HomeCraftBest Fests: The best October film festivals, Vol. 2

Best Fests: The best October film festivals, Vol. 2

Film Daily's comprehensive roundup of October film festivals continues with volume 2.

Best Fests: The best October film festivals, Vol. 2

October is almost upon us, and for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere that means packing away our outdoor screenings and huddling inside a packed cinema with a pumpkin-spiced latte and several layers of sweaters.

Halloween is drawing ever closer, and film fests around the world are stocking up on horror films, slashers, and trashy B-movies to scare away the cold. But if you scare too easily for horror fests, there are plenty of prestigious, up-and-coming indie festivals to satisfy your film cravings.

Buffalo International Film Festival

4th – 8th October
Buffalo, New York

BIFF is a Western New York indie fest with community enrichment at its core. Celebrated for bringing the independent scene to Buffalo, the event also shines a light on local documentary and experimental filmmaking. It’s the perfect place to start for an emerging New York filmmaker, as the fest supports diverse and underappreciated voices in the local area, as well as providing workshops for film fans who are just starting out behind the camera.

Follow them: @BuffaloFilmFest

Tacoma Film Festival

4th – 11th October
Tacoma, Washington

One of Washington’s biggest small festivals, TFF’s 13 years in the biz have led to vibrant series of film events throughout the first half of October. Organized by a fiery group of passionate film fans, Tacoma Film Festival has been called “the ultimate indie film festival”. Not only does it encourage and support diverse voices to tell their stories, the organization can also provide the crucial industry connections new artists need to turn their true love into a career.

Follow them: @TacomaFilmFest

(In)Justice For All Film Festival

4th – 13th October
Chicago, Illinois

A relatively new film festival that breaches the normal confines of the indie film fest, (In)Justice For All is not simply a celebration and uncovering of local cinematic voices, it’s a movement. For five years, the event has been tackling hard-hitting themes and modern political issues – and this year isn’t shying away from making challenging, life-affirming statements with features, shorts, and music videos. Screened throughout Chicago will be works covering incarceration, gang violence, human rights, and racism. Expect some engaging and provocative food for thought to come with your bag of popcorn.

Follow them: @IFAFF

ImageOut: The Rochester LGBT Film Festival

4th – 14th October
Rochester, New York

A well-established film fest that has already taken great steps in promoting the diversity and richness of New York state’s lesser known LGBTQ communities, ImageOut has been growing larger and larger for 25 years after starting out in the 90s aiming to celebrate the history of gays and lesbians on-screen.

IO is now Rochester’s largest film festival and the largest LGBTQ fest in New York State. The festival is a leader in bringing LGBTQ art & culture to the community, and its prestige grants access to exclusive events, including East Coast and World premieres of upcoming queer cinema.

Follow them: @ImageOut

Mill Valley Film Festival

4th – 14th October
Mill Valley, California

Mill Valley is a prestigious Californian festival that is guaranteed to be previewing some of your most anticipated indie films for this year. Get a jump on your film fanatic friends for 2018 and get early showings of Paul Dano’s Wildlife, Peter Farrelly’s dramatic departure from comedy Green Book, and Alfonso Cuaron’s highly acclaimed Roma. Not only does it showcase the best of the best, MVFF features guest appearances from the actors, writers, and directors behind your new obsessions.

Follow them: @MVFilmFest

Salem Horror Fest

4th – 14th October
Salem, Massachusetts

Salem Horror is a chilling festival in the perfect location to scare yourself silly in the runup to Halloween. This year, the festival is getting real, asking filmmakers to turn their blood-drenched lenses on the real-life scares of modernity. Their website says “this is a scary time to be alive”, and we couldn’t agree more (but we’re not freaking out about it or anything). Ghosts and ghouls don’t scare like they used to, so this festival is encouraging directors and writers to spin horror, Jordan Peele-style, out of the American experience.

Follow them: @salemhorrorfest

San Francisco Dance Film Festival

4th – 14th October
San Francisco, California

Check out some of the most impressive performances and inspiring dedication with this film fest that blends two visual art forms. This year, SFDFF’s most impressive festival yet promises over 100 short films, dance documentaries, and filmed live performances to take your breath away.

