New York is a film lover’s town, for sure. Any day of the week you can head out to any type of theater and see any type of movie, from tiny screens showing oldies to veritable stadiums featuring Hollywood’s latest blockbuster. With so many choices, sometimes you need someone else to make the decisions for you. Enter the film festival, highly curated and masterfully organized. Here’s, our favorite film festivals this spring in NYC. By Jessica Allen.
New Directors / New Films
New York, NY
Over the years we’ve seen some pretty amazing stuff at New Directors/New Films, including a vampire movie set in an Iranian ghost town and a documentary about a taxi driver in Yemen who once worked as Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard. At the 46th edition of this festival, a joint endeavor between the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, you can see equally fine films by emerging filmmakers from around the world. Wednesday, March 15, through Sunday, March 26, see schedule for details, tickets required.
Tribeca Film Festival
New York, NY
Confronted with the horror of 9/11, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff created the Tribeca Film Festival to help revitalize Lower Manhattan in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. Today, it’s one of the city’s leading film festivals, and a highlight of spring. The movies tend to be a little more mainstream than some of the other festivals on this list, which means you’ve got an excellent shot of seeing lots of A-listers walk the red carpet and stay for post-screening Q&As. Wednesday, April 19, through Sunday, April 30, see schedule for details, tickets required.
NYC Independent Film Festival
New York, NY
The NYC Independent Film Festival shines a spotlight on—you guessed it—independent cinema. During the eighth edition of the festival, you can catch animation, shorts, features, documentaries, and music videos. When you’re not busy gaping at the big screen, you can attend seminars and classes, learn from a panel, and participate in a discussion group with fellow fans and aspiring filmmakers. Tuesday, May 2, through Sunday, May 7, see schedule for details, tickets required.
Brooklyn Film Festival
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Among the goals of the annual Brooklyn Film Festival are “to draw worldwide attention to Brooklyn as a center for cinema” and “to promote artistic excellence and the creative freedom of artists without censure.” Each year, some 100 feature-length narratives, documentaries and shorts are shown — and there’s also a related KidsFilmFest. If you’re a director or actor with something to say about the city’s coolest borough, submit your work for consideration. Friday, June 2, through Sunday, June 11, see schedule for details, tickets required.
Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10003
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CineKink’s tagline is “the kinky film festival,” which should give you a very good, rather NSFW idea of the kinds of movies being screened. This year, the festival’s 14th, you’ll be able to check out a range of videos and movies designed to “celebrate and explore a wide diversity of sexuality.” The audience choice award lets you vote on your favorite, and there will be related after-parties as well as an adult entertainment showcase. Tuesday, March 14, through Sunday, March 19, see schedule for details, tickets required.
Jessica Allen is a New York-based writer.