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Top 50 Emerging Film Festivals
Submit your work to the best up-and-coming film festivals out there.

So what happens after Cannes or Sundance?

There are still many other interesting film festivals out there.

But with so many film festivals out there, how do you choose the best film festivals to submit your film?

We’ve put together a list of the best and most emerging film festivals in the world. 

Festivals that are know for searching new and promising names in the industry.

This is a subjective list based on criteria such as prestige, potential exposure, networking opportunities, prize money, accessibility and brand-ability.

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TiiSFF is an international festival, which aims to promote and promote pioneering ideas and trends, as they are reflected in the works of young filmmakers, who in short films condense and record the progress of the planet on a social, political, romantic, human rights level and interpersonal relationships.

TiSFF is the official 'cinema' section of the umbrella project Dimitria Arts Festival that was founded in 1966.


Cannes International Film Week is a revolutionary digital streaming film festival, operating independently yet concurrently with the renowned Cannes Film Festival. Held during the pinnacle week of the film industry, Cannes International Film Week offers filmmakers an unparalleled opportunity to showcase their creations to to buyers, curators, and film professionals alike, regardless of their physical presence at Cannes. This groundbreaking approach effectively dismantles the traditional barriers of exclusivity associated with Cannes, democratizing access to cutting-edge cinema.


PÖFF Shorts is the biggest short film and animation festival in the Baltics, an integral part of the FIAPF-accredited Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF).

The festival’s mission is to showcase the best animated and live action short films of all genres from cutting edge talents and bold visionaries across the world.

PÖFF Shorts is a member of the European Film Academy (EFA) and an Academy Award and BAFTA-qualifying festival.


Celebrating the Unique Voices of the World 
At its heart, art is about celebrating the unique voice and message that we each possess. Sometimes loud, often quiet, occasionally bold and brash, and perhaps even shy, that singular voice should speak to others and by doing so, help them to better see themselves.

This vision of film as a medium that inspires and challenges - and supporting the filmmakers who create these works - is the mission of the Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival. 


Welcome to the Lee Strasberg Film Festival, a three-day acting oriented celebration of independent cinema and exceptional acting, set in the vibrant hubs of Los Angeles and New York. As a platform for both emerging talents and established voices, our festival showcases the best in narrative short and feature films from around the globe.


Super Shorts Film Festival, with annual film festivals in Los Angeles, London and New York, highlights independent short film talent from around the globe.

Super Shorts Film Festival creates an intimate atmosphere and space for unique visionaries and voices. True to their history, the different festivals will screen films of both novices and veterans—with medium and low budgets. 


Cinéfest Sudbury’s programming initiatives continue to fulfill and redefine the organization’s mandate, objects, and vision, which are built upon the Festival’s ability to attract audiences for the best in Canadian and international cinema. Cinéfest Sudbury is continually searching for films that challenge and inspire the Festival’s audience and is constantly working to introduce up-and-coming film artists to receptive and critical film enthusiasts.


The Bushwick Film Festival has become an industry staple for new talent and a premiere voice for independent cinema in Brooklyn. They have showcased local and international filmmakers from more than 40 countries, providing a platform for diverse stories from all people, especially women, people of color and the LGBTQ community. Located in Bushwick, the bustling center of Brooklyn’s artistic and cultural community, the festival offers five days full of screenings, panels, parties and networking opportunities.


The Obskuur Ghent Film Festival is often referred to as Europe's most obscure film festival. In a world where people put emphasis on box office appeal and less on experimental works of great value comes Obskuur, the Ghent Experimental Film Festival, that acts as an island oasis for art amidst a sea of commercialism.

Obskuur Ghent Film Festival is dedicated to recognizing quality films and filmmakers and showcasing their work. This is a quarterly film festival with a unique screening operation. The festival showcases innovative, underground, experimental, and independent movies by aspiring local as well as international filmmakers.


