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Uncommon Film Festivals

A couple of UncommonGoods people are at SXSW this week; at the interactive part, not for film. But some of us who aren’t going (passive-aggressive pouting alert: orange) were perusing the SXSW site, looking at the film festival schedule, and saw this: “Big names, big talent: Headliners bring star power to SXSW, featuring red carpet premieres and gala film events with some major and rising names in cinema.”

Well, fine. Stars and red carpets help deals get made and careers get started. However, they are not exactly… uncommon. You can see them at Sundance. You can see them at Cannes. And now you can see them at SXSW.

But at none of the three big film festivals can you see “Downstream: Testing Trout,” (an underground cult of hardcore fly anglers in Ontario obsess over mayfly hatches and spinnerfalls while casting for trout in untouched waters),“The Bicycle Cap Made With Love by a Bike” (a bike and a sewing machine fall in love) “My Very Own Death (a man contests the claim by a scandal sheet that he died from an outdated yogurt), or “Self-Assembly of Bio-Inspired Peptoid Polymers,” (about the discovery of amphiphilic peptoid polymers of specific sequence that, in aqueous solution, spontaneously assemble into one of the thinnest two-dimensional organic crystalline materials known).

For those, you’d have to go to the International Fly Fishing Film Festival, the Bicycle Film Festival, the Atlanta Philosophy Film Festival, and the RidgeDance NanoScience Film Festival, respectively.

Welcome to the world of uncommon film festivals, where red carpets, major names and million-dollar deals are scarce and passionate devotion is in ample supply.

Just for fun, we made a list of some of the most intriguing-sounding film festivals we could find.
Grouped (somewhat) thematically, here they are:

DepicT! 90 Second Film Festival
The 15 Second Film Festival
The Ten Second Film Festival
A.D.D. Short Film Festival (sadly but kind of appropriately, this one was postponed indefinitely)
The 48 Hour Film Project (“you and a team make a movie—write, shoot, edit and score it—in just 48 hours”)
New York Cat Art Film Festival
Pet Film Festival
International Bat Film Festival
International Wildlife Film Festival
Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival

San Francisco Ocean Film Festival
International Year of Forests Film Festival

Princeton Environmental Film Festival
American Conservation Film Festival (ACFF)
Sustainability Film Festival
Possible Futures Film Festival (“film visions of the positive future that hundreds of millions of people are already living into and creating right now”)

Bicycle Film Festival
California Surf Festival
International Skateboard Film Festival
International Aquatic History Symposium & Film Festival (put on by the International Swimming Hall of Fame)
International Fly Fishing Film Festival
Action Sports Film Festival
Los Angeles All Sports Film Festival (films with “mental and physical competition for the sake of winning a prize,” with “sports” defined as “anything from auto racing to badminton and spelling bees to chess”

Food Film Festival (in association with the James Beard Foundation)
Food Justice Film Festival
Farm Film Fest (“documentary films about our food — who produces it, how it reaches us, and how it affects our health, our environment, and our local and global communities”)
Farm Film Fest (Chatham Agriculture Partnership (CAP – “films that focus on farms, farming, and farming issues”)
Farming Film Festival Video Contest (“Farmers need game changing solutions to meet rising expectations and costs. If you are a farmer, create a video that tells us about a game changing idea or technology on your farm. If you’re not a farmer, find one and help tell their story.”)

Handmade Puppet Dreams (“a touring festival of independent artist films exploring their handmade craft specifically for the camera”)
Strange Beauty Film Festival (films which are “strangely beautiful” and “beautifully strange”)

Rose City Steampunk Film Festival
Viscera Film Festival (female genre filmmakers)
Pollygrind Film Festival (“all about the darker side of cinema and the artists that bring those films to life;” held in Las Vegas)
International Festival of Darkness (“the best and the most macabre that the horror and sci-fi genres have to offer”)

NYC Mental Health Film Festival
Psychiatry Ethics Film Festival
Biomedical ethics film festival
Neuro Film Festival (put on by the American Academy of Neurology Foundation “to help raise awareness about why more research is needed to cure brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, autism, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis”)
RidgeDance NanoScience Film Festival
Nanofest: The Nanoscience Film Festival
YPOP Film Festival (solar films: solar flares, eclipses, etc.)

The Atlanta Philosophy Film Festival
San Francisco Atheist Film Festival
Interfaith Film Festival
Sikhnet Online Youth  Film Festival
International Buddhist Film Festival
San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival
New York Jewish Film Festival
Nihilist Film Festival

Politics on Film (“an annual, bipartisan film festival based in Washington DC dedicated to providing a platform for films that tell stories of America’s politics and policies”)
Magic Lantern Video & Book Store Political Film Festival

BRIEFS: Erotic Shorts Film Competition

DisABILITIES Film Festival
NY Disabilities Film Festival
Sprout Film Festival (“film and video related to the field of developmental disabilities”)
Deaf Rochester Film Festival

GI Film Festival (“the first film festival in the nation to exclusively celebrate the successes and sacrifices of the service member through the medium of film”)

San Francisco Transgender Film Festival
Lost Aneles Transgender Festival
Post Alley Film Festival (“female-centric and eccentric”)

Legacy Film Festival on Aging
ALFA (Assisted Living Federation of America) Short Film Competition on Ageism

American Indian Film Festival
Los Angeles Asian-Pacific Film Festival
Black History Film Festival
Black Panther Film Festival
Boyle Heights Latina Independent Film Extravaganza
South Asian Film Festival
Urbanworld Multicultural Film Festival  (“dedicated to redefining the multicultural roles in contemporary cinema, television, and online by supporting the urban content creation community”)
Margaret Mead Film Festival (“the longest-running showcase for international documentaries in the US; from indigenous community media to experimental nonfiction”)

Black-Rock-City-Film-Festival at Burning Man

Found Footage Festival
San Francisco Silent Film Festival
The Disposable Film Festival (“short films made on everyday equipment like cell phones, pocket cameras, and other inexpensive video capture devices”)
Century City Cell Phone (Film) Festival

YouTube Your Film Festival
Vimeo Festival and Awards

And finally, we would be remiss not to mention UncommonGoods’s own

Film Festival in a Box

Written by Marisa

Marisa is a contributor to The Goods. She learned what a Gleditsia triacanthos is while she was an urban lumberjill. Her most-wanted uncommon good is the the Kitchen Composter.

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