The 28 North Carolina Film Festivals You Should Know

North Carolina is the host to some of the biggest film festivals in the world.

A film festival is a presentation of films in major cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta or Wilmington. Films are released based upon the film festival's focus or genre. Some of the best known film festivals are the Cannes Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, and the Tribeca Film Festival. In fact, the Berlin International Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in the world. Here are the biggest film festivals now taking place in North Carolina that every actor, filmmakers, or fan should know. Film Festivals Denis Makarenko /

(previously called Escapism) Durham, NC September 18-20, 2015

Epic Movies are movie movies. These movies are what make Hollywood Hollywood. These movies are so big they need italic emphasis. They can’t even be described with sentences that don't end in an exclamation mark!  We’re talking about movies with grand stories that justify their three-hour running lengths, and sometimes more. Even their poster art is epic!  As screenwriter Randall Wallace once wrote, “To qualify as epic, a story must have the universality of myth, the enchantment of saga. So an epic is more than a cracking good tale; it tells us something we'll always remember; it makes us walk out of a theater and whisper into our own hearts, "I'm changed."

Full Bloom Film Festival Statesville, NC September 24-26, 2015

The Full Bloom Film Festival is dedicated to bringing quality, diverse cinema to Statesville, NC, a multifaceted art-conscious city in North Carolina. Just north of Charlotte, there is something for everyone. FBFF will take place this year from September 24th through September 26th in and around Historic Downtown Statesville.

Footcandle Film Festival Hickory, NC September 25-27, 2015

The Footcandle Film Festival is designed to bring unique, interesting, challenging and entertaining films to Western North Carolina in September of 2015. The festival is being held by the founders and members of the Footcandle Film Society, a 550-member group dedicated to screening and discussing films on a monthly basis.
Editorial Credit: taniavolobueva /

Charlotte Film Festival Charlotte, NC September 25 – October 3, 2015

The Charlotte Film Festival provides a cultural hub for established and emerging film-artists to showcase their works to the region's top producers, peers, investors and viewers. Over the years, the Festival has continued to grow, attracting filmmakers locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally as well as festival-goers and enthusiasts from Charlotte, North Carolina and nearby states.

Tryon International Film Festival Tryon, NC October 9-10, 2015

The Polk County Film Initiative (PCFI) is expanding its theme of bringing film production to Polk County by launching the 2015 Tryon International Film Festival (TIFF). The festival organizers are targeting 3Q 2015 with an array of independent titles which will premier over a two-day period at multiple venues in and around Tryon, NC.

NC Family Film Festival Murfreesboro/Ahoskie/Winton, NC October 17-18, 2015

The North Carolina Family Film Festival is committed to bringing high quality films to North Carolina and creating opportunities for filmmaker and film lovers to meet and exchange ideas. It is also creating an outlet opportunity for local filmmakers. Our steadily increasing attendance and filmmaker participation has once again earned us the support of the North Carolina Arts Council.
Photo Credit: Andrea Raffin /

Strange Beauty Film Festival Durham, NC October 23-24, 2015

Strange Beauty is organized by Jim Haverkamp and Joyce Ventimiglia.

100 Words Film Festival Charlotte, NC November 6-7, 2015

The 100 Words Film Festival celebrates concise, cinematic storytelling. Each film must deliver a compelling tale using exactly 100 words, challenging filmmakers to focus on the essence of the story. Given this parameter, the 100 Words concept democratizes filmmaking by making entry financially possible for all participants.

Cucalorus Film Festival Wilmington, NC November 11-15, 2015

Cucalorus is a multi-disciplinary arts organization supporting emerging and innovative creative professionals through our annual film festival, a residency program, a summer camp for teen filmmakers, a micro-cinema, and an extensive community outreach program. The annual Cucalorus Film Festival was established in 1994 and has since grown into one of the largest film festivals in the South. More than 200 films screen each year at venues all over downtown Wilmington, attracting a large number of participating artists (300+) and thousands of fans and industry professionals (accumulated attendance in 2014 was 15,743). Festival programs focus on dance, music videos, emerging artists, social justice, works-in-progress, and international cinema. Cucalorus education and outreach programs include Global Perspectives, Works-in-Progress, Latino Lens, Media Literacy, and Racial Rewind. Cucalorus is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that relies on funds from individuals, businesses, and grants to fund its annual celebration.

Carrboro Film Festival Carrboro, NC November 21-22, 2015

Now celebrating its tenth year, The Carrboro Film Festival has grown to become the premiere festival in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Featuring world class films of every length and genre, CFF is known for packed houses and standing ovations. This two day celebration of Film ART, NOT Film Business, is recognized by filmmakers the world over as a place to immerse themselves with like-minded Film creators, creators of art in cinema. Audiences respond positively to the short films, the feature films, the narrative’s documentaries, the experimental and every film genre in between. The Carrboro Film Festival is eclectic and powerful, humorous and moving.

Praxis Film Festival Goldsboro, NC February 5-6, 2016

Praxis refers to practical application, and it is a term often paired in opposition to theory.  Theory is an idea and praxis is about bringing the idea into reality.  Praxis Film Festival celebrates filmmakers who bring ideas to life on the big screen.  Praxis 2015 celebrated 41 films from across the United States and around the world.

Nevermore Film Festival Durham, NC February 19-21, 2016

Created in 1999, The NEVERMORE Film Festival is a juried competition festival which programs brand-new genre films from around the world. More than 500 features and shorts have screened at the festival in its 16-year run. The festival seeks submissions for horror, science fiction, mystery, thriller, and action-adventure. It has gained an international reputation as one of the premiere genre festivals in the United States.

Carolina Film & Video Festival Presented by UNC Greensboro Greensboro, NC Dates TBD – Winter 2016

We want to be the first to exhibit your film. Whether it's narrative, documentary, animation, or experimental, great work has a place at this film festival. We've been showcasing original works like yours for longer than any other student-run film festival in North Carolina. The festival has separate student, independent, and North Carolina categories, as well as a script competition

Triad Jewish Film Festival Greensboro, NC Dates TBD – Winter 2016

Each year, several thousand people attend the Triad Jewish Film Festival to gain new perspectives on the Jewish experience; tackling the myths and truths that can be difficult to address or fully comprehend.

Charlotte Jewish Film Festival Charlotte, NC Dates TBD – Winter 2016

Through the dedication and hard work of our directors, committee members, volunteers, sponsoring organizations, corporate partners, patrons, community partners and our loyal audience members, the Charlotte Jewish Film Festival (CJFF) has grown from a small, 2 film event in 2005 that was attended by 140 people into a year round cultural extravaganza that will bring over 28 screenings to an expected audience of more than 4,000 in 2015.
Photo Credit: CanadaPanda/Shutterstock

Cape Fear Independent Film Festival Wilmington, NC March 10-12, 2016

CFIFN provides educational opportunities for members wishing to learn about the film-making process and develop new skills in related areas of production.  The group also host the annual Cape Fear Independent Film Festival which brings new and independent artistic visions to the local community.  CFIFN takes special notice of North Carolina filmmakers, highlighting their works and the film festival and other events.

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival Durham, NC April 7-10, 2016

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is an annual international event dedicated to the theatrical exhibition of nonfiction cinema. Each spring, Full Frame welcomes filmmakers and film lovers from around the world to historic downtown Durham, North Carolina, for a four-day, morning-to-midnight array of nearly 100 films, as well as discussions, panels, and Southern hospitality. Set within a few city blocks, the intimate festival landscape fosters community and conversation among filmmakers, film professionals, and the public.

RiverRun International Film Festival Winston-Salem, NC April 7-17, 2016

The RiverRun International Film Festival, based in Winston-Salem, NC, is one of the premier film festivals in the southeastern United States.  The 2016 festival dates will be April 7-17, 2016.

Longleaf Film Festival Raleigh, NC May 13-14, 2016

While the museum explores stories from North Carolina’s past through exhibits and programs, the Longleaf Film Festival explores historic and contemporary stories from the state, the country, and the world through narrative and documentary movies. The second annual Longleaf Film Festival will take place on Friday, May 13, and Saturday, May 14, 2016, at the Museum of History in Raleigh, North Carolina. Longleaf Film Festival 2016 continues the celebration of storytelling through film that is central to our understanding of the world around us.

NC Black Film Festival Wilmington, NC Dates TBD – Spring 2016

The Black Arts Alliance was founded in August, 1998, by a group of artists and arts patrons. Recognition as a 501(c)(3) organization was established in an advance ruling by the Internal Revenue Service effective September 23, 1999. The Alliance is governed by a volunteer board of directors, including five officers: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Recording Secretary, and Membership Secretary. Board members and officers are elected for staggered terms at an annual meeting held in June of each year. Alliance members in good standing are allowed one vote at each quarterly and annual meeting.

Down East Flick Fest Greenville, NC Dates TBD – Spring 2016

Down East Flick Fest (DEFF) is a festival for short independent films with running times of 3 to 15 minutes. DEFF will be held in Greenville, NC, a thriving art community, which is the home of East Carolina University.It will be a juried event, open for both emerging and experienced filmmakers.  Genres accepted include drama, comedy, science fiction, fantasy, action, animation, experimental, documentary, and other. Submissions by high school students will be judged separately. All participants will be invited to the reception and screening of the winning films.  All filmmakers will receive recognition and notification of the status of their films.

Wilmington Jewish Film Festival Wilmington, NC May 1-4 and 8-11, 2016

The film scene in Wilmington is even richer for audiences as an exciting new film series debuts: The Wilmington Jewish Film Festival. In association with the Wilmington United Jewish Appeal, the new film festival aims to screen a variety of contemporary films about Jewish life, the arts, current events, and history, with wide appeal for people of all ages. These internationally acclaimed films will encompass universal themes that are relevant to people of all faiths and backgrounds. The intention is to bring to Wilmington quality cinematic entertainment with Jewish content, both feature films and documentaries that will convey the depth and breadth of our Jewish heritage.

GayCharlotte Film Festival Charlotte, NC Dates TBD – Spring 2016

The GayCharlotte Film Festival, first established in 2009, has become an annual event in the Queen City. It is a non-profit program whose goal is to entertain, enlighten, and build valuable bridges of understanding, support, and acceptance within and between the LGBTQ and ally communities in the Charlotte region.

Eastern NC Film Festival Winterville, NC Dates TBD – Spring 2016

The Eastern NC Film Festival is celebrating the art of film making! We made it through our first year. We learned a lot! The main thing we learned was how to make a great film festival even better!

Modern Film Fest Kannapolis, NC June 4, 2016

Kannapolis Arts is a division of Downtown Kannapolis Inc dedicated to developing arts and cultural experiences in Kannapolis and the surrounding communities.
Photo Credit: Andrea Raffin /

Real to Reel Film Festival Kings Mountain, NC July 27-30, 2016

Our goal is to showcase thought-provoking films and offer a venue where movie lovers who appreciate independent vision can celebrate this unique art form. The Cleveland County Arts Council is pleased to announce that on July 27-30, 2016 the 17th Annual “Real to Reel International Film Festival” will once again open its doors to embrace filmmakers and film lovers alike.

Dirty Dancing Festival Lake Lure, NC August 19-20, 2016

For six years The Dirty Dancing Festival has taken over the beautiful town of Lake Lure, North Carolina for two days of live music, dancing, food and fun!  Come see what all the fuss is about and have the Time of Your Life!

NC Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Durham, NC Dates TBD, August 2016

The North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (NCGLFF) is the second largest gay, lesbian and transgender film festival in the Southeast, attracting thousands of patrons yearly. Since its beginning in 1995, the Festival has featured a diverse array of shorts, documentaries and feature films. The Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau named the NCGLFF a Signature Event for Durham, the highest honor bestowed on a cultural event or attraction by the organization.

Related Stories:

What's Featured:

$4,000 ULTA Commercial Casting Call

Join Ulta's exciting casting call for their holiday commercial and showcase your unique hair type in USA. ULTA, the leading beauty retailer, is gearing up for a...

CGEM Talent Search 2023

Unveiling the next wave of talent: CGEM talent search 2023 (Now Scouting '23) in California. Lights, camera, action! It's that time of the year again when aspir...