Top Five New York State Film Festivals

Sure, everybody knows about the Cannes and Sundance and Venice Film Festivals, but true cineastes know that New York State has plenty of film events right here in town…and we won't even count the ones held in New York City.

Here are five worth checking out:

The Woodstock Film Festival was recently praised by actor Ethan Hawke as “among the finest of a dying breed: a festival that isn’t trying to sell you anything, but simply and beautifully celebrating the art & craft of filmmaking.” In addition to movies, Woodstock presents A-list concerts, panels and parties, and creates stimulating and innovative programming year-round. The Woodstock Film Festival will celebrate its 13th Annual Festival October 10‑14, with an extraordinary line-up of "fiercely independent" films, panels, concerts and special events in Woodstock and the neighboring towns of Rhinebeck, Saugerties, Boiceville, Kingston and Rosendale.

Now in its 20th year, ImageOut: The Rochester Lesbian & Gay Film & Video Festival’s 10-day festival features more than 40 programs and 90 films from around the world. ImageOut is Upstate New York’s longest running lesbian and gay film and video festival and will run this year from October 5-14 in Rochester, Finger Lakes. The festival encourages lesbian and gay filmmakers, who, as a group, are rarely seen in mainstream media.

Hosted by The Chatham Film Club and Crandell Theatre, FilmColumbia in Chatham, Hudson Valley offers film buffs an exciting long weekend of film screenings and “meet the filmmaker” events. In their twelve year history, they have screened many films that have gone on to garner industry and critic awards and nominations. From October 17-21, this year’s selections will introduce audiences to a group of new films before they are released to the general public.

From September 14-16, the first-ever Big Eddy Film Festival will premiere in Narrowsburg. Produced by Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, the arts council for Sullivan County, in collaboration with the newly formed Catskill Film Commission, The Big Eddy Film Festival will present feature films, documentaries, and shorts. Themes and subjects of interest are unrestricted, and may include the relationships between humans and their natural environment, the role of the arts in daily life, New York State stories, and unique challenges of contemporary life.

And then there's the Oscar-qualifying Hamptons International Film Festival, which was founded to celebrate Independent film – long, short, fiction and documentary – and to introduce a unique and varied spectrum of international films and filmmakers to their audiences. The festival is committed to exhibiting films that express fresh voices and differing global perspectives. The 20th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival will take place October 4-8.

For more information and a complete list of the state’s film festivals, visit www.iloveny.com.

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