Film festivals play an increasingly active and key role in the world’s film territory, which becoming an economic, cultural and artistic gathering. And for an international film festival, how to get influence, how to position and function is very important.
Every year, when the red carpet of Cannes is rolled up, the Karlovy Vary Film Festival opens in June. Then in August in Locarno, early September in Venice, mid- September in San Sebastian, February in Berlin, and May in Cannes. The film festival has become a very important cultural event in Europe, and Cannes seems to have set up a model for contemporary film festivals: with the highest commercial profits, the city of 70,000 people has become one of the richest cities in the world, creating a direct and indirect economic value of over 900 million euros.
The Cannes Film Festival does not exist as a special European region, but as a space for cross-border communication. It does not even promise whether French films can be successful.
However, Cannes is not all the allusions of the European Film Festival, such as the Berlin Film Festival, which is dedicated to demonstrating new German film talents and initiated the World Film Fund to support filmmakers in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Central Asia in production or distribution, combining the dual characteristics of international and regional roles.
The Karlovy Vary Film Festival, with its geographical advantages in central Europe, has a regional penetration that the Cannes Film Festival will never have; the Linz-based “Crossing Europe Film Festival” mainly encourages young directors who are unable to make it to the A-level stage.
There are also many festivals that focus solely on certain special types of films, such as the International Love Film Festival in Mons, Belgium, the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Prague, Czech Republic, and the International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen, Germany. Despite being in a global context, these festivals focus on regional identity so that individual voices can be heard.
The role and orientation of the European Film Festival also to certain degree works against Hollywood. Hollywood’s prominent position in the film world was the product of World War I. It took the leading role from Europe and never surrendered it. Over the past century, Hollywood has cultivated audiences and business models all over the world.
Cannes Film Festival set up a cultural dialogue between Hollywood and other world films, so that the film culture center (Hollywood) and other national films can work parallel.
On the one hand, Hollywood filmmakers negotiate carefully with Cannes film festival organizers every year, and festival organizers thankfully accept Hollywood’s global exposure every year, for example, though Hollywood blockbusters sometimes not join the game, however, big posters, big stars always attract audience.
On the other hand, in order to ensure and maintain credibility, the Cannes Film festival will do its utmost to protect its reputation as the world’s film paradise. In 2006, for example, it gave harsh criticism to the Hollywood blockbuster The Da Vinci Code, while giving the Golden Palm Award to European director Ken Lodge’s serious film The Wind That Shakes the Barley.
In the 21st century, the European Film Festival, especially the three major international film festivals, has established its dialogue mechanism between Hollywood films and the world films with distinctive role orientation, excavated outstanding artistic films, and launched a consistent and coherent challenge to Hollywood hegemony, thus becoming the world of film art.