Cannes Film Festival – The Cannes Film Festival takes the crown for the biggest name in festivals around the world. It’s frequented by Hollywood A-listers such as Brad Pitt and George Clooney, often presenting some of the films of the year. With its repertoire of well-crafted independent films, Cannes is the agenda setter for film industry for the following year. One of the main reasons for its success, however, is the plethora of foreign independent films that continually outscore their American counterparts. Cannes is essentially the Super Bowl of film festivals.
South By Southwest – Originally hosted as an enormous music festival within one of the most culturally influential cities in America, South By Southwest, or SXSW for short, also offers some of the most progressive independent films within the cinema aspect of the festival. The premise of SXSW was originally to showcase up and coming musical acts, but they have applied these same principles to smaller films in order to highlight some of the most well put together independent films in the nation. As a showcase for creativity within the United States, SXSW delivers thought provoking cinema alongside its musical focus.
Sundance Film Festival – No list of prominent film festivals would be complete without mentioning the Sundance Film Festival. Every January, the resort town of Park City explodes with celebrities and media as Sundance displays some of the most influential works of independent film. After all, this festival is the heart of American independent cinema and focuses on highlighting up and coming directors and small budget ingenuity. As far as film festivals in America go, Sundance is arguably the biggest one around.
Telluride Film Festival – Another festival set in a resort community, the Telluride Film Festival takes place in Telluride, Colorado, a town famous for its luxury ski resort atmosphere. Over Labor Day weekend, this festival is unique because of its emphasis on both new and old influential cinema. It also offers movie-goers a chance to learn about the film industry, with in depth seminars on most aspects of independent filmmaking. To average film enthusiast, the Telluride Film Festival offers great cinema in the heart of the Colorado Rockies.
Film festivals are often cited as the largest influence over cinema culture. When up-and-coming producers and directors are offered a chance to showcase their work at such events, it provides an opportunity for the general public to learn about which of the next year’s movies are worth watching and which aren’t. Though there are many more festivals around the globe, the ones listed carry the most weight when determining the cinema agenda for the following year.