World Film Festivals

The origin of film festivals can be traced to the rise of film societies and cine-clubs, which sprang up in various countries during the 1920s. However, the first true film festival came into  eing as a direct result of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s (1883–1945) enthusiasm for motion pictures as a tool for political public relations and propaganda. Eager to spur the  evelopment of state-run Italian cinema in the face of competition from Hollywood and elsewhere, he spent lavishly to build up the native film industry while imposing heavy taxation on the dubbing of foreign-language movies, thus hampering their distribution and exhibition. 

Among the cultural projects he chose to support through his Ministry of Information was the already existing Venice Biennial Exhibition of Italian Art, which gave birth to the International  xhibition of Cinematographic Art in August 1932 as part of an effort to make the Biennial more varied and multidisciplinary in content. The first cinema program commenced with the  remiere of the horror classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Rouben Mamoulian, 1931) and included twenty-four other entries from seven countries.  The declared purpose of the exhibition as  to allow “the light of art to shine over the world of commerce,” but it soon became clear that power politics were a major subtext of the event.

The first true film festival came into being as a direct result of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s (1883–1945) enthusiasm for motion pictures as a tool for political public relations and  propaganda.

India made its entry into the world of International Film Festivals when the Films Division of the Government of India hosted the first International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in the year  952. Inaugurated in Bombay (now Mumbai), IFFI is the first-of-its-kind to be held anywhere in Asia. It saw the participation of the USA with 40 feature films and around a hundred short  ilms. Since then, the Festival has swelled  in stature and is renowned as one of the Asian film festivals  that recognize good talent and rewards the unsurpassed achievements in the  field of cinema.

Through the course of its vibrant journey, IFFI has been held as competitive as well as non-competitive programs in many Indian cities. In the year 2004, IFFI was brought to Goa, a
place that is seldom known for its filmy infrastructure and achievements. But, it swiftly coped up to accommodate the parameters required to host the event and is today equipped with  he “infrastructure like the new Patto bridge and INOX multiplex” that for over a decade now, Goa has become the venue to continuously host “IFFI as an annual competitive festival”.

The countdown for IFFI 2019 has begun and this is the 50th, Golden Jubilee edition of the Festival. With 49 years of “existence and over a decade’s presence in Goa, IFFI has grown  assively in both quantitative and qualitative terms. In 1952, it started with the participation of 23 countries with over two hundred films’ entries. This year, the numbers have quadrupled  o a whopping 1000 entries from over 100 countries across the world”.

Leaving aside the political undercurrent rooted in the history, here is a roster of 10 global film festivals.

Roughly 10,000 film festivals are happening all over the world, projects a data, of which many are either bunged or are taking a break. Only such festivals are considered to be  reasonably ‘active’ that have events run in two years in the recent past. Employing such standard, there are about 2,954 active films festivals across the globe.

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