Top 30 Film Festivals in the USA
Learn more about the best 30 film events and festivals in the US.Practically everyone has heard of the Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent cinema festival in the USA, but the Sundance Film Festival is just the tip of the iceberg.
See below for more about the main 30 Film Festivals in the USA.
Sundance Film Festival
Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, Utah
The largest independent cinema festival in the USA, and heralded as one of the world’s best film festivals, the Sundance Film Festival, founded by Robert Redford in 1981, is the premier showcase for new work from American and international independent filmmakers. Recognized as one of the best 20 film events and festivals in the US, the Sundance Film Festival comprises competitive sections for American and international dramatic and documentary films, and a group of noncompetitive showcase sections, including the Sundance Online Film Festival. Through its Sundance Film Festival, the Sundance Institute has grown into an internationally recognized resource for thousands of independent artists.
For more information about the Sundance Film Festival visit: http://sundance.org
The Sundance Film Festival is one of the TOP 20 EVENTS in the whole of the USA
True/False Film Festival
late February – early March
For more than a decade now, the increasingly popular True/False Film Festival, has focussed on celebrating nonfiction filmmakers from all over the world who concentrate on the creation of innovative work with film presentations, downtown parades and even debates. Time Out Chicago has described the True/False Film Festival as “one of the best-managed and enjoyable film festivals ... compressing a heady mix of filmgoing and socializing into a long weekend.
For more information about the True/False Film Festival visit:
Chicago Underground Film Festival
One of the main 30 Film Festivals in the USA recognized as one of North America’s top film festivals for almost 20 years, the Chicago Underground Film Festival is an annual event showcasing independent, documentary and sometimes shocking films from around the world attracting film makers and film fans from all over the USA and from around the world. Unlike other well known film festivals, the Chicago Underground Film Festival concentrates more on the artistic, aesthetic and fun aspects of independent filmmaking.
For more information about the Chicago Underground Film Festival visit:
Celebrating over30 years of popularity, the Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), the preeminent Ibero-American film festival in the USA attracts more than 70,000 audience members and more than 400 filmmakers, producers, talent and industry professionals. showcasing some of the best-crafted films from around the world.
For more information about the Miami International Film Festival visit:
Ann Arbor Film Festival
Ann Arbor, Missouri
The longest-running independent and experimental film festival in the USA (established in 1963) the week-long Ann Arbor Film Festival showcases more than 180 films of all lengths and genres from over 20 countries, including experimental, animation, documentary, fiction, and performance-based works. Other features of the event include filmmaker retrospectives, gallery installations, panel discussions, historic and thematic surveys and contemporary artist programs.
For more information about the Ann Arbor Film Festival in Missouri visit:
Atlanta Film Festival
midtown Atlanta, Georgia
One of only two-dozen Academy Award® qualifying film festivals in the USA, the Atlanta Film Festival is one of the largest and longest-running festivals in the country, attracting more than 25,000 enthusiasts to enjoy over 150 new independent, international, animated, documentary, and short films, selected from more than 1,800 submissions from around the world. It is also the most distinguished event in its class, recognized as Best Film Festival by Creative Loafing, Sunday Paper, 10Best and Atlanta Magazine.
For more information about the Atlanta Film Festival visit:
Ashland Independent Film Festival
The only festival in the Northwest – and one of only 20 in the USA – selected to receive a prestigious grant from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Ashland Independent Film Festival attracts filmmakers, actors, and documentary subjects to Ashland to showcase their work. This festival, a success of over a decade, takes place on the five screens of the intimate art-deco Varsity Theatre with special events at the Historic Ashland Armory.
For more information about the Ashland Independent Film Festival visit:
WorldFest: Houston International Film Festival
Founded 50 years ago, WorldFest is the oldest Independent Film & Video Festival in the World, and the third competitive international film festival in North America, following San Francisco and New York. Highlights of this, one of the best 30 film events and festivals in the US, include various types of independent films, WorldFest offers film premiers, shorts, screenplays, TV commercials, music videos and documentaries.
For more information about WorldFest: Houston International Film Festival visit: http://worldfest.org
High Falls Film Festival
Rochester, New York
Spotlighting the cinematic works of women by bringing the finest independent motion pictures and film artists to Rochester and Western New York audiences, the High Falls Film Festival is one of only 40 film festivals worldwide that celebrates the work of women filmmakers, and is the largest, longest running women’s film festival on the East Coast.
