If you want to catch the latest independent films, upcoming movie producers and perhaps even see a few stars, enjoy fall film festivals in September or October. From traditional film festivals to specialty screenings of horror and Halloween films, you can see enough movies at these events to overwhelm the average moviegoer. Select your film festival this autumn from among these:
NOLA Horror Film Festival - New Orleans, LA - Sep 26 to Sep 29, 2019
Held at the historic Prytania Theatre in New Orleans, the NOLA Horror Film Fest is a festival created by horror filmmakers for horror fans. It’s no small wonder – and no great surprise – that so many of today’s top directors got their start in “low budget horror”. With determination and imagination, these artists have created some truly memorable work that has encouraged and inspired a new generation of filmmakers. Through four days of the best horror and sci-fi programs, the NOLA Horror Film Fest is going to be a weekend to remember. Weekend passes and day passes are now available for purchase online, and single screening tickets will also be available at the door for $10.
ChangeFest Film Festival - Chicago, IL - Sep 28 to Sep 30, 2019
Enjoy films that promote ideas with action.
Hollywood Film Festival - Los Angeles, CA - Oct 1 to Oct 6, 2019
A festival to help Hollywood better identify, celebrate, and promote the best of the world’s most inspiring films and tomorrow’s most promising emerging artists. Held at Raleigh Studios.
Oregon Independent Film Festival - Portland, OR - Sep 15 to Sep 30, 2020
Screens 75+ films from 10+ countries over two weeks at multiple venues including The Clinton Street Theater in Portland and the Bijou and Metro cinemas in Eugene.
Gilbert Baker Film Festival - Parsons, KS - Sep 17 to Sep 19, 2020
The Gilbert Baker LGBTQ Film Festival celebrates the work of Parsons, KS, native Gilbert Baker, an artist and activist who designed the Rainbow Pride Flag.
Flyway Film Festival - Pepin, WI - Oct 8 to Oct 11, 2020
An independent film festival on the shores of the Mississippi River.
New Hampshire Film Festival - Portsmouth, NH - Oct 15 to Oct 18, 2020
Canceled for 2021, look for their return in 2022. Normally: Screens more than 100 films during the course of the event. Includes Young Filmmaker’s Workshop and closing ceremonies with presentation of the Granny Awards.
Big Water Film Festival - Ashland, WI - Nov 4 to Nov 7, 2020
A film festival with opportunities to meet filmmakers, in and around Ashland.
Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival - Rehoboth Beach, DE - Nov 5 to Nov 15, 2020
The oldest and largest event of its kind in the State of Delaware. RBIFF has developed into a mid-Atlantic fall destination event for film enthusiasts from more than fifteen states. The eleven day event is held every November and offers a wide variety of American and international feature, documentary and short films.
Kansas International Film Festival - Overland Park, KS - Nov 6 to Nov 12, 2020
Early bird passes and event-long passes are available each year, as well as a limited number of tickets to individual events. Held at the Glenwood Arts Theatre.
Reel Pride Gay and Lesbian Film Festival - Fresno, CA - Sep 10 to Sep 12, 2021
Annual event brings a variety of LGBTQ cinema and entertainment to Cental Valley.
Fargo-Moorhead LGBT Film Festival - Fargo, ND - Sep 15 to Sep 18, 2021
Virtual for 2021. This festival seeks the LGBT-lived experience through the visions of innovative film and video makers.
Camden International Film Festival - Camden, ME - Sep 16 to Sep 26, 2021
For 2021, both virtual and in person programming. Annual documentary film and art festival for 10+ years in mid-coast Maine. Over 80 films are screened from dozens of countries.
South Dakota Film Festival - Aberdeen, SD - Sep 16 to Sep 25, 2021
Virtual for 2021. Normally: A filmmaker-friendly small town event with a casual vibe. Since 2007.
MINT Film Festival - Billings, MT - Sep 16 to Sep 19, 2021
Montana International (MINT) is a five day film festival, organized by filmmakers for filmmakers. Enjoy premieres (past premieres include Stanley Tucci and Emma Thompson in The Children Act), walk the red carpet, and visit panel discussions, after parties and more.
