Film Festivals

New Orleans Film Festival

 

New Orleans

 

Fest: October    

Deadline: February-June   

Entry Fee: $20-$75

 

The week-long New Orleans Film Festival includes a competitive division, with entries in eight categories (including two for Louisiana filmmakers) and audience awards. In April 2013, MovieMaker Magazine named NOFF one of the “Top 25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.”

Website

48 Hour Film Project

 

New Orleans

 

Fest: July    

Deadline: June-July     

Entry Fee: $140-$175

 

The 48 Hour Film Project is a wild and sleepless weekend in which you and your team write, shoot, edit and score a short film in just 48 hours. On Friday night, you are assigned a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre that must be included in your movie. 48 hours later, you submit your film. Next? Your masterpiece will show on the big screen of a local theater! There’s even a “48 Hour Music Video Project” for you to compete in.

Website

Louisiana Film Prize

 

Shreveport, LA

 

Fest: October    

Deadline: July     

Entry Fee: $50

 

The Louisiana Film Prize is a short narrative film contest with one rule: You have to shoot your film in the Shreveport-Bossier area. 20 finalists receive $500 and an invite to show their finished film during LA Film Prize Weekend, where they compete for a grand prize of $50,000, iTunes distribution and guaranteed screenings at nationwide festivals.

Website

Cinema on the Bayou

 

Lafayette, LA

 

Fest: January 25 – February 1, 2017    

Deadline: Passed    

Entry Fee: $20-$40

 

With a focus on Cajun and Creole cultures, Cinema on the Bayou features screenings, panels and cultural exchanges with French Louisiana and Francophone countries across the world.

Website

Southern Screen Film Festival

 

Lafayette, LA

 

Fest: November    

Deadline: Passed    

Entry Fee: $20-$25 (Free for students)

 

Head to Acadiana for four days of free screenings, panels and workshops highlighting Louisiana filmmakers.

Website

North Louisiana Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

 

Shreveport, LA

 

Fest: September    

 

 

For filmmakers focusing on LGBTQ content, take a peek at the North Louisiana Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which strives to highlight the contributions that lesbians and gays have made to our culture and raise awareness of gay and lesbian concerns.

Website

Crossroads Film Festival

 

Jackson, MS

 

Fest: April 6-9, 2017     

Deadline: Passed    

Entry Fee: $50-$75

 

With a focus on independent film and video production in the American Southeast, Crossroads references its place as America’s “cultural crossroads” with a special Music Video category for filmmakers creating content for musicians and/or bands within a rough three-hour driving radius of Jackson (Memphis, Birmingham, Mobile, New Orleans…)

Website

Austin Film Festival

 

Austin, TX

 

Fest: October 26 – November 2, 2017

Deadline: April-July     

Entry Fee: $50-$75

 

All the conventional categories (doc, narrative, animated) PLUS a special “Dark Matters” competition category for horror films. Screenwriters can even apply for the Coverage Program, where a professional reader assesses your script or teleplay.

Website

Gulf Coast Film & Video Festival

 

Houston, TX

 

Fest: September    

Deadline: Jan-July     

Entry Fee: $45-$100

 

The Gulf Coast Film and Video Festival was created to showcase the discovery of new and emerging artists, encourage the work of the Independent Filmmaker and promote the concept of film as an art, offering awards as a means of educational outreach and expanded awareness of independent film.

Website

Sidewalk Film Festival

 

Birmingham, AL

 

Fest: August    

Deadline: January-April   

Entry Fee: $10-$65

 

One of Time magazine’s “Top Ten Film Festivals for the Rest of Us.” Sidewalk features a “Civil and Human Rights” category for filmmakers dealing with issues of struggle and oppression, in memory the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing and Birmingham’s place in the American civil rights story.

Website

SXSW – South by Southwest

 

Austin, TX

 

Fest: March    

Deadline: Passed   

Entry Fee: $10-$1005

 

A music, film and interactive conference, SXSW accepts music videos, narrative and documentaries. And if you’re a short film-maker, good news: SXSW is a BAFTA/Oscars Shorts qualifier.

Website

Sarasota Film Festival

 

Sarasota, FL

 

Fest: March 31 – April 9, 2017     

Deadline: Monthly     

Entry Fee: $25-$40

 

Are you a struggling emerging filmmaker working on a shoestring budget? Someone (aside from your parents) wants to give you a pat on the back. SFF’s Independent Vision Competition is specifically for low-budget American films and emerging US artists.

