Film festivals are popping up all over the country and the variety is tremendous. From coast to coast you can sample everything from the off-beat to the artsy, international and short films, hip hop to film noir, the unusual and the unexpected.
There is so much variety in film that the local cinema could not possibly provide an outlet for all there is to see. You need to check out the film festivals, and chances are there is one in your hometown, to discover the gems, the new talent, and new faces behind a medium that is defining the culture of the world today.
The first place to start would be Film Festivals.com, where you can find listings by city, festival and films. Be sure to check film festival information carefully, because not all festivals are open to the public, however most are. Also, confirm ticket availability and prices.
The Aspen Film Festival is host to special guest speakers like Rob Reiner and Kathy Bates. Aspen Academy screenings run through the month of December and feature films nominated by the Academy, while the Aspen Shortsfest features an international selection of notable short films. The Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Kaye Foundation sponsor this festival along with Chopard, Cadillac, Kodak, and local retailers and businesses. Aspen provides the glamorous backdrop for a film festival event.
The Los Angeles International Shorts Festival features short films from around the world and panel discussions with industry insiders, from HBO and Working Title Films, just to name a few. After hours, the star power comes out to party. As an avid film enthusiast or as a budding filmmaker, this looks like a great time.
The Sundance Film Festival is a great see and be seen destination for those in the film business. The celebrity parties are legend and Park City, Utah comes alive during this time. Workshops and panels are a huge draw. Where better to cut your teeth than at Sundance?
The Tribeca and Tribeca Underground Film Festival and the now classic Tribeca Drive-In within the North Cove of the World Financial Center is a free public event in the middle of New York City. Combining “urban chic” and nostalgia, enjoy film under the stars in a state-of-the-art facility. You can party with the stars in New York’s uber hip Tribeca. Tribeca Underground screenings are free to the public and feature shorts from around the world. You will be able to meet some of the directors, producers and actors and participate in a question and answer segment after the film is presented.
In the Mid-West? Try the Cleveland International Film Festival. Ohio’s premier film event features films from over 40 countries and six continents. Since 1977, the CFF has been featuring visiting directors, panel discussions, and student screenings.
The Telluride Film Festival is set among the beautiful landscape that is Telluride, Colorado. The self proclaimed “crowned jewel” of film festivals is also the most exclusive because it is difficult to get into, it charges the press and it gets some of the best filmmakers in the world. This scene is for the ambitious and the talented.
The Chicago International Film Festival has been honoring great filmmaking and hosting international offerings for five decades. Free summer screenings, panel discussions and field trips are just a few of the events offered here. Filmmakers take note: the Outreach education program is a big part of this festival and you can be sure that some of the best talent and exciting new films can be seen here.
The Los Angeles Film Festival has tremendous offerings for a filmmaker at any stage of his career. From financing and funding to marketing and distribution, there is a forum addressing every issue facing a silver screen contender. Visit the website for dates and film selections. There is so much here to do, and the after hours events are the best that Tinsel Town has to offer. Check for free screenings and family events, as well.
The Miami International Film Festival is a cultural film Mecca. Multi-cultural Miami is home to a wealth of talent and influence from the Latin American community, as well as from all over the world. The festival has grown huge within the last few years and is attracting filmmakers and directors from every realm. Panel discussions address financing and distribution issues and also offer outreach to the Hispanic filmmaking community.
The Palm Springs International Film Festival offers a Short Film Festival integrated with panel discussions, seminars, and workshops offering help to filmmakers in every aspect of the business. A fine selection of films and international award winners is offered at this desert film fest.
The Montreal Film Festival is home to the World Film Festival. This festival features an outdoor venue which offers “cinema under the stars”. See classics and box office blockbusters and an array of international works after the sun goes down. A variety of conferences and symposiums are offered in between screenings. Be sure to check schedules and ticket prices; special packages are offered.
Toronto is home to the Reel World Film Festival. Toronto has become the hot spot, “go to” film festival within the filmmaking community. The hottest parties and big celebrity sightings are to be found here. Toronto is also home to a variety of film festivals, including the Fantasy World Wide International Film Festival and the Cinema of Jazz. There is, without a doubt, a huge variety of activity and entertainment in Toronto at film festival time. Refer to schedules and be sure not to miss your favorite event or party.
The Nantucket Film Festival is host to films of all genres from all over the world. For filmmakers submitting work, there is a keen eye for great screen writing. Featured events include ” Morning Coffee with…," which is an opportunity to meet with talent of note and enjoy a morning coffee chat. Past hosts have included Rosie Perez, Jerry Stiller, Tina Fey, Mos Def, and Paul Rudd, among others. An “In Their Shoes” series of panel discussions presents attending filmmakers, writers and directors who discuss the “nuts and bolts” of filmmaking.
Cine Vegas Film Festival, “The world’s most dangerous film festival." Would you expect anything less from Las Vegas? Although only six years in the running, the Cine Vegas Film Festival is quickly building momentum on the film festival circuit. Las Vegas attracts major star power and promises to be a major event.
The Jackson Hole Film Festival has a great schedule of events from a Casino night to wine tasting. The festival has a free outdoor film series, Movies on the Mountain. This five-day festival offers a student program and sports/action program, as well as a Global Awareness program which addresses humanitarian and environmental concerns. This festival has big plans for expansion with its World program in hoping to create a network of festivals and production companies that foster filmmaking all over the world.
An eclectic mix of film can be found at the San Francisco International Film Festival. A variety of short and full length films from all over the world can be viewed amid live musical performances and parties. Venues throughout the city offer screenings and an opening night Gala Party sponsored by Remy Martin kicks off the event.
The Vail Film Festival is a prestigious event which features the best that film festivals have to offer. The Oscar Shorts Showcase is just one feature at the festival which also includes action/sports films, student films, documentaries, and full length features. Panel discussions and a screenwriting program are just a few of the offerings at the Vail Film Festival. The party line-up allows you the chance to rub elbows with actors and filmmakers at the exclusive festival galas and to participate in lively Q&A sessions and panel discussions.
The Reel Women International Film Festival in Hollywood was established to help emerging female filmmakers by providing a forum for exposure to the filmmaking community and the film-going public. There are monthly screening mixers which raise funds and screenings that are followed by question and answer sessions. Check out the website for a schedule of events and screening times.