The UK's renowned British Urban Film Festival (BUFF), known for its celebration of independent urban cinema, is set to make its historic debut beyond London's borders. The festival will kick off with an exciting opening weekend in Leeds on October 14 and 15, marking its first-ever presence outside of the capital. It will then continue in Halifax on October 16, culminating in a grand awards ceremony at Dean Clough in Halifax on October 20.
This expansion comes as a result of a proposal made following last year's festival at Rich Mix in East London. The proposition was to host BUFF as part of West Yorkshire's year of cultural celebrations in Leeds (in 2023) and Calderdale (in 2024). The collaboration was facilitated by Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, Sarah Richardson, Assistant Director Customer Services for Calderdale Council, Bobsie Robinson, Cultural Services Manager for Calderdale Council, and BUFF co-chairs, Clare & Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe.
BUFF has been a cornerstone of urban filmmaking for the past 18 years, earning recognition from prestigious institutions like BAFTA, the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival, the British Independent Film Awards, and the African Movie Academy Awards. In addition to Leeds and Hebden Bridge, Halifax, situated in Calderdale, will now host BUFF's weekday film schedule, concluding with the prestigious awards ceremony at Crossley Gallery in Dean Clough Mills.
Calderdale Council's Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Cllr Jenny Lynn, expressed pride in supporting BUFF during its 18th year and welcoming it to West Yorkshire. She highlighted the importance of inclusion and culture in bringing diverse communities together.
Lynn stated; “We are proud to be supporting the British Urban Film Festival (BUFF) in its 18th year, as it moves its operations from London to West Yorkshire. We're excited to welcome the BAFTA-accredited festival to Calderdale in the runup to our landmark Year of Culture 2024, and at a time when our national profile as a filming destination is going from strength to strength. Inclusion is really important to us – we want all our diverse communities to enjoy culture. BUFF is a beacon for uniting people through film, and will draw audiences from all backgrounds to explore modern stories in Halifax and the wider region.”
Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, noted the thriving creative industries in the region and the festival's potential to provide an inspiring experience for both local communities and visitors.
Brabin said; “West Yorkshire's creative industries are thriving, with more and more organisations recognising that this is the place to be. I'm thrilled that this amazing film festival is heading north, giving visitors a chance to explore our magnificent region. This will provide an inspirational experience for those in our communities and beyond, as we build a stronger, brighter region that works for all.”
Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe, co-chair and founder of the British Urban Film Festival, expressed excitement about BUFF's expansion and the opportunities it holds as it approaches its 20th anniversary in 2025.
“As a proud parent, it's great to see something that you give birth to, flourishing and maturing with every passing year and after 18 years, BUFF is finally spreading its wings and starting a new life away from the nation's capital. I'm excited to see what lies in store for the film festival as it approaches its 20th birthday in 2025,” Anyiam-Osigwe disclosed.