Cinema is, beyond a doubt, a form of art. Telling stories that resonate with audiences and inspire them to do and be better, the best films can have an incredibly positive and poignant impact on the world around them, inspiring us to feel and care about characters and causes.
As with any form of art, good movies deserve a place where they can be showcased and enjoyed, in the same vein as paintings in an art gallery or statues in a sculpture park. This is an opportunity that film festivals were designed to deliver, and the very best are incredibly highbrow and glamorous.
Here, we take a look at the world’s most fabulous film festivals, and how to organize and host your own.
Founded in 1932, Venice is the oldest and most august film festival in the world. Renowned for its glamour and its famous guest list, it is built around the city’s intricate canal system, with stars arriving by boat. With the city transforming into a landscape of floating red carpets whenever the festival rolls around, it attracts as many artists and fashion designers as it does actors and directors. The result is one of the most lavish events in the A-list calendar.
Taking place on the French Riviera each year, the Cannes Film Festival is known for its glitz and glamour. As one of the most prestigious and moneyed events for filmmakers and starlets to attend, it’s famed for debuting many future Oscar winners and box-office hits. A sartorial as much as cinematic highlight, it draws an incredible number of famous faces whenever it rolls around.
For something slightly quirkier, there’s the Sundance Film Festival. This indie showcase was first envisaged by Robert Redford and is known for debuting artsy dramas and incredibly thought-provoking documentaries. While the films themselves are often screened in ordinary settings, such as school gymnasiums, this doesn’t stop the A-list from flocking to this once-a-year event, lending it a hedonistic and oxymoronic glamour that many in Hollywood enjoy.
Once described as being “second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars, and market activity”, Toronto is one of the most influential film festivals of them all. With a track record for debuting Oscar winners and attracting A-listers, its red carpet oozes with glamour and is filled with an unending procession of gorgeous celebrities. Described by The Guardian as having ‘the Midas touch’, all that glitters here really is gold.
How to build a film festival from scratch
While amateur film festivals struggle to compete in terms of glamour and prestige with the heavyweights above, there are nonetheless an increasing number springing up. These are hosted by everyone from novice film buffs to movie stars and cinema critics, but they all require the same basic foundations, no matter how big or small.
For those thinking of organizing their own festival, these include:
As with any event, film festivals must be properly insured before they take place. This covers the host against any potential mishaps that may arise, from RTAs while taxiing guests to and from the event to damage caused to the venue.
For example, car accidents should not affect your bottom line, which is why it’s important to have a properly tailored policy in place. This should be specifically designed to meet your needs, so you’re fully covered against all eventualities.
A glamorous location
While film festivals take place around the world, organizers usually search out glamorous locations for hosting them. This helps to attract a more highbrow guest list, and will ensure that any movies you debut are shown in the very best light. This location should, naturally, have the capacity to accommodate a large number of guests, as the more tickets you’re able to sell, the higher your profit margin is likely to be.
Before arranging a festival, it’s also important that you have an interesting selection of films to debut. In order to source these, it’s worth getting in touch with aspiring scriptwriters and amateur filmmakers, who may have movies they want to showcase. To reach the widest possible audience, you might wish to advertise your search online, to allow potentially interested parties to contact you.
Would you ever have a go at hosting your own small-scale film festival?