Best Art & Film Festivals

Attending Art festivals and film festivals gives you a chance to expand your knowledge of history, people and culture and support the arts at the same time. Browse art festivals to find an array of arts and crafts for sale including paintings and sculptures. Depending upon the type of art festival, you may also find handmade jewelry, textiles and pottery, as well. Arts and crafts festivals are a great way to find undiscovered talent at an affordable price.

The best film festivals offer comfort to another type of art lover- the film buff. Small and independent film festivals are fun and often highlight a genre of film, showcasing horror movies or dramas, for example, or movies by a favorite Italian film director. More and more often, small independent movie festivals showcase the work of regional filmmakers or film school students. This gives the participants access to a larger audience and an opportunity to showcase their work for local critics and the occasional agent, too. The top movie festivals can be tough to get into, but it’s worth every penny of the ticket price to see new and often unique movies long before anyone else gets to see them.

  • From the Burning Man Festival to the Shakespeare Festival, arts and crafts festivals support new and established artisans and craftspeople. Darrin Gleeman tells the Best Festivals Guide that he likes to visit an art festival to get an original piece of work by an (as yet) unknown artist or to learn more about a favorite playwright.
  • Film festivals pride themselves on being unique, and introducing unknown talent to an unsuspecting public. Expect cold weather (many film festivals are held during winter), independent movies and long lines at any available restaurant or bar. Can’t find tickets to your favorite movie festival? Cissy Petty of New Orleans tells us that she volunteers and scores free tickets- and a backstage pass to the playground for the film world’s movers and shakers.

Whether you have a passion for art or film, it’s worth your while to attend one of these festivals and fairs this year.

Best Art and Crafts Festivals

Best Festivals Guide to Art and Crafts Festivals from Darrin Gleeman of New York, New York.

Art festivals give you a chance to find unique and unusual art in addition to more traditional paintings and photographs. Favorite festivals that celebrate the arts include a southern festival and fair, a Caribbean art festival and festivals that celebrate Tennessee Williams, Shakespeare and radical self-expression.

  • The Yellow Daisy arts and crafts festival and fair in Stone Mountain, GA features more than 500 national artists and craftspeople. Music, shopping, good food and activities for the kids make this a festival to add to your list. Early September.
  • MOJA Arts Festival in Charleston, SC celebrates African American and Caribbean art.Performers include singers, storytellers, poets and dancers. End of September through first week of October.
  • The Tennessee Williams Tribute Weekend arts festival celebrates the playwright’s life and works. Films, readings and lectures round out this intellectually stimulating festival. Columbus, Mississippi art festival runs in early September.
  • The Oregon Shakespeare festival is the largest Shakespeare festival in the world. Set in beautiful Ashland, Oregon, the theater is open from late February until the end of October (closed Mondays) and the festival features Shakespeare plays, Renaissance plays and classic and modern plays, too.
  • The Burning Man festival runs for eight days beginning at the end of August in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. The Burning Man festival promises to be an “experiment in community, radical self-expression and radical self-reliance” and features a ritualistic burning of a wooden man on the sixth day of the festival.

Top Small Independent Film Festivals

Best Festivals Guide to the Top Small Independent Film Festivals in the U.S. by Cissy Petty of News Orleans, Louisiana.

If you’re a film buff, then you have plenty of reason to travel in the winter months to some of the best U.S. movie festivals and fairs.

  • The Sundance film festival held in January in Sundance, Utah is the granddaddy of all other movie festivals and fairs. Started in 1978 as the Utah/US Film Festival in an effort to attract more film producers to Utah, it has grown to a level to where it now stands on equal footing with film festivals in Cannes, Venice, France, Italy, Berlin and Toronto. In 1991, the Sundance Institute renamed the Utah/US Film Festival to the Sundance Film Festival. With foresight to make Sundance more popular Sydney Pollack, the renowned Hollywood filmmaker suggested moving it from September to January to attract more Hollywood attention. Many new movie festivals joined the independent film bandwagon in later years, but Sundance was there from the beginning. The festival has a lot of heart, providing development programs for screenwriters, filmmakers, composers and a host of artists associated with the independent film industry.

The Sundance has spawned thousands of independent film festivals since its
popularity heightened around 1991-1992. Some include:

    • Atlantic City Film Festival
    • Atlanta Film & Video Festival
    • Austin Film Festival
    • Chicago Underground Film Festival
    • Dallas Video Festival
    • Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee
    • Hollywood Film Festival
    • IndieMemphis
    • Miami International Film Festival
    • New York International Documentary Festival
    • New York International Film & Video Festival
    • Palm Springs International Film Festival
  • Tribeca Film Festival started in 2002 with backing from Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal. The movie festival’s noble cause focused on revitalizing Manhattan after 9/11 but to also emphasize New York City as a serious filmmaking hub. Independent movies rule the day at the Tribeca festival, so you’ll get to see movies you might (never) see anywhere else. However, you will probably always end up seeing one of the winners in a theater near you. For example, United 93 and Mission Impossible III premiered at Tribeca in 2006. In 2006, Tribeca received over 4,100 film submissions: 169 feature films and 99 short films were selected to compete.

    The Tribeca Film Festival runs from the last week of April through the first week of May.

We thank our contributors:

  • Darrin Gleeman New York, New York
  • Cissy Petty, New Orleans, Louisiana

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