The Film Festival Circuit
Table Of Contents
Lights, Camera, Action!
The Academy Awards are almost upon us. Did you know that this has been the longest Oscar race in its history?! There are many great performances and films to choose from this year, but personally, my money is on Drive my Car (dir. Ryusuke Hamaguchi) and Kristen Stewart in Spencer. Only time will tell if those predictions are correct.
With the Oscars on the horizon and the awards season almost at an end, it’s important to look back upon where it all began. Film Festivals. In this blog, Hollywood Branded will discuss the film festival circuit and how it’s essential in the world of cinema.
Film Festival Breakdown
“Every time I go to a movie, it's magic, no matter what the movie is about.” – Steven Spielberg
I happen to agree with Spielberg—shocking, I know. Cinema. It offers audiences a chance to escape the real world and enter one that offers new opportunities. Films open our eyes to new people, worlds, and ideas. And do you know where these films are shown before they make their way to the movie theater? Film festivals, of course!
A film festival is a series of screenings, usually shown over the course of a few days or weeks, that showcase films from all over the world. The films screened at these festivals are primarily independent and not mainstream—although that’s not always the case. Some festivals are filled to the brim with famous stars like the Cannes Film Festival in France and the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, which both bring in thousands of festival-goers. Other festivals that are local to their areas garner only a few hundred attendees. Either way, film festivals give new talent an opportunity to stand out and previously unknown filmmakers a chance to get their movies in front of a real-life audience.
How Do Film Festivals Work?
You may have heard of something called the “festival circuit,” which essentially means the annual cycle of festivals in which films make the rounds. Films must first be submitted to the festival committee to participate in a festival. All filmmakers are given a deadline along with a list of requirements. Each festival has its own set of rules; for example, some festivals are more specialized and genre-specific, so they may only take documentaries, comedies, short films, etc.
Selected films are then subject to audiences, reviews, press, exposure to potential buyers, and sometimes a cash prize. Sign me up! Additionally, they are great places to scout talent and network. At the festival, films are screened by a jury composed of critics and other industry professionals who then judge the movie under a specific criterion and hand out awards. That means some Academy Award-winning films racked up many awards before even making it to the Oscars.
It is important to note that films don’t have to be in a festival to qualify for the major award shows, but it helps. However, short films chosen for the Oscars are plucked from festival winners worldwide. Out of 7,000 film festivals, only 63 of them offer Oscar-qualifying accreditation.
Important Film Festivals To Know
There are thousands of festivals worldwide! And while each is important in its own way, there are some that are bigger than others. Some important festivals to keep your eye on include
- Cannes Film Festival
- Where: Cannes, France
- When: May
- Sundance Film Festival
- Where: Park City, Utah
- When: January
- Berlin International Film Festival
- Where: Berlin, Germany
- When: February
- Venice International Film Festival
- Where: Venice, Italy
- When: August/September
- Where: Toronto, Canada
- When: September
- Where: Austin, Texas
- When: March
- Telluride Film Festival
- Where: Telluride, Colorado
- When: September
- Tribeca Film Festival
- Where: New York City, New York
- When: April
With many festivals to choose from, it’s hard to keep track of them all. Luckily, we have access to the handy-dandy internet and Screen Daily created a list of festivals and their dates by month. The German Short Film Association, AG Kurzfilm, also created a nifty calendar of important festivals for your viewing pleasure. Most festivals are open to the public, so go check them out!
Eager To Learn More?
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