Film Festivals of New York City

The art of filmmaking has at its heart the power of storytelling to captivate, move, and inspire viewers. There are countless stories for each person who exists, and the ability that writers, producers, and directors have to bring these stories to life is a gift that benefits us all. Whether you are a fan of fiction, non-fiction, animation, documentary, or anything in between, if you live in New York City, you have the unique privilege to enjoy a front row seat to the countless film festivals that take place every year in our city. Here is as comprehensive a month-by-month rundown as I was able to pull together; please let me know if I’m missing anything.

BAMkids Film Festival
February 3 – 4, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
For over twenty years, this film festival presents the best shorts and features from around the world created just for kids. This year, films selected from North America’s top kid film festivals as well as the Jim Henson Foundation will be featured.

New York Wild Film Festival
February 22 – 25, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Showcases documentary films from exploration and adventure to wildlife, conservation and the environment.

Athena Film Festival
February 22 – 25, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
The curated program will feature Academy Award-nominated films, features, documentaries, and shorts that spotlight strong, fearless women whose stories are sure to inspire.

Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival
February 23 – 25, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Named for Philip Kindred Dick, an esteemed science fiction novelist whose works have been the basis for such classic sci-fi films as Total Recall, Minority Report and Blade Runner, this film festival screens movies exploring “the metaphysical, the eerie in all its manifestations.” Confirmed guest celebrities attending this year are Tom Sizemore, Armand Assante and Melvin Van Peebles.

Film Comment Selects
February 23 – 27, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
See films curated by the magazine’s editors —new films that make powerful statements and older ones that haven’t been shown on the big screen in ages.

New York International Children’s Film Festival
February 23 – March 18, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Founded in 1997, it’s the largest film festival for children and teens ages 3-18 in North America.  The festival seeks to cultivate an appreciation for filmmaking and encourages discussion among peers, families, and the film community. Suitable for families.

Rendez-Vous with French Cinema
March 8 – 18, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
See contemporary French films that epitomize the best of up-and-coming talents as well as the more seasoned filmmaker.

 

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Image courtesy of cinekink.com

CineKink NYC
March 14 – 18, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Founded in 2003, CineKink recognizes positive depictions of sexuality and kink in film and television through its annual film festival, short film competition, audience choice awards and parties.

Queens World Film Festival
March 15 – 25, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Celebrating its eighth anniversary in 2018, this film festival screens movies made by maverick filmmakers from around the globe with diverse points of views and topics. There will be panel discussions following the screening of each film.

New York Peace Film Festival
March 24 – 25, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Presents films that deal with the issue of world peace and how it can be achieved. Films that are screened deal with topics ranging from how to end international conflicts peacefully to how understanding different cultures can curtail the beginning of wars.

New Directors/New Films
March 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Showcases films created by up-and-coming directors. During its forty-six year history, the festival has showcased the talents of Pedro Almodovar, Spike Lee and Christopher Nolan.

Art Doc Friday Screening Event
March 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Screens low budget independent films, music videos, shorts and animated films– “the true indies”. Will also offer panel discussions and seminars. First drink is free with admission ticket.

New York Queer Experimental Film Festival (MIX NYC)
April 1, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Presents the latest in avant-garde cinema from queer experimental film makers.

Havana Film Festival New York
April 6-17, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
This internationally recognized film festival celebrates Latin American cinema. It showcases films from up and coming filmmakers from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Venezuela and the United States.

Tribeca Film Festival
April 18 – 29, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets
The creme de la creme of film festivals – showcases a variety of independent films including documentaries, narrative features and shorts.

Focus on French Cinema
April 27 – May 1, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Considered one of the best French film festivals, selections of the latest French and French-language movies are screened. Receptions, parties, and actor and director Q&As will also be offered.

New Voices in Black Cinema
April 26 – 29, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
From feature films to shorts to documentaries, this festival screens films examining the Black experience as it is here as well as globally.

Harlem International Film Festival
May 3 – 6, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Showcases feature films, documentaries, shorts, youth projects, and animated works from all over the world that bring attention to the glory that is Harlem. The festival also has a Harlem Spotlight which presents films created by Harlem residents and those which were filmed in Harlem. Also includes panel discussions and awards.

Dusty Film & Animation Festival
May 4 – 8, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Presented by the School of Visual Arts (SVA), this free festival, which was established in 1990, will screen films created by the SVA graduating class of 2018. The festival will culminate with the presentation of the Dusty Awards which is usually attended by distinguished members of the film and animation industries.

NYC Independent Film Festival
May 7 – 13, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
From short films, feature length films, music videos and animated works, this festival puts the spotlight on those independent films with budgets from $0 – ­$500,000. This festival gives these filmmakers, who are highly talented yet often overlooked by mainstream production companies, the opportunity to promote their films and meet their fans.

New York African Film Festival
May 2018
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Presents films about the societal transformations in Africa.

