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This is the comprehensive guide to every film festival worth your time in July, so grab a few buddies and start soaking up some fantastic indie cinema alongside that summer sun.

Best Fests: The ultimate guide to indie film festivals in July 2018

It’s the start of a new month, which means there are dozens of film festivals going down across the world over the next 31 days. These are the buzzing, bustling soirees, competitions, and showcases showing off the very best in indie cinema. This is the comprehensive guide to every film festival worth your time in July, so grab a few buddies and start soaking up some fantastic indie cinema alongside that summer sun.

Fade In Awards Comedy Competition

1st – 2nd July
Beverly Hills, California

Considered to be one of the best screenplay contests and short film competitions by many Hollywood A-list buyers and reps, this prestigious comedy competition can provide a stepping to a career in the industry. The Blacklist creator Jon Bokenkamp even credits his decision to enter the competition as being “the most important moment” in his career with Bokenkamp going on to work with stars like Angelina Jolie (Girl, Interrupted) & Halle Berry (Gothika).  

2018 Animation Shorts Film Festival

2nd – 16th July
Los Angeles, California

Described as being a festival that “recognizes that animated films can be as fun as Pixar’s For the Birds or as achingly beautiful as Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s Anomalisa,” this online animation festival celebrates the spectrum of imagination and emotion that can be expressed via the art of animation. As well as being an online community, the festival also screens winning submissions at the Audience Awards Film Festival in 2019.

SEA Discovery Film Festival

3rd July
Poulsbo, Washington

A festival promoting the educational aspects of Western Washington University’s SEA Discovery Center, this festival aims to help inspire the discovery of marine life and ecosystems. Winning films submitted on the theme of “Sea Discovery” will be screened at the film festival event.

San Antonio CineFestival

5th – 8th July
San Antonio, Texas

The longest running Latino film festival in the country is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year with a program packed full of film screenings, special appearances, panel discussions, community events, and a series of workshops and master classes for Texas Latino filmmakers to enjoy. CineFestival will also showcase the work of San Antonio student filmmakers and a free day of family friendly screenings too.

Roswell Sci Fi Film Festival

5th – 7th July
Roswell, New Mexico

Set in the renowned UFO capital of the world, this sci-fi and fantasy film festival showcases independent short and feature length genre films of a narrative, documentary, or animated form. The extraterrestrial inspired festival is science-fiction and fantasy based but also screens films of a thriller or supernatural nature.

Atlanta Shortsfest

6th – 7th July
Atlanta, Georgia

Showcasing a diverse variety of short films with a running time of under 45 minutes, Atlanta Shortsfest spotlights the work of up & coming filmmakers and celebrates the art of the short. You’ll find everything from animation, documentary, and experimental films to horror, sci-fi, erotica, and even action and adventures movies celebrated at the festival, so there’ll likely be something for everyone.

Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood (Summer)

6th – 7th July
Los Angeles, California

Recognizing and rewarding the excellence of talented independent filmmakers, the LACFH provides an opportunity for local and international talent to be celebrated. Categories for recognition at the festival include Best Narrative Short and Feature, Best Experimental, Best Animation, and Best Music Video with other categories recognizing the work of crew members with awards for Best Cinematography and Best Original Score also up for grabs.  

Houston Caribbean Film Festival

6th – 8th July
Houston, Texas

Dedicated to “embracing and promoting the lush Caribbean culture through the eye of the director’s lens” this film festival has an aim to heighten interest and awareness of Caribbean films. Featuring stories that are rich with Caribbean customs, beliefs, stories, and history, the festival provides a diverse showcase of films while also creating an opportunity for filmmakers, producers, writers, and directors to network and be recognized within the industry.

Walla Walla Movie Crush

6th – 8th July
Seattle, Washington

Promising “a flight for every fancy”, this blend of short films from established and rising filmmakers is a fairly new independent Seattle film festival that’s on the rise. In 2017, Walla Walla Movie Crush showcased 88 short films including eleven world premieres over the course of 13 hours.

Hollywood South Film Festival

6th – 8th July
Springfield, Kentucky

Founded by indie horror pioneer James Bond III, the Hollywood South Film Festival “is geared towards celebrating excellence and represents a rare sky of limitless independent film possibilities.” The festival promises a diverse program of original short and feature length independent productions of a range of genres including horror, sci-fi, comedy, drama, experimental, documentary, and animation.

CFS Tiny Film Fest

6th July
Cincinnati, Ohio

An all-genre international festival developed by the Cincinnati Film Society to expand access and appreciation of motion pictures as a form of powerful artistic expression, CFS Tiny Film Fest encourages sociocultural diversity while celebrating cinema and its history. The festival is presented online with successful films also showcased in a theatrical setting in the historical Mockbee building.

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival

6th – 14th July 2018
Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne Doc Fest might still be new, but it’s quickly rising to become one of the most well-respected and thought-provoking festivals in the world. Curating features from the world’s biggest and most prestigious global showcases, Melbourne Doc Fest provides a leading platform for the most inventive creative nonfiction films of today. The festival attracts top tier talent for its extensive program each year while maintaining its unique independent spirit, making it a must-attend event for cinephiles everywhere.

South Georgian Bay Film Festival

7th – 14th July
Wasaga Beach, Ontario

Committed to serving the local community while also showcasing the talents of international, national, and regional filmmakers, the SBGFF provides a platform for diverse ideas and visions. Based in the stunning location of Wasaga Beach, the festival encourages engagement and creativity with a broad lineup of film screenings in categories including drama, comedy, action-cam, and even smart phone productions while also offering film industry related workshops to the residents of the South Georgian Bay area.

Austin Action Fest

7th – 8th July
Austin, Texas

Combining a film festival alongside a cosplay competition, live-action demonstration, and video game tournament, Austin Action Fest is a unique event driven by action and is one of the few international festivals of its kind in this respect. The festival features awards in categories honoring feature and short films as well as celebrating the Standalone Fight Scene of the festival’s entries.

SDG in Action Film Festival

9th – 18th July
New York, New York

Devised with an objective to showcase effective and innovative actions and solutions to help accelerate and create positive change for Sustainable Development Goals (as outlined by the United Nations), this festival showcases short films that demonstrate the story of a person, group, or project that focuses on the implementation of SDGs.

Boston Short Film Festival

10th – 12th July
Boston, Massachusetts

BSFF believes in short films! This festival showcases “short films with an edge” with a particular focus on “the unconventional, the unusual, the underground, the intuitive, the innovative, the minimalistic, and the true artists of our time.” The festival aims to deliver a feast for your eyes with up to 100 short films screened at the event in Boston’s Somerville Theatre.

Marfa Film Festival

11th – 15th July
Marfa, Texas

With a program that celebrates innovation in the rich environment of a sun-drenched desert town at the end of the world, the five-day film festival screens a diverse mix of features, shorts, music videos, and experimental works alongside outdoor evening screenings of classic films in a starlit desert. As well as screenings, the festival also seeks to foster a relaxed social environment where up & coming filmmakers and adventurous cinephiles can mingle with film veterans and living legends in a majestic space.

Anthem Libertarian Film Festival

11th – 14th July
Irvington, New York

Presenting the year’s best independent narrative and documentary films about personal and civil liberty, Anthem is a festival that explores themes centered around self-reliance, innovation, commerce, individual rights, and the power of persuasion over force. As well as film screenings, the festival also features fascinating speakers, networking opportunities, yoga classes, and an awards banquet for winning filmmakers.

Open World Animation Festival

12th – 15th July
Allentown, Pennsylvania

Encouraging filmmakers to explore the frontiers of animation via traditional and emerging mediums, the Open World Animation Festival features a series of independent animation screenings alongside an art exhibit highlighting aspects of the animation process. Open World also features animation retrospectives, a Video Games as Animation presentation, and many more fascinating discussions on the myriad of animated potential.

Colorado International Activism Film Festival

12th – 14th July
Denver, Colorado

Centered around films that explore various aspects of activism, the CIAFF showcases a variety of films including documentaries, dramatizations, re-enactments, comedies, animations, and personal narratives of varying lengths.

Newark Short Film Contest

8th July
Newark, New Jersey

Dedicated to spreading positive images of Newark and its surrounding communities via the art of storytelling, this short film festival is designed to help build a strong network of like-minded local filmmakers who can also promote positive change in and around the New Jersey city.

