Best Film Festivals In September

By Jessia Allen

As the weather starts to turn chillier, New Yorkers joyfully head indoors to attend the awesome cultural events that begin post-Labor Day. We’re focusing on the best film festivals taking place this month, but of course there’s a slew of museum openings, gallery exhibitions and theatrical debuts. Enjoy!

Jane Campion’s Own Stories
Film Society of Lincoln Center
165 West 65th St.
New York, NY 10023
(212) 875-5600
www.filmlinc.org

You can count on the Film Society of Lincoln Center to put on incredibly programming year-round, including its annual Film Festival (see below). If you can’t wait until the end of the month, head over starting on September 8 for its Jane Campion’s Own Stories, a celebration of the work of this New Zealand-born director. The series marks the premiere of season 2 of Top of the Lake, a must-watch police procedural starring Elizabeth Moss. Campion will be on hand for Q&As following certain screenings. Friday, September 8, through Sunday, September 17, see schedule for details and ticket info.  

Coney Island Film Festival
Sideshows by the Seashore
1208 Surf Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11224
(718) 372-5159
www.coneyislandfilmfestival.com

The 17th annual Coney Island Film Festival benefits Coney Island USA, which preserves distinctly American phenomena like sideshows and vaudeville. The festival also promotes the power of film to educate in general and to promote South Brooklyn specifically. In keeping with this festival’s locale and roots, the films skew toward the wacky, the weird, and the carnivalesque. Among the 100+ films scheduled to screen are comedy shorts, docs, animation music videos, and horror. Friday, September 8, through Sunday, September 10, see schedule for details and ticket info.

Urbanworld Film Festival
Various venues
New York, NY
www.urbanworld.org

For more than 20 years, the Urbanworld Film Festival has sought to expand the definitions of both “urban” and “diversity” by showcasing a range of stories, themes, genres, and content creators. For five days this September, you can attend screenings, listen to panels, hear about the latest digital technology and its applications for creative types and marketers, be present at staged readings of screenplays, participate in Q&As, network, and dance at concerts and to DJs. Wednesday, September 20, through Sunday, September 24, see schedule for details and ticket info.

Viva! Latino Film Festival
DCTV
87 Lafayette St.
New York, NY 10013
(646) 484-4651
www.vlffi.com

One of the newer festivals on this list, the Viva! Latino Film Festival puts a spotlight on up-and-coming and established filmmakers from the United States, Mexico, and Latin America. (Films are mostly in English, but some may have subtitles.) We like this festival’s desire to show films that emphasize positivity and eschew stereotypes, as well as its willingness to screen web series and pilots, thereby broadening the scope of traditional film festivals. Thursday, September 21, through Sunday, September 24, see schedule for details and ticket info.

New York Film Festival
Lincoln Center
165 West 65th St.
New York, NY 10023
(212) 875-5631
www.filmlinc.org

No doubt the most prestigious festival in the city, if not perhaps the whole world, the New York Film Festival is where to go to see the biggest, boldest names in filmmaking. How big and how bold, you ask? Screening this year at NYFF is Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying, Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name (already generating tons of Oscar buzz), Susan Lacy’s Spielberg (a doc about the great director himself), and Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel. Thursday, September 28, through Sunday, October 15, see schedule for details and ticket info.

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