Forbidden Worlds Film Festival is returning later this year

Forbidden Worlds Film Festival is returning later this year

Posted on: 10 Mar 2023

Returning in May, Forbidden Worlds is dedicated to screening fantasy, action, science fiction and horror films from around the world at one of Bristol’s most stunning cinemas.


Forbidden Worlds Film Festival takes place at the former Bristol IMAX Cinema between Thursday 18 and Sunday 21 May 2023.


With the inaugural event taking place last year, the three-day event saw a diverse line-up of 80s cult classics, including screenings of Ridley Scott’s science fiction masterpiece Blade Runner and the post-apocalyptic action classic, Mad Max 2.


More information can be found on the Forbidden Worlds website.



Organised by much loved Bristol video shop 20th Century Flicks, Forbidden Worlds Film Festival debuted last year, screening a selection of alternative fantasy, action, and science fiction films from all over the world.


The 2022 edition of the festival saw a diverse range of movies from 1982 - the year 20th Century Flicks was conceived – put up on the big screen at the former Bristol IMAX. Some of the films screened included Dracula A.D. 1972, Mad Max 2, Poltergeist, Dark Crystal and Blade Runner.


Now swallowed up by Bristol Aquarium, Bristol IMAX originally opened back in 2001, boasting a massive 19m x 15m screen. The cinema was made dormant in 2007, however, was reopened last year for the inaugural Forbidden Worlds and has been used semi-regularly ever since - including a special Halloween edition of the festival.

Back in December, we sat down with 20th Century Flicks’ Dave Taylor who explained to us the festival’s origins: 


“The Forbidden Worlds thing – especially the Big Scream – I was very much a peripheral figure in that. The reason for doing Forbidden Worlds Film Festival was sort of to have a party for Flicks’ 40th. But also, Ti, who I’d been working with quite a lot, really wanted an excuse to have a genre film festival. So that ticked those boxes.”


On the former IMAX as a space, Dave told us: “The aquarium were using it as a hire space for corporate things but they hadn’t ever really used the screen or the sound system for about 12 or 14 years. It’d been lying dormant there – this multimillion-pound setup – because IMAX left and abandoned it all. 


“They basically wrote it off, all the kit. The film projector is like the size of a car, it’s this huge ornament in the projection room. We bought a projector that will almost fill the screen – it looks really good.” Read the full conversation between Dave and Patrick here.

Forbidden Worlds Film Festival 2023 takes place at the former Bristol IMAX Cinema between Thursday 18 and Sunday 21 May. For more information and updates on this year’s programme of films, visit the festival website.

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Article by:

Stanley Gray

Stan is a born and bred Bristolian, recently graduated from studying English Literature in Sheffield. His passions are music and literature and spends the majority of his time in venues all over the city immersing himself in Bristol’s alternative music scene. A lifelong Bristol City fan, Stan’s Saturday’s are spent watching his team both home and away.