Torino Film Festival is an international film festival held in Turin, Italy every November. it is the second largest film festival in Italy. It was founded in 1982 by film critic and academic Gianni Rondolino as Festival Internazionale Cinema Giovani or the Festival of Young Cinema. Since its origins, thirty-eight years ago, the festival has been known internationally as one of the most established events devoted to new cinema. Thanks to its commitment to the support of independent filmmaking and personal vision, and for its numerous and in depth retrospectives, Torino has become a point of reference for both emerging and established filmmakers all over the world.


Do you have a personal vision? Are you a true independent filmmaker? Do you hate making compromises?

The Toronto Arthouse Film Festival welcomes filmmakers who explore and develop new filmmaking conventions in their quest to realise their visions effectively on a limited budget.

The Toronto Arthouse Film Festival is dedicated to showcasing innovative and exciting work by risk-taking filmmakers from around the world. Aesthetically and thematically varied, these films mark the arrival of exciting new directing talents.


The glitz and glamor of showbusiness in the mainstream film festival can sometimes detract from the true purpose of the event — the celebration of creative film-making. While the red carpets, the champagne parties, and the high admission prices may be good for grabbing headlines and driving profits, they may also prevent the dissemination of art to the audience.

The Amsterdam Independent Film Festival focuses on film. The event will bring independent artistic visions to an audience that demands a more fulfilling experience than the latest Hollywood fare.


Since its inception in 1974, The Newark Museum of Art Black Film Festival has become known among its peers as the longest running black film festival in the United States. Throughout the years, it has continued to provide a progressive public forum for hundreds of emerging writers, directors, producers, performers and film buffs who enjoy African American and African Diaspora cinema. Screening in the summer months, the films that are shown reflect the full diversity of the black experience and the diaspora, both past and present.

Each film selection encompasses a wide range of cinematic forms and formulas, from documentary to the avant-garde.


South Texas Underground Film’s sole mission is to engage and inspire the community by screening films without discrimination, creating new films, teaching the art of filmmaking, and networking with fellow filmmakers.

STUFF provides an International platform that showcases all kinds of work from filmmakers, visual artists and musicians while providing educational opportunities during the festival.


Doc.World, a new global network of Documentary Film Festivals, with festivals in London, Berlin, Sydney, Ghent and Boston.

As a celebration of the cinematic and visual arts, these documentary festivals will bring diverse international films to our community and showcase the best regional and international filmmakers.

Take a look at Doc.LondonDoc.BostonDoc.Sydney and Doc.Berlin Documentary Film Festival.


NIFF celebrates Nordic and international films and strives to find new and upcoming independent films as well as honoring great work from already established filmmakers. 

They focus on finding diverse independent films with strong characters and storylines and encourage all filmmakers to submit their films, regardless of ethnicity, religion or worldview. NIFF accepts International and Nordic films (competing in two different categories).


Brooklyn Film Festival (BFF), is a 10-day International, competitive festival. Discovering and promoting independent filmmakers at their first or second film is at the very center of the festival's year-round efforts. BFF’s mission is to provide a public forum in Brooklyn in order to advance public interest in films and the independent production of films; to draw worldwide attention to Brooklyn as a center for cinema; to encourage the rights of all Brooklyn residents to access and experience the power of independent filmmaking; and to promote artistic excellence and the creative freedom of artists without censure.


LA INDIE FILM FESTIVAL provides a showcase for the best SHORTS, FEATURES, TV PILOTS, WEB SERIES, MUSIC VIDEOS and ANIMATION. Our dual emphasis is on “discovering” great talent with the purpose of promoting it to both the entertainment industry and the LA public, as well as, showcasing the works of seasoned professionals and well-known stars.

The bi-annual LA INDIE Film Festival is the partner festival to the well established LA COMEDY Film Festival,


Each year some of the world’s most exciting film talent join thousands of film lovers at BBFF, in beautiful Byron Bay, for a dynamic and truly distinctive film festival experience known for its trademark friendly, laid-back vibe and characteristically open, expressive and appreciative audiences.