Free Summer Movies
May 2018
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Free movies shown on evenings in various parks throughout Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

Art of the Real
May 2018
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Showcases a collection of eclectic nonfiction films.

Columbia University Film Festival
May 2018
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MFA graduates of the Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program will present screenings of their thesis short films.

New York Polish Film Festival
May 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Showcases Polish films, shorts and documentaries. This is the only festival that presents Polish films in New York City and it’s the largest Polish film festival on the East Coast.

Brooklyn Film Festival
June 1 – 10, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets
Presents films by international, independent filmmakers that help “draw worldwide attention to Brooklyn as a center for cinema”. Also serves to encourage Brooklynites to think creatively and experience the power of filmmaking.

KidsFilmFest
June 2, 2018 (1 p.m.)
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Films created by kids of all ages are presented. All films are rated G. A Q&A and filmmakers workshop follows the program.

Human Rights Watch Film Festival
June 14 – 21, 2018
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Showcases compelling films that spotlight human rights issues from around the world.

Soho International Film Festival
June 14 – 21, 2018
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Presents cutting-edge films from up-and-coming and seasoned filmmakers from New York City and around the globe. Also holds panel discussions and other social events.

BAMcinemaFest
June 20 – 30, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Showcases the best of new independent films from cinema’s newest and most talented filmmakers. Also features Q&As, live music and much more. Previous film honorees were Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture) and Richard Linklater (Boyhood).

New York Asian Film Festival
June 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Explore the latest hit movies from China, Japan, and South Korea.

Free Summer Movies
June 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Free movies shown on evenings in various parks throughout Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

Summer Movie Series
June 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
What better way to see a free movie than on the Intrepid flight deck – movies begin at sunset.

Open Roads: New Italian Cinema
June 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Presents an extensive lineup of diverse, contemporary Italian films that can’t be seen anywhere else.

New York Asian Film Festival
July 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Explore the latest hit movies from China, Japan, and South Korea.

Long Island International Film Expo
July 13 – 19, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Will screen over a hundred short and feature length independent films from around the world. There will be an informal opening night party (invitation only) as well as several panel discussions and a closing night party where awards will be distributed. Past attendees to this festival were Edie Falco, Danny Aiello and Steve Buscemi.

Dance in Camera Film Festival
July 20 – 24, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
As the longest-running dance film festival in the world, this festival presents feature-length documentaries, feature length films and shorts, all pertaining to the world of dance.

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Image courtesy of aaiff.org

The Asian American International Film Festival
July 25 – Aug. 4, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
The first and longest running film festival screens films by and about Asians and Asian Americans.

Free Summer Movies
July 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Free movies shown on evenings in various parks throughout Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

Summer Movie Series
July 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
What better way to see a free movie than on the Intrepid flight deck – movies begin at sunset.

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Image courtesy of filmlinc.org

Scary Movies at Lincoln Center
July 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
New York’s top horror film festival presents the best of the genre from around the world.

The Asian American International Film Festival
August 1- August 4, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets The first and longest running film festival screens films by and about Asians and Asian Americans.

Free Summer Movies
August 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets
Free movies shown on evenings in various parks throughout Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

Central Park Conservancy Film Festival
August 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
What could be better than watching a movie about New York City in New York City’s greatest park? This free film festival screens a line-up of movies filmed in NYC. Bring a picnic and a blanket.

Summer Movie Series
August 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
What better way to see a free movie than on the Intrepid flight deck – movies begin at sunset

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Image of poster from Tromadance.com

TromaDance (name mimics Sundance)
August 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Organized by horror film production company Troma Pictures, this film festival (which is billed as the anti-Sundance film festival), is free for both filmmakers and attendees and presents films primarily focused on horror, fantasy and sci-fi.

ImageNation Outdoors Film & Music Fest
August 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Free movies and music in Harlem, under the stars.

Taste on the Beach
August 2018
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Features food, wine, beer, live music and short films from around the world screened in a custom built movie theater right on the shore of Long Beach, Long Island.

Manhattan Short Film Festival
September 27 – Oct. 8, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
It’s like AMERICAN IDOL for film lovers.
A true New York story. What started in 1998 as a guy attaching a film screen to his truck, driving around Manhattan as he screened sixteen short films for an audience of about three hundred of his fellow New Yorkers, has now grown to a major film festival where past judges have been Susan Sarandon, Eric Stoltz and Roger Corman. So now join over 100,000 of your fellow film lovers as they gather in over three hundred cinemas across six continents to view and vote for the finalists in this truly global film festival.

Free Summer Movies
September 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Free movies shown on evenings in various parks throughout Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx

New York Film Festival (NYFF)
September 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Showcases classics, documentaries, and full-length feature films by the world’s most renowned filmmakers.

Urbanworld Film Festival
September 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Screens films and has panel discussions that celebrate the diversity of the urban experience.

Viva! Latino Film Festival
September 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
The newest Latino film festival that showcases established and up-and-coming Latino filmmakers from the U.S., Mexico and Latin America. Screens feature length films, short films and documentaries that portray Latinos in a positive light, something that doesn’t always occur in mainstream films. Panel discussions and Q&As will also be offered.

