Top 10 Must See Summer Film Festivals

July 1, 2014

The best festivals to attend coast-to-coast in the U.S.

Summer is officially all engines go, which means celebrations, parties, festivities and film festivals!  The Audience Awards composed a list of the ten must-see film festivals happening across the country from Martha’s Vineyard to Big Bear Lake, California. Take a look at what fests are happening near you, or ones you could make a summer vacation out of.

1. Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival

Martha's Vineyard, Film Festival, Festival, Audience Awards

Photo courtesy of Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival.

Massachusetts is where it’s at for early summer film festivals. From July 2 to August 21, Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival Summer Schedule, offers “Dinner and Movie” and “Brew and View” options, along with outdoor screenings.

2. Long Island International Film Expo


Photo courtesy of Long Island International Film Expo.

Voted one of the “Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World,” by MovieMaker magazine, Long Island International Film Expo features international independent films from July 9 to the 17.  The Expo aims to generate film and TV production on Long Island.  Go to the opening night for free at Bellmore Movies.

3. Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival

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Photo Courtesy of Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival.

Also voted by MovieMaker as one of the “Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World,” The Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival in Palantine, Illinois is comprised of seven feature films, 17 shorts, two series pilots and five music videos and runs from July 20 through the 27.

4. San Antonio Film Festival


Photo courtesy of The San Antonio Film Festival.

Celebrating 20 years this July 28, the Alamo City’s film festival includes independent films from around the U.S. and the globe. The San Antonio Film Festival is a great opportunity for networking, “cultural exchange,” and some good old fashion cinematic entertainment. It will conclude Saturday, August 2, with the festival’s narrative feature, narrative short, and doc short winners.

5. Traverse City Film Festival

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Photo courtesy of Traverse City Film Festival.

Located along the Great Lake Michigan in Traverse City, this July 29 through August 3, the Traverse City Film Festival promises loads of good films.  Founded by filmmaker and local resident Michael Moore, the Festival and non-profit organization seeks to show “great movies that both entertain and enlighten the audience… enrich the human spirit and the art of filmmaking.”

6. Hollyshorts Film Festival

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Photo courtesy of Holly Shorts Film Festival.

The Hollyshorts Film Festival, premiering out of the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, features the best international films that are produced in thirty minutes or less.  Running from August 14 to the 23, the festival includes “screenings, Q & A sessions and networking events,” along with enthusiastic attendees.

7. Landlocked Film Festival

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Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Iowa City, Iowa: a pit stop for tornadoes, a target of flooding, home to University of Iowa and the Landlocked Film Festival, motto: “we’re right in the middle of a lot of land. No coasts, but plenty of culture here in the American heartland.”  From August 21 to 24 this Midwestern festival exhibits animated films, documentaries, narrative features and shorts.

8. Oregon Independent Film Festival

Oregon Film Fest, a whole new direction

Photo courtesy of Oregon Independent Film Festival.

Showcasing “A Beautiful F*cking Experience,”  “El Milargo” and over 75 film from 14 countries the Oregon Independent Film Festival is the place to be for independent film connoisseurs.  Carried out by Oregon filmgoers and student volunteers, the festival runs from September 9 to the 19 and has showings in both Portland and Eugene.

9. Wine Country Film Festival

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Photo courtesy of Wine Country Film Festival.

This classy film festival is still accepting entries. From September 17 – 21, Sonoma County will be hosting its 28th annual Wine Country Film Festival.  The festival started in 1987 to bring independent, international and art films to the Napa Valley.

10. Big Bear Lake International Film Festival

Big Bear Lake, California, film festival, audience awards

Photo courtesy of Big Bear Lake Film Festival.

Coming to Big Bear Lake, California this September 19 to the 21, the 15th annual Big Bear Lake International Film Festival should be a blast.  The festival, set in sunny southern California, fuses emerging filmmakers with more seasoned professionals and engages the audience with fresh independent films.


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