Follow them: @SFdancefilmfest

Frankly Film Festival

5th – 6th October
Piqua, Ohio

Frankly is an up-and-coming new Ohio festival in its third and most exciting year. Founded as a one-off event all the way back in 2004, the fest was resurrected in 2016 and has already accepted hundreds of films from around the globe. The short film event is open to any genre, and hopes to encourage emerging students to develop talent and kickstart careers in film.

Follow them: @franklyfilmfest

Grapevine Film Festival

5th – 6th October
Grapevine, Texas

This is a festival that’s as much about the location as the films. Located in the heart of Texas, this beautiful city just outside of Dallas is a cultural goldmine, and its new film festival aims to put Grapevine on the map. Come for screenings by student filmmakers, then stay a while and enjoy the galleries, workshops, and restaurants that will make your visit down South even more worthwhile.

Follow them: @GVFilmFest

LA Fashion Film Festival

5th – 6th October
Los Angeles, California

This highly regarded celebration of the fashion arts has teamed with two LA venues that have been at the forefront of the California fashion scene with a combined experience of 159 years. Expect some stylish, cutting-edge showcases of the hippest styles and a learning experience of how the city’s best fashion innovators are combining the traditional with the high-tech.

Follow them: @lafashionfilmfestival

Lake Charles Film & Music Festival

5th – 6th October
Lake Charles, Louisiana

Looking for some more casual screenings? Check out Lake Charles, Louisiana, a perfect weekend respite for anyone in the deep South. The weekend promises a bunch of exciting film screenings, concerts, and parties for the laid-back movie fan, as well chances to talk to industry experts at seminars and networking events. A special guest appearance from Jay Underwood, star of Roger Corman’s unreleased Fantastic Four film, should also prove hilarious and insightful for anyone interested in Marvel’s troubled history.

Follow them: @LCFilmFest

Lonely Seal Film Festival

5th – 6th October
Boston, Massachusetts

Lonely Seal is an emerging festival all about cherishing inclusivity and supporting unsung local voices. This indie festival has history at its core, with screenings taking place in a 102-year old “cinematic oasis”, the Regent Theatre in Arlington, just outside Boston. Enjoy experiencing cinema’s future and watching new & exciting talents while surrounded by cinema’s past.

Adventure Film Festival

5th – 7th October
Boulder, New York

If sitting around in a room of strangers watching indie films by people you’ve never heard of isn’t exciting enough for you, this could be the place for you. This is the first film festival fuelled by adrenaline, partnering 2D thrills on the screen with real-life adventures.

Over 3 days, a group of thousands will watch a selection of over 30 breathtaking adventure films, then experience the thrills first-hand on a trail of hiking, mountain biking, and climbing. Try this one on for size if horror festivals aren’t doing much for you these days.

Follow them: @AdventureFilm

Boobs and Blood International Film Festival

5th – 7th October
Los Angeles, California

Awaken your inner dominatrix, seductress, or final girl with this festival that combines two of a horror fan’s very favorite things. Enjoy some terrifyingly sexy short films and chat with some ladies of horror during the ScreamQueenAthon. After an exclusive showing of Japanese girl power flick Ghost Squad, you can dance the night away with live music, revealing costumes, and go-go dancers. A delicious pre-Halloween treat!

Follow them: @boobsandblood

Ellensburg Film Festival

5th – 7th October
Ellensburg, Washington

Their pulpy aesthetics promise dorky fun, but behind the scenes Ellensburg takes its role seriously. Drawing in local artists from Washington as well as a weekend of fun and films, EFF hopes to enlighten the crowds with promising new talent, both locally and internationally.

Eugene Environmental Film Festival

5th – 7th October
Eugene, Oregon

Surrounded by all the beauty the American Northwest has to offer, this nature-conscious film festival takes place in the perfect location to provide an environmentally stimulating weekend for the green-fingered film fan. With 10,000-ft peaks to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and some gorgeous cinematic nature docs and short films right in front of you, this immersive weekend is guaranteed to send you home in a recycling frenzy.

Follow them: @EugeneEvoFF

Haverhill Film Festival

5th – 7th October
Haverhill, Massachusetts

The Haverhill Fest started off in 2013 as HEFF, New England’s only experimental film festival. Now it’s dropped the E and opened its doors to talented filmmakers across the gamut of short film genres: animation, documentary, narrative, all with a focus on the new and the strange. HFF has retained its experimental roots, so you can still enjoy some of the most radical, avant-garde new short films this side of the French New Wave.

