The vitality of Virginia’s production community can be experienced through the variety of exceptional film festivals held through the state and Washington DC. From the Virginia Film Festival, the state’s oldest and largest, to newer festivals highlighting themes such as the environment, regional culture, international film, Virginia filmmakers and the military – the variety and depth of Virginia’s film festivals and screening series is extraordinary.
If you would like to add your Virginia festival to the list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Central Virginia
Teams of filmmakers create original short films in two days which are shown at a screening. Best films are selected for a national competition.
Afrikana is a film festival dedicated to showcasing the cinematic works of people of color from around the world, with a special focus on the global Black narrative. As Richmond city's first and only Black film festival, the festival's mission is to create a platform that presents high-quality, well-crafted stories that celebrate the diaspora and encourage people to connect. New 2018 dates: Nov. 29 - Dec. 2, 2018.
The inaugural festival was held November 2017 in Richmond, VA at the historic Byrd Theatre. The festival features leading names and films in American Indian cinema, and is curated by representatives from Virginia Indian tribes, Native American filmmakers, and leaders from the arts community in Virginia. This year's dates are Nov. 15-18, 2018.
Films and cultural activities to explore themes of diversity, humanity, and cross-cultural human understanding.
The newest French films presented by their award-winning actors and directors. Sponsored by VCU and University of Richmond.
The Annual Israeli Film Festival produced by the Weinstein JCC Patrons of the Arts is dedicated to bringing exposure and understanding of Israeli art and culture through film. Each year more Israeli films are winning international acclaim and being recognized by film audiences here in the U.S. This Festival provides Richmond audiences with the opportunity to experience great Israeli filmmaking. Films are accompanied by discussions whenever possible.
Richmond, VA. This festival features ground-breaking work by independent media artists, workshops, screenings, seminars, and a juried competition each year.
Richmond, VA. mini-Festival devoted to the short. Juried competition from around the globe. Produced by the James River Film Festival group.
Sponsored by the American Canoe Association, this festival showcases paddling films and encourages people to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of our lakes, rivers, and oceans. Ticket sales go to the Stream to Sea Initiative, an effort by the ACA to clean waterways and promote environmental stewardship.
Held each spring in Richmond and produced by the Weinstein JCC Patrons of the Arts; and supporting special needs programming at the WJCC. The Reelabilities Film Festival is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities. The festival presents award-winning films, accompanied by discussions and other engaging programs which bring together the community to explore, discuss and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience. Screenings are held throughout Richmond at different locations each year.
The Richmond Dance Festival will consist of performances and film screenings presented by dance artists located in the Richmond, VA area. We are looking for all kinds of styles of dance films to show the diversity of artists that call Richmond their home.
A subfest of the non-profit organization Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival, the Richmond Diversity Film Festival strives to provide actors & filmmakers of diverse backgrounds a venue in which to showcase their voices without judgement or insincere reflection, free of stereotypes and degradation.
Richmond International Film Festival (RIFF) brings a thrilling array of film screenings, industry panels, filmmaker Q&As, live musical performances, and entertainment mixers that usher the spirit of Hollywood into Virginia's historic Byrd Theater. It's a one-of-a-kind festival honoring some of the most singularly entertaining projects on the international film scene. RIFF welcomes produced films, music videos, and screenplays of all genres -- including short-form and feature-length works -- all while providing a networking platform for local filmmakers and talent from around the globe.
This festival is held at several venues around the city, and showcases a national and local selection of films meant to inform the audience about current environmental issues.
A festival showcasing the most talented high school filmmakers across the Commonwealth. The VHSL is an alliance of Virginia’s public high schools that promotes education, leadership, sportsmanship, character and citizenship.
Poe Film Festival, held in Richmond in late autumn, is a two-day celebration of talented college and independent filmmakers who are inspired by the intensity and suspense of the master storyteller, Edgar Allan Poe. More than thirty mid-Atlantic universities are invited to compete for awards in technical merit, artistic merit, best documentary and best screenplay. The Festival features networking receptions and educational discussions led by industry professionals.
- Coastal Virginia/Hampton Roads
Teams of filmmakers create original short films in two days which are shown at a screening. Best films are selected for a national competition.
