After almost two years of hiatus, the film festival industry is roaring back to life, and we can finally satisfy our thirst for culture and art in the dark venues that we have missed so much!
This year, film festivals are gearing up to roll out the red carpet, and many of them will feature hybrid screenings that combine onsite and online experiences for those who can’t or don’t want to attend physical events.
Discover five of the best European and American film festivals beyond the Cannes Film Festivaland plan your cultural getaway now!
Berlin International Film Festival, Berlin, Germany
Better known as the Berlinale, the Berlin International Film Festival is on every film buff’s social calendar come February. Running from February 10 to February 20, 2022, the 72nd annual Berlinale is ready to welcome celebrities and movie fans at various locations around the German capital with the main event at the Berlinale Palast in Potsdamer Platz.
Berlinale was founded in 1951, at the beginning of the Cold War, with the aim of representing a free world through movies. The festival was shaped by the tensions of the time and dealt with these social and political issues in its early years. In recent years, it’s morphed into awarding its top prizes—the Golden Bear and the Silver Bear—to arthouse and mainstream fare that generates the most prestige and buzz.
From classic feature films to eccentric productions, nearly 400 films from all over the world will compete in different categories. Don’t miss the audience-favorite “Panorama” screenings, which feature unconventional, bold queer, feminist and political productions.
Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah, U.S.A.
Since its inception in 1985, the Sundance Film Festival has become a key event on the movie circuit for any new or indie talent hoping to generate buzz around their project.
Veteran actor, director, and producer Robert Redford launched the fest after purchasing land in the ski haven of Park City, Utah. Redford had become enamored with the beauty of Provo Canyon and Mount Timpanogos during a motorcycle trip and created the Sundance Institute as a base for creative incubation.
Since the Institute’s creation, many independent success stories have emerged, from The Usual Suspects in 1995 to Winter’s Bone in 2010 to Beasts of the Southern Wild in 2012. Sundance is especially notable for its focus on native and indigenous filmmakers such as Chris Eyre, who directed the award-winning Smoke Signals (1998).
Running from January 20-30, this year’s theme was inspired by the convergence of life and light, and the colors will reflect Park City’s natural landscape. Can’t make it to Park City? Enjoy a selection of screenings at seven independent theaters in other American cities during the closing weekend, or buy your tickets to attend the festival online!
Glasgow Film Festival, Glasgow, Scotland
While not as pedigreed as other fests, the Glasgow Film Festival boasts an impressive array of international films. Head to the Scottish city for the fest’s 18th edition from March 2 to 12, 2022, or check it out online.
Hosted at the pre-war Glasgow Film Theatre, the audience-centric fest develops and curates an annual selection of contemporary and classic films based on viewer feedback. For the 2022 edition, don’t miss the “Retrospective Festival” program featuring iconic films from 1962, such as Lawrence of Arabia and Dr. No.
Experimental cinema takes center stage during the “Crossing the Line” program and the “Sound & Vision” program is for music lovers of all ages. The latter reflects Glasgow’s position as a UNESCO-listed City of Music.
International Film Festival of Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Since it’s beginning more than 50 years ago, the International FIlm Festival of Rotterdam has championed innovative and independent cinema and this year’s edition is no different. Running from January 26 to February 6, the IFFR is one of the largest film fests in Europe with more than 570 works in contention from 90 countries.
As in Heaven by Tea Lindeburg and Eles Transportan a Morte by Helena Giron are two of the entries this year already generating buzz, especially for the young woman filmmakers behind them.
Futuristic art performances and exhibitions are also part of the festival so don’t miss the immersive audio-visual installations in many of Rotterdam’s art centers. For a unique and powerful experience, head to Theater Rotterdam to explore Su Hui-Yu and Cheng Hsien-Yu’s digital augmented reality art installation, inspired by cult Taiwanese films in which oppressed women take revenge from men.
Trento Film Festival, Trento, Italy
Set amid the dramatic backdrop of the Italian Alps, the Trento Film Festival, which runs from April 29 to May 8, 2022, showcases the magic of nature and culture. Since 1952, the oldest international festival for mountains and cultures has been able to attract cinephiles to a universe highlighting exploration and the environment.
From documentary screenings that showcase a planet in crisis, to exhibitions and educational exchanges promoting sustainable development and environmental protection, the festival is a fascinating interactive meeting place.
Set in the gardens of the majestic Bishop’s Palace, the “For Future” program focuses on sustainability and social inclusion. Book lovers head to the Montagna Libri Fair to browse through thousands of books, and explore photography and art exhibitions.