Coney Island Film Festival
September 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Screens an eclectic mix of films in all genres (some filmed in Coney Island).

Manhattan Short Film Festival
October 1- Oct. 7, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
It’s like AMERICAN IDOL for film lovers.
A true New York story. What started in 1998 as a guy attaching a film screen to his truck, driving around Manhattan as he screened sixteen short films for an audience of about three hundred of his fellow New Yorkers, has now grown to a global film festival where past judges have been Susan Sarandon, Eric Stoltz and Roger Corman. So now join over 100,000 of your fellow film lovers as they gather in over three hundred cinemas across six continents to view and vote for the finalists in this amazing film festival.

Architecture & Design Film Festival
October 16 – 29, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Presents films and panel discussions that serve to educate and entertain audiences about architecture and design.

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Image courtesy of Chelsea Film Festival Facebook Page

The Chelsea Film Festival
October 18 – 21, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Screens feature films and documentaries that spotlight the emerging talents of filmmakers in the independent film arena.

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18 – 28, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Showcases films and presents panel discussions that serve to inspire and educate audiences about global biodiversity. Attendees usually include those active in the conservation community such as photographers, conservationists and scientists.

Imagine Science Film Festival
October 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
This festival screens science-inspired short films with a different theme every year. If you know (or want to know) what transgenics, cybernetics and interdisciplinary cross-pollination are, this is the film festival for you.

New York Film Festival (NYFF)
October  2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Showcases classics, documentaries, and full-length feature films by the world’s best filmmakers.

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Image courtesy of thefoodfilmfestival.com/gallery/

NYC Food Film Festival
October 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
If you consider yourself a foodie then this film fest is for you. Watch the movie about food, then eat the food…right in your seat.

NYC Horror Film Festival (NYCHFF)
October 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
The largest and most recognized film festival celebrating horror movies past and present. Also has free giveaways, parties and celebrity guests.

NewFest
October 2018 (undated)
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Presents films made for and by the LGBT community.

Margaret Mead Film Festival
October 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Screens documentaries and hosts special events that serve to educate and entertain attendees regarding the wonderful diversity of cultures that live on planet Earth.

Big Apple Film Festival (BAFF)
November 1 – 3, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Named MovieMaker Magazine’s top “25 Film Festivals Worth The Entry Fee” and “One of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals”, BAFF screens high quality independent movies that were filmed in NYC. The festival also honors those in the industry who have played an important role in encouraging more independent filmmaking in NYC. Awards are also presented. Past award recipients and attendees were Jesse Eisenberg, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Alan Cumming.

Doc NYC
November 8 – 15, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Celebrating its eighth anniversary, this film festival celebrates the documentary in all its forms and looks to expand the genre. It also hopes to encourage and inspire new filmmakers toward this art form and to use NYC as the backdrop. Past attendees have included Martin Scorsese, Jared Leto and Jim Carrey.

Equus Film Festival
November 9-11, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Founded in 2013, the Equus Film Festival serves to showcase films that celebrate the horse. Feature films, shorts, music videos and documentaries are shown. The WINNIE awards are presented at the end of the festival.

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Image courtesy of arabcinemaweek.com

Arab Cinema Week
November 9 – 15, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
As New York’s first and only Arab film festival, Arab Cinema Week looks to bring Arabs and Americans together through film screenings of award winning movies and panel discussions with the films’ stars.

Imagine This Women’s International Film Festival (ITWIFF)
November 10 – 11, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
In what will be ITWIFF’s second film festival, films from all over the world, in every genre will be screened. All films will have one thing in common, however–they are all written, directed and produced by women from all walks of life. There will be an opening night party and a closing night award ceremony.

African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF)
November 23 – Dec. 9, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Created in 1993, the ADIFF serves to screen films made by the international Black communities from Europe, Latin America and Africa. Without the ADIFF, many of these films would not otherwise be seen. Many of these filmmakers will be present to discuss their films at the end of each screening.

Other Israel Film Festival
November 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Using film as its tool, this festival serves to spotlight the realities of Israeli-Palestinian societies and to create a better understanding of each. Founded in 2007, the festival presents feature length and documentary films and holds panel discussions at the conclusion of each film.

African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF)
December 1 – Dec. 9, 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
Created in 1993, the ADIFF serves to screen films made by the international Black communities from Europe, Latin America and Africa. Without the ADIFF, many of these films would not otherwise be seen. Many of these filmmakers will be present to discuss their films at the end of each screening.

Dog Film Festival
December 2018
Click here for a full schedule, locations, and to purchase tickets.
A whole festival devoted to man’s best friend? If you’re a dog lover, what could be better? Founded by Tracie Hotchner, a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, this festival explores our special relationship with our canine counterparts through a series of films from around the world. A portion of every ticket benefits the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.

Header image by Roger Llonch on tribecafilmfestival.com

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