Super Geek Film Festival

12th – 29th July
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Dedicated to presenting geek interest films of all types including experimental and fan films, anime and manga flicks, and movies about gaming and robotics, the Super Geek film festival is taking place as part of Florida Supercon in the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center.

The March on Washington Film Festival

12th – 20th July
Washington, DC

Striving to increase awareness of the events and heroes of the Civil Rights Era and to inspire a renewed passion for activism, this film festival uses the power of film, music, and the arts to celebrate civil rights movements and explore social justice issues. For 2018, filmmakers have been asked to tackle the theme “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants”.

New York Mobile Film Festival

12th July
New York, New York

Created to showcase and nurture work by emerging filmmakers who use their smartphones to create stories in a cinematic way, this is the first year of the unique film festival celebrating this new and exciting form of filmmaking. The online-based festival screens shorts of a narrative or documentary nature and also showcases sketches, skis, vblogs, and music videos of no more than five minutes long.

The Long Island International Film Expo

13th – 19th July
Bellmore, New York

LIIFE unites the premiere filmmaking community of Long Island with a showcase of between 100 to 170 short and feature length films of every genre from all over the world. The festival has enjoyed some celebrity presence over the years with special guests including Steve Buscemi (Fargo) and Ally Sheedy (The Breakfast Club).

St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase

13th – 22nd July
St Louis, Missouri

An independent film showcase that celebrates movies that were written, directed, edited, or produced by St. Louis natives or that feature strong local ties. The festival features 16 film programs focusing on narrative features & documentaries along with filmmaker Q&A’s over two consecutive weekends on the campus of Washington University.

Maine International Film Festival

13th – 22nd July
Waterville, Maine

Founded in 1998, the MIFF continues to screen 100 films across ten days, representing the best of American and international independent cinema. As well as screenings, the festival also honors members of the independent film industry who have made a significant contribution to cinema with past guests including Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs), Terrence Malick (Days of Heaven), Bud Cort (Harold and Maude), Sissy Spacek (Carrie), and Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction).

California Women’s Film Festival

3rd July
Los Angeles, California

The California Women’s Film Festival is a biannual event that celebrates female filmmakers, artists, and writers by providing a showcase and networking forum in the heart of Hollywood. The festival accepts all projects that have at least one woman in one of the key production positions. Projects that are produced and / or directed by men are accepted as long as there is a lead female protagonist or the story is based around women.

Crypticon Shockfest

13th – 15th July
Saint Joseph, Missouri

Crypticon Shockfest is a premiere showcase that aims to provide direct exposure to the best independent filmmakers of sci-fi and horror genres alike. The organization hands out awards to filmmakers based on the fan response to trailers from the films selected. Crypticon accepts films in everything from indie horror feature to best sci-fi masterpiece short.

Somerville International Film Festival

13th – 14th July
Somerville, Massachusetts

The Somerville International Film Festival showcases innovative independent cinema from around the world by up-and-coming artists. The event aims to expand the artistic image of its region, engage new audiences in the world of film, and inspire creativity in its audiences. It accepts submissions in a range of genres and awards winners in the following categories: Best Narrative Feature Film; Best Documentary Feature Film; Best Animated Feature Film; Best Narrative Short Film; Best Documentary Short Film; Best Animated Short Film; Best Underground Film; and Best Experimental Film.

The Druid Underground Film Festival

13th – 31st July
Los Angeles, California

Showcasing the best in subversive cinema from around the world since 2006 and having exhibited across fifteen states, the Druid Underground Film Festival is the widest touring underground film festival in North America. From all-night gallery screenings in LA to the most celebrated art house theaters of Manhattan, DUFF continues to blow audiences’ minds from coast to coast. This year its organizers are planning a dozen parties, screenings, and receptions throughout the year including the main competition exhibiting across the US.

Weengushk International Film Festival

13th – 15th July
Little Current, Ontario

The Weengushk International Film Festival is an annual Indigenous film festival that allows independent filmmakers along with Weengushk Film Institute and Brock University students a space to promote their films. WIFF ultimately envisions the collection, preservation, and representation of new creative voices in the film and television industry, encouraging the development and recognition of Indigenous people to enhance the artistic vitality of Canadian life. WIFF accepts short films, documentaries, and feature films that are created by or focus on Indigenous people or that highlight Indigenous stories or issues.

