Interrailing for film enthusiasts: six must visit film festivals in Europe

Europe has a lot to offer to film lovers, and regardless of the period you plan to take your Interrail adventure, you’ll likely stumble on some of them. They range in popularity, specific genres they showcase, and many other factors, but what makes them all the same is the magic atmosphere that surrounds them. Here are some of the best film festivals around Europe, that are sure to make an impression on every lover of the sixth art.

Locarno Film Festival

Locarno Film Festival is one of the oldest ones in Europe, marking its beginnings more than 70 years ago. It’s based in Locarno in the beautiful Switzerland, and hosts a wide range of movies in various competitive and non competitive categories. It’s held on one of the largest open-screen area known as Piazza Grande which can easily hold more than 8000 spectators. Usually beginning at the start of August, making it possibly the best time to visit this intricate south Swiss town.

Venice Film Festival

The Venice Film Festival is one of the three kings of European film festivals, as well as the oldest manifestation of this kind in the world. Other than movie screening in several large venues, it also hosts a wide number of exhibitions. The main events are held on the island Lido – just a boat ride from Venice proper – usually in the first week of September. While its popularity naturally attracts a great crowd of visitors, it’s still a valuable event every film enthusiast should visit at least once in their lives.

Karlovy Vary Film Festival

This festival is based in the popular spa town in the Czech Republic, and has a long history of more than 60 years. It’s credited as one of the most important film festivals in Eastern Europe, by attracting more than 200 films around the world some of which are highly acclaimed movies starring film stars like Robert De Niro. Another significant part of the festival are their seminars, where film enthusiasts can connect and learn more about European film as well as filmmaking in general.

Berlin Film Festival

Popular under the abbreviation Berlinale, the Berlin Film Festival is another of the three European giants. It has been held every February since 1976 and boasts sales of more than 300,000 tickets each year. More than 200 films are showcased in different venues, which is an awesome opportunity to explore the wonders of Berlin. Alongside the film viewings, a European film market is organised, where international film makers can connect for future projects. If you’re into filmmaking yourself, then you can also be a part of the Berlinale Talents, a series of seminars and workshops intended for the youngest in the industry.

Amsterdam Independent Film Festival

If you want to move away from the mainstream movies and explore the more artistic side of the industry, then this event held in the capital of Netherlands is the one for you. It hosts films from all around the world, and focuses on creative experimentation rather than the usual Hollywood glam. It features all movie genres including documentaries, animation, shorts and feature films. Held in an unusual venue called Lab 11, which is a cinema based in former anatomical pathology hospital. The Amsterdam Independent Film Festival is a must stop if you visit the city in September.

BFI London Film Festival

Launched in the fifties with a goal to become a “festival of festivals”, the BFI London Film Festival screens more than 300 movies from 50 countries around the world. It combines popular films that have screened in Berlin or Venice, and combines them with independent and young talent features for a complete cinematic experience.