5 Festive Film Events 2021

Get into the Christmas spirit with ASFF’s recommendations for film-related festive events. There’s nothing more magical than seeing movies on the big screen at Christmas with your loved ones around you, and these family-friendly screenings will get you in the mood for the holiday season.

The Luna Cinema

One of the best pop-up cinemas around, the Luna Cinema is showing a whole selection of festive favourites in two fantastic London locations – Kensington Palace and the Battersea Arts Centre. With films shown more than once, there’s a Christmas movie from everyone, from Muppet Christmas Carol, The Holiday and The Greatest Showman to Die Hard, which everyone knows is the best Christmas movie ever, right?

Holmfirth Film Festival

Supported by the British Film Institute, the Holmfirth Film Festival, in West Yorkshire, has plenty of films to enjoy including this year’s Oscar-friendly Minari. But for those craving the Yuletide experience, there’s a rare chance to see Bob Clareks’ 1983 comedy A Christmas Story on the big screen. Based on the book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, Peter Billingsley plays Ralphie, a young boy who tries to convince his teacher, his parents and even Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun is the ideal Christmas gift.

Backyard Cinema’s Christmas Movie Spectacular

Based at the Troxy in East London, a beautiful Art Deco venue where Secret Cinema used to host its events, this mixture of movie magic and live entertainment gives audiences the opportunity to choose from three films – Love Actually, Elf and Home Alone – which are all playing on multiple dates across December. Alongside each of these Christmas staples will be a live choir and an original story read by award-winning wordsmith George the poet. Guaranteed to bring the festive cheer. 

The Snowman at York Minster

The animated classic, based on Raymond Briggs’ timeless tale of a boy and the snowman who takes him “walking in the air”, is coming to York Minster in Aesthetica’s home town. Playing three times across 11 December, families will get a chance to enjoy this remarkable Christmas perennial in possibly the most splendid surroundings you’ll ever watch a film in. And let’s face it, the chance to hear Aled Jones’ singing on the soundtrack, given the acoustics of the Minster, is not to be missed.

Christmas City

For those living near Manchester, Christmas City offers the full-on Yuletide experience. It’s even Covid-safe, with the chance to either watch movies from the comfort of one of the Christmas ‘pods’ available or your own car, if you prefer the drive-in experience. There are lots of kids’ movies, like Frozen, on offer, but also some alternative Christmas classics, like the brilliant Gremlins. For the so-inclined, there’s even a candy cane forest and Christmas karaoke. 


James Mottram