Drama, comedy, horror, or even animation, everyone has their favorite film genre and I refuse to believe anyone who says they don’t like cinema. From the late 1870s, society started to hear about films and soon film production companies started to appear all over the world. Then, a little later, film festivals arrived, the first one appearing in 1932, in Italy.
A film festival is probably one of the most recognized and loved types of events around the world, presenting and honoring the creative work of so many people in the industry. Giving the opportunity of a sneak peek on the upcoming films worldwide, some festivals are specific to a single genre, others exclusively on short films. In all of this, these festivals give the chance to independent filmmakers to show their work. Today, let’s talk about some of the best ones.
Organized by the Sundance Institute, since 1978, it takes place in Park City, Utah, Salt Lake City, every January. The founder, actor, and director, Robert Redford, started this festival as a way to discover new talent and ended up creating one of the most influential and famous film festivals in the US.
Keeping up with the initial idea of finding new talent, this festival keeps the focus on independent films, from different genres like drama, documentary, horror, comedy, and a few more. It not only takes into account full-length films, but also short ones, and since its beginning, this festival has been growing, having a record of 14,259 submissions, in one year. Usually, less than 200 are chosen to be part of the festival, while winning an award at Sundance can be the real boost for a filmmaker’s career. Between many winners in the past editions, some got amazing recognition, like “500 Days of Summer”, “Get Out”, and even, “Call Me by Your Name”.
Part of the “big five”, Cannes Film Festival is an internationally acclaimed and one of the most glamorous events of the year, after the Academy Awards. Founded in 1938, this event came to life when the French minister of national education decided to create an international cinematographic festival. The most exclusive film event in the world can only be accessed through an invitation, even though a lot of people fly to Cannes in May to see all the artistic atmosphere around the city. Every year, hundreds of films are submitted, but only 50 features and 30 short films are shown in the competition, and winning the Palm d’Or, one of the biggest awards in the cinematographic world, can be a one-way ticket to worldwide stardom. Some films that passed the Cannes test with recognition are now known by everyone around the world, like “Dirty Dancing”, “E.T”, and “Pulp Fiction”.
The World’s oldest film competition, Venice Film Festival, or by its original name, “Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica della Biennale di Venezia, was brought to life in 1932, as part of the Venice Biennale – an art exhibition, responsible for events dedicated to dance, music, architecture, among others. Contrary to the Cannes film festival, this one is open to the public, and anyone can purchase a ticket to a session or even a pass to the whole event.
Like any film festival, Venice has its own award, the Golden Lion, and, in recent years, the festival has shown greatly acclaimed films that ended up shining at the Academy Awards, even some that won the Golden Lion, like “The Shape of Water”.
The Slamdance Film Festival takes place in Park City, Utah. It all began in 1995 when the founders were unsuccessful after submitting their project to the Sundance film festival, so they decided to create another one, where the main focus was on independent films with low budgets that usually are not picked or noticed in bigger festivals, giving a boost to new and emerging artists, from all around the world. Not only it helps artists but also discovers new talents we all know, like the Russo brothers, Christopher Nolen, Marc Forster, and many, many more. Speaking of the talents it brought, it also showed films like “Paranormal Activity”, and “The King of Kong”.
Last, but not least, the Berlin International Film Festival, also known as Berlinale, first appeared in 1951, in Berlin. In Venice we have the Golden Lion, here we have the Golden Bear, but there’s also the Silver Bear. Considered one of the most important festivals, it also takes part in the “Big Five”. It’s probably the one that screens the biggest number of movies, going for 400 films, each year. It also happens around the same time as the “European Film Market”, a trade meeting in the film industry, allowing hundreds of people in the cinema business to connect, trade, buy films, and even learn more about the trends.
And the Award Goes to…
What would be your dream film festival to attend? They all seem to be so amazing and filled with glamour and art. I challenge you to choose one of the most prized films at any of these festivals and watch it, and later tell me in the comment if it’s worth it. Thank you for reading!