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Best Film Festival: Ann Arbor wins

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Ann Arbor Film Festival voted best in North America

Move over Cannes! The film festival circuit in North America is packed with fantastic events, from heavy hitters like Sundance to up-and-comers screening tomorrow's biggest names in cinema. Our panel of event experts have narrowed down the list of North American film festivals to the top 20, and for the last four weeks our readers have been voting for their favorites. 

  • Ann Arbor Film Festival
    Ann Arbor, Mich.

    The Ann Arbor Film Festival, one of a handful of Academy Award-qualifying festivals in the country, got its start showcasing 16mm films. The program has since expanded to include more than 100 screenings in juried competitions, as well as panel discussions, gallery installations and filmmaker retrospectives.
    Photo courtesy of Blacklisted / Flickr

  • Atlanta Film Festival
    Atlanta

    The 10-day Atlanta Film Festival highlights a diverse lineup of creative media, including virtual reality films, episodic content and music videos, alongside more traditional offerings. The 2018 installment included 58 feature films and 150 shorts from 56 different countries. It’s also an Academy Award-qualifying festival.
    Photo courtesy of Lee Coursey / Flickr

  • Chicago International Film Festival
    Chicago

    Started in 1964, the Chicago International Film Festival highlights the best in international cinema. Festival attendees have a good chance of meeting the directors, producers, writers and actors face to face, as more than half of all screenings each year include discussion sessions.
    Photo courtesy of Timothy M Schmidt / Chicago International Film Festival

  • American Black Film Festival
    Miami

    The American Black Film Festival seeks to empower black artists by showcasing film and television content both created by and about people of African descent. Many big name actors and films premiered at the annual event, including Halle Berry (Monsters Ball), Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), Kevin Hart (Night School) and Omari Hardwick (Power).
    Photo courtesy of Ryan Coogler / American Black Film Festival

  • Toronto International Film Festival
    Toronto

    The Toronto International Film Festival, or TIFF for short, has a little bit of everything in its offering of hundreds of films. It’s one of the largest publicly attended film festivals on the planet, attracting nearly half a million people each year, and it’s among the best in North America for attracting celebrity guests.
    Photo courtesy of Geoff Robins / AFP

  • Chelsea Film Festival
    New York

    The Chelsea Film Festival highlights a range of feature-length films and documentaries focused on the theme of “Global Issues.” Emerging filmmakers, producers and actors get to showcase their talents over the course of four days of events, including Q&A sessions, panel discussions and industry mixers.
    Photo courtesy of VBPR for Chelsea Film Festival

  • Seattle International Film Festival
    Seattle

    The Seattle International Film Festival, or SIFF for short, is the biggest and one of the longest in the nation. Founded in 1976 in Seattle, it draws more than 150,000 attendees every year and lasts for 25 days. The programming aims for diversity, spanning more than 80 countries. Attendees who stay the length of the festival can catch upwards of 450 films. SIFF is known for having premiered highly acclaimed films, from Braveheart to Return of the Jedi to Poltergeist
    Photo courtesy of Seattle International Film Festival

  • Sonoma International Film Festival
    Sonoma, Calif.

    The Sonoma International Film Festival, now in its 22nd year, screens more than 90 juried films, ranging from feature lengths and documentaries to short films and international cinema. All venues are within walking distance of Sonoma’s historic plaza in the heart of California wine country.
    Photo courtesy of Steve Parker / Flickr

  • True/False Film Fest
    Columbia, Mo.

    The True/False Film Fest takes place the first weekend of March each year and highlights emerging forms of nonfiction cinema accompanied by the ecstatic spirit of live music and immersