Film festivals in North America and Canada are right on par with the world’s best. The selection below are the top festivals that are well worth a visit if you are eager to experience one or more in the coming months. This would also be the perfect chance to see the scenic delights of the country by making the journey in your car (but make sure your vehicle insurance is still active, as you wouldn’t want any unpleasant surprises to dampen your travel and festival experience!)
1. Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah
Although initially named as the US Film Festival, in 1991, Sundance was given its’ new name after it became part of the Sundance Institute under actor Robert Redford’s stewardship. These days, Sundance is regarded as among the premiere independent film festivals worldwide. Every year, it screens over 125 feature-length films, and a further 90 or so short films. The festival takes place in January, and lasts for a total of 10 days.
2. Toronto International Film Festival
The Toronto Film Festival started in 1976, where the emphasis is on screening films from other top film festivals from around the globe. There’s no argument that Toronto has become a primary festival within its’ own right, and not merely within North America. The festival lasts for 10 days and takes place in the month of September.
3. Ann Arbor Film Festival
The longest-running of any film festivals in North America, Ann Arbor Film Festival opened its’ doors in 1963. The awards on offer go to a variety of categories, including animation, experimental, narrative, and documentary. The festival lasts for a total of 7 days and takes place in March.
4. Miami International Film Festival
Miami International Film Festival has been running for over two decades. It showcases American as well as international films, with particular emphasis upon Ibero-American cinema (works from Portugal, Spain, and Latin America in general). The festival is responsible for launching a number of notable film directing careers such as Atom Egoyan (‘The Sweet Hereafter’) and Pedro Almodóvar (‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’). The festival takes place in February, and lasts for 10 days.
5. Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)
This, the Seattle International Film Festival or SIFF, is the largest film festival in the US, and was started in 1976 by a couple of movie buffs, Darryl Macdonald and Dan Ireland. Yearly prizes on offer for top films is generally around $20,000. The festival is held in May and June and lasts for a total of 4 weeks.
6. Tribeca Film Festival (New York)
The Tribeca Film Festival was established in 2002 as a response to the World Trade Center attacks, by Robert DeNiro, Craig Hatkoff, and Jane Rosenthal. The original concept was to revitalize the culture and economy of Lower Manhattan by way of an annual celebration of culture, music, and film, as well as to promote New York City as a prominent centre for filmmaking which would help filmmakers reach as broad an audience as possible. The festival lasts for 12 days and takes place in April and May.
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