It seems that every town worth its salt is part of the film festivals activity. They have snowballed throughout the years, helping the independent film industry in increasing awareness of films that often have limited distribution. There is more to motion pictures than going to watch the current smash hit at the multi plex. Independent filmmakers need to showcase their work, whether it is a feature film, a short or a documentary.
There is a practical side to showing films at film festivals. It offers directors and producers an opportunity to network and to sell their work to representatives. It's often a struggle, specifically for someone who is making their first feature, to find funding for their task and distribution problems can add to that struggle.
Some festivals want to follow themes, such as gay and lesbian, animation, youngsters's films or motion pictures from a particular country or genre. Most film festivals however, want to show a mix and bring in as many individuals as possible. The most popular example is the Cannes Film Festival. This is a prestigious event, bring in celebs and world media. It's a competition event and the most prestigious award is for Best Film, awarded by the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm). American made films are shown but it is an exceptional publicity opportunity for European motion picture makers.
The Sundance Film Festival is the largest of its kind in the UNITED STATE. A lot of the screenings happen at the Sundance ski resort in Utah, so named by actor Robert Redford who is really involved in the festival. American and global features and shorts are entered into competition. The festival began as a small scale affair for the independent sector but it is now attended by Hollywood celeb actors and directors. Lots of directors made their career advancements after screening their motion pictures here, including Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, James Wan, Steven Soderberg and Robert Bresson.
The UK has a dynamic involvement in film festivals. The largest continuously run festival worldwide is the Edinburgh one and the largest festival in the country is the Raindance Festival in London. Beginning in 1992, it came at the right time to promote British independent film, which is respected throughout the world. Clients of the festival include Ewan McGregor, Terry Gilliam and Ken Loach. This event launched the British Independent Film Awards. Films from around the world that went on to global success have been shown too, such as the Blair Witch Task and Pulp Fiction.