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50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee in 2019

50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee in 2019

Annual Lists

Stony Brook Film Festival

Stony Brook, New York / July 18-27, 2019 / stonybrookfilmfestival.com 

film festivals

Thora Birch and Brian Cox join audiences for the U.S. premiere of The Etruscan Smile at Stony Brook Film Festival 2018. Photograph by Nick Koridis, courtesy of Stony Brook Film Festival

Stony Brook is not the biggest festival, but it generates star power by treating each film with equal respect and care. Last year, they received over 1,200 submissions through FilmFreeway, and they only accepted 24 of those. But for every one of the accepted moviemakers, the festival is able to provide travel and lodging expenses, expense reimbursements, and two meals a day. Films are shown one at a time on their 40-foot main screen, and shorts are paired with features to guarantee strong attendance. Every film screened gets its own Q&A, giving moviemakers a chance to hear from their audience in a way they might not at other festivals.

Tacoma Film Festival

Tacoma, Washington / October 3-10, 2019 / tacomafilmfestival.com / V

The Tacoma Film Festival calls itself a “blue collar” film festival, and to that end, it doesn’t put on airs. One hundred percent of festival programming is through submissions, and a high number of films are screened, giving everyone a decent shot (in 2018, it was one in six) of getting in. Once in Tacoma, moviemakers are encouraged to see themselves as a community, connecting at parties, screenings, and other events. Most screenings are held at the city’s charming The Grand Cinema, and there are also VR presentations at The Veldt. Tacoma is one of the better places on the festival circuit to meet like-minded people, share ideas, and conceive collaborations.

Woods Hole Film Festival

Woods Hole, Massachusetts / July 27-August 3, 2019 / woodsholefilmfestival.org 

Woods Hole Film Festival 2018 staff on the drawbridge. Photograph by E. Gene Chambers, courtesy of Woods Hole Film Festival

Woods Hole isn’t the most well-known film festival on our list, but it may be the prettiest. Set in Cape Cod during the summer, the festival offers a great opportunity for sightseeing and enjoying the quaint New England village. Almost everything is within walking distance, allowing attendees the chance to mingle in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere that lends itself to creative inspiration. Woods Hole usually programs some buzz-worthy features. In 2018, they hosted regional premieres for DriverX, Funny Story, Capturing the Flag, and Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland.

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