Coney Island Film Festival - Brooklyn, NY - Sep 17 to Sep 19, 2021
Bring people together to celebrate the power of independent film through cinema and the Coney Island experience, and to provide the South Brooklyn neighborhood of Coney Island, with an educational and cultural experience, that enriches the lives of its citizens and contributes to the local economy. All proceeds from the festival go to the non-profit arts organization Coney Island USA.
Lady Filmmakers Film Festival - Beverly Hills, CA - Sep 17 to Oct 3, 2021
For 2021, both virtual and in person events available. A film, music, and art festival dedicated to celebrating women filmmakers, artists, and musicians and the men who collaborate with them. Voted one of MovieMaker Magazine’s “Coolest Film Festivals in the World”.
Golden Door International Film Festival - Jersey City, NJ - Sep 22 to Sep 26, 2021
Celebrates the talent of independent filmmakers and local artists.
The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival (Reeling) - Chicago, IL - Sep 23 to Oct 7, 2021
The first Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival took place in April 2018 in a 90-seat folding-chair screening room, with nearly every screening sold out. The demand and enthusiasm for the festival made it an annual event that has been going strong ever since. The mission of Reeling is to recognize the important artistic contributions that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender filmmakers have made, educate the general population, and investigate the history of LGBTQ+ film, and to counteract this sterotyping with valid, meaningful and diverse portrayals of those in the LGBTQ+ community.
Great Lakes International Film Festival - Erie, PA - Sep 23 to Oct 9, 2021
For 2021, both virtual and in person film screenings. Annual event featuring independent digital films, from feature-length to short length films from a variety of genres, plus music videos from all types of musical genres. The festival has showcased more than 2000 films since 2002, many of which have gone on to be screened at other film festivals, television, and other distribution deals. Attend in person at various venues in Erie or attend the virtual festival!
Crested Butte Film Festival - Crested Butte, CO - Sep 24 to Oct 3, 2021
100 films over four days.
Boston Latino International Film Festival - Boston, MA - Sep 24 to Oct 3, 2021
Annual event featuring films made by Latinos, about various themes and in different genres
Chicago South Asian Film Festival - Chicago, IL - Sep 25 to Oct 2, 2021
The film festival aims to advance diversity in Chicagoland through cinema, conversation, and culture, and gives South Asian talent, stories, and themes a world platform. Held in several venues in downtown Chicago, the festival includes screenings of films, panel discussions, and other opportunities for attendees to connect with filmakers, and attend musical performances, industry workshops, tributes to major artists and awards galas
UrbanWorld - New York, NY - Sep 29 to Oct 3, 2021
Unique 5 day film festival includes film screenings, panel discussions, live readings and music performances.
Woodstock Film Festival - Woodstock, NY - Sep 29 to Oct 3, 2021
Innovative film and music festival with great concerts, workshops, variety of films, celebrity led panels, an awards ceremony and fantastic parties. Often sells out so get your tickets early.
Twin Cities Arab Film Festival - Minneapolis, MN - Sep 29 to Oct 3, 2021
TCAFF 2021 is a hybrid film festival, screening independent Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) cinema virtually for audiences across the United States and in-person at the Trylon Cinema in Minneapolis. The festival seeks to provide Arab American and Arab film artists support and exposure, build the local Arab American community, and present to the general public the diverse ways in which Arabs view themselves and the world they live in through the powerful and accessible medium of film.
Lake Charles Film & Music Festival - Lake Charles, LA - Oct 1 to Oct 2, 2021
Annual event for 5+ years. Independent film screenings, seminars, parties, networking, live music, cajun food and more.
