1. Cape Town International Film Market and Festival 9–19 October
The best of African and international cinema will be on show at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. Take your pick from over 120 independent feature films, short films and documentaries, divided into focus areas such as New Voices (featuring first-time directors). The festival will conclude in style with a gala awards dinner, which will celebrate some of the brightest talents in the industry.
2. BFI London Film Festival 10–21 October
Catch some of the latest releases from around the globe at this prestigious film festival. With 21 world premieres – including Steve McQueen’s highly anticipated heist thriller, Widows – slated to take place, audiences will be spoilt for choice. Other cinematic offerings include 160 short films, 46 documentaries and 18 archive restorations, which span 77 countries. What’s more, award-winning thespians like actress Keira Knightly and director Alfonso Cuarón will participate in discussions and talks held during the festival, offering an insider’s view of the industry.
3. Byron Bay Film Festival 12–21 October
First held in 2005, BBFF has since grown into Australia’s largest regional film festival. This is perhaps thanks in part to its setting, where pristine beaches and lush rainforests provide a scenic backdrop to an extensive programme of screenings and events. Highlights this year include feature documentary Dying to Live, which chronicles the compelling stories of four people awaiting organ transplants in Australia; as well as Sharkwater Extinction, the late Canadian conservationist Rob Stewart’s exposé on the illegal shark fin industry.
4. Rome Film Fest 18–28 October
With legendary directors such as Martin Scorsese and Giuseppe Tornatore expected to be in attendance, the 13th edition of the Rome Film Fest looks set to be bigger than ever. The Italian-American filmmaker will review his illustrious 50-year career in a talk with festival director Antonio Monda, while the Sicilian auteur will discuss his passion for the noir genre in literature and film. Don’t miss the diverse screenings, masterclasses and panel discussions that will take place as well; the full lineup will be revealed on 5 October.
5. Tokyo International Film Festival 25 October–3 November
The 31st edition of the festival will open with A Star is Born, actor Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut co-starring Lady Gaga that’s already garnering Oscar buzz. It’ll be an aptly stellar start to the star-studded extravaganza, which will be graced by the likes of beloved Japanese actress (and TIFF ambassador) Mayu Matsuoka and award-winning Filipino director Brillante Ma Mendoza. The latter will preside over the jury for the competition section of the festival, which will feature 16 films shortlisted from a whopping 1,829 entries.