Best Film Festivals in the World: Guide to the Most Influential Film Festivals

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Cannes Film Festival

Based in Cannes, France, this international film festival shows films from the emerging filmmaker to the blockbusters from A-list directors. This South of France film festival occurs every year in May and the deadline to submit work is a month or two before the actual event. The Cannes Film Festival is one of the oldest and most influential festivals, bringing all walks of life to France. Founded in 1939, Cannes distributes awards in ten categories, ranging from The Jury Prize to the Best Screenplay Award. This film festival accepts feature films, as well as short films. The Cannes Film Festival selects the best films by screening each extensively. Filmmakers can submit their work to the Cannes Film Festival by mailing in a DVD of their film.

Each film submitted must follow the strict guidelines of the film festival. An entry form must be filled out before filmmakers send in their work. The entry fee for the film festival can vary from year to year, so it’s best to visit the website for review. Filmmakers can then send in a DVD, if they choose to do so. If sending a DVD of your film, international shipping rates will apply.

Sundance Film Festival

Next on our list of the best film festivals in the world is the Sundance Film Festival. Many emerging filmmakers have started their careers by just submitting one film to the Sundance Film Festival. Founded by screen legend Robert Redford, this festival is a staple in the independent film industry. Sundance embraces independent film and holds various fellowships throughout the year, helping filmmakers perfect their craft. The Sundance Film Festival occurs every January and takes place in Park City, Utah. Awards are given out during every festival, ranging from Official Selection to Best Director. Many films that have screened at the Sundance Film Festival have received distribution and are shown in movie theaters throughout the United States. Films must be submitted in September for review.

Filmmakers must submit an official entry form and send in their film in the form of a DVD or electronic upload. The entry fee for the Sundance Film Festival is $50 and is payable by credit or debit card. You can sign up for a account to electronically upload your film. Withoutabox allows filmmakers to submit their film to various film festivals, with a click of a mouse.

Tribeca Film Festival

Based in New York City, the Tribeca Film Festival is another premier film festival in the United States which occurs every year in April. It accepts films from all over the globe and is regarded as one of the best film festivals in the world. Actor Robert De Niro is one of the founders of the festival and has placed the festival in his favorite neighborhood of Tribeca. The film fest has awards in the World Narrative and World Documentary Competitions, which are juried by industry insiders. This festival also gives out special awards to New York-based filmmakers who have made a film in New York City.

Film buffs can experience the film festival first-hand by purchasing tickets to each film screening. After each film screening, the audience is given rate cards, so they can grade the film they just viewed. At the end of each festival, the organization hosts a family day for tourists and New Yorkers, where they can have fun with their children and watch a good independent film. Filmmakers wanting to submit their film to the Tribeca Film Festival must fill out an entry form and send their DVD to the festival, as early as September and as late as January. It is recommended that filmmakers visit the website to get the accurate entry fees because they are available at a certain time.

The Toronto International Film Festival

The final film festival to make our list of the best film festivals in the world is the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The TIFF is one of the largest international film festivals in North America. The festival occurs every year in September and screens 300 films. This Canadian film festival screens films from independent filmmakers to films starring A-list celebrities. The festival accepts feature films (narrative and documentary) and short films. The Toronto International Film Festival is a great venue for filmmakers because it garners spotlight and major attention from the film industry.

Submitting a film to the Toronto International Film Festival consists of completing an entry form and sending in your DVD. The entry fee information is available 3-4 months before the film festival.