The Most Important Film Festivals Around the Globe

‘And the Oscar goes to…’

Don’t we all love this statement? Especially when you passionately admire the film industry and all its glamour, this phrase sends chills down your spine. And who can forget all the red carpet excitement? The elegant celebrity walks down the red carpet and their ever-so-gorgeous attires. Film festivals, with their extreme glitz and glam, are an eye-candy.

A movie festival is an event organized to showcase films in one or more screening venues. They have several other subevents involved such as movie awards, the after-party, etc. Without further ado, let’s dive into a list of happening movie festivals that you should be looking forward to:

1. The Academy Awards:

a picture of the Academy Award trophy

Popularly known as the Oscars, Academy Awards are accolades given for technical and artistic merits in the movie industry. These are conducted annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

The Academy’s voting members assess the credibility of the nominees. The awards are then given as an international recognition of excellence to deserving candidates based on their cinematic achievements. Officially called the ‘Academy Award of Merit’, the golden knight statuette is presented to the winners of the various categories.

The first Academy Awards took place in 1929 at a private dinner in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel hosted by Douglas Fairbanks. The Academy Awards is known to be the oldest international movie awards ceremony. It is now broadcasted live internationally. Three other award ceremonies have since been modelled after the Academy Awards – the Emmy Awards for television, the Tony Awards for Theatre and the Grammy Awards for music.

The golden statuette is made of gold-plated bronze. It is 13.5 inches tall and weighs around 8.5 lbs. It depicts a knight standing on a black metal base, clutching a sword. George Stanley is known to be the sculptor of the award.

There have been numerous accusations against the Academy Awards being influenced more by publicity than quality. The awards have been accused of being commercialized, lacking diversity, and bias, to mention a few. However, shoving the accusations aside, the Academy Award has earned the reputation to be the most prestigious and internationally acclaimed award to date.

2. Golden Globes Awards:

a picture of the Golden Globe award

The Golden Globe Awards are hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). The HFPA is a not-for-profit organization of journalists and photographers who report on the entertainment industry inside the U.S. for foreign media. It consists of 93 members. The Golden Globe awards began its journey in January 1944. The objective of the awards was to recognize excellence in film and television, both locally and internationally.

The awards are presented annually. The ceremony is a major part of the industry’s award season which happens every year in the Academy Awards. The awards are given for a calendar year i.e. from 1st January through to the 31st December. The assigned date for the 77th Golden Globe Awards for the year 2019 is January 5, 2020. It was at the 20th Century Fox Studios in January 1944, that the first-ever Golden Globe Awards were organized.

During the ceremony, a special award is presented to honor the outstanding contributions to the entertainment industry. The first of this accolade was given to the director and producer, Cecil B. DeMille. Thus, the name of the award became the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

The Golden Globe Awards are telecasted to a total of 167 countries worldwide and position as the third most-watched award ceremony each year. The first and second being the Oscars and the Grammy Awards respectively.

Meryl Streep is the actor who has won the most Golden Globe Awards, with a record high of eight wins. She is also the actress with the greatest number of nominations. She got nominated thirty-one times which is also a record.

Several actors and actresses attended the 75th Golden Globe ceremony dressed in complete black attires. This was in support of the Time’s Up movement. The movement had the objective of countering sexual abuse in Hollywood and outside.

3. The Cannes Film Festival:

a man cleaning the stairs to the entrance of Festival de Cannes

Cannes Festival, or officially known as Festival de Cannes, is an annual film festival held in the city of Cannes, France. Until 2002, it was known as the International Film Festival. The festival screens movies, from different genres, including documentaries from all around the world.

The Cannes Festival was founded in 1946 and is an invitation-only ceremony. It is conducted annually and lasts for approximately two weeks.

The festival became an international trading floor for the directors and producers where films could be viewed, and contracts signed.

The first ever Cannes Film Festival was held on 20th September 1946 where twenty-one different countries showcased their films. It is well-known for celebrities to fly from all around the world for days of screenings, networking, and parties.

4. Venice Film Festival:

the entrance to the Venice festival with the Golden Lion statue

Founded in August 1932, in Venice, Italy, this is the oldest film festival in the world. The objective behind this film festival was to celebrate Italian culture through film.

The Venice Film Festival is a part of Venice Biennale which features dance, music, cinema, architecture, and much more. It was the second Venice Film Festival that introduced an awarding ceremony. The first award to be issued was named Coppa Mussolini and was presented to the best foreign film and the best Italian film. Later, the Coppa Mussolini was replaced with the highest honor of the ceremony named Leone d’Oro meaning Golden Lion.

