The Oldest Film Festivals in the World – Part 1

The Oldest Film Festivals in the World – Part 1

There are film festivals held all around the globe. In fact, more and more festivals are cropping up each year with the ever-expansive movie-goer following in huge appreciation. Some are gigantic events that run for around a week, while others are smaller affairs that perhaps only last a day or two. Some cater for mainstream type movies, with many others showcasing the more unusual world and work of cinematographers. Whatever you are into you will be sure to find a film festival that suits your requirements. In this particular blog we aren’t going to look at the biggest, or best, or indeed the most recent film festivals. We are going to focus on the ones that are steeped in history, put simply the oldest film festivals in the world.

The Venice Film Festival

Without a shadow of a doubt the Venice Film Festival holds the title as being the oldest. Dating back to 1932, Venice has been considered to be pivotal its assistance in bringing the silver screen to the masses. The “first edition” of the festival ran from Aug 6th to the 21st. At the outset it wasn’t a competition; however, this changed two years later when it next ran. The very first movie to be shown was the Rouben Mamoulian directed Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde which went off at 9:15pm. The second edition as we said was a competition in which 19 countries showcased the best of their work for the review of over 300 accredited journalists.

The Second World War

The Second World War made it very difficult to continue the now annual event and it took a break until after the conclusion of the fighting. Full speed was resumed in 1946 with the festival being witnessed by a staggering 90,000, giving it title to one of the most spectacular festivals every held. For twenty years after the war the festival grew from strength to strength, amassing a fantastic following along the way. However, again there were to be difficult years ahead. Not a single prize was awarded between the years 1969 to 1979 as the festival saw a return to the non-competition that was born in the inaugural year. There were even years that the Venice film festival didn’t even run.

In 1979 the Venice Film Festival was official reborn and found itself back on the cultural map. Foundations were put in place to ensure that the bleaker years would never be repeated. To this date movie makers vie for the coveted Golden Lion and Silver Lion prizes. These are only awarded to the best film and the best director respectively in the competition section. The first Golden Lion prize was awarded in 1940 with Manon scooping the top award. The Silver Lion prize has seen a dotted history, undertaking several changes in guise until it became a regular award in the late 1980’s. The first notable winner of this revamped award was Martin Scorsese for the work he did in directing the cult movie Goodfellas.

We hope that you have enjoyed learning a little more about some of the great history of the oldest film festivals in the world. Watch out for the next part when we take a closer look at The Cannes Film Festival.