Past guests include actors Rita Moreno, Christine Lahti, Angela Bassett, Candice Bergen, Bill Pullman, Joan Allen, Jane Alexander, Famke Janssen, Sally Kellerman, Nancy “Bart Simpson” Cartwright, and others.
For more information about the High Falls Film Festival visit:
Nashville Film Festival
One of the main 30 Film Festivals in the USAEstablished in 1969, the Nashville Film Festival is one of the longest-running film festivals in the USA and attracts more than 15,000 movie fans every year. Declared by MovieMaker Magazine to be one of "25 film festivals worth the entry fee", deemed to be one of the best film festivals by Film Festival Today, and labelled as one of the top 5 film festivals in the USA by the Brooks Institute, the Nashville Film Festival showcases movies of all types, but particularly those with a musical theme, from all around the world, as well as presenting a variety of workshops, forums and after-show parties.
For more information about the Nashville Film Festival visit:
Florida Film Festival
Orlando, Central Florida
The official focus of the annual Florida Film Festival is on three things – films, food and fun. Every year the Florida Film Festival premieres the best in current independent and foreign cinema.
For more information about the Florida Film Festival visit:
Louisiana International Film Festival
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Four days of excellent film screenings, premieres, parties, and workshops blend to create the Louisiana International Film Festival (LIFF). The inaugural festival in 2013 featured over 50 narrative feature films, documentaries and shorts screening in multiple theater venues. The festival’s films represent a carefully curated cross-section of brand-new films, festival favorites, recent releases and a few cult classics.
For more information about the Louisiana International Film Festival in Baton Rouge visit: http://liff2013.com/
USA Film Festival
Featuring a variety of independent new releases from the USA and around the world for more than 40 years, the USA Film Festival highlights excellence in the film and video arts and bringing together filmmakers, including directors, producers, actors, screenwriters, editors, composers and cinematographers, and audiences.
For more information about USA Film Festival visit:
Tribeca Film Festival
Downtown – New York, New York
Originally created in response to the September 11, 2001 tragedies, and now considered to be one of the top international film festivals as important as the Cannes and Sundance film festivals, Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Festival attracts more than 400,000 film enthusiasts who take part in over 1,000 special film screenings, award ceremonies, special gala events, and even free outdoor “drive-ins”.
For more information visit : www.tribecafilm.com/festival
Seattle International Film Festival
mid May to early June
The largest and most highly-attended event of its kind in the United States, the 25-day Seattle International Film Festival has been a huge success for almost 40 years, enticing more than 150,000 visitors each year, and featuring more than 500 films from over 80 countries, as well as attracting hundreds of directors, actors and industry professionals and presenting awards for Best New Director, Best Documentary, Best New American Film and much more.
For more information about the Seattle International Film Festival visit:
Albuquerque Film & Media Experience at Nob Hill
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The Albuquerque Film & Media Experience is a socially conscious and impactful event that represents creative achievement in film, music, arts and entertainment. AFME programming includes new media and technology, domestic and international movies, food and art , engaging conversations, panels and face-to-face time with industry leaders in attendance.
For more information about Albuquerque Film & Media Experience at Nob Hill visit: www.abqfilmexperience.com
Los Angeles Film Festival
Los Angeles, California
Considered to be a world-class event, the Los Angeles Film Festival hosts a wide variety of special events showcasing the elite of the movie world, and also screens the finest products of American and international filmmakers by showcasing more than 200 feature films, shorts and music videos from more than 30 countries. This event takes place in many theaters and locations throughout Los Angeles.
For more information about the Los Angeles Film Festival visit:
Rhode Island International Film Festival
Providence, Rhode Island
Held in Providence, and throughout the state of Rhode Island, the Academy-nominating Rhode Island International Film Festival has risen to the top ranks among world film events. Discovering and empowering independent filmmakers and screenwriters, the festival is an extravaganza of special events, film screenings, VIP guests, industry seminars and celebrations. Cited as one of the "Best International and Short Film Festivals in the United States", the Festival is a strategic and desirable platform for film premieres, drawing hundreds of independent filmmakers from around the globe.
For more information about the Rhode Island International Film Festival take a look at:
or visit: www.RIFilmFest.org
Atlanta Underground Film Festival (AUFF)
Showcasing every genre of cinema from across the world and bringing together thousands of people to celebrate independent artists, the Atlanta Underground Film Festival is a forum where filmmakers can thrive outside the mainstream arena. Much more than the traditional stuffy film festival, this event presents short and feature films, art, live music and plenty of late night parties. Special events during AUFF include the Animation Attack! and DocuFest Atlanta.