Follow them: @haverhillff

Imaginarium Convention

5th – 7th October
Louisville, Kentucky

The Imaginarium Convention promises an extensive weekend event that celebrates the endless possibilities of artistic creativity. Not only is the festival showcasing wild and fantastical shorts & features, there’s also a whole weekend of arts & culture activities for you to enjoy. With special appearances from writers and illustrators, plus a gaming expo and a book fair, you’re guaranteed to spy something to spark your creative brain into life.

Follow them: @ImaginariumCon

India International Film Festival

5th – 7th October
Boston, Massachusetts

This festival casts an eye over the thriving Indian community in Boston. For their inaugural year, IIFFB, under the BDC-TV banner, is creating a space for young, exciting new filmmakers’ voices to be heard. Their online platform will be screening shorts, documentaries, and features encapsulating the lives, faiths, and struggles of the Indian people.

Follow them: @IIFFB18

Other Venice Film Festival

5th – 7th October
Venice, California

You’ve probably come across the Venice Film Festival before. Like Cannes, it showcases all the most prestigious, pretentious, and Oscar-baiting films Hollywood has to offer. The Other Venice Film Fest, on the other hand, is hoping to prove that Venice, California, has just as much culture as its Italian counterpart. For its 15th year, the festival will host a weekend of independent cinema that celebrates the extensive talent and diversity the buzzing beach town has to offer. Make some valuable industry connections with Q&As and panel discussions, or take an afternoon stroll and discover some local artists.

Follow them: @othervenicefilm

Sheridan WYO Film Festival

5th – 7th October
Sheridan, Wyoming

The first year of this Wyoming film fest is already giving its competition a run for its money. Presented among the beautiful landscapes of Sheridan right at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains, the festival promises an intimate atmosphere to cultivate its inspiring new artists. For them, the weekend is all about the story, and you can expect to see some truly stunning, strange, and experimental pieces of visual storytelling throughout the event. Their VR Rodeo is also championing the future of cinema technology and looks too good to miss.

Follow them: @SheridanWYOFilm

Tyron International Film Festival

5th – 7th October
Tyron, North Carolina

Over the last four years, TIFF (no, not Toronto) has been treating film fans in North Carolina to some of the best small cinema the South has to offer. This year, the festival will include screenings of over 100 films from artists both local & international.

This year’s theme is “All About the Filmmaker”, and some special screenings as well as educational breakout sessions and cocktail parties are hoping to network the hell out of their local artists and send their careers to exciting new places.

Follow them: @TyronFilmFest  

West Virginia FILMmakers Festival

5th – 7th October
Sutton, West Virginia

If those bold capitals didn’t tip you off, this West Virginia fest is all about the filmmakers. Presenting new indie movies in the historic, 1930s Elk Theater, this October fest is on its way to becoming a longstanding tradition of the Sutton film community for the last 19 years. Now the central hub for the city’s most artistic residents, WVFF is a chance to kick back, relax, and enjoy meeting some local talent.

Follow them: @WVFILMmakerFest

Tucson Film Festival

5th – 7th October
Tucson, Arizona

This Arizona arts festival brings film and music together for a harmonious weekend of indie oddities and folksy tunes. Launched in 2005 with a simple screening of High and Dry, a local documentary celebrating the Tucson music scene, TFF is now flourishing as the place to be if you’re an Arizona-based filmmaker, musician, or simply just a fan of dusty old towns with hidden history & culture.

This year’s schedule looks packed with innovative and provocative new movies, but we’re especially taken by Cassidy Red, a Western shot entirely in Tucson about a bad-ass female gunslinger.

Follow them: @tucsonfilmfest

Glendale International Film Festival

5th – 12th October
Glendale, California

California is the home of American movies, famous for its huge number of gorgeous movie theatres, with a pantheon of multiplexes around practically every corner. Glendale is no different, and its fifth annual event promises to be “the most elegant film festival in the world”.

Forget Cannes – this is the place you want to be when you’re watching a movie: surrounded by bright lights, glammed-up stars, and the biggest screens outside of an IMAX. Angelenos, be sure to check this festival out if you want to feel like an A-lister.

Follow them: @GlendaleIntFF

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Lucas is an English Literature student currently residing in Manchester. He'll watch pretty much anything, but has a particular fondness for Jake Gyllenhaal and cartoons.

lucasfilmdaily@gmail.com