This list includes the more prominent independent film festivals in the USA.
Palm Springs Film Festival
Dates: Early January
Location: Palm Springs, California
Cost: Passes from $375 to $3,000 – Tickets need to be purchased depending on the film or event wanted to attend
Info: The Palm Springs International Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming over 135,000 attendees each year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, honoring the best achievements of the filmic year by a celebrated list of talents. Produced by the Palm Springs International Film Society, the Festival offers 14 days of events and film screenings featuring over 150 films. We welcome you to join us at our venues in Palm Springs and Cathedral City. See you at the movies!
Slamdance Film Festival
Dates: Mid January
Location: Park City, Utah
Cost: All access pass $350 / Local’s only pass $150 (tickets need to be purchased depending on the film)
Info: Slamdance is a film festival that was started in 1995 by a group of filmmakers. We've since expanded into other support mechanisms, but the FAQ will mainly focus on Festival itself - which takes place every January in Park City, Utah simultaneous to the Sundance Film Festival. For more information on about our being born out of rejection, check out About Slamdance.
Santa Barbara Film Festival
Dates: Late January / Early February
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Cost: Cinema Pass ($650) / Platinum Pass ($1700) / Concierge Pass ($5000) / Tribute Package Tickets ($750) / Film Geek Package Tickets ($650) / Intro Package Tickets ($300)
Info: SBIFF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and education organization dedicated to making a positive impact utilizing the power of film. SBIFF is a year-round organization that is best known for its main film festival that takes place each year in February. Over the past 30 years the Santa Barbara International Film Festival has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 90,000 attendees and offering 11days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums. We bring the best of independent and international cinema to Santa Barbara, and we continue to expand our year-round operation to include a wide range of educational programming, fulfilling our mission to engage, enrich and inspire our community through film.
SXSW Film Festival
Dates: Early-Mid March
Location: Austin, Texas
Cost: SXSW Edu Badge: $295 / Music Badde: $825 / Film Badge: $825 / Interactive Badge: $825
Info: The SXSW Film Festival celebrates raw innovation and emerging talent from both behind and in front of the camera. Featuring provocative dramas, documentaries, comedies, genre standouts, and more, the festival has become known for the high caliber and diversity of films presented, and for its smart, enthusiastic audiences.
Beverly Hills Film Festival
Dates: Early April
Location: Beverly Hills, California
Cost: To be announced.
Info: Hosted in one of the most renowned cities in the world since 2001, the International Beverly Hills Film Festival is considered among the most exclusive and influential film festivals in the world. Through linking the groundbreaking talent of emerging filmmakers and exposing the community to the latest innovations in the cinema field, the Beverly Hills Film Festival (BHFF) exists as a cinematic, cultural patron. The Beverly Hills Film Festival’s objective is to merge today’s filmmaking pioneers with the wealth of cinematic heritage by edifying and developing the cinematic community and enhancing the impact of the arts and humanities.
Tribeca Film Festival
Dates: Late April
Location: New York City, New York
Cost: 8 Ticket Package ($225) / 16 Ticket Package ($425)
Dances with Films
Dates: Early June
Location: West Hollywood, California
Cost: Festival Pass - $325/ Festival Tickets - $13 before June, $15 after
Info: Dances With Films, now in its 21st year, champions the unflinching spirit at the very core of the independent film scene. While the vast majority of film fests rely heavily on celebrity, we have relied on the innovation, talent, creativity and sweat equity that revolutionized the entertainment industry. And that reliance continues to prove successful with alumni moving on to write, direct and produce celebrity-studded vehicles, star in blockbuster movies and television series, produce multi-million dollar films and create hit TV shows. Oh…. and we even have several OSCAR® nominees… In a world of homogenized, formulaic film festivals, DWF continues to defy the rules.
Dates: Late September
Location: Austin, Texas
Cost: Badgeholders can pick the films they want to see. If you don’t have a badge, they post the screenings every day between 21 – 28 that aren’t filled by badgeholders, and you can buy a ticket for those ones.
Info: Fantastic Fest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action and just plain fantastic movies from all around the world. In years past the festival has been home to world premieres of BONE TOMAHAWK, JOHN WICK, FRANKENWEENIE, MACHETE KILLS, RED DAWN, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, APOCALYPTO, ZOMBIELAND and RED. Fantastic Fest also features world, national and regional premieres of new, up-and-coming genre films. Fantastic Fest has seen the acquisition of many film titles.
Telluride Film Festival
Dates: Early September
Location: Telluride, Colorado
Cost: The Cinephile Pass ($390) / The Acme Pass ($580) / The Festival Pass ($780) / The Patron Pass ($4900)
Info: The Telluride Film Festival is not just a picture show. It is Tributes to luminaries who've propelled the medium forward; it is candid discussions with a film’s creator or the historian who champions it; it is discovering that the person in line behind you made the film you just enjoyed; it is engaging in lively debate with every manner of film lover in the summer sun of a Colorado afternoon, always minutes away from a new exhibition. Our audiences were the first in the world to laugh with JUNO, to observe THE LIVES OF OTHERS, to visit BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, to learn the secret of THE CRYING GAME, to experience BLUE VELVET, and to witness THE CIVIL WAR. We resurrected the silent epic NAPOLEON, and highlighted the genius of animator Chuck Jones.
We take great pains to remain not a competition, but a celebration of the best in film — past, present and future — from all around the world. This is one weekend immersed in an unabashed carnival of film: viewing, breathing, eating, and talking cinema. This is The SHOW.
San Diego Film Festival
Dates: Early October
Location: San Diego
Cost: Day Pass ($75) / Fest Pass ($300) / VIP Fest Pass ($550) / Weekend Fest Pass ($200) / Weekend VIP Fest Pass ($400)
Info: THE SAN DIEGO INTL FILM FESTIVAL is the region’s premier film event and one of the leading stops on the independent festival circuit. SDIFF offers a totally unique experience. Catch first time and veteran filmmakers as they debut their latest work to command the attention of new audiences and industry luminaries. You’ll also be among the first to see major studio premieres on the road to the Hollywood awards season. It’s five days to immerse yourself in quality films, parties, industry events and panels. Come join the festivities!
Dates: Mid November
Location: Hollywood, California
Cost: Need to have an ‘AFI FEST Elevent account’, they charge by the movies you pick to see
Info: AFI FEST presented by Audi is the American Film Institute's annual celebration of international cinema from modern masters and emerging filmmakers. It takes place each fall in Hollywood, CA, and features nightly red-carpet galas, special screenings, conversations and tributes. AFI FEST remains the first and only festival of its stature that is free to the public, offering the best of current cinema in Hollywood.
Dates: Late November
Location: Boomtown Brewery, LA Arts District
Info: Flicks4Change is a philanthropic film festival seeking to create meaningful social change through sharing socially conscious films, discussion, and giving back. An interactive film festival with a social conscience screening captivating films from around the globe that either feature or include a pressing social issue facing mankind today. Their films span all genres and styles of story telling.