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Best Fests: The ultimate guide to indie film festivals 2018

From the Washington DC Independent Film Festival to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, this is your ultimate guide to the must-attend indie film festivals of 2018. The very best fests, if you will.

Best Fests: The ultimate guide to indie film festivals 2018

Santa Barbara International Film Festival

31st January 2018 – 10th February 2018

Santa Barbara, California

In 2002, after 16 waning years of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, executive producer Roger Durling took control and ushered it into the pre-Oscars cinematic celebration that it is today. Now the SBIFF champions independent cinema alongside prestige events featuring acclaimed actors & filmmakers in a way that’s accessible to a wide range of audiences.

Sean Pratt, Managing Director of the SBIFF, believes much of the festival’s diverse charms are owed to the “strong sense of community that exists in Santa Barbara”. Pratt explains, “Our dedication to independent cinema is inspired by the amazing stories that exist in all corners of the globe. Our commitment to these storytellers attracts talented filmmakers each with their own unique voice. Ultimately, this diversity is the heart and soul of our programming.”

First Friday Film Festival

2nd February 2018

Kansas City, Missouri

Set within Kansas’ “thriving indie filmmaking community”, this niche monthly event is dedicated to exhibiting short films that demonstrate a “unique artistic vision” alongside well developed characters and provocative storytelling. First Friday is described as “a local festival that actually cares about supporting films made in the area” in a review from Illumination Cinema, and their output certainly supports this.

Officially occurring since the late 90s, First Friday Film Festival features 12 separate screening sessions each year, and awards cash prizes at the end of each season to winning applicants in categories like Best Overall Narrative Short and Best Cinematography. All screened submissions, however, are presented with festival laurels and certificates with “shorts of all genres from around the world” being accepted.

Victoria Film Festival

2nd – 11th February 2018

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

After starting out low-key in 1995, Victoria quickly grew following a substantial expansion. It now boasts a vibrant program showcasing a diverse selection of Canadian and international cinema, while also engaging filmmakers, artists, and audiences with year-long events and presentations.

Described in 2016 as featuring “a fantastic line-up of films, talks, and parties” to attract “warm, devoted, and informed audiences”, the VFF showcases a proudly eclectic program of independent cinema during its ten-day event. Movies screened at the festival stand the chance of winning prizes in six categories including Best Canadian Feature, Entertainment Audience Favorite, and a Cultural Currents Award for “capturing the essence of a unique society”.

The Macoproject Film Festival

3rd February 2018

New York, New York

Based online and at special screening events, The Macoproject Film Festival is a unique competition for short movies that supports young & up-and-coming filmmakers. “We aim to be an effective yet highly affordable film festival,” explains Avery Cohen, the festival’s head director who took the Macoproject name from his “struggling YouTube channel”.

Cohen made the festival partly because he wanted to be able to “afford more festivals” himself: “I’ve encountered what it feels like to not have the right amount of patience or money to submit my films as far as they could possibly go.” Those submitting to the festival need to pay a small fee to ensure their movie includes “a well shown understanding of cinematography, directing, writing, and acting” in order to stand a chance of success.

DaVinci Film Festival

5th February 2018

Los Angeles, California

Though still relatively new, this striking festival has nonetheless already made an impact. With one review enthusing “the quality and professionalism rivals that of established, big name fests”, DIFF champions the divergent creativity at the heart of independent cinema.

As their name implies, the festival is inspired by the “luminary” talent of Leonardo DaVinci and they subsequently strive to honor the full scope of artistic talent in any one movie. As well as hosting a quarterly online festival and live showcase event where quarterly prize winners can compete for the most commended festival prize, The Leo, DIFF also runs a quarterly and annual screenwriting competition alongside its sister brand Storyline.

Santa Fe Film Festival

7th – 11th February 2018

Santa Fe, New Mexico

New Mexico’s longest running film festival was introduced in 1980 and has continued to grow since. Featuring a five-day celebration of cinematic excellence on an annual basis, the Santa Fe Film Festival “focuses on bringing together distinguished industry specialists and all movie lovers through accessible screenings, panels, workshops and parties”.

The Santa Fe Film Festival features an annual program of movies including narrative & documentary features and a variety of shorts. As well as paying tributes to world-renowned filmmakers and industry professionals, the festival also extends its spotlight to New Mexican filmmakers and crew in order to celebrate the full spectrum of cinematic arts on offer both locally and internationally.

International Festival of Winter Cinema

9th-18th February 2018

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Focused on Canadian and international cinema featuring indigenous, immigrant, or settler peoples’ experiences, this brand-new festival is a celebration of polar, alpine, and winter themes. The IFWC aims to “include people with unique perspectives and experiences” and screen movies of “any style or genre” which address climate change and “winter life”.

Boasting it is “one of the few winter festivals that pay reasonable fees to filmmakers and artists,” the IFWC welcomes all submission entries but “specifically encourages films made by Alberta, Canadian, female, non-binary, indigenous, or visible minority filmmakers”.

Palante Film Festival

9th-12th February 2018

Holyoke, Massachusetts

Palante Film Festival screens features and shorts dedicated to highlighting Latinx, Puerto Rican, and African Caribbean culture and social justice issues currently affecting these communities. The festival accepts submissions from people of all cultural backgrounds but demands that entries feature Latinx, Puerto Rican, and Afro-Caribbean communities at their forefront.

Power Film Festival

9th February 2018

Tallahassee, Florida

Bringing filmmakers and film fans together to experience “all types of films, from around the globe”, Power is a new touring film festival heading to destinations such as Tallahassee, Florida and Columbia, North Carolina.

2018 Love Shorts Film Festival

13th-27th February 2018

Los Angeles, California

Providing an opportunity for short films on or about love to be seen worldwide, the Love Shorts Film Festival is an annual contest as part of AudFest. The festival accepts submissions under 30 minutes and winners are determined by a live audience then later by a panel of industry professionals. The final three jury winners are then screened at the actual festival.

Filmmaker Michael Raso exclaimed how he would “encourage any filmmaker who has made a film about ‘love’ to submit their project to this festival”, while another called it “a magnificent film festival” and summoned the L-word in question: “I love it very much!”

Redline International Film Festival

14th February 2018

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Described by organizers as being a “film festival made by filmmakers for filmmakers”, Redline International Film Festival has the primary goal of awarding “the talented filmmakers that can be found all around the world – from all walks of life.” Founded as a passion project by two Canadian indie filmmakers, Redline International Film Festival is still in its infancy, but aims to promote those “who continue to push the envelope in artistic creation” through the medium of film.

Open to short films from any country and of any genre, the festival features four category prizes for fictional and documentary shorts and eleven individual prizes that highlight specific excellence in filmmaking. With a goal to showcase movies overlooked by the mainstream, Redline International Film Festival believes films “shouldn’t have to adhere to conventional ideals in order to be celebrated” and screens such convention-defying movies on a monthly basis.

Washington DC Independent Film Festival

14th – 19th February 2018

Washington D.C

Washington DC’s oldest independent film festival, the DCIFF, prides itself on presenting extraordinary movies from a variety of genres “on every subject, from every country, with every budget and subject imaginable”. The festival exhibits world premieres alongside seminars and workshops with an aim to provide independent filmmakers with “opportunities for their voices to be heard in a way that no other festival can provide”.

DCIFF features nine annual awards, including a high school film competition and a dedicated POLIDOCS section for controversial projects. It also encourages applications from local artists and “those on the cutting edge of ideas, technology, and energy worldwide”. Filmmaker David A. Melendez described the DCIFF as “a great place to network and build a fanbase for your film”.

Female Filmmakers Film Festival

14th-22nd February 2018

El Portal, California

This annual female-focused film festival operates with an aim of “providing opportunities to women filmmakers worldwide”. Speaking on the Female Filmmakers Film Festival, filmmaker and previous honoree Cali Bondad said, “It’s festivals like these that help us women filmmakers break through the set archetypes of what ‘directors’ look and sound like,” adding that the festival can help provide “opportunities that elevate us to make more work”.

The festival screens fiction and non-fiction shorts with the prime objectives of providing a platform for female filmmakers to find and become role models. It also prides itself on promoting talented female directors, writers, editors, and producers in the industry while connecting such filmmakers with new audiences and opportunities.

Fashion on Film Festival

15th February 2018

Sacramento, California

Since its foundation in 2005, the Fashion in Film Festival has become a leading showcase for the common ground shared by fashion & film. This project brings various art forms together in celebration of local and international fashion art, combining short films on fashion (music videos, animation, documentaries) with a live fashion showcase and regional exhibit.

The organizers of the fest describe the program as an “eye-popping” celebration of on-trend apparel. “Fashion in Film promotes collaborations and dialogue between curators, historians, archivists, fashion designers, artists, filmmakers, musicians, and writers, aiming to explore the connections between moving image and clothing, and more broadly, questions of design in film.”

Bechdel Film Festival

15th – 22nd February 2018

Houston, Texas

Could your film pass the Bechdel test? This is the criteria outlined by the founders of the Bechdel Film Festival, the non-profit dedicated to strengthening the image of women in front of and behind the camera, by promoting female filmmakers and strong roles for women. The creation of Bechdel Films was inspired by a date that went awry for founder Cressandra Thibodeaux, who decided to use her bad experience to launch the annual Texas-based event and show that women are just as talented as men both in the film industry and outside of it.

In addition to showcasing various genres of shorts and documentary features, the festival includes works in-progress, panel discussions, talk backs, script readings, an opening night reception, an awards ceremony, and much more. All films must be directed or co-directed by a female filmmaker, while all screenplays must be either written by a women or involve a strong female protagonist. Let’s hear it for the girls!

Noise Pop Film Festival

16th – 26th February 2018

San Francisco, California

A whole mish-mash of artistic works showcasing from music to the arts, the Noise Pop Film Festival is San Francisco’s “favorite indie music, arts, and film festival”. Now in its 26th year, the annual event with live screenings has brought early exposure to stacks of emerging artists in the Bay Area and beyond, many of whom have gone on to widespread acclaim.

Any kind of film or video narrative feature, documentary, short, animation, experimental, or music video may enter, so long as it explores the connection to music or features an exceptionally prominent soundtrack.

New York City Popup Film Festival

19th February 2018

New York, New York

The New York Popup Cinema is a short-film and new-media screening series that introduces audiences to fresh films and connects film professionals in the enticing setting of the Big Apple. This one-day festival kicks off with a networking hour, and is followed by the screening of quality short films from all genres.

Outstanding works will be selected and presented with the award for Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, or Best Screenplay. It might only be in its first year, but with the combination of its exciting location and diverse range of filmmaking talent, perhaps we’ll see this event continue to popup in the future.  

HollyShorts Film Festival

22nd February 2018 – 18th June 2018

Los Angeles, California

HollyShorts Film Festival is an organization devoted to showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe, advancing the careers of filmmakers through screenings, networking events, and various panels and forums. The fest showcases the top short films produced through both its monthly screenings and annual event. Categories include Short Animation, Short Live Action, Short Documentary, Music Video, Webisode, Commercials, Youth Film, and Digital Microbudget.

Speaking on the event, Steve Bellamy, Kodak president, said, “We have been a sponsor of Hollyshorts since I became in charge of Kodak Motion Picture and I can truly attest that those are the most productive dollars we spend each year. They have created a community that is unparalleled and they super serve their partners better than anyone. We are planning to be with them for a long time.”

Arizona Underground Film Festival

22nd-24th February 2018

Phoenix, Arizona

Head on down to the desert for the Arizona Underground Film Festival – Arizona’s premier cult film festival. For over eleven years now, this annual event has represented every genre of independent film from across the world and celebrated the artists and their work in categories such as Narrative, Horror, Documentaries, Experimental, Animation, and its rather unique Exploitation category.

AUFF founder David Pike explained: “Underground Film Festivals are a chance to get away from the ‘indie’ mainstream type film. I’m a huge fan of cinema that challenges the audience, breaks the rules, and offers something different than a standard Hollywood movie. I want to showcase filmmakers with an independent vision from every genre of film.”

New York International Children’s Film Festival

23rd February 2018 – 18th March 2018

New York, New York

Kids say the darndest things! They also have the imaginations most filmmakers yearn for, which is perhaps why the New York International Children’s Film Festival is such a great shout. Launched in 1997, the fest promotes “intelligent, passionate, and provocative cinematic works for ages three to eighteen” to help define a more compelling film for kids. Since its launch nearly twenty years ago, the event has snowballed into one of the largest festivals for children and teens in North America.

