Film Festivals have become a huge part of cinema’s history. Ever since their start in 1932 at a festival in Venice, there have been more and more festivals and they have spread all over Europe and then the world. This first American film festival was the Columbus International Film and Video festival in 1953. Film festivals, in today’s culture, don’t seem as prestigious as the Oscars or other award shows to the uneducated in Film, but they have pros and cons of their own. Some very successful films have come up from being noticed at film festivals.
A major advantage to being entered in film festivals is that it gets your name as a film maker out in the world of cinema. An example of this is the LA Shorts Fest. For the LA Shorts Fest has 9 categories: Best Creative Commercial, Best Documentary, Best Experimental, Best Animation, Best Comedy, Best Drama, Best Foreign Film, Best of Fest, and Special Recognition. The winner of the Best Creative Commercial was called “ Way of Money” by Tilman Braun. Winning this award at a short film festival helped him with his career. After he won this, he went on to winning a bronze medal at the “Die Klappe” in Hamburg; he was a finalist of the “New York Festival International Advertising Award” in New York; he won a silver Young Director Award at the Cannes Festival, a very well known festival; he was a finalist of the “First Steps Award” in Berlin, and he won the special prize for the “Porsche David Award” in Ludwigsburg. This shows that winning at that first festival really help his career and gave him an impressive résumé. Here’s his “Way of Money,”
The film that won for Best Documentary was “Killing in the Name” by Jed Rothstein. Winning this award gave him a good name because this documentary then went on to being nominated at the 83rd Academy Awards. This shows how far you can come once you are recognized at a film festival. Here is a trailer for it.
The film the won for Best Animation was “Zero” by Christopher Kezelos. He went on to win a Gold Award for Experimental & Specialised at the Australian Cinematographers Society; he won best achievement in sound at the Flickerfest International Film Festival, and was nominated for best short animated film at the AFI Awards, showing he benefitted from winning at a film festival . Here’s the trailer for “Zero”
The movie that won for Best Experimental was “Stanley Pickle” by Vicky Mather. “In 2008, Vicky obtained a Leverhulme scholarship and CTBF Award, which allowed her to attend the NFTS. Vicky graduated with an MA in Animation Directing and her graduation film, Stanley Pickle, premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival 2010 to critical acclaim and has gone on to win twenty international awards.” – Curtis Brown: Literary and Talent Agency.
The short that won Best Comedy was “The Man Who Married Himself” by Garrick Hamm. Garrick Hamm had already made a short film that was noticed at a film festival before this one. It was called “Lucky Numbers.” It was nominated for the Chlotrudis Awards in Massachusetts. That one he only got nominated for but, in the LA Film Fest, he won Best Comedy, achieving prestige and a name out in the film world. Here’s a trailer for “The Man Who Married Himself,”
and here’s a trailer for “Lucky Numbers,”
The short that won best drama was “Paraphernalia” by John Williams. He had already made some shorts as well that prepared him for this win. He did The Magic Hour, Hibernation, Greenpeace: Half Life, Robots: The Animated Docu-Soap, Nicotine and Bullet-Holes!, and Off the Wall. He was already pretty successful but none were as noticed as “Paraphernalia.” Once again, it put the director’s name out there! York- Fabian Raabe made a film called “Between Heaven and Earth, which won the category for best foreign film. After winning this, he went on to winning Best Short Film at the Max Ophuls Festival.
Therefore, this was just one example out of many. There are tons and tons of film festivals around the world, going on today. All these directors success after winning awards at film festivals proves their importance to the film world. Film festivals, other than well known ones like “Sundance,” don’t seem like great accomplishments next to winning a Sag Award, Golden Globe or an Oscar, but truthfully it’s easier to get there with winning in film festivals. Film festivals get your name as a director, producer, editor, actor, or whatever profession in the film industry, out there. They are a very important step and resource to becoming successful in the film industry. Most successful directors would not be where they are today without a win at a film festival.