Chesapeake Film Festival - Easton, MD - Oct 1 to Oct 10, 2021
For 2021, both virtual and in person programming. The annual program focuses on stories about the Maryland region and local communities
Portland Queer Film Festival - Portland, OR - Oct 1 to Oct 7, 2021
Cinema 21 hosts a festival of features, documentary, and short films made aroud the world, by, about, or of interest to the LGBT community
Hot Springs International Horror Film Festival - Hot Springs, AR - Oct 1 to Oct 3, 2021
Independent film festival with a variety of films in the horror, sci fi, and thriller genres, with premieres, networking and exhibition opportunities.
California Avocado Festival - Carpinteria, CA - Oct 2 to Oct 3, 2021
One of the largest free festivals in Cali with a great lineup of music and fabulous food.
Chagrin Documentary Film Fest - Chagrin Falls, OH - Oct 5 to Oct 10, 2021
A five day celebration of documentary films.
Portland Film Festival - Portland, OR - Oct 6 to Oct 8, 2021
MovieMaker Magazine called it one of the coolest film festivals in the world. This festival brings a week of film premieres, networking, workshops, guest speakers, Q&A’s and more to Portland.
Mill Valley Film Festival - San Rafael, CA - Oct 7 to Oct 17, 2021
An eleven-day, internationally acclaimed cinema event welcoming more than 200 filmmakers from 50 countries.
Heartland Film Festival - Indianapolis, IN - Oct 7 to Oct 17, 2021
Heartland showcases more than 130 movies from independent filmmakers over 10 days of red carpet premieres and events, parties and film screenings across Indianapolis.
Bend Film Festival - Bend, OR - Oct 7 to Oct 17, 2021
Tacoma Film Festival - Tacoma, WA - Oct 7 to Oct 14, 2021
A celebration of independent film in Western Washington’s second largest city.
Heartland International Film Festival - Indianapolis, IN - Oct 7 to Oct 17, 2021
Since the inaugural Festival in 1992, Heartland has grown from a four-day event with less than 20 films to an 11-day celebration featuring more than 100 independent films, 200 visiting filmmakers and 300 film screenings.
Atlanta Horror Film Festival - Atlanta, GA - Oct 8 to Oct 10, 2021
They’ve screened thousands of independent horror features and shorts since 2006.
Vermont International Fall Festival - Burlington, VT - Oct 8 to Oct 17, 2021
Film festival with a variety of programming actoss the week.
Dayton LGBT Film Festival - Dayton, OH - Oct 8 to Oct 14, 2021
The Dayton LGBT Film Festival has been bringing the best and newest of LGBT cinema to the Miami Valley for well over a decade. They’ve brought close to 200 feature length and short films to town since their inception, and they’ve hosted over 20 guest artists
Urban Mediamakers Film Festival - Atlanta, GA - Oct 11 to Oct 24, 2021
The annual event takes place at various locations in metro-Atlanta and Lawrenceville. There are also guest speakers and workshops, as well as a competition for middle and high schoolers.
Chicago International Film Festival - Chicago, IL - Oct 13 to Oct 24, 2021
Exhibiting films from around the world for five decades.
Santa Fe Independent Film Festival - Santa Fe, NM - Oct 13 to Oct 17, 2021
Brings the latest independent films and directors, Native cinema, New Mexico films, student films, and masters discussions to several venues in Santa Fe.
San Francisco Dance Film Festival - San Francisco, CA - Oct 15 to Oct 24, 2021
Dance films from San Francisco and around the world, including experiemental shorts, live performance capture, dance documentaries, live performances and more.
Telluride Horror Show - Telluride, CO - Oct 15 to Oct 17, 2021
Colorado’s first and longest-running horror film festival returns for another year, with the latest genre films from all around the world, and visitors from near and far for a three-day gathering in the mountain resort town of Telluride. Enjoy horror, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, sci-fi and dark comedy in various venues, with over 20 feature films and 50+ short films (some making their US premiere for the first time!) plus special programs, guests and other events.
FirstGlance Film Fest Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA - Oct 15 to Oct 17, 2021
Independent film festival in Philadelphia, offering premiers from all genres and lengths, plus chances to vote for your favorites and meet the filmmakers, cast and crews.