The Hampton Roads Caribbean Film Festival (HRCFF) begins the tradition of celebrating vibrant and unique stories from the Caribbean and its diaspora, across Hampton Roads, Virginia. The Hampton Roads region is home to a blended mix of residents from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The Caribbean-American community shares a great part of the region’s history and is positively invested in its continued growth. Through the power of film, the Hampton Roads Caribbean Film Festival aims to not only entertain, but to create dialogue, generate a cultural appreciation and understanding of Caribbean life and its people through visual storytelling, and to further enrich the expanding and diverse community of Hampton Roads.
An annual juried competition and showcase for independent filmmakers from all over the world presented by the Crispus Attucks Cultural Center. Short and student film competitions, premieres, international cinema, tributes, and educational workshops facilitated by leading figures in the film industry.
All-year in Norfolk. Numerous screenings of unusual films, including the “First Look Film Series,” a Sunday morning series featuring an advance screening of the latest offering from a roster of prominent independent, foreign, and up-and-coming filmmakers.
This community-focused festival's purpose is to expose, educate, and introduce the lifestyle, struggles, joys, and hardships of the Queer community through the world of film and media.
This festival is presented by the College of William and Mary with the support of the William & Mary Wendy and Emery Reves Center for International Studies and the Roy R. Charles Center. Launched in 2008 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Williamsburg Theater, the festival is held annually during February at the historic Kimball Theatre in Colonial Williamsburg.
A festival honoring the Golden Age of Hollywood
Premiering in August at The American Theatre, in Hampton. This film festival features African American centered documentaries. The festival hopes to promote change and invoke a sense of social responsibility.
Now in its 24th year, film lovers from all over are invited to see national and international movies from fascinating documentaries to full feature dramas created by award winning Jewish writers and filmmakers. Guest speakers accompany several films, with opening and closing night venues boasting delicious cuisine.
Save The Waves Film Festival is an international film tour and fundraiser for Save The Waves’ environmental programs and campaigns. Save The Waves documentary films and the Film Festival educate and inspire audiences to protect the coastline.
- Eastern Shore
Experimental Film Virginia is the core program for the Harbor for the Arts Festival in Cape Charles, Virginia, a town that still echoes of vintage Americana. The program develops experimental filmmaker's skills for two weeks under the mentorship of world-class faculty. The program concludes with a premiere of the various projects developed. Please contact us for an official letter of invitation to support funding from academic enrichment or other grant agencies at your academic institution or arts commission.
- Roanoke Valley
The historic Grandin Theatre is operated by the Grandin Theatre Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, nonprofit organization. This historic theatre is one of the jewels in the arts and cultural crown of Roanoke Valley and the greater Southwest region. Features current films along with film festivals and special screenings.
Hosted annually by Virginia Tech's School of Performing Arts in Blacksburg, this festival showcases short (15 minutes or less) artistic films made by filmmakers in southwestern Virginia.
- Shenandoah Valley
The Maupintown Film Festival is a FREE annual event given at the Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center in Charlottesville, Virginia each July, and focuses on celebrating and sharing films of African-American history and culture with the local community. The festival features over a dozen films, as well as presentations and discussions from filmmakers, local historians and community leaders.
September 12-15, 2019 in Winchester, VA. Skyline Indie Film Fest brings the best in new, undistributed independent film to the mid-Atlantic region for a competitive festival. With many filmmakers in attendance and casual accessibility, panels, mixers, seminars, Skyline is an unbeatable place to immerse yourself in the indie film world.
Harrisonburg. This festival is unique in that each contester, receives a film camera and a roll of film. They must then shoot their film in order of scenes, with no mistakes or edits, and then return it to the event organizers. The first time anyone can view the films is at the festival.
November 5th - 8th, 2015 in Charlottesville. An eclectic mix of films, with discussions by filmmakers and experts. Year-round screenings of new and unusual films.
This is a national traveling film festival that has been hosted by venues in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg. Bringing together stories about the wildlife and the planet, this festival travels the country sharing and promoting wildlife defense and activism. For more information about where the festival will be held next year, visit their website.
