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5 Great Film Fests from around the World

February 13th, 2012

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With the Sundance Film Festival just finished in Utah, and the Cannes Film Festival around the corner in May, we thought we’d put together this list 5 Great Film Festivals from around the world that you might not know about.

Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards (Taiwan)

The Taiwanese answer to the American Academy Awards, the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival celebrates its 50 year anniversary in 2012.

Held in either November or December annually, Golden Horse celebrates Chinese-language submissions from Taiwan, Hong Kong, the People’s Republic of China and elsewhere. The month-long festival showcases feature films which have been nominated for awards, which are handed out at a lavish ceremony at the end of the month.

Fantasia Festival (Montreal)

Genre fans, unite! Since 1996, the Fantasia Festival (also known as Fantasia-fest, FanTasia, or Fant-Asia) in Montreal has been drawing film lovers from across North America with their eclectic selection of feature length films (as well as shorts and retrospectives) from Canada, North America, and worldwide. The festival will run from July 19 to August 7, 2012.

The history of the festival has roots steeped in the Asian film scene in Montreal. Original screenings were for Asian films from Hong Kong and Anime from Japan. Since the festival expanded to include genre films from all across the world, they’ve featured many world and international premiers, including Shaun of the Dead, Dread, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Inglorious Bastards.

Rooftop Films (New York City)

What started as a simple get-together to watch movies on a rooftop has evolved into a non-profit phenomenon that has inspired similar clubs around the world.

Founded in 1997 by Mark Elijah Rosenberg, Rooftop Films is famous for their annual Summer Series – a summer-long outdoor film festival featuring more than 35 screenings a year that take place in stunning outdoor locations across New York City.

Rooftop exclusively screens new, independent films that have not gotten theatrical releases (rarely featuring celebrities or big name directors), inviting musicians for live performances before each screening, with a party after. The first showing in 2012 is set for May.

Ottawa International Animation Festival

Every year for five days in fall animation reigns supreme at the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF). The largest event of its kind in North America, the OIAF is a gathering place for animation professionals and enthusiasts. In 2012, the festival runs from September 19 to 23.

The OIAF, which was founded as a biannual event in 1976 by the Canadian Film Institute, and is held in the nation’s capital city. Ottawa – home to animation innovator Norman McLaren, some of Canada’s first private animation studios, and the former headquarters of the National Film Board – was the perfect fit for the fledgeling festival, which started with just over 400 film. In 2009 they received a record-breaking 2,815 entries. In 2005 it was moved to an annual event, now incorporates the Student Animation Festival of Ottawa as well.

International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)

For over 20 years, Amsterdam has played host to the world’s largest documentary film festival – the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). Along with the wide variety of films in a range of genres, the festival also hosts discussions and debates, workshops, and masterclasses, as well as providing avenues for funding of projects and festivals in developing countries.

It’s the goal of the IDFA to promote creative documentaries and present them to as wide an audience as possible. What started out as a small festival has grown to an eleven-day event, with screenings of more than 200 documentaries and attracting nearly 120,000 visitors annually. In 2012, the IDFA will run from November 14 to 25.

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