Vortex Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival - Providence, RI - Oct 16 to Oct 24, 2021
Screenings of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror films, plus other events. Children under 14 not admitted without adult du to content of most films being intended for mature audiences.
Austin Film Festival - Austin, TX - Oct 21 to Oct 28, 2021
Film pass permits access to 180 premieres, indie films, narrative and documentary competition, shorts program and more.
Lake Placid Film Festival - Lake Placid, NY - Oct 21 to Oct 24, 2021
Going virtual for 2020, with short films available for viewing. See event website for details. Normally: View films and shorts, attend panels and more
Queen City Film Festival - Cumberland, MD - Oct 22 to Oct 24, 2021
Four days of screenings of films from around the world. QCFF categories are: Animation, Appalachian, Cult, Documentary, Horror/SciFi, Kids/Family, LGBT, and Music
Freak Show Horror Film Fest - Orlando, FL - Oct 29 to Oct 31, 2021
This film festival supports independent filmmakers in the international horror genre.
St. Louis International Film Festival - St. Louis, MO - Nov 4 to Nov 21, 2021
Going virtual for 2020, see event website for details. Normally: Annual event with almost 400 screenings and programs at more than 10 venues.
Scottsdale Film Festival - Scottsdale, AZ - Nov 5 to Nov 12, 2021
Uses film to share and create dialog about the unique perspectives of other countries and cultures, allowing attendees to gain a deeper connection to local and global communities. Founded in 2001.
New Orleans Film Festival - New Orleans, LA - Nov 5 to Nov 21, 2021
Hosted by multiple theatres across the city, the film festival gives out awards in seven different categories with prize packages that include thousands of dollars worth of camera packages, software, film stock, cash prizes and more. In addition to screenings, there are parties and other events, and celebrities are often in attendance. Individual screening tickets are available but can go quickly, so the All-Access Pass (which among other benefits guarantees tickets to all festival screenings) is the better bet
Cucalorus Film Festival - Wilmington, NC - Nov 10 to Nov 14, 2021
Founded in 1994 this annual festival screens over 200 films at several area venues. Dress up for the red carpet and enjoy your nights out. Recent addition can help venture capitalists and entreprenteurs meet at the Cucalorus Connect conference, which featured more than 50 events (in addition to the film festival) such as panels and workshops.
Fairhope Film Festival - Fairhope, AL - Nov 11 to Nov 14, 2021
Rome International Film Festival - Rome, GA - Nov 11 to Nov 14, 2021
This event is known for its screenings of independent films. MovieMaker called it one of the outstanding film festivals of the Southeast.
Montana Film Festival - MIssoula, MT - Nov 18 to Nov 21, 2021
Watch screenings of new independent films plus the work of emerging artists.
Christmas Holiday Throwback Series at Union Station - Kansas City, MO - Nov 19 to Dec 21, 2021
Watch classic and retro holiday movies including National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Elf, and the Polar Express, all at Regnier Extreme Screen, the largest movie theater screen in the region. Each movie will screen for a few days, check the website for the schedule and tickets.
Florida Surf Film Festival - New Smyrna Beach, FL - Jun 17 to Jun 18, 2022
The event invigorates Florida’s surf culture through film appreciation and artistic expression by exhibiting contemporary films from filmmakers far and wide.
Cinecon - Burbank, CA - Sep 1 to Sep 5, 2022
A classic film festival in Hollywood over Labor Day weekend.
Telluride Film Festival - Telluride, CO - Sep 2 to Sep 5, 2022
Annual film festival in Telluride
Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival - Vineyard Haven, MA - Sep 6 to Sep 11, 2022
Explore the local area, live music and enjoy 40+ films from around the globe by international film makers, plus conversations with filmmakers and others, live musical events, and more
Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival - Cleveland, OH - Sep 15 to Sep 23, 2022
It showcases regional, national and international urban culture as well as providing a platform for talented minority independent filmmakers, screenwriters and actors of greater Cleveland.