The 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World, 2018

AFI Fest

November 8-15, 2018 / Hollywood, CA /

There’s a point at which something is described as a “best kept secret” for so long, and in so many circles, that it can’t possibly ring true anymore. Regardless, those that attend AFI Fest each year are a committed bunch, and you know it has achieved the status of top-tier when many of the conversations surrounding the fest are devoted to how this year’s programming stands in relation to last year’s, or three years ago, and so forth. Often feeling like a roundup of the best films of the year, AFI’s top notch programming affords attendees the ability to put all their marbles in whichever films are available in a given slot, synopses be damned. A panelists adds, “They treat the filmmakers well—the people who made a 30,000 Euro film from Albania get the same treatment as the ones who made a big co-production with movie stars.” Viewers often gravitate toward the “Albanian” films, recognizing that the best of the fest are often the titles that never secure distribution. In a city where most cool things are decidedly not free, the “coolest” aspect of AFI is that all of their screenings (including the big ticket Galas and Centerpiece films) are free.

Jessica Chastain attends a screening of Molly’s Game at AFI Fest 2017’s Closing Night Gala. Photograph by Alberto E. Rodriguez

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  1. Sam

    August 18, 2018 at 10:16 am

    CiNEWORX is proud to Sponsor and Partner with SFF for 5 years running providing Digital Content (DCPS) for the Fest! Congrats SFF for making it 3 years running as one of the top 25 COOLEST FILM FESTIVALS to attend.

  2. ron

    July 10, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    How about calling it “Our reviewers 25 favorite festivals” — for these are festivals that your jury has presumably been to and likes — and that’s fine. To call it the world’s 25 coolest is a wee bit presumptuous, no?

  3. Duncan Putney

    July 9, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Have you heard about the Flickers – Children’s Hospitals International Film Festival (CHIFF)? This new and growing festival provides a free program of new and amazing short films to the patients of children’s hospitals in the US and Canada (and soon Europe) and its the kids who vote on the award winners at each two week hospital event. CHIFF is part of the Rhode Island International Film Festival. CHIFF was recently endorsed by the US Surgeon General who said that great films are great medicine. How cool is that? You can find CHIFF on Facebook and Twitter using @FlickersCHIFF.

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