Top film festivals of India you should not miss as a Cinema Lover

While film making has become big business, film festivals are the best place to experience the fascinating art form of cinema. Here we take a look at the best film festivals in India, where you can get a glimpse of the hidden gems of the art form. Some of these top film festivals attract top names from Bollywood, business and fashion.

International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa

The Indian International Film Festival (IFFI) is among the most prestigious and one of the oldest film festivals of India. The inaugural IFFI was held in Delhi, but since 2004 Goa has been hosting the festival. Goa is a very popular tourist destination, and come November, it also attracts cinema lovers from across the world.

Venue: Goa
Festival Date: November

Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF)

The Kolkata International Film Festival started in the year 1995, drawing its inspiration from the masters of Bengali Cinema – Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen. The KIFF is now organized by the Kolkata Chalachitra Utsav Society, with financial and logistic support from the Government of West Bengal. KIFF showcases several genres of films – Country Focus, Regional focus, Women Directors, Literature and Cinema, Documentary, Biopic, Short films and more. Besides film screenings, the festival also offers Exhibitions, Film Book Bazaar and Film Market.

Venue: Kolkata
Festival Date: November


“Ei film festival er bishesh onusthane uposthith thakte pere sammanito bodh korchi. (I feel honoured to be present at this special event). Sanskriti ebong oitihjjyor ei shohor (Kolkata is the city of culture). Shob cheye Mishti Shohor Kolkata (It is the sweetest city),” SRK steals the show with his Bengali speech at KIFF 2017

Woodpecker International Film Festival

WIFF is globally acclaimed of its focus on issue-based cinema – environment and wildlife, livelihoods, health, gender, children, art and culture. Besides film screenings, the festival also organises workshops, seminars, and conferences.

Venue: Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi
Festival Date: November

International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK)

Organised by Kerala State Chalachitra Academy (Kerala government initiative), IFFK honours the rich tradition of Malayalam cinema. Includes categories such as World Cinema, Indian Cinema, Malayalam Cinema.

Venue: Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Festival Date: November-December

Jaipur International Film Festival (JIFF)

JIFF receives entries from over 100 countries. The festival includes several categories, including new categories such as Web Series and Mobile Film Making. You can even take part in the ‘Co-production Meet’, a platform to collaborate with global partners for your film project.

Venue: Jaipur, Rajasthan
Festival Date: December-January

Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF)

Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) The Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) is an international film festival that showcases the best of recent Indian and world cinema, including fiction, documentaries and short films.

In the last few years, the film festival has developed a reputation as a fun and cutting-edge cultural event, where film aficionados can watch films, meet filmmakers, live and breathe cinema, all in the shadow of the majestic Dhauladhar mountains.

Longtime residents of Dharamshala, Indian-Tibetan filmmaking couple Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, initiated the film festival with the objective of bringing high quality independent cinema to Dharamshala, to encourage local filmmaking talent and also to create a meaningful platform for engaging all the communities in the area. The Dharamshala International Film Festival is organised through the non-profit charity, White Crane Arts & Media Trust.

DIFF was initiated in 2012 when there were no cinema halls in Dharamshala. Its also a great opportunity to visit Dharamshala, a pristine location in the midst of the Himalayas.

Venue: Dharamshala
Festival Date: October-November

Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI)

Organised by the Mumbai Academy of Movie Imaging (MAMI), the festival is held in October-November every year. It showcases a variety of cinema like independent and art house films, alongside movies from Bollywood and Hollywood.

Venue: Mumbai
Festival Date: October-November

(KASHISH) Mumbai Queer Film Festival

The Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival festival is an annual LGBT event (approved by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry, Government of India) that has been held in Mumbai since the year 2010. The LGBT film festival screens gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer films from India and around the world.

Venue: Mumbai, Maharashtra
Festival Date: October-November

“We are delighted that the quality of filmmaking around LGBTQ issues in India has gathered quite a lot of momentum in the recent years. This year we received more than 60 Indian film submissions, out of which we are screening 27 films. So it is a good time for Indian LGBTQ cinema,” said Sridhar Rangayan, festival director.

Ladakh International Film Festival (LIFF)

Ladakh International Film Festival is held annually in the Himalayan town of Leh (its the highest altitude film festival in the world). One of the major themes of the festival is wildlife conservation. A great film festival and breath-taking location is in store for visitors.

Venue: Leh, Ladakh
Festival Date: June-July

The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM)

The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) does a great job of bringing forward independent Indian films and blockbuster films to the Australian audience. IFFM not only screens notable Bollywood films, it also provides a platform for aspiring filmmakers to showcase their work.

Awards in various categories like best film, best performances, best film, best director and independent films are given away. The festival also honors classic works of great Indian filmmakers, such as Satyajit Ray.

Venue: Melbourne, Australia
Festival Date: July-August

‘BRICS Film Festival’

The first BRICS Film Festival was held in Delhi at Siri Fort multiplex. The five-day film gala screened films from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (the countries that comprises BRICS).

The festival BRICS film festival is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea. The Prime Minister was very keen that the BRICS Summit this time should not only be about political relations, but also interaction between the common people. So we planned a film festival to showcase the cultures of various countries through their films.

Besides films, a food fair with cuisines from the member nations was also be put up at the festival venue. Cultural troupes from all five nations performed during the film festival.

The film festival is a good platform for various film-makers and artistes to come together and discuss mutual film production ventures.

The next BRICS film festival will be held in China.