Co-founder Eric Beckman described the concept for the festival as “a type of filmmaking for children that was more meaningful than was typically being presented to young people”. Each year the event showcases one hundred animated, live action, and experimental shorts and features from around the world, plus gala premieres, retrospectives, filmmaker Q&As, workshops, audience voting, and the NYICFF Awards Ceremony. The organization also offers year-round film programming, a touring festival, an online festival, and film production workshops for children ages six to sixteen.

Central Alberta Film Festival

23rd-25th February 2018

Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Pitched as a platform to incubate Canadian, Albertan, and international talent in a rapidly evolving film industry, Central Alberta Film Festival is described as “a catalyst to enhance the cinematic experience with excellence while supporting Canadian artistic values”. This non-profit cultural organization has been running for two years now, with its mission to “act as a bridge between the audience, critics, and the contemporary filmmakers who want to showcase and discuss their work”.

The fest accepts admissions from films in four categories, comprising Feature Narratives, Short Narratives, Feature Length Documentaries, and Short Documentaries. According to CAFF, “Short Films must either tell a story, make a point, teach a lesson, or provide information to the audience.” They’ve also recently introduced a 48-hour Film Challenge to boot, the winners of which will be submitted into its festival event free of charge.

Celebration of the Arts

24th February 2018

Fort Worth, Texas

The Celebration of the Arts is an evening of non-stop arts experiences and live entertainment. Its aim is to benefit the entire community surrounding the Fort Worth Community Arts Center in Texas, by increasing tourism and raising funds for the Art Council’s operating budget.

Its annual film festival with live screenings has been running for two years, and now includes a segment titled “Art In Motion”, whereby short art films are shown continuously throughout the evening. This category is open to any form of film so long as the running time sticks to two minutes or less and can be classified as art, experimental, narrative, animation, music video, or documentary.

Los Angeles CineFest

24th-28th February 2018

Los Angeles, California

The Los Angeles Cinefest showcases a wide range of indie talent via its online and live international event. The fest has been running for nearly five years, handing out prizes to winners in multiple categories, ranging from short films, to animation, to full-length features, as well as scripts, photography, and film scores.

The festival is organized by filmmaker and premiere organizer Mark Mos, who explains, “Each month the Los Angeles film industry specialists announce semi-finalists, finalists, and winners. We show work online with submitter approval only and once a year, and we watch and read all submissions again, before screening selected work at the live event in Los Angeles.”

Poly Film Festival

24th February 2018

Pasadena, California

This interscholastic event consists of short film screenings by students from local and independent high schools, intermingled with Q&A sessions between the audience members and filmmakers in attendance. It’s an opportunity for the Cali-based students to have their work both viewed and celebrated at the annual screening event held in the Garland Auditorium at Polytechnic School in Pasadena, California.

The festival founders describe the event as “a chance to facilitate broader dialogue, collaboration, and study concerning the production of motion pictures among cinematically curious students of local and independent schools”.

Bellingham Film Annual Showcase

25th February 2018

Bellingham, Washington

“Hey Washington State: show us what you’ve got!” These are the words spoken by the founders of the Bellingham Film Annual Showcase, as they look to find the best cinematic talent the state has to offer. Born from a collaboration between Bellingham Film, Film is Truth, and Talking To Crows, the event offers filmmakers the opportunity to show finished products, as well as trailers, concept trailers, or crowdfunding videos for projects that are currently seeking funding.

Selected filmmakers who attend the show have the opportunity to directly connect with their audience – and score a filmmaker’s swag bag – in an intimate setting at the Pickford Film Center. Movies screened at the festival must focus on one-of-nine categories including Animation, Documentary Short, and Experimental.

Culture of Life Film Festival

25th February 2018

Memphis, Tennessee

The Culture of Life Film Festival is a 24-7 online on-demand VOD festival and television network. So rather than waiting for eleven months for filmmakers to have their work seen, viewers are presented with the newest films every month, giving the opportunity to gather an audience all year round.  

Described as a “film festival and TV network with a higher purpose”, the event is faith-based, but even films that aren’t Christian in nature and deliver solid family-friendly messages about hope, love, mercy, and life are welcomed with open arms. Filmmakers who are selected by the founders have their work featured on the online and live film festival platforms, and the company is currently working hard to set up a church-based traveling film festival.

Creation International Film Festival

28th February 2018

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Creation International Film Festival might only be in its second year, but its founders have a clear vision in mind. Described as “an international film and screenplay-writing festival designed specifically for the indie filmmaker who’s tired of being overlooked by all the other festivals”, CIFF keeps its entry fee low and offers one of the highest number of award categories, along with an option to have your film or script reviewed.

The Canada-based festival runs in four quarters and in March, the annual Creation Festival Gala is held for the purpose of screening its selected submissions from the year in a theatrical presentation. Already the event has garnered many fans, with filmmaker Bahadir Karasu describing CIFF as a “great festival that gives value to every filmmaker no matter what your budget for the film . . .  and their attitude is remarkable!”

Miami Independent Film Festival

28th February 2018

Miami Beach, Florida

Miami Independent Film Festival, or Mindie, accepts regular submissions where indie features are privately screened every month and evaluated by a team of experts in the industry. The winners then compete to be shown at the Mindie annual event, which kicked off in 2016.

Mindie’s founders Laura Gasperini, Valentina Vincenzini, and Isabella Roberto created the fest to support their love of watching movies and helping filmmakers find an audience. “We have created monthly editions to give continuity to the selection process and a steady feedback to the filmmakers. Instead of waiting for months before getting an answer from the festival, filmmakers are immediately contacted if selected.”

Filmmakers from all over the world are invited to submit their work, which can be from any year of production, any genre, and any author. “We know how hard it is for an indie filmmaker to produce and distribute their work. Mindie is the tool that every filmmaker needs, in order to showcase and get recognitions for their film.”

NoBudge

1st – 31st March 2018

Brooklyn, New York

NoBudge showcases a range of selected shorts & feature films online, premiering new movies weekly and hosting live screenings monthly in Brooklyn. Described by No Film School as “one of the premier destinations for ‘true’ independent movies”, each year the festival founders select a series of films to receive NoBudge Awards in a variety of categories including Best Film, Best Comedy, Best Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, and more.

In an article about the organization, Danny King at Village Voice wrote: “With the hurdles of theatrical distribution increasing all the time, NoBudge stands as a valuable alternative — a way for ambitious, cash-strapped directors to have their work seen and written about without having to worry over the financial and logistical headaches.”

Toronto Shorts International Film Festival

2nd – 3rd March 2018

Toronto, Canada

Created by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences-accredited L.A. Shorts Fest, the Toronto Shorts International Film Festival provides a showcase for the some of “the best short-form cinema and its creators in the world”, held annually at the AGO Art Gallery of Ontario.

The fest’s creators said: “We feel that short form cinema and its creators should have their own premier film festival in Toronto deserving similar recognition given to the feature film and its creators. The heart of the festival will be our quality and scope of extraordinary film programming. Toronto Shorts is where films from a wide spectrum intersect, including animations, documentaries, comedies, narrative, genre, and graduation short films.” Since its birth over six years ago, the event has even seen its 2017 Grand Prize & Best Foreign Film winner, Watu Wote: All of Us, go on to be nominated for an Oscar at the 2018 Academy Awards.

Short of the Week

2nd March 2018

Brooklyn, New York

Described as a “new kind of film festival”, Short of the Week has been a trusted source of short films by fans and industry since 2007. In light of a rapidly changing industry in the way films are viewed & distributed, SOTW was created in aim to allow audiences to come together and discover this new generation of filmmakers and the stories they’re telling.

The organization team is made up of short film curators from Sundance, Vimeo, Tribeca, Palm Springs, GLAS, and Toronto – all of whom know the importance of helping a filmmaker find their audience. “On Short of the Week, your film takes front page on the internet’s number one destination for short films where you’ll find thousands (and sometimes millions!) of new fans. Whether you’re still finalizing your film, just starting to submit to festivals, or finishing up a festival run, you can submit your film at any time to take advantage of our industry network and make the most of your film launch.”

NewFilmmakers Los Angeles

3rd March – 31st May 2018

Los Angeles, California

NewFilmmakers Los Angeles is a non-profit organization designed to showcase innovative works by emerging filmmakers from across the globe, providing the Los Angeles community of entertainment professionals and film goers with a constant surge of monthly screening events.

Each month, NFMLA presents red carpet screenings of documentary, short, and feature films that have been submitted from all over the world, followed by a Q&A with each film’s director. The program also offers a special after party so the audience can meet the filmmakers and the talent involved. By offering plenty of mingling opportunities, NFMLA’s been described as “a perfect chance to explore what’s coming up next in the world of film.”

Shoreline Short Short Film Festival

3rd March 2018

Shoreline, Washington

The Shoreline Short Short Film Festival aims to support emerging & developing filmmakers in Washington State and encourage appreciation for the art of filmmaking within its community.

Entries are judged by an esteemed jury of local filmmakers and advocates, accepted films are screened during the event in the state-of-the-art Shoreline Community College Theater, and the “best of the best” takes home the prestigious Golden Sasquatch Award. According to Moostache Films, whose Jimmy The Limo Driver was featured at the event, “What’s so great about this festival is not just its awards, but the opportunity it provides for young filmmakers.”

SARCE

3rd March 2018

Kyle, Texas

SARCE is a festival devoted to all narrative films that are committed to diversity, authenticity, and show a conscious curiosity of the world around us. Starting out as a red carpet event, SARCE has evolved to into an annual festival showcasing all short films produced throughout the year by Shiz, Evolve.Forward.Media Productions, and its partners.

The event’s creators are open to filmmakers of all genres, including documentaries, animations, comedy, horror, action, and human interest. “It takes a lot of time, energy, money, and creativity to create. This event is to bring forth the hard work we put into our films.”

GCIFF Youth Film Day

3rd March 2018

Great Neck, New York

The Gold Coast International Film Festival and the film department at Hofstra University have collaborated to create Youth Film Day – a free event for students in grades seven to twelve who are aspiring filmmakers or considering careers in Film or TV. The day event includes hands-on filmmaking workshops on topics including cinematography, drones and sliders, editing, script and film critique, sound design, special FX makeup, stunts and fight choreography, and more.

There’s also opportunity for students to submit their short film to be screened for feedback from industry professionals and for awards consideration, as well as tours of the film & TV studios of Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication. All workshops are taught by film industry professionals, GCIFF staff, and Hofstra faculty.

Midwest Independent Film Festival

6th March 2018 – 30th June 2018

Chicago, Illinois

The Midwest Independent Film Festival has been running for nearly fifteen years. Dedicated to being “the nation’s only film festival solely dedicated to the Midwest filmmaker,” it presents audiences with regionally produced independent cinema every first Tuesday of the month at Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema in Chicago. This year-round event sits at the center of the independent film scene in Chicago and the Midwest and is dedicated to celebrating & strengthening that community.

The work featured during this festival is celebrated at the Best of the Midwest Awards (BMAs), which take place each year. Award categories include Best Feature Film, Short Film, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Music Video, Editing, and Cinematography. Speaking on the event, filmmaker Gretchen P. said, “I can’t recommend this event enough. Whether you’re an industry professional or someone who just loves independent film, you can’t go wrong spending a night out at the festival. It’s always been well organized and seamless when I have attended, and the festival works hard to bring the best of the Midwest to this monthly event.”

Not in My School

6th March 2018

Troy, Michigan

This unique event honors student films that center around the topic of bullying. Co-sponsored by the Troy Alliance Against Hate Crimes, the Troy Public Library, the City of Troy, and the Troy School District, the Not in Our Town film festival offers prizes to twelve selected winners, who have their short film premiered at its annual event. Attendant Austin Lang said, “I would definitely participate again. Let’s discuss! Bullying? It’s gotta go!” The organizers include Jen Hilzinger from the Troy Alliance Against Hate Crimes, director of the Troy Public Library, Cathy Russ, and community affairs director at City of Troy, Cindy Stewart.

Pasadena International Film Festival

7th – 15th March 2018

Pasadena, California

Founded in 2013 by Jessica Hardin, The Pasadena International Film Festival aims to bring high-caliber, international cinema to a city well-renowned for its love of culture and the arts. This event brings together filmmakers, artists, businesses, and the public for nine days filled with entertainment and education. Panels & workshops provide the general public with knowledge and culture, screenings provide entertainment, and business is generated as people mix and mingle after each screening.

