Connect with us

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

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



Fort Worth, TX / Nov. 9-6, 2014 /

Under Lone Star Film Festival’s B1ST program, industry biggies like Jon Reiss and Ted Hope mentor moviemakers in new models of marketing and distribution, prepping them for the next steps in finding their films’ audience. As a festival representative said, “Better is better.”



Los Angeles, CA / June 11-19, 2014 /

Now in its 20th year, LAFF is showing no sign of slowing down. The fest is famous for its signature Filmmaker Retreat, a networking event that in the past has taken place at George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch, and this year will take place at the famed Parker Hotel in Palm Springs.



Martha’s Vineyard, MA / Spring 2015 /

Sick of hustling your film day in, day out? Grab a break at MVFF, where moviemakers get beach walks, yoga classes, reflexology appointments, and even daycare. “In between movies our guests truly feel like they are on vacation,” staff said.



Nantucket, MA / June 25-30, 2014 /

Beyond its generous array of awards and prizes, NFF’s panels are especially appealing. They include an All-Star Comedy Roundtable, where board member Ben Stiller interviews comedic personalities, and the Late-Night Storytelling event, where attendees present hilarious five-minute stories to a live audience.



Napa Valley, CA / Nov. 12-16, 2014 /

Small wonder this fest is popular with attendees from nearby Hollywood: It puts on exquisitely curated dining and drinking experiences—exactly what one hopes for in California’s wine county. 2013 participant Paul Osborne says, “It’s only a matter of time before this becomes the new Sundance.”

50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee - National Film Festival For Talented Youth

2013 National Film Festival For Talented Youth. Photograph by Mark Malijan



Seattle, WA / Spring 2015 /

If you are a young moviemaker looking to learn more about the industry, look no further than NFFTY. This Seattle festival only shows films created by filmmakers 22 and younger, placing an emphasis on educational networking—with some pretty awesome prizes to boot.



New Orleans, LA / Oct. 16-23, 2014 /

Festival staff cite New Orleans’ eccentric atmosphere as a big draw: “We’ve hosted a filmmaker welcome soiree at an old mansion in the French Quarter, a dance party with a bouncy castle, an evening party at the Louisiana wax museum, and brunch amongst hundreds of Mardi Gras floats.” Last year’s total prize value was more than $80,000 in camera packages, film stock, cash prizes, and software.



Newport Beach, CA / Spring 2015 /

NBFF gets top marks for networking opportunities. Located within driving distance of Los Angeles, the festival hosted a large contingent of film buyers, sales agents, and both international and domestic distributors in 2013, allowing moviemakers to interact personally with the best of the business.



Oxford, MS / Winter 2015 /

Oxford has a legion of alumni waxing lyrical about the fest. “It was my first year attending OFF but you could have fooled me. By the end of the first night, everyone was a friend,” said one. “They pick you up and take you to the airport, put you up in a hotel, feed you every day… You can’t beat that as a (probably) deeply-in-debt filmmaker,” said another.



Palm Springs, CA / January, 2015 and June 17-23, 2014 /

With major distributor presence, ample awards and prizes, and a long history of prestigious premieres, both the feature and short festivals held at Palm Springs should be on your radar. A highlight of the International Film Festival is the two-day director’s retreat for selected moviemakers. Meanwhile, many of the Shortfest’s Audience Award winners have gone on to be nominated for, and win, Academy Awards.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5

Continue Reading


  1. John R Taylor says:

    The Shortini International Short Film Festival in Augusta, Sicily.
    It is a small city, the festival is a fabulous community of people working together to present a very good festival – divided into ‘Italian’ and ‘International’. The spirit of the place has to be experienced. It is an outdoor festival, with screenings at two locations in adjoining piazzas. Screenings start after dark and go to midnight – three nights.

    • MovieMaker Magazine says:

      John, that sounds like a wonderful festival (adorable name). Thanks for putting it on our radar. Italian festivals are really fun – there’s a great one in Bologna every summer held in Piazza Maggiore; it’s for classic films, not new ones, but if you’re in Italy in June you should definitely check it out.

  2. Harrah says:

    The Seattle International Film Festival actually starts on May 15, not the 25th as listed.

  3. Noentryfee says:

    What about a topic on festivals that still don’t ask for entry fee ? Yes they exist, and some of them are kinda interesting.

    • MovieMaker Magazine says:

      Awesome idea, and something we’ll look into adding the next time we publish this list. For now, you’ll note that the American Film Festival in Poland is one such entry-fee-less fest!

  4. Holly says:

    The Indie Spirit Film Festival in Colorado Springs, CO was a great festival I attended as a filmmaker! They really take care of you and make you feel special. They have a bunch of events for the filmmakers and the programming is diverse. Check it out!

  5. Michael Groom says:

    I had the best time ever at the Sedona International Film Festival. They’re very hospitable: providing excellent accommodation for film makers, parties every night, food on tap in the filmmakers lounge, and the location is obviously breathtaking. Every screening I went to was sold out and there was a lot of good opportunity for networking with fellow film makers from all over the world. Once you’re accepted the first time, you can apply as an alumnus for free, forever.

    • MovieMaker Magazine says:

      Michael, Sedona IFF is definitely an excellent fest, and we’re glad you had such a fantastic experience. Thanks for the ringing endorsement!

  6. del snow says:

    Full Frame. Weird omission.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Festivals

To Top