So, you or your animation studio have put together an incredible piece of animation. Whether a short or a feature length animation, the most important thing is to get your work seen; that is the entire purpose of film making after all! One of the best ways to get your projects seen is to get them shown at a film or animation festival.
There is no shortage of these festivals around. In fact, there are so many to choose from these days, it is hard to know which ones are really worth your time. Here we have compiled a list of the best festivals from around the world in which to enter your animation studio’s work.
- The Atlanta Film Festival
The Atlanta Film Festival is one of the largest and longest running film festivals in America. 2018 marks its 43rd year and expects upwards of 27,000 visitors this year. It hosts a great balance of work from both established and new film makers and animators. This is also a festival that has the power to hand out Academy Awards in three categories: Narrative Short, Documentary Short and Animated Short. If you want a good chance of gaining recognition without being dwarfed by bigger animation studios, this festival is a good place to be. The festival lasts for 11 days and presents work of which the majority has been independently submitted.
- The Nash Film Festival
Another long running and much-loved festival. Founded in 1969, the Nash (Nashville) Film Festival is famed for its unique and vibrant festival atmosphere and laid-back Southern hospitality. This attracts a diverse range of audiences, from film makers and celebrity to seasoned festival goers of all kinds. This international festival welcomes submissions from all over the world, and offers substantial cash prizes to those film makers who really push the boundaries of animation and cinema.
- Animafest Zagreb
Animafest Zagreb (The World Festival of Animated Film) is, as the title suggests, one of the best festivals for animated film in the world. This festival not only shows the films themselves, but also celebrates animation though the mediums of competitions, retrospectives, lectures, panoramas, exhibitions and workshops. The city of Zagreb hosts these 6 unforgettable days of the best animation talent the world has to offer.
- London Short Film Festival
Although this is one of the youngest festivals on this list, at just 15 years old, London Short Film Festival is a vitally important date in the year calendar of British Film. The festival lasts 10 days and screens work in some of the city’s most prominent screening locations such as the Institute of Contemporary Arts, BFI Southbank, the Curzon Soho, the Regent St Cinema, Rich Mix and Hackney’s MOTH Club. They screen over 500 films in just two weeks and has a plethora of prestigious prizes associated with it, as judged by an international jury of the industry’s finest practitioners. The categories include; Best British Short Film, Best International Short Film, Best Documentary Short Film, Best Animated Short Film, Best Experimental Short Film and Best Low-Budget Short Film.
- Canada Film Festival
Yet another highly acclaimed international film festival. This event used to be a live occasion held in Vancouver, however, since 2016, it has been a purely online festival. This is great if you want a low maintenance option when it comes to having your work critiqued and spread. This festival also boasts a unique Screenplay Competition designed to foster undiscovered talent in story, structure and screenplay.
- Athens International Film and Video Festival
If you are an unknown or underground filmmaker or animation studio, then this is the festival for you. More than any other event on this list, the AIFVF is the festival most associated with supporting the emerging creative, in particular those that have come from a marginalised or meagre community. For 44 years it has been championing art, risk and true creativity over big names or commercial acclaim; it truly is a creative’s film festival. Prizes reaching as much as $1000 are awarded in categories such as Feature Documentary, Short Documentary, Feature, Experimental, Short and, of course, Animation. This festival is Academy registered.
- Brussels Film Festival
Brussels Film Festival is all about championing experimental and technologically advanced film and animation. If you are the type of animator that likes to push the boundaries and stay ahead of the curve, this is where to put your product. It also tries to support countries whose film industries are small or developing such as Egypt and Lebanon. It also runs unique and niche min-competitions, such as its competition devoted to films for and by the deaf (between 1991 and 2012). A truly forward thinking and inclusive film event.
- Chilemonos: International Film Festival
Chile’s biggest film festival also includes workshops, speakers and exhibitions, and most importantly, is dedicated to animated film only. This festival is young at only 7 years old; however, it looks to be a festival that will be around for years to come as it doesn’t only encourage artists and animation studios, it also holds competitions for school entries, shorts and even video clips.
- Amsterdam Lift-Off Film Festival
The Lift-Off festival’s primary aim is to get your work recognised and picked up by major distributors. So, if you are more in to getting your film out to the masses than prizes and accolades, this is the festival for you and your animation studio. The ethos is that of building a community; getting all artists, creatives and vendors talking with and supporting each other. Perhaps more than any other event on this list, the Lift-Off festival is a truly fantastic networking opportunity.
- British Animation Film Festival
This festival does what is say on the tin; it celebrates the very best in British and International animated film. It screens a diverse range of animation projects throughout, including shorts, advertising, music video, features and TV pilots. Awards and prize categories include; Best Animated Feature, Best Animated Short, Best Sound, Best Music, Best Music Video, Best Student Film and Best Unproduced Screenplay.