The red carpet was rolled out for  Bolton International Film Festival.

Staged at The Light Cinema, the festival, which runs until Sunday, will be showcasing 300 short films across the week.

The opening night on Wednesday attracted film buffs and industry experts.

Over recent years, Bolton has provided the backdrop for major productions including Peaky Blinders, Happy Valley, and It’s a Sin.

Adrian Barber, the festival director, said: “It’s been amazing and has been hard to find a spare seat and even right now, it could not have gone any better considering there is a rail strike as well.

“We have had universities come from far and wide and people flying in from Chile, Austin, Seattle, Poland and all sorts of places.

The Bolton News:

“It’s like a buffet of film really and there is something on the table for everybody with mainstream, documentary and horror.”

Building on Bolton's reputation of being Hollywood of the North, the festival is now in its seventh year.

One documentary filmmaker had travelled from Edinburgh to attend the event with three of his films being shown.

The Bolton News: Duncan CowlesDuncan Cowles (Image: Public)

One of Duncan Cowles' film is a ‘sigh scape’ a one minute long seascapes around the UK but where Duncan sighs over the top of it to give it some humour.

The second is ‘Desire Lines’ which shows shortcut paths people take in Edinburgh and what this means for humanity if humans are taking the path of least resistance.

While the third film is called ‘Outlets’ about the grief while losing his own nan.

Duncan  said: “The sigh-scapes one I was just at the beach, and I was probably sighing while filming and thought it was funny so filmed it and made it into a film.

“Desire Lines, I walk around the areas a lot so that’s why I filmed it.

“And when my grandma died, it was because I did not want to make any of them and I was resisting it because it felt like it was not the right thing to do but everything else I tried to do just kept coming back to her, so I did it.”

Comedian Joe Lycett will also be in attendance this week.

Bolton Council is a major sponsor and supporter of the festival, which is accredited by both the BIFA and BAFTA.

Alongside short films there will be industry workshops, masterclasses and Q&As offering invaluable insights for anyone looking for a career in filmmaking.

Officers from Bolton Council will be taking part to explain how the borough has become one of the most popular filming locations in the country.

Cllr Nadeem Ayub the council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, a new position created to reflect the growing importance of Bolton’s cultural offer, said: “Our cultural offer is a huge part of what makes Bolton special, and it will play a major role in attracting more people and businesses to the town as our regeneration programme continues.

“Bolton International Film Festival is a great example of this, as a significant cultural event in its own right but one that also serves to highlight and enhance local creative talent.

The Bolton News: Peaky BlindersPeaky Blinders

“The council is proud to support the festival, which has become a popular fixture in our annual events calendar.


“Bolton’s success as a film location is a direct result of the council’s work to build relationships with the industry, bringing both big names and major investment to our town.”


Adrian added: “Recent successes like ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ highlight the magic that cinema can have, uniting audiences in a shared experience.


“But it's not just about what's on screen; Bolton's rich cinematic history, from classics such as ‘Spring and Port Wine’ to more recent success stories such as ‘It's a Sin’, ‘Peaky Blinders’ or the upcoming Ewan McGregor series ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ all contribute to our cultural tapestry and our local economy.


“For example, the locations featured in ‘Happy Valley’ saw ‘film tourists’ visiting the Amico Cafe on the back of the series, many of the hotels in the area benefit from crew and actors staying with them, and any rising talent in the area have the potential to find roles in films or step into careers behind the camera.


“We'll be focusing on these success stories and the film locations in Bolton in our industry session ‘Location, Location, Location’ on Friday October 6 at Bolton Film Festival. Just one of many industry sessions taking place across the festival."