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Best Of: 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee, 2014

Best Of: 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee, 2014

Festivals

deadCENTER FILM FESTIVAL

Oklahoma City, OK / June 11-15, 2014 / deadcenterfilm.org

deadCENTER is located in the geographic middle of the Unites States, but it wants moviemakers to be the center of attention. With an entire committee devoted to guests’ needs during the festival, filmmakers go on coordinated daytrips with locals by day, and attend raging parties with free Stella by night.

 

FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL

Montreal, Canada / July 14-Aug 5, 2014 / fantasiafestival.com/2014/en/pre-festival

Quentin Tarantino once called Fantasia “the most important and prestigious genre film festival on this continent.” Yet despite its high-profile premieres and top distributor attendance, your film won’t get lost in the shuffle. The three-week event runs that long so every film gets a fair chance of being viewed—there are never more than three screenings at once.

 

FEMALE EYE FILM FESTIVAL

Ontario, Canada / June 18-22, 2014 / femaleeyefilmfestival.com

The female perspective reigns at this Canadian fest, though over 40 percent of attendees are men. Their archives boast the debut efforts of many an indie queen, including Anita Doron, Sarah Polley, and Ingrid Veninger. The festival is currently establishing its own distribution arm to further promote films directed by women.

 

FLORIDA FILM FESTIVAL

Maitland, FL / Spring 2015 / floridafilmfestival.com

The 23-year-old Florida Film Festival takes place at Enzian, a beloved art house theater with in-theater table service and cabaret style seating. Last year’s event was attended by distributors like Magnolia Pictures, IFC, Oscilloscope Laboratories and Variance Films, hunting for new films to acquire—perhaps yours next year!

 

GASPARILLA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Tampa, FL / Spring 2015 / gasparillafilmfestival.com

Satisfied alumni spread the word about GIFF. “We have doubled our attendance the last couple years,” a festival representative said. “Several alumni go on our advisory board, and some have come back and made films in our city. This year at least a quarter of our accepted films were recommended by alumni.”

 

HAMPTONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Hamptons, NY / Oct. 9-13, 2014 / hamptonsfilmfest.org

Why not submit to the Hamptons International Film Festival? Accepted moviemakers experience the perfect blend of a beautiful seaside community and top-quality films. The winner of the Golden Starfish Award wins a prize package of in-kind services of a $145,000 value. Cash awards are offered in other categories as well.

 

HOLLYSHORTS FILM FESTIVAL

Hollywood, CA / Aug. 14-23, 2014 / hollyshorts.com

Short film fest HollyShorts packs a punch in the prizes department, with a total of $100,000 in production and post-production services, a $40,000 film school scholarship for winners of the Youth category, and all-expenses-paid trips to New Zealand and Noci, Italy.

Copy of Indie Memphis

Indie Memphis Film Festival. Photograph by Breezy Torres

INDIE MEMPHIS FILM FESTIVAL

Memphis, TN / Oct. 12-Nov. 2, 2014 / indiememphis.com

Last year’s Indie Memphis held a filmmaking/brewing panel with Joe Swanberg, a party in a former bordello, and (of course) concerts galore. “Is this heaven? No, it’s Indie Memphis,” raved attendee Justin Doherty. They take film seriously, too: “We take particular pride in our jury, which features folks on par with Sundance.”

 

IRIS PRIZE FILM FESTIVAL

Cardiff, Wales / Oct. 8-12, 2014 / irisprize.org

IPFF’s claim to fame is being one of the best LGBT film festivals in Europe. Rather uniquely, the fest’s Iris Prize provides the funding, support and guidance (valued at £25,000) for its winner to make a new project. Talk about not resting on your laurels!

 

LITTLE ROCK FILM FESTIVAL

Little Rock, AR / May 15-19, 2014 / littlerockfilmfestival.org

LRFF has serious hospitality chops: Moviemakers are invited to stay for as long as they want, regardless of when they screen their films. And because founders Brent and Craig Renaud are documentarians themselves, they tap talent from their extensive network for panels and judges.

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