Best 15 Film Festivals for this Fall
In Theatre 1 at the Revere Hotel Boston Common, the 30th annual Boston Film Festival hosts four world premieres and 32 films. In response to the environmental crisis, the closing day program will showcase the world premieres of Zemene, Breaking Free: The Shale Rock Revolution, the Boston debut of Slingshot and Love Thy Nature, a documentary narrated by Liam Nesson. Boston Film Festival Executive Director Robin Dawson has said, “The 30th festival program offers audiences a range of films that will inspire, entertain and inform audiences. We feel it is a great blend of topics.”
The South Dakota Film Festival began in 2007, featuring shorts, documentaries, and highlighting filmmakers and films shot in the Great Plains region (SD, ND, MN, IA, WY, MT, NE). Before the festival’s “Afterglow Party” on Friday, September 26, there will be a screening of the documentary Wicker Kittens, about competitive jigsaw puzzling in St. Paul, MN.
September 26- October 12
This year The New York Film Festival celebrates 52 years at The Film Society of Lincoln Center. Featured in the festival’s Main Slate on Friday, October 10 at 6 p.m., will be world premiere of Citizenfour, a new documentary surrounding Edward Snowden and NSA surveillance, by filmmaker Laura Poitras. The festival also features film classics. Amongst them this year The Color Pomegrantes (1968), Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) and Jamaica Inn (1939) will be remembered.
Located in the Kittitas Valley in Central Washington, the Ellengsburg Film Festival, “uses movies to promote diversity and dialog within our community and to forge new connections between our region and the world around us.” This year the festival’s special guest is Craig T. Nelson. He will participate in a Q & A after a screening of the Family Stone. The festival hosts features, shorts, documentaries from around the U.S. and the world.
The Chicago International Film Festival celebrates its golden anniversary this fall. The festival is part of a year-round non-profit organization dedicated to “fostering better communication between people of diverse cultures through the art of film and the moving image,” and has continued to bring in highly acclaimed films from around the nation and world for fifty years. The opening night gala features Miss Julie, a romantic drama from the UK and Norway about Miss Julie (Jessica Chastain) who falls for her father’s valet (Colin Farrell).
This three day festival located north of New York City in Northampton, Massachusetts, hosts renowned features, documentaries and shorts from around the country and the globe. 3 Mile Limit, a feature out of New Zealand premiering the first night of the festival, is based on a true story of ’60s rock music that was shaking up the world, but not New Zealand.
The 15th annual Film Columbia Festival in Chatham, NY hosts the bests features, docs and shorts at the historic Crandell Theater. The festival is produced by the non-profit organization The Chatham Film Club. The opening film of the festival is Winter Sleep, this years Palme d’Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival, from Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan.
The 21st annual Austin Film Festival, kicks off with a Film and Food Fundraising Party, on October 22 at the Driskill Hotel. The festival itself begins the following day, and for one week hosts parties at downtown venues, and showcases a program of Hollywood and independent narrative, animation and documentary features as well as shorts, premieres and advanced screenings. The festival also will host Q & A sessions with cast members and filmmakers, plus a conference “built around the most prestigious screenwriting competition in the country,” which as been championed by writers like Vince Gilligan and Jonathan Demme. Highlights include presentations by Mathew Weiner (Mad Men) and Jenny Lumet (daughter of Sidney), and screenings of anticipated films like Wild, The Sound & Fury, and The Imitation Game.
October 30-November 2
The 17th annual Indie Memphis Film Festival, presented by Dustin Williams Inc. showcases independent features, documentaries and short films at Overton Square. The festival also connects the festival audience and filmmakers to live music in Memphis. They host Q & A sessions and join audiences, filmmakers artists and musicians. The High Cotton Brewing Co. will be hosting a preview party October 2 from 7-9 p.m.
October 30-November 9
A sister festival to the Shanghai International Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival engage with emerging talent, promotes developing careers and hosts educational programs that “facilitate dynamic cultural exchange through the cinema arts.” The festival focuses on features, documentaries and shorts from Asia, the Pacific Islands and Hawaii made by Asians, Pacific Islanders and Hawaiians. The closing film and world premier for this year’s festival is Visions in the Dark: The Life of Pinky Thompson, a story about Pinky Thompson a man who fought for the equality of Native Hawaiians.
The 39th annual American Indian Film Festival, held at the American Indian Film Institute in downtown San Francisco, is the world’s longest running expo of films made by and about American Indians. The festival is also founded and produced by Native people. It features shorts, documentaries and feature-length films as well as panel discussions, workshops and an awards show that together have, “become a trusted guide to contemporary Indian life.”
The Virginia Film Festival has been bringing quality films to Charlottesville, Virginia since the late ’80s. The festival works alongside The University of Virginia. This year the festival features The Project, a documentary about Somali pirates who were financing the Puntland Maritime Police Force.
Since 1971 AFI FEST has celebrated “international cinema from modern masters and emerging filmmakers.” It is Hollywood’s longest running international film festival. The eight day festival is honoring Italian screen legend, Sophia Loren, with a Tribute on Wednesday November 12, as well as dedicating this years branding to a photo of Loren taken in the sumer of 1965.
MovieMaker magazine describes The Cucalorus Film Festival as “a joyful amalgamation of interdisciplinary art, a top-quality selection of international and local films, and an intimate bonding experience ruled by bonfires and moonshine.” The festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and anticipates films such as Felix, The Hip Hop Fellow, The Evolution of a Criminal, The Tribe and Zip Zap and the Marble Gang.
The Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival celebrates 23 years this fall. The festival’s program contains shorts, feature-length films and documentaries and is one of the largest in the Midwest. The festival grants audience choice awards to the best film, best international film and a Leon Award for Best Documentary. One Chance won last year’s Best Film Award.