What Is A Film Festival?

What is a film festival? To simply define it this is an annual occasion which celebrates and showcases films of different Filmmakers. During this event, many talented people come together. They are rarely seen at the same time in few events. Film festivals are among them. Film festivals become a more fun place as masterpiece films screened here. These international events are basically annual events.

Different Types of Film Festivals

There are currently 9,706 unique festivals that have run at least once in the past 15 years. Some festivals focus on a specific filmmaker, genre, or subject. A number of film festivals specialize in short films of a defined maximum length.

The most prestigious film festivals in the world, known as the big three which are Cannes, Venice, and Berlin. The six major film festivals also include Toronto, Sundance, and Rotterdam. These film festivals tend to present unreleased films or films that have only been shown domestically prior to their selection.

In this article, I will only cover the major iconic film festivals around the world. Let’s get to know their brief descriptions one after another.

Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival is one of the oldest and most influential film events in the world. It is an annual program held in Cannes which is a seaside resort town in France. Generally, the duration of this Film Festival is 12 days. For 12 days each May, the city of Cannes transformed from a quiet seaside resort into a frequent hub for the planet’s film industry. To see details about it, you can visit my previous written article. Click here.

Venice Film Festival

The Venice Film Festival is the oldest one. The first festival held in Venice in 1932. It is one of the most prestigious and publicized film festivals. This film festival started its journey in Venice, Italy in August 1932. The festival is a part of the Venice Biennale, one of the world’s oldest exhibitions of art. In 1951, FIAPF formally accredited the festival.

Berlin International Film Festival

Berlin International Film Festival is one of the largest public movie festivals in the world, attracting tens of thousands of visitors from around the globe each year. For the film industry and the media, the eleven days in February are also one of the most important events in the annual calendar and an indispensable trading forum.

This festival has an eventful history. The festival created for the Berlin public in 1951, at the beginning of the Cold War, as a “showcase of the free world”. Shaped by the turbulent post-war period and the unique situation of a divided city, the Berlinale has developed into a place of intercultural exchange and a platform for the critical cinematic exploration of social issues. From then it became the most politically influenced event of all the major film festivals.

Toronto International Film Festival

The Toronto International Film Festival is North America’s most popular gathering in terms of attendance. It is also the largest publicly attended film festival in the world, attracting over 480,000 people annually. Since its founding in 1976, TIFF has grown to become a permanent destination for film culture operating out of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, located in downtown Toronto.

Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Institute organized ‘The Sundance Film Festival’ every year. It observed each January in Park City, Utah, Salt Lake City, and at the Sundance Resort. This annual program is the largest independent film festival in the United States. It includes competitive categories such as documentary dramatic film, feature film, and short film. In this festival, judges give awards in competition categories as well for showcasing new films. To see details about it, you can visit my previous written article. Click here.

International Film Festival Rotterdam

The International Film Festival Rotterdam, an annual film festival held at the end of January in various locations in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Since its foundation in 1972, it has maintained a focus on independent and experimental filmmaking by showcasing emerging talents and established auteurs.

Besides major big movie events, there are some mini-major film events as well. They are notified below:

South by Southwest

This film festival features provocative dramas, documentaries, comedies, genre standouts, and more. This event has become known for the high caliber and diversity of films presented and for its smart, enthusiastic audiences. It takes place every year in mid-March in Austin, Texas, United States. It began in 1987 and has continued to grow in both scope and size every year. In 2017, the conference lasted for 10 days with the interactive track lasting for five days, music for seven days, and film for nine days.


The Locarno Film Festival is an annual movie event held every August in Locarno, Switzerland. Founded in 1946. It is one of the longest-running film festivals and is also known for being a prestigious platform for art house films.

San Sebastián

The San Sebastián International Film Festival is an annual FIAPF A category movie event. It takes place in the Spanish city of Donostia-San Sebastián in September, in the Basque Country. Since its creation in 1953, it has established itself as one of the 14 “A” category competitive festivals accredited by the FIAPF, of which it has one of the lowest budgets. It has hosted several important events in the history of cinema.


Raindance is an independent film festival and film school that operates in major cities including London, Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Budapest, Berlin, and Brussels. Elliot Grove established the festival in 1992. In 2013 was listed Variety as one of the world’s top 50 ‘unmissable film festivals. Raindance showcases feature films as well as short films made by filmmakers from around the world to an audience of film executives and buyers, journalists, film fans, and other new filmmakers.


The Tribeca Film Festival is well known as an annual event organized by Tribeca Enterprises. It takes place each spring in New York City, showcasing a diverse selection of film, episodic, talks, music, games, art, and immersive programming. Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff founded Tribeca in 2001. Each year the festival hosts over 600 screenings with approximately 150,000 attendees and awards independent artists in 23 juried competitive categories.

Final Words

Any film festival is one of the significant gatherings for movie industry people as well as the general audience also. These are the community events where we first see the independent productions, underground productions, or soon-to-be big-screen hits we know and love. I hope you enjoy the content and find it however informative. Above all, now you must understand that why film festivals are powerful platforms to showcase a variety of brilliant projects. Moreover, with a view to drawing the attention of producers, film production houses, and studios these events can be ideal places.

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