During the year the MovieMaker office gets peppered with calls and e-mails from readers who ask us some variation of the following question: Which film festivals have the most to offer me?

We know that in today’s tight economy, with hundreds of festivals of various sizes, reputations and genres demanding entry fees between $25 and $50 each, and with a majority of moviemakers still believing that their festival strategy can make or break their indie film’s commercial prospects, readers can really use a little help from their friends at MovieMaker.

Thus, for the last several years we’ve taken it upon ourselves to compile an annual list that highlights only a fraction of the events we believe are worth our readers’ hard-earned money. Of course, a festival game plan is still essential. Think about which fests have the most to offer, which feel right and which can deliver the kind of rewards—financial or otherwise—that can seed one’s career.

While every moviemaker’s priorities vary, what follows is a list of festivals that offer something a little out of the ordinary. Sometimes it’s money, sometimes it’s a distribution opportunity and sometimes it’s the chance to be a part of an event regardless of whether your submission is even accepted.

To keep things fresh, we’ve made sure not to repeat any festivals included in last year’s list (you can read that piece here). So here are our 2010 picks; for the full text of why we chose this lot of more than two dozen fests, pick up a copy of the Spring 2010 edition, on newsstands now.

New York, NY – acefest.com

Babelgum Online Film Festival
Online – babelgum.com/online-film-festival

Bare Bones International Independent Film Festival
Muskogee, OK – barebonesfilmfestivals.org

Big Bear Lake International Film Festival
Big Bear, CA – bigbearlakefilmfestival.com

Big Island Film Festival
Big Island, HI – bigislandfilmfestival.com

BIGSTAR Online Film Festival
Online – bigstar.tv/ bigstar-online-film-festival

Black Maria Film & Video Festival
Various – blackmariafilmfestival.org

Brooklyn International Film Festival
Brooklyn, NY – brooklynfilmfestival.org

Chicago International Children’s Film Festival
Chicago, IL – cicff.org

Dallas International Film Festival
Dallas, TX – dallasfilm.org

Fantastic Fest
Austin, TX – fantasticfest.com

FirstGlance Film Festivals
Philadelphia, PA & Hollywood, CA – firstglancefilms.com

Kansas International Film Festival
Overland Park, KS – kansasfilm.com

Little Rock Film Festival
Little Rock, AR – littlerockfilmfestival.org

Los Angeles Film Festival
Los Angeles, CA – lafilmfest.com

Various Locations – lunafest.org

Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival
Martha’s Vineyard, MA – mvfilmfest.com

Newport Beach International Film Festival
Newport Beach, CA – newportbeachfilmfest.com

San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival
San Antonio, TX – saicff.org

San Francisco International Film Festival
San Francisco, CA – fest10.sffs.org

Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Santa Barbara, CA – sbiff.org

Los Angeles, CA – shriekfest.com

Starz Denver
Denver, CO – denverfilm.org

Stony Brook Film Festival
Stony Brook, NY – stonybrookfilmfestival.com

United Nations Association Film Festival
Palo Alto, CA; Various Locations – unaff.org

Don’t see your favorite film festival listed? Readers play a large part in creating this annual list, so tell us who you’d pick and why at {encode=”[email protected]” title=”[email protected]”}.

Want to read the full story? Pick up a copy of the Spring 2010 edition, on newsstands now, or sign up for a one-year subscription at the discounted rate of just $9.95 for one year: https://www.moviemaker.com/subscribe/entry_fee_2010.