Love Horror Short Film Festival

14th July
Sacramento, California

As the sister festival to The Sacramento Horror Film Festival, The Love Horror Short Film Festival began as a celebration of performance art and past successful short film selections from previous seasons of the key event. Over the past five years, the event has grown and is now part film festival and part horror inspired review and variety show. In addition to accepting and showcasing short horror films that are ten minutes long or less, the event includes circus performances, burlesque, standup comedy, live music, and slam poetry.

Deep Cut Film Festival

14th July
Kitchener, Ontario

The Deep Cut Film Festival organizers describe this event as the film equivalent of the deep cut on your fav record. This year, they’re looking for short to mid-length movies in any of the following categories: thrillers; comedy; experimental films; art house / mind blowing films; home movies; road movies; industrial / corporate and commercial videos; drama; documentaries; and horror. With such a wide variety, there’s surely something for everyone at the Deep Cut Film Festival.

Okanagan IndieFest

14th July
Kelowna, British Columbia

Okanagan IndieFest – the red carpet, short film, short doc, music video, and animation festival. Taking place in the sunny paradise of Kelowna, the Okanagan IndieFest is an international film festival dedicated to celebrating the artists participating while promoting the art of independent storytelling itself. Its organizers are looking for all filmmakers with short films, short docs, music videos, and short animations to submit their films to showcase at the event. And don’t forget the Okanagan IndieFest motto: “Celebrating storytelling however a story is told.”

Canine Film Festival

14th – 15th July
Miami, Florida

What’s better than a film festival? A film festival about dogs, of course! The Canine Film Festival  brings together pet lovers and local business owners to raise funds for local animal rescues & shelters in South Florida, accepting and screening movies in all things dog-related, from canine comedies to canine dramas to canine action & sports!

Atlanta Underground Film Festival

19th – 21st July
Atlanta, Georgia

Since 2004, the Atlanta Underground Film Festival (AUFF) has served as a forum where independent filmmakers thrive outside the mainstream arena. AUFF exposes and promotes creative artists who work outside the system to create DIY, grass-roots movies that break the boundaries of film and video. Much more than what its organizers describe as “the traditional stuffy film festival”, Atlanta Underground Film Festival is a non-stop party celebrating short and feature films in a down-to-earth, welcoming setting where filmmakers and fans are encouraged to connect and collaborate. It hands out a myriad of awards each year in everything from Best Foreign Short to Best Documentary Feature to Best Director.

Asian Film Festival of Dallas (AFFD)

19th – 26th July
Dallas, Texas

The Asian Film Festival of Dallas is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating and supporting emerging and established Asian and Asian-American filmmakers and sharing the rich diversity of Asian culture through the medium of cinema. Since its creation in 2002, the annual film festival has grown to become the South’s largest showcase of Asian and Asian American cinema. For those looking to submit their work, feature films, short films, or video productions must be made by Asian Americans and Asian International filmmakers, or contain subject matter concerning Asian issues from any year, country, state, age, category, and serving any theme.

Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase

19th – 22nd July
Fort Worth, Texas

The Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase goals are to promote collaboration among filmmakers and to call attention to the quality work produced within the independent film movement. Providing a platform for filmmakers to showcase and share their work, attendees have the opportunity to participate in multiple panels scheduled throughout the festival. Aside from the formal screening and panel schedule, there are constant networking opportunities for filmmakers and film buffs to rub shoulders. The festival accepts features, shorts, and documentaries in a wide variety of categories.

La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival

19th – 21st July
La Jolla, California

The La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival considers itself the “Cannes of the fashion film world.” With live screenings, an online festival, and an awards event, LJIFFF supports and recognizes the individual creative professionals who make up the fashion film community worldwide. An international jury awards filmmakers in eighteen different categories, all regarding films made about fashion. Stay chic!

Sprrkle Collective Screening

19th July
Los Angeles, California

Sprrkle Collective is a quarterly live short film showcase and an online platform to celebrate the indie filmmaking community. It provides recognition for resourcefulness and creativity in storytelling in media across genres, selecting a number of films up to 60 minutes of total screening time per quarter to include in the Official Selection of the festival. The live screening is held in Los Angeles, where filmmakers in attendance are given Q&A time after the screening so they can receive feedback and interact with their audience.

