Famous actors, glamour and, above all, great films. Every year there are a range of international film festivals held in Spain where you can enjoy the best new films before they go on general release. Some, like the San Sebastián Festival, are amongst Europe's most prestigious. You can really get involved in these events, which feature active audience participation. Do you like film? Then make a note of Spain in your diary.

The plan we suggest here includes discovering some of Spain's most beautiful towns and cities, rubbing shoulders with international stars in the street, and enjoying some quality films. The way to do this is by attending Spain's film festivals, whose success and reputation are growing year by year. Some of them have become key dates for film professionals and enthusiasts alike. Many of these events are also specialised and focus on a specific genre. For any film buff, they are a unique opportunity to spend several days immersed in your ruling passion.

Whether in the official selection or out-of-competition, these events usually present a selection of the best films from the world panorama. Spain's international film festivals give you the chance to see brand-new films, attend major screenings and to discover works that have received awards at other festivals. Frequently, there are also seasons of classic films, themed programmes or retrospectives looking at renowned film makers; for younger film fans, meanwhile, there are matinée and children's sessions. For fans and celebrity followers, the best idea is to opt for the red-carpet film launches, which generally feature the attendance of stars and film teams.

Experience the seventh art

The opening and closing galas are held at the main festival venue, while the films are screened at different cinemas and locations around the host town. Ticket prices are quite affordable (€3-€6 depending on the film). There are also passes available for the different programmed sections, sometimes including the galas. Participation by the public is very important. This is why nearly all the festivals have a section where prizes are decided by the spectators' own votes.

The atmosphere of each of these events is another highly attractive aspect. The host towns and cities throw themselves into the proceedings and organise parallel activities such as exhibitions, workshops, seminars, concerts... You'll discover that they are very interesting tourist destinations in their own right, with everything from beaches and monuments to delicious gastronomy.

There are a number of international events that take place in Spain; nevertheless, there is one that stands head and shoulders above the rest: the San Sebastián Film Festival. Legendary stars like Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen and Robert de Niro have walked its red carpet. It is one of Europe's most important film festivals, and the charming atmosphere of its host city, San Sebastián, means that many actors and filmmakers stay on to enjoy it.

Other outstanding events are the Seminci Festival in Valladolid and the Sitges International Film Festival, which has been visited by directors such as John Woo and Quentin Tarantino, and boasts of being the world's top fantasy film festival. Further events worth noting include the Huelva Latin American Film Festival, the Cinema Jove Young Filmmakers' Festival in Valencia, the Peñíscola Comedy Film Festival, the Gijón Film Festival… These are just some of the many events you'll be able to enjoy. There are specialised festivals focusing on short films, documentaries, experimental film, cartoons… If you like the cinema, then come to Spain and you're sure to have the time of your life!

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