Festivals 1 and 2


The Insight Film Festival is a forum for the celebration of filmmaking that focuses on a theme of ‘faith’.

We want to make a contribution to community cohesion by encouraging the making of films about faith and by providing a lively space where those interested in our themes can debate the issues addressed and generated by filmmakers. We think that, more than any other factor, ‘faith’ significantly influences social dynamics, at the level of both local communities and international relations. People from all faith backgrounds and none are eagerly encouraged to join us, to submit entries, and to take part in the Festival to enjoy meeting, review and discussion.

Origin and early achievements

Despite modest beginning and a relatively short history, the Festival has achieved a remarkable success and global interest. The Festival was launched in 2007 as an initiative of religious TV producer John Forrest with the support and encouragement of the Centre for Screen Studies at the University of Manchester, through the involvement of Dr David Butler and other media practitioners. The initial idea was an invitation to make a film about faith, with a prize of £1000.  However, response exceeded expectation and set in motion an amazing journey in the discovery and exhibition of talented filmmakers.

Growth and development

The 1st Insight Festival was held in the Nexus Art Café, Manchester, but moved to the larger community theatre at the Zion Arts Centre (now called ‘Z Arts’) in Hulme for a 2nd Festival in 2009, to meet the growing demand for the event.

Festival 2 was the first to give the Premier Award for the best film at the event. This honour went to the following film:

➤ Who’s Driving the Dreambus? (2009)

➤ Producer/Director/Screenwriter: Boris Jänsch, Baci Films (UK)

➤ Links: Who’s Driving the Dreambus? trailer (02.39), web. Conference, ‘Who’s Driving the Dreambus? LIVE’: web. Boris Jänsch: Linked In

Festival 2 was also the first year that SIGNIS sponsored a prize. The winning film’s details are given below:

➤ What the Gods Want (2009)

➤ Producer/Editor: Nital Mistry (UK)

Links: What the Gods Want film: part 1 (06.42), part 2 (08.22), part 3 (08.22). Nital Mistry: Linked In

In 2011, more than 300 people attended the 3rd Insight Festival, which included the 1st Insight Lecture, delivered by screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce (24 Hour Party People, the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony) and an exclusive screening of the feature film Kinyarwanda.

By the 4th Insight Festival, we had received film entries from over 64 countries.

The Insight Festival mounts and takes part in a number of events during the year.

Here are some of the ways we have reached out to filmmakers and others interested in film  over the last few years.

➤ Screening shortlisted films at BAFTA, the British Screen Academy in London;

➤ Looking In, Looking Out: a series of screenings and discussions at Conway Hall, London, in association with the British Humanist Association (25 June–5 July 2012);

➤ Screening at the Film School of New York University, in association with the Coexist Foundation;

➤ Seminars at the Greenbelt Arts Festival.

If you would like to discuss ways for us to collaborate with your festival or event, please email us at: insightfestival@gmail.com.