The 3 Most Important Film Festivals Around the World

Posted on 20 January 2017
By Carlton Whitfield
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Film festivals are the greatest way to keep up with what the creative minds of Hollywood and other liberal production houses are up to. It is here that actors, fans & fledgling filmmakers are looking to showcase their works, are sampled, critiqued and awarded by business veterans and fans likewise.

Recently, indie film festivals have been all the rage, all thanks in part to the maverick school of thought of such great pioneers like Andy Warhol. Nowadays any director or producer of a film worth its weight in salt can just about (with some luck of course) get first viewings in the many film festivals happening globally. Tonight we highlight only three which we believe are the most important.

There are many other film festivals out there such as the EQUUS Fest created specifically for films dedicated to steeds such as those racing at the Cheltenham events (Find more information at Cheltenham Film Festival), but we’ll focus on the main ones now.


This happens every year in the state of Utah in the States. Reputed to be one of the biggest in the USA as far as independent releases are concerned, Sundance is the voice of the rapidly expanding independent movies genre. Before Sundance, artists had little other avenue of expressing their socio political agenda through film, so when they introduced the fest in 1978 when it was founded, it was a timely response to the rising need of giving creators of slightly variegated tastes a chance to talk to critics and scouts in the industry.

This particular festival happens right in the backyard of the Hollywood hills and is notorious for drawing in the biggest names in movie and documentation as well. A few of the well known names that have graced the red carpet extravaganzas are actors like George Clooney, Brad Pitt and others.

The festival started out as The Utah Film Festival and wouldn’t you know it featured such classics as “A street Car Named Desire”? Competitive slots for best feature films and documentaries make up what is the Sundance Film Festival.

Cannes Film Festival

Cannes is like the Oscars of the European movie scene. It is highly publicized and by invitation only type of affair. The festival open season is fairly long as to stretch out over weeks and surprisingly, these turn out to be the most glamorous show outs for makers of high cinema and those of the mainstream Hollywood names to boot.

In short, it keeps the press busy angling for shots at actors and producer-directors, movie stars as they plough the red carpet. These however are never in short supply, meaning less crane line rubber necking from our camera men. Very formal, posh elegant surroundings set the stage for evenings of interviews with the stars, exclusives and the fair bit of it is that locals of the surrounding area where the fest is held can purchase tickets for screenings as well.

Well, you might not get to be in the red if you live in that street that houses the Palais building. Noteworthy is that the streets are lined with cops for blocks so a dash of etiquette is adequate.

The Berlin Film Festival

Another for the European creatives to get noticed as they compete for the trinkets on offer: the golden and Silver bears namely. It packs less in the glamor compartment but has been known to rack up head counts of up to half a million in attendance (being the highest) since its inception in 1951. It’s also proving popular with the youngins as well because it also hosts seminars for aspiring young talents from everywhere; the program is called The Berlianale Talent Campus.

The event is divided into ten different yet autonomous fractions screening avante garde films, short clips for kids, flicks for foodies and a host of other nice treats to keep attendants guessing throughout the ten days of the festival. It’s located at Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz. Unlike its European cousin, the Festival de Cannes as it’s also known, the Berlin Film Festival is a bit more open to the public.

Film fests have long been a part of the filmmaking industry and appear to continue being so for as long as there are talents out there that need the airtime and icons and producers alike who are ready to whet these young maestros. Of course there have been the few controversies that have dogged these events but this has done little to dull this effect.