The Strasburg Film Festival provides attendees with an excellent selection of films from all over the world. Unlike most other film festivals, they wave the filmmaker submission fee to find those storytellers who have the talent to make movies but not the monetary backing to produce them. They aim to provide an open door for anyone who is considering filmmaking/storytelling as a profession. All proceeds from the festival will go back to the Shenandoah County Public School District’s Theatre Program.
- South Central Virginia
The festival is an annual event located in Farmville, Virginia showcasing animated short films submitted by filmmakers from all over the world.
- Southwest Virginia
Push! Film Festival is a celebration of the cinematic and visual arts in the heart of the twin cities of Bristol, TN/VA. 3 Days. 2 States. 1 Film Festival.
- Washington D.C. & Northern Virginia
May 16th - 22nd, 2016 in Washington D.C. This festival is dedicated to sharing the military experience in and out of the arena of war. Features, docs, shorts, educational forums and special events are all part of this festival, the first of its kind to exclusively celebrate the successes and sacrifices of American service men and women.
Clifton Film Celebration brings independent film to Clifton, Virginia. The three day event features networking events, screenings, and awards. The event will take place November 9-11 of 2018, and are currently taking submissions through Film Freeway.
LUNAFEST is a traveling film festival of award-winning short films by, for and about women. This season, the program of nine films filled with stories of reflection, hope and humor will be screened in Northern Virginia at the Angelika Film Center. The event raises funds for Girls on the Run of NOVA and Breast Cancer Fund.
October 22nd - 25th, 2015. The festival showcases films about the immigrant experience, immigrant contributions to America, and their birth countries, while connecting newcomers with neighborhoods in their communities. The festival drew 2,000 supporters and viewers in its inaugural 2014 season.
The Annual Middleburg Film Festival offers four days of fantastic films in a spectacular setting, only 30 minutes from Dulles International Airport and just one hour from Washington, D.C. A carefully curated selection of narrative and documentary films will screen in an intimate theatre environment, followed by fascinating Q and A’s with world-renowned filmmakers and actors. The films include festival favorites, premieres, and Academy Award contenders.
A brand new festival located in Northern Virginia. This is a festival for filmmakers by filmmakers and whose aim is to bring a slice of Hollywood to the Virginia area. They pride themselves on working with filmmakers independent of budget, origin, style or genre.
The festival is now connected with the Capital Film Market event in Fairfax, VA, for distributors, sales agents, buyers, filmmakers.
Submissions are now open to entries. Founded to promote the rich and diverse independent film and video community in Virginia, DC, and Maryland. The festival features screenings of rare shorts and selected feature-length comedies.
Built on the belief that story can change the world, Washington West Film Festival screens and premieres some of the finest independent films in 3 in-competition categories: dramatic features, documentary features, and short films. And the audience participates in the making of a new story-- 100% of box office net proceeds funds a project that works to solve a problem of hunger, education, disease, or displacement.
Washington, DC. A wide array of independent films, including some by local filmmakers. Festival includes films, discussions with filmmakers, and seminars. Submissions are accepted.
This festival in Washington, DC is the first film festival in the Mid-Atlantic region with films shot exclusively with smartphones. The festival is dedicated to providing a platform to the global artistic and film loving community to document and produce their own stories in the most accessible way.
Double Exposure returns to Washington DC celebrating the intersection of film and journalism through a compelling film program and concurrent symposium over the course of four days. The festival launches its third edition with DC premieres of new investigative films that go beyond the headlines to capture riveting stories, paired with powerful conversations with acclaimed filmmakers, subjects, journalists and experts.
For over 30 years, Filmfest DC has sought to keep pace with global cultural and social activities. This festival has taken on a special focus on issues ripped from today's headlines in hopes of increasing clarity and civil discourse.
Film Club’s LOST WEEKEND VIII will be a celebration of film at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Twenty-five feature films from around the world will be featured, including SIXTEEN advance screenings. None of these films have been screened theatrically in Winchester before.
November 9 -11, 2018. A yearly tribute to cinema, the Alexandria Film Festival presents independent feature-length films and shorts of all genres by both emerging and established filmmakers. Our mission is to promote cinema as an important cultural, educational and entertainment asset to our highly engaged audience. We proudly showcase Alexandria and Virginia as a dynamic venue for creating, exhibiting, and experiencing film.