Sam Cullis is the visionary founder behind the London Breeze Film Festival

With a career steeped in film education, Sam has dedicated years to fostering and championing new voices,  promoting exceptional filmmaking, and captivating broader audiences.  

A passionate advocate for the art of storytelling, his commitment is evident in the Festival’s ethos – a dedication to nurturing the next generation of filmmakers – striving to engage with communities and young people to inspire creativity and confidence. 

Sam has a profound belief in the transformative power of film and the role it plays in shaping the cultural landscape. 


our story

London Breeze Film Festival has become a beacon for outstanding storytelling, innovation, and the celebration of diverse voices in cinema and Sam's leadership has propelled the festival into a symbol of excellence in the cinematic landscape

2016 - Launch Year

The inaugural Barnes Film Festival launches at the London Wetlands Centre, and the weekend-long festival continues at Olympic Studios. The Youth Filmmaking Competitions for under 25 are environmentally themed, and as part of the Festival there is a charity Thames litter pick. A full programme of features, short films, workshops, panels and talks keep the focus on the future of the planet. 


Opening night at the Old Sorting Office was followed by a screening of Whitney at the Olympic Studios, and a Q&A with director Kevin Macdonald. The Festival featured its first autism-friendly screening, an open-air screening of ET, and the 48-Hour Film Competition was trialled. Other features included workshops, masterclasses, a quiz night,  paddleboarding and a litter pick event.


Highlights of this year included Vanessa Redgrave presenting Song of the Sea, George Mackay introducing Peter Pan, an open air screening of The Greatest Showman, and a Q&A with Steven Moffat, writer of BBC’s Doctor Who and Sherlock. Workshops focused on animation, scriptwriting, short filmmaking, and talks included an insight into the film industry hosted by Film4 executive Sam Lavender. 


Opening night at Olympic Studios was attended by Stanley Tucci, Daniel Battsek and Kate Silverton who were treated to a preview of Judy, ahead of its UK release in October, and an interview with producer David Livingstone. Duran Duran’s Roger Taylor DJed the end-of-evening party. 2019 saw the start of year-round events Let Those Voices Roar - Inspirational women in film, LGBTQ filmmakers' panel. This was the first year of our feature and documentary competitions, the Impact Producing programme, and the Grassroots Initiative. We also hosted invitational screenings of the London Short Film Festival and the Aegean Film Festival program. There was an open-air screening of Bohemian Rhapsody, as well as workshops, masterclasses, and youth filmmaking competitions.


Barnes Film Festival is now a week-long event, and was one of the first film festivals to host an online-only edition. Highlights included interviews with George Mackay, John Boorman, Vanessa Redgrave, James Graham and Malcolm Macdowell. Featured films expanded from UK-based to International, with submissions in categories including documentary, fiction and animation from all over the world. This year saw new collaborations with The Guardian, The Whickers Documentary Group, and Oska Bright - the world’s leading learning disability film festival. A networking event was established in collaboration with Festival Formula, as well as the first collaboration with BAFTA Albert - the authority on environmental sustainability for the film and TV industries.


We achieved BIFA qualifying status. With Covid rules still in place, this year’s Festival was a hybrid event, and the opening night screening of Limbo, along with a Q&A with director Ben Sharrock, was shown in collaboration with Mubi and the Film and TV Charity. The Festival programme included interviews with Will Poulter, Isobel Waller-Bridge, Bastille’s Dan Smith, and Artistic Director of The Whickers, Jane Ray. This year saw the introduction of the Pitching Masterclass, as well as Earthrise founder Jack Harries’ interview with Waterbear CEO Sam Sutaria about responsible filmmaking. We also collaborated with the Iraqi Film Institute, David Lynch presented transcendental meditation, and Closing Night at Riverside Studios featured 2020 Feature Fiction winner Granada Nights. Year-round events included ‘A Love Letter to the Big Screen’ with guests Edgar Wright and Tom Holland.


In our 7th year the number of short film entries surpassed 500. Panels included gaming for the first time, using motion capture technology and horror filming techniques to create an immersive horror-filled experience for players. We added the Cinema in the Powerstation to our list of venues. Year-round events included a sold-out preview of Oscar shorts finalists. 


2023 saw our final edition as Barnes Film Festival with a scaled down programme Closing awards were held at Olympic Studios. Sam Cullis introduced the rebrand to this year's finalists and winners. Maythem Ridha was named as Artistic Director and announced a 5-year vision for London Breeze. 

Ashley Breeze (1981-2022) is remembered with a purpose of inspiring the next generation of filmmakers submitting for London Breeze.

Barnes Film Festival becomes London Breeze with its official launch at Battersea Powerstation inviting back filmmakers from the past eight years to celebrate.

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