Let’s take a look at the best upcoming film festivals in 2021, with a focus on short film festivals.
Where: Aspen, Colorado
When: April 6
Aspen Shortsfest has been around for 30 years and is one of the most well-known film festivals in the United States; which is impressive for a festival dedicated to short films. There have been a number of success stories that have come out of this festival, including four shorts nominated for the 2020 Oscars!
Atlanta Film Festival
Where: Atlanta, Georgia
When: April 22
The Atlanta Film Festival is the only festival on this list that is not exclusively dedicated to shorts, but it is Academy Award Qualifying and has a wide variety of submission categories for short films. These categories include Narrative, Documentary, Animated, and even Puppetry! This is one of the coolest festivals for independent filmmakers, and more accessible for short films than bigger festivals like Sundance.
Palm Springs International Shortfest
Where: Palm Springs, California
When: June 22
Palm Springs International Shortfest is an offshoot of the popular Palm Springs International Film Festival in California. They have been running for 26 years and show more than 350 short films every year.
Edinburgh International Film Festival
Where: Edinburgh, Scotland
When: June 23
Originally inaugurated as the International Festival of Documentary Films in 1947, the EIFF has progressed throughout time to welcome a diverse variety of films. The festival champions British talent and over the years has screened world premieres from the likes of Danny Boyle, Stephen Frears and Bill Forsyth. Short films are also split into UK and international categories for: fiction, documentary and experimental.
Cannes Film Festival
Where: Cannes, France
When: July 6
Possibly the most world-renowned film festival, Cannes is known as one of the ‘Big Five’. Every summer, this resort town on the coast of the French Riviera is transformed, lined with celebrities dazzling in the finest designers ready to promote their new films or support fellow A-listers in set-to-be hits. Whilst Cannes is known for the glitz and glamour, they don’t charge a submission fee for their films, which makes competition rife as entry numbers surpass thousands.
Boston Short Film Festival
Where: Boston, MA
When: July 12
The Boston Short Film Festival accepts shorts of any genre, with a focus on up-and-coming filmmakers and new talent in the next generation. At six years old, this festival is developing into one to keep an eye on for unconventional and underground films.
Venice Film Festival
Where: Venice, Italy
When: September 1
Founded in 1932, the Venice Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the world, and is a part of the Venice Biennale, one of the world’s oldest exhibitions of art. Not only is the festival one of the most world renowned for its age, history and huge amount of culture but also it is set beautifully on the Lido di Venezia, an 11km long island in the Venetian lagoon of northern Italy.
Encounters International Film Festival
Where: Bristol, England
When: September 18
The Encounters International Film Festival is a worldly recognized film festival located in Bristol, described as a gateway to the most prestigious awards. Their mission is to ‘to provide an international platform for new and emerging talent’ and they aim to enable filmmakers to build connections with both their industries and their audiences. The festival is divided in half with a Best of British section and an International Grand Prix, both highly competitive and sought for.A special note goes to the UK Deaf Shorts category which aims to promote inclusivity and conversation surrounding disabilities.
Raindance Film Festival
Where: London, England
When: October 27
Raindance is the largest independent film festival in the UK and is world renowned for their program. Based in the heart of London’s West End, the buzz surrounding this film festival is electric and one to be experienced. Not only does the festival feature the competition but there are numerous masterclasses, industry talks and panels, and networking events as they promote collaboration between creators.
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