Check Out an International Film Festival

Tired of the same old vacation? Do you love movies and want to have the inside edge as far as what’s good, bad and really strange? If you don’t mind crowds and can plan a decent ways in advance, why not check out a film festival somewhere in the world?

Taking place at almost every point in the year, chances are there is one happening at some time when you are going abroad in some world class destination. There are hundreds to choose from, ranging from documentaries to anime to interesting experimental kinds that defy labels. You can see movies that will be released into your local theatre well before the general public sees them or see some that will never see an audience outside of the festival – either way, film festivals are great ways to experience the world through the medium of film.

Below are a list of some of the better known festivals from around the world. Be sure to check them out if you have the chance!


Considered by most in the industry to be the most important festival of them all, the Cannes Film Festival is a showcase for most types of films and the films shown are by invitation only. Held in the south of France in the spring, Cannes is often the place where little films begin. If you are a fan of film or an aspiring director, attending Cannes is likely to be a highlight of your life.


The granddaddy of them all, Venice is the home to the oldest film festival, dating back 80 years. The Venice International Film Festival is held at the end of summer, usually end of August to early September and is a fantastic venue for film, art, dance and music. If a trip to Venice is on your to-do list and you don’t mind the heat or crowds, why not drop in on this unforgettable festival celebrating great film from around the world.


While not as old as Venice or Cannes, the Toronto International Film Festival is no slouch as a showcase as film – in fact it could be argued that it is the most important film  festival in the world due to its attendance and the types of films it shows. Held around the same time as Venice, TIFF is known for being a precursor to the Academy Awards and for the plethora of celebrities in attendance. Even if you cannot make it to the screenings (they sell out fast!) at least visit downtown Toronto and do a little star-gazing – it isn’t hard to do!


What began as a reaction against Hollywood for independent American films turned into a global force in the film festival world. Named after and founded by Robert Redford (his character from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) the Sundance Film Festival is an excellent alternative to the mainstream film industry in America even developing its own culture and counter cultures. It takes place every January in Utah.

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