The Best Film Festivals Around the World – Part 1

Film festivals have seen an upsurge in popularity recently. In fact, there are now thought to be over 3,000 festivals held globally every year. This series of blog posts will take a look at some of the very best, covering who’s who and what films broke through due to the exposure of these top festivals.


Without question, Sundance deserves the title as the best of the best when it comes to film festivals. Spotlighting more up and coming movie directors than any other US film festival, Sundance is easily one of the biggest and most well-known. Since its inception in 1978, Sundance has grown significantly. At the beginning it was seen as a platform for low-budget independent creators; however, nowadays things couldn’t be more different. It’s probably fair to say that 2010 was the festival’s best ever year. To give an example of the recognition that Sundance plays in the film marketplace, 4 of the 5 documentary films nominated for Oscars in 2010 were “Sundance films”. The eventual winner “The Cove” went on to be distributed by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, grossed over $1 Million Dollars at the box-office.

Many notable film-makers have made their big break as a result of Sundance, some of which include the likes of:

Aside from the exposure for directors and film-makers, Sundance has also launched the following high-profile movies:

  • Donnie Darko
  • Saw
  • Sex Lies and Videotape
  • (500) Days of Summer
  • Boyhood
  • Get Out

Cannes Film Festival

It’s hard to say if the Cannes Film Festival is still the number 1 of its type as there is so much genuine competition nowadays. However, where it still does stand out is the exclusivity of the event. Still to this day it is very much an invitation only affair. Dating back to 1946, Cannes has a grip on the rich and famous like no other festival. The precipitousness ensures that they flock to this festival like no other! Prior to the commencement of the festival, juries are chosen to select the winners from each category. It is these juries that hold sole control over who takes the spoils for each particular award. Without a doubt, the filmmakers are all vying for the Palme d’Or, or as it is translated in English, the Golden Palm. This is the prize given to the best film at the festival. Notably winners of the years include:

  • Taxi Driver – Martin Scorsese
  • Pulp Fiction – Quentin Tarantino
  • The Pianist – Roman Polanski
  • Fahrenheit 9/11 – Michael Moore
  • I, Daniel Blake – Ken Loach

Taxi driver

The festival itself has become an important platform for European films, this along with the likes of The Berlin Film Festival and The Venice Film Festival have make a hugely positive impact to the way European films are now perceived on a global level. Stay tuned for the 2nd of our 3-part series when we take a look at some more of the very best film festivals around the world.