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Best Upcoming Film Festivals In Los Angeles

(credit: AFI)

When you live in Los Angeles, there are a ton of benefits for film buffs. As the movie capital of the world, film festivals are one of the best perks. So, get out your popcorn, because here are the top film festivals LA has to offer.

cbs film fest LA film fest
(credit: LA Film Fest)

LA Film Festival
Los Angeles Film Festival
Film Independent Office
9911 W. Pico Blvd. 11th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Dates: June 1-9, 2016

This annual platform for independent films and filmmaker-driven titles from major studios is changing venues this year from the DTLA Regal Cinemas to the Arclight Theaters in Culver City and Hollywood. This is the Big Kahuna of film festivals in LA, with star-studded premieres and many celebrity driven Q&A sessions, a music video section, shorts, master classes, and coffee talks which offer intimate discussions with filmmakers and stars. Produced by Film Independent, which also runs the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the Los Angeles Film Festival often includes some film selections screened at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah and SXSW in Austin, Texas. This is a big name festival with multiple screenings every day, and LA's answer to Sundance.

Dances with Film Festival
(credit: Jack Burke/

Dances with Films
The Lot
1041 N. Formosa Ave., Ste 217
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 854-8176
Dates: June 2 - 12, 2016

Now entering its 19th year, Dances With Films is the opposite of a celebrity scene, featuring independent cinema that focuses on talent, creativity, and rule-defying choices. Held at the TCL Chinese multi-plex theaters on Hollywood Boulevard, from ultra low-budget to soon-to-be- theatrical-releases, there is always something exciting and different on screen here. The festival has grown from showing only a handful of films to over 100 films ranging from narrative features and shorts to documentaries and music videos. The fest is self-described as a competition where insider connections don't matter, only the quality of submitted films. This a serious and inclusive film festival with an appreciative audience and cutting-edge selections.

cbs film sundance next
(credit: Sundance)

Sundance Next Fest
Sundance Institute
5900 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Dates: August, 2016

Can't make it to Park City this year? That's ok because the 3rd annual Sundance Next Fest brings selections from Sundance's renowned breakthrough section, Next, to screen in DTLA at the Ace Hotel Theater and at Cinespia's Hollywood Forever. Edgy, provocative films are the norm of those picked to travel to Los Angeles. In 2015, the festival included six selections plus live musical performances over a four-day period.

CBS film fest AFI
(credit: AFI)

AFI Fest
American Film Institute
2021 North Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(866) 234-3378
Dates: November, 2016

AFI Fest may offer the penultimate perk to LA-area film fest fans: it's free. Screening at the TCL Chinese and the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, the American Film Institute's annual event includes ample international cinema as well as U.S. releases. Obscure material never seen elsewhere, red carpet premieres and galas, classic films are all a part of the festival which launched as Filmex in 1971.

CBS film fest tcm
(credit: TCM)

TCM Classics Film Festival
TCL Chinese & Egyptian Theatres
(877) 826-5764
Dates: April 28 - May 1, 2016

Now entering its 8th year and featuring the theme of "Moving Pictures," which refers to films that deeply touch viewers, TCM Classics also takes place at the TCL Chinese and the Egyptian Theaters in Hollywood. Filmgoers experience classics on the big screen, preceded by introductions to the films. This is the place in LA to see film classics as they were meant to be seen. The festival draws global fans of significant films from the past as well.

CBS film fest screamfest
(credit: Yelp/Rachel B.)

8840 Wilshire Blvd. 3rd floor
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(310) 358-3273
Dates: October 2016

For all things horror, Screamfest, held before Halloween at the TCL Chinese, is the spot. Screamfest Horror Film Festival runs for ten days in October, and is the largest and longest running horror film festival in the U.S., dubbed the "Sundance of Horror." This is where future-blockbuster Paranormal Activity was discovered and premiered in 2007. New this year: a "dark arts" art display, including live painting.

Sunset Film Festival)
(credit: Sunset Film Festival)

Sunset Film Festival
21550 Burbank Blvd,
Los Angeles CA 91367
(818) 415-0250
Dates: May 21 - 22, 2016

Giving films and filmmakers the "chance to be noticed" is the top criteria for the Sunset Film Festival, which allows submission of everything from feature films to web series' episodes. Independently produced? Those films are welcome too!

Genie Davis is a multi-published journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. She lives near the beach in Los Angeles. See more on: CBSLA | | | | Twitter.
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