The Federation

“25 festivals, 19 countries, more than 800 000 spectators!”

The European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation (the Federation) is a tightly knit network of 25 film festivals from 19 countries, with a global attendance of over 800 000 visitors, making it a vital economic and cultural player on the fantastic film scene.

Its mission is to promote European fantastic film productions throughout Europe and the world, by enhancing their visibitily and their standing both among the public and within the industry, and encouraging their circulation. The Federation works to fulfill this mission through its festival network in Europe, its supporting members in Asia, North America and South America, as well as its Méliès awards for outstanding European genre films.

The festivals are major platforms for genre films in their respective regions. They all work closely within the Federation network, but embody diversity and individual artistic identity, through their distinct programming choices, including the Méliès competition selections. They feature both press and audience screenings and offer a full range of side events that include master classes, conferences and industry pitchings, bringing together a wide spectrum of viewers, iconic and emerging talent, and other industry professionals to share experiences and knowledge.

The Méliès d’Or and Méliès d’Argent awards are given each year to the best European fantastic feature and short films. The awards recognize quality and creativity, and generate unique visibility for the film and their directors. The winners are showcased by all of the Federation’s festivals, including its supporting members, thereby encouraging their circlation worldwide.

Each festival with an individual artistic identity!

History

The European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation (the Federation) was founded in 1987 on the initiative of five film festivals the Fantafestival in Rome, Fantasporto in Porto, the Paris International Fantastic Films Festival, the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival and The International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia in Sitges.

Founded on the initiative of five film festivals!

In 1998, the Federation created an adherent member status. Adherent members would not hold the Méliès competition themselves, but would support it by including some of the winning films in their programme. Adherent membership was and still is a stepping stone to becoming an affiliated member.The Federation created its first awards in 1995, the Méliès d’Argent and the Méliès d’Or, named in honour of Georges Méliès, the great French pioneer of fantastic cinema and special effects. The awards were intended to highlight the creativity and quality of European fantastic films, stimulate production and promote them worldwide.

By 2000, the number of affiliated members had grown to such an extent that a broader rotation system was introduced for festivals hosting the Méliès d’Or awards ceremony.

In the same year, the Federation expanded by adding a supporting membership category for non-European festivals.

The first festival to enter under this status was the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival in South Korea. It was later joined by Fantasia in Montreal, ScreamFest in Los Angeles, Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas and the latest additions are Fantaspoa in Brasil and Morbido in Mexico.

The role of supporting members is to promote European fantastic cinema by programming Méliès competition winners at their festivals and to act as links with member festivals in Europe, facilitating the mutual exchange of information such as “The largest film festival network in the world!”contacts, locating copies, new films in production, and so forth.

In 2002, the Federation created a Méliès d’Or award cycle for fantastic short films. Originally, the winning short films were “nominated for a Méliès d’Or”; however, this was changed in 2011 when the Méliès d’Argent for short films was introduced. Both affiliated and adherent members can hold the short film competition.

Today, the Federation is the largest festival network in the world – with seven affiliated members – covering Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland  – and nine adherent members, adding Estonia, Slovenia, UK, and Portugal to the list of countries. The Federation is unique in awarding internationally recognised prizes and one of its overarching aims is to step up the promotion of European fantastic film production by making the Méliès awards ceremony even more of a highpoint on the European film industry’s agenda.

The largest film festival network in the world!

Facts & Figures

The global outreach of the Federation today has made it a vital economic and cultural player on the fantastic film scene worldwide. It enhaces the visibility and standing of fantastic cinema with the industry and public, and encourages its distribution and production. 

The Federation’s internationally renowned awards, genre-film screenings drawing audiences in three continents and networking capacity have made it a global player in the promotion and production of genre film worldwide. 

Today’s Federation:

  • Consists of a network of 22 film festivals, representing 16 countries
  • Covers the four corners of Europe, with strongholds in Asia, and North America and South America
  • Draws a combined audience of more than 450 000 people
  • Screens more than 1 800 genre films annually
  • Awards 24 prestigious Méliès d’Argent (Silver Melies) prizes for feature and short films each year
  • Gives out the Méliès d’Or (Golden Melies) prize for Best European Fantastic Film annually (feature and short)

The Board

The board of the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation consists of professionals from its member festivals. The board is elected on a yearly basis by the General Assembly.

The board is composed by:
Chris Oosterom

Chairman

Pedro Souto

General Secretary

Lorenzo Bertuzzi

Coordinator

Daniel Cohen

Deputy

Maritte Sørensen

Deputy

Mike Hostench

Deputy

How to become a member

Festivals are eligible for membership after completing three editions.

The Federation looks for festivals that are economically viable and exert a strong genre presence in their region. Festivals are admitted to the Federation on the basis of their programming ability, screening conditions, staff commitment and promotional capacity, among other criteria.

The Federation has three types of membership:

this category is for non-European festivals. They promote both the Federation and European genre film abroad and provide input on the latest genre scene developments in their country.

this is the entry level for European festivals. They organise the short film Méliès d’Argent competition, promote European fantastic film and much more.

after a certain time, adherent members may apply to become affiliated members, and then organise the Méliès d’Argent competition for narrative features. 

If you wish to apply for membership, the first step is to prepare a descriptive document on your festival, which should include, for example, its history and a summary of past editions; staff organisation, number of industry accreditation (actors, directors, etc.); number of media accreditations; media coverage, guests and films.

You should also state why you want to join, what your expectations are and what you think your festival will be able to contribute to the Federation. This should be sent as a pdf document to Christian Hallman, the Federation coordinator, at christian (at) melies.org.

We will review your application and present it at our next general assembly meeting. These are held biannually: during the Cannes International Film Festival in May and during Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival, held in October. If the assembly approves the application, your festival will then invite, at their own expense, the Federation to send a representative to conduct an on-site evaluation during your next edition.

The ensuing report will be discussed at the next general assembly meeting and your application will be put to a vote. Once membership is approved, your festival is subject to Federation rules and regulations and will be charged an annual membership fee.

The process of applying for membership could take from a few months up to a year depending on your festival dates and when you apply for membership.