Fun Film Festivals


HOOKED ON THE CINEMA? Craving the movies? Are you in love with the world of film? Plan a vacation and just go.


Canada offers The Toronto International Film Festival September 8 – 18, showcasing 300 films from 60 countries. Park City, Utah hosts the Sundance Film Festival Jan. 21 – 31. February’s Berlin International Film Festival is the world’s largest public film festival. The International Indian Film Academy Awards have been held in exotic locations from Macau to Singapore. Over 6,000 fans gathered to greet an A-list of talent including Kevin Spacey and John Travolta at the Bollywood Film Festival last year in Tampa.


The Sarasota Film Festival occurs every April. Check out the features, documentaries, shorts and childfriendly selections. It’s the time of year where Hollywood meets Sarasota. I had dinner with Kevin Bacon at the Longboat Key Club one year and shared a taxi with Sting’s daughter the next. Bill Macy fell in love with our beaches and never wanted to leave. This year it’s from April 1 – 10.


If you can’t get enough of the movie star stuff this Spring… head to New York City. The 15th Annual TriBeCa Film Festival is April 13 – 24. This is expected to be the biggest year yet and with features from 32 countries, 77 world premieres, eight international premiers, six North American premiers, four US premiers and five New York Premiers. Onethird of the features presented this year are directed by women.


LIGHTS. CAMERAS. CANNES The 69th Cannes Film Festival (Festival De Cannes) takes place May 11 – 22. Nothing in the world can compare to this. Fans gather from around the world annually motivated by one common love: film. Fly to Nice and then arrange for the 30 minute scenic drive along the Rivera to Cannes. We recommend the hotel chain known as the Citadines or “apart-hotel.” It’s a blend of apartment living with hotel amenities, including a living room, kitchen and a private, small rooftop deck. Managed by the Ascot Limited group and a perfect location with just a short stroll along cobblestone streets down to the waterfront and the heart of all the festival action. We found a grocery store directly across the street for an easy way to keep our kitchen stocked with brie and French wine chilled in between screenings.


Cannes is beautiful to say the least. Film fans literally “camp out” for days in front of the Palais steps in order to get a glimpse of their favorite actors over the course of two weeks. The sight of the mega yachts are astounding in the harbor. A total of 117 countries are represented with 5,200 films offered, 118 documentaries and more than 12, 000 attendees at the Marche. It’s a 24/7 marathon of screenings, press conferences and parties. The stars are out and hold court 24/7 from Sylvester Stallone and Jane Fonda to Julianne Moore, Blake Lively and Zoe Saldana on the red carpet.


The Intercontinental Carlton Cannes is the definition of elegance. Odd to see armed guards roaming the lobby until we remember there was a $136 million jewelry robbery inside the hotel last summer. On the flip side, the almost stuffy grande dame really gets wild each May when a Nikki Beach opens up for two weeks. Billed as the “ultimate beach club” combining entertainment, dining, music, fashion, film and art and called “sexiest place on earth” by the London Observer.


Now in its 12th year, this year’s guests to Nikki Beach at all hours of the day and night included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson, Sylvester Stallone, Kellan Lutz, Wesley Snipes, Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman and Mickey Rourke among many others.


Many repeat visitors to the festival argue that the Majestic Barriere hotel is the place to be. This member of The Leading Hotels of the World overlooks the Med. Book the Suite saluting Christian Dior at 32,000 euros per night. Nothing can prepare you for the sights along the famed Promenade de las Croisette. The overcrowded outdoor cafes are teaming with diners with foreign accents adding to the charm.


Where does the normal visitor go to just chill? Everybody agrees: La Pizza. You don’t need jewels to sip wine here. Reporters and day trippers hang outside in the Café reading the daily copies of The Hollywood Reporter and Variety to see what party they missed the night before, or to catch a glimpse of themselves. – Cindy Cockburn; photos by Rod Millington