Student-Friendly Film Festivals

Published on October 13th, 2011

Lack of cash can often make it hard for students to take full advantage of great opportunities. Many students would love to spend a week in Tribeca sipping coffee with the like-minded film junkies, and rubbing elbows with ground-breaking independent filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, Michael Moore or Sofia Coppola. While some tickets still cost an arm and a leg, other festivals offer symposiums and cover the cost of travel, room and board for students. So, here’s a list of ten film fests that are (relatively) student friendly:

Sundance Film Festival
Location: Park City, UT
Upcoming Dates: January 19-29, 2012
Student Pricing: Individual Ticket (Good for one showing); $15, Film School Pass (includes photo credential, awards night party ticket and special access); $300
Networking Opportunities: The Film School Pass includes “Speed Dating” with festival filmmakers.
Fun Facts: Among the most well known festivals in the world, this ten-day extravaganza has featured films like Garden State, The Blair Witch Project, Precious, and Napolean Dynamite.
Learn More: www.sundance.org

Tribeca Film Festival
Location: New York City
Upcoming Dates: April 18-29, 2012
Student Pricing: This year’s pricing is not yet available, but in 2011 single tickets were $16 per screening, $8 for matinees and $25 for special events. 
Networking Opportunities: Tribeca Film Institute offers a variety of programs for middle school and high school students and filmmakers. It even includes workshops for teachers and special funding for qualified applicants but not much for undergraduate film students.
Fun Fact: Founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in 2002 in response to the September 11 tragedy.
Learn More: www.tribecafilm.com

Telluride Film Festival
Location: Telluride, CO
Upcoming Dates: Labor Day Weekend
Student Pricing: Student symposium is free for qualified applicants. Application is available on the Telluride website.
Networking Opportunities: Student symposium allows a small group of students who are passionate about film to spend hours discussing film, attending film screenings and allows admission to a variety of special events.
Fun Fact: Michael Moore premiered his first movie Roger and Me at Telluride in 1989.
Learn More: www. telluridefilmfestival.org

Slamdance Film Festival
Location: Park City, UT
Upcoming Dates: January 20-26, 2012
Student Pricing: The Student Access Pass, which offers the same benefits as a regular All Access Pass, allows students to attend all screenings, parties, fireside chats, and happy hours; $125.
Networking Opportunities: Occurs at the same time and city as Sundance, so being in the same city with two major film festivals, must have major perks.
Fun Fact: Self-described rival to Sundance, this festival has a far less celeb-saturated scene and also sports a screenwriting and teleplay competition.
Learn More: www.slamdance.com

Cannes Film Festival
Location: Cannes, France
Upcoming Dates: May 16-27, 2012
Student Pricing: Invitation only.
Networking Opportunities: A hyper-competitive student film showcase called Cinéfondation, accepts fifteen to twenty student films to be judged, and the top three are awarded.
Fun Fact: This is one of the most prominent film festivals in the world- and one of the oldest. It was founded in 1939.
Learn More: www.festival-cannes.com

Austin Film Festival
Location:  Austin, TX
Upcoming Dates: October 20-27, 2011
Student Pricing: No special student pricing, but The Film Pass is relatively affordable at $50-110.
Networking Opportunities: Check out the 9th annual Film and Food Gala at the Driskill Hotel.
Fun Fact:  Luke Wilson will present a special screening of 1994 indie classic, Bottle Rocket during the festival in honor of Polly Platt, film producer extraordinaire.
Learn More: www.austinfilmfestival.com

Cucalorus Film Festival
Location: Wilmington, NC
Upcoming Dates: November 10-13, 2011
Student Pricing: Pretty darn affordable. Get a ‘Jibasorus’ Pass for just $40.
Networking Opportunities: Get a little hobnobbing in at the Midnight Brunch.
Fun Fact: Something to strive for: sponsors who donate $10,000 or more get their logo tattooed onto the arm of the festivals director, Dan Brawley.
Learn More: www.cucalorus.org

Ivy Film Festival
Location: Providence, RI
Upcoming Dates:  April 9-15, 2o12
Student Pricing: All events are free, while tickets are available.
Networking Opportunities: Connect with other student filmmakers and lovers on the beautiful and prestigious campus of Brown University. “We all ow and encourage everyone, student or not, to attend our screenings, panels, and keynotes throughout the week,” says Travis Bogosian, one of two executive directors of the festival (and a Brown student). How’s that for time-management?
Fun Fact: This fest is the largest student-run festival in the world.
Learn More: www.ivyfilmfestival.com

Toronto Internation Film Festival
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Upcoming Dates: Ongoing (365 days a year)
Student Pricing: Regular screenings are $9.50, Premium Screenings are $15.00 for students.
Networking Opportunities: The Grace Kelly: Movie Star to Princess Exhibition, will probably draw diverse crowd of filmlovers and filmmakers.
Fun Facts: The festivals original moniker was “The Festival of Festivals,” but was changed in 1994 to its current title
Learn More: www.tiff.net

South by Southwest Film Festival
Location: Austin, TX
Upcoming Dates: March 9-17, 2012
Student Pricing: SXSW is a big Chi-ching. Early bird tickets are $450, and there is no such thing as going to a single screening. Either you’re in or you’re out.
Networking Opportunities: A film badge comes with one-on-one mentor sessions and workshops.
Fun Fact: SXSW is actually a triple threat- a film, music and technology festival all bundled into one super-hip showcase of talent and innovation.
Learn More: www.sxsw.com

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