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June 22, 2008

European Film Festivals

European Film Festivals


With the ever increasing numbers of festivals emerging this cannot hope to be a comprehensive list as that would be a full-time occupation. The purpose of the page is to highlight the importance of film festivals and to encourage fans of older and slightly more off-beat film to kep an eye out for these festivals. The page by its very nature will be something of a work in progress rather than creating an attempt at closure.


The growing number of film festivals in the towns and cities of Europe is a very important development from the perspective of defending national cinemas and pan-European cinema in general from being overwhelmed by the industrial might and marketing power of Hollywood and the subservience of the Multiplex exhibition system. As more and more emphasis is placed upon cultural tourism and cultural planning so more and more festivals are springing up especially as state film policy such as the UK Film Council's strategy is making positive steps to encourage this. Not only do these festivals provide an opportunity for people to travel around europe and meet like-minded people but they provide people in the localities and regions a cultural hub to enjoy films that would be difficult for them to see in a cinema. With European cinema having such a magnificent heritage of high-quality films there is a huge amount of material to draw on to make each festival a unique event.  This ability to call upon a long-tail of films provides many opportunities for people to think about and discuss films, directors, themes, performers and movements in ways that for all the wonders of the internet cannot be replicated. Whilst researching the Mike Leigh pages for this site I came across La Rochelle Festival which this year amongst other things is screening some Mike Leigh films. Given that getting his films into mainstream cinemas in Britain is a major feat this puts all the arguments about Hollywood in perspective.

Whilst film festivals like Cannes and Venice are for the Glitterarty (!) this isn't relevant for large numbers of filmgoers who have a love of film and want to experience them on a large screen quite possibly in the company of others. With digital technologies rapidly improving and coming down in cost hopefully we could see the building of smaller scale cinemas which are more relevant ot localities. These would help maintain a discourse including a physical presence of quality cinema and its audience which is more challenging than the average genre film. These audiences would be able to experience festivals across Europe exchanging experiences, ideas etc. For this to be achieved European film policy needs to have in mind exhibitionary and audience development running alongside distribution. The other things that film financing bodies need to be prepared for is not the quick return on capital demanded by Hollywood investors.

The very best films can have a long life measured in decades rather than in days. Given that it is still impossible to get many European classic films of DVD in the UK and assuming that this situation is replicated across Europe this is a shameful issue that needs addressing. Hopefully readers of this blog will use opportunities to persuade policy makers that there needs to be a stimulus to general film culture that goes deeper than just boosting tourism important though that is. If the European project is to generate deeper meanings it is essential that this takes place on cultural grounds rather than being forced through by politicians against people's will. Although this blog is entirely in favour of developing closer links between European countries the agenda needs to be driven from below rather than by dictat from above.

Film Festivals tend to be divided into two types. Ones which are more aimed at audiences and those which are primarily about screening new materials in order to raise profiles and do business. The latter ones are more international in their nature. Bearing this in mind it is interesting to see how the UK Film Council  is assigning £740,000 over the next three years to build up film festivals although there is certainly commercial intent behind the initiative:

The funding from the UK Film Council's Film Festivals Fund (national strand) will give thousands more people the opportunity to enjoy more films, learn about film and meet filmmakers. The cash boost will also help to raise the profile of British film at home and abroad and contribute to the development of a more competitive UK film industry.

Film Festivals in France

La Rochelle Film Festival

La Rochelle Film Festival 2008 La Rochelle film Poster 2008






























Film Festivals in the UK

French Film Festival UK

Audrey Tatou Priceless

The French Film Festival UK is an annual event and takes places across a number of cities. 2008 saw the 16th French Film Festival UK take place from 7 - 20 March 2008 in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Cardiff, Warwick, Birmingham, Manchester and London.

The Filmstock Film Festival

The Filmstock Film Festival at Luton looks like more of an audience event fun and whacky as well. They also ensure that there is Fair Trade produce only on sale

Luton Filmstock Banner

Filmstock Banner

Luton Hat Factory

Image of the Luton Hat Factory now regenerated to a post-industrial cultural industries agenda.  This is the venue for the Filmstock Film Festival

Borderlines Film Festival

Its over now but watch out for next year's.

Bristol the Encounters short film Festival

Bristol Encounters Shorts Festival

The 14th edition of the Encounters Short Film Festival takes place in the wonderful city of Bristol, UK from 18th - 23rd November and once again we will be screening the very very best short films from around the universe!'The big thinking short film festival' the Guardian. Encounters offers an important platform for both new and established filmmakers to showcase their work and is the place to be inspired, to talk technology, share ideas and make new connections.  6 days of screenings, special events, workshops and masterclasses and those all important networking opportunities: the parties!

History of the Encounters Festival

CORNWALL FILM FESTIVAL 6th - 9th November 2008

The Cornwall Film Festival is an annual festival dedicated to exhibiting and marketing Cornish filmmaking and developing relationships with the wider industry. The festival offers local and national premieres, master-classes, workshops, discussions and networking events for everyone from the enthusiast to the professional.

Bradford International Film Festival

Bradford Film Festival

Alex Cox

Alex Cox attended the 2008 Bradford Film Festival with his new film Searchers 2.

Cambridge Film Festival organised by the Cambridge Film Trust

Edinburgh International film Festival

Edinburgh Film Festival

The UK Film Council has given the Edinburgh International Film Festival a large award to try and establish it as the World's leading festival for new talent.

Glasgow Film Festival

Glasgow Film Festival

The 2009 Festival which will run from February 12th to 22nd.

Having just held its fourth event the Glasgow Festival has recorded another great leap forward in audience attendance with final figures expected to nudge 20,000 admissions. The festival lasts for eleven days.

Sheffield International Documentary Festival

Sheffield Film Fest Logo

The first Sheffield International Documentary Festival was held in 1994. The festival was launched as a two pronged event - an international film festival and a conference for all professionals working in documentary film and television production. he idea of launching a UK-based international documentary festival was the vision of Peter Symes of BBC TV Features Bristol.  He felt that it was incredible that there was no festival in the UK celebrating the work of documentary makers and no forum at which the makers could meet to argue and debate their craft, especially considering that Britain has a long tradition of making some of the very best documentaries in the world.

Moves 08 Manchester Film fest

Leeds Film Fest Banner

London International Film Festival 2008

london 2008 International Film Festival announced

Picture from the Times BFI London Film Festival reception at the Cannes Film Festival, Sunday 18 May 2008, Hôtel Palais Stéphanie. From left to right: Greg Dyke (BFI Chairman); Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP (Minister for Culture, Creative Industries & Tourism); Amanda Nevill (Director of BFI); Sandra Hebron (Artistic Director, The Times BFI London Film Festival)

Film Festivals Czech Republic

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

Milos Forman Karlovy Vary Film Fest

Spanish Film Festivals

Seville Film Festival

Seville Film Festival held in November. Look out fot the latest information.


The reputable film studies publishing company has established a festivals magazine for cinemagoers and film makers called Films and Festivals which provides much useful information and news.

Film and Festivals 6

film & festivals is also proud to announce its partnership with, the largest website dedicated to film festivals in the world! and CFC Media Lab, Telefilm Canada in partnership with Moving Pictures, film & festivals magazine and are proud to present another installment of the 'Future of Cinema Salon Series' at the Cannes Film Festival this year.


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