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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Jul. 7, 2008 | 7:16 PM

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Cinema Vacations

I got the following e-mail the other day:

Since receiving your emails, I’ve just started thinking about planning a holiday somewhere where there’s a film festival.  Apart from Cannes/Venice/Sundance, is there any website I can go to discover
where and when they are being held both domestically and internationally?

Great question!  I thought I’d write up a little list of some ideas.  The initial website I would suggest taking a look at is  This site is a great resource.  I also like  As run by film critic Harlan Jacobson, TalkCinema takes the concept of FilmRadar “Field Trips” to a much higher and more sophisticated level.  Jacobson leads trips to international film festivals and hosts dinners and film discussions along the way.  The Landmark Theatres website has a “links” page that also has a ton of film festival listings. 

When planning a film festival related vacation, there are several things to consider:

1) What genre or type of films you are most interested in seeing?

No matter what your interest, there is a film festival somewhere in the world that will cater to you.  There are film festivals that specialize in silents, classic Hollywood films, independents, documentaries, foreign films, new film premieres, gay and lesbian films, horror & sci-fi, overlooked films and more!  There are also numerous film festivals that showcase Asian, Korean, Jewish, Greek, French, British, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Spanish, Irish and Canadian film offerings.  The possibilities are endless!

2) Consider your budget.

Film festivals can be far more expensive than you think.  Make sure to do plenty of research on how many films you want to see and carefully weigh all of your options before purchasing a pass.  Try to get the most for your money.  Depending on the location, housing can also be a challenge.  Consider splitting the expenses with a friend or even doing a time share.  Often times when you attend a film festival, you spend very little time in your hotel room.  Many film festivals that are major industry hubs (like Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, etc) get booked up very early.  Make sure to plan ahead and book early or you will wind up paying outrageously high prices.

3) Factor in the climate.

Many times at festivals you spend lots of time waiting outdoors in line for a film and going in and out of theatres and buses.  If cold weather is difficult for you, consider attending a film festival in say Hawaii or Bermuda or a more warm weather locale. 

4) Consider how much time you want to devote to seeing films.

Seeing films is great, but if you are going to the trouble to travel far away, make sure to spend plenty of time seeing the sites and doing other things as well.  You might even want to just dedicate a few nights to film-going and focus on other things like museums, historic sites, etc. for the rest of your trip.

Here are some festivals that might make for great vacation destinations:

La Rochelle Film Festival (La Rochelle, France)

Reykjavik International Film Festival (Iceland)

Locarno International Film Festival (Switzerland)

Toronto International Film Festival

Berlin Film Festival

New Zealand International Film Festivals

Melbourne Film Festival (Australia)

Edinburgh International Film Festival

Glasgow Film Festival

While I wouldn’t exactly classify Champaign, IL as exotic or far flung, it is home to Ebert Fest which is reason enough to make a trip there.  I also suggest checking out the offerings at the Floating Film Festival which all takes place on a cruise ship!  Click here to read more about it. 

If anyone out there has some more suggestions about great film festival or cinema vacations, feel free to post a comment and let me know!

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