A look at 14 film festivals around the world

Posted on 1 August 2017

Films tug at our heart strings because, in one way or the other, we often relate to the experiences of the characters or we find ourselves moved by the quality of a soundtrack evoking emotions in us. Films are so much more than just moving pictures. There is a rigorous thought process involved and many hands are needed to put a film together.

Here is a look at some of the Film Festivals that have caught the eyes and ears of many film critics and movie lovers around the world.


1. Tobago Jazz Film Festival – Trinidad and Tobago

The Tobago Jazz and Film Festival celebrates music through film. Films showcased at the festival are from Trinidad, Tobago and around the Caribbean. The main purpose of the festival is to facilitate the growth of Caribbean cinema.

Music plays a large role in the films we watch. Image from the Tobago Jazz Film Festival


2. Mardi Gras Film Festival – Sydney, Australia

The Mardi Gras Film Festival has been in Sydney Australia since 1978, and it has been called one of the top five film festivals in the world. The annual festival focuses on LGBT films and filmmakers, by promoting gay and lesbian titles. Next year, the festival will be heading for its 24th year.

The Mardi Gras Festival takes place every year in Sydney, Australia. Image from the Mardi Gras Film Festival


3. Youngcuts People’s Film Festival – Canada

This film festival was founded in 2001 and showcases young film talent from Canada with film-makers ranging from 29 years old and younger. The festival is a good way to give youngsters in the film industry a bit of exposure and to advance their film careers. See more about the festival on the Youngcuts website.


4. Tribeca Film Festival – New York

The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 after the tragic event of 9/11. The film festival was started by actors Robert De Niro, Craig Hatkoff and Jane Rosenthal, and its main purpose was to promote cultural and economic revival for lower Manhattan. The films showcased at the event are buzz-worthy foreign films, documentaries and short films. Tickets for next year’s festival can be purchased on the .


5. Zanzibar International Film Festival – Stonetown, Tanzania

While the Zanzibar International Film Festival may be over for 2017, the film festival is a wonderful platform to grow the film industry in Africa. This year’s theme was Finding Joy. The film festival has been running for 20 years and it is dedicated to films, music and the arts.

The growth of film education is one of the main highlights for the event. Image from Zanzibar Film Festival


6. Montreal Film Festival – Montreal, Canada

Canada’s oldest international film festival takes place late in August until early September. The Montreal Film Festival dates back to 1977. The festival aims to bridge the gap with a larger diversity of films from all over the world and encourage the cultural diversity and understanding between nations.


7. British Film Institute London Film Festival, London

The British Film Institute (BFI) London Film Festival runs in October annually. Going on to its 61st year this year, movie lovers can expect on stage interviews, music inspired films, short films. They will get to learn about the people who work and create distinctive films within contemporary cinema.


8. Cannes International Film Festival, Cannes

The main purpose of the Cannes International Film Festival is to promote the development of the film industry. The Cannes are important on a global scale and have a long history behind them. This year, the film festival celebrated 70 years. A team of researchers go around the world every year to uncover promising directors.

The Cannes International Film Festival was founded in 1946. Image from Cannes International Film Festival


9. Moscow International Film Festival, Moscow

The Moscow International Film Festival is one of the oldest film festivals dating back to 1935, but becoming a yearly occurrence in 1959. The festival includes films that haven’t been introduced to public screens. The aim of the festival is to promote a cultural exchange and the growth and collaboration among filmmakers around the world. This year, the festival was held for the 39th year.


10. Audi Dublin International Film Festival, Dublin

Every year in February, the Dublin International Film Festival takes place in Dublin. This year was its 16th year running. The festival showcases new international cinematography and also focuses on screen writing.

Submissions for the 2018 Audi Dublin International Film Festival are now open. Image from Audi Dublin International Film Festival


11. International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rotterdam

The International Film Festival in Rotterdam was found in 1972. Since then, the event has been held annually. The festival supports independent film makers. If you are a fan of fiction, media art, short films and documentary feature films, then this festival could be for you! See more on what to expect at next year’s festival.

The cosmopolitan city of Rotterdam has a unique ambience, making the port the suitable host for the International Film Festival. Image by Erik Zachte


12. Durban International Film Festival, Durban

The city of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal has hosted the Durban International Film Festival since 1979. It has become one of Southern Africa’s largest festivals. The Wavescape Surf Film Festival was launched from the Durban International Film Festival. The festival hosts workshops, industry forums and township screenings to introduce community members who may not be familiar with films to the industry. 


13. Cairo International World Film Festival, Cairo

Going back to 1976, the Cairo International World Film Festival takes place annually. This year, the film festival will be hosted in November. The festival focuses on encouraging intercultural dialogue, making a viable contribution to the art, science and the film industry and encourages supporting Egypt’s local films.


14. Rwanda International Film Festival, Kigali

There is much more happening in Rwanda than gorilla-trekking and the Rwanda International Film Festival is proof of this. Founded in 2005, this annual festival will take place this September. The event has gained worldwide recognition of the past 12 years of its existence. The Rwanda International Film Festival is known as Hillywood. The festival promotes and encourages awareness and understanding of art cinema in Rwanda.

If you have attended any of these festivals, comment below and share your experience with us. We would love to hear from you.

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