Just how many film festivals grace the Bay Area over a year?
At the beginning of 2016, I decided to find out. Every time a new festival opened in the Bay Area, I added it to a list. And now that it’s clear that we’re not going to see any other film festivals this year, I have the number: 57.
That’s a little more than an average of one festival a week. Of course, some weeks had no festivals. But some had as many as six.
But how do you define a film festival? The word Festival in the title doesn’t quite do it. Over May and June, the Pacific Film Archive ran a series called the UCLA Festival of Preservation 2016 that screened ten features over the course of seven weeks. That’s just a series (although a good one).
On the other hand, the (Not Just) Hong Kong Action Film Series didn’t call itself a festival, and ran mostly just on weekends. But each weekend provided almost as many movies as the PFA’s UCLA “Festival.” So this “Series” is really a festival in my book.
That became my primary criteria for a film festival: It had to offer a lot of cinema over a short time. Five features a month didn’t qualify. 15 over a week – or seven over a weekend – did.
That’s not entirely objective, of course. There may have been series that I should have called festivals and festivals that I should have called series.
I had one other criteria: A festival had to have a website, or at least a webpage. I had to link to something.
Here are the 57 film festivals I listed. I don’t know if all the links are still good.
- For Your Consideration
- SF Sketchfest
- Berlin & Beyond
- Noir City
- Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival
- SF IndieFest
- Mostly British Film Festival
- Trains on Film
- Albany Film Festival
- Sonoma International Film Festival
- Food + Farm Film Festival
- Oakland International Film Festival
- USF Human Rights Film Festival
- Tiburon Inernational Film Festival
- Green Film Festival
- San Francisco International Film Festival
- Auteur, Author: Film & Literature
- San Francisco Silent Film Festival
- Charlie Chaplin Days
- Black Film Festival
- Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival
- (Not Just) Hong Kong Action Film Series
- Frozen Film Festival
- San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
- Women Sports Film Festival
- Japan Film Festival
- Hola Mexico Film Festival
- Alfred Hitchcock Weekends
- California Independent Film Festival
- CM SF Latino Film Festival
- Anna Magnani – a Film Series
- Hong Kong Cinema
- Iranian Film Festival
- Samuel Fuller: A Fuller Life
- Mill Valley Film Festival
- Modern Cinema
- Arab Film Festival
- San Francisco Dance Film Festival
- Katharine Hepburn Weekend
- Another Hole in the Head Film Festival
- FACINE: Filipino International Cine Festival
- Superfest: International Disability Film Festival
- United Nations Association Film Festival
- Petaluma Film Festival
- Doc Stories
- Horrific Women–Female Directors Killin’ It
- 3rd i South Asian Film Festival
- New Italian Cinema
- SF Urban Film Fest
- A Day of Silents
- Lavine On The Lam