2021 Best Film Festivals

June 22nd, 2021  |  by maria

2021 Best Film Festivals

Film festivals have always been a great way for filmmakers, and everyone in the industry, to showcase their arts. But with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was virtually impossible to have them. Does that mean that it's the end of a much-loved culture? Of course not.

As with most of the other events in the world, film festivals are now done virtually.

Here are some of 2021 best film festivals:


Probably one of the most renowned film festivals in the world. Over the years some great films have debuted at Cannes, with some winning the prestigious Palme d'Or. Previously known as the "International Film Festival", Cannes offers filmmakers a chance to showcase their work on one of the biggest stages in the film industry.

Winning here would elevate your filmmaking career to unprecedented heights.  With the festivals scheduled for this summer, submissions are closed, but you can still plan for next year’s festivals.


Scheduled to be held in late June 2021, Cheltenham is such a great place to showcase your film. They accept all types of categories, and it's wise to try most of them.

The submission was acceptable until April, but there is always the next time if you still want to be a part. It is a great place to start for UK filmmakers who are elevating their films from local viewership.

Emerging Film Night

Where do top-notch directors make their cut? In what ways can you spearhead your director career? Well, the Emerging Film Night is a good place to start.

The EFN, as it is popularly known, is a great way to kickstart a career as a director. Though the film festival will be held virtually this year, it's still a great platform.

They accept films released in the last three years; hence if you missed the April deadline, you could still work with the next EFN. The best part is that EFN happens quarterly, so there are more coming.

Aesthetica short film festival

This is probably one of the best film festivals in the UK. With a great audience, an amazing platform and high prices, this is the one festival every filmmaker dreams of participating in. It showcases all the good works that filmmakers are bringing on board. With the festivals happening sometime in November this year, the deadline for submissions is June 2021.

The organizers actively hunt for captivating and touching stories, something that’s not available every day. If you feel your story is moving enough, feel free to shoot your shot. You might walk away with a grant worth £10K.

Iris Prize

If you ever wondered which is the best prized small film festival globally, here it is: the Iris Prize. They organise such a high-power festival in which filmmakers interact on great levels.

There are night parties, networking events, and a huge congregation of filmmakers that will change your career. They accept all short films, LGBT+ and features, and the winners get £30K prize money. It is the highest prize in the world, and with the event happening in early Oct 2021, you better submit your work.

Norwich Film Festival

Here is another great film festival that you dare not miss. The qualifying accreditations came from both the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) & the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). The competition here is top-notch as they accept submissions from all over the world.

You must put your best foot forward if you are going to clinch the top prize. The submission deadline is set for 21st June 2021, with the festival scheduled for November 2021.

UK Festivals

The list wouldn't be complete without UK festivals. It happens in London and comes packed with loads of goodies, parties, and networking events. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the events within the festival might be restricted.

Luckily, the most important event of them all will be happening this year: the festival will take place. So, polish your act, get the film together, follow the guidelines and make a submission. You have till September 22nd to submit if you want your film to feature in November 19th-23rd festivals.

Our final thoughts

Film festivals are such a great way to connect and interact with fellow filmmakers. But most importantly, it is a way of showcasing your work to the world.

It offers such a good opportunity and a great audience to market your film. Be sure to follow all the instructions when making your submission. Otherwise, you will be chopped off before your cameo.


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