Eight are Great: Following the World’s Elite Film Festivals


By Norah Lawlor

Industry watchers set your calendars – While there are over 2,000 annual film festivals in the world, only a handful are truly renowned. Attendees have the opportunity to critique each film and gain insight on the latest developments in the industry. These elite festivals also provide access to financing, professional advice, and access to some of the world’s most famed celebrities and celebrations as well.

Here are eight of the best to consider as destinations in 2014.

Palm Springs Film Festival (January 3 – 13, 2014)

The 2014 Festival at Palm Springs will be the 25th anniversary of this film festival. Some 135,000 attendees each year attend to experience the lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Black Tie Awards Gala, honoring the best achievements of the filmic year by a celebrated list of talents who, in recent years, have included Ben Affleck, Cate Blanchett and George Clooney. psfilmfest.org

Sundance Film Festival, Utah, United States (January 16 – 26, 2014)

A winter time classic, The Sundance Film Festival stands as an ideal way for attendees to catch up on the independent film scene – and for a break to ski on the empty slopes.  For the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, 112 feature-length films were selected, representing 29 countries by 44 first-time filmmakers, including 25 in competition. These films were selected from 4,042 feature-length film submissions composed of 2,059 U.S. and 1,963 international feature-length films. 89 films at the Festival will be world premieres. For more information visit sundance.org

66th Cannes Film Festival, South of France (May 14 – 25, 2014)

The Grand Dame of Film Festivals – Chic, international and very popular with celebrities and power players, The Cannes Film Festival stands as one of the most exclusive festivals in the world. The 66th annual Cannes Film Festival was held from May 15-26, 2013 – with the Amfar VIP Charity Gala Party at Hotel du Cap on May 25, 2013.The prestigious Palme d’Or was awarded to movie Blue is the warmest colour. For more information visit festival-cannes.com

71st  Venice Film Festival (August 27 – September 6, 2014)

The end of the summer season brings the 71st annual Venice Film Festival. This year, the festival will run at Venice Lido and will include 11 days worth of screenings, ceremonies and celebrations, organized by La Biennale di Venezia and directed by Alberto Barbera. The Venice Film Festival was originally created to raise awareness and promote all aspects of the film industry – offering retrospectives and reverence to major players throughout the history of cinema. For more information visitlabiennale.org

41st Telluride Film Festival (August 29 – September 1, 2014)

A short but very sweet film festival in the Rocky Mountains, Telluride packs a punch.  This 40th Anniversary was attended by some 4,000 people to enjoy a 100 film program representing twenty-five countries including twenty-seven new feature films in its main program; six film revivals selected by returning Guest Directors: Don Delillo, Buck Henry, Phillip Lopate, Michael Ondaatje, B. Ruby Rich and Salman Rushdie; twelve Backlot programs; 33 shorts and/or student films, and hosted twelve seminars and conversations between festival guests. For more information visit telluridefilmfestival.org

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) (September 4 – 14, 2014)

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is among the most successful public film festivals in the world. World premieres, galas and parties comprise this illustrious event where stars, directors and industry supremos make the rounds. If you are a cinephile or simply just love to experience new and innovative films, TIFF is the event to attend. In 2013 the Blackberry People‘s Choice Award went to movie 12 years a slave. For more information visit tiff.net

25th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF), Japan (October 2014)

The only Japanese film festival accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF), TIFF has played an integral role in Japan’s film industry and cultural scene. Established in 1985, TIFF aspires to be recognized as one of the four major film festivals in the world and in the same league as Cannes, Venice and Berlin, which now stand at the summit of the more than 2,600 international film celebrations. Whilst 2014 dates are pending the 2013 Festival honored film We are the best!. For more information visit tiff-jp.net

Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) (December 2014)

Dubai International Film Festival stands as the leading film festival in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Since its inception in 2004, the festival has served as an influential platform for Arab filmmakers and talent at an international level, by spearheading the cinema movement in the region. DIFF’s pioneering initiatives such as the Muhr Awards, Dubai Film Connection and Dubai Film Market have enriched professional experiences in the region, while also raising the profile of regional works on the world stage. For more information visit dubaifilmfest.com

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