It all started in Venice in 1932 – the world's first film festival. Then other festivals began popping up for a variety of reasons, some political, given the growingly fascist government in Italy: Cannes in 1946, Edinburgh in 1947, Berlin in 1951, and so on, until the present day, when a journalist can spend a decent portion of the year (and salary) covering Sundance, the Toronto Film Festival, Telluride, South by Southwest, Fantastic Fest, New York Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, CineVegas, and, more recently, San Diego Comic-Con, just to name as a few, as well as the aforementioned international festivals if they're really lucky.

As time has passed, the fests have become more than venues for movie buyers and sellers to haggle over movies or arbiters of taste in the finest of arthouse flicks. Along the way, critics and journalists have gotten into the festival circuit, which is a win-win for the movies and the writers; small films get the buzz that's sometimes a good push for them to get picked up by distributors, and the writers get access to films before they get hot, making them tastemakers and generally ahead of the curve when it comes to Oscar season, film trends, and insider-y scoops that can only occur when you find yourself sharing an elevator with a Weinstein. Festivals can be great litmus tests for movies that take forever to get picked up – you can pretty much guarantee they're gonna be a stinker by the time they arrive in theaters for a weekend and disappear after that.

categories Movies, Cinematical