Top film festivals of 2012

Of the many film festivals around the world, the following events are recognized for offering superior programming, attracting stars, drawing big crowds, accreditation from the industry and presenting filmmakers prestigious awards.

27th annual Sundance Film Festival
January 19-29
Park City, Utah, USA

Founded by Robert Redford, Sundance is a premier showcase for US and international independent film. Up to 200 dramatic and documentary films are screened, from experimental to low-budget, in competitive and non-competitive sections. Attracts 40,000 attendees including Hollywood stars and execs seeking tomorrow's Oscar wins.

62nd Berlin International Film Festival
February 9-19
Berlin, Germany

A premier European cinematic event attracting 19,000 professionals and one of the largest audiences of any film festival with 300,000 tickets sold. The Berlinale screens 350 films, most of them world or European premieres, from 120 countries. International and independent films compete for the coveted Golden Bear.

36th Hong Kong International Film Festival
March 21-April 5
Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong's largest cultural event -- annually attracting an audience of around 600,000 -- the festival screens more than 290 titles from 50 countries at 11 venues across the city. Along with annual events in Busan, South Korea, Tokyo, Japan and Shanghai, this is one of the "big four" cinematic events in Asia.

11th Tribeca Film Festival
April 18-29
New York City, New York, USA

Co-founded by Robert De Niro, this event screens 135 narrative, documentaries and short films from American and international filmmakers in venues around town, as well as streaming and video-on-demand, to reach beyond the 410,000 attendees. With galas and awards, this spring event has eclipsed Lincoln Center's New York Film Festival in fall.

65th Cannes International Film Festival
May 16-27
Cannes, France

The most prestigious of the festivals, Festival de Cannes is a star-studded iconic cinematic event, drawing 30,000 attendees including high-profile industry execs at its 150 selective screenings as well as galas and film market. There's a competition for the esteemed Palme d'Or and other awards led by a prominent jury president.

15th Shanghai International Film Festival
June 16-24
Shanghai, China

Reflecting China's exploding film industry, the Shanghai International Film Festival is the country's largest, showcasing the latest work from local directors, new talent and presenting international cinema to the mainland Chinese audience of approximately 200,000. With 300 screenings, stars of Asian, Hollywood and the world cinema attend.

61th Melbourne International Film Festival
August 2-19
Melbourne, Australia

One of the oldest, the Melbourne Festival is regarded as the most significant film event in Australia with 170,000 attendees. It screens 385 films from more than 50 countries and features local talent over the 17-days in winter. Sydney also hosts a film festival in June.

69th Venice International Film Festival
Venice, Italy

The world's oldest film festival is part of a comprehensive schedule of cultural arts program from architecture and dance to music and theater. The film portion attracts 50,000 for 275 screenings in the Official Selection, a competitive program vying for the Golden Lion Award, trends and Italian films.

37th Toronto International Film Festival
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

A premier North American cinema event, timed prior to awards season, this festival has launched some of the best of international, Hollywood and Canadian cinema. The event is located in the Entertainment District, drawing a half-million attendees to screen 336 films from 64 countries, along with panel discussions and workshops and a juried competition.

17th Busan International Film Festival
Busan, South Korea

Asia's largest film festival, PIFF is also fast becoming one of the world's biggest cinema events with 300 movies from 60 countries attracting an audience of 200,000. With an emphasis on expanding Asian films as well as films from around the world, it takes place concurrently with the Asian Film Market and an Academy of workshops and panels.

25th Tokyo International Film Festival
Tokyo, Japan

One of the 12 largest international film festivals, the annual event attracts an audience of 80,000 and screens 200 films including dramas, documentaries and shorts. Besides the competition, the program spotlights Japanese filmmakers and trends at panel discussions. Also includes a film market and gala events.



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