Lights, Camera, and Action! Everyone enjoys a good film festival every once in a while. There is nothing like kicking back with friends to see independent, foreign, or just plain good old films. Who would have thought of such a concept? Someone that loves to have fun. Where did this all start? The 1920’s saw the rise of Hollywood, and with it, public movements. Film societies and clubs seem to rise out of nowhere across many countries. Hollywood simply dominated over other film industries, such as documentaries. They simply did not cut it any longer. In France, these societies fostered the appearance of impressionist and surrealist cinemas. In Brazil, they only allotted the consistent outlet for domestically produced movies. Most of these clubs and societies were found in Western Europe, but with all trendy things, they soon were seen in the United States and Latin America.
The very first film festival was directly due to the Italian dictator, and arguable tyrant, Benito Mussolini. His enthusiasm for motion pictures as a tool for his political public relationship and of course, propaganda, made things quite interesting. He spent large sums to plump up his state-run Italian cinema to have a fighting chance against the outrageously famous Hollywood. He imposed brutal taxes on foreign movies, putting a damper of their distribution. The first cinema program was ushered in, fittingly, by the classic of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It featured and astounding twenty-four other submissions from other countries as well. Despite a statement that the exhibition was all about art, the public knew that there was a major political subtext to the event.
This attempt was unsuccessful to say the least. Many were upset, enraged even, and stormed out of the event. It was not until 1939 that the film festival was taken seriously, and emerged as a true event and a staple for culture. The Cannes International Film Festival was scheduled to extend the tourist season by a couple more weeks. It included titles such as Only Angels Have Wings, and The Hunchback of Norte Dame. However, the only film to be seen this day was the opening, as Germany’s invasion of Poland cut it tragically short. It was re-opened in 1946, and despite technical difficulties, it was a smashing success. Many festivals took place afterward, and some to be named would be the Toronto International Film Festival, which has since grown into one of the most all-embracing in the world. Another would be the founding of the United States Film Festival in Salt Lake City. It has been renamed the Sundance Film Festival, which is flocked to by many a media camera-man in hopes to cover its glory.
If you would like to see a film festival nowadays, do not fret. They are still around. Some that can be visited are the Toronto International Film Festival, as mentioned, the Sundance, and the Slamdance Film Festival. Check the web if you are interested. These events are something not to be passed up. Movies are always thought to bring the family together, and combined with travel; they can really make a trip go right.