All genres and project lengths are accepted, including features, short films, documentaries, webisodes, animation, TV pilots, experimental, student films, international films, and music videos. According to filmmaker Heather Connell, “The Pasadena International Film Festival is an experience not to be missed by filmmakers. From the elegant black tie Great Gatsby Gala Opening night, to the diverse, informative panels, to the top quality screenings in an actual mainstream movie theatre . . . in over ten years of traveling the festival circuit with multiple films, this was hands down one of the best-run festivals.”

LA Indie Film Festival

8th – 18th March 2018

Los Angeles, California

The LA Indie Film Festival is the partner event to the well established LA comedy Festival, providing a showcase for the best shorts, features, TV pilots, web series, music videos, and animation. Additionally, its screenplay competition offers awards for its best features, shorts, and TV pilots.

The creators of the event state: “Over the years we have had the privilege to work with hundreds of filmmakers who have told wonderfully funny stories. Many have gone on to make great films in other genres.” Meanwhile filmmaker Carl Evans described the LA Indie Film Festival as a “terrific platform to showcase your film. My screening looked and sounded amazing and the staff was more than helpful throughout the whole process.”

Black Women Film Network

9th – 10th March 2018

Atlanta, Georgia

Established in 1997, the Black Women Film Network was founded to prepare black women to enter the film & television industries. The organization seeks to preserve the voice of these women through film and educational programs that empower and inform, including student scholarships, hosts screenings and workshops, and honors for individuals who have excelled in the industry.

The annual screening event is a two-day cultural celebration of black women in the arts and entertainment that aims to connect key industry players with content creators with a Short Film Competition featuring emerging and established filmmakers. Founder and executive director Sheryl Gripper said: “I am extremely proud of the accomplishments that the Black Women Film Network has achieved over the last 20 years. When I started BWFN, I wanted to create a place for women of color to network, discover new opportunities, and access resources that will further their careers in film and television. I am happy to say that we have done that and then some. I’m excited about the future and what the next 20 years will bring.”

Peace on Earth Film Fest

9th – 11th March 2018

Chicago, Illinois

The Peace On Earth Film Festival – the primary project of Transcendence Global Media – is a not-for-profit event established to celebrate and encourage the work of independent filmmakers from around the world on the themes of peace, nonviolence, social justice, and eco-balance.

The annual fest, which has been running for over a decade, honors movies in a range of categories including feature narrative / fiction, short documentary, short narrative / fiction, animation, student filmmakers, and feature documentary. Furthermore, to fit in with the all-inclusive theme, there is a Student Choice Award for Most Inspiring Story, voted on by Chicago area school students, grades seven to twelve, who attend the Student Voices for Peace Showcase, held on Thursday & Friday morning of the festival weekend. Peace out!

Teen Faith Film Festival

9th March 2018

Orange, California

The Teen Faith Film Festival is all about showcasing and exposing young Christian filmmakers and celebrating the exploration of faith in filmmaking. Founded in 2014 by Asher Segelken, Dawn Hamby, and Steve Carrera, the annual event offers live screenings of short films as well as networking opportunities at the Alexandra Nechita Center for the Arts at Orange Lutheran High School.

Department chair of Visual & Media Arts at Orange Lutheran Dawn Hamby said, “One thing we see in these films is students exploring their own faith experience.” Meanwhile, TFFT founder and current judge Asher Segelken described his inspiration behind starting the fest: “Frank Capra said film is one of the three universal languages and I think with things like this festival, it will be cool for adults to see what youth has to say about society. I think there is power in film that hasn’t been tapped into and I want to find that.”

South by Southwest Film Festival

9th – 18th March 2018

Austin, Texas

South by Southwest Festival – or SXSW as it’s more commonly known – launched back in 1987 and has continued to grow in both scope and size every year. The SXSW Film Festival is described as a celebration of “raw innovation and emerging talent from both behind and in front of the camera.” Featuring provocative dramas, documentaries, comedies, genre standouts, and more, the festival has become known for the high caliber and diversity of films presented, and for its smart, enthusiastic audiences.

Running simultaneously with SXSW Interactive and SXSW Music, film festival attendees have the opportunity to connect with tech and music industry experts as well as network with film industry figures and filmmakers. SXSW overall brings in millions of dollars for Austin’s economy each year, and is increasingly known as the international creative stage for what’s next in music, film, and interactive technology.

Christian Youth Film Festival

10th – 11th March 2018

Bakersfield, California

Back in 1994, Youth pastors Chuck Adkins and Joe Brown put together the Christian Youth Film Festival to “poke a little fun at the Academy Awards and Hollywood’s obsession with awarding themselves”. Now it has progressed into a yearly event that encourages young people to create excellent movies integrating the Christian faith.

The gala screening includes a red carpet event and exclusive VIP dinner, while industry professionals serve as judges both before and during the screening. Short films are awarded in the categories of Best Actor, Best Screenplay, and Best Application of Scripture.

Oklahoma Cine Latino Film Festival

10th March 2018

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Cine Latino Film Festival promotes the Latino Cultural impact on Cinema in the United States, focusing on a unique mix of filmmakers, artists, film lovers, and history with submittals from Mexico, Spain, and South America. The event accepts entries for Latino short film, Latino student short film, and Latino short documentary, and offers honors for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

In addition to the film screenings, guests can enjoy a display of works from local artists and the event also includes a presentation of short films created by teams of high school students. Rogelio Almeida, who is the driving force behind the event, described how he saw the need and the necessity to have Hispanic voices heard in the state. “There’s a big growing community of Latinos. I know there are a lot of Latino filmmakers out there; we just need to get them out all together to come to the film festival!”

Evansville Drone Film Festival

10th March 2018

Evansville, Indiana

For lovers of all things drone-related, The Evansville Museum International Drone Film Festival offers a unique overview of the development in trends and techniques of drone cinematography. Entrants will have a chance of winning cash prizes for films in the categories of Short Film, Land / Sky / Water / Air, Extreme Video, and Open Category, and all winning entries are offered the chance to screen inside the dome of the Museum’s Koch Immersive Theater.

Director of experiences and fest organizer Mitch Luman said, “We invite you to enter our event as we prepare to showcase the best that aerial cinematography has to offer. Our day-long event features, drone vendors, drone demonstrations and giveaways!”

Films for the Forest

11th March 2018

Austin, Texas

As part of SXSW Community Screenings, Films for the Forest is an international short film competition hosted by Rainforest Partnership. This annual event was launched in 2010 with the goal of bringing together children and adult filmmakers alike to contribute to rainforest conservation through the arts and foster broader civic engagement. The event promotes the importance of tropical rainforests, through films that present the understanding of forest communities, deforestation, climate change, and alternatives to deforestation.

Hollywood Screenings Film Festival

11th March 2018

Los Angeles, California

With an aim to replicate Hollywood’s glitz & glamour, the Hollywood Screenings Film Festival holds both an online competition with film viewings as well as an annual live show, where finalists have their films screened at the prestigious red carpet event. The festival accepts entries from a huge range of categories in both short and feature length movies – anything from horror, to comedy, right the way through to documentary and experimental.

A review from filmmaker Raja Ram Mukerji described the event as “a decent platform to exhibit your talent and your message through film; happy to be a part of this film festival,” while Luca Caserta stated, “amazing festival, with real high quality movies, as well as great communication and networking opportunities”.

I Hella Love Shorts

11th March 2018

Oakland, California

Do you hella love shorts? Then you’re going to love this quarterly short films festival designed to promote independent films that reflect the rich and diverse experiences within the Bay Area and across the globe while showcasing emerging and established filmmakers. Executive Director Bolaji Tijani-Qudus launched the festival as a way to “provide a fun and entertaining short film experience for filmmakers and film lovers.”  

Jonathan P. Ritter, who has been involved with the festival on and off since 2014, said: “I love that they do the festival quarterly, and it’s one of the few festivals where most of the audience is not filmmakers! It’s a well-known festival around Oakland, and locals show up because we know we can count on an awesome line up.”

Toronto Short Film Festival

12 – 16th March 2018

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto Short celebrates the very best of international short filmmaking. With a week of screenings, networking events, and socialising, budding and established filmmakers are offered ample opportunities to showcase their achievements, learn from fellow filmmakers, and build contacts for future collaborations.

Honors are handed out in a wide range of categories . . . get ready for this – Best Drama Short, Best Comedy Short, Best Experimental Short, Best Documentary Short, Best LGBT Short, Best Horror Short, Best Sci-Fi Short, Best Short Short, Best Animated Short, and Best Music Video. Needless to say, there’s quite the range to choose from. Katie Garibaldi (whose music video was nominated last year) praised the event’s networking opportunities, adding, “I met a ton of filmmakers and have since kept in touch”.

LOYNO Feminist Film Festival

13th – 14th March 2018

New Orleans, Louisiana

Based at the Loyola University New Orleans, this intimate film festival is a celebration of female filmmakers and artists. Co-hosted by the Loyola New Orleans Women’s Resource Center and the Loyola Film Society, this established event promotes feminist cinema in honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. Submissions are welcome for narrative shorts, short documentaries, narrative animations, and experimental films, with a cash prize for its winners. The proceeds made from the festival all go to a worthy cause – both the festival itself and the Women’s Resource Center.

The festival also offers exposure opportunities for feminist filmmakers who get involved. According to previous participant Stephanie Smith, filmmakers who tweet the acceptance of their submission joined the LIFF off-broadcast, sending the success to various international venues to bring exposure to the project at hand. “I highly recommend submitting to the festival for this reason, as well as how well it was run.”

New York No Limits Film Series

15th March 2018

Brooklyn, New York

Co-directors Robert Wagner and Thomas Escovar created the festival with no limits as a way to “provides filmmakers the opportunity and support to explore innovative, taboo and diverse subjects.” The festival is an ongoing collection of screenings that present a plethora of unique and outstanding films from around the world in the setting of one of the most dynamic and creative cities. The goal of NYNL is “to create a film program of the most genre diverse, multi-cultural, and visionary independent films from around the world.”

NYNL seeks films that reflect the essence of the filmmaker’s talent and vision. The series hosts four one-night Short Film events quarterly, which then culminates with the New York No Limits Film Series Summit at the end of each year. This Summit showcases both feature films and short films over a three-day period, giving the selected filmmakers an opportunity to compete for the Best Feature Film and Best Short Film honor that carries a cash prize in each category. What are you waiting for? Get involved!

AltFF Alternative Film Festival

15th March 2018

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Budding filmmakers could all use a little help in life, which is exactly why the Alternative Film Festival in Canada is such a worthy platform. This quarterly event is committed to giving filmmakers of all levels – even the beginners – a chance to find their audience, have their work screened, and even take home an award.

Festival director Jenell Diegor and the rest of the AltFF team said that by giving everyone the chance to enter and utilizing the power of social media, this is not your typical film awards. “It is an awards event where we will be announcing the winners of each of the many categories within Feature Films, Short Films, and Super Short Films. Filmmakers around the world can join us for the awards announcements via Facebook Live!” While submissions are already accepted for a wide variety of genres, the fest is also open to adding new categories depending on the type of entries it receives.

Kick Ash Film Festival

15th March 2018

Salt Lake City, Utah

It’s time to put the cigarettes down and give your lungs a rest, because the Kick Ash Festival is back for another year to stand up, speak out, and seize control against the tobacco industry through the art of film. This is a fest that comes with a strong message, asking budding filmmakers in the Salt Lake City area between the ages of thirteen and eighteen to submit short films that include a message about tobacco use to resonate with their peers.

The advice the founders give to its entrants says, “If your friends — and teens throughout Salt Lake County — were going to watch one online video that made them think twice about making bad decisions about tobacco use, what would that video be?” With only 30 to 60 seconds to get their message across, it’s a tricky feat, and those who carry out the challenge with success will have their video screened and awarded at the annual event.

KIDS FIRST!

16th March 2017 – 15th January 2019

San Francisco, California

KIDS FIRST! partners with more than fifty venues to showcase the next best thing in children’s films, TV programs, and DVDs from studios, independent producers, and youth producers. Running for over eighteen years, the festival is described as “a great way to spread your promotional budget by submitting to KIDS FIRST! and reaching 50 festivals by doing so.” The fest travels to more than one hundred venues annually and has more than 10,000 screenings of individual titles throughout the year.

