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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
7th – 10th March, 2020
This Japanese competitive film festival screens a number of international films by up-and-coming directors.
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.
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.
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.