New Hope Film Festival

20th – 29th July
New Hope, Pennsylvania

Launched by author and screenwriter D. F. Whipple, New Hope Film Festival is especially interested in discovering and nurturing new and overlooked filmmakers and writing talent from around the globe. Every film submitted is watched with a keen perspective on quality and artistic expression. According to the festival’s mission statement, “Artistic standards are extremely high, but neither budget nor prior notoriety is a determining factor – the art must shine through. This approach brings significant prestige, satisfaction, and credibility to the filmmakers whose works are accepted.” With a strong publicity and marketing program that includes an annual awards announcement in Variety as well as press coverage in mainstream outlets such as NBC, ABC, The Huffington Post, The Times of India, and more, this cutting-edge festival is a powerful bridge between indie obscurity and the mainstream.

Dance on Camera Festival

20th – 24th July
New York, New York

Dance on Camera Festival accepts dance films of all genres and lengths and is considered the longest running dance film festival in the world. Each year in New York City, the festival presents feature length documentary and narrative films, inventive short films, filmmaker panels and special events, cutting edge media and art installations, as well as engaging community and student programs, providing a platform for choreographic storytelling and creative expression.

Brainwash Drive-In/Bike-In/Walk-In Movie Festival

20th – 29th July
Oakland, California

Since 1995, Brainwash – the original drive-in movie festival – has delighted audiences with a selection of the bizarre, the unique, and just plain old well-made movies from independent producers all over the world. With an eye towards the abstract, the innovative, and the weird, the festival attracts the most cutting-edge cinema from up-and-coming directors, actors, producers, and crews consistently year after year and accepts submissions in features and shorts.

Damn These Hells LGBTQ Film Festival

20th – 22nd July
Salt Lake City, Utah

Utah’s top-class LGBTQI film festival features the best independent, documentary, and foreign feature length films from around the world that explore LGBTQI issues, ideas, and art. In the past, festival topics have ranged from profiles of prominent politicians to touching coming-of-age stories, slapstick comedies to slasher films. To have your film considered, filmmakers must submit a dramatic, documentary, animated, feature length, or short film that expresses the ideas or tells the stories of the LGBTQI community.

Stareable Fest

20th – 22nd July
New York, New York

Stareable Fest is a three day celebration of excellence in independent television, brought to you by the largest community of web series creators, Stareable. In addition to screenings and awards, Stareable Fest features panels, discussions, and presentations from industry figures, as well as an HBO sponsored pitch competition. Awards and prizes are handed out to winners in the following categories: Comedy; Drama; Short Comedy; Short Drama; Animation; Unscripted/reality; Documentary; and 90 second pitch.

Liberty Massacre

20th – 21st July
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Liberty Massacre is a full weekend event dedicated to showcasing the best in horror shorts. Those looking to get involved must submit online screeners to be in with a chance to have their movie screened at the world famous Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia. The festival hands awards out in a variety of categories including: Best Film; Best Director; Best Actor; Best Actress; Best SFX; Best Cinematography; and more.

Red Phoenix International Film Festival

20th – 22nd July
Warren, Ohio

The Red Phoenix International Film Festival is a celebration of art and entertainment with a goal to showcase filmmaking talents with a fun energetic festival. As an international film festival, all genres are welcomed including animation and narrative music videos. In addition to movie screenings, the RPIFF award ceremony and after party are great places for everyone to unwind and network. Along with showing shorts (30 minutes or less) and feature films (2.5 hours max) that are set as narratives and documentaries, the festival also strongly encourages all facets of filmmaking, from animated films, to music videos, to experimental, and more.

Miami Independent Film Festival

20th – 28th July
Miami Beach, Florida

The organizers of the Miami Independent Film Festival created monthly editions to give continuity to the selection process and a steady feedback to its filmmakers. Instead of waiting for months before getting an answer from the festival, filmmakers are immediately contacted if selected and their work is privately screened every month and evaluated by a team of experts in the industry. The monthly winners will then compete to be screened at its annual event, which aims to create a strong relationship between filmmakers, producers, and distributors from all over the world.

