Why do people go to Film Festivals?

Ask yourself, on the bare bones of it, what are the most common hobbies? Everyone likes listening to music, watching movies and reading magazines and books to some extent. However, only one of these seems to have firmly planted itself into our social life and and we’ve subsequently created long weekends out of the hobby, in huge muddy fields drinking alcoholic beverages. The music festival cannot be compared to the civilised nature of film festivals.

The music festival revolves around a social aspect, of singing with your friends rubbing up against stranger’s sweat, getting blind drunk and falling on your tent in the hopes your hangover won’t be that bad the next day. A film festival is about meticulously planning how many films you can watch in one day and how long it will take you to run to the next venue then you sit quietly either by yourself or with one or two like-minded friends.

Really the two are incomparable… But, they’ve both grown from the fact that we love music and we love films. So why do we get every kind of person at a music festival and only the most serious of film fans at festivals? Here’s why I think more people should go to film festivals…

Why do people go to Film Festivals…

Why do people go to film festivals? | almostginger.com

1. The chance to discover new tastes

You never, I repeat, never ever ever get more variety of genres and cultures than you do at a film festival. You just don’t. The first proper film festival I went to was the Berlinale Film Festival four years ago (and I’m going again in a week eeeee I’m excited!) and I saw Danish film Magi I Luften (2011) which was the most bonkers coming of age film I have ever seen, actually it’s in the top 3 most bonkers films I have ever seen. My point is that there’s a plethora of creativity, talent and entertainment outside of our Hollywood and English Language bubble and it’s well worth taking a step outside your usual film fare.

2. To rediscover old favourites

At Glasgow Film Festival early last year, they had a little Powell and Pressburger theme going on since some of their movies had recently been restored to look better than ever. It’s quite common at Film Festivals to show old movies on the big screen and maybe accompany them with a new score or perhaps they go with a Season (for example I watched Freaks (1932) at HOME when they were having a Circus theme). I love Powell and Pressburger but had never seen The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) before so decided to give it a go. It wasn’t my thing and certainly no where near my favourite Powell and Pressburger film but it looked beautiful on the big screen and I can imagine many of the other classics would too.

Why do people go to film festivals? | almostginger.com

3. Sometimes meet new, like-minded people

At Parklife music festival in 2013, I was by myself watching The Horrors near the front of the tent. Another girl around my age struck up a conversation with me along the lines of ‘my friends didn’t want to watch The Horrors either but I couldn’t miss them.’ I bet if I’d have actually liked The Horrors and wasn’t only there because I’d lost my friends, that could have been the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Ah well.

But that’s the beauty of festivals. they really do bring people together with common interests and most often at the unlikeliest of times.

4. The genres, types, countries of film festivals are endless

Only really like documentaries? You need to get yourself over to Sheffield Doc Fest! How about only a fan of mountaineering films? You need Kendal my friend! Only like Spanish films, or anime or LGBT? There’s a film festival for everyone. Heading over to Berlin, or London, or Toronto? Check out the film scene, and some of the best film festivals in the world! The ways to enjoy film, the possibilities to learn and enjoy are staggering and more people should be aware of this.

Why do people go to film festivals? | almostginger.com

Do you frequent any film festivals? Do you delight in the anti-socialness of them as much as I do?

Want MORE?

Glasgow Film Festival Part 1

Glasgow Film Festival Part 2

Berlin Film Festival 2016

BFI Flare Film Festival 2016

Sheffield Doc Fest: Not Make Believe

Leeds International Film Festival Highlights

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Why do people go to film festivals? | almostginger.com


I'm the human and hair behind Almost Ginger. I'm a cinephile travel obsessive vegetarian currently residing in Manchester.

4 thoughts on “Why do people go to Film Festivals?

  • 05/02/2016 at 5:15 pm

    I have to admit, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a film festival! Comic con, music festivals, etc…done all of those! I just think I don’t have a great attention span so I probably wouldn’t be that good at them haha – but this would be right up my boyfriend’s street I reckon 🙂 And I had no idea there were so many! x

    • 05/02/2016 at 8:27 pm

      That’s true actually, you’ve got to have the right stamina to sit in a dark room for hours on end… there are soooo many film festivals it’s unreal! It’s not like you have to attend a number of films in a film festival though, even just one local one can be a huge change to anything that you’ve ever seen before!

  • 05/02/2016 at 10:21 pm

    I’ve been to the Glasgow Film Festival and Bradford Film Festival before but then I just went to one screening for each one (and did the rediscovering old favourites with watching Kramer vs. Kramer and West Side Story for each respective festival) but this year I’ll be properly experiencing the festival scene as me and my dad are going to the Toronto Film Festival as my 21st birthday present. Really looking forward to the whole thing, really looking forward to seeing some different types of films (me and my dad have committed to trying to watch at least 1 documentary, foreign language film and a Midnight Madness, really looking forward to the whole thing

    • 05/02/2016 at 10:44 pm

      Awww sweet, Toronto will be AWESOME! I’m very jealous! Have a great time!!

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