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Festival history

2023 marks the 34th edition of Liffe – the Ljubljana International Film Festival. For a number of years, the festival has featured the finest specimens of world cinema and winners of the most prominent festivals (Cannes, Rotterdam, Berlin, Venice, etc.) while bringing into spotlight the greatest achievements of national cinema. The number of its loyal audiences (between 44,000 and 50,000 visitors each year) has been increasing since the festival’s establishment in 1990. Liffe was founded by Jelka Stergel, its director of 17 years. Since March 2007, Simon Popek, an established film critic and publicist, and director of the film programme at Cankarjev dom, has served as Liffe’s Festival Director.

The festival’s aim is to encourage and promote young and emerging artists, predominantly European filmmakers, and bring them into dialogue with Slovenian audiences. Several awards are presented every year (Kingfisher Award for best young filmmaker; Best Short Film; Audience Award; FIPRESCI Prize). In recent years, applying digital innovation and educational programmes for young audiences have been important components of the festival whose mission remains the education of different age groups.

Liffe takes place at six venues in Ljubljana (Cankarjev dom’s Linhart and Kosovel Halls, Kinodvor, UL AGRFT Hall, the Slovenian Cinematheque and Kino Bežigrad). With venues across Slovenia (Maribox Maribor, Anton Podbevšek Teater Novo mesto and Union Celje Cinema), the festival addresses and remains accessible to audiences outside the Slovenian capital. 
In 1992, the International Association of Film Producers – FIAPF granted a licence to Film Art Fest, which was renamed the International Film Festival in 1996, and in 1998 acquired its current name, Liffe (Ljubljana International Film Festival). This license confirms that the festival has fulfilled all the conditions for its inclusion on the official list of global film festivals. 

Since its beginning, the festival’s producer has been Cankarjev dom, Cultural and Congress Centre Ljubljana, whose programme is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.

Featuring a hand-picked selection of the world’s greatest achievements in cinema, including winners of pre-eminent festivals (Cannes, Rotterdam, Berlin, Locarno, Venice, etc.), the 34th Liffe will turn Ljubljana into a film hub for a period of twelve days. The variegated accompanying programme includes talks with festival guests and filmmakers, as well as round tables and workshops.  

Aimed at both film enthusiasts and everyone keen on getting an insight into international cinematography, Liffe caters for all age groups.