10 Film Festivals We Are Looking Forward to in 2021

To many, films serve as an escape from reality. They make us forget, at least temporarily, about everything going on around us and whisk us away to different situations and sometimes even different worlds. While we hope that 2021 will create less of a need for escapism than 2020, film festivals are still exciting events that showcase new and intriguing films. However, they had to be reimagined in 2020 and 2021. So far looks like it will require a similar approach, however those in charge of directing them are up to the challenge. Whether they will be online or in-person, here are 10 film festivals that we are looking forward to this year.

>> San Sebastián International Film Festival

When: 15-27 September, 2021

Get Tickets: 13-17 September (online), 18-26 September (ticket office)

San Sebastian’s film programme consists of some 200 films selected for six competitive sections (Official Selection, New Directors, Horizontes Latinos, Zabaltegi-Tabakalera, Perlak and Nest) and seven non-competitive sections (Culinary Zinema, Made in Spain, Zinemira, Velodrome, Movies for Kids, Retrospective and Klasikoak).

>>The Berlinale

When: 01-05 March 2021 (for the film industry), June 2021 (for the general public)
Location: Berlin, Germany
Get Tickets: TBC

The Berlinale is a unique place of artistic exploration and entertainment. It is one of the largest public film festivals in the world, attracting tens of thousands of visitors from around the globe each year. For the film industry and the media, the eleven days in February are also one of the most important events in the annual calendar and an indispensable trading forum.

>>Locarno Film Festival

When: 04-14 August 2021
Where: Locarno, Switzerland
Get Tickets: TBC

Throughout its 73-year history, the Locarno Film Festival has occupied a unique position in the landscape of the major film festivals. Every August, for eleven days the Swiss-Italian town of Locarno, right in the heart of Europe, becomes the world capital of auteur cinema.

>>Festival de Cannes

When: 11-22 May 2021
Where: Cannes, France
Get Tickets: Tickets are unavailable to the general public.

In order to achieve its level of longevity (73 seasons), the Festival de Cannes has remained faithful to its founding purpose: to draw attention to and raise the profile of films, with the aim of contributing towards the development of cinema, boosting the film industry worldwide and celebrating cinema at an international level. And to this day, this profession of faith constitutes the first article of the Festival regulations.

>>Venice International Film Festival

When: 1-11 September 2021
Where: Venice, Italy
Get Tickets: August 2021

The aim of the Festival is to raise awareness and promote international cinema in all its forms as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and dialogue. The Festival also organises retrospectives and tributes to major figures as a contribution towards a better understanding of the history of cinema.

>>International Film Festival Rotterdam

When: 1-7 February 2021 (online) and 2-6 June 2021 (format TBC)
Where: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Ticket info: From 22 January 2021 (online only)

International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) offers a high quality line-up of carefully selected fiction and documentary feature films, short films and media art. The festival’s focus is on recent work by talented new filmmakers. However, there is also room for retrospectives and themed programmes. IFFR actively supports new and adventurous filmmaking talent through its co-production market CineMart, its Hubert Bals Fund, Rotterdam Lab and other industry activities.

Important Note: The official selection for February 2021 can only be viewed online from within the Netherlands and with the purchase of a ticket. The only exceptions within the IFFR 2021 programme are the Big Talks and IFFR Daily Talk. 

>>BFI London Film Festival

When: TBC
Where: London, England
Get Tickets: TBC

The BFI strives to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by: Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and world cinema, preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for today and future generations, championing emerging and world class filmmakers in the UK – investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work, promoting British film and talent to the world, and growing the next generation of filmmakers and audiences.

>>Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

When: 02-10 July, 2021
Where: Karlovy Vary, The Czech Republic
Get tickets: TBC

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is the largest film festival in the Czech Republic and the most prestigious such festival in Central and Eastern Europe. It is one of the oldest A-list film festivals (i.e., non-specialized festivals with a competition for feature-length fiction films), a category it shares with the festivals in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, San Sebastian, Moscow, Montreal, Shanghai, and Tokyo. Among filmmakers, buyers, distributors, sales agents, and journalists, KVIFF is considered the most important event in all of Central and Eastern Europe.

>>Edinburgh International Film Festival

When: TBC
Where: Edinburgh, Scotland
Get tickets: TBC

Inaugurated in 1947, the same year as the Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival is the world’s longest continually-running film festival. With an emphasis upon new talent, discovery and innovation, EIFF’s vibrant programme of films and events combines a commitment to audiences with a strong ongoing stake in the development of the UK and Scottish film industries.

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