5 Film Festivals to Explore in 2018

Your ticket to adventure, on and off the big screen

by Colin Crummy
Dec 19 2017, 8:38pm

Midnight Sun Film Festival, Finnish Lapland


Try a film festival located in a village where the sun doesn’t set. Midnight Sun’s location is Sodankylä village, 120 kilometres above the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, where the locals enjoy 24 hours of daylight. This is Midnight Sun’s slightly trippy USP. The festival screens cinema 24 hours a day in settings like a circus style big tent. Grab drinks at any time of day or night and take a time out in a sauna whenever you fancy (this is still Finnish Lapland, after all).

13th – 17th June 2018. msfilmfestival.fi

Telluride Film Festival, Colorado


Telluride is set in tiny skiing resort in Colorado on Labor Day weekend. It might look terrifically quaint but is a heavy hitter on the America festival circuit, often getting first dibs on future Oscar winners like Brokeback Mountain and The Crying Game. It’s a very Hollywood festival – you’ll definitely mingle with some A-Listers here – but the rules of Telluride help ensure it’s more a democratic celebration of cinema than a celebrity bun fight. The festival’s schedule remains a secret until the weekend and no one gets a free pass. Once you’ve sampled first rate US cinema, hit the hiking trails or hire a jeep to take in the jaw-dropping Colorado outdoors.

31 Aug – 3 Sept 2018 telluridefilmfestival.org

FICCI, Cartagena, Columbia


The oldest film festival in Latin America is located in Cartagena, a 16th century port city alongside the Caribbean Sea. At FICCI (Festival Internacional de Cine de Cartagena de Indias) you can expect to catch the best new South American cinema in locations worthy of their own big screen moment. Cartagena old town’s colonial architecture is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and FICCI takes full advantage of the setting with screenings in churches, hospitals and jails (the latter, long since abandoned). Once you’ve indulged your cinephile tendencies, make peace with your lazy bones self on the city’s white sand beaches.

28 Feb – 5 March 2018 ficcifestival.com

Jeonju, South Korea


If you’ve caught the K-Wave bug (that’s New Wave Korean cinema to the uninitiated) and want to delve beyond Bong Joon-ho’s Okja, South Korea’s Jeonju Film Festival is a smart choice for swotting up on up-and-coming Asian independent cinema, Korean premieres and experimental fare. The festival is smaller than South Korea’s Busan film festival, but Jeonju also has the draw of being a UNESCO city of gastronomy. The city’s signature dish is bibimbap. Between screenings, head to central Hanok Maeul village for a street food bonanza of hotteok (sugar filled pancakes), mandu (dumplings) and deep fried squid. Belly full, time to gorge on genre-bending Korean cinema.

May. eng.jiff.or.kr

Küstendorf, Serbia


High in the mountains outside Belgrade, this toy town style village was built by Serbian director Emir Kusturica as an ambitious, multi-faceted arts space. Terrifically cute, the wooden village has a reputation for drawing in A-listers (Johnny Depp unveiled a statute of himself there – worth a Google for its weirdness) but also as a platform for emerging international talent. Kusturica, a two time Palme d’Or winner, programmes workshops with filmmakers of a similar calibre like Paolo Sorrentino and Alfonso Cuaron. Kustendorf also has a music strand, which explains its rock’n’roll reputation. Here there are no red carpets, streets are named after Maradona and Fellini and a good time is the name of the game.

15 – 21 January. kustendorf-filmandmusicfestival.org

South Korea