Top 10 Destinations For People Who Love Film Festivals


Bucket List Worthy  

Cinephiles look forward to the Toronto International Film Festival all year long, but now that TIFF is drawing to a close it’s worth investigating where else in the world they can go to get their flicks fix at some of the world’s best film festivals.

We submit for your consideration:

1. Festival de Cannes – Cannes, France

There’s no getting around it. Cannes is the biggie. As the world’s most famous and prestigious film festival, Festival de Cannes receives most of the attention and has, along with its parallel events such as the film market and critics’ week, tremendous influence on the success of films. Since it’s an invitation-only event, most of us are left to soak up the atmosphere and partake in the movie star lifestyle on the French Riviera.| Find cheap flights to France

Cannes film festival
Festival de Cannes – photo by Flickr user PanArmenian_Photo

2. Sundance Film Festival – Utah, USA

Founded as a showcase for independent American productions, Sundance has become a mainstay of the festival calendar and is responsible for drawing the world’s attention to indie films such as The Blair Witch Project and Napoleon Dynamite. For instance, in 2010 alone 4 out of the 5 films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary premiered at Sundance. Its setting in Utah’s mountainous countryside is ripe for further exploration beyond the festival experience. | Find cheap flights to Salt Lake City

Joseph Gordon-Levitt at Sundance Film Festival
Joseph Gordon-Levitt onstage at Sundance Film Festival – photo by Flickr user qbac07

3. Berlinale – Berlin, Germany

Berlin is one of Europe’s artistic hubs, so it’s only natural that it would be home to a premiere international film festival. Berlinale tops them all in sheer size, screening 400 films and attracting nearly half a million festivalgoers to watch films selected for its many sections and savour the competition for the Golden Bear.| Find cheap flights to Berlin

Berlinale film festival
Berlinale film festival – photo by Flickr user Blogging Dagger

4. Telluride Film Festival – Colorado, USA

Yet another excuse to hang out in the mountains, Telluride Film Festival boasts a fun, casual vibe. Passes gain festivalgoers admission to not only film screenings, but also social gatherings and film-related events such as seminars, receptions, and picnics. Unlike other festivals, the films to be screened are not announced in advance, and only revealed once visitors arrive and the festival begins. To the delight of many cinephiles, Telluride screens classic movies in addition to new releases, so film buffs can experience older masterworks at their best on the big screen with superb quality projection and sound. | Find cheap flights to USA

Telluride Mountain Film Festival
Telluride film festival – photo by Flickr user yvynyl

5. La Biennale di Venizia – Venice, Italy

La Biennale is a mecca for culture vultures the world over. The Venice Film Festival is just one component of this cultural showcase that, in addition to cinema, also includes exhibitions of the best and most groundbreaking examples of art, architecture, dance, and theatre. And come on, it’s Venice! Do you really need convincing? | Find cheap flights to Venice

Venice Biennale
installation at Biennale di Venizia – photo by Flickr user musical photo man

6. The New York Film Festival – New York, USA

Competition to have a film selected for the New York Film Festival is always high, and since 2012 is 50th edition of the festival, this year it’s even more prestigious. NYFF’s Main Slate includes 33 films chosen by an illustrious panel, with Life of Pi opening the festival. There are also dozens of other special presentations of new films and enduring masterworks, including a new digital restoration of one of the ultimate travel flicks, Lawrence of Arabia. | Find cheap flights to New York

panel at New York Film Festival
Panel at New York Film Festival – photo by Flickr user VOY A EXPLOTAR

7. Festival des Films du Monde/World Film Festival – Montreal, Canada

On a mission to shine the spotlight on the world’s cultural diversity, Montreal’s World Film Festival includes entries from over 75 countries. In addition to motion pictures from established figures, the World Film Festival is a prominent outlet for first-time filmmakers and the Canadian Student Film Festival is a satellite event that showcases the work of Canada’s freshest cinematic talent. | Find cheap flights to Montreal

Festival des films du monde Montreal
Festivals des Films du Monde – photo by Flickr user Vlastula

8. Viennale – Vienna, Austria

Aiming to promote unconventional and politically relevant films, the Viennale screens approximately 300 new films each year. Vienna’s film festival is also notable for the retrospectives it creates, and exhibitions honouring important figures and institutions in the film industry. | Find cheap flights to Vienna

Film screening at Viennale – photo by Flickr user Gnal

9. South By Southwest – Texas, USA

South By Southwest is most famous as a music festival but it is actually a much broader cultural extravaganza comprising a film festival, and interactive festival in addition to the musical component. The film festival includes several genres, but is especially attractive to those interested in films about music as the program tends to include a greater than average number of music-related feature films, shorts, biopics, and documentaries. | Find cheap flights to Austin

SXSW film screening in Austin – photo by Flickr user tabounds

10. Vancouver International Film Festival

For something a little closer to home, Vancouver International Film Festival offers a program of nearly 400 films from all genres, but with East Asian, Canadian, and nonfiction films as areas of focus. The festival screens the largest selection of East Asian films outside of that region, and is a forum for Canadian movies to gain a wider audience. | Find cheap flights to Vancouver

Vancouver International Film Festival
Opening night gala at Vancouver International Film Festival – Photo by John Bollwitt

The great thing about film festivals is their abundance. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of them across this crazy world of ours, and catering to every conceivable niche, and the odds are that someone, somewhere is organizing one that suits you to a tee. So why wait for one to happen on your doorstep when you can explore the world of cinema?

About the Author: Steph Spencer

Formerly the Editor of Let's Roll, now you're more likely to find Steph prowling the halls of incredible museums, hunting for historic landmarks, discovering mind-blowing science and literary attractions, tracking down the world’s largest whatchamacallit or attending wacky festivals. She is a freelance travel writer who explores the geeky side of travel on her blog A Nerd At Large, and dispenses random quirkiness on Google+ and as @ANerdAtLarge on Twitter.

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