Down East Flick Fest

20th – 21st July
Greenville, North Carolina

Down East Flick Fest is a platform for independent voices and new stories within and beyond its geographic community as the festival promotes and nurtures an independent film community and fosters creative collaboration. There are opportunities for filmmakers to promote their craft, network with fellow filmmakers, and talk with industry professionals who attend the festival’s events. The festival is open for both emerging and experienced filmmakers and accepts submissions in everything from documentary to drama, musical to animation. DEFF’s goal is to support emerging and established filmmakers by creating partnership opportunities above and beyond the event itself.

Portland Maine Film Festival

20th – 22nd July
New York, New York

The Portland Maine Film Festival features contemporary, entertaining, and informative short movies, as well as panel discussions and networking opportunities for filmmakers and guests. Accepting comedy short film submissions that are 15 minutes or less, the Portland Main Film Festival also hosts the Wicked Funny Weekend, featuring comedy short films, stand up, and live sketch performances. Definitely a film festival that’s sure to tickle that funny bone.  

Twisted Oyster Film Festival

21st July – 5th August
Chicago, Illinois

The Twisted Oyster Film Festival is considered a platform to drive awareness with an impactful exhibition that brings forward works that speak to selected concerns. The most recent theme – Vital Signs – reflects on the ongoing climatological crisis and the delicate state of the planet. Its primary goal is to promote the importance of preservation while creating awareness of present realities, and it does so through the screening of movies – shorts & features – that highlight these issues.

docLAHOMA

21st July
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The docLAHOMA Film Festival occurs twice a year, every January and July in Oklahoma City’s historic Film Row District. By emphasizing the art and craft of the documentary, docLAHOMA places a focus on stories and characters. Whether your film is expository, participatory, exploratory, experimental, observational, or poetic, the festival’s organizers are looking for cinema that makes audiences feel and learn. As its statement says, “If you’re a documentarian, we want to see what you’ve been documenting.” Submissions are accepted in short documentary, feature documentary, and photography.

Hollywood Dead Film Festival

21st – 22nd July
Burbank, California

A young but solid film festival, Hollywood Dead is looking for the best of the best in horror and sci-fi shorts. So if you’re a filmmaker and a lover of the macabre, gory, or downright gruesome, submit your short today and be in with a chance of having your film submitted at the annual event held in Burbank.

Lake George Film Festival

21st July – 22nd July
Lake George, New York

Held in the beautiful Adirondacks of New York, Lake George where people gather to enjoy great food, music, art, nature and culture, Lake George Film Festival offers attendees the chance to meet filmmakers from all around the world and discuss their films through forums in a stunning setting. In the evening, attendees can sit back and watch a grand compilation of local, national, and international short films and features in an outdoor viewing area. Meanwhile, filmmakers can have their movies screened and compete for awards and prizes in the following categories: Best Picture; Best Short Movie; Best Drama; Best Documentary; Best Comedy; Best Music Video; and Best Animation.

Augusta Indie Film Festival

22nd July
Hephzibah, Georgia

At the Augusta Indie Film Festival, filmmakers from around the world can enjoy a world class screening experience followed by networking opportunities and more. Submit now to celebrate your film with Augusta’s newest & fastest growing film festival. All submissions must be under 20 minutes, making it a real short film festival!

Dominican Film Festival in New York

24th – 30th July
New York, New York

The Dominican Film Festival celebrates the best in Dominican Cinema with the goal to enrich the artistic experience of New York’s diverse cultural audience. It aims to keep New York City audiences informed about Dominican cinema and its relation to the history, politics, and social life of the country.

LA Shorts Fest

25th July – 2nd August
Los Angeles, California

The LA Shorts International Film Festival ranks among the most prestigious and largest international short film festivals in the world. The festival is accredited by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. It is the first and longest running short film festival in Los Angeles, attracting over 8,000 attendees each year including Hollywood industry professionals and emerging undiscovered independent filmmakers. A total of 54 LA Shorts filmmakers have earned Academy Award nominations, with 15 of them taking home the Oscar.

