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10 Great Film Festivals in New York City

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10 Great Film Festivals in New York City

Like almost anything about New York, a city home to more than 8 million people, the volume, variety and quality of its film scene is an embarrassment of riches. For every one of these ten festivals there are ten other niche, underground, hyper-local, new or expanding film events.

It takes a keen eye and a lot of patience to sift through all of the listings of everything happening each day in the five boroughs. But if you’re into film – or simply curious – here’s a list of 10 great film festivals in New York City, an interesting and useful place to start.

Festivals are listed in chronological order.

Film Society Lincoln Center

Here is the 2017 schedule of specialty festivals at Lincoln Center:

New York Jewish Film Festival
Neighboring Scenes – Showcase of Latin American Cinema
Jan 26 – 31, 2017

Dance on Camera Festival
February 3 – 7, 2017

Film Comment Selects
February 17 – 23, 2017

Rendez-Vous with French Cinema
March 1 – 12, 2017

New Directors/New Films
March 15 – 26, 2017

Art of the Real
April 20 – May 2, 2017

New York African Film Festival
May 3 – 9, 2017

Open Roads: New Italian Cinema
June 1 – 7, 2017

Human Rights Watch Film Festival
June 9 – 17, 2017

New York Asian Film Festival
June 30 – July 13, 2017

Scary Movies
July 14 – 20, 2017

10 Great Film Festivals in New York City

Athena Film Festival

February 9 – 12, 2017 @ Barnard College

Now in its seventh year, the Athena Film Festival — a celebration of women and leadership — is an engaging weekend of feature films, documentaries and shorts that highlight women’s leadership in real life and the fictional world.  The four-day festival, which includes conversations with directors and talent and workshops for filmmakers, has quickly established itself as one of the most prestigious festivals of its kind.

New York Wild Film Festival

February 23 – 26, 2017

The New York WILD Film Festival is the first annual documentary film festival in New York to showcase a spectrum of topics, from exploration and adventure to wildlife and the environment, bringing all things WILD to the most urban city in the world.

NYC Drone Film Festival

March 17 – 19, 2017

The #NYCDFF is the world’s first event exclusively dedicated to celebrating the art of drone cinematography. The festival offers an international platform for filmmakers from every corner of the globe to exhibit their work in front of industry professionals and the drone community. 

Aside from the screenings, the festival includes: a drone photo walk, aerial cinematography seminars, drone expo & flight demos, the Day of Drones @ the Liberty Science Center and the FPV Drone Racing & Freestyle FPV Competition.

Tribeca Film Festival

April 19 – 30, 2017

Now in its sixteenth year, the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), presented by AT&T, announced that its upcoming edition will be held from April 19th to April 30th, 2017 in New York City. For this upcoming Festival, Tribeca has expanded its areas of submissions from feature films, short films, and experiential storytelling (Storyscapes) programs to also include submissions across all of the programming areas of the Festival. 

“Tribeca is a forward-thinking storytelling festival and we have been supporting work that goes beyond the big screen for many years,” says Festival Director Genna Terranova. “As the technology and tools proliferate in the creative community and new distribution models emerge we feel it is the right time to expand and support artists on these growing platforms in a broader way.”

NYC Indie Film Festival

May 2 – 7, 2017

The NYC Indie Film Festival provides a showcase for the best in independent cinema, including short films, feature films, music videos, and animated works…The festival strives to promote an open and nurturing environment for artists, writers, actors, film-makers and fans. We will be screening the best indie films and offering panels, classes, seminars and discussion groups as well as opportunities for the filmmakers and fans to mingle and network.

The NYC Indie film Fest is eager to embrace fresh ideas and storytelling. We will be screening narratives, documentaries, short films, super shorts, animations and music videos. We are looking for filmmakers whose passion for the art form is real as they push films in new directions.

Brooklyn Film Festival 

June 2 – 11, 2017

The Brooklyn Film Festival (BFF), is an international, competitive festival. 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.

55th New York Film Festival

July 14 – 20, 2017 @ Lincoln Center

Since 1963, the New York Film Festival has brought new and important cinematic works from around the world to Lincoln Center. In addition to the Main Slate official selections, the festival includes newly restored classics, special events, filmmaker talks, panel discussions, an Avant-Garde showcase, and much more. The New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema, featuring top films from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. 

Chelsea Film Festival

October 19 – 22, 2017

The Chelsea Film Festival (CFF), non-profit organization is an international film festival, enlightening the work of emerging filmmakers, producers and actors. It offers a wide range of films, such as documentaries and feature-lengths, focusing on the theme of “Global Issues”.

New York City Horror Film Festival

October 26 – 29, 2017

The NYCHFF is a week long event that takes place each November at venues throughout New York City. The NYCHFF has grown to be a world recognized event, with industry, filmmakers, and press attention from around the globe. The festival is competitive, screening approximately 50 to 60 films each year. The Hein Family is committed to keeping the festival alive in memory of the truly missed and loved founder, Michael J. Hein.


November 9 – 16, 2017

Documentary storytelling is flourishing like never before – encompassing reportage, memoir, history, humor and more. Now the largest documentary film festival in America, DOC NYC celebrates this cultural phenomenon and encourages its new directions.

DOC NYC burst upon the scene in 2010 with an inaugural event that was hailed as “ambitious” (New York Times) and “selective but eclectic” (Village Voice). By 2014, DOC NYC had become America’s largest documentary film festival and voted by MovieMaker magazine as one of the “top five coolest documentary film festivals in the world”. Based at the West Village’s IFC Center, Chelsea’s SVA Theater and Bow Tie Chelsea Cinema, the eight-day festival showcases new achievements in documentary film along with panels and conversations. It also seeks to make connections that happen “only in New York.”

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