Not only does the festival offer screenings to its viewers, but the youth are given a true voice as curators of the festival, panelists critiquing films, volunteer staff, and as filmmakers & videographers showing their work. Film Critics are a cornerstone of this organization, and “we have more than 50 youth reporters from all around the country, who review the latest films, DVDs and other media rated PG-13 or younger. These young people attend press screenings, junkets, and premieres where they interview talent on the red carpet and watch and review the latest films.” Any child between the ages of eight and eighteen may apply for a slot on the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics team. Needless to say, this event really does put its kids first!

Women’s Independent Film Festival

16th March 2018

Tarzana, California

The Women’s Independent Film Festival mission is “to celebrate and give voice to the unique perspectives offered by women in cinema from every part of the world. We hope to give voice to the many talented and underrepresented women creating great work in the independent film world.”

The event awards and screens indie flicks made by female filmmakers from around the world, with awards handed out to directors, producers, writers, leads, editors, or cinematographers. Winners in each category will screen at the festival and compete for the Audience Award. As well as a film festival with live screenings, the event also holds a screenplay & writing contest, the winner of which will have the chance to read an excerpt from the script at the festival. Since launching over six years ago, the festival has received warm reviews, with filmmaker Suzan Battah describing the event as an “amazing festival which is always a pleasure to submit to.”

Royal Film Festival

16th – 17th March 2018

Benton, Arkansas

The Royal Film Festival is calling on filmmakers to submit their film and come join in the celebrations of its 5th anniversary. Founders Jasmine Serena Greer & Lisa Goodrich launched the event at the historic Royal Theater in downtown Benton to showcase award-winning shorts and feature films from around the world.

The brightest and best selected from the categories – short narrative film, short documentary film, feature narrative film, and feature documentary film – will receive tickets to the festival, will be featured in the Royal Film Festival program and promoted on social media, and will also receive the official Royal Film Festival laurel. In addition to this, a winner will be selected by the Young Players for the Young Players Best Short Award.

There’s also ample opportunity for filmmakers to interactive with their audience through Q&A sessions, a filmmaker meet & greet, and a festival after party where attendants can unwind and network in a relaxing environment.

Zensa Media International Film Festival

16th March 2018

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Zensa Media International Film Festival might be new to the market, but already it has showcased a whole reel of interesting and creative films from both local and international filmmakers. “Zensa Media International Film Festival prides itself on promoting local and international talent. We are looking for short films that inspire, educate, and entertain general audiences.”

Both short films and short documentaries are accepted in a few special theme categories including fashion film, environment, comedy, and dance. An Audience Choice Award will also be handed to the favourite film. The networking opportunities are a definite plus and audiences & filmmakers can interact during post-screening Q&A sessions.  

Sierra Canyon Film Festival

16th March 2018

Los Angeles, California

For all of those budding Hollywood filmmakers, the Sierra Canyon Film Festival offers the opportunity for local students to have their films screened and viewed before they’ve even graduated high school. The fest is presented by Sierra Canyon School, just 20 miles from the heart of Hollywood. And while it is sponsored and promoted by Sierra Canyon School, the event takes place in a screening room on the backlot of a major Hollywood studio.

Honors are handed out to students who create the top-selected Student Short Film, which must be between one to fifteen minutes long. Awards & prizes vary from year to year, and have included film academy scholarships, video editing software, and cash prizes. However, one guarantee is that all winners receive an engraved trophy and the opportunity to screen their film in front of an audience of student filmmakers and industry professionals.

Equinox Women’s Film Festival

16th – 17th March 2018

Palmer, Arkansas

Hosted by The Glenn Massay Theater and Equinox Women’s Film Festival, this event is dedicated to showcasing the top talent in female filmmakers. Following the success of its previous years, the fest is back for a fourth to select and celebrate films directed to or written by women. Equinox accepts films and video of all lengths and genres – experimental, narrative, documentary, animation, and whatever else you can think of! The organizers will also accept pieces produced in any year.

Speaking on last year’s event, filmmaker Barbara McDaniel said, “We enjoyed the best Equinox Film Festival ever! The films were excellent, the venue perfect, the food delicious, and the resource fair was a wonderful new addition.” Organizer Kristen Nagel added, “We are hoping to achieve even greater success this year!”

Shorts Night Film Festival

17th March 2018

New York, New York

Shorts Night Film Festival is the independent short film festival held biannually in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The event’s mission is to “prioritize our artists and the work that they present and establish a warm, positive atmosphere for sharing film and networking.” Not only this, but it’s also one of the only fests in New York that actually pays its filmmakers to screen their work, making this a festival by filmmakers, for filmmakers.

This year Shorts Nights is expanding the event by opening up submissions to a wider audience and hosting a variety of seminars on outreach, developing story & character, and independent production. According to the organizers, “We host numerous opportunities to network with other filmmakers and members of the industry including a pre-show red carpet event, as well as an after party!”

Kalamazoo Teen Filmmaker Festival

17th March 2018

Kalamazoo, Michigan

The Kalamazoo Teen Filmmaker Festival has a strong message for all movie-loving teenagers living in the state of Michigan: “If you think you have what it takes to become the next Jordan Peele, Edgar Wright, or Patty Jenkins, then write your script, cast your talent, gather your camera gear and get recording!”

Yes, KTFF offers local students between the ages of twelve to nineteen the opportunity to submit their short films with the potential to have it showcased at the annual event. For over fifteen years, KTFF has hosted the event with expert judges, who award prizes for the best films in eight categories, plus a grand prize.

Hot Springs International Women’s Film Festival

17th – 18th March 2018

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Presented by the Hot Springs Arts & Film Institute, the Hot Springs International Women’s Film Festival showcases work submitted by female filmmakers and artists by providing a venue and networking forum for attendants and contributors.

The HSWFF believes, “It is important to hear and see the educated, entertaining, and diverse stories of women from around the world. We provide a platform for networking and sharing your visions at the Historic Central Theater located in downtown Hot Springs National Park.” With nine categories in the competition including feature, short, experimental, and foreign, the event offers a broad range of talent from emerging and established female filmmakers.

Awards are handed out for Best Director, Best Actress, and Best in Category, and can include trophies, wall screenings, accommodation, and more. Filmmakers are also given the option to request Q&A sessions after their screenings, for the chance to connect with their audiences and promote the film at hand.

Albany FilmFest

17th – 25th March 2018

Albany, California

The Albany FilmFest is an annual week-long event inviting creative, fresh, and compelling independent short film submissions from emerging and established Bay Area, national, and global filmmakers, as well offering two youth filmmaker categories.

During the week, attendants can enjoy a series of special screenings involving a mix of specially curated and juried films, while filmmakers and audiences are able to connect and engage in conversation in between each viewing. The organizers describe how the AFF’s ongoing mission “is to build community, communicate across diverse borders, and encourage free creative expression and communication.”

Filmmakers consistently praise Albany FilmFest as friendly, warm, and well-organized, with one calling the event, “”one of the best festival experiences I have had,” while another stated, “of all the festivals we attended this year, Albany FilmFest was the most personable and enjoyable.”

Apex Short Film Festival

18th March, 2018

Tucson, Arizona

This year marks the fourth annual Apex Film Festival – the event that aims to showcase the top dogs for short films in Arizona. The festival welcomes filmmakers from all backgrounds to submit movies in a diverse range of short film categories, while awards and prizes are handed out for Best Music Video, Best Film, Best of Your Genre, Best Acting, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Soundtrack, and Audience Choice. Meanwhile, for just $10 movie fans can purchase an unlimited pass with access to exclusive short films and music videos from around the world, as well as Q&A panels with filmmakers in attendance.

The AFF has garnered positive reviews from previous years, including Jason Honeycutt, who noted, “What’s great about this festival is that it truly wants the best films in. No side deals, no odd winners. Everyone who wins here deserves it.”

Cinema Spectacular 5

18th March 2018

Vancouver, Canada

Cinema Spectacular is an all-Canadian celebration of filmmakers working on low-to-no-budget passion projects that make the landscape of independent film unique. According to director & founder Laurel K. Brown and co-ordinator Alexandra Caulfield, “We are a friendly, non-competitive platform where filmmakers have the opportunity to showcase their work, rub elbows with the locals, and talk film!”

This festival offers a true variety of work by featuring short films, animation, music videos, and feature film trailers, live music, and more. Submissions are wide open with “indie-friendly” pricing.

Filmmakers come first at the Cinema Spectacular, so as soon as they are selected, they become a part of the promotional support network, offering a range of opportunities to both established and emerging players in the business. Previous winner James Malekzadeh described the Cinema Spectacular organizers as “great communicators”, while Andrew Calderone said, “Communication leading up to the festival was great, and the team did plenty of promotion as well.”

qFLIX Philadelphia

19th – 25th March 2018

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

qFlix Philadelphia is the film festival rooted in 24 years of LGBTQI leadership, with a mission to preserve the exhibition of American and international lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer independent film. Organizers James Duggan & Thom Cardwell outline how “queer film inspires the imagination and encourages the journey of discovery and acceptance by both the region’s LGBTQI and the mainstream communities.”

It’s with this beautiful ethos that the festival presents a diverse range of queer cinema, urging filmmakers to submit content in the genres of features, documentaries, men’s shorts, women’s shorts, trans shorts, and new media. Awards are handed out to the best film in each genre, while a series of special awards are also presented, including the Barbara Gittings International Human Rights Award, Harvey Milk Community Service Award, Producer’s Award, Rising Star Award, and Unsung Volunteer Hero Award.

St. Francis College Women’s Film Festival

19th – 22nd March 2018

Brooklyn, New York

St. Francis College Women’s Film Festival is committed to supporting emerging and established female filmmakers. According to festival director Dr. Augusta Palmer, “We strive to recognize new and original voices within the Saint Francis College community and neighboring New York City college campuses, as well as create a bridge between female student filmmakers and professional female filmmakers.”

This dedication is backed by the festival’s primary goals, which are to create a social and artistic discourse among women regarding self-image, intellect, spirituality, socio-economic concerns, and sexuality, while examining emerging digital film storytelling trends and artistic viewpoints of female student and professional filmmakers.

In addition to the various categories of short films, including student documentary, student narrative, and student animation, the fest also accepts virtual reality submissions. Filmmakers are given the opportunity to have their films screened to audiences, while attendants can enjoy panels and workshops on crowdfunding and the entrepreneurial aspects of filmmaking.

PhotoDiversity Film Festival

20th – 23rd March 2018

New York, New York

This New York-based film festival is dedicated to presenting and supporting filmmakers of diverse backgrounds offering meaningful perspectives on environmental issues. Organizers Hazel Sangalang & James Karl Fischer launched the event to showcase films on science, environment, and culture, so that they in turn can have an impact on the health and ecological well-being of the world’s global communities. The event supports the charitable work of The Zoological Lighting Institute – an international NGO dedicated to science in support of animal welfare and wildlife conservation.

Awards are handed out in various categories for both professionals and students, including Best Science Feature, Best Wildlife Feature, Best Arts and Culture Feature, Diversity Award, Best Short, Best in Festival, and Best Cinematography. In addition, a special PhotoDiversity Lifetime Achievement Award will also be granted from this year onwards.

Sonoma International Film Festival

21st – 25th March 2018

Sonoma, California

Presented by the non-profit Sonoma Film Society, Sonoma International Film Festival offers an entertaining and inspiring cinematic experience that supports and promotes independent films, celebrates the cultural diversity in the Sonoma Valley through film, and funds visual arts in education. Named one of America’s “Top Ten Destination Film Festivals”, Sonoma prides itself on giving every filmmaker the royal treatment. According to organizers Kevin W. McNeely and Ginny Krieger, the event is “celebrated as one of the friendliest and most uplifting festivals on the circuit.”

Awards and prizes are handed out at the annual festival screening event for the selected best in American Independent Feature, World Feature, Documentary Feature, Narrative Short, and Documentary Short. SIFF has received warm reviews since launching over twenty years ago. Filmmaker Roxanne Holman said, “Sonoma is just a wonderful festival – probably the most fun you could have at a film festival, along with an amazing atmosphere and a true appreciation for the films.” While filmmaker Rajesh Naroth noted the high-quality hospitality offered by the organizers: “The location was spectacular, the whole town turns out for the festival, and the organizers are warm and wonderful folks.”

Filmfort

21st – 25th March 2018

Boise, Idaho

Filmfort is the rad film-related extension of the Treefort Music Fest, offering the sickest new indie films that go beyond the music. The fest’s organizers are after fresh features, shorts, music videos, or experimental films. “We are seeking original films that push the boundaries and inspire.” The festival welcomes submissions from people of all backgrounds and showcases a diverse range of filmmaking forms including narrative feature, documentary feature, experimental feature, narrative short, documentary short, experimental short, and music video.

