The Best International Film Festivals for Study Abroad Students to Watch

May 26, 2017

Ah, the joys of studying abroad: new food, new friends, new experiences, and of course- who could forget?- new films! If you’re a study abroad student, definitely take advantage of these international film festivals that are sure to knock your socks off.

Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale)


This prestigious film festival was founded in 1951 in West Berlin, Germany. With over 300,000 tickets sold and a whopping half a million admissions, it is considered the largest publicly attended film festival in the world. Over 400 films are screened during the festival. It typically coincides with the European Film Market, which is the largest European film industry meeting. Together, the Berlinale and European Film Market attract roughly 20,000 industry professionals, as well as almost 5,000 journalists. For the newest, latest, and greatest, don’t miss out on the Berlinale.

International Film Festival of India (IFFI)


Held in Goa — one of India’s most popular and colorful tourist destinations — this is one of the most significant film festivals in Asia. The film festival takes its inspiration from the phrase “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” which means coexistence and peaceful tolerance. Founded in 1952 as a non-competitive exhibition, the IFFI now awards prizes to the best films screened. The eleven-day festival also coincides with the feast of Basque saint Francis Xavier, so it’s sure to be a carnival of movies and parades.

Montreal World Film Festival (MWFF)


The Montreal World is the only competitive film festival in North America recognized by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations. Started in 1977, it’s the oldest film festival in Canada and the most diverse; while the Toronto International Film Festival mostly shows films from North America and Canada, the Montreal World focuses on including films from all over the world. It’s held in late August, which conveniently avoids the biting cold of Montreal in winter. If you’re looking for a buffet of international cinema, this is your best bet if you’re studying abroad in Canada.  

Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF)


Held over a three-week period in July and August, this film festival is one of the oldest in the world- and certainly the most notable one Down Under. You might not think of Melbourne as a significant film history site, but it was the location for the shooting of “The Story of the Kelly Gang” (1906), the first full-length feature film. The most prestigious award given is the Grand Prix for Best Short Film, a $10,000 prize that is recognized worldwide in the short film category. There are also a host of other awards for feature films and documentaries.

Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF)


This film festival is one of Hong Kong’s largest cultural events. 250 titles are screened every year from over 55 countries, making it one of the world’s biggest film festivals. Since 1972, HKIFF has helped open Asian cinema to the world and introduced the culture of Hong Kong to foreign tourists flocking to the festival.

Interested in learning about filmmaking at one of the New York Film Academy’s international locations? Check out our worldwide locations.