Good for: the cultural enthusiasts.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival is returning for its 76th edition this summer in a special one-year iteration as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. Stay tuned for full programme details releasing in June 2023.

This annual 10-day festival showcases a fantastic variety of drama, comedy, adventure, documentaries and family-friendly films from across the world, as well as hosting special events and remarkable guests. Keep an eye out for program details releasing soon!

Good for: an island experience.


A popular one in the film festival calendar; Banff is back in 2023 at venues in Pitlochry, Stirling, Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Get ready for an educational week of short films covering a range of topics, interest, and themes.

Good for: lovers of the great outdoors.


One of Scotland’s most diverse, cultural events, this film festival covers everything from music, film, art, dance and literature, all whilst raising awareness of mental health. The festival is a truly incredible one to add to your list, and in recent years has grown to be one of the largest festivals of its kind in the world! Stay tuned for more programme information.

Good for: addressing important topics, becoming a community, and raising awareness.

Welcome to Scotland’s International Festival for Young Audiences. This festival will see a host of incredible showings, events, workshops, opening galas and much more to get involved in. Keep an eye on their website for more details releasing soon!

Good for: the young ones.

Back again, this inclusive festival celebrates everything and anything on the queer film festival scene, with a fantastic program of educational events and screenings. Since 2015, this not-for-profit organisation has been showing movies and films that people might not otherwise get a chance to see, as well as creating inspiring and informative events that help to challenge inequalities and barriers.

Good for: diverse culture, and LGBT+ friendly.

Devoted to screening a range of short films from across Edinburgh, this festival is great if you’re looking to scope out local talent. This up-and-coming festival has hosted all sorts of films since 2011, from the first film made in Somalia in 20 years, to Oscar nominated shorts from Australia, the USA and Ireland, as well as short films smuggled out of China and Iran. This festival’s roots are in Edinburgh, but it has showcased film-makers and directors from across the world, including China, Russia, Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and all over the UK.

Good for: the quirky, independent short films.


The Dundee Mountain Film Festival is the UK’s longest continuous running mountain film festival and boasts an impressive showcase of international speakers, award-winning films, and educational exhibitions. Come along for an immersive weekend featuring art exhibitions, photography displays, trade and organisation stands to explore.

Good for: the outdoor enthusiasts!

This annual film festival takes places in Edinburgh and Glasgow for over a week of film screenings, immersive events and more. The AiM festival showcases a whole host of African films and movies whilst catering to a varied and diverse audience from across Scotland and further afield, bringing together like-minded people for a fantastically cultured event.

Good for: culture and diversity.

Dunoon Film Festival prides itself on presenting films in unique ways. Previously showcasing live musical accompaniment, a lively sing-a-long, and a one-of-a-kind immersive tour in previous years, keep your eyes peeled for nothing less than extraordinary.

Good for: those who like a bit of everything.

That was just a taster of the wealth of incredible film festivals Scotland has to offer. Explore more film festivals across Scotland, uncover more of our arts and culture festivals, or book a city break to find out for yourself what all the fuss is about.