Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival


LEFFEST – Lisboa Film Festival, FROM 10th to 19th NOVEMBER 2023

The LEFFEST 17th Edition will take place from the 10th to the 19th of November 2023 in Lisbon and carries the support of the municipality (CML), unanimously approved at a town hall meeting. 

From this year on, LEFFEST will be based in Lisbon city. We are preparing a great edition that we will reveal in late summer, advancing now that this year’s special program will be: “Artificial Intelligent and Creation: Reflections of a Totalitarian Nightmare?”, which will bring together world-renowned filmmakers, scriptwriters, writers, artists, philosophers, and experts. 

Founded in 2007 by Paulo Branco, LEFFEST has established itself as Portugal’s major reference festival and “one of the world’s most amazing festivals”, as stated by Jonathan Demme or Jim Jarmusch, and, over a decade and a half, brought to our country the greatest names in cinema, literature, music and others arts, and remarkable personalities of the global culture, who gather here over 10 days and share their work with the public. The directors Francis Ford Coppola, David Lynch, Wim Wenders, David Cronemberg, Wes Anderson, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jonathan Demme, Pedro Almodóvar, Agnès Varda, Abbas Kiarostami, Raúl Ruiz, James Gray, Lucrécia Martel, the Dardenne’s brothers, Victor Erice, Charles Burnett, Christian Petzold…; the actors Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert, John Malkovich, Viggo Mortensen, Willem Dafoe, Gérard Depardieu, Robert Pattinson, Fanny Ardant, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Wagner Moura, Monica Bellucci, Mathieu Amalric, Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Louis Garrel, Laetitia Casta…;  the pianists  Martha Argerich, Stephen Kovacevich, Alfred Brendel, Piotr Anderszevski, Momo Kodama…; the Literature Nobel Prizes J.M. Coetzee and Peter Handke, and also Don DeLillo, Adonis, John Berger, Pascal Quignard, Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt, Hanif Kureishi, Jonathan Littel, Ron Padget, Juan Goytisolo, Enrique Vila-Matas…; the artists Nan Goldin, Douglas Gordon, Miquel Barceló, Cindy Sherman, Sophie Calle, Cristina Iglesias, Philippe Parreno…; the musicians Gidon Kremer, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, David Byrne…; the  composers Gyia Kancheli and Alexandre Desplat; the fashion designer Emanuel Ungaro, the mathematician Cédric Villani, the activist and writer Angela Davis, among many others, participated in the various editions of the festival, accompanied their works and discussed them with the public. That’s one of the LEFFEST’s distinctions, rare and practically unique in the world: the spectator’s access to the great names in cinema and in the arts, to a diverse range of filmmakers, actors, artists, writers, and musicians.  Because of all this, major names in world cinema have referred to LEFFEST as one of their favourite festivals: 

Win Wenders: “In a festival like LEFFEST, where the venues fill up and people have a celebratory experience of something that binds them together. […] Cinema still has the ability to bring us together”.

Emir Kusturica “I chose to come to LEFFEST and refuse all the other festivals. This shows what I think of the Portuguese public… I like talking to the Portuguese. We have an emotional and intellectual connection.”  Jim Jarmusch: “Everyone that I know, and friends who came here have been telling for years “This is one of the most fantastic festivals and places.” […] I’m very happy to be here. It’s an extraordinary festival, with many people being honoured, with retrospectives of Godard, Kusturica, Skolimowski, and Pascal Bonitzer. Twice, I was able to sit down and talk with Jean-Pierre Léaud. For me, it’s like a dream that came true. And there are so many wonderful people here, it’s fantastic. This whole atmosphere is a celebration of the joy of cinema, of its beauty.”

Ildikó Enyedi (winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin Festival and member of the jury at Venice, Berlin, Cannes and LEFFEST): “Paulo Branco has managed to think of an extraordinary film festival concept. We all had wonderful conversations and shared our experiences.  Being with all those artists, going to concerts, going to exhibitions, did us so much good. Filmmakers need not be so isolated in their cinema”.

Nobel Prize in Literature J.M. Coetzee writes about the moments he lived in LEFFEST in the book he signs with Paul Auster “Here and Now 2008-2011”, an edition of their correspondence. And both have returned to LEFFEST on other occasions to share readings with the public. Also, the writer Enrique Vila-Matas writes on several occasions in the Spanish press about the extraordinary experiences at LEFFEST and mentions them in some of his books. 

In their interviews during the Venice film festival and after, to publications all over the world, about the premiere of the film All the Beauty and the Bloodshed – Toda a Beleza e a Carnificina (which would come to win the festival’s Golden Lion and be nominated for the Oscars in the Best Documentary category) photographer Nan Goldin and director Laura Poitras mentions that it was at LEFFEST that their meeting happened, in 2014. When they first met here, Nan Goldin was president of the jury and Poitras came to present the documentary Citizenfour and participate in an international symposium. The festival is also that international meeting place for creators, where many projects have been born.
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