Gimli Film Festival

25th – 29th July
Gimli, Manitoba

The Gimli Film Festival is widely recognized as one of the most successful film festivals in Manitoba, Canada, and as such its mandate is to support filmmakers by paying minimum IMAA screening fees to every film that screens as part of the festival. It holds an annually dedicated series focused on Icelandic films, social justice documentaries, Indigenous films, films from the Circumpolar regions, and environmental films, and in 2018 the fest is hoping to make strides towards total gender parity by increasing levels of female-driven cinema.

Asian American International Film Festival

25th July – 4th August
Brooklyn, New York

The Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) is proudly known as “the first home to Asian American cinema”. It’s the first and longest-running festival dedicated to showcasing the moving image work by media artists of Asian descent, from any nationality, and about the Asian community. Every year, AAIFF attracts audiences from all five boroughs of New York City and the tri-state region.

Real to Reel International Film Festival

25th – 28th July
Kings Mountain, North Carolina

The mission of the Real to Reel International Film Festival is to offer a forum for independent film, video, and multimedia artists from around the world to showcase their talents and to expose the works of these artists to the North Carolina region.

Indie Street Film Festival

25th – 29th July
Red Bank, New Jersey

It is the mission of the Indie Street Film Festival to discover the most innovative independent filmmakers and nurture them through an ever-evolving world of technology, distribution, and audience engagement, regardless of budget size and in spite of restrictive funding. ISFF focuses on cultural community growth through its presentation of films that voice impactful human stories. The festival’s selected films will all be awarded the opportunity to join the Indie Street cooperative movement – a group distribution brand whose members share resources, profits, and a unified audience.

I’m Not Gonna Move to LA

25th July
Miami, Florida

I’m Not Gonna Move to LA is the longest running monthly short film series in Miami, created in celebration of local culture and regional creativity. Each month, it highlights Florida’s community of filmmakers, actors, and content creators. The event accepts short films, documentaries, music videos, and web series from Florida, and it also features its famous Percolator networking event, where attendees can meet Florida’s film scene face-to-face and pitch their film ideas to the community.

GLITTER! Oklahoma LGBTQ Film Festival

25th – 28th July
McAlester, Oklahoma

The directors of GLITTER! Oklahoma LGBTQ Film Festival are looking to provide a diverse outlet for art in Southeastern Oklahoma. GLITTER! will showcase LGBTQ content films from LGBTQ filmmakers and artists. Entertainment will be built around the event that is geared towards diversity, including performances by some of the best female impersonators in the state. A portion of the proceeds from the festival will be donated to a different charity each year.

Heartland Film Indy Shorts

26th – 29th July
Indianapolis, Indianapolis

Indy Shorts International Film Fest showcases short films (under 40 minutes in length) at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. HIFF just wrapped its 26th edition and experienced another year of seismic growth, with records set in the areas of film submissions, filmmaker attendance, and number of films programmed.

Seattle Transmedia & Independent Film Festival

26th – 29th July
Seattle, Washington

STIFF serves up a potent blend of indie film and transmedia storytelling, showcasing movies while serving up panels, alternative music happenings, wild parties, and after-hours shenanigans. The festival’s organizers strive to put on a first rate, smoothly run event and to provide opportunities to help digital storytellers attain their goals and gain distribution and a wider audience for their projects. Artists in eight categories will be honored and will take home a “STIFFY” award.

QFest: The Houston International LGBTQ Film Festival

26th – 30th July
Houston, Texas

QFest is film festival with live screenings that’s dedicated to promoting the arts as a powerful tool for communication and cooperation among diverse communities by presenting programs by, about, and of interest to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. Entering its 21st year, QFest is proud to have Aurora Picture Show as its new fiscal sponsor.

Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival

26th – 28th July
West Hollywood, California

This festival’s mission statement is to provide filmmakers, actors, and stories of diverse backgrounds with a place to showcase their voice without judgment or insincere reflection. Meanwhile, its goal is to establish a true multicultural experience represented by the world’s independent film community. The Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival accepts submissions in the following topics: LGBTQ, disability culture, racial / ethnic diversity, religious diversity,family structures, as well as other social diversities including the aging population and youth in cinema.

