More than 2000 films in some 30-odd languages that go on to be screened on 8000+ screens in a calendar year, India is undeniably the biggest market for films. In the past few years, streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have only contributed to the growth of cinema in the country. It is this growing general interest in the art of film-making that has given birth to many a film festivals in different parts of the country. Film stars, aspiring film-makers and even people just looking to learn more about the world of films, everyone's attending a film festival, making it the latest travel trend you need to be a part of.
Here are the eight best film festivals in India that are worth planning an entire trip for:
1. JIO MAMI Film Festival
Where: Mumbai, Maharashtra
A name synonymous to the film festival scene in India, the Mumbai Film Festival has carved a unique niche for itself over the past few years. The annual affair is hosted by the Mumbai Academy Of Movie Imaging (MAMI), a trust headed by stalwarts like Kiran Rao, Karan Johar and Jaya Bachchan amongst others. If you're looking for the ultimate mix of classy as well as massy cinema from all over the world, MAMI is the place to be.
2. International Film Festival of India
Incepted way back in 1952, the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is hands down the longest running and most prestigious film festival in India. The grand event is held across a period of ten days, attracting film makers and celebrities in big numbers. The picturesque beaches and laid-back life of Goa only add to the scale of the event, making it a travel experience no film buff should miss.
3. Dharamshala International Film Festival
Where: McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh
Every October-November, the sleepy town of Mcleod Ganj becomes the hub of indie film-makers who flock here in big numbers for one of the most authentic film festivals in India, the Dharamshala International Film Festival. The fest acts as a great platform for budding film-makers who get a chance to showcase their work, attend workshops and be a part of intense discussions.
4. Jagran Film Festival
Where: Various locations across India
One of the fastest growing film festivals of recent times, the Jagran Film Festival is India's biggest 'travelling film festival'. The gala affair is held across more than 15 cities, spreading the magic of cinema to two-tier cities in India such as Agra, Gorakhpur and Patna amongst others. Film screenings, star spotting, panel discussions, exciting contests and much more – no matter which leg you attend, a visit to Jagran Film Festival will definitely address the cinephile in you.
5. Bring Your Own Film Festival
Where: Puri, Odisha
Got a film in hand? Don't have the money to send it to a festival? Pack your bags and book yourself a ticket to Puri right away! The beach town hosts the only one of its kind, Bring Your Own Film Festival. As the name suggests, the festival is open to all and lets aspiring film-makers share their work with a passionate group of cinema lovers. The annual fest takes place on the beaches of Puri and involves no registration fees, registration forms and most importantly, censorship.
6. Kolkata International Film Festival
Where: Kolkata, West Bengal
Set up in the year 1995 to honour the stalwarts of Bengali cinema, namely Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen, the Kolkata International Film Festival is a celebration unlike any other. The festival screens a plethora of content, ranging from short films to documentaries and even world cinema. Ever since the festival has got support from the state government, it has only grown leaps and boundaries, making it a true cultural extravaganza that should not be missed at any cost.
7. Chennai International Film Festival
Where: Chennai, Tamil Nadu
If you're someone who's an absolute sucker for world cinema, Chennai International Film Festival is just the place for you. The festival is supported by the government of Tamil Nadu, the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce and the Film Federation of India and boasts of one the most well-curated lineup of films. The underlying aim of the festival which focuses on 'promote friendship and co-operation among peoples of the world' makes it a truly heartwarming experience.
8. Kashmir World Film Festival
Where: Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
A relatively new entrant, the Kashmir World Film Festival has gained a strong foothold for itself in the film festival scene in no time. The film carnival has hosted some of the biggest names in the industry and also acted as a stage for the state to open up to Indian cinema.
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