We present a list of 15 Asian film festivals you shouldn’t miss in 2016.

Note: Some events still have unconfirmed dates.





Beijing International Film Festival
16 – 23 April, 2016
Beijing, China

The Beijing International Film Festival is a large-scale film event hosted by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China and the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality and organized by the Film Bureau of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (Beijing Municipal Bureau of Copyright).It has been held annually for three years since its founding in 2011.

Centered on the principles of “Share the Screen, Shape the Future”, the festival aims at internationalization, professionalism, and innovativeness as well as being high-end and market-oriented. It builds platforms in order to promote the development of China’s film industry and improve Sino-foreign exchange, trade and cooperation in film.

So as to bring all the benefits and wonders of culture to the public, the festival strives to forge itself into an event fostering worldwide cultural exchange with “international quality, Chinese characteristics, and Beijing style”. Over the last three years, the BJIFF has accumulatively attracted over ten thousand invited guests and millions of attendees.






Jeonju International Film Festival
April 2016
Jeonju, South Korea

Launched in 2000, Jeonju International Film Festival is one of the biggest Asian film festivals and the most important supporter of experimental and adventurous projects in Korea. JIFF is often compared with Busan IFF. While Busan IFF pursues economies of scale and aims to become ‘Cannes’ in Asia, Jeonju sets its stance more of Locarno or Rotterdam IFF. While Busan IFF attracts its audience with ‘bling-bling’ tourists’ spots in Haeundae, Busan that about half its audience are tourists, Jeonju is a traditionally beautiful city like Firenze, Italy that JIFF allures hard-core, serious moviegoers with the quality of its films.


Wairoa Maori Film Festival




Wairoa Maori Film Festival
3 – 6 June, 2016
Palmerston North, New Zealand

The Wairoa Maori Film Festival was founded in 2005 with the purpose of supporting, recognising and presenting the indigenous storyteller narrative. We are a non profit, non political organisation Te Roopu Whakaata Maori i Te Wairoa – Wairoa Maori Film Festival Inc.






Sydney Film Festival
8 – 19 June, 2016
Sydney, Australia


Sydney Film Festival is one of the world’s longest-running film festivals, and is a major event on the New South Wales cultural calendar. The 12-day Festival screens feature films, documentaries, short films and animation from around the world in venues across the city including the State Theatre, Event Cinemas George Street, Dendy Opera Quays, the Art Gallery of NSW, the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace in Cremorne and the Skyline Drive-In Blacktown. SFF also takes place at Apple Store Sydney and SFFTV @ Martin Place. The Sydney Film Festival Hub at Town Hall returns, featuring exhibitions, talks, entertainment, a discount ticket booth and more.


Shanghai International Film Festival




Shanghai International Film Festival
11 – 19 June, 2016
Shanghai, China

The Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), founded in 1993, is China’s only non-specialized competitive international film festival accredited by FIAPF. China’s film industry is growing rapidly as the entertainment industry becomes truly globalized. SIFF devotes itself to building up an international platform with four main programs including Competition, SIFF Mart, SIFFORUM, and International Film Panorama. Its aim is to promote the development of China’s film industry and enhance cooperation with the rest of the world.

Supported by the booming economy and rising international status, Chinese film has drawn attention from around the world for its role in lifting the country’s soft power. Every June, the Shanghai International Film Festival is a must-see event for filmmakers and has enhanced its reputation for presenting a multicultural film fair.






Taipei Film Festival
July 2016
Taipei, Taiwan

The Taipei Film Festival is one of the most important and high-profile international cultural events in Taiwan, with screenings about 160 films from over 40 different countries. With approximately 100,000 attendants each year, its majority is made up of a decidedly young audience. The Festival attracts not only moviegoers but also film professionals. It has been recognized as the most influential showcase of international cinema for local film distributors in Taiwan. Last year, more than 20 films shown in the festival were sold to local distributors and had the theatrical releases in Taiwan.






New Zealand International Film Festival
July 2016
Various Cities, New Zealand

The New Zealand International Film Festival is a national event extending the cinematic options of audiences and filmmakers throughout New Zealand. A programme of between 150-170 features is presented in Auckland and Wellington. NZIFF opens in Auckland one weekend and gets underway in Wellington the next, overlapping for ten of their respective 17-day seasons. A smaller programme then travels to twelve further centres. The consolidation of several separately evolved Festivals into a single event known as The New Zealand International Film Festival occurred for the first time in 2009.






August 2016
Manila, Philippines

The Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival is a film competition and festival that aims to encourage the creation of new cinematic works by Filipino filmmakers – works that boldly articulate and freely interpret the Filipino experience with fresh insight and artistic integrity. It also aims to invigorate the Philippine filmmaking by developing a new breed of Filipino filmmakers.


Freedom Film Fest




Freedom Film Fest
September 2016
Saitama, Malaysia

FreedomFilmFestival (FFF) is Malaysia’s most established annual human rights film festival.
– we adopt the themes encompassed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
– we believe that the protection of basic human rights is the foundation for genuine justice, peace, equality and democracy.






Busan International Film Festival
5 – 15 October, 2016
Busan, South Korea


Busan International Film Festival is one of the most significant film festivals in Asia. After its establishment in 1996, BIFF has focused on introducing and supporting new Asian directors and their films. BIFF is a non-competitive festival but it also operates a competitive program. In 1998, BIFF launched Asian Project Market (APM, former Pusan Promotion Plan/PPP) followed by Asian Film Market in 2006.


Tokyo International Film Festival




Tokyo International Film Festival
25 October – 3 November, 2016
Tokyo, Japan

This year marks the 27th edition of Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF), the only Japanese film festival accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF).* TIFF started in 1985 as Japan’s first major film festival. Since then, TIFF has grown to become one of the biggest film festivals in Asia. TIFF seeks out excellent films from around the world and brings them to Tokyo, where filmmakers and film fans can enjoy them, meet young filmmakers, and be inspired.






Mumbai Film Festival
November 2016
Mumbia, India

Mumbai Film Festival programme is divided into nine sections: International Competition for the First Feature Films of Directors, World Cinema, Indian Frame, Dimensions Mumbai, Celebrate Age, Retrospectives, Above the Cut, New Faces in Indian Cinema and The Real Reel.






World Film Festival of Bangkok
November 2016
Bangkok, Thailand

The objective of the World Film Festival of Bangkok is to introduce quality, non-mainstream films from all over the world. It aims to become a showcase for independent films and new work from rising talents to cinema masters to show the continuity from generation to generation as a vital component in the development of the film industry.






Singapore International Film Festival
November 2016
Singapore, Singapore

The Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) is the largest and longest-running film event in Singapore. Founded in 1987 by Geoffrey Malone and L. Leland Whitney, the Festival focuses on showcasing international films and providing a global platform for the best of Singapore cinema.
With its focus on groundbreaking Asian cinema, this prestigious event is known for its dynamic programming and commitment to the development of a vibrant local film culture. Always at the forefront of independent filmmaking, SGIFF continues to be a platform for both established and aspiring filmmakers to showcase their films to an audience of local and international film buffs.






Jogja NETPAC Asian Film Festival
December 2016
Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival (JAFF) is a premier Asian film festival in Indonesia focusing on the development of Asian cinema. This festival not only contributes to introducing Asian cinema to a wider public in Indonesia, but it also provides a space for the intersection of many sectors such as arts, culture, and tourism.