MINT Chinese Film Festival

MINT Chinese Film Festival


The MINT Chinese Film Festival, established in 2023 by film curator Yixiang Shirley Lin and Alhambra co-owner Carol Rennie, brings independent Chinese films from around the world to the lovely Lake District, with a focus on cross-cultural communication, supporting women filmmakers and artists, and presenting underrepresented voices, images and stories.

See the Mint Chinese Film Festival homepage for more detail.

We are offering 'MINT CFF on tour,' so do contact us on if you are interested in screenings of carefully curated and selected 'cinemas of the sinosphere'.

The inagural 3-5 February 2023 Chinese New Year film extravanganza saw over 200 individuals generate 900 admissions to 18 events at the Alhambra Cinema, with an additional 50 or so participating in a Chinese Craft session put on by the Lancaster Confucius Institute at Keswick Museum. 130 of the 146 Festival Pass holders were Chinese participants who had travelled from cities including Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Lancaster, York, Durham, St Andrews and Southampton. "I loved the small-town atmosphere in Keswick - it reminded me of Cannes - participants didn't get lost once they stepped outside the venue, they could identify each other in the streets, and meet and mix in all the lovely cafes and shops close to the cinema" said  MINT co-curator Xiyun Simyun Li. "For me, this is part of a drive for sustainable tourism in the Lake District" says Carol Rennie. "The Keswick Tourist Association, which generously sponsored our event, is keen to attract Chinese visitors. How much better to tap into the 200,000 Chinese students already in the UK, rather than seek to attract them from abroad. Our event brought over 300 overnight stays to Keswick this weekend, with perhaps three or four cars maximum: our participants primarily used public transport to get here."

The second, 1-4 February 2024 edition saw over 250 individuals generate 1000 admissions to 14 feature-length films, 17 short films, two panel discussions and a pop-up photography exhibition at the cinema. For the local community, the Theatre by the Lake loaned a dragon for a procession around Fitz Park from Keswick Museum, local Chinese mums ran Chinese crafting sessions with over 100 youngsters, and Keswick Methodist church hosted a tai chi session courtesy of Lancaster Confucius Institute, as well as a traditional gu zheng and dance performance.

Besides being a forum for showcasing the best of carefully curated new Chinese films on release, the MINT Chinese Film Festival hosts a film competition, and features a few retro internationally-famous 'classics' to make the festival more accessible to those without particular interest in or knowledge of Chinese film.