Film festivals around the world are the showcase of new and upcoming cinema in some places, and of recognition of the best cinema at other venues. Primarily a film festival is a series of screenings of films released in the last year. The festivals may be subject specific, such gay and lesbian films, or they may have a special focus on a particular filmmaker or genre. The screenings are mostly private showings in front of a select audience, and there is generally an awards system established over the years.
Cannes Film Festival
The prima donna of all international festivals remains Cannes in Southern France. It is the most influential of all festivals and it is held annually in May at the Palais Des Festivals of Congress. To be showcased at Cannes is in itself a matter of prestige, and if a filmmaker wins an award in Cannes then his worth and value skyrockets worldwide. The film festival presents the finest talent from all over the world, and some Hollywood films are screened out of competition.
The festival has also become synonymous with style and glitz and paparazzi. Walking down the famous red carpet every year are the elite of the world of films, and some of the finest cinematic minds of the film industry. To see and be seen seems to be the mantra of all those who grace the occasion.
Cannes awards the Palme d’Or, the Jury Prize, the Best Director Award, The best Screenplay Award among other awards at the closing ceremony of the festival. The awards are not only coveted as recognition of talent but also as an acknowledgement of their work by their contemporaries.
The Cannes Film Festival actually began in 1939, but due to the war it had to be cancelled. In 1946 the festival was begun again, and except for three interruptions in between, it has run successfully ever since. In 1998 with the intention of promoting new talent from film schools the Cinefondation was established, and it has already showcased over 2000 films from all the continents.
Sundance Film Festival
Sundance Film Festival is today the symbol of films made by independent film makers. It was founded by Robert Redford in 1978, originally to attract more filmmakers to Utah. Today it is not only a promoter of films made by small budget producers but it has also grown to be a media extravaganza. Dramatic films and documentaries, feature films and short films are all a part of the festival, and the prize winners go on to have successful showings at movie halls. There have been renewed attempts to make the festival focus on films rather than becoming a showcase of film personalities. In 2010 they have begun a new programme category known as “NEXT” for extremely low budget films, so that they also get an exposure to the people who matter in the film industry.
This movie won the 2009 Cannes Lions award. More info, click here.
A simple short film about communication.
Created by Publicis Mojo and @RadicalMedia
Director: Patrick Hughes
The Berlin International Film Festival or the Berlinale as it is most commonly known a,s was founded in 1951 as a means of restoring Germany’s artistic standing soon after the war. Today it has gained a great deal of momentum and ranks among the best film festivals in the world. The Golden Berlin Bear and the Silver Berlin Bear are among the most coveted awards given out by an independent jury of renowned members of the film fraternity.
There are a few festivals which are listed as “A” category festivals by the International Federation of Film Producers Association. Apart from Berlin and Cannes the other film festivals which are counted among this list are Venice, Karlovy Vary, Toronto, Shanghai, San Sebastian and Moscow. The premier showcase for experimental films is the Ann Arbor Film festival established in 1963.
Another slightly different film festival is the Tribeca Festival promoted by Robert De Niro, Craig Hatkoff and Jane Rosenthal in 2001 to help encourage the revitalization of Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks. Today it has achieved its objective of helping filmmakers reach a much wider audience and of giving the general public a view of the great films being made which may not be a part of mainstream cinema.
There are several other film festivals all over the world, such as the Amsterdam Documentary International Film Festival, or the Pusan International Film Festival in Seoul which is Asia’s largest Film festival.
Film festivals continue to present an opportunity to film makers to show their films in front of an audience which understands films and which gather to honour and reward the finest among them.