The festival is also passionate about Virtual Reality and the opportunities it creates for filmmakers. 2016 saw the introduction of 2 new awards for Virtual Reality Creators and a number of events that were aimed at established VR Developers as well as those looking to dive into this new realm.


AUFF exposes and promotes creative artists who work outside the system to create DIY, grass-roots movies that break the boundaries of film and video.

Through the festival, these talented independent filmmakers now have a voice in a market typically saturated with commercial entertainment designed to satisfy the audience's expectations.

Much more than the traditional stuffy film festival, Atlanta Underground Film Festival is a non-stop party celebrating short and feature films in a down-to-earth, welcoming setting where filmmakers and fans are encouraged to connect and collaborate.


SWFF has succeeded in finding its unique voice within the already bustling film festival scene in Australia's largest city. The festival discovers, supports and develops new talent in filmmaking, providing a platform for emerging and established filmmakers from around the world. Recognising the important role independent films have in the history of filmmaking, storytelling, and culture, SWFF wants to help empower the next generation of artists. The Sydney World Film Festival is an annual event showcasing independent films with an edge.


Miami Film Festival is a world-class platform for International and Ibero-American films. The Festival showcases the work of the world’s best emerging and established filmmakers to the diverse cosmopolitan community of Miami.


Iceland’s major annual film event, the main purpose of RIFF is to offer a wide selection of groundbreaking, independent cinema, and to highlight the work of young and emerging filmmakers, by presenting only first and second works in the Grand Prix competition category New Visions. The objective of the festival is to increase general interest in independent cinema, increase the level of cinematic literacy and enrich film culture in Iceland by offering different cross-platform programs.


The Philadelphia Film Festival is an annual eleven day festival featuring Philadelphia premieres of international, domestic, and local films, as well as retrospective tributes, forums and panels, and parties.

Over the past several years, the Festival has grown to become not only a local gem that Philadelphians look forward to every year, but also an important festival within the industry as a whole.

The Festival consists of over 100 films screened across the city in addition to events such as the Opening and Closing Night parties, VIP receptions, and a festival lounge open daily, where ticket holders, badge holders, and special guests can relax between shows and talk movies with patrons & guests.


The Bruges International Film Festival showcases innovative independent cinema by emerging artists from around the world. The festival provides a platform for films with a unique voice and message, regardless of how low the budget might be. Aiming to inspire, motivate and award new talent.

Focusing on the art of filmmaking rather than on the box office, the festival aims to introduce quality, non-mainstream films from global filmmakers as well as local talent. By recognizing the important role independent films have in the history of filmmaking, storytelling, and culture, the Bruges International Film Festival wants to help empower the next generation of artists.


Santa Monica Film Festival (SMFF) is an exclusive industry award season event that showcases the years best films from from emerging and established filmmakers. Established in 2006, Santa Monica International Film Festival (SMFF) is one of the premier showcases for U.S. and international independent film held annually in Santa Monica, CA. Each year, the entertainment community and film fans around the world turn their attention to the Santa Monica International Film Festival. Interest and anticipation builds to a fevered pitch leading up to the SMFF, when movie lovers watch films, attend the glamorous ceremony and learn who will receive the highest honors in independent filmmaking.


Oregon Independent Film Festival is the fastest growing cinema convention in the Pacific Northwest. Fans of true independent filmmaking are discovering this not-to-be-missed event is home to the best new film discoveries from across the globe.

The Oregon Independent Film Festival hosts hundreds of movie screenings to recognize the best in new and independent cinema. Showcasing films from legendary directors, newly-discovered filmmakers, as well as hosting major studio premiere events. Screenings are presented in a variety of historic Oregon cinemas, all located across the majestic state, until concluding with weeks of film premieres, award ceremonies, and special events held in Portland, OR.


For 26 years filmmakers have enjoyed the Sacramento Film Festival (SFF) for its exceptional hospitality and its commitment to visionary artists.