WonderRoot’s Generally Local Mostly Independent Film Series

26th July
Atlanta, Georgia

WonderRoot’s Generally Local Mostly Independent Film Series is an ongoing partnership between WonderRoot, Plaza Theatre Foundation, and Atlanta Film Society. They host quarterly screenings and regularly bring in guest jurors to select the most promising films of the evening. The series supports emerging filmmakers in getting their work festival ready. Winning filmmakers receive funding to submit their work to other local and national film festivals, along with VIP access to the annual Atlanta Film Festival.

Kids First Film Festival

27th July – 13th September
Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Kids First Film Festival showcases new and classic children’s films, TV programs, and DVDs from studios, independent producers, and youth producers. Kids First partners with more than 50 venues that showcase its selections.

Vidlings and Tapeheads Film Festival

27th – 29th July
Hamtramck, Michigan

The Vidlings and Tapeheads Film Festival is dedicated to promoting unconventional narrative film, with an appreciation for films that tell stories in an unusual way, experiment with the medium, or sincerely explore eclectic subject matter and themes. Its organizers encourage and celebrate subversiveness, innovative use of materials and budget, and quirky independent work that doesn’t fit comfortably within any one genre.

Hollywood Horrorfest

27th – 29th July
Los Angeles, California

Hollywood Horrorfest accepts any films, produced any year, in any category you feel is grindhouse or exploitation-genre related (horror, action, sci-fi, martial arts, animation, film noir, teen comedy, erotic, and blacksploitation). It’s the perfect venue to network and socialize, so bring your business cards and make the most of what HHF has to offer.

Peekskill Film Festival

27th – 29th July
Peekskill, New York

Founded in 2015, the Peekskill Film Festival screens a first-rate mix of features, shorts, documentaries, and animation. The PFF continues its mission to also give voice to those not typically featured in more mainstream festivals – women, people of color, and the LGTBQI communities.

FotoFilm Tijuana

27th – 29th July
Tijuana, Baja California

FotoFilm Tijuana is a festival that takes place annually in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. It is a photography and film festival that invites work from those who are passionate about photography, cinematography, and other means of audiovisual expression.

Woods Hole Film Festival

28th July – 4th August
Falmouth, Massachusetts

The Woods Hole Film Festival is a showcase of independent film spotlighting the work of emerging filmmakers from around the world. It also promotes the work of WHFF alumni both during and after the festival. In addition to screening over 130 works over the eight day event, Woods Hole Film Festival offers hands-on workshops geared towards both veteran and emerging filmmakers. Meanwhile, screenwriting competition finalists will be offered a space in the annual writers’ weekend.

TAIS Animation Showcase

28th July
Toronto, Ontario

Each year, the TAIS Animation Showcase presents the best local, national, and international independent animation talent. With films from a variety of mediums, genres, and styles, this annual showcase programme aims to exemplify the unlimited possibilities of animation filmmaking.

Midsummer Scream Halloween and Horror Convention

28th – 29th July
Los Angeles, California

The Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival packs all the thrills, scares, and fun of October into one summer weekend. Dozens of Halloween themed attractions – including walk thru mazes, horror themed VR experiences and escape rooms, and immersive theater – can be found at the convention, along with over three stages featuring panels, presentations, and performances from Southern California’s biggest theme parks and names in dark entertainment. Its organizers seek a variety of films that celebrate Halloween and the spirit of horror.

Shreveport Urban Film Festival

28th July
Shreveport, Louisiana

The Shreveport Urban Film Festival’s mission is to create a destination that showcases the very best of films that would otherwise get overlooked because of lack of star power or lack of finances.

WIFTA Short Film Showcase

30th July
Atlanta, Georgia

Women In Film and Television Atlanta is dedicated to improving the status and portrayal of women by offering opportunities for media makers to connect, create, champion, and inspire. With an emphasis on professionalism, education, and training, this event supports the work of women in moving images media and fosters greater public awareness of their efforts.

Traverse City Film Festival

31st July – 5th August
Traverse City, Michigan

Committed to the idea that “one great movie can change” a person, the Traverse City Film Festival is dedicated to preserving the art of cinema. Presenting classic movies free of charge on a giant inflatable outdoor screen alongside free panel discussions with industry experts, the Traverse City Film Festival also offers twice daily classes for film students and cinephiles.

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