Essential Horror and Fantasy Film Festivals - Raindance

There are a number of genre-based film festivals around the world, so for all you Horror and Fantasy fans, here are a few annual festivals you should know about…

Horror and Fantasy Film Festivals

Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival – BIFFF

7th – 19th April, 2020

Every spring in Brussels this festival draws in horror  fans and filmmakers for a total of thirteen days. Over one hundred films are shown within the categories of fantasy, sci-fi, thriller and horror, at this festival that fully embraces these genres with a number of themed events including make-up contests and a Vampire Ball! Considered one of the world’s most important horror and fantasy festivals, BIFFF is a must for anyone looking for a thrill.

Visit BIFFF’s Website


28th February – 7th March, 2020

Started in 1981 as an all fantasy film festival in Portugal, Fantasporto has grown into a general film event. This festival was the first to integrate the arts and sciences by including concerts, art exhibitions, theatre plays, science demonstrations and more in its showcase. In 2012, the theme will be “the future”, and there’s a Vampire Ball at this festival as well.

Visit the Fantasporto Website


2nd November, 2019

Director Guillermo del Toro called this UK horror event “The Woodstock of Gore”. Originally created to give the UK a horror fantasy festival much like BIFFF, this event has grown rapidly thanks to its “don’t miss” reputation. Held annually in Leicester Square.

Visit Frightfest Website

Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival

27th June – 7th July, 2019

This Korean festival, held in Bucheon City ‘the Mecca for Japanese culture’, focuses on International and Asian horror, thriller, mystery, and fantasy films. It is globally renowned and highly ranked by audiences and industry professionals alike.

Visit the Bucheon Website


8th – 17th October, 2019

Held in Hollywood, and considered to be the largest horror film festival in the USA, this event showcases works by American as well as international independent horror filmmakers. This competitive festival accepts films based on categories such as Best Feature, Directing, Cinematography, etc. and was originally created to give filmmakers and writers in the horror and sci-fi genres a chance to show their work to people in the industry.

Visit the Screamfest Website

Sitges Int. Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia

3rd – 13th October, 2019

The #1 genre film festival in the world with visits from top-level movie stars, directors, and producers, this event is a must for anyone looking to get noticed in the genres of fantasy and horror.

Visit Sitges Film Festival Website

Toronto After Dark Film Festival

17th – 25th October, 2019

A fan favorite, this festival is one of the world’s leading showcases of new horror, sci-fi, action, cult features and shorts from Asia, Europe, and North America. This fixture of the Halloween season takes place over nine nights and was voted Runner-Up for Best Film Festival in the City in a poll of local filmgoers.

Visit Toronto After Dark’s Website

Imagine – Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival

15th – 25th April, 2020

This eleven-day event showcases a host of fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and animation films, from crowd pleasers to debate provoking. In addition to the screenings, there are dialogues with national and international guests, a master class, and the infamous Night of Terror.

Visit Imagine’s Website

Atlanta Film Festival

30th April – 10th May 2020

This festival is one of only two-dozen Academy Award qualifying festivals in the U.S. and is the largest and longest-running festival in the region. The screenings often include a dialog with the filmmakers, providing an opportunity for networking. This festival shows a diverse range of different independent films, including horror and sci-fi.

Visit Atlanta Film Festival’s Website

Fantastic Fest

19th – 26th September, 2019

Fantastic Fest is one of the largest genre film festivals in the United States, held annually in Texas. Screenings include the genres of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, action, Asian, and cult. This festival was named by Moviemaker as one of the 25 film festivals worth the entry fee and has premiered films such as “There Will Be Blood” and “Zombieland”.

Visit Fantastic Fest’s Website

Fantaspoa Film Festival

14th – 30th May, 2020

Considered to be the biggest fantastic film festival in Latin America, Fantaspoa is an ever growing, competitive, summer film festival in Brazil for the genre film lover.

Visit Fantaspoa’s Website

Fantastisk Film Festival

27th September – 5th October, 2019

This competitive film festival shows numerous fantasy, horror, and sci-fi features and shorts at their event in Lund, Sweden.

Visit Fantastisk’s Website

Festival Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre

21st November – 1st December, 2019

Also known as the “Red Blood” festival, Rojo Sangre is the only festival focused on fantastic, horror, and bizarre films in Argentina. It serves as an exhibition for independent and low budget films and includes competitions for both shorts and features.

Visit Rojo Sangre’s Website

Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival – NIFFF

3rd – 11th July, 2020

NIFFF is a renowned genre film festival held in Switzerland centered on fantastic cinema, Asian cinema, and digital images. The films range from those made by well-known directors to completely unknown and offers five different competitions.

Visit NIFFF’s Website

New York Asian Film Festival – NYAFF

3rd – 4th May, 2019

This festival focuses on contemporary premieres and classic titles from Eastern and Southeast Asia, primarily in the genres of horror, gangster/crime, martial arts, and action.

Visit NYAFF’s Website

Ravenna Nightmare Film Festival

30th October – 3rd November, 2019

Ravenna Nightmare is considered the most important festival in Italy for horror and fantastic cinema. It includes the International Competition for Feature Films and the European Competition for Short Films, as well as numerous special events and Halloween parties over the course of a week.

Visit Ravenna’s Website

Telluride Horror Show

11th – 13th October, 2019

This is a three-day horror, fantasy, and sci-fi intense experience in Colorado for every genre fan. A host of features and shorts are screened in the historic Sheridan Opera House as well as the Nugget Theatre. This is a must for genre fans.

Visit Telluride Horror Show’s Website

Abertoir Horror Festival

19th – 24th November, 2019

Supported by the Film Agency for Wales, this Welsh festival promotes all things horror while remaining affordable. In order to support the continuation and growth of European fantastic cinema, Abertoir created the Golden Méliès Competition for Best European fantastic Film.

Visit Abertoir’s Website

Atlanta Horror Film Festival

12th – 14th September, 2019

Jam-packed with horror, experimental, sci-fi, dark-comedy, and gore, this festival is sure to be memorable. For three days, filmgoers will see the very best independent horror films from around the world at this celebration of independent cinema.

Visit Atlanta Horror Fest’s Website

Bilbao Fantasy Film Festival

2nd – 11th May, 2019

It’s a horror film festival for the die-hards and the casual fans. Bilbao screens films from all over the world and celebrates the horror genre by giving out awards in eleven different categories.

Visit Bilbao Fantasy Film Festival’s Website

Buried Alive Horror Film Festival

13th – 17th November, 2019

Atlanta is a hot place for the horror genre. Here’s another film festival that’s all about terrifying its audience. Atlanta’s premier horror film festival showcases the very best of independent horror both from new filmmakers and longtime underground favorites.

Visit Buried Alive’s Website

Dead by Dawn

18th – 21st April, 2019

Dead by Dawn is a weekend of nighttime movie madness held in Edinburgh. Screenings start after noon and run right through to the early morning hours for four consecutive days. What better time is there to watch a horror movie than around the 3am witching hour?  This Scottish film festival also awards three prizes that that audience can vote for.

Visit Dead by Dawn’s Website

Dragon Con Independent Film Festival

3rd – 7th September, 2020

This Atlanta festival consists of four days packed with screenings, panels, celebrity guests, discussions, concerts, contests, and seminars. It’s a great event for fans of everything from horror to comics, and with an average of 35,000+ attendees, it’s perfect for networking.

Visit Dragon Con’s Website

Grimm Up North Int. Horror Festival

3rd – 6th October, 2019

This isn’t any ordinary horror and fantasy film festival. Grim Up North (held in Manchester) aims to transcend and bend genre expectations to challenge and shock their audiences. This festival explores the many dark and edgier aspects of cinema and is a must for any serious horror fan.

Visit Grimmfest’s Website

Freak Show Horror Film Festival

25th – 27th October, 2019

Celebrate the art of independent horror at this international film festival in Orlando, where filmmakers compete for awards in nine different categories. As a part of Spooky Empire’s Ultimate Horror Weekend, thousands of horror fans from around the world, are drawn to the area for celebrities, bands, tattooing, parties and more. It’s a fun filled weekend of horror!

Visit Freak Show Film Fest’s Website

Horrible Imaginings Film Festival

28th – 30th August, 2019

San Diego’s celebration of horror and its sub-genres, is still new to the festival community.  This showcase of independent artists and revival of classic horror films, launched with great success in November of 2010 is expected to continue growing.

Visit Horrible Imaginings Website

Killer Film Fest

1-2 November, 2019

Who says Halloween fun has to end in October? This Somerville Horror Film Festival is already off to an exciting start with numerous horror films and their very own Zombie Pub Crawl!

More about Killer Film Fest

Leeds International Film Festival – LIFF

6th – 21st November, 2019

The largest film festival in England outside London shows over 200 films from around the world. This festival also hosts the Night of the Dead, an all night scare-a-thon that kicks off at midnight.

Visit LIFF’s Website

Motelx- Lisbon International Horror Film Festival

10th – 15th September, 2019

Motelx is all about new: new auteurs, new films, new looks, and new experiences. Screenings include films that have received enthusiastic reactions around the world in recent years in every possible branch of the horror genre and recently joined the European Fantastic Film Festival Federation.

Visit Motelx Website

New York City Horror Film Festival

5th – 8th December, 2019

The NYCHFF shows old and new at this film festival full of screenings, parties, celebrity guests, and free giveaways. It’s a competitive festival that gives out awards in nine categories.

Visit NYC Horror Fest’s Website

Raindance Film Festival

18th – 29th September, 2019

Long associated with some of Europe’s most horrific debuts like Blair Witch Project, The Audition and A Serbian Movie, Raindance was also the first western film festival to premiere Japanese films with movies from masters such as Hitashi Miike and Hideo Nagasaki. Raindance’s programmers and their selection of horror and fantasy films has become an important launchpad for horror and fantasy films from around the world.

Sacramento Horror Film Festival

21st September, 2019

This festival screens more films over fewer days than any other horror film festival. This includes everything and anything horror. From features to trailers and music videos, if it’s in the genre and it’s good this festival will screen it. And let’s not forget the inclusion of live music, performance art, interactive games, costume contests, and comedy.

Visit Sacramento Horror’s Website


26th – 29th September, 2019

An international festival and screenplay competition, this eleven year-old festival is dedicated to helping horror filmmakers and screenwriters get recognized.

Visit Shriekfest’s Website

Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival

7th – 10th March, 2020

This Japanese competitive film festival screens a number of international films by up-and-coming directors.

Visit Yubari’s Website

Women in Horror Film Festival

27th – 29th February, 2020

Founded in 2016 and taking place in Atlanta, George, the Women in Horror Film Festival is dedicated to celebrating the contribution of women in genre film.

Visit WIHFF Website

Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival

13th – 22nd September, 2019

The Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival is a huge event committed to showcasing fantastic films. It showcases thrillers, film noirs, dark comedies and even has video games and virtual reality. In addition to great films, the festivities include master classes, museum events, conferences, workshops, exhibits, a zombie walk, and an activities village.

Visit SEFFF Website

Irish Film Institute Horrorthon

24th – 28th October, 2019

The IFI Horrorthon is Ireland’s biggest celebration of the horror genre. The IFI is a great place to celebrate Ireland, Irish filmmaking, and independent and international cinema.

Visit IFI Website



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