Are you contemplating making room on your calendar for some film festivals this year? Independent film festivals are a great way to see some up-and-coming films, thought-provoking documentaries or films that otherwise would fly under the radar, in an intimate setting surrounded by fellow film fans. Yet it seems as though there are many options for film festivals out there, so how can you choose the right one to attend? The answer may be to choose one of the most unique film festivals out there. Here is a guide to help you find independent film festivals that will make your year complete.

What Makes a Unique Film Festival?

What makes a film festival unique? If you look at a list of film festivals around the country or the world, you will find that there are many different options out there. Some film festivals seem similar to each other, so how can you make the choice about the best ones to attend? If you are going to spend the money and time to visit one, you want to know that you will walk away from the experience enlightened and entertained. The key is to find a festival that offers a unique indie film experience.

Sometimes, a film festival is unique because of the genre of films it highlights. Perhaps it focuses on documentary films or science fiction. This narrows down the focus to a specific type of film, making it easy to attend a festival that is in line with your tastes in film. Some of the most unique film festivals feature a specific type of writer or director, such as new directors and writers or directors and writers of a specific age range. Others are unique because of the experts they bring in. In addition to screening new cinema features and documentary film projects, you would have the opportunity to talk to filmmakers and writers about the industry. Finally, the culture of the film festival and the community that hosts it can be what makes it unique. A friendly, welcoming community that comes together to host the festival will make it an interesting experience for all attendees.

Top Picks for Unique Film Festivals

Finding a unique film festival to attend will make your experience engaging and give you the opportunity to enjoy a diverse selection of films. While you have hundreds of film festivals around the world to choose from, these are some of the most unique film festival options to consider.

Locarno Festival, Locarno, Switzerland

Nestled in the Mountains of Switzerland, the Locarno Festival, held in Locarno in August, highlights the “hybrid cinema” genre. These contemporary films will make you think, and you will view them on giant outdoor screens on the Piazza Grande. This area holds an astounding 8,000 people, so you will have quite a large audience enjoying the films with you. What makes this particular festival unique is its picturesque mountain setting under the Swiss Alps.

BendFilm in Bend, Oregon

BendFilm is unique because it brings together some of the best independent films in one action-packed weekend. It hosts screenings in small movie houses and theaters that make for an intimate viewing experience delighting audiences. This unique film festival also offers lectures, education, and outreach to help teach while also promoting independent films. BendFilm Festival offers a vibrant and beautiful mountain-town setting that creates a one-of-a kind film experience. The BendFilm Festival takes place the second weekend in October in the lively community of Bend, Oregon.

Nantucket Film Festival, Nantucket, Massachusetts

In June, head to the Nantucket Film Festival in Massachusetts to enjoy a festival that puts a strong emphasis on screenwriters. In addition to enjoying the films, you will be able to sit in on panels highlighting the skills and abilities of these important professionals. Late Night Letters and a Comedy Roundtable are some of the more interesting non-film events at this film extravaganza.

Eastern Oregon Film Festival, La Grande, Oregon

What makes the Eastern Oregon Film Festival unique is not its genre. It’s the location. Set in La Grande, Oregon in the Blue Mountains, this festival is full of down-home mountain hospitality and fun. Even the theaters themselves are cozy and intimate, and this is an exceptional venue to see independent cinema.

IndieLisboa, Lisbon, Portugal

If you are a fan of Indie films, head to Lisbon, Portugal in May for IndieLisboa. What makes this festival unique is its culture. In addition to the movies, which are carefully selected to meet the demands of the younger population in Lisbon, the festival features DJs, parties, and even a beatboxing battle. If you’ll be traveling with the family, don’t fret. This festival features IndieJunior, a kid-friendly set of screenings and events, so it’s something everyone can enjoy.

BendFilm – A Unique Film Experience

While each of these provides a unique experience, you will find that the intimate setting and unique films at BendFilm make it stand out. Bend, Oregon is known for its cultural diversity and passion for the arts, and this combination makes it the ideal setting for a film event. It’s also a mountain community, so you will enjoy beautiful natural surroundings while you take part in screenings, forums, panels, and more. Throughout the entire event, you will be able to enjoy the warm hospitality of the Bend, Oregon community. Join us this year for our independent film festival!

Don’t let this opportunity to enjoy a mountainside experience and a unique film festival at the same time. Make plans to attend BendFilm this year!