You’re probably aware that every fall, for the better part of a decade, we’ve published a list of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals”—the sister list to our “50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.” After a lot of debate and consideration, we decided to kick the “Coolest” list up a notch this year and let our readers nominate and vote on their favorite film festivals.

As of now the nomination period has ended and we’re excited to begin the actual voting process!

Coolest Film Festivals

The other really great thing is that we’ve divided this year’s list into categories, to recognize the ever-expanding variety of festivals in today’s circuit. So while we’ll still be ranking the “25 Coolest Festivals” in the general category, we’ll also be ranking the top five festivals in 10 other categories, ranging from horror to comedy, from ethnic to LGBT, in upcoming weeks. Now tiny genre fests and larger, more well-funded organizations alike can compete on their own terms – so if you don’t see your favorite festival here this week, look for it in the next 10 weeks.

Here’s how it works: The 80 festivals in the general category that receive the most nominations will compete for the top 25 slots. The 20 festivals with the most nominations in each of the sub categories, similarly, will go on to compete for the top five slots. Each week MovieMaker will be running one or two vote-offs to find the festivals that our readers think are the coolest. All the festivals that make our final list will appear in print in the Fall issue of MovieMaker.

About general voting: The first 40 festivals in the general category will compete this week, beginning today and concluding Monday. The second 40 festivals will engage in the same process, starting next week. The two weeks of voting will create our top 20 festivals, leaving five remaining slots on our list to be hashed out amongst 20 runner-up festivals (the top ranking festivals that came close to, but did not win, their category).

How do you ensure that your favorite festival makes the top 25? Tell your family, friends, co-workers, anyone and everyone to vote, vote, vote!

To browse all 40 of this week’s competing festivals and vote, click on the arrows to the right or left of the voting bar (you’ll need to hover your cursor over the edge of the bar until the translucent arrows appear).

For more information on each fest (including MovieMaker fun facts), click on its picture, or the magnifying glass icon. To visit the festival websites, click the shopping cart icon.

Happy voting!

The first round of voting has concluded. Thank you for participating!

MovieMaker will be releasing the official list of Coolest Festivals as the fall issue hits stands October 21. We know it’s a long time to wait, but as the old says goes, patience is a virtue. Meanwhile, make sure to vote in categories ranging from environmental to experimental over the next two months. The second round of general voting begins Tuesday, July 9. Below is a list of the festivals that competed in the first round of voting.

Pool 1:
Cucalorus Film Festival
Orlando Film Festival
Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival
San Antonio Film Festival

Pool 2:
Long Island International Film Expo
Oxford Film Festival
Massachusetts Independent Film Festival
Sarasota Film Festival

Pool 3:
Coney Island Film Festival
Milwaukee Film Festival
Great Lakes International Film Festival
Portland International Film Festival

Pool 4:
Ashland Independent Film Festival
Maryland Film Festival
SENE Film, Music & Arts Festival
Mill Valley Film Festival

Pool 5:
RiverRun International Film Festival
Twin Cities Film Fest
Manhattan Film Festival
Jameson Dublin International Film Festival

Pool 6:
Austin Film Festival
Fargo Film Festival
Queens World Film Festival
George Lindsey UNA Film Festival

Pool 7:
Beaufort International Film Festival
Independent Film Festival Boston
Slamdance Film Festival
Dallas Video Fest

Pool 8:
Big Island Film Festival
San Francisco International Film Festival
Sonoma International Film Festival
Cleveland International Film Festival

Pool 9:
Tribeca Film Festival
Arizona International Film Festival
Golden Egg Film Festival
Indianapolis International Film Festival

Pool 10:
Santa Fe Independent Film Festival
Sundance Film Festival
On Location: Memphis International Film & Music Festival
Flyway Film Festival

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