Website

Love Your Shorts Film Festival

 

Sanford, FL

 

Fest: February 7-12, 2017  

Deadline: Passed    

Entry Fee: $20-$45

 

It’s ok to be short. In fact, there’s a festival dedicated just to you short people under 30 minutes. So if your webisode pilot can stand alone, maybe it’s time to give it a go?

Website

NewFilmmakers

 

Los Angeles, CA

 

Fest: Monthly    

Deadline: Monthly     

Entry Fee: $25-$40

 

Forget once-a-year events – NewFilmmakers screens documentary, short and feature works from up-and-coming filmmakers every month. Accepted filmmakers get a Q&A following their film and can connect with industry professionals for insight on distribution, acquisition and more.

Website

Rooftop Films

 

Brooklyn, NYC

 

Fest: May-Aug    

Deadline: Dec-Feb    

Entry Fee: $13-$23

 

Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists. Their Rooftop Films Summer Series screens 200 films to audiences of over 25,000.

Website

San Francisco International Film Festival

 

San Francisco, CA

 

Fest: April/May    

Deadline: Passed    

Entry Fee: $20-$225

 

Feeling left out of the film festival circuit because you’re interested in TV? No worries – SFIFF has a special category for long and short documentary and narrative works. Held each spring for two weeks, the International features nearly 200 films and live events with more than 200 filmmakers and industry guests in attendance and nearly two dozen awards presented for cinematic excellence.

Website

Nashville Film Festival

 

Nashville, TN

 

Fest: April 20-29, 2017

Deadline: January 2017     

Entry Fee: $20-$90

 

As a live music capital, Nashville pays homage to its city’s history of groove with a competitive category for music docs. NFF also awards first-time narrative feature directors and their shorts category is an Oscar qualifier.

Website

Sundance Film Festival

 

Park City, UT

 

Fest: January    

Deadline: September    

Entry Fee: $40-$105

 

One of the largest independent film festivals in the US (40,000+ attendees in 2012) and one of most prestigious film festivals in the world (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Fruitvale Station both recently premiered here), Sundance is a laurel leaf target for thousands of filmmakers. Attend the Sundance Institute and you’ll participate in labs and fellowships like the Directors Lab and Creative Producing Fellowship/Lab led by world-class talent.

Website

Tribeca Film Festival

 

Manhattan, NY

 

Fest: April    

Deadline: Passed    

Entry Fee: $30-$100

 

Featuring not just the usual suspects (and categories) but also an Online Competition – four shorts and four features screened online to a worldwide audience jury – and a Transmedia Competition – for media makers utilizing interactive, web-based or cross-platform storytelling.

Website

Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival

 

Seattle, WA

 

Fest: May    

Deadline: Passed    

Entry Fee: $20-$75 (Free for WA residents)

 

The Seattle True Independent Film Festival is dedicated to independent, underground, experimental and zero budget films. The festival endeavors to provide cultural exchange and educational opportunities by bring a diverse selection of films to the area and provide a place for networking between local filmmakers, visiting filmmakers and the public.

Website

AFI Docs

 

Washington, D.C.

 

Fest: June    

Deadline: January-March    

Entry Fee: $35-$85

 

Exclusively for documentaries, Silverdocs encompasses a seven-day international film festival and five-day conference that promotes documentary film as a leading art form, supports the work of independent filmmakers and fosters an atmosphere for public dialogue and civic engagement around the issues and ideas explored in the films.

Website

Slamdance

 

Park City, UT

 

Fest: January    

Deadline: June-October    

Entry Fee: $40-$110

 

“By Filmmakers For Filmmakers” – That’s the Slamdance mantra. Slamdance supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets.

Website

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

 

Durham, NC

 

Fest: April 6-9, 2017

Deadline: Passed    

Entry Fee: $40-$60

 

Screen your documentary out of competition or in the competitive “New Docs” category, an Academy Awards qualifier for the Doc Shorts category and PGA qualifier for Outstanding Producer. Can’t afford to attend the fest? Apply for Full Frame’s Garrett Scott Grant and they’ll fund your travel and accommodation, plus send you to master classes free of charge.

Website

Hamptons International Film Festival

 

Hamptons, NY

 

Fest: October    

Deadline: April-June    

Entry Fee: $50-$110

 

Forget the Golden Palm. At HIFF, it’s all about the Golden Starfish, an emerging filmmaker award in the Narrative category that includes a $145,000 in-kind filmmaking service package. There are also awards for conflict & resolution, social justice, political philosophy, science/technology, female filmmakers, and portrayal of the Hamptons community (Time to reread Great Gatsby).

Website

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