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The 2009 List: 25 Festivals Worth the Fee

The 2009 List: 25 Festivals Worth the Fee

Articles - Festivals

Every moviemaker has dreams of his or her film landing at Sundance or Cannes and instantly acquiring the enduring acclaim that fests of that caché can offer. There’s nothing wrong with striving for those rarified venues, but moviemakers need not get their celluoid in a bunch if it doesn’t happen, because now more than ever there are excellent alternatives—festivals that go the extra mile to make certain that a moviemaker’s efforts are well-compensated.

Whether the payoff comes in the form of a generous cash prize, the opportunity to hobknob with an industry titan, or just a fattening of one’s press kit and crew Rolodex, the festivals that are worth your fee and your time can make all the difference in your burgeoning career.

Now more than ever, with our country deep in a recession, coughing up the entry fees for a number of film festivals can be an unfeasible expense, so moviemakers need to choose wisely and target those fests that can offer a potential return on their investment.

But how can you choose where to submit? You already know many of the larger names, so to find worthy alternatives we searched the country (and our good neighbor to the north) to bring you a list of 25 of the finest, though perhaps lesser-known, festivals that are very much worth the fee. And maybe because of the recession, this year we paid special attention to festivals that emphasize shorts.

Here, then, in alphabetical order, is MM‘s 2009 list of 25 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee:

Action on Film International Film Festival
Angelus Student Film Festival
Ashland Independent Film Festival
Austin Film Festival
Bermuda International Film Festival
Boxur Shorts Film Festival
Calgary International Film Festival
Dark Carnival Film Festival
DC Shorts Film Festival
Doorpost Film Project
Elevate Film Festival
L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival
Mammoth Film Festival
Marfa Film Festival
Myrtle Beach International Film Festival
Napa Sonoma Wine Country Film Festival
Ottawa International Animation Film Festival
Oxford International Film Festival
Palm Springs Shortfest
Poppy Jasper Film Festival
Red Rock Film Festival
Screamfest Horror Film Festival
Syracuse International Film Festival
Whistler Film Festival

The Spring 2009 edition of MovieMaker Magazine can be purchased on newsstands everywhere. Single copies can be purchased for $5.95 online at or sign up for a full year of MovieMaker at our special introductory price of just $6.00 (practically the cost of a single issue) at

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