To date, the festival screens around 15 films annually and has an average attendance of more than 50,000 film professionals and movieholics.

5. Filmfare Awards:

The Black Lady trophy awarded to Filmfare winners

Being one of the most prestigious awards ceremony worldwide, Filmfare honors the artistic excellence of the Indian film industry. The Filmfare Awards were initiated in the year 1954 by The Times Group. They were initially named ‘Clare Awards’ after Clare Mendonca who was an editor of The Times of India.

Unlike other award ceremonies where a jury of experts selects the winners, the Filmfare are voted on by both the public and a panel of critics. This voting system was developed in 1956.

The Filmfare in India is known to be equivalent to the Academy Awards of the United States. The award trophy, often referred to as the ‘Black Lady’, depicts a woman doing a dance move. The award statuette is made of bronze.

The Filmfare is a massive event in the Indian cinema. The Red carpet is where all the celebrities walk, pose for the camera and get interviewed by the host.

6. The Sundance Film Festival:

the signage at the entrance of the Sundance Film Festival

Organized by the Sundance Institute, the Sundance Film Festival is conducted annually in January in Utah, Salt Lake City. It is organized in a ski resort near Provo, Utah, named the Sundance Resort. It is known to be the largest independent movie festival in the United States.

Over the decades, Sundance Film Festival that initially started as a low-profile, small-budget event turned into a massive festival for Hollywood celebrities and paparazzi. The Sundance event in the year 2018 had a record-breaking number of attendees. A total number of 125,000 people attended the event that year in comparison to a total of 71,600 in 2017.

The festival is a place for filmmakers and the likes to interact, network and exhibit their work. It is also a great spot for new talent to find a way into the film industry through networking. The Sundance Festival provides a platform for independent films to find an audience both during the festival and later. Many film producers put up their movies to be screened at the festival in the hopes that they might get sold to a distributor.

The Sundance Film Festival has been iconic in promoting independent film-making in the United States.

7. Locarno International Film Festival:

a picture of the official leopard of the Locarno Festival

Held in Locarno, Switzerland, hence the name, this festival is conducted annually to screen art house films. It was founded in 1946 and is one of the lengthiest film festivals to be conducted. Several international directors also showcase their films at the festival.

‘Golden Leopard’ is the most prominent award of the festival and is presented to the best film. In 1971, Piazza Grande was selected as the location for the awards after the city’s Grand Hotel was thought to be too small.

8. BAFTA Awards:

a logo of the BAFTA awards

Known as the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, BAFTA was created in 1947. Initially, it was named The British Film Academy, however, in 1958, the Academy joined The Guild of Television Producers and Directors to produce The Society of Film and Television. It later became known as the British Academy Film and Television Arts.

Apart from the extravagant award ceremony hosted every year, BAFTA also conducts educational programs all year round. These educational programs include film screenings and tribute nights. The BAFTA award event is conducted in February in order to pave the way for the Academy Awards. All the awards granted are open for international nominations except for The British Short Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer.

The BAFTA awards are held in London every year. During every ceremony, BAFTA observes a tradition of pausing in memory of those who have passed over the 12 months. A medley of images accompanied by music is played as a tribute to the late stars.

BAFTA is known as the British equivalent to the grand event of the Oscars held in the United States.

9. The Berlin International Film Festival:

photographers waiting for the celebrities to walk the red carpet in the Berlinale

Considered as one of the biggest film festivals worldwide alongside Venice and Cannes, The Berlin Film Festival is held each year in Berlin, Germany. The festival is also often called as Berlinale. The first-ever Berlin Festival was held in February 1978.

The Berlin Film Festival has the largest public attendance compared to any other film festival with a total of around 300,000 tickets sold and 500,000 entries each year.

The event comprises seven different movie sections which are Competition, Panorama, Forum, Generation, Perspektive Deutsches Kino, Berlinale Shorts, and Retrospective. A total of approximately 400 films are shown in these film categories. Around twenty films compete for the highest awards of the ceremony which are the Golden Bear and numerous Silver Bears. The Golden Bear is awarded in three prominent categories namely the Best Motion Picture, Best Short Film, and Lifetime Achievement.

Held in affiliation with the Berlin Festival, the Berlinale Talents is a week-long run of trainings and seminars held for the budding filmmakers. Considered as a winter school for upcoming film producers, the event has its first run in 2003. An approximate number of 250 applicants are taken in by the Talent Campus from all around the globe.

Movie festivals and award ceremonies are a great way to boost the film industry of any country. They give opportunities for international filmmakers to get to know the local film scenario and allows national celebrities to interact with local and international filmmakers and producers. They are also an excellent way to enhance the image of the culture, heritage, and image of a country worldwide.