Columbus International Film & Animation Festival

22nd – 24th March 2018

Columbus, Ohio

Galloping through to its 66th year, the Columbus International Film & Animation Festival is the oldest film festival in the United States. Throughout the years, the event has honored thousands of films, filmmakers, and producers, and its awards remain a revered prize for industry professionals. However, the organization is equally passionate about supporting independent film – the juried competition focuses on rewarding the world’s best films, regardless of origin.

Not only does the event present a variety of films to its audiences, but it also gives visiting filmmakers and students the chance to interact together through workshops, panels, and networking opportunities. The winners in its ten categories are handed the prestigious Best of Festival Award, and there’s also opportunity to bag jury-selected prizes in select categories and other distinctions.

Houston Latino Film Festival

22nd – 25th March 2018

Bellaire, Texas

The Houston Latino Film Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and enlightening the communities of the South Texas region on Latino culture by presenting a variety of art and films to the Houston area. During the four-day festival, films from all over Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and the United States are showcased. The event also features opportunities for the audiences to participate in discussions with the directors at the screenings, as well as a series of special events highlighting the diversity of the Latino culture.

HLFF recognizes and honors cinematic achievements in filmmaking that bring together all of the elements that make for a great film, including direction, acting, cinematography, screenplay writing, and great storytelling for the following categories – Best Feature Film, Best Short Film, Best Student Film, and Audience Award. In addition, one film will be chosen from the categories listed above for a cash prize of $1000.

Through My Eyes

22nd – 25th March 2018

Los Angeles, California

This groundbreaking short film festival celebrates Native power from the tribal lands of North America and all over the world. Starting as a scriptwriting competition for Native American youth across the tribal lands of the U.S., this event has progressed into a film festival that seeks to showcase the best short films created by indigenous minorities from all areas of the world.

Founders Tiger Moon & Iris Gonzalez state the festival “aims to redefine the word indigenous, originally meaning ‘of the land’, to embrace the artistic contributions of cinematic artists who identify as an indigenous minority”. It doesn’t matter if you’re native to the U.S. or from aboriginal lands of Australia, Asia, or Africa – Through My Eyes wants to hear from you. Prizes are handed out to winners in Short Film, Animation, and Music Video.

Nevada Women’s Film Festival

22nd – 25th March 2018

Las Vegas, Nevada

Nevada Women’s Film Festival is the annual event celebrating and supporting the fair representation of women in film. The event welcomes submissions from all genres, in the format of shorts and features. Founder and executive director Nikki Corda said, “We are looking to showcase women directors and women in key crew positions. But we are also seeking stories with strong female characters or which otherwise depict women in a positive light.”

Now in its fourth year, the festival hopes to receive submissions from filmmakers of all genders from all over the world. Prizes are handed out for Best Feature Fiction, Best Feature Documentary, Best Short Fiction, Best Short Documentary, Best Female Protagonist, Spirit of Activism, and Best Student Film. Not only that, but one selected filmmaker will be handed the prestigious Nevada Woman Filmmaker of the Year award, while another has the chance to bag the Nevada Student Filmmaker of the Year award.

Garden State Film Festival

22nd – 25th March 2018

Sea Girt, New Jersey

The Garden State Film Festival offers independent filmmakers the chance to exhibit their work, while providing New Jersey audiences the opportunity to experience new, cultural, and artistic endeavors through the medium of film. Each year, the GSFF’s professional jury selects winning films in the following categories – Feature, Documentary in both short and feature length, Animation in both short and feature length, Short film, Music Video, Commercial, PSA, and Trailers.

Studio Seven13 described the the Garden State Film Festival as “one of the best festivals we have been to. They offer a lot of opportunities to network and the screenings are always fun to be apart of.”

Au Contraire Film Festival

22nd – 24th March 2018

Montréal, Québec, Canada

The Au Contraire Film Festival’s mission is to offer “stirring and thought-provoking films that explore issues of mental health from different angles.” With a program of movies that offer stories of hope, suffering, and a blend of the two, ACIFF calls on filmmakers to “look at our human shadow with greater compassion.”

The ACIFF is the only bilingual French & English film festival dedicated to mental health in the world, and it also raises funds for Montreal organizations dedicated to mental health services. The ACIFF is a non-competitive festival which aims to stimulate conversation and increase awareness of mental health issues in an entertaining manner.

Hexploitation Film Festival

23rd – 25th March 2018

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Described by organizers as being “a celebration of fringe filmmaking, controversial cinema, tongue-in-cheek B-movies, and the art of the macabre,” Hexploitation is the only horror film festival in the greater Hamilton, Ontario area. The annual event showcases seven features and approximately 20 shorts over three thrilling evenings at the Staircase Theatre. Founded in 2009, the festival is committed to providing a one-of-a-kind experience by “showcasing shocking, scary, schlocky, and scintillating independent and mainstream horror / genre films.”

Canadian & international filmmakers and distributors are invited to submit their movies, where they stand the chance of winning a variety of awards including Scariest Film, Best Writing, Best Monster, and Achievement In Makeup VX. The Hamilton Spectator once described festival director Aaron Allen as being “Hamilton’s unofficial horror meister,” while the city itself was once dubbed “a hotbed of horror” by Shock Till You Drop.

International Independent Film Awards

23rd – 24th March 2018

Encino, California

Dedicated to sharing the visions of independent filmmakers in a powerful, creative, and entertaining way, the IIFA is a film competition which rewards “many of the gifted filmmakers, screenwriters, and artists of our generation.” As the organizers state, “The Independent film community is without a doubt the backbone of the industry. This is why it is so important for there to be opportunities for these independent geniuses to be recognized.”

With a total of 41 awards categories and seven levels of awards (Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Honorable Mention, and the top ranking Best In Show), the festival provides an abundance of recognition for a variety of filmmaking talent at every level. Peter Hargitai enthused that “the selection process is highly professional”, commending how the awards gave him “instant visibility” as a filmmaker.

Big Easy International Film Festival

23rd – 25th March 2018

New Orleans, Louisiana

This long-running festival screens shorts and features of every genre. It has continued to grow and develop into an important screening opportunity for up-and-coming and established filmmakers, and offers jury & audience awards in every major category. As stated by the festival organizers, there’s one other major factor that makes Big Easy a festival worth attending: “We also have truly the most amazing location in the U.S. . . . we screen the films in the historic French Quarter!”

Charlotte Asian Film Festival

23rd March 2018 – 1st April 2018

Charlotte, North Carolina

Developed in association with UISAC (Universal Institute for Successful Aging of Carolinas) and CAHA (Charlotte Asian Heritage Association), this festival primarily supports Asian filmmakers to showcase their talents. Aiming to screen narrative shorts and features alongside documentaries of Asian cultural, historical, and social significance, the festival welcomes submissions from Asian and non-Asian filmmakers.

Lajar Tantjap Film described the event as being “the best Asian film festival in the U.S.” with an “amazing film selection”. Meanwhile, organizers of the Charlotte Asian Film Festival revealed, “(CAFF) is a joint effort of the local Asian-American community and others who see value in this novel addition to Charlotte’s cultural landscape.”

Lyons Film Festival

23rd – 25th March 2018

Lyons, Colorado

Described as being “a gateway for Colorado’s filmmakers,” the Lyons Film Festival is focused on the experience of audiences, while nurturing emerging and professional filmmaking talent. The festival program involves films in competition to win a Best Feature, Best Short, or Audience Choice award.

As well as screenings, the festival also has many film panels and workshops where filmmakers and movie fans can receive a better understanding of how to craft, produce, and distribute a movie. Filmmaker Chris Freeman commended the festival for their panache for publicity, stating, “They did an outstanding job at promoting our film in local press and on social media.”

Collinsville Film Festival

23rd – 25th March 2018

Collinsville, Connecticut

With a focus on providing support and development to independent artists, the CFF is an annual exhibition of fiction and non-fiction cinema. Called a “must-see event” by The Boston Globe, the festival is a three-day celebration of film, music, and art. The CFF welcomes submissions from amateur, student, and professional filmmakers and has a variety of awards and prizes on offer for winning shorts and features.

Reel 2 Reel Student Film Festival

23rd March 2018

Burlington, North Carolina

Encouraging teenagers and young adults to make short films about the societal issues, Reel 2 Reel showcases ten adjudicated movies from students in middle school, high school, and college level. Produced by Teen 2 Teen Video & Theatre, the festival considers genres such as horror, drama, documentary, and comedy, and welcomes applications from groups or clubs.

The festival’s organizers highlighted the educational and social value of the event, stating, “These video productions are intended to be shared throughout the community and to be used as a means of education. Teens not only learn tangible skills, but join a community of young adults who are making an impact in our community.” Audiences are able to explore issues including harassment, peer pressure, mental health, bullying, and dating violence through dramatic and non-fictional video, while learning skills like editing and production.

The Longwood Animation Film Festival

23rd – 24th March 2018

Farmville, Virginia

The Longwood Animation Film Festival is an annual event hosted by the Graphic and Animation Design program of Longwood University. Showcasing shorts of ten minutes or less that feature 2D, 3D, or stop motion animation, the festival aims to increase exposure of the art form to the local community while encouraging new & established talent. LAFF features short screenings and guest speakers along with a gallery opening, award ceremony, and reception.

Sunny Side up Film Festival

23rd – 25th March 2018

Ardmore, Oklahoma

Filled with great indie films and “fun that will be legendary”, this family friendly film festival is a competitive event for emerging filmmakers and screenwriters. With countless awards and prizes on offer, the festival seeks to inspire and encourage filmmakers to to pursue courageous and bold artistic visions. The Sunny Side Up organizers added, “Our hope is to attract high profile and novice filmmakers so attendees of the festival will enjoy an array of artistic experiences of indie films, and individuals driven by the true and raw spirit of independent movie making.”

Southern Comedy Showcase

23rd March 2018

Vicksburg, Mississippi

The Southern Comedy Showcase is a new festival with plenty of opportunity. The event features two film awards for the best overall movie on show and its runner up, but also hands out four individual prizes for Best Writer, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress. The organizers said, “Our showcase doesn’t play games with silly, multiple deadlines and tiered fees. We have a single deadline and extremely affordable entry fees.”

Perennial Film Festival

23rd – 25th March 2018

Port Charlotte, Florida

Founded by Ryan Sharp of Perennial Motion Pictures, this festival was created to provide a quality forum within which filmmakers can showcase their work while connecting with a larger community. Perennial accepts a range of submissions including instructional films, documentaries, shorts, and features. Filmmaker Kevin Almodovar called Perennial “a new and refreshing way to do festivals” and praised the organizers for their “excellent feedback”.

Dox on the Fox: Short Doc Film Fest

23rd – 25th March 2018

Batavia, Illinois

Aiming to “showcase Midwest talent and bring real stories from the area and all over the world,” this short documentary festival is open to entries based on any topic and produced at any time. Prizes available at Dox on the Fox include the Golden Foxes, the Spotlight Award, and an Excellence in Documentary Cinematography Award.

Director of Dox on the Fox, Charles Klein, explained, “My mission in creating this festival is to gather stories with perspectives from all vantage points. Short documentaries can open our eyes to a variety of subjects, people, and places we may be unable to explore in our daily lives.” However, Klein also aims for the festival to nurture the connections of the documentary filmmaking community. “I would also like the fest to encourage filmmaker interaction and community. Through this interaction with peers filmmakers can challenge each other, learn from each other, and create lasting partnerships”

Taiyuan International Film & TV Festival

23rd – 25th March 2018

Wilmington, Delaware / Taiyuan Shi, China

This unique film festival seeks to bring the best of contemporary independent filmmaking to China. Featuring seminars, Q&A sessions, and discussion panels with China’s leading film & television professionals – alongside a program of first-class international filmmaking – the festival is a forum for enriching educational opportunities for cultural understanding and celebration.

The festival welcomes submissions from people of all ages and backgrounds, and showcases a diverse range of filmmaking forms including animation, television, documentary, shorts, and features. As part of their award ceremony, all finalists will receive a first class ticket to Taiyuan, Shanxi Province in China, plus an all-expenses paid stay at a five star hotel.

Cane River Film Festival

23rd – 24th March 2018

Natchitoches, Louisiana

CRFF promotes family-focused films and supports student & emerging filmmakers. Alongside the opportunity to be screened at the festival (and to become the recipient of the esteemed CRFF Award) is the chance for filmmakers to meet a plethora of distributors, agents, producers, and industry insiders who will be attending the festival.

All films submitted must be made by a Louisiana-based filmmaker to highlight Natchitoches’s contribution to the film industry. “Natchitoches has a long and intimate history with American cinema,” the CRFF organizers points out. “The Cane River film festival represents the latest chapter in that history, and we are as diverse as the community that we represent.”

California International Shorts Festival

24th – 25th March 2018

Encino, California

The CISF offers a platform for independent filmmakers and writers to demonstrate their talents in a sociable and encouraging network environment. The organizers state, “We here at the California International Shorts Festival take tremendous pride in putting on a memorable event and screening the works of the many talented, dedicated, and unsung filmmakers.”

With nine categories for competition including narrative shorts, experimental shorts, music videos, and short scripts, the festival offers a broad variety of opportunity for emerging and established filmmakers. Courtney Suttle called CISF “a must enter for short filmmakers and writers,” while Ralph Odierna declared it a “wonderful festival in a nice setting.”

Portland Comedy Film Festival

24th March 2018

Portland, Oregon

This four-day comedy showcase provides a unique forum for independent comedy filmmakers from around the world to have their movies screened in front of an enthusiastic audience. Searching for engaging films that tickle the funny bone, the festival awards fifteen different prizes as judged by a panel of twelve industry experts.

Filmmakers and audiences alike have raved about the festival. Scott Rogers enthused, “Great fun, awesome hosts & organizers, and an amazing mix of content on the screen.” Meanwhile Elizabeth Mitchell recommended that “anyone with a comedic film or video should most definitely submit to PCFF.”

Cartoons and Bloody Marys Festival of Animates

24th March 2018

Seattle, Washington

Described by organizers as being “dark, surreal, dream-like, and over the top,” Cartoons and Bloody Marys features a program filled with international shorts. The festival accepts a variety of submissions including narrative features, music videos, documentaries, video game trailers, fan inspired pieces, and even VR or 360 works (so long as they’re completed in some form of animated style.)

During Cartoons and Bloody Marys, the organizers strive to entertain their audience while commending the filmmakers in competition. “We close each festival with an awards ceremony and party, then we take our attending filmmakers out to dinner at an iconic Seattle location. All filmmakers receive 2 VIP passes which include film screenings, cocktails & drinks, and plenty of snacks during the festival.”

WilmFFilm Chick Flicks Festival

24th March 2018

Wilmington, North Carolina

If you’re a female filmmaker with narrative, documentary, animation, or experimental movies to share, the WFF wants to see your work. Described by organizers as being a laid back festival “dedicated to cultivating an environment where women can realize their artistic cinematic visions,” the festival provides educational and mentoring opportunities alongside a diverse showcase of short movies. To be considered for competition, all flicks submitted need to be 30 minutes or less. Filmmaker Jillian Carney recommended the festival “to anyone in the Wilmington area looking to gain more experience showing and discussing your films.”

Shart International Comedy Film Festival

24th March 2018

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Founded by the late Winnipeg businessman and comedy film lover Ulysses W. Shärt, SICFF is a rambunctious blowout of comedy excellence. Adhering to the motto “Make Us Laugh”, the festival is free of pretentiousness (pants are apparently optional) and is delivered with the prime objective to create a fun non-traditional film showcase.

SICFF is the largest and longest running comedy film festival in Canada, delivering a majestic evening of beer, music, and film. With submissions received from all around the world, SICFF celebrates “the international language of laughter.” The organizers added, “We also think that comedy can change the world. Or at least make us laugh for a bit and forget how awful things are.”

Unnamed Footage Festival

24th – 25th March 2018

San Francisco, California

As a two-day film festival showcasing found-footage horror and faux documentary movies, UFF aims to celebrate the niche narrative movement. Though horror movies are an emphasis of UFF, its aims are instead focused on opening a dialogue regarding the artistic and entertainment values of first-person narrative filmmaking. In doing so the festival strives to showcase the exciting diversity of the medium by exploring it through genres including comedy, science fiction, and drama.

Accepting submissions with no limits on completion or release dates, the organizers believe that “due to the nature of this genre, sometimes films take years to complete and slip through the cracks, and UFF’s goal is to hunt down and revive these movies, and give new films the chance to screen theatrically.” As a result, audiences can look forward to revisiting older titles while discovering new ones.

Film Con Hollywood

24th – 25th March 2018

Los Angeles, California

Described as being a “first of its kind” convention, Film Con Hollywood offers a variety of opportunities to young filmmakers. Presenting a platform on which young talent can join a self-empowered community to connect, collaborate, and create content with like-minded creatives, the festival provides a nurturing ecosystem to those at the first stages of their career.

Rising filmmakers can submit work in competition for one of three categories: open filmmakers, women filmmakers, and best short film original screenplay, all of which offer the grand prize of $3,000. In addition, the convention also gives those looking to pursue careers in media and entertainment the opportunity to discuss their goals with esteemed industry professionals.

Rated SGF

24th March 2018

Springfield, Missouri

“Inspired by exceptional things found in unexpected places,” Rated SGF presents filmmaking that challenges assumptions. According to the festival’s organizers, for a movie to be Rated SGF it must “challenge our preconceived notions and reveal quality and substance where it is not expected. This could be a film or filmmaker out of an unexpected place or a character that sheds their expected labels to reveal their true substance.” Though submissions have no genre restrictions, they must fit the values of this Rated SGF definition.

NYC Short Doc Film Fest

25th March 2018

New York, New York

Honoring documentary filmmaking, the NYCSDFF screens a selection of documentaries that are 20 minutes or less. The festival showcases documentaries that manage to deliver the multifold purposes of the genre, or as the organizers put it, “to educate, to entertain, to bring attention to important issues, or to simply highlight the understated wonders of everyday life.”

Houston Black Film Festival

27th – 31st March 2018

Houston, Texas

As their original tagline states, the HoustonBFF has been “bringing Hollywood to Houston” for years, by celebrating the art of visual storytelling alongside cultural diversity and community outreach. Focused on enhancing the process of developing, producing, and distributing films by black filmmakers, the HoustonBFF connects storytellers with industry professionals within an immersive five-day festival.

With a large and diverse range of awards & prizes on offer, the festival accepts submissions made by filmmakers of black or African heritage or films featuring a predominantly African-American cast. The festival aims to bring a “collective, cohesive, and creative environment” for the Houston Texas Film Mecca and was praised by filmmaker Isaac Green for its “top notch” programming and “sense of community”.

First Take Shorts Series

28th March 2018

Ambler, Pennsylvania

Dedicated to showcasing the best local filmmakers in the Greater Philadelphia Area, the First Take Shorts Series aims to screen movies from filmmakers with a diverse range of skill sets and backgrounds. The First Take Shorts Series accepts between six and eight shorts per program of movies no longer than 15 minutes, and screens them at the Ambler Theater. All shorts submitted to the program must have a local connection such as setting, filming location, or cast & crew members to be considered.

Described by organizers as being “always on the lookout for narratives, documentaries, animations, or music videos that display a fresh artistic vision,” the festival accepts submissions from students, first-time filmmakers, and seasoned professionals.

Wicked Queer

29th March 2018 – 8th April 2018

Boston, Massachusetts

New England’s largest LGBTQI media event and the fourth oldest LGBTQI film festival in North America has continued to thrive ever since film programmer George Mansour founded in 1984. In his review of Wicked Queer in 2017, writer Matthew C. Skelton praised the festival’s “overwhelming wealth of adventurous programming.”

Showcasing a variety of movies from emerging and established independent filmmakers, Wicked Queer shines a light on the best in LGBTQI filmmaking. Alongside the main program of the festival, Wicked Queer showcases short films focused on male, female, trans, and social justice narratives.

Dawson City International Short Film Festival

29th March 2018 – 1st April 2018

Dawson City, Yukon, Canada

Established in 2000 as a project of the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, the Dawson City International Short Film Festival presents a four-day celebration of short film every Easter weekend. Within their movie showcase, the DCISFF places local filmmakers in the context of an international film festival and nurtures emerging & existent talent.

Meanwhile the festival also provides a unique networking environment encompassing workshops, panel discussions, and meet & greets with an aim to connect Yukon filmmakers with out-of-territory industry professionals. Described as being “a small and intimate festival,” Lulu Keating calls the DCISFF “one of the best festivals in the country.”

The Alhambra Theatre Film Festival

29th March 2018 – 1st April 2018

Evansville, Indiana

This festival is as much a celebration of movies and filmmaking as it is about the theaters that provide a screen for them. With an aim to raise awareness and money for the restoration of the historic Alhambra Theater, the festival showcases movies that would otherwise not have an opportunity to be screened locally.

Alongside the opportunity for filmmakers to win prizes – including a $1,000 Audience Award, $500 animation prize, and $3,000 grand prize – the festival also presents networking opportunities like workshops and screenings for filmmakers and students. Cameron McCasland enthused about the festival’s “on demand screening room where you can ask for an encore screening of any film, making it easy to catch almost everything you want to see.”

Troy International Film Festival

29th March 2018

Troy, Alabama

Hosted by the Troy University Cinematography Society, this relatively new film festival is open to submissions from students as well as independent filmmakers from around the world. There are four awards and prizes on offer at the festival including Best Smartphone Film, Best Student Film, Best of Festival, and Crowd Favorite, making it an accessible platform for emerging filmmakers.

Chattanooga State Film Fest

29th – 31st March 2018

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Tennessee’s first student film festival is open to submissions from all emerging filmmakers currently attending high school or college in the local area. Accepting films of any genre between 30 and 120 minutes, Chattanooga State Film Fest features prizes honoring excellence in Feature Film and Feature Documentary, and Short Film and Short Documentary. As well as showcasing the work of students, the festival also provides workshops taught by community and industry leaders, while offering screenings of popular movies.

BisonBison Student Film Festival

30th – 31st March 2018

Ponca City, Oklahoma

Open to emerging filmmakers enrolled in accredited colleges, universities, and trade schools in mid-America, BisonBison showcases student films in any genre, offering three $1,000 cash prizes for its Awards of Excellence. Filmmaker Savannah Rodgers called BisonBison “a must for any student filmmaker,” adding, “they also provide great workshops for anyone getting started in the industry.”  

Animated Arizona Film Festival

30th – 31st March 2018

Tucson, Arizona

The AAFF seeks to inspire and promote artists and filmmakers by showcasing a series of carefully selected animated shorts. Created as a collaboration between The Arizona Sunburn Film Festival, The Screening Room, and Constant Con, this niche festival accepts submissions of any genre so long as they’re pure animation or a blend of animation & live action. Oh yeah, and they have to be no longer than 14 minutes and 59 seconds.

The North Virginia International Film & Music Festival (NOVA Fest)

April 1st – 14th 2018

Fairfax, Virginia

As well as providing the usual slate of international movies, seminars, and panels, this newly-expanded film festival will also be including a capital film market for its fourth year, bringing sales agents and film buyers from across the globe.

Filmmaker Todd Selleck called the festival a “first class event,” and professed, “I think if other festivals / competitions are serious about being successful they should take notes from NOVA. Everybody and everything about NOVA is five stars.” NOVA accepts submissions for feature and short narrative, documentary, screenplays, and music videos.

Fade In Awards Short Film / Short Script Competition

April 1st – 2nd 2018

Beverly Hills, California

With 21 years’ experience in spotting, mentoring, and introducing talented new screenwriters and filmmakers to the Hollywood community, the Fade In Awards is one of the most prestigious independent film contests in the industry. It’s also full of success stories from former winners.

The Blacklist creator & executive producer Jon Bokenkamp signed with ICM after entering his thriller to the competition and called his decision to enter the awards, “The most important moment in my career.” Meanwhile Josh Gordon and Will Speck’s short Culture was nominated for an Academy Award after previously being entered for the Fade In Awards – they went on to direct Will Ferrell in Blades of Glory.

The festival is open to aspiring screenwriters of short screenplays and filmmakers of short films, with judges looking out for work of any genre featuring compelling narratives and well-drawn characters.

Young Filmmakers

April 1st – June 30th 2018

New York City, New York

Screening movies from high school and college students, Young Filmmakers is a film festival dedicated to discovering the next generation of filmmakers. The event provides exposure for budding filmmakers within the New York film community and the opportunity for young people to experience their own movies on the big screen.

Filmmaker Daniel Chan called the festival a “wonderful learning and networking experience” while Timothy Collins recommended the event for any young people to submit to, highlighting how Young Filmmakers “really cares about showcasing and encouraging young up-and-coming filmmakers.”

Italian Film Festival USA – Shorts

April 1st – 30th 2018

St Louis, Montana

Bringing Italian language films to over 10,000 spectators in 13 cities including Detroit, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Chicago, and Portland, this film festival elevates the awareness of Italian culture, people, land, and language. Providing the public an opportunity to see Italian short films (with English subtitles) they may not have seen before, all selected shorts will be screened at each location across the country during the same evening.

Inroads Screenwriting Fellowship

April 1st – 2nd 2018

Los Angeles, California

Open to all screenplays and pilots, the debut year of the Inroads Screenwriting Fellowship aims to locate, expose, and nurture up-and-coming screenwriters who have not yet been embraced by the mainstream movie industry. Winners are flown to Los Angeles where they attend the famed Robert Mckee Story Seminar and enjoy individual meetings with Hollywood producers, managers, and entertainment attorneys.

Alt-Fest

April 1st – June 30th 2018

New York City, New York

As the only locally-programmed gay & lesbian film festival in New York, Alt-Fest is dedicated to championing independent queer short and feature films, documentaries, webisodes, and arthouse or erotic movies that feature explicitly sexual scenes.  

Film & Her: A Female Filmmaker Showcase

April 1st – May 31st 2018

Erie, Pennsylvania

Committed to showcasing emerging female filmmakers, Film & Her aims to create a strong community of women in film. Featuring an educational workshop program to help expand opportunities for emerging female filmmaking talent, the festival works to support and celebrate the talents of female animators, cinematographers, directors, editors, producers, and writers to help them find the tools to succeed.

Short Film Showcase

April 1st – December 31st 2018

Portsmouth, Rhode Island

The third year of the online showcase will continue to celebrate short film from all around the globe. Short Film Showcase is an internet film talk show featuring interviews with filmmakers & actors while celebrating independent short film submissions.

Self Propelled Short Film Festival

April 1st – September 30th 2018

Various locations

Taking place across the US over several months, this filmmaker-made festival was created to help the work of independent filmmakers be seen by a live audience while also creating a thriving filmmaking community and networking opportunities. The festival accepts submissions of 30 minutes or less based within any genre, with awards given for acting, directing, cinematography, sound, score, and editing.

Times Up Film Series

April 1st 2018

Brooklyn, New York

Dedicated to empowering Latino, African-American, LGBTQI, and female filmmakers, the Times Up Film Series is a new independent film festival aiming to celebrate women in the entertainment industry. Serving as a platform to promote diversity and female-led content, Times Up Film Series seeks to inspire and entertain with a series of screenings alongside various workshops, panels, and networking events.

Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition

April 2nd 2018

Hollywood, California

Having helped thousands of filmmakers hone their voice over seven years, Fresh Voices has become one of Hollywood’s top screenwriting competitions for emerging talent. The competition has a successful track record with past winners signing representation contracts, as well as producing or becoming staff members of TV shows. The competition includes categories for feature screenplays across various genres as well as pilot scripts & shorts.

NSI Online Short Film Festival

April 2nd – June 18th 2018

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Celebrating short movies created by Canadian filmmakers, this online film festival provides an accessible yet esteemed way for shorts to be seen, shared, and celebrated. NSI Online Short Film Festival is open to comedy, drama, animated, experimental, documentary, sci-fi, horror, and music video shorts of 30 minutes or less, with winning submissions reaching a potential online audience of around 16,500 people.

Filmmaker Rami Katz proclaimed, “Premiering my film online with the NSI Online Short Film Festival has been a great experience. Excellent communication, and a fantastic venue for film to live online.”

Wasatch Mountain Film Festival

April 2nd – 8th 2018

Salt Lake City, Utah

With a primary mission of encouraging audiences to both celebrate and question the human experience while reconnecting with nature, this mountain movie showcase is a niche festival full of life. Focused on celebrating the spectacular environment of the Wasatch Mountains alongside some of the best mountain films from around the world, the annual WMFF features a variety of competition categories including social awareness, exploration and adventure, mountain culture, and environmental.

Weird Film Fest

April 2nd 2018

San Francisco, California

Showcasing the very best in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and just plain weird shorts, this annual genre festival takes place over one single night in which movies of 15 minutes or less are showcased (though movies under ten minutes are given preference). Weird Film Fest may celebrate weird genre fare, but festival organizers won’t showcase movies featuring extreme gore, profanity, or scenes of a sexual nature – they have their limits, folks!

Avondale Towne Cinema Short Docs Festival

April 2nd 2018

Avondale Estates, Georgia

With selections chosen primarily with the local community in mind, the Avondale Towne Cinema Short Docs Festival is a small “no-frills” event providing a forum for fresh ideas. Showcasing movies of 20 minutes or less of a specific theme, for 2018 the festival is looking for films exploring the many dimensions of adoption. Whether centering on family, pets, gender, or something else, this festival wants to see it.

I AM 2018 Video Contest

April 2nd – 4th 2018

Washington County, Tennessee

Described as being a “movement for economic and racial justice,” the I Am 2018 campaign commemorates the 50th anniversary of the striking African-American sanitation workers and Dr. Martin Luther King’s subsequent murder. I AM 2018 is looking for videos inspiring a call to action to fight for all working people or illuminating the relevance of Dr. King and the striking workers today.

The festival features a prominent panel of judges including Hans Charles (cinematographer for Ava DuVernay’s 13th) and will showcase winning entries as part of an online ad campaign initiative.

2018 Faith and Spirituality Shorts Film Festival

April 2nd -16th 2018

Los Angeles, California

Seeking and showcasing shorts of 30 minutes or less that explore issues of faith and spirituality, this festival is dedicated to spreading enlightened ideas with a program devised to push humanity forward together. As well as movie screenings, the festival also offers networking opportunities, industry panels, and awards ceremonies with a variety of prizes on offer for winning films.

Oakland International Film Festival

April 3rd – 7th 2018

Oakland, California

An annual showcase of world-class independent movies from local filmmakers and beyond, the Oakland International Film Festival consists of screenings, networking events, special events, and opportunities in promotion of rising and established talent.

Imago Film Festival

April 3rd – 7th 2018

Elgin, Illinois

Exploring stories of faith and ethics to showcase films that delve into journeys between brokenness and hope, the Imago Film Festival is dedicated to the spiritual passage of the human experience. The event showcases independent movies of narrative, experimental, or documentary content and awards cash prizes to winning submissions.

Caledon Public Library’s Young Reels Film Festival

April 3rd 2018

Bolton, Ontario

Providing an opportunity for young people in the community to make statements, be heard, and celebrate the uniqueness of their voice, the Young Reels Film Festival is open to all high school students (grades 9 – 12) with something to say. The festival accepts submissions of under 10 minutes in categories including live action, cartoon, animation, claymation, drama, and documentary and awards prizes for Best Direction, Best Special Effects, and Best Animation (among others).

Cleveland International Film Festival

April 4th – 15th 2018

Cleveland, Ohio

Founded in 1977, the Cleveland Film Society has presented this prestigious film festival every spring for four decades. Recognized by USA Today as being the second best film festival in the country and by IndieWire as one of the best in the world, the CIFF has maintained relevance through its diverse programming choices, community standards, and outstanding series of events often featuring high-profile filmmakers.

Beverly Hills Film Festival

April 4th  – 8th 2018

Beverly Hills, California

Simultaneously paying tribute to the dazzling heritage of the area while celebrating the achievements of rising stars, the BHFF is considered one of the most exclusive film festivals in the world in one of the most elite cinematic cities. Serving as a cinematic cultural template for emerging filmmakers & screenwriters to be showcased to the Beverly Hills community, the BHFF supports the career goals of rising talent.

Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood

April 4th – 5th 2018

Los Angeles, California

With an aim to recognize and award the best independent filmmakers & screenwriters and aid them in their goals for project funding and distribution, the LACFH offers opportunities for new work to be recognized, judged, and awarded. With multiple awards on offer across nine categories, the festival showcases exciting new independent movies from local and international artists.

QFest St. Louis

April 4th – 8th 2018

St. Louis, Missouri

Using the art of contemporary queer cinema to spotlight the lives and culture of LGBTQI people, QFest brings unique, daring, and exceptional movies to St. Louis that would not otherwise be seen on the big screen. Showcasing the very best in international, American, and documentary independent cinema, QFest provides diverse glimpses of the human experience that thoughtfully explore intersectional issues of race, ethnicity, and sexual identity.

Show Me Justice Film Festival

April 4th – 6th 2018

Warrensburg, Missouri

Striving to raise awareness about social justice via the medium of movies, Show Me Justice Film Festival focuses on the various social injustices infiltrating society. The festival spotlights real experiences through short features (of between 20 and 60 minutes), short narrative, experimental, animated, and documentary films.

The Freedom Film Festival

April 4th 2018

Mount Vernon, New York

The Freedom Film Festival is an intergenerational and purposeful display of inspirational creative works. Founder Darin Kent stated, “We help spread the gospel throughout the entire nation.” The fest invites an audience of people from across the country to experience a showcase of work by activists, emerging artists, and filmmakers of independent cinema while screening a series of short films that align with the theme of “ending racism”.

Environmental Film Festival at Yale

April 4th – 7th 2018

New Haven, Connecticut

Sponsored by the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University, the Environmental Film Festival at Yale is one of America’s top student-run environmental film festivals. Every Spring, EFFY showcases incisive, cutting-edge films that highlight the environmental and social issues of our time. Expert panels of filmmakers, celebrities, scholars, journalists, activists, and public servants provide audiences with context, criticism, and greater insights after most screenings. Interactive non-film events like block parties, workshops, and nature walks complement the screenings of short, feature, and student films.

Cat Clips: A Competition in Cuteness!

April 4th 2018

St Louis, Missouri

A collaboration between Cinema St. Louis (CSL) and Animal House Cat Rescue & Adoption Center will see the launch of a new signature short film contest and fundraising event: Cat Clips – A Competition in Cuteness!

Cat Clips is the first event of its kind in the area and features an array of cat videos submitted by local cat owners which are then voted on by notable feline-loving members of the community. Its organizers will award a cash prize of $250 to the top clip of the evening and award various prizes to second and third place clips. Feline fans, get involved!

Vail Film Festival

April 5th – 8th 2018

Vail, Colorado

The Vail Film Festival has been named “one of the top 10 destination film festivals in the world” by MovieMaker magazine. The screening event showcases feature films, shorts, documentaries, and student films while fostering filmmakers through panel discussions, a daily hospitality lounge, nightly parties, and networking opportunities with leading film industry professionals.

Past Vail Film Festival tribute recipients and attendees include Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns), Allison Janney (The Help), Josh Lucas (A Beautiful Mind), Zach Braff (Garden State), Kevin Smith (Clerks), Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), Luke Wilson (Idiocracy), Olivia Wilde (The Lazarus Effect), Jeremy Davies (Saving Private Ryan), and Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network).

Vail Screenplay Contest

April 5th – 8th 2018

Vail, Colorado

The Vail Film Festival Screenplay Competition is a vehicle for aspiring screenwriters to get their script read by established film producers, managers, and agents who are actively working at the top level of the film industry. The Vail Film Festival Screenplay Competition welcomes unproduced feature-length screenplays in various categories, as well as TV & web series in any genre. Feature scripts must be between 70 to 130 pages in length while TV or web series must be between 10 and 60 pages in length.

Phoenix Film Festival

April 5th – 15th 2018

Phoenix, Arizona

The Phoenix Film Festival has been named one of the 25 coolest film festivals by MovieMaker magazine. Founded by the non-profit Phoenix Film Foundation, which started in 2000, it has quickly become Arizona’s largest film fest. The event annually holds 250 screenings and provides filmmaking seminars to capacity audiences of over 25,000.

Executive Director Jason Carney declared, “The Phoenix Film Festival is first and foremost a filmmaker’s festival. It is a privilege for us to screen your film and we do not take that for granted. Filmmakers return year after year, even if they don’t have a film at the festival, and that’s something we’re extremely proud of. If you submit to us, rest assured your film will be reviewed and be given sincere consideration.”

Chicago Latino Film Festival

April 5th – 19th 2018

Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Latino Film Festival is produced every April by the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago – a pan-Latino, nonprofit, multidisciplinary arts organization dedicated to developing, promoting, and increasing awareness of Latino culture among Latinos and other communities by presenting a wide variety of art forms. The Chicago Latino Film Festival is considered the largest most comprehensive Latino film festival in the United States and presents over 100 films of cultural and social significance from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the US. The Festival stresses the importance of the artistic and educational value of film.

Utah Film Festival and Awards

April 5th – 7th 2018

Provo, Utah

From its humble beginning in 2011, the Utah Film Festival has risen to become one of Utah’s top film festivals and award shows. While boasting legends in the industry like Sean Astin (The Lord Of The Rings), Lauren Lapkus (Jurassic World), and Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), the Utah Film Festival has managed to maintain the personal intimate networking opportunity it has always been. Its judges are actively looking to acquire shorts, features, and series to broadcast all over the world. Filmmakers’ submissions could warrant the biggest prize of all: a deal with a distributor.

International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival

April 5th – 15th 2018

Phoenix, Arizona

The International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival comes from the producers behind the Phoenix Film Film Festival, connecting audiences with the best genre films. Filmmakers are the focus of this festival with a great bond created between audiences and the artists. Attendants can catch the best in horror and sci-fi independent films alongside over 100 other independent movie at a huge film party. Screenings take place over seven days, with opening weekend offering a celebration of films, parties, and workshops.

The Victoria TX Independent Film Festival

April 5th – 8th 2018

Victoria, TX

The annual Victoria Texas Independent Film Festival is designed to introduce the community to the passionate work being done in independent cinema. VTXIFF is a rare film festival that understands filmmakers need far more from the festival experience than Q&As and networking. Its community celebrates, champions, and inspires artists of all kinds – especially filmmakers. Winners of Best of Fest, The Crossroads Award, and Best Short are awarded the use of over $500,000 in film equipment and production offices in Victoria for free on their next production. The gear package includes sound, lights, and a 4k camera package with Zeiss Cinema Zooms & Compact Prime lenses.

Wisconsin Film Festival

April 5th – 12th 2018

Madison, Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Film Festival is presented by the UW-Madison Arts Institute in association with the Department of Communication Arts. Founded in 1999, the festival presents an average of 150 film screenings over eight days every Spring, making it the largest university-produced film festival in the nation.

The event is known for its diverse film offerings from around the world, including American independent, international cinema, documentaries, experimental and avant-garde, restored classics, and the Wisconsin’s Own Competition (selections featuring Wisconsin filmmakers, themes, or settings).

Chattanooga Film Festival

April 5th – 8th 2018

Chattanooga, Tennessee

The Chattanooga Film Festival shares films that are unique, challenging, critically significant, and a helluva lot of fun. Its executive director Chris Dortch stated, “We particularly love little films that feel like big films, because we like to think of Chattanooga as a small town with big ideas. Our ultimate goal is to remember, discover, and cultivate cinema worthy of everyone’s love and respect.” Each year, the festival showcases shorts & features from across the globe, offering cash prizes for filmmakers who win in each category.

Bellingham Music Film Festival

April 5th – 7th 2018

Bellingham, Washington

The annual Bellingham Music Film Festival is a showcase of music through the medium of film. The movies include music videos and shorts all focused around music-inspired subject matter. The event’s organizers welcome both student and professional filmmakers from the Pacific Northwest and international landscape. Nestled between Vancouver and Seattle, Bellingham has always been a hub for music & film and BMFF celebrates the union of the two by screening exclusively music-related films and connecting this community on a global scale.

Moving-Image-Arts International Film Festival

April 5th 2018

Toronto, Ontario

Moving-Image-Arts is a collaborative short film festival created by artists / curators Gerda Cammaer, Pierre Tremblay, and Devin Shears. This one-hour film festival is a juried showcase of short films and videos from around the world, taking place at the School of Image Arts, Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. The festival recently expanded its call for works to multi-screen and split-screen video installations and media such as AR / VR and works in 3D.

ACT Human Rights Festival

April 5th 2018

Fort Collins, Colorado

The ACT Human Rights Film Festival celebrates excellence in the field of socially-conscious cultural production through its annual screening event. The festival calls on student filmmakers to submit original works of short narrative fiction, documentary, or animated film exploring themes related to human rights. The top films are screened during the festival.

Hollyweb Festival

April 5th – 8th 2018

Universal City, California

Sponsored by AMC Independent, Hollyweb Festival is the world’s premiere digital content festival. HollyWeb aims to honor those who create shows, pilots, or short films for the digital space. Projects previously screened at the event have gone on to receive Emmy nominations, feature film deals, and TV deals.

UNT Media Arts Festival

April 5th – 7th 2018

Denton, Texas

The UNT Media Arts Festival is a student-run festival providing the opportunity for UNT student filmmakers to exhibit their work. Held at the University of North Texas campus each year, the three-day event includes professional film screenings, meet & greets, and panels from professionals in the entertainment industry, culminating in a competitive awards ceremony. The festival features six separate student competitions: the narrative film competition; the documentary film competition; the news competition; the screenplay competition; the audio competition; and the mixed media competition.

Charlotte Black Film Festival

April 5th – 8th 2018

Charlotte, North Carolina

The Charlotte Black Film Festival comprises several days of independent films, workshops, industry networking, master classes, and more. CBFF’s organizers state its mission is “to create economic empowerment, heighten awareness, and promote the significance and need for African American cinema as an art form, and to be a voice for independent filmmakers.” In addition to film screenings, there are panel discussions, hands-on workshops, and networking opportunities.

The Poppy Jasper International Film Festival

April 5th – 8th 2018

Morgan Hill, California

Poppy Jaspers Inc. is a non-profit that promotes film & creativity through its annual film festival. It has enjoyed strong community support as one the few art festivals in the Gilroy and Morgan Hill region that regularly draws several hundred people to its four-day event. The mission of the PJIFF is to “celebrate artistic achievement in film, promote tomorrow’s filmmakers, create a space where filmmakers can learn from each other and industry professionals, and educate youth and adults about careers in film and the digital arts.”

Cinema at the Edge Film Festival

April 5th – 8th 2018

Santa Monica, California

The annual Cinema at the Edge Festival celebrates independent films of all genres that feature a distinct vision or a unique voice. Founded by director Michelle Danner (Hello Herman), CATE screens domestic and international films from all over the world with a program comprising features & short films with genres ranging from comedy, horror, action, romance, and drama. The documentaries cover powerful, controversial, and socially prominent topics that spark conversations regarding the Refugee crisis and conflicts in the Middle East, LGBTQI rights, racial discrimination, and women’s inequality.

SpringOut! Middle Tennessee LGBT+ Film Festival

April 5th 2018

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

The SpringOut! Middle Tennessee LGBT+ Film Festival was created to showcase short films created by and for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender / sexuality minorities community. As the only LGBT+ film festival in the Middle Tennessee area, films screened at this event provide residents & students from Nashville to rural Tennessee an opportunity to see LGBT+ themed films in a theater with an eager audience.

Wildcat Spirit Film Festival

April 5th 2018

Wayne, Nebraska

The Wildcat Spirit Short Film Festival at Wayne State College is a great opportunity for students to meet other filmmakers and grow their filmmaking skills. The festival is open to high school and college students and is free to enter and attend, accepting submissions in short, narrative, comedy, documentary, sci-fi / fantasy, and horror.

Media Film Festival

April 6th – 7th 2018

Media, Pennsylvania

The Media Film Festival is a vibrant community forum for film lovers, dedicated to providing excellent film experiences for audiences and filmmakers alike. The Media Film Festival celebrates and promotes quality independent films to build greater appreciation of artists & filmmakers within its community. There are jury awards for the best short films as well as Audience Favorite awards, awards for Best Local Film, and an award for Best Horror Film screened during the Friday Late Night Horror Fest.

Palm Beach International Film Festival’s Student Showcase of Films

April 6th 2018

West Palm Beach, California

The Palm Beach International Film Festival’s Student Showcase of Films is the largest statewide film competition and awards show for Florida student filmmakers. The juried competition recognizes outstanding high school and college students by presenting more than $12,500 in scholarships and awards in the following categories: College & High School Feature / Shorts, Animation, Music Video, Commercial / PSA, Environmental PSA, Mental Health Awareness PSA, Screenwriting, Poster Design, and the Audience Award competition.

Visions Film Festival & Conference

April 6th 2018

Wilmington, North Carolina

The annual Visions Film Festival & Conference is an event dedicated to undergraduate filmmakers and scholars. Short films of all genres (including animation, documentary, experimental, narrative, and music video) as well as scholarly articles related to film and media studies are encouraged for submission.

The Lovett School High School Film Fest

April 6th 2018

Atlanta, Georgia

Created to inspire and encourage young filmmakers from around the world, The Lovett School High School Film Fest provides a public screening of submitted shorts and also offers students an opportunity to connect with fellow young movie makers.

Universe Multicultural Film Festival

April 6th – 8th 2018

Rolling Hills Estates, California

Acting as a forum for cultural understanding, the Universe Multicultural Film Festival brings the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from all over the world. The festival focuses on showcasing a diverse program while supporting the creation and advancement of innovative and artistic cinematic works. Its organizers encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to participate by integrating with the local community and educational institutions.

Toronto International Spring of Horror and Fantasy Film Festival

April 6th – 8th 2018

Toronto, Ontario

Created to give people of Toronto access to quality genre films throughout the year, the Toronto International Spring of Horror and Fantasy Film Festival showcases the best genre films from around the world from new filmmakers and seasoned veterans. Focused on new independent voices, the festival aims to start most screenings with a genre appropriate music video to set the mood and also hosts other fun activities such as nightly socials and a Scream Queen or King competition.

Clean Shorts Film Festival

April 6th – 7th 2018

Choctaw, Oklahoma

The annual Clean Shorts Film Festival offers an excellent opportunity for independent filmmakers to screen their films to a welcoming audience in a hospitable environment, offering screenings alongside panels with renowned industry professionals. This year will even host a filmmaker mixer including a panel discussion featuring award-winning director Ryan Bellgardt (Army of Frankensteins).

Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival

April 6th – 8th 2018

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Using the power of film to entertain, inspire, and inform about challenges facing our planet, this festival also celebrates the profound beauty of the earth. Over the course of a long weekend at the historic Prince Theater in Center City, the festival showcases exceptional new global and regional short and feature films covering a wide spectrum of timely environmental topics.

Riverside Short Film Festival

April 6th – 8th 2018

New Haven, Missouri

The Riverside Short Film Festival furthers the art & craft of filmmaking by supporting, promoting, and acknowledging the great art of short film. Devised to amplify collective and individual awareness by bringing the world to New Haven, the festival celebrates fresh voices and differing global perspectives in aim to enlighten audiences, provide exposure for filmmakers, and preserve the art of the short film.

Cat Fly Indie Film Fest

April 6th – 8th 2018

Asheville, North Carolina

Created in April 2017 when a group of young female filmmakers envisioned a platform on which up-and-coming film artists could showcase their work, Cat Fly focuses on short indie films hailing from its Asheville home and welcomes participation from a variety of Southern-regional cities. The festival exists primarily to strengthen the indie film community of the South and promotes a pure creative environment, free from the influence of money, fame, popular demand, or cutthroat politics.

6th Annual DC Web Fest

April 6th – 8th 2018

Washington, District of Columbia

Highlighting the best of the web, this annual festival goes beyond web series to include various forms of digital media such as short films, screenwriting, and game / app development. In a bid to entertain, educate, and promote these innovative art forms, the festival highlights the best of independently-made digital content at the forefront of emerging art & technology.

Azalea Film Festival

April 6th – 8th 2018

Mobile, Alabama

Celebrating the many talented independent filmmakers, writers, and performers who may not get the recognition they deserve through many commercial film festivals, the AFF recognizes indie filmmakers who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity. The AFF accepts all genres of films & music videos while donating net proceeds from the event to support families struggling with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The festival offers various forms of support including scholarships to assist families with the cost of therapy, iPads as an alternative communication device for nonverbal children, and sensory-sensitive alternatives for education and workshops.

Central Film Festival

April 6th – 7th 2018

Springfield, Missouri

Central Film Festival is one of the only student-led high school film festivals in the country, hosted in beautiful downtown Springfield Missouri. The festival features on-site contests, a special opening Friday film and director talk in the newly-restored Central Theatre, and a day of festival screenings at Springfield’s arthouse cinema – The Moxie. Additionally, attendees can continue to enjoy the characteristics that have always made the festival unique, like industry professional judges, written critiques for the students, and free film submissions.

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