What could be better than combining your love of provocative indie movies with wanderlust? Imagine being among the first to view a gripping new film in a stunning piazza, beneath the majestic Rocky Mountains, or on a private beach on a Mediterranean island–they’re not just ideas for a perfect vacay, they’re also the backdrop for some of the most incredible international film festivals.
5 Must-Attend International Film Festivals
1. Telluride Film Festival
Telluride, Colorado, Labor Day Weekend, 2017
Do you like surprises? Because you won’t know the festival line up until you get there. But it’s not just the unknown films that keep devotees coming back year after year. It’s also the behind-the-scenes discussions with the filmmakers themselves that reveal the sometimes magical and sometimes heart-wrenching stories behind how their passion projects got made. The Telluride Film Festival is host to the Student Symposium where fifty international film students are invited to dive into the world of cinema through a special program under the tutelage of such greats such as Francis Ford Coppola, Laura Linney, Diablo Cody, and many more.
2. Venice International Film Festival
Venice, Italy, 30 August to 9 September 2017
In conjunction with the Venice Biennale, one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world, the Venice International Film Festival is the oldest film festival. In its 74th year, it’s considered on of the ‘Big Three’. Most screenings take place in the historic Palazzo del Cinema on Lido Island. The overall emphasis and spirit of the festival is the freedom of expression through cinema as art. Not to mention, when you walk out of the theater you’re in Venice… Italy!
3. Slamdance Film Festival
Park City, Utah, January 20-26, 2017
The Anti-Sundance, Slamdance stands proudly by its “ By Filmmakers For Filmmakers” motto. It’s self-governing where talent shines and newbies with a voice can break through and get discovered to launch their film careers. Known for raw unapologetic filmmaking, the festival is a celebration of craft over big budgets. Even big names in the Hollywood industry – the likes of Lena Dunham – showcased their hard-won efforts into raw filmmaking territory at Slamdance.
4. Ischia Global Film and Music Fest
Ischia, Italy, July 2017
Voted the ‘Best Island in Europe’ by Travel+Leisure magazine, Ischia combines the beauty of the azure blue Mediterranean sea with the Ischia Global Film and Music Fest packed with innovative filmmakers, avant-garde stars, and magical screening locales. The famous Hotel Regina Isabella is just one of the stunning locales where you can watch cutting edge films, documentaries, and shorts on a private beach overlooking the Bay of Naples. Ischia is no stranger to the film industry. The iconic “Cleopatra, Avanti!”, and “Talented Mr. Ripley” (amongst many others) were all filmed on the island. Most film screenings are introduced by the actors, writers, and directors and are on a first come first served basis.
5. Locarno Film Festival
Locarno, Switzerland, August 2017
The Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland is host not only to the famous Locarno Film Festival but also stunning Lake Maggiore, emerald green valleys, ancient hilltop towns made of stone, and dramatic views of Switzerland. The city of Locarno rests on the lake and offers a stunning backdrop to one of the most eclectic film festivals that welcomes both newcomers and veterans of the industry. Held in Locarno’s Piazza Grande, the film festival also hosts the Critics Academy educational initiative holding workshops for filmmakers of all generations to learn from the greats.
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Image via Swiss Tourism