Saturday, May 23, 2009

Beyond Cannes for Film Buffs

UK-born Mark Price spent 18 months developing a zombie flick entitled Colin, and word has it that film heavyweights are eyeing it as the next big thing. According to Helen Grace of Left Films, who helped Price market Colin at Cannes, even Hollywood studios have been sniffing around the film--which had a surprising $70 budget. Horror mag SCARS has predicted that the movie would "revolutionize zombie cinema." Sound exciting? For any film aficionado, going to Cannes is a dream come true--but what about other film festivals around the globe?

For something slightly off the beaten path, consider checking out the Berlin Film Festival, which screens a limited selection of documentaries every year. Each film shown in Berlin gets special attention thanks to the limited number of participants, and that means plenty of in-depth interviews, panels, and a better chance at grabbing some autographs. While you're taking in the culture, how about staying at the Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, which is located a short walk from major shopping routes as well as the business district? Since it has a spa, saunas, gym, beauty parlor, and a pool, you might find yourself struggling to get motivated for screenings!

Another well-received film festival is The Times BFI 52nd London Film Festival, which screens international films along with a load of British talent. Held in London right after summer, it reportedly features unusually high-quality work that can hold its own in larger festivals if need be. On a day off from screening films, take the train to Oxford for a fun movie-related mini-break. Wandering around the university location gives traveling goosebumps when one realizes that the college grounds ooze a Harry Potter feel: that's because the historic Bodleian Library was used in the film's interior scenes, and the Christ Church and its Great Hall were used for the Hogwarts School. Consider staying at Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons in Oxford, which happens to have impressive gardens and many rooms with private terraces. Be sure to dine there during your short stay, because the menu has been called a "twist of imaginative genius" and features fresh veggies grown right on the grounds.

How about it? Are you going to catch a film or two at a festival this year?

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