The Best Film Festivals Around The World

24th October 2022

The Best Film Festivals Around The World
Georgia Carter

Georgia Carter

As many of you know, film festivals are a pretty big deal and if you can get your film to be part of this long list of festivals, you know you have done extremely well. Which are the best short film festivals around the globe, and which are the best film festivals in the world? So join us as we tell you the best film festivals out there. 

What Is A Film Festival?

A film festival will showcase the best films, including documentaries and there will be screenings over a few days or more for their audiences to watch them. Awards can also be awarded at these too. The films typically shown at these festivals will be less mainstream films like documentaries and independent films which quite rightly are given critical acclaim. The films will be those from all around the world. 

Cannes Film Festival

Founded in 1946, this is probably one of the most well known of the film festivals around and it is synonymous with glitz and glamor. Based in the city of Cannes, in France it runs for 12 days from mid-late May and cinephiles know the worth of receiving an award here. The festival is organized into sections; In Competition, Un Certain Regard, Out of Competition, Special Screenings, Cinéfondation, Short Films, Cannes Classics and Cinéma de la Plage. 

This festival is held at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès and is invitation-only, a very private event, so very prestigious. It will showcase a number of different genres from around the world and European films are very popular at Cannes. 

The very prestigious Palme D’or award (Golden Palm) is the highest award received at the festival and this year it was given to Triangle of Sadness by Ruben Östlund. It was deemed the best film amongst all the others in the festival. 

There are so many more awards, but just for this article, I will choose just a few. For example, this year Cannes film festival award for best screenplay went to Boy from Heaven, a political thriller directed by Tarik Saleh and the Cannes film festival award for best actress was received by Zahra Amir Ebrahimi for the thriller Holy Spider. 

Sundance Film Festival

Founded in 1978, by Robert Redford, the Sundance film festival takes place in Utah in the states every year in January. It is held in Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, as well as at the Sundance Resort. It is one of the best American film festivals and very well known for independent films, especially those made by international filmmakers. It is where storytellers, artists and audiences come together to appreciate new work. 

The festival is made up of competitive award sections which are; dramatic and documentary features and short films; series and episodic content; and New Frontier, showcasing emerging media in the form of multimedia installations, performances, and films. 

As part of the festival, there are plenty of events, panel discussions everyday, so it is a busy festival, championing the best films out there. It is certainly one of the best documentary film festivals to attend. 

Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale)

Founded in 1951, it is one of the leading film festivals in Europe, held annually in Berlin. For 11 days in February, in terms of a global artistic exploration and showcasing remarkable talent, it is an important event in your calendar if you work within the film industry. Around twenty films compete for the awards called the Golden and Silver Bears. 

The Golden Bear for Best Film this year went to Carla Simon’s Alcarras, a drama and the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize was awarded to So-seol-ga-ui yeong-hwa by Hong Sangsoo. 

Venice International Film Festival 

Founded in 1932, the Venice International film festival is held from late August to early September and it has been suggested that it is one of the top three festivals to ensure you get your film seen at, alongside Cannes and Berlinale. It takes place on the island of Venice Lido. Screenings take place in the historic Palazzo del Cinema on the Lungomare Marconi, amongst other local venues nearby. It aims to promote international cinema in a spirit of freedom. 

There are the following sections; Official Selection, In Competition and Out of Competition. The public can attend this festival, and there is glamor on the red carpet, bringing together world famous directors and actors making it high class in terms of artistic value. 

BFI London Film Festival 

Founded in 1957, it is one of the best film festivals for shorts – a few of these others are great too – but I would suggest the London film festival. An annual film festival held in London, which is open to the public, screens many films, shorts and documentaries over 12 days in early October. It takes place at the BFI Southbank and other venues around the city. In terms of awards, there are the following; Official Competition, First Feature Competition, Documentary Competition, Short Film Competition and Immersive Art & XR Competition.  There have been examples of films shown at the BFI festival which skyrocketed actors’ careers. For example, Florence Pugh was in a film called Lady Macbeth back in 2016 and look at her career now. A serious launchpad if ever there was one! 

Toronto International Film Festival

Founded in 1976, this has become one of the largest publicly attended film festivals. It is film culture at its best, and operates out of the TIFF Bell Lightbox. There are a lot of stars who attend this festival and the annual Toronto International Film Festival is usually held in mid September over 11 days. 

The People’s Choice Awards is given to a feature-length film and was won last year by Belfast, directed by Kenneth Branagh. 

Edinburgh International Film Festival

Founded in 1947, this annual film festival runs for 2 weeks of screenings held in June but was in August this year. It is known for UK and international films, in all genres and lengths. It shows feature films, and shorts as well as documentaries, animations and music videos. So maybe this could be in contention for one of the best animation film festivals? You can make up your mind, and I’m sure there are plenty of others out there. 

A jury awards The Michael Powell Award for Best New British Feature Film while the audience can vote for the Audience Award, and a panel of judges adjudicates the Best International Feature Award. There are also several awards given for short films.

SXSW Film Festival 

Founded in 1987, once again I would suggest it to be amongst the best short film festivals. There are panel discussions and sessions over 9 days in early March, in Austin, Texas. It is more of a conference based festival. It welcomes filmmakers of all ages and programming consists of keynote speakers, panels, workshops, mentor sessions and more, with expert filmmakers and industry leaders.

To name a few; Tilda Swinton, Danny Boyle, Mark Duplass and Sally Fields – the list is endless believe me! 

The 2022 festival opened with the World Premiere of Everything Everywhere All At Once directed by Daniels and closed with the Atlanta Season 3 Premiere directed by Hiro Murai.

Tribeca Film Festival 

Founded in 2002 by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff, reportedly in response to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the consequent loss of vitality in the Tribeca neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, although there are reports that its founding was underway prior to the events of 9/11. It is another one of the best film festivals in the US, and maybe one of the best New York film festivals? 

As a film festival it offers a competition for both Best Narrative Short and Best Documentary Short. It does cater to ‘emerging and established voices’, so those who are fairly new to the industry can find their footing. The 21st annual Tribeca Film Festival took place in Lower Manhattan, Chelsea and special venues in June earlier this year over 12 days. Features films and shorts, documentaries are all screened at the festival. 

Final Thoughts

We have taken you through the best film festivals around the globe but only scratched the surface of how many actually take place each year. Now, I know we haven’t covered the best horror film festivals, but maybe we can save those for another article. You will have all the dates in your diary now for the largest ones now for sure and know where you can also submit your own work too as well if you are producing your own work. See you on the red carpet.

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