Whether you are a film fanatic or an aspiring filmmaker, going to a film festival can be entertaining and rewarding. Film festivals that you always hear about are grandiose and expensive. Major festivals, like Cannes Film Festival in south France, can draw big-name producers, directors and actors with even bigger films.
Not everybody can afford to travel to France and snag a ticket to notable film festivals, thought. Here are ten film festivals made for short films or have short film categories that are a little closer to home.
- Florida Experimental Film/Video Festival-Gainesville, Florida
This film is organized and executed by the volunteer members of UFLEX (University of Florida Experimental Film/Video) club on the University of Florida campus. According to their website, there are two different types of festivals. They alternate every year between competitive and invitational.
FLEX Festival will take place in February this upcoming year. Submissions, no matter what festival year it is, are due the summer before.
2. Miami Short Film Festival– Miami, Florida
This film festival is a bit on the higher-end of the smaller festivals. According to the festival’s website, it only accepts films from one to thirty minutes long, and the purpose of the festival is network and encourage other members of the industry.
The film festival will take place in November this year, and sports a variety of categories for submissions.
3.Cinema Verde International Environmental Film and Arts Festival– Gainesville, Florida
Cinema Verde is bit more of a specialized film festival as far as topic, but it still provides a great creative and networking opportunity. It takes place at the University of Florida Hippodrome, and according to the website, it is used to teach the public about the environment through film and other art mediums.
There are three different deadlines available for the festival, all with different entry fee prices. Early bird registration normally due by mid to late July. Regular registration is usually due by the end of September, and the final deadline for all films is in early October.
4. Orlando Urban Film Festival– Orlando, Florida
The Orlando Urban Film Festival is a showcase for film as well as music. Its several film categories are judged by a panel of judges that have held jobs in the industry, and according to their website, the offer one-on-one, in person advising to filmmakers. OUFF also has educational programs for middle and high school students interested in working in the film industry.
OUFF will take place in mid-November this year, and submissions are open.
5. Stamped Pensacola LGBTQ Film Fest– Pensacola, Florida
Stamped held its first festival in 2012. The festival focuses on LGBTQ issues, so films that are submitted should feature an LGBTQ experience, and actor/actress in the LGBTQ community or a producer or director within the queer community.
The Stamped LGBT Film Fest in Pensacola normally holds the event in mid-October.
6. Jacksonville Documentary Film Festival– Jacksonville, Florida
This film festival has no competitive aspect to it. The purpose is to support and inspire fellow filmmakers as well as network with people in the industry. The website stated that the main reason for the festival is to nurture “authenticity and creativeness.”
The Jacksonville Documentary Film Festival will be held in mid-September this year.
7. Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival– Melbourne, Florida
Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival (MIFF) deals largely with short films. They accept feature length films, but the many more restrictions and a longer paper trail. The website specified that short film submissions are allowed to be a maximum of 25 minutes.
MIFF, like Cinema Verde, has several different submission dates available. Early bird registration is accepted through early May. Regular registrations are accepted through early June, and any late submissions will only be accepted through early July with a largely increased registration fee.
8. Film Noir Shorts Competition– Miami and Key Largo, Florida
The Film Noir Shorts Competition was created to foster the up-and-comers of the film industry in the state of Florida, specifically student filmmakers. The festival is partnered with Black Sun Film Noir Foundation to provide beginning filmmakers with this opportunity.
The festival is free and open to the public, and it will take place in mid-November this year.
9. Central Florida Film Festival– Ocoee, Florida
The Central Florida Film Festival is for cultivating and promoting the growing media talent in the state with a primary focus on film. According to the website, this film festival was created in 2005 by Bob Cook and Brandon Arrington.
Submissions for this year’s festival are now being accepted. Early bird registration is due in late February. The regular deadline is in early May, and the submission will be considered late up until early June, when submission will no longer be accepted.
10. Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival– Tampa Bay, Florida
The Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival (TBUFF) was created by Bay Area filmmakers and other industry professionals to make sure that independent movies that were produced did end up forgotten. TBUFF is also open to other types of film, not just low-budget indies, though these are the main focus.
Submissions are now open for this year’s festival. The final deadline will be in early October.
Film festivals are everywhere and open to just about anyone. Some are for competition; some are for shining light on a specific topic;some are for connecting with other creative people who share your passion. So, no matter whether you are a filmmaker or a movie buff, film festivals are not unattainable events for celebrities and masses of paparazzi, but rather available for everyday people and beginners in the industry.