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Lists of the most important film festivals – part 1
Being a filmmaker you eventually get to the point where you have your film ready and are beginning to think how to show it to the world.
As you already know from our previous articles and deliberations, about the filmmaking process, one of the best possible ways to get both you and your film noticed is to get into a film festival. But getting to just any given festival may not bring you what you want. That is why we strongly advise you to divide all the festivals into different categories, in relation to the importance of the festivals.
The first category you should create is the so called A-list film festivals. These festivals are the biggest, the oldest and/or the most important and the most respected in the film world. Being qualified for one of them will certainly make your life as a filmmaker easier. Even if your film does not succeed at the festival, it will certainly matter at some point in the future that your film was chosen to be screened at one of the A-list film festivals.
It should go without saying, in case you haven’t read the previous articles that the most respected film festivals are: Cannes, Berlin and Venice. Of course, we understand, that it is far from being easy to get to one of these three, but that should not put you off trying. However, our suggestion would be to perhaps start off a little less high profile than main stream. You should instead aim for one of the many independent film festivals, and of these the biggest independent film events on the planet are: Sundance, SXSW or NYIIFVF, to where (in theory at least)it should be easier to get to. Being noticed at one of them can be a great boost for your filmmaking career
To make it a little bit easier for you, we have divided the festivals, that are considered to be A-list, into two groups: for Feature films and for Short films. Obviously, all of the “Feature films” festivals also screen shorts and some of the “Short films” festivals have pretty important and considerably well-known feature sections. On the other hand some festivals from the “Short” list tend to be more specific like BILBAO INT’L FESTIVAL OF DOCUMENTARY & SHORT FILMS specializing in documentaries and shorts or CINANIMA INT’L ANIMATION FILM FESTIVAL where the main purpose is the promotion and appreciation of animations.
Some of you may writhe that we chose some festivals and ignore the others. However as every list this one also has its limitations. We have therefore chosen to give 20 events in each sub-list, which adds up to 40 film festivals in total and on top of this we are also highlighting the five annual awards ceremonies that we see as the most prestigious in the world. We realize that you could probably think of some festivals or awards that we didn’t include but most of them would be in the USA or Europe and we also wanted to be geographically correct so every Bulletfilm user, no matter where on the planet they live and work, could use the list for their own purposes. And as much as the universal film language is and your origin may not necessarily matter for your success, though it should be pointed out that it’s probably easiest to win over your home audience first.
Anyway, feel free to search through our film festivals database using any search criteria you like but if you appreciate your time, below is our list of the festivals that we think you should consider at first.
Cannes International Film Festival - The Festival de Cannes is the most important film event in the world, with more than 4,000 journalists among the 30,000 accreditees, representing the entire spectrum of the motion-picture industry.
Venice Film Festival – One of the most prominent festivals in the world. The aim of the Festival is to raise awareness and promote all the various aspects of international cinema in all its forms: as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and tolerance
Berlin International Film Festival - The Berlinale – not only the city’s largest cultural event, but also one of the most important dates on the international film industry’s calendar. More than 19,000 film professionals from 120 countries, including 4,000 journalists, are accredited for the Berlin International Film Festival every year. The Berlinale is truly a mega event. At the same time, it is a festival of encounters and discussions.
Sundance Film Festival – The oldest and the most respected independent film festival held annually in Park City, Utah by the Sundance Institute.
Locarno International Film Festival – Throughout its history the Locarno International Film Festival has occupied a unique position in the landscape of the major film festivals. Every August, around 180,000 cinema-goers, 1,100 journalists, and 3,400 professionals converge on the small Swiss-Italian town of Locarno, right in the heart of Europe, which becomes the world capital of auteur cinema for eleven days.
Toronto International Film Festival – The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) ranks among the most prestigious international film festivals in the world. For ten days, film lovers, filmmakers, industry professionals and media watch the best in new cinema from established the masters and new talent.
International Film Festival Rotterdam – The International Film Festival Rotterdam offers a quality selection of worldwide independent, innovative and experimental cinema and visual arts. Devoted to offering a platform to and actively supporting independent filmmaking from around the globe, The International Film Festival Rotterdam is the essential hub for discovering film talent and for catching the early buzz on many world and international premieres.
European Film Festival – The European Film Festival’s mission to bring quality international independent film to the widest possible audience in Europe and beyond. The Festival aims to provide a cultural alternative to the commercial film experience, to support independent filmmakers, and promote the art of filmmaking.
The Times BFI Film Festival – The Times BFI London Film Festival showcases the best new films from around the world, in London. The London Film Festival has as its objective the promotion of cinematographic art by presenting films of quality. Although it’s not a competitive event, it is the perfect event to be seen and watched at.
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival – The Karlovy Vary IFF is the most important international film festival of Category A in Central and Eastern Europe and the only festival of Category A in the Czech Republic. The concept of the Karlovy Vary IFF is based on the advantageous geopolitical location of the Czech Republic on the border between Eastern and Western Europe. The festival is open to the public and is visited by thousands of young people.
International Film Festival of Cartagena de Indias, FICCI – By their nature, as defined in the seventies, the festival promotes cultural diversity, promote and carry out the exhibition of works by Latin American and Caribbean countries, the largest reception and discussion of the works, stories, trends and achievements of the cinema national part of the world mean that the work itself, artistic identity of the participating countries.
Los Angeles Film Festival – The Los Angeles Film Festival is widely recognized as a world-class event, showcasing the best in new American and international cinema and providing the movie-loving public with access to some of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers, film industry professionals, and emerging talent from around the world.
South by Southwest Film Conference & Festival – The SXSW Film Conference and Festival is a uniquely creative environment featuring the dynamic convergence of talent, smart audiences and industry heavyweights. A hotbed of discovery and interactivity, the event offers lucrative networking opportunities and immersion into the art and business of the rapidly evolving world of independent film.
Sydney Film Festival – Sydney Film Festival is New South Wales’ pre-eminent showcase for contemporary cinema from Australia and around the world. Established in 1954, the Sydney Film Festival is a major cultural event on the city’s social calendar and one of the world’s longest running film festivals.
Donostia – San Sebastian International Film Festival – The Donostia – San Sebastián International Film Festival endeavours to promote better understanding between peoples and to boost development of the film industry and culture.
Tokyo International Film Festival – TIFF Competition has been the door to international success for unknown brilliant talents, such as Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Aki Kaurismaki, Tsai Ming-liang, etc… as well as a stage to present the latest works of prestigious directors as world premieres.
Viennale – Vienna International Film Festival - The Viennale is Austria’s most important international film event, as well as one of the oldest and best-known festivals in the German-speaking world. A high percentage of the more than 90,000 visitors to the festival from Austria and abroad is made up of a decidedly young audience.
ECU: The European Independent Film Festival – The European Independent Film Festival 2010 (ÉCU 2010) continues its commitment of being at the centre of discovery, promotion and projection of the very best independent filmmaking talent from around the world.
Mumbai International Film Festival – Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films (MIFF), is one of the biggest and the most respected festivals not only in India but on the whole Asian sub-continent.
Click here to read part 2
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