This week we’re announcing our 2013 Coolest Film Festivals in the World results, voted by YOU, two categories per day – leading up to the Top 25 General Festival winners on Friday, 11/15! Today it’s our third pair – Environmental/Social Cause Film Festivals and Women’s Film Festivals. For the full article and list of results, pick up a copy of our Fall 2013 issue, hitting stands any day now!


(The following introduction opens the full article in the Fall 2013 issue.)

What makes a film festival the Coolest? Is it a combination of quality cinema, great parties, and free swag? Or is it an alluring mix of hip, alternative venues and shoestring-budget, hyper-indie films you might not get to see anywhere else? What about the opportunity to gawk at celebrities, connect with fellow moviemakers, and take advantage of free travel perks? These are just some of the many factors we pondered before we could even begin to quantify the coolest film festivals on the planet this year. On top of all that, the MovieMaker team couldn’t possibly attend all the festivals in the Los Angeles area, much less the world—the territory this list’s title so ambitiously encompasses. So we decided to solicit a little help from our friends.

It dawned on us that the best way to create this list was to ask our readers to offer up their experience and opinions. After all, we know the collective MovieMaker readership has the goods on almost every festival out there. So instead of choosing 25 festivals ourselves as we’ve done in the past, we asked our readers to nominate and vote for what they see as the coolest. We also broke our list down into categories to reflect the increasing diversity on today’s festival circuit. While still naming 25 coolest “General” Festivals—all-encompassing fests that don’t discern their selections by genre—we also named the five coolest fests in 10 new genre-specific categories. Running the gamut from “Horror/Sci-Fi” to “Documentary” and “Shorts” and the smorgasbord that became the “Other” category (including animation fests, sports fests, 3D fests, you name it), just about every conceivable kind of festival is represented. Over four months, we received more than 15,000 votes and enlisted the help of Hone, a visual survey platform that simplified our crowd-sourcing efforts (check them out at It’s important to note that the following 76 festivals are presented without any particular hierarchy or order—if you made it in, you made it in!

See the first category winners (Documentary and Horror/Sci-Fi Festivals) here, and the second (Short Film and Comedy Festivals) here.


Top Five Coolest Environmental/Social Cause Film Festivals (Full list of nominees here)

Do Something Reel Film Festival

The World Wide Web / All Year Long

Do Something Reel gets our vote for the punniest festival in this pool of winners.


Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital

Washington, D.C. / March 18-30, 2014

EFFNC makes D.C. a capital city of America and cinema!


Global Peace Film Festival

Orlando, FL / Mid to Late September 2014

What better way to strive for peace on earth than by coming together for the love of film?


Mountainfilm in Telluride

Telluride, CO / May 23-26, 2014

Reach new peaks with Mountainfilm in beautiful (and altitudinous!) Telluride.


Shining Light Film Festival

Indianapolis, IN / Late April 2014

SLFF: shining a light on mental heath awareness.


Top Five Coolest Women’s Film Festivals (Full list of nominees)

Broad Humor Film Festival

Venice, CA / Late September 2014

Broad Humor continues promoting its filmmakers even after the competition is over with its Legacy Program!


High Falls Film Festival

Rochester, NY / April 24-27, 2014

Each year the festival honors women who have persevered in their careers and triumphed over difficulties with its Susan B. Anthony ‘Failure is Impossible’ Award.


Lady Filmmakers Film Festival

Beverly Hills, CA / Late September 2014

Attendees will not only enjoy cool films, but great music, parties and workshops, as well.


Stranger With My Face Film Festival

Hobart, Australia / Early March 2014

Stranger With My Face derives its name from Lois Duncan’s young adult novel of the same name.


Viscera Film Festival

Los Angeles, CA / Mid-June 2014

Their red carpet event is appropriately named “the bloody carpet.”

Sincerest thanks from the MovieMaker team to everyone who participated in the compilation of this list. To the runners up that didn’t make the final five in each category, we send our condolences, and thank you for your voting. There’s always next year. Glad to see your favorite film festival on this year’s list? Think you have a cooler festival than these up your sleeve?  Tweet at @moviemakermag, tag us on Facebook (MovieMaker Magazine) or leave a comment! MM

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