As a Canadian filmmaker one of the hardest parts of developing a film is getting it seen by the right audiences. There are many festivals within Canada that are excellent but keep in mind that a film can thrive outside of its own country. These 6 Independent Film Festivals are some of the best stops for a Canadian film in the world. Even if you aren’t currently shopping a film, they are a hub of new and exciting content. Keep them on your radar and use them to your advantage.

Vancouver International Film Festival

The Vancouver international film festival (which is hosted in the heart of Canada’s East Coast filmmaking community) is committed to international cultural growth and local cinema in British Columbia. Filmmakers with a project that has significant cultural roots should seriously consider VIFF. The festival is held September – October.

Sundance International Film Festival

One of the most well-known festivals to make this list; Sundance has a long history of successful runs dating back to 1985 when it assumed control of the U.S. Film Festival. The size of the festival has grown since its inception and now shows upwards of 180 films a year. The festival runs in mid January.

Toronto International Film Festival

While VIFF sits on Canada’s West Coast TIFF covers our eastern half. TIFFalso draws a debatably bigger crowd to the heart of Canadian cinema here in Toronto. Although TIFF has become much more of a commercial film hub in its last few runs there are still screenings reserved for exceptional Canadian content. TIFF now offers screenings all year round, but the yearly festival’s biggest event is held right after Labour day in September.

Berlin International Film Festival

Founded in West Berlin in 1951, the festival has been celebrated annually since 1978. Also called the Berlinale, the festival is held alongside the European film market which is a huge film trade fair drawing distributors, film buyers, producers, financiers and co-production agents from around the world. This two-for-one filmmakers event is ideal for filmmakers looking to break into the European market. The festival is held February 15th – 25th in 2018.

Cannes International Film Festival

Held annually in Cannes, France, the Cannes International Film Festival was established in 2002 when it took over the International Film Festival. This exclusive invitation only event is one of a kind and is know for being one of the most prestigious film hubs. The festival is being held May 17th – 28th. Association with Cannes has grown into many successful careers and widespread notoriety for many emerging filmmakers. Taking part requires a great deal of talent and a fair amount of luck.

Raindance Film Festival

The Raindance International Film Festival is a great way to hop the pond and get a foothold in the European film market. The festival runs from at the end of September. Raindance has always emphasized the importance of independent film and has done so since its first festival run in 1993.

With this collection of top tier international festivals readily available it has never been easier to get your films the attention they deserve. Although this list focuses on some of the best festivals around the globe don’t forget about your local festivals. Being involved in your local cinema community will help you grow as a filmmaker and develop your own network of filmmakers.