If you say Semaine de la Critique, you should definitely consider Venice International Film Critics’ Week. By accidentally I made the list last week:
''Founded by Lino Micciché in 1984, the Venice International Film Critics’ Week (Settimana Internazionale della Critica) has been from the beginning committed to finding, promoting and consolidating new voices and emerging talents of world cinema.
For these reasons, the section, which is independently organized by the Sindacato Nazionale Critici Cinematografici Italiani (SNCCI) – Italian National Union of Film Critics – within the Venice International Film Festival, has for some years now exclusively proposed debut feature films to an audience of cinephiles, film industry professionals and hopefully an increasing number of film goers.’’
In short, they select seven debuts every year - very strict selection - that’s why they have discovered and brought a lot of strong, recognizable directors throughout the years. To name a few: Pedro Costa, Harmony Korine, Alex van Warmerdam, Zeki Demirkubuz, Rian Johnson, Pablo Trapero, Kenneth Lonergan, Vlado Skafar, Bryan Singer, Mike Leigh, John Hillcoat, Olivier Assayas, Kevin Reynolds, Nacer Khemir, etcetera.
But after Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Locarno and Toronto, Rotterdam (IFFR) really comes. Of the first four, the main prize has already been accepted at ICM - Toronto has only had a competition for two years and therefore is not (yet) needed - but now it is really time that the IFFR is taken seriously. I rather see the IFFR finally get recognition with the Tiger Award.