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Top 10 Film Festivals

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script Written by Brandon Stuhr These are the community events where we first see the indie gems, underground productions or soon-to-be big screen hits we know and love. Join http://www. WatchMojo.com, as we count down our picks for the top 10 film festivals. For this list, we're looking at film festivals from around the world and basing our choices on a mix of their popularity, overall recognition and reputation within the movie industry and so on. Special thanks to our users Gutiérrez Torres Ignacio Alejandro, DonovanTPS, jkellis, Jaime Enrique Gutierrez Pérez, WebRider16 for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Film Festivals


These are the community events where we first see the indie gems, underground productions or soon-to-be big screen hits we know and love. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 film festivals.

For this list, we’re looking at film festivals from around the world and basing our choices on a mix of their popularity, and reputation within the movie industry and so on.

#10: BFI London Film Festival (1953-)

More commonly known as just the London Film Festival, the British Film Institute's now-annual fall event was founded in 1953. Only showing about 20 films from celebrated directors at its launch, the BFI London Film Festival has now expanded to screen over 300 films from all around the world. Many successful movies have been shown here, such as: “Precious,” “The Road,” and “Up in the Air.” Over the years, the glamorous bringing together of up-and-coming and high profile filmmakers has become the largest public event in film in all of the United Kingdom.

#9: Tribeca Film Festival (2002-)

The first New York festival on our list, the Tribeca Film Festival’s massive program encompasses upwards of 500 entries annually. Founded in response to the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, the festival's main purpose was to revitalize local neighborhoods affected by the tragedy. Now welcoming a three million-member audience, the festival certainly grew quickly in its first decade of existence. Tribeca is also known for honoring the video game “L.A. Noire” as an official selection in 2011.

#8: Venice Film Festival (1932-)

Being the oldest international film festival in the world has its perks. Founded in 1932, it is the most popular event in the Venice Biennale art exhibition held annually in Venice, Italy. Due to its age and the films that have premiered here, the Venice International Film festival has since earned the same level of prestige as the Cannes Film Festival. While the event revolves mostly around Italian films and filmmakers, don't be shocked to find out this may also have been where your favorite film got its premiere.

#7: New York Film Festival (1963-)

Another New York-centric film festival on our list… noticing a trend? This movie event is no stranger to the masses, as it’s been alive and kicking since 1963. Unlike its competitor earlier on our list, this festival is non-competitive and is focused on screening films on their merit alone. This prevents many prominent filmmakers from screening their films at NYFF, but some still do quite regularly regardless. It’s definitely worth a visit on your next New York road trip!

#6: South by Southwest (1987-)

South by Southwest isn't just a festival, it’s an entire media overload. This set of events and conferences runs over several days, and covers film, music and interactive media. One of the younger events on our list, the film festival part of SXSW is designed for the discovery of new directing talent and to introduce them to the world as their own. South by Southwest has grown significantly in a short while, bringing over 20,000 people to the city of Austin, Texas in the U.S.A.

#5: Telluride Film Festival (1974-)

Our first Colorado-based film event on this list, the Telluride Film Festival sure is an interesting one. Founded by Bill and Stella Pence, Tom Luddy and James Card, along with the city’s Council for the Arts and Humanities, in 1974, Telluride is focused on new films, thereby being the premiere spot of many movies. This informal tradition requiring films shown at Telluride to be their United States debut has allowed the festival to be credited with the discovery of many important directors and films. Some of these include Robert Rodriguez, Michael Moore, and David Lynch.

#4: Toronto International Film Festival (1976-)

Better known as TIFF, it is the perfect place to premiere your film if you are trying to snag that Oscar gold. The Toronto International Film Festival is often compared to the Cannes Film Festival because of their similar levels of prestige and their ability to attract high-profile industry members. What can Toronto do that Cannes can't? Generate "Oscar" buzz. Many Oscar winners have premiered at TIFF such as: “Crash,” “Moneyball,” “The Big Chill,” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”

#3: Berlin International Film Festival (1951-)

First founded in the middle of the 20th century, this Germany-based festival has only been going strong every year since 1978. At the Berlinale, approximately 400 films are shown to an audience of over 300,000 film lovers. The main program is divided into 7 sections by different categories, which are Competition, Panorama, Forum, Generation, Perspektive Deutsches Kino, Berlinale Shorts, and Retrospective. Based on the number of attendees, the Berlin International Film Festival is also currently the largest public film festival in the world.

#2: Sundance Film Festival (1978-)

This is the American version of the Cannes Film Festival. If you want to have your film premiered with a huge audience, this is where you need to be. Officially founded by Robert Redford’s company in Salt Lake City, Utah in August 1978, Sundance switched to a January start date and Park City location in 1981 and has been going strong every year since. While focusing on homegrown films from the United States and international dramas, you will see no shortage of variety here, as documentaries, shorts and more also find their home at Sundance. Many notable films have started out as independents here.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Hong Kong International Film Festival (1977-)

International Film Festival Rotterdam (1972-)

Moscow International Film Festival (1935-)

Locarno International Film Festival (1946-)

#1: Cannes International Film Festival (1946-)

Founded in 1946, the Cannes International Film Festival has been a significant platform for the majority of successful European films. Held in France, the annual event is known for not limiting its criteria to only one genre, allowing a wide range of entries. Unlike the Sundance Film Festival, the Cannes Film Festival is by invitation only. This secures its promise that the film screened during the festival is its worldwide premiere and hasn’t been released anywhere other than their country of origin. As such, Cannes has become the most anticipated and media-covered film festival in the world.

Do you agree with our list? What is your favorite film festival? For more independent top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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