The World's Numerous Film Festivals
– The last estimate that I've heard of the number of international film festivals in the world is 680, Antti Vuorio recounts.
– There are, of course, many different ways of defining "internationality", but the significant point is that on average, two international film festivals start around the world every day of the year. In addition to these, 45 non-international film festivals are launched every day, counts Vuorio, who is currently the manager of the Tampere Film Festival for the second year.
The largest and the best-known festivals are the Cannes and Venice movie festivals, and the Sundance Festival in the United States. Some events have become routine spots for movie business professionals, amateurs and the general public favour others.
Specialization Brings Variation
Vuorio does not think that the large number of film festivals brings about inflation. - The large variety of festivals allows them to focus on different themes and movie genres.
The themes of the festivals vary from land and sea topics to gypsies' and women's movies and advertising films. Over the years, the large annual festivals have formed their own profiles.
However, Vuorio is not very keen on the extremely specialized events. - I'm more interested in carefully planned programmes, festivals where the planners have given thought to what kinds of experiences they want to give to the audience.
Tampere Winner to Get Academy Award Nomination
Short films are featured in approximately one in three movie festivals. They can be either the main theme or a secondary theme of the event, or they can form a series for a competition. Tampere is one of the largest festivals concentrating on short films.
Tampere Film Festival has always attracted the larger audience in addition to movie professionals. Along with the more exotic themes, the programme is designed to offer a wide variety of cinema. According to Antti Vuorio, the special programmes reflect not only the topical themes but also the wishes and desires of the programme designers.
– These wishes may be selfish, but in a positive way. They are motivated by a desire to see and show movies to the public.
From a European perspective, the Tampere Film Festival has traditionally been a "meeting place of the East and the West".
– Nowadays this characteristic is no longer as prominent as it used to be, because the East is now much more accessible from Western Europe, and vice versa, Vuorio recounts.
Vuorio explains that the Festival has received recognition from the very pinnacle of the movie industry.
– This year's winner of the Festival's International Document Series is automatically nominated for the Oscar award, handed out by the United States' Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The Largest: Oberhausen, Clermont-Ferrand and Tampere
Situated in the middle of France, the Clermont-Ferrand festival draws annually a crowd of over 100 000 visitors. As it hosts the largest short film market in Europe, the event is also an important forum for marketing short films.
Film festivals exist also in the Internet. Internet pages of Clermont-Ferrand, Oberhausen and Tampere film festivals.
The Oberhausen Short Film Festival, held in early May each year, is one of the oldest in the world. The international series concentrates on experimental cinema and video art. According to Antti Vuorio, the event is not as much a popular success as it is a professional one.
– Oberhausen gets much fewer spectators than Claremont-Ferrand and Tampere. It is by nature a more academic festival, and it attracts by far the most participating films, over 3000 annually. The festival's awards are also highly regarded, recounts Vuorio, who has visited the Oberhausen event once.
According to Antti Vuorio, each one of these three festivals is the largest in some aspect.
– Clermont-Ferrand has the largest spectatorship and the world's biggest short film market, Oberhausen gets the most competitors and Tampere has the broadest special programmes of short films.
Vuorio names a few events outside Europe in which short films are prominent.
– During the past six years, the Pusan movie festival in Korea has grown up to be a rather large event. Noteworthy American festivals include Sundance and Aspen. The Montreal festival in Canada that focuses on new cinema and new media is a fantastic and very well organized event.
TEXT: Elina Jokisalo
TRANSLATION: Petri Raivio