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7 Big Film Festivals You Have To Go To If You’re A Film Lover

4 Comments - By Vesper Black

How much do you love your films? Well, if you’re just an avid film buff then a film festival may not be your scene, but if you’re a director, producer, investor or serious film fan that finds themselves on every red carpet premier, a film festival may be very interesting to you.

Here’s a list of the most popular film festivals around the world, both indie and mainstream to give you a broader understanding of what to expect.

London Film Festival (BFI)

Back in 1956 film critic Dilys Powell thought that London should have their own festival. He and the British Film Institute’s director James Quinn created the London Film Festival. Cinema greats like Ingmar Berman and Luchino Visconti walked the red carpet to view the roster of fifteen films.

Today over 50 countries participate with as many as 300 films featured during the festival which takes place in October. BFI attracts film fans, directors, writers and producers with over 150,000 people in attendance. You can expect to see small documentaries and experimental films.

Sundance Film Festival

Most people think that Redford founded Sundance, but it was actually a vision of Sterling van Wegener who was a cousin of Redford’s former wife. Robert Redford agreed to come on board as the festivals first chairman. Film buffs love to attend almost as much as the rich and famous.

Every January thousands of lovers of the silver screen head to Utah to watch American and International short and feature-length films created by independent producers. In 2011 over 50,000 were in attendance.

Raindance Film Festival

Operating from cities around the world which include Toronto, Budapest, Brussels, New York, London, Berlin and Montreal the Raindance film festival is a school and festival that runs independently and showcases the best films produced by independent and first time film makers.

Back in 1992 Elliot Grove came up with the festival to help extend school activities. Although it is a smaller festival it is responsible for premiering The Blair Witch Project and War Games: At the End of the Day.

Cannes Film Festival

Most people have heard of the Cannes film festival which attracts film makers from all over the world. The films that win the awards are usually heralded as future academy award winners. Concieved in 1939 it was intended to be an alternative to the Venice film festival which was highly influenced by the Fascist movement.

This annual event has been attracting A-listers from around the world since 1949 when Tyrone Power and Norma Shearer walked down the red carpet. Running for 12 days in April more than 200,000 people flock to Cannes to watch and review films from all genres.

Berlin Film Festival

This festival was founded in 1951 and every February previews up to 400 films that hope to capture a world-wide audience. Over 120 countries participate and the Berlin festival is attended by 4,000 journalists and as many as 19,000 film professionals. The Berlinale Festival is attended by more members of the public than any other festival in the world.

Madrid Film Festival

Each year in June, hundreds of small independent and large studio producers flock to Madrid for the annual Film festival which is open to all genres. Although Spain has over 40 festivals the most popular is held in Madrid each November. The Alcine Film Festival is one of the oldest short film festivals in Europe.

When it first began in 1983 it was specifically created for short film directors and producers, but for the past few years it has showcased full-length features and documentary films.

Toronto Film Festival

The Toronto International Film Festival, known as TIFF, is held in Canada every September. Since 1976 film producers and directors have headed to the capital of Ontario to showcase their independent and feature length films. In the last thirty years it has become one of the most prestigious festivals in the world.

The majority of films that are shown at the festival go on to become global hits worthy of Oscar buzz. Over 300,000 people attend each year to watch more than 300 films from 59 countries. Tiff was originally created as a place to highlight the best films from festivals all over the globe.

So there you have it, the most popular and well known film festivals.

Have you been to any this year, or plan to go next year?

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Vesper Black

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4 Comments so far
  1. Elliot Grove

    Wow – it’s a real honour to be included on this list of excellent film festivals. Thanks for thinking of Raindance

    Saturday 24th December 2011, 2:06 pm Reply
    • Vesper Black

      Hey Elliot,

      Our pleasure, Raindance is a fantastic festival.

      VB Team

      Monday 26th December 2011, 3:13 pm Reply
  2. Drew Cullingham

    amen to that – Raindance rocks!

    Saturday 7th January 2012, 12:22 am Reply
  3. Vesper Black

    Was at Raindance HQ today near Embankment and saw some really cool stuff coming along with great courses and young hungry film makers. Great Work

    Monday 12th November 2012, 11:54 pm Reply
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