SFF regularly showcases Academy Award-winning films like "Strangers No More" and "Slumdog Millionaire" as well as award-winning films from around the globe! By accepting only films which have not previously screened in the region and working with Hollywood and independents alike, SFF grows the art and craft of filmmaking here in California's capital city. SFF organizers are proud to offer this extraordinary "Festival of Cinema" to highlight Northern California as an arts and culture destination and celebrate amazing artists like you. 


One of MovieMaker magazine's Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee for the last 5 years.

Since 1995, The Victoria Film Festival has brought the best in narratives, documentaries and shorts every year to Victoria and Vancouver Island during its ten day celebration of film. Eclectic and inspiring, the Festival hosts an array of guests that includes film directors, producers, distributors, festival and TV programmers.


Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) is a unique and intimate Film Festival taking place in Nassau, Bahamas showcasing films from around the globe.

BIFF offers much to the filmmaker by way of networking in a relaxed, island atmosphere while simultaneously providing all the amenities of an excellent festival.


Aiming to inspire, motivate and award new talent, The Somerville Film Festival will take place in the bustling Davis Square neighborhood of Somerville (MA). As a celebration of the cinematic and visual arts, the festival will bring diverse international films to our community (The Somerville Theatre) and showcase the best regional and international filmmakers. Somerville Film Festival aims to expand the artistic image of our region, engage new audiences in the world of film, and inspire creativity in all of us.


A film festival focussing on the complexity of human relationships set in Shakespeare's city of love Verona, Italy. Does it get any better than this?

The Verona International Film Festival presents films which revolve around relationships in their different forms whether spiritual, physical, interpersonal, familial, and humanitarian and can even touch upon relationships between nations and political parties. Films can tackle the complexity, ever-changing dynamics, adversity, and multi-faceted aspects pertaining to these different types of relationships. Based in Verona (Italy) the festival aims to screen a dozen of feature and short films.


Voted one of the Top 100 Best Reviewed Festivals on FilmFreeway, YoFiFest was created for filmmakers by filmmakers. Movie Maker Magazine says “what stood out at YoFiFest was the organizers’ obvious respect for the people who craft cinema and video.”

The festival is all about connections and conversations, so in addition to including talkback Q&A sessions at almost every screening, the festival offers a "mini film school” series of workshops taught by award-winning industry professionals, and parties and receptions where filmmakers and film fans get the chance to meet and mingle.


NewFilmmakers NY is New York's longest running year round Film Festival.

NewFilmmakers screens roughly 700 short and feature length projects throughout the year grouped into special interest nights. Some of their ongoing programs include NewLatino, Middle East, Christian Sex, Upcoming Women, Experimental, and Crime & Punishment. NewFilmmakers is an international series with an eye towards films shot in the tri-state (NY - NJ - PA) and surrounding areas.


The Salento International Film Festival Is a celebration of films and filmmakers, promotes international independent films, in recognition of the fact that movies are the most powerful form of cultural communication and link between cultures' and peoples'.

Founded in 2004 by Luigi Campanile, the Salento International Film Festival emerged as a major cultural event and the top film festival in South Italy. Each year it introduces filmmakers worldwide to the Salento area's unique resources, while celebrating the history and future of the film industry with 5 days of world premieres, special events, seminars, feature films, short films, documentaries.


The San Francisco Frozen Film Festival (SFFFF) is a Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2006 that is dedicated to creating avenues for independent filmmakers, youth, filmmakers of conscience, and artists from underserved communities to come together and exhibit their work to the widest possible audience.

In addition to our annual international film festival, the SFFFF Youth Program is specifically focused on demonstrating to underserved youth that existing pathways do exist to help them find a career in the film arts. SFFFF holds annual music and art performances, as well as youth programming and awards presentations.


Arizona Underground Film Festival is Arizona’s premier genre cult film festival, and one of the most recognized underground film festivals in the country! We make it our sole mission to showcase the work of filmmakers with defiantly independent visions. We are on a quest to represent every genre of independent film from across the world celebrating the artist, and their work.

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