Most people love going to the movies. But if you’re really into film, do you know what’s cooler than going to the movies? Going to film festivals. These hallowed cinematic gatherings numbered almost 3,000 in 2017, ranging from star-studded red carpet affairs to down-and-dirty genre-based offerings. But despite what you might think about film festivals being a ‘members only’ affair, the large majority of them (if not all) are open to the public and can make a great, unique excursion to tick off your bucket list.


But which one to visit? With major international events being held in most countries around the world, picking the right festival to visit can be tough. All of them have their pros and cons; but as we’re dealing with BUCKiTDREAMERS here, the cool factor has got to be front and center.


So, log onto BUCKiTDREAM and see if any other film fanatics have made the pilgrimage to a festival, and get inspired by their stories and pictures. Then keep that trusty BUCKiTDREAM planner handy, as we take you through the five coolest international film festivals in the world!

Kick Back at Cannes (France) Love it or hate it, the Cannes Film Festival is the ultimate in cinematic cool. Guaranteed to be filled to the brim with sunglasses-adorned stars, Cannes features the hottest premieres of the year, in one of the most scenic locations in Europe, the French Riviera. It’s almost guaranteed most of the cast and crew will be present at each of the screenings, and partaking in Q&As afterward. Due to all that blinding star power, it can get pretty expensive, so if you’re planning a Cannes trip, your best bet is to book far in advance. There’s after parties a-plenty, too so you can enjoy trying to talk your way into the most exuberant one you can find on La Croisette.

Take in the Views at Venice (Italy) The Venice Film Festival is one of the most prestigious in the calendar, awarding the coveted Golden Lion to the best films and actors of the year. Taking place amongst the beautiful surrounds of the Italian city of canals, Venice is counted among the ‘Big Three’ film festivals, alongside Cannes and Berlin, and holds the austere honor of being the oldest film festival in the world. Taking place in early September, the Venice film festival heralds the unofficial start of ‘Oscar season’; films that score big here are traditionally in with a good shot at a nomination come February. 

Get Gripped at Galway (Ireland) The Galway Film Fleadh (Irish for ‘festival’) operates a good few wattages below the star power of Cannes and Venice, though that doesn’t make it any less cool. Ireland’s leading film festival takes place every July in the city of Galway, a picturesque town perched on the Atlantic coast in the east of Ireland. There are zero pretentious airs at the Fleadh; you get the very real sense that everyone is equal and going with the Galway flow. The festival features the best in new Irish and international cinema and comes complete with a nightly spirited gathering in the Galway rowing club until the small hours. 

Star Spot at Sundance and Slamdance (U.S.) Arguably the most famous film festival on the planet, Sundance is the number one place to catch stars, directors and the best in independent cinemas. Taking place in the snowy surrounds of Park City, Utah, many films that premiere at Sundance (and it only accepts premieres) go on to rear their heads throughout the rest of the festival calendar and often make it to general release. Park City is a tiny little spot for such a big event, which is great if you’re there to catch sight of some of the many established and up-and-coming stars which roam Main Street.


There’s also the Slamdance Film Festival, which runs concurrently with Sundance in Park City and could be described as the former’s scrappy upstart sibling. Slamdance specializes in first-time features from young directors and has played host to the early efforts of many a famous face, including Christopher Nolan and Lena Dunham.

Enjoy the Atmosphere in Edinburgh (England) While Venice is the oldest film festival in the world, running since 1932, Edinburgh can claim to be the oldest continually running film festival in the world (and there is a difference; Venice had some iffy years in and around World War II). The Edinburgh festival has been running since 1947; it takes place in June and plays host to the most exciting new U.K. cinema, as well as a programmed full of international delights. The gorgeous Gothic splendor of Edinburgh seeps the festival in an atmosphere, with the program team utilizing a whole host of venues dotted around the city’s spires and cobblestones.


So, there are five cool options for your film festival planner; but if you’re looking to combine your love for the cinema with a bucket list trip, you can equally think about what country you might like to visit and work backwards from there; there’s bound to be a film festival playing there at some point in the year! They can make a great (and glamorous) detour during a bigger trip. Just make sure you keep your BUCKiTDREAM planner to hand as you decide which red carpet you feel like strutting down!