film festival is the presentation or showcasing of
films in one or more movie theaters or screening venues.
The films are usually of a recent date and, depending
upon the focus of the individual festival, can include
major international releases as well as those made
outside a country's established film industry. Sometimes
there is a focus on a specific genre (e.g. film noir)
or subject (e.g. gay and lesbian film festivals).
Film Festivals are typically annual events.
world's first major film festival was held in Venice
in 1932; the other major film festivals of the world
(Berlin, Cannes, Moscow and Karlovy Vary) date back
to the 1940s and 1950s.
Edinburgh International Film Festival in Scotland
was established in 1947 and is the longest continually
running film festival in the world.
first North American film festival was the Columbus
International Film & Video Festival, also known
as The Chris Awards, held in 1953. According 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".
was followed shortly thereafter 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.
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, and even smaller
"boutique" festivals such as the Sonoma
Valley Film Festival.
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 Sansevieria
Film Festival in Ohio or the Stony Brook Film Festival
in Long Island, New York, or the Sicilian Film Festival
in Miami 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 Film Festival,
there is an entry fee, but it is waived for filmmakers
within a certain region, such as the Northwestern
Significant or notable festivals
* "A" Festivals: The festivals in Cannes,
Venice, Berlin, Shanghai, Moscow, San Sebastian, Montréal,
Locarno (since 2002), Karlovy Vary, Mar del Plata,
Cairo and Tokyo are listed as "A festivals",
or "category one" by the International Federation
of Film Producers Association (FIAPF).
* 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
* Independent films: In the US, Telluride Film Festival,
Sundance Film Festival, New York City's Tribeca Film
Festival, WorldFest-Houston (founded in 1961), the
Sonoma Valley Film Festival, and the Vail Film Festival[citation
needed] are all considered significant festivals for
independent film. Raindance Film Festival in London,
is the largest independent film festival in the UK
and is connected to the British Independent Film Awards.
* Latin American significance: The Festival de Gramado
(or Gramado Film Festival) Gramado, Brazil along with
the Guadalajara International Film Festival in Guadalajara,
Mexico are considered to be the most important film
festivals of Latin America. It was first held in 1973,
awarding Brazilian and Latin American films. While
the Expresión en Corto International Film Festival
is the largest competitive film festival in Mexico,
specializing in emerging talents, and is held each
year during the last week of July in the two colonial
cities of San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato. Among
Spanish speaking countries the Valdivia International
Film Festival is held annually in the city of aldivia.
It is arguable the most important film festival in
* North American significance: Toronto is internationally
renowned for its film festival, The Toronto International
Film Festival. Begun in 1976, is now the major North
American film festival and the most widely attended
worldwide, while Toronto's Hot Docs is the leading
North American documentary film festival. Also of
significance, the Seattle International Film Festival
is the largest film festival in the United States.[citation
needed] Meanwhile, the New York Film Festival only
show few films in each year, but it still has big
impact in the United States.
* Student films: Fresh Film Festival in Karlovy Vary
is one of the largest student film festivals in Europe,
Ivy Film Festival at Brown University in Providence,
Rhode Island is the largest student film festival
in North America, KAN festivalin Poland the largest
film festival in Poland organized by students. (Credit:
Surf Film Festival
Humor Film Festival