For more information about the Atlanta Underground Film Festival (AUFF) visit: www.auff.org/home.html
New York Film Festival
late September to mid October
New York, New York
Often labelled “the grand daddy” of USA film festivals, the New York Film Festival (NYFF) is organized by film critics and features many of the major films also featured in Cannes and Venice and others of the world's top level film events. Usually offering over 30 film features, the selection at the New York Film Festival also showcases titles that have not played the rounds at the world's top level film events.
For more information about the New York Film Festival visit:
A popular film event for well over 30 years attracting more than 30,000 people every year, the Aspen Film event showcases in excess of 200 films that might not otherwise be available to local audiences and hosts more than 100 film artists and other special guests every year.
For more information about Aspen Film visit:
Out on Film Festival
One of the oldest LGBT film festivals in the country, Atlanta' sOut on Film is one of the most respected and most attended alternative film festivals in the Southeast and has been a successful and popular event for over 25years. Dedicated to supporting the exhibition of LGBT film and video art forms, the Out on Film Festival offers multi-racial and multi-cultural films, and over the years has been recognized locally, nationally, and globally for showcasing films by, for, and about the LGBT community.
For more information about the Out on Film Festival visit:
Chicago International Film Festival
Presenting hundreds of feature films, feature-length documentaries, films by first-time filmmakers and short subject films from over 55 countries, the ever-popular Chicago International Film Festival features world-renowned directors like Martin Scorsese (USA), Peter Weir (Australia), Mike Leigh (UK), Gregory Nava (USA), Bertrand Tavernier (France), Jan Troell (Sweden), Joe Swanberg (USA), Tsai Ming-Liang (Taiwan), and Wim Wenders (Germany).
For more information about the Chicago International Film Festival visit:
Hamptons International Film Festival
Long Island, New York
Founded to celebrate the Independent film – long, short, fiction and documentary – and to introduce a unique and varied spectrum of international films and filmmakers, the 16 year old Hamptons International Film Festival exhibits films that express fresh voices and differing global perspectives. Notable films have included Birth, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Gods and Monsters, Hotel Rwanda, Kinsey, Pollock, Nowhere in Africa, and much more.
For more information about the Hamptons International Film Festival visit:
Orlando Film Festival
Orlando, Central Florida
Focussing on independent cinema, the Orlando Film Festival presents unique, diverse and free films created by independent filmmakers from around the world as well as featuring parties, festival bars and various events including an awards ceremony on the last day.
For more information about the Orlando Film Festival visit:
New Orleans Film Festival
New Orleans, Louisiana
A popular event for more than two decades and named one of the Top 25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee, the New Orleans Film Festival features a wide range of more than 1,250 major and short films from all over America and around the world, as well as presenting interaction with leaders in the film industry – directors, actors, screenwriters, cinematographers, and film critics.
For more information about the New Orleans Film Festival visit:
Jacksonville Film Festival
Jacksonville, Northeast Florida
Celebrating the fact that a hundred years ago Jacksonville was an important part of the movie industry and home to thousands of silent movies, the Jacksonville Film Festival now offers screenings of the best Hollywood produces, as well as screenwriting courses, panel discussions and parties at venues all about Jacksonville.
For more information about the Jacksonville Film Festival visit:
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Hot Springs, Arkansas
This ten-day festival features screenings of over 90 domestic and international documentary films including Academy Award-winning and nominated films is presented by the oldest documentary film institute in the nation and second only to Amsterdam internationally. Events include forums and lectures, question and answer sessions with filmmakers following many screenings, a gala banquet and visiting scholars and celebrities.
For more information about the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival in Hot Springs visit:
Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival
Since it began over ten years ago, the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival has grown to become one of the most respected cultural events of the Mid-Atlantic. The 5-day Festival presents about 100 of the best American and international films including features, documentaries, and shorts. Film enthusiasts enjoy the convenience of seeing all the films at one, multi-screen location. The Festival also offers informative seminars, opportunities to converse with celebrity guests, as well as special events including Children's Cinema Corner for elementary school-aged children.
For more information about the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival
updated Top 20 Events USA pages do not include every single event on offer in each state or city in America – only those recognized as one of the top 20 in each location, elected by residents, tourists and visitors, the team of travel writers working for Top Events USA, and some officials of the relevant states and cities of the USA too.