If you’re aching to experience a film festival, my selection should help you choose from the best in the world. While you’re there you might as well combine this with a sightseeing holiday within the same destination to soak up the delights of the local culture, food and surroundings for an even more enriching experience.
1. Festival de Cannes (Cannes, France)
No doubt about it, the Festival de Cannes is the master of all film festivals around the globe. It serves to attract both top directors as well as emerging filmmakers alike. Quite honestly, the sheer level of talent in addition to the number of world press that visit the Cannes Film Festival is unparalleled.
Although Cannes is highly regarded for embracing exotic boundaries and courting with new flair, both its’ traditions and its’ rules prove to be something of a hindrance as well as an advantage. This is somewhat due to the fact that, as with many institutions that have reached the pinnacle of their field, they are not only a little slow to adopt change, but they also are recognised as jealously guarding their traditions. Nevertheless, the Cannes Festival is most definitely well and truly worth a visit!
2. Sundance Film Festival (Park City, U.S.)
Highly regarded as the most important film festival within the United States, the Sundance Film Festival is the epitome of the Indie movement. Regardless of the downturn of the economy over the past few years, the festival still draws in the cream of the crop with regards to new titles within the world of American cinema.
3. Toronto International Film Festival (Toronto, Canada)
Toronto is a fantastic film festival for fall titles to launch. Considered as Canada’s forefront film festival, Toronto is responsible for premiering titles from both established and newly surfacing filmmakers alike. Toronto International Film Festival is also regarded as the early course for award making decisions for the Oscars.
4. International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) (The Netherlands)
For North American audiences, the IDFA is relatively unknown, other than with regards to documentary films. It is the largest documentary festival in the world and a good number of successful documentaries had their start at this festival. Over the past decade or so, documentaries have really become immensely popular on a global basis. The Amsterdam Documentary Festival plays host to the largest co-financing market for documentary productions on an international scale.
5. Venice Film Festival (Italy)
The Venice Film Festival, for many, ranks in the same league as Cannes. Similar to Cannes, Venice becomes a magnet for parties, paparazzi, premieres and stars from around the world. There’s no doubting it that Venice is the place of choice for a number of the most highly regarded world premieres each and every year.
6. New York Film Festival
The New York Film Festival, while not being exactly a great venue for new discoveries, still ranks among the world’s top film festivals. Typically, the NYFF selects from a number of film releases from other top film festivals, and blends those with a mix of lesser known offerings from upcoming filmmakers. Though not as defining in terms of North America’s most ‘important’ cinematic provisions as it was when it began back in the 1960’s, it still holds its’ own in the upper echelon.
I work as a freelance writer mainly but also pick up odd jobs here and there because I love travel and do a lot of it.
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