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 contacts, locating copies, new films in production, and so forth.

“The largest film festival network in the world!"

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.