Friday, November 17, 2006

When You Need to Know: Film Festivals in the Five Boroughs

New York film buffs have the chance to attend not just one, but two, film festivals this weekend. In fact, over the last three months the city has hosted no fewer than eight fests, including October’s 44th Annual (that would make it the longest-running in town) New York Film Festival.

On tap this weekend are the Big Apple Film Festival (November 16-19), showcasing works by the New York indie filmmaking community, and the New York/Avignon Festival (November 15-19), billed as “the transatlantic crossroads of independent cinema.”

Over the course of the year, New York film buffs can usually find at least one, if not more, fests to attend each month. No matter what you like, you can find a festival for every taste and special interest, from the Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival showcasing films of anthropological and environmental interest to The Bicycle Festival, celebrating all things on two wheels. And this doesn’t include specially programmed fests that outfits like the Film Forum and the Pioneer Theatre regularly put together.


Here’s a sampler, in alphabetical order, of 25 local fests, mostly in Manhattan but a couple from Queens and Brooklyn for good measure. (Feel free to email me additional fests that aren’t listed here.) Note that dates are subject to change, but I’ve listed the month that the festival typically takes place. If upcoming dates (between November 2006 and November 2007) have been announced, they are listed here, but your best bet if you find a festival that interests you is to bookmark the site and check back often for news and schedule updates. And for filmmakers who want to enter the festivals, I’ve included the URL for submission information and forms.


* N/A indicates information not available.


The Avignon/New York Film Festival
Billed as “the transatlantic crossroads of independent cinema,” this fest takes place in Provence in the summer and New York in the fall, offering a mix of French, American and European indie films as well as roundtable discussions, parties, trinutes to indie filmmakers and more in “a celebration of independent cinema with good films, good people, good wines and good talk.”
Usually held around: November
To submit your film for consideration: The deadline for the New York festival is usually in September; the deadline for the 2007 Provence festival is May 1, 2007. Click here for details and forms.

The Bicycle Festival
Proving that where there’s a special interest, there’s likely a film festival built around it, this fest “celebrates the bicycle.” Appropriately, this is a traveling fest that – forgive the pun – cycles through L.A., San Francisco, Minneapolis, Chicago, London, Milan, Sydney and Tokyo in addition to New York. “We are into all styles of bikes and biking,” the Web site explains. “If you can name it-Tall Bike Jousting, Track Bikes, BMX, Alleycats, Critical Mass, Bike Polo, Cycling to Recumbents- we've probably either ridden or screened it. What better way to celebrate these lifestyles than through art, film, music and performance?”
Usually held around: May
To submit your film for consideration: Submissions for the 2007 festival will be accepted from December 1, 2006-February 17, 2007; click here for details.

Big Apple Film Festival
Showcasing the works of the New York independent filmmaking community, this fest aims “to bridge the gap between dedicated independent film audiences and filmmakers, as well as to connect emerging filmmakers with established industry professionals.” It also screens a number of other indie films from outside the New York area and offers panel discussions, a screenplay competition and networking parties. MsManhattan hopes its organizers have a far better eye for film than for design: This fest definitely takes the award for worst Web site – the information is poorly organized and the layout is hard to follow.
Usually held around: November
To submit your film for consideration: Click here for guidelines.

Coney Island Film Festival
This quirky fest, held at Coney Island’s Sideshows by the Seashore and the Coney Island Museum, showcases shorts and features made in or about Coney Island. It’s a freewheeling weekend full of joie de vie, parties and screenings of films you may not see anywhere else.
Usually held around: October
To submit your film for consideration: The call for entries for the 2007 festival will begin in March. Apply via Withoutabox.com; for details, click here.

Havana Film Festival in New York
Despite its name, this fest goes far beyond Havana, offering audiences a wide range of works from Cuba, Mexico, Central America and South America, as well as an annual tribute to a Cuban filmmaker.
Usually held around: April
To submit your film for consideration: N/A

Human Rights Watch International Film Festival
This activist-oriented fest, which debuts in London before coming to New York, features documentaries and dramas – “heroic stories of activists and survivors through the eyes of courageous filmmakers, putting a human face on threats to individual freedom and giving voice to those who might otherwise be silenced.”
Usually held around: June
To submit your film for consideration: Unsolicted submissions are accepted for the New York festival only; the 2007 fest deadline is December 10. Click here for guidelines.

Israel Film Festival
This annual traveling fest rotates through New York, L.A. and Miami as a showcase for the Israeli film and television industries. Works are selected “to enrich the American vision of Israel’s social and cultural diversity and to advance tolerance and understanding.”
Usually held around: Varies; the 2007 festival is scheduled for June 6-21.
To submit your film for consideration: The deadline for the 2007 festival is January 20, 2007. Click here for guidelines and forms.

LaCinemaFe Film Festival of New York
The 2007 installment of this two-week fest of “the best of Latina Merican and Spanish cinema” promises features and shorts from Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia, Spain, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Mexico, Italy, France and Spain. Additionally the program will feature retrospectives of children’s films and “Latin American Gay Cinema.”
Usually held around: It appears that this festival, which is coming up on its fifth installment, had originally been held in August; however, the Fifth Annual fest seems to have been delayed and is scheduled for February 22-March 3, 2007.
To submit your film for consideration: The submission form for the 2005 festival is here; it will give you some idea of the requirements for entry. The submission deadline for the 2007 festival has passed; check the Web site next spring for more information.

The Machinima Festival
Described as “filmmaking within a real-time, 3D virtual environment, often using 3D video-game technologies,” Macinima “blurs the lines between production and post-production,” according to the Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences, which produces this fest for the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens.
Usually held around: November
To submit your film for consideration: For rules and deadlines, email your inquiry to submissions@machinima.org.

Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
Showcasing international documentary works produced by social scientists, independent filmmakers, students, and indigenous media-makers, this festival honors anthropologist Margaret Mead for her pioneering use of film in fieldwork. Presented by the American Museum of Natural History, the festival travels around the country after its New York debut.
Usually held around: November
To submit your film for consideration: Call for entries usually starts in the spring; check the Web site periodically for entry forms or read the festival’s FAQ here.

New Directors/New Films
A collaboration between the Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA’s Department of Film and Media, this fest focuses on works by emerging filmmakers from around the world and has introduced such directors as Pedro Almodóvar, Spike Lee, Sally Potter, Nicole Holofcener and John Sayles. Recent films that debuted at the festival include Junebug, Murderball, My Architect and Real Women Have Curves.
Usually held around: Mid-March-Early April; 2007 festival is scheduled for March 21-April 1.
To submit your film for consideration: Click here for rules and submission forms. This fest is non-competitive – “films are chosen according to quality,” the guidelines state – and no awards are given. The deadline for the 2007 festival is January 5.

NewFest: The New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Film Festival
Marking its 19th year in 2007, this fest showcases the best of film and video by, about, or of interest to lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered persons. NewFest also supports other programs throughout the year, including FilmMaker’s Forum, a workshop series, and NewFest at the IFC Center, a monthly film series.
Usually held around: Late May/Early June; 2007 festival is scheduled for May 31-June 10.
To submit your film for consideration: Click here for guidelines and forms. The early deadline for the 2007 festival is December 22; regular deadline is February 20, 2007.

New York African Film Festival
A nine-day program of features and shorts by African directors, this fest is held only during even-numbered years. Additionally, the AFF supports outdoor screenings in the summer, a traveling film series, educational programs and more.
Usually held around:
July/August
To submit your film for consideration:
N/A

New York Asian American International Film Festival
Known as the “First Home to Asian American Cinema,” this festival launched in 1978 to screen works from all over the world by artists of Asian descent.
Usually held around: July
To submit your film for consideration: N/A

New York Asian Film Festival
Presented by Subway Cinema, a collective established in 1999 to promote Asia’s popular cinema in the United States, this two-week festival brings to New York films from China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and India.
Usually held around: June
To submit your film for consideration: N/A

The New York City Horror Film Festival
With more than 50 films over five days, filmmaker Q&As, awards and tributes to masters of the genre, just call this fall fest horrific – in the best possible sense.
Usually held around: October
To submit your film for consideration: N/A

New York Film Festival
One of the world’s most important festivals and, with 2007 marking the 45th anniversary, the oldest fest in New York, this 17-day festival sponsored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center is the city’s must-attend fall event. It screens an average of 28 features and 12 shorts from around the world, including premieres of new works by leading filmmakers.
Usually held around: Late September/Early October
To submit your film for consideration: Application forms are available starting in May; the submission deadline is in July. Click here for details and forms.

New York International Children’s Film Festival
Perhaps better called the festival for hip New York kids with creative, open-minded parents, this three-week fest aims “to help define a more compelling film for kids” by presenting “intelligent, passionate, provocative cinematic works for ages 3-18.” For example, a previous fest featured a Peter Sellars retrospective for kids ages 10 and up that included Dr. Strangelove and The Mouse That Roared. “We are not shy about showing films with mature themes, subject matter, language or sensibilities—especially for our teen and pre-teen audiences,” the submission guidelines say. The 2007 fest will feature over 100 films in competition plus gala premieres, retrospectives, workshops and more.
Usually held around: March; the 2007 festival is scheduled for March 2-18.
To submit your film for consideration: For rules and submission forms, click here. The deadline for the 2007 festival has already passed.

New York International Latino Film Festival
Dubbed “New York’s Latin Sundance” by industry pub Indiewire, this week-long festival brings together an array of features, shorts and documentaries by Latino filmmakers from around the world. The festival, which is co-sponsored by HBO, debuts each year in New York and then travels around the country; other programs throughout the year include a short film competition, a Latino Writers Lab and more.
Usually held around: July
To submit your film for consideration: N/A

New York Jewish Film Festival
Running since 1992, this festival co-sponsored by The Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center presents international features, shorts and documentaries that offer “unique visions of the Jewish experience.”
Usually held around: January; the 2007 festival is scheduled for January 10-25.
To submit your film for consideration: For details and forms, click here. The submission deadline has passed for the 2007 festival.

New York Korean Film Festival
Sponsored by the Korea Society and held at various venues around town, this is a two-day fest of shorts and features from Korean filmmakers.
Usually held around: Late August/early September
To submit your film for consideration: N/A

New York Short Short Film Festival
This festival featuring shorts with a running time of five minutes or less launched last May as a forum for “empowering new and emerging filmmakers in the New York area.” Hosted by the Anthology Film Archives, it billed the 2006 event as the “First Annual…” but the Web site does not yet have details on a “Second Annual” fest for 2007 (at least as of November 2006).
Usually held around: May (but it has only been held once, so who knows?)
To submit your film for consideration: Click here for details.

New York Underground Film Festival
Hosted by Anthology Film Archives, this fest screens narrative features and shorts, documentaries, animation and experimental films “of an innovative, experimental, subversive, critical, uncompromising, and adventurous nature,” according to its call for submissions. As of November 2006, the Web site is lacking in information on the upcoming festival but provides links back to previous fest archives.
Usually held around: Late March/early April; the 2007 festival is scheduled for March 28-April 1.
To submit your film for consideration: Submit via Withoutabox.com.

Tribeca Film Festival
One of the newest and already most prestigious fests in town, Tribeca is a not-to-be-missed two-week party of red-carpet premieres, filmmaker panels, indie screenings, street parties and more.
Usually held around: End of April/beginning of May; the 2007 festival is scheduled for April 25-May 6.
To submit your film for consideration: Click here to apply online or download submission requirements and forms. The entry deadline for the 2007 festival is December 8 (late entry deadline is January 5).

24-Hour Film Festival
Downtown Community Television (DCTV) last July launched this screening sleepover featuring 12 two-hour programs of indie shorts, features and animation. Whether the group intends to make it annual event remains to be seen, but it’s certainly worth checking the Web site periodically to find out.
Usually held around: July (but it has only been held once, so who knows?)
To submit your film for consideration: N/A

2 comments:

shawn chittle said...

brilliant stuff. great job Leslie. should be packaged into a small book and sold at stores!

MsManhattan said...

Thanks, Shawn!