Every film buff will know how much of a big deal film festivals are. They always offer a good range of new films which are usually guaranteed to be worth watching.
If you’re relatively new in the film festival circuit, however, the sheer amount of these events may be a bit overwhelming. There are so many of them to keep up even if the big ones aren’t scheduled on the same dates.
Which ones are worth paying attention to and why should you really bother about them? Here’s a quick rundown of these events that will help you get to know the film industry better:
Cannes Film Festival
Originally known as the International Film Festival, the Cannes Film Festival is possibly the most popular event in this list for non-film buffs. It could be attributed to the fact that they welcome films of all genres so they have a greater mass appeal.
Despite this popularity, however, people tend to hold a high regard towards the films featured in this festival. They say it’s because it balances upscale international cinema with relatively artistic Hollywood films. So even if their lineup is packed with subtitled, intelligent films, there will still be a few titles that will attract the general public.
The festival is invitational, although, tickets are made available to locals. It attracts a great number of tourists every year, from celebrities to regular folks who just want to bask in the glamorous atmosphere of the event.
Some people also consider its prestige to come from being the alternative to the Academy. So if you’re not too impressed by Oscar winners, Cannes winners might appeal to you better.
Venice Film Festival
Also referred to as the Venice International Film Festival, this is the oldest cinema event in the list. It was first held in 1932 and has always competed with Cannes to be the most prestigious and glamorous festival there is. However, it lost a bit of its shine with TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) scheduled itself in the fall.
If you’re not a big fan of huge Hollywood releases and favor classy international art films and new Italian cinema, Venice would be a better option for you. In terms of the awards they give out, their Golden Lion is said to be just as valuable as the Palme d’Or of Cannes.
Toronto International Film Festival
While Time Magazines’ claim for the Tiff as the most influential film festival is questioned by many cinema fans, no one can deny the great achievements this festival has achieved in the past two decades. It’s practically the biggest Hollywood event nowadays, probably because of its accuracy when it comes to Oscars tips. It’s also where you can catch all of the most promising films before the awards season, so a lot of journalists and film buffs add this event to their annual schedules.
Of course, the fact that it attracts the biggest names in Hollywood every year also helps create a solid buzz about this festival. The who’s who of Hollywood can be spotted here, from A-list celebrities to the most famous filmmakers.
Sundance Film Festival
Interested in the up and coming names in the film industry? Then Sundance is the festival for you. This annual event is held at Park City, Utah and features the most credible indie filmmakers.
Aside from the location, the featured films, and screening setups tend to give it a different vibe. Unlike the ritzy and glamorous air of the other film fests in the list, they actually screen films in small-town venues and even in gymnasiums. This gives Sundance a gritty atmosphere which is the perfect match for the equally tenacious movies that they show.
Like Sundance, SXSW is one of the more laid back film festivals on this list. Their slogan actually promotes keeping Austin weird so it should tell you a lot about what goes down during this event.
Designed for fanboys and indie movie-loving crowds, it’s very important to note that this event isn’t solely for film buffs. Alongside a film festival, they also host multimedia conferences and a music festival. Its main focus is discussion which gives it a friendlier vibe.
These are just a few of the most notable film festivals that a film buff should know about. There are tons more out there and they can differ greatly in themes and size, giving you more options to explore your love of cinema. There might even be a few local ones near you that are worth checking out.
While not all of the featured films from all of these festivals might make it to your local Cinemark, there’s still a good chance that a number of them will. Make sure to catch them at the cinemas and so you can fully experience films the way they should be enjoyed.