The main film festivals of this summer
This summer’s film festivals promise a variety of programmes, ranging from productions by emerging directors to classic films, special events and rendez-vous with some of the most important contemporary filmmakers.
Today, we take a look at some of the main events to follow this summer:
Cannes Film Festival (May 17-28)
Although it takes place in the spring, the Cannes Film Festival deserves a mention on this list.
The 75th edition came with a significant change in its leadership: Pierre Lescure, the current President of the festival, announced that he would step down from his position. At the end of March, the Board members of the festival elected Iris Knobloch as the new President. This is the first time a woman has taken on this role.
Moreover, Knobloch can be considered a controversial choice, given that she comes from a rather commercial, entertainment-oriented area of the industry. But although there may be discontent among filmmakers, the festival management seems determined to bring the event closer to popular culture.
This year’s edition has featured a competition in partnership with TikTok, which took place prior to the festival itself. Participants had to upload their short-length films (between 30 seconds and 3 minutes) to their personal TikTok accounts, along with the hashtag #TikTokshortFilm. Three winners were chosen by the jury, and the prizes included invitations to the festival.
Of course, these new additions are not to the detriment of the festival’s traditional program. Within the official selection, the 75th edition brings back to the big screen classic films such as La Maman et la putain (dir. Jean Eustache), Singin’ in the Rain (dir. Gene Kelly, Stanley Don), Sciuscià (dir. Vittorio de Sica ) and The Last Waltz (dir. Martin Scorsese).
Among the films selected in Competition is also R.M.N, Cristian Mungiu’s latest effort. Two other Romanian productions will have their world premiere in Cannes: Radu Jude’s short film The Potemkinists/Potemkiniștii, in the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs section, and Alexandru Belc’s debut feature Metronom, in the Un Certain Regard section.
Annecy International Animation Film Festival (June 13-18)
The world’s largest event dedicated to animation returns this summer with a new edition.
The festival program is more than exciting, featuring titles such as Unicorn: Warriors Eternal, produced by Cartoon Network and directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Lab, Star Wars: The Clone Wars), and Lightyear, the newest gem from Pixar, which will be presented in world premiere.
The big animation studios will bring on the big screen the very first images of some of the most anticipated films this year. The public will have the opportunity to get a peek of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (DreamWorks), or Strange World (Walt Disney Animation Studios).
Netflix Animation will be present with the premiere of The Sea Beast, but also with never-before-seen shots from the long-awaited stop-motion Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (dir. Guillermo del Toro).
Transilvania International Film Festival (June 17-26)
This year’s edition of Transilvania IFF comes with the most awaited national and international productions, with special screenings and important guests.
The environment and the impact that human actions have on it make up the focus for part of this year’s selection. The film screenings will be complemented by debates on how society can get involved in solving environmental problems.
The festival selection includes titles such as Alcarràs (dir. Carlei Simón), The Story of My Wife (dir. Ildikó Enyedi), Rimini (dir. Ulrich Seidl), The Passengers of the Night (dir. Mikhaël Hers), Jane by Charlotte (dir. Charlotte Gainsbourg).
This year’s Focus section highlights new Israeli cinema. The program includes powerful films and documentaries, a fascinating series, and meetings with directors, industry professionals and officials.
TIFF For Ukraine is a special initiative dedicated to the Ukrainian community and filmmakers, which showcases films by Ukrainian directors, such as Reflection (dir. Valentyn Vasyanovych) and Rhino (dir. Oleg Sentsov).
Ukrainian citizens will have free access to all festival films screened in Unirii Square based on their ID.
“For the 21st edition of the festival, we decided to focus not only on Ukrainian filmmakers and their powerful voices, but also to extend an invitation to thousands of Ukrainians to take part in TIFF,” says Tudor Giurgiu, TIFF President.
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (July 1-9)
July kicks off with the 56th edition of KVIFF. Like TIFF, the festival is among the events that offer their support to the Ukrainian filmmakers and the country’s film industry.
Therefore, KVIFF will host the Work-in-Progress program of the Odessa Film Festival, which was canceled due to the war. The main goal of the program is to introduce the films and their directors to international distributors and potential partners for future projects.
“The current conditions of the war in which the Ukrainians find themselves have a direct impact on the film industry. […] We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to show Ukrainian cinema, Ukrainian talent and culture to the world,” said Anna Machuh, General Director of OIFF.
This year, the festival will present in world premiere the digitally restored version of Jaromil Jireš’s The Joke.
Actor, playwright, screenwriter, and director Bolek Polívka will be honored with the President’s Award for outstanding figures in Czech cinema. An emblematic figure in both theater and cinema, Polivka’s biography covers everything from comedies to tragic parables.
Locarno Film Festival (August 3-18)
The Locarno Film Festival celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Its program will include both films by young emerging directors, who have distinguished themselves in the industry, as well as titles that are part of film history.
Thus, this year’s retrospective is dedicated to filmmaker Douglas Sirk, who has inspired audiences and generations of directors such as Jean-Luc Godard, Daniel Schmid, Pedro Almodóvar, John Waters, David Lynch and many others.
First Look, Locarno’s work in progress section dedicated to films in any post-production stage, turns the spotlight on German cinema, thanks to a partnership with German Films. Six filmmakers will be selected and they will present their projects to an audience of sales agents, buyers, programmers and representatives from post-production support funds, who can help them further.
Artist Laurie Anderson will be honored with the Vision Award Ticinomoda. She is a composer, poet, multi-instrumentalist, inventor, director and performer, and has been an iconic figure in the American avant-garde since the 1970s. Her multimedia oeuvre has led to the creation of an innovative experimental language, but accessible to the public nonetheless.
On this occasion, two of her most emblematically eclectic films will be shown, Home of the Brave and Heart of a Dog.
Also honored at the festival is American director Kelly Reichardt, a filmmaker who for more than 30 years has been making bold films, anchored in reality and tackling the issues of the present. She will receive the Pardo d’onore Manor as a tribute to a unique career in cinema, which, by extension, is a tribute to independent film.
Anonimul International Independent Film Festival (August 8-14)
Anonimul invites the public to Sfântu Gheorghe, in the Danube Delta, in the warmest month of the year, to enjoy an entire week of great films in the middle of nature, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The short film competition is curated by film critic Ionuț Mareș and will be announced around June 10th. As every year, the jury is represented by the audience present at the festival.
Sarajevo Film Festival (August 12-19)
Starting this year, Ukraine will be included in the festival’s official programmes, namely the competition sections for feature, short, documentary and student films, the In Focus section, CineLink and Talents Sarajevo.
Moreover, a residency program has been launched for Ukrainian filmmakers, who will work on their projects in Sarajevo in cooperation with leading Bosnian and international experts from the world of film. The selected projects will be then presented through one of the festival’s Industry programmes: CineLink Work in Progress, Docu Rough Cut Boutique, or CineLink Co-Production Market.
In a press release, the SFF team stated: “In this way, the Sarajevo Film Festival shows its solidarity with the Ukrainian people and filmmakers and condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Launched in 1995 as an expression of cultural resistance to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Sarajevo Film Festival knows from its own experience how valuable solidarity and support of this kind are.”
Applications for Talents Sarajevo can be submitted until May 31st. The call is open to directors, producers, actors, screenwriters, cinematographers, editors and film critics from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey.