US Film Festival Guide
Think there are only a few good film festivals in the United States? Think again. Check out Travel Channel’s guide to the best up-and-coming film festivals nationwide.
FebruaryBig Sky Documentary Film Festival
At the historic Wilma Theater in downtown Missoula, Montana’s largest cinema event showcases an average of 125 nonfiction films annually. Along with screenings of new and classic documentaries, the festival includes film discussions, pitch sessions and workshops for aspiring filmmakers.
More Festivals in February:
Magnolia Independent Film Festival -- Starkville, MS
Appalachian Film Festival -- Huntington, WV
Big Dam Film Festival -- Quincy, IL
Carolina Film and Video Festival -- Greensboro, NC
StarLite Film Festival -- Winter Garden, FL 960 1280
MarchDisposable Film Festival
Disposable video is considered any short film made on an inexpensive device, such as a cell phone. But while moments captured with low-cost video technology may be considered "disposable," that doesn't mean they're not worthy of attention. Kicking off each year in San Francisco before going on tour across the country, this festival gives the work of non-traditional filmmakers the chance to be taken seriously.
More Festivals in March:
Ann Arbor Film Festival -- Ann Arbor, MI
Charlotte Film Festival -- Charlotte, NC
DIY Film Festival -- Hollywood, CA 960 1280
Set among the mountains of Colorado, Aspen Shortsfest is an Oscar-qualifying international competition featuring a selection of drama, comedy, animation and documentary -- all at 40 minutes or less.
More Festivals in April:
Atlanta Film Festival – Atlanta
Independent Film Festival of Boston – Boston
Nashville Film Festival -- Nashville, TN 960 1280
MayMaryland Film Festival
An annual 4-day event, the Maryland Film Festival screens approximately 50 feature films and 75 short films of all varieties including documentary, animation, experimental and hybrid. The festival also includes a vintage silent film with live musical accompaniment, a classic 3-D film and a feature selected and hosted by legendary filmmaker (and Baltimore native) John Waters.
More Festivals in May:
3-Minute Film Fest -- Santa Fe, NM
Big Island Film Festival -- Kohala Coast, HI
Cheyenne International Film Festival -- Cheyenne, WY 960 1280
JuneWaterfront Film Festival
Looking to provide a "Middle Coast" venue for independent filmmakers, entertainment professionals from LA, NYC and Michigan created the Waterfront Film Festival, set in the tranquil resort village of Saugatuck.
More Festivals in June:
Little Rock Film Festival -- Little Rock, AK
Nantucket Film Festival -- Nantucket, MA
San Antonio Film Festival -- San Antonio
Staten Island Film Festival -- Staten Island, NY 960 1280
Julyda Vinci Film Festival
What began as a humble screening of animations in 1999 has evolved into a 3-day exhibition of indie film in the genres of documentary, animation, shorts, and experimental. The da Vinci Film Festival is held as part of "da Vinci Days" where the small town of Corvallis is taken over by artists, engineers and teachers in a sensory experience inspired by the ultimate Renaissance man.
More Festivals in July:
Sacramento Film and Music Festival -- Sacramento, CA
New Hope Film Festival -- New Hope, PA
Real to Reel International Film Festival -- Shelby, NC 960 1280
AugustSidewalk Moving Picture Festival
Located in several venues throughout Birmingham’s historic theatre district, Sidewalk promotes a sense of creativity as filmmakers and film-goers mingle between screenings. Enjoy the outdoors as well with the addition of Sidewalk Central, a live entertainment and vending venue.
More Festivals in August:
Fandana Film Festival -- Huntington, IN
Feel Good Film Festival -- San Clemente, CA
Minneapolis Underground Film Festival – Minneapolis
The Indie Gathering -- Hudson, OH 960 1280
St. George, UT
Organized by Dixie State College, DOCUTAH embraces Utah’s gorgeous scenery by screening its documentary submissions in outdoor venues among the red rocks of southern Utah. Master class seminars and filmmaker panels where student documentarians can learn the art of documentary filmmaking round out the experience.
More Festivals in September:
Jaxon Film Fest -- Jackson, MI
Phenom Film Fest -- Shreveport, LA
Latin American Film Festival -- Providence, RI
Great Lakes International Film Festival -- Erie, PA
Actors Film Festival -- Las Vegas 960 1280
OctoberTallgrass Film Festival
The largest independent film festival in Kansas, this 4-day event showcases more than 100 films from around the world, including foreign, documentary, short, GLBT, retrospective and premiering films. The festival prides itself on giving a voice to films that would otherwise not have a theatrical screening in the region.
More Festivals in October:
Austin Film Festival -- Austin, TX
Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival -- Buffalo, NY
International Children's Film Festival – Chicago
Midwest Ski Film Festival – Milwaukee
Modern Film Fest -- Kannapolis, NC 960 1280
DecemberSanta Fe Film Festival
Santa Fe, NM
Beginning in 1999 as a way to promote Santa Fe's identity as a cultural hub, the Santa Fe Film Festival quickly turned into a premier event for the area. The festival offers awards to films in the categories of best feature, best Native American film and best Latino film, among others.
More Festivals in December:
Reel Independent Film Festival -- Hollywood, CA
Moondance International Film Festival -- Boulder, CO
DocMiami International Film Festival -- Miami 960 1280
San Francisco PrideSan Francisco's annual gay pride parade draws hundreds of thousands of people to downtown San Francisco to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride. The rainbow flag, designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978, symbolizes gay pride and the LGBT community's diversity. 960 1280
Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras ParadeA parade goers pose prior during the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade in Australia. The March event, which includes a parade, dance parties, fair and drag races, is one of Australia's biggest events, generating about $30 million for the state of New South Wales each year. 960 1280
EuroPride in MadridA man holds a gay flag during the EuroPride in Madrid. EuroPride, in the Spanish capital, marks the highlight of a week of events. The first EuroPride event took place in London in 1992. Riga, Latvia, and Amsterdam are the host cities for EuroPride in 2015 and 2016 respectively. 960 1280
NYC PrideIn New York City, a spectators can expect to see the group 'Dykes on Bikes' and parade floats that commemorate the Stonewall riots, which erupted after a 1969 police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar on Christopher Street. The riots launched the gay-rights movement, and gave birth to the annual march that now includes 170 floats, thousands of marchers, supporters and spectators. 960 1280
Amsterdam Gay PrideThe Dutch LGBT community participates in the annual Gay Pride parade along the canals in Amsterdam. The city's Gay Pride celebration, held over the course of a week in August, includes separate parties and events for lesbians. Amsterdam's liberal reputation is one of the reasons why it's a top travel destination for thousands of gays and lesbians. 960 1280
Pride BarcelonaThere's something for everyone at Pride Barcelona. Event organizers pack dozens of events into the 10-day celebration held in late June, including Pride Kids. The 2-day event is set up to provide children with the opportunity to play games and sports, and to participate in fun workshops and other activities. 960 1280
Delhi Queer PrideMembers of the LGBT community and supporters march in the Delhi Queer Pride parade in New Delhi. The LGBT community demanded equal rights -- something that has slowly begun to be realized in recent years: In July 2009, the High Court of Delhi repealed Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which had previously criminalized gay rights. 960 1280
Tokyo Rainbow PrideParticipants in the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade march through the streets of Tokyo’s Shibuya district in April 2013. The parade celebrates the diversity of Japan’s LGBT community; organizers estimated about 12,000 people participated in this year’s inaugural parade. 960 1280
Marriage Equality in FrancePeople hold rainbow flags to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage in France. After months of debate and hundreds of protests, France's National Assembly approved same-sex marriage on April 23, 2013, becoming the 14th country to do so. 960 1280
Sao Paulo Gay PrideEach year thousands of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people walk down Paulista Avenue for the annual Gay Pride parade in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Held in early June, the 17th annual parade attracted nearly 4 million people in 2013, making it the biggest gay parade in the world. 960 1280
Puerto Rico PridePeople march during the annual gay pride parade in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 2013 brought extra reason to celebrate: The Puerto Rican House of Representatives approved bills in late May that protect LGBT people in employment, housing, governmental services and public accommodations. The new measures also add sexual orientation to Puerto Rico’s domestic violence laws. 960 1280
Bangalore PrideMembers of the LGBT community take part in the Bangalore “Queer Pride” Parade in December 2012. The fifth-annual parade, held in India’s third most populous city, drew more than 1,000 people last year. The celebration was organized by the Coalition for Sexual Minority Rights (CSMR), a group of lawyers and human-rights activists who first rallied together in response to police harassment of gay individuals in the city. 960 1280
Gay Pride Celebrations 14 Photos