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Film festivals were created to promote what the mainstream ignores. But have their heads been turned too much by the glitter of Hollywood?

By Mark Cousins   December 2006

The London film festival has just celebrated its 50th year. The Edinburgh international film festival was 60 this summer. Venice turned 63. Cannes is 60 in May. The film festival regulation body, FIAPF (Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Film), reckons there are 700 of them in total; the New York Times claims over 1,000. The number of festivals has rocketed in the last decade.

Venice, Edinburgh, Cannes and London are right to celebrate their longevity. But as the elite of the festival circuit clink champagne glasses, it would be surprising if their smiles weren’t a little strained. Despite…

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