It happens every year: awards season begins, your deep undying love of cinema is suddenly rekindled, and then—boom!—Sundance is upon us. But while it's the largest indie film festival in the U.S., there are plenty of other exciting options throughout the year. Which one is your perfect match? Find out below!
For the "Art as Cinema" Devotee: Venice Film Festival
August 31-September 10, 2016
The Venice Film Festival is the oldest in the world (as well as one of the most highly regarded). Founded in 1932, its crowd is less celebrity and more die-hard film lovers. Every year they honor someone who has made significant contributions to contemporary cinema. Past winners? Brian De Palma, Al Pacino, Spike Lee, and James Franco.
For the Party Animal: Toronto International Film Festival
September 8-18, 2016
On the road to awards season, Toronto is one of the last stops. But that doesn't make it any less important—in fact, it's quite the opposite. Last year, many Oscar-nominated films premiered at TIFF, which is known for generating awards buzz. What makes it different? Everyone seems to be a little bit less stressed in this eye-before-the-awards storm, and fun and parties abound.
For the Innovative Storyteller: Tribeca Film Festival
April 13-24, 2016
One of the youngest of the big-name festivals, the Tribeca Film Festival was created with the mission of helping to revitalize a post-9/11 downtown New York City, while inspiring the public through the power of film. From family-friendly screenings and panel discussions to incubators that attract gamers, hackers, and storytellers, this week-and-a-half long event has shaken up the traditional festival game.
For the Film-Obsessed: Seattle International Film Festival
May 19-June 12, 2016
For almost an entire month, Seattle is transformed into a cinematic wonderland. It's one of the country's oldest and largest film festivals, and notoriously has something for everyone. From a nonstop calendar of movie-related events and a program just for families, to a large selection of documentaries and a "secret festival" in which moviegoers can never disclose what they saw, this festival provides a truly unique experience.
For the Serious Film Buff: Berlinale
Feb 11-21, 2016
The Berlinale is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world, showcasing new indie and arthouse films that focus on controversial subjects, innovative shorts, and a wide variety of German films. Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca opened the first festival in 1951, because, although it premiered in the '40s, many Germans were unable to watch it until after the war ended.
For the Student: BFI London Film Festival
October 2016 (dates TBC)
The LFF is one of the largest public film events in the U.K. and focuses on the best of world cinema across myriad categories. While red carpet glamour certainly is part of the festival, the original goal was to create a forum widely accessible to the average person. Between free student screenings, panel discussions, and master classes, you are pretty much guaranteed to see something amazing.
For the Lover of Surprises: Telluride Film Festival
September 2-5, 2016
Are you that person who takes great joy in grab bags, surprise parties, and flash mobs? Then Telluride is for you. Attendees of this festival have to commit without knowing any of the movies on the lineup, but don't fret: with a history of great premieres (including Brokeback Mountain and Mulholland Drive), this 42-year-old festival is not one to disappoint.
For the Short Film Lover: Melbourne International Film Festival
July-August 2016 (dates TBC)
This three-week-long festival is one of the oldest in the world, but that's not all it's known for. Its short film awards have been accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, which means that winners in the short film categories are eligible to go on to win an Oscar. And, of course, the shorter the movies, the more you can watch!