Film festival

Film festival
Film festivals

A film festival is an organised, extended presentation of films in one or more movie theaters or screening venues, usually in a single locality. More and more often film festivals show part of their films to the public by adding outdoor movie screenings.[1] The films may be of recent date and, depending upon the focus of the individual festival, can include international releases as well as films produced by the organisers' domestic film industry. Sometimes there is a focus on a specific film-maker or genre (e.g., film noir) or subject matter (e.g., horror film festivals). A number of film festivals specialise in short films, each with its defined maximum length. Film festivals are typically annual events.



The first major film festival was held in Venice in 1932; the other major and oldest film festivals of the world are: Festival del film Locarno (1946), Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (1946), Edinburgh International Film Festival (1947), Cannes Film Festival (1947), Melbourne International Film Festival (1951) and Berlin International Film Festival (1951).[2]

The Edinburgh International Film Festival in the UK was established in 1947 and is the longest continually running film festival in the world. Raindance Film Festival is the UK's largest celebration of independent film-making and is taking place in London in October.[3]

The first North American high film festival was the Columbus International Film & Video Festival, also known as The Chris Awards, held in 1953. According to the Film Arts Foundation in San Francisco, "The Chris Awards (is) one of the most prestigious documentary, educational, business and informational competitions in the U.S; (it is) the oldest of its kind in North America and celebrating its 54th year."

It was followed four years later by the San Francisco International Film Festival held in March 1957 whose emphasis was on feature-length dramatic films. The festival played a major role in introducing foreign films to American audiences. Among the films shown in its founding year were Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood and Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali.

Today there are thousands of film festivals around the world, ranging from high profile festivals such as Sundance Film Festival (Park City, UT) to horror festivals such as Terror Film Festival (Philadelphia, PA).

Digital feature film distribution began in 2005, along with the arrival of the world's first online film festival, the GreenCine Online Film Festival, sponsored by DivX.[4]

In Ireland there is the longest film festival set in Cork - see website,www. - that has just celebrated its 56th aniversary.

Entry fee

The Berlin Film Festival in 2007

Most film festivals require filmmakers to pay an entry fee to have their works considered for screening. This is especially commonplace among larger film festivals, such as the Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, South by Southwest and even smaller "boutique" festivals such as the Miami International Film Festival and the British Urban Film Festival in London.

However, not all film festivals require an entry fee. Rotterdam Film Festival, for example, does not charge an entry fee to submit work. There are also many smaller film festivals in the United States, such as the Stony Brook Film Festival in Long Island, New York, the Northwest Filmmakers' Festival, or the Sicilian Film Festival in Miami, Florida, which do not charge entry fees; however, acceptance of films is usually more limited, and such film festivals do not necessarily attract big names in their audiences like Sundance and Telluride do. In some cases, such as the Portland International Film Festival, there is an entry fee, but it is waived for filmmakers within a certain region, such as the Northwestern United States.

Significant or Notable festivals

The three most prestigious film festivals are commonly regarded to be that of Cannes, Berlin and Venice;[5] these festivals are sometimes called the "Big Three."[6] Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski's The Three Colors Trilogy were each made for these festivals, with Blue for Venice, White for Berlin, and Red for Cannes.[5]

The Toronto International Film Festival is North America's most popular festival. Time wrote it had "grown from its place as the most influential fall film festival to the most influential film festival, period.".[7] Seattle International Film Festival is credited as being the largest film festival in America, regularly showing over 400 films in a month across the city[8] The Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival and Gimli Film Festival are also major festivals in North America, as is the Vancouver International Film Festival, the fifth largest film festival in North America.

  • Experimental films: Ann Arbor Film Festival was started in 1963. It is the oldest continually operated experimental film festival in North America and has become one of the premiere film festivals for independent and, primarily, experimental filmmakers to showcase their work.[citation needed]
  • 'North American: The San Francisco International Film Festival, started in 1957, is the oldest continuously running film festival in the Americas. It highlights current trends in international filmmaking and video production with an emphasis on work that has not yet secured U.S. distribution. The Toronto International Film Festival, begun in 1976, is regarded North America's most major and most prestigious film festival, and the most widely attended worldwide. Toronto's Hot Docs is the leading North American documentary film festival. Toronto also has the largest amount of film festivals in the world, ranging from cultural, independent, and historic films. The largest festival, in terms of the number of features shown, is the Seattle International Film Festival, screening 270 features, and approximately 150 short films.[citation needed] The Whistler Film Festival, with is amazing location and breathtaking scenery, is getting bigger every year with more than 80 screenings and a well-rounded Industry Summit. Meanwhile, the New York Film Festival only shows a few films in each year, but it still has big impact in the United States.[citation needed] The Sundance film festival is a major festival for independent film.
  • Asian Film Festival: Most notable amongst the Asian Film Festivals are the Osian's-Cinefan Film Festival, which was recently expanded to include Arab Cinema as well, and the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) and Busan International Film Festival (BIFF).
  • European festivals The biggest European festival is the Cannes film festival in France along with Berlin and Venice.
  • Art and Technology: The Palo Alto International Film Festival, a program of the Palo Alto Institute, is the only film festival in the United States to celebrate the convergence of art and technology, by focusing on the influence of emerging technologies on cinema.
  • Emerging Filmmakers: The KahBang Film Festival, part of the KahBang Music-Art-Film Festival in Bangor, Maine, is one of the newest film festivals in the United States to discover and showcase the work from Emerging Filmmakers throughout the world. Their programming continues to be unique by also showcasing the best new Comedy features, Music Documentaries, and Maine made films. Each year they honor one notable actor, actress, or filmmaker with the "Kevin Norwood Bacon Award for Achievement in Cinema", acknowledging the success the recipient has achieved in being so closely connected to Kevin Bacon. One of their films is screened in the KahBang Off Screen Category, "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" which connects the honored back to the man himself.

See also


  1. ^ Examples of outdoor movie screenings at film festivals
  2. ^ "List of film festivals - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  3. ^ a b "Beale's best in show: Raindance film festival (4Creative)". The Independent (London). September 8, 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  4. ^ "DivX Networks Presents Greencine Online Film Festival". Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  5. ^ a b Jugu Abraham. "International film festivals and India". 
  6. ^ European Film and Animation Festivals
  7. ^ "Big-Screen Romance". Time. August 29, 2007.,9171,1657363,00.html/. 
  8. ^ "2011 Seattle International Film Festival (May 19 - June 12)". Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  9. ^ Lisa Foreman and Derek Elley, FIAPF moves Locarno fest into A-list group, Variety, December 23, 2001. Retrieved September 14, 2007.
  10. ^ "Film Festivals". All About Film Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
  11. ^ Redford Says Sundance Maintains Essence
  12. ^ Filmmakers look to Sundance buying spree
  13. ^ "Zero Film Festival Celebrates Indie Spirit". New York Post. November 23, 2009. 
  14. ^ de la Fuente, Anna Marie (2008-12-03). "Cartagena Festival's Nieto dies at 92, Director of oldest film festival in Latin America". Variety Magazine. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 

Further reading

  • Turan, Kenneth, Sundance to Sarajevo: Film Festivals and the World They Made, Los Angeles, University of California Press, 2002, hardback, ISBN 0-520-21867-1.
  • Watson, Nigel, "The Sense and Sensationalism of Film Festivals", Talking Pictures website

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