Canada is a country of both film lovers and filmmakers, and the good news is that there are plenty of festivals to satisfy even the most passionate of movie buffs.
From the East Coast to the West Coast, this country is home to some of the best movie festivals in the world. These festivals, especially the seven fantastic festivals listed below, help keep the love and the art of cinema alive and thriving.
Toronto International Film Festival
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which takes place in downtown Toronto, is one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals, on par with festivals such as Sundance and Cannes. The festival’s People’s Choice Awards is an indicator of awards season success for the film that wins the honour. Almost half a million people attend TIFF every year.
Fantasia International Film Festival, Montreal
Fantasia International Film Festival is perhaps the top genre film festival in North America. This well-loved festival has been held since 1996, and it produces an excellent lineup of eclectic films every year. While it predominantly highlights genre films, the festival also showcases foreign films, musicals, documentaries, and all sorts of experimental works.
Calgary Underground Film Festival
Calgary Underground Film Festival provides a fantastic opportunity to catch great films that don’t often make it into North American movie theatres. The festival showcases contemporary feature films, short films, animated movies, and documentaries in a variety of different genres. It is designed as a laid-back event where you can really let loose and have fun. There’s even an arcade!
Whistler Film Festival
Whistler Film Festival is an international film festival that places a special emphasis on showing Canadian features. It was created to support independent filmmakers and today seeks to highlight female directors and emerging talent. Though smaller in comparison to festivals such as TIFF, the Whistler Film Festival receives around 13,000 attendees and is steadily growing.
Hot Docs, Toronto
One of the biggest documentary film festivals on the continent, Hot Docs takes place every year at the iconic and century-old Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto. The festival, however, is by no means stuck in the past. It showcases roughly 200 documentaries every year, many of them experimental in both subject matter and style. Hot Docs has launched many successful careers in documentary filmmaking.
Ottawa International Animation Festival
Sometimes called the TIFF of the animation industry, the Ottawa International Animation Festival is the place to catch some of the best animated films in the world. The festival is a celebration of creativity and features films both from large and well-known production companies and indie animators. The atmosphere is fun and family-friendly, and there are plenty of workshops to take part in.
Atlantic International Film Festival, Halifax
The Atlantic International Film Festival brings together the biggest films on the worldwide circuit with the best from Canadian filmmakers, and Halifax couldn’t be a better place for it. The screening venues are strategically located close together to make it easy to catch as many films as you can while taking in the historic sights. The film lineups are always chosen specifically with the local community and region in mind.
If you’ve got the chance to check out one of these Great Canadian film festivals, then consider yourself lucky and don’t pass up the opportunity.