Looking Beyond The Usual Fare.

Perhaps many still don’t completely understand the true importance of film festivals, especially in terms of mounting their film and to a large extent even the filmmaker. Festivals are more than just the laurels on the poster or perception value built back home.

No one really knows how many film festivals actually exist globally, but it’s safe to say it runs in thousands and finding the right festival for your film is crucial. The right press, representation (sales/distribution), festival slot / section and attitude goes a long way not just for the current film you may be pitching or presenting, but also for those being planned for the future.

There’s a world beyond the Top 5, namely Sundance, Berlin, Cannes, Venice and Toronto, here’s our list of 5 more you ought to know about and consider (in no particular order)


1. International Film Festival of Rotterdam (IFFR)

Undoubtedly one of the most important festivals in the World, IFFR may very well be one of the go to places that has consistently supported and facilitated the discovery of new talents. From Cutting edge films, art and media to what may very well be the Launchpad market (cinemart) for producers with projects, this festival offers it all.  Structured around ensuring not just showcase but also distribution, the festival offers the Bright Screen award whereby the winning film voted by an Audience jury is chosen to screen in cinemas and on television across the Netherlands in the following year, in addition to a cash prize. Similarly the Bright Future section of the festival is for debut filmmakers and the winning film is given a 10,000 Euro cash prize towards the development of the next film. Additionally the festival also has a host of other awards including a IFFR Youth Jury, NETPAC and FIPRESCI award.  The festival also gives equal importance to short films with its marvelously curated sections and host of awards for short films. The festival also attracts some of the best industry members, from festival programmers to it producers to leading sales agents and the likes. The intimate setting of the festival and the inclusive gatherings allows for everyone to be able to interact with everyone else.

International Film Festival of Rotterdam (IFFR)

It’s really difficult to write on the festival to do it complete justice, simply because there is so much there and there’s massive FOMO  (Fear Of Missing Out) writing about it or even while attending it. This festival is a treat not just for audiences but also filmmakers, producers and the likes. There’s much too much to do, see and experience there.  The only flip-side to this festival is that you need to brave the cold, but trust us when we say it’s worth it and beyond.

Click here to register – https://iffr.com/ 


2. Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF)

A lesser-known fact about this festival is that it is the world’s oldest continuously running film festival, turning 73 in 2019.  Started in 1947, the festival has grown to become one of the major festivals heralded for it’s strong programming and provides a sound balance between the old and new. Set in the stunning Scottish city of Edinburgh, the festival focuses on new talents, innovation and new discovery films. With multiple sections ranging from showcase of auteur filmmakers works to films targeted towards a youth-centric audience, to shorts and documentaries, the festival offers it all.

Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF)

Additionally the festival also has a dedicated industry section, attracting over 1200 industry delegates, including filmmakers, sales agents, buyers, distributors and the likes. The festival also offers a work in progress Lab that allows filmmakers to showcase their works in progress to potential festivals and distributors in addition to a two-day event geared towards distribution conversations. So between soaking in the beauty Edinburgh offers and the spectacular programme and industry events, this is a festival that’s totally up there and one to watch out for.

Click Here To Register – https://www.edfilmfest.org.uk/


3. Talinn Black Nights (PÖFF)

What began in 1997 as a small festival in the town of Talinn in Estonia, has in a short span of time grown to become one of the most crucial festivals in terms of new talent discoveries and prestige. This is a festival that you have to be stupid to miss. It packs it all and consistently has paved the way for many new filmmakers, including many from India. With over 250 films in the entire programme, there’s a lot to discover at the festival. Given the importance of the festival in the European region, the Festival also attracts a great industry, with over 800 in attendance, ranging from the who’s who in the festival world and sales world.

Talinn Black Nights (PÖFF)

What many are unaware is also the fact that the Festival also has within it two sub festivals, one for shorts and one for youth and children’s films that takes place alongside. In addition to a competition section the festival also has a first feature competition section awarding 3200 euros in addition to a audience award,  FIPRESCI award and  NETPAC award among others.

The industry part of the festival features work in Progress section, co-production labs, a market place and a unique programme called Black Night stars actors program geared towards emerging talent.  There’s also the Script pool competition that is awarded with 5000 euros. All in all there’s far too much to soak in at the festival and don’t make the mistake of not submitting your film here.

Click here to register – https://2018.poff.ee/


4. International Film Festival and Awards – Macau (IFFAM)

Set in the gambling capital of the world, what better place to have a film and awards festival correct? Bang on. Just in it’s 4th year now, IFFAM has certainly carved a place for itself in the international Festival and cultural calendar. While the programme of the festival is not as extensive as most other festivals, it is crisp, well curated and is a treat for audiences and industry alike.

The festival has consistently programmed Indian films and amidst the lavish arrangements offers filmmakers a rather personal and intimate festival experience.

International Film Festival and Awards – Macau (IFFAM)

In addition to a competition section, the festival also offers a specific genre section for Genre film lovers in addition to other sections.  The festival is a treat for those wanting to network, especially given the huge number of industry guests present at the festival.

This one is a definite must do in terms of attending as well as sending in submissions. What the festival team has managed to put together in a short span of time is commendable. This is one festival where in the growth of the festival is evident year on year, making it one of the fastest growing festivals both in terms of scale as well as importance.

Click here to register – https://www.iffamacao.com/


5. El Gouna Film Festival [EGFF]

A festival like none other, El Gouna FF has to be experienced to know exactly how grand it truly is.  Set in the resort town of El Gouna, which is a short distance from Hurghada, the festival is truly unique. Lavish hotels welcome guests, London Cabs for festival vehicles and shuttles, the red sea till the eyes can see and most importantly a small but brilliant programme coupled with literally the who’s who in the festival world. The festival has character and that is undeniable. Now in it’s third edition the Festival has grown to become one of the strongest in the Arab world.

El Gouna Film Festival [EGFF]

While the festival does focus on the MENA region, the competition sections of the festival which is for feature films, a separate one for short films and one for documentaries showcases some of the finest films made globally. Additionally the festival also hands out a USD 20,000 audience choice award. The industry section which has three unique aspects, namely the CineGouna Bridge, CineGouna Platform and the CineGouna Springboard is primarily to fuel filmmaking talent from the Arab world globally, but there is no reason why producers from the country cannot attend, especially those looking to co-produce on international content or those filmmakers who wish to just meet international industry guests. It’s a massive thumbs up for El Gouna.

Click here to register – http://elgounafilmfestival.com/