Ever since Venice held the world’s first film festival back in 1932, events celebrating the silver screen have popped up in their hundreds all over the world. Visiting a film festival can be a great way to spend a mini-break or long cultural getaway, but with so many to choose from and such variation, it can be difficult to pick. To help you decide, take a look at this list of the top film festivals from around the world.
The sleekest of the festivals, Cannes is undoubtedly one of the most famous film events around. Behind the bling there is an emphasis on international cinema, with Hollywood offerings still available for lovers of the mainstream. This diverse approach is reflected in the sheer number of directors who’ve received the coveted Palme D’Or prize, with winners ranging from Quentin Tarantino and Terence Malick to Lars Von Trier and Ken Loach.
Held in January each year, the Sundance film festival is one of the biggest independent film festivals in the US. Hosted in Utah, Robert Redford is its chairman and the event has been responsible for the launch of many a director’s career. Visiting Sundance also ties in nicely with Utah’s ski season, so if you like indie flicks and winter sports, it might be well worth the flight westward.
The original and still one of the best film festivals in the world, the Venice film festival is held at the end of August or early September and showcases international art films, particularly Italian cinema. Although not as glitzy, the VIPs still turn out for Venice and, unlike Cannes, you can purchase tickets to the festival.
The annual BFI Film Festival with American Express is a must for any lover of both UK and international film, and the likes of Tim Burton and Ben Affleck have both debuted their creations there in the past.
A true art-house festival, Berlin favours serious films and invites the public in with a plethora of showings around the capital during February. Celebs are generally notable by their absence, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Another one of our home-grown festivals, the Edinburgh film festival is held in June and usually promotes domestic films and Scottish-focused cinema. There is a much more low-key atmosphere at Edinburgh, a world away from the A-list glamour of some of the continental festival offerings, although its honorary patrons include Robert Carlyle, Tilda Swinton and Sean Connery.
If you’re heading to any of these film festivals this year, one of the best ways of doing so is with an Amex credit card – not only will your purchases be protected from fraud, but you can also track your spend online.