The Coolest Film Festivals in the World, 2013: LGBT and Ethnic/National Film Festival Winners
by MM Editors

This week we’re announcing our 2013 Coolest Film Festivals in the World results, voted by YOU, two categories per day – leading up to the Top 25 General Festival winners on Friday, 11/15! Today it’s our fourth pair – LGBT Film Festivals and Ethnic/National Film Festivals. For the full article and list of results, pick up a copy of our Fall 2013 issue, hitting stands any day now!


(The following introduction opens the full article in the Fall 2013 issue.)

What makes a film festival the Coolest? Is it a combination of quality cinema, great parties, and free swag? Or is it an alluring mix of hip, alternative venues and shoestring-budget, hyper-indie films you might not get to see anywhere else? What about the opportunity to gawk at celebrities, connect with fellow moviemakers, and take advantage of free travel perks? These are just some of the many factors we pondered before we could even begin to quantify the coolest film festivals on the planet this year. On top of all that, the MovieMaker team couldn’t possibly attend all the festivals in the Los Angeles area, much less the world—the territory this list’s title so ambitiously encompasses. So we decided to solicit a little help from our friends.

It dawned on us that the best way to create this list was to ask our readers to offer up their experience and opinions. After all, we know the collective MovieMaker readership has the goods on almost every festival out there. So instead of choosing 25 festivals ourselves as we’ve done in the past, we asked our readers to nominate and vote for what they see as the coolest. We also broke our list down into categories to reflect the increasing diversity on today’s festival circuit. While still naming 25 coolest “General” Festivals—all-encompassing fests that don’t discern their selections by genre—we also named the five coolest fests in 10 new genre-specific categories. Running the gamut from “Horror/Sci-Fi” to “Documentary” and “Shorts” and the smorgasbord that became the “Other” category (including animation fests, sports fests, 3D fests, you name it), just about every conceivable kind of festival is represented. Over four months, we received more than 15,000 votes and enlisted the help of Hone, a visual survey platform that simplified our crowd-sourcing efforts (check them out at It’s important to note that the following 76 festivals are presented without any particular hierarchy or order—if you made it in, you made it in!

See the first category winners (Documentary and Horror/Sci-Fi Festivals) here, the second (Short Film and Comedy Festivals) here, and the third (Environmental/Social Cause /Women’s Film Festivals) here.

Top Five Coolest LGBT Film Festivals (Full list of nominees here)


Frameline San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival

San Francisco, CA / June 19-29, 2014

Frameline has a Voices app for your phone. Now you can watch your favorite LGBT films anywhere!


KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival

Mumbai, India / Late May 2014

“Kashish” means attraction or allurement in Urdu—a word we’d like to incorporate into our vocabulary.


North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Durham, NC / Early to Mid-July 2014

NCGLFF has our vote for best tagline: “Bigger, Longer, and More Satisfying.”


Outfest Film Festival

Los Angeles, CA / Mid-July 2014

Don Cheadle and America Ferrera were just two of many celebrities at 2013’s Outfest.


Out Twin Cities Film Festival

Minneapolis, MN / June 4-8, 2014

Now that gay marriage is legal in Minnesota, the fest is celebrating marriage equality by asking people to submit their proposal videos and screening them at next year’s festival. Aw!


Top Five Coolest Ethnic/National Film Festivals (Full list of nominees here)


Arab Film Festival

Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, and San Francisco / October and November 2013

Last year’s fest screened such titles as Death for Sale, Farewell Exile, and The Virgin, the Copts, and Me.


Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Los Angeles, CA / May 1-11, 2014

This festival offers a snapshot of the national cinemas of countries like China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and many more.


Red Nation Film Festival

Los Angeles, CA / November 1-30, 2013

The festival theme, “Red is Green,” serves to expand the boundaries of how American Indians have typically been defined in our culture. Color us intrigued.


Russian Resurrection

Various cities throughout Australia / July to August 2014

This festival is one of the oldest, largest and most respected Russian film festivals outside of Russia.


Singapore International Film Festival

Singapore / 2014

2012′s SIFF theme was “Future Visions,” and the fest showcased classic science fiction movies.


Sincerest thanks from the MovieMaker team to everyone who participated in the compilation of this list. To the runners up that didn’t make the final five in each category, we send our condolences, and thank you for your voting. There’s always next year. Glad to see your favorite film festival on this year’s list? Think you have a cooler festival than these up your sleeve?  Tweet at @moviemakermag, tag us on Facebook (MovieMaker Magazine) or leave a comment! MM

To subscribe to MovieMaker Magazine, click here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “The Coolest Film Festivals in the World, 2013: LGBT and Ethnic/National Film Festival Winners
by MM Editors

  1. OUT Twin Cities Film Festival

    OUT Twin Cities Film Festival is sincerely honored by this recognition! Thank You to all who casted a vote and support us, YOU ROCK FOLKS! We are now in our 5th year and we invited you to join us for the 2014 OUT Twin Cities Film Festival, June 4th – 8th.

    Thanks You!

Latest Stories

Happy Bastille Day! Directed by the colorful, hyper-kinetic, and very French Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Mood Indigo tells the story of two lovers against the backdrop of Gondry’s typically fantastical Paris. Visual effects supervisor Romain Strabol explains how the team crafted two key elements of Mood Indigo‘s surreal mise-en-scène: a mouse-house […]

Copy of Road to Paloma 2

Towering over six feet four inches tall, Hawaiian born actor-director Jason Momoa’s powerful presence on screen is unmistakable. In the HBO series Game of Thrones, he is Khal Drogo, the fearsome Dothraki warlord who weds exiled princess Daenerys Targaryen. In Stargate Atlantis, he transforms into dreadlocked military specialist Ronon Dex. He goes mano y mano, […]

New Filmmakers LA is back with even more moviemaking wisdom, featuring interviews with directors Edward Shieh, Sam Barnett, Evan Matthews, Marko Grujic and Michelle Yu. NewFilmmakers LA (NFMLA) is a non-profit organization designed to showcase the innovative works by emerging filmmakers from around the world, providing the Los Angeles community of entertainment professionals and film goers with a constant surge […]

New Filmmakers LA is back with loads of moviemaking wisdom, featuring interviews with directors J.D. Ramage, Adam Rosenbaum and writer Matt Godfrey, Ross Kolton and lead actor Ryan Mazzei, Bettina Bilger and Chris Valenziano. NewFilmmakers LA (NFMLA) is a non-profit organization designed to showcase the innovative works by emerging filmmakers from around the world, providing the Los Angeles community of entertainment […]


This week, on the heels of Independence Day, director Hal Hartley (No Such Thing) discusses his latest feature film, My America, which knits together the emotions and people that define the United States. Commissioned by Center Stage, the state theater of Maryland, the film consists of a series of spirited monologues written and performed by […]


Richard Linklater is no stranger to the workings of time—both as thematic device in his films, and as necessary ingredient to the moviemaking process. After all, his two previous features had unusually long gestation periods: 2011’s Bernie had been cooking in the director’s head since 1997, while 2013’s Before Midnight comes 18 years after Before […]


Filmmaker and editor Dean Pollack’s work has appeared everywhere from Bravo and Hulu to Adult Swim. He just completed his second directorial effort, the feature film Audrey, which traces a single hour in a woman’s day. He discusses the advantages and disadvantages encountered shooting a film set in real time on a single location. Not […]

Still from James Broughton film The Bed. Courtesy of Frisky Divinity Productions.

Stephen Silha is the co-director of Big Joy: the Adventures of James Broughton, a lyrical documentary about the beloved director of The Bed, The Pleasure Garden, This is It and other counter-culture classics. Here, Silha recounts his friendship with the late Broughton, the subject he brings to luminous life along with fellow filmmakers Eric Slade […]

New Picture (12)

“The food in that movie looked so good.” There’s nothing quite as aggravating as delicious onscreen food. Think of the plump, glistening, jeweled globs of sashimied perfection served to the camera in Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and weep with frustrated desire. Let’s face it: That film, and others like it, have honed the fine art […]