Art is not dead. The art of film anyway. It is alive and kicking in the form of the film festival. Every year thousands of film makers submit their films to be shown in one of many film festivals around the world. A film festival is a place where the film making community get together to celebrate the art that is film. Many Americans would be surprised to know that for every poorly made, big budgeted, Hollywood movie made, there are at least a dozen independent films being viewed at film festivals around the world.
One of the most widely recognized festivals is the Sundance Film Festival, located in Park City Utah. Created in 1975, under the name The United States Film Festival, the Sundance was officially renamed in 1991. Lacking the support to provide year-round programming, among other things, the festival became a part of the Sundance Institute, which was founded by Robert Redford in 1981 to “enhance the artistic vitality of the American film.”
Another large festival located in Coachella Valley is the Nortel Networks Palm Springs International Film Festival. Created in 1990, by then Mayor Sonny Bono, the Palm Springs festival recently had a Festival record of more than 75,000 attendees. It also had over two hundred screenings.
The New York International Independent Film and Video Festival is oddly enough located in Los Angeles. This year it is showing more than 300 features, shorts, animations and documentaries. NYIIFVF hosts film events in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The festival receives entries from all over the world, places such as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK. It also features the work of many talented people in Hollywood such as Andy Garcia, Cameron Diaz, Steve Buscemi and Christopher Walken, to name a few.
There are countless other film festivals in the United States and in the rest of the world. Most major countries host their own festivals. Film making is truly a world wide art. We even have film festivals right here. Sacramento hosts its own film festival, the Sacramento Film and Music Festival. The Sacramento festival began four years ago and the call for submissions for this years event begin on February 21.
Film festivals are not just about watching movies. For some people they’re all about the parties. At most film festivals you’re likely to find quite a few of them. At the after parties are the actors, writers, directors and everyone else involved in making the films get to promote their films and party with the people who attend the festival. Sundance is the home of dozens of parties. Parties are hosted by the different film companies involved in making the movies, sponsors such as Nike and people who just like to party. Needless to say, film festivals are great places to meet people, party all night, oh, and catch a few flicks.
For those who may be thinking that traveling across country and around the world to view the films at the festivals is out of the question fret no more. Through the mind numbing medium of cable television you can view these films from the comfort of your home. Showtime has a spin-off channel, The Sundance Film Channel, which shows films viewed at the festival as well as other independent films. There is also the Independent Film Channel, which also shows lots of good films. The internet is also a good place to see independent and short films. Websites such as AtomFilms.com and the SundanceOnlineFilmFestival.com, among others, have films you can view straight from the internet or download on to your computer.
So if you’re tired of watching Arnold’s bad acting, Vin Diesl’s bald head, and the rest of the filth that Hollywood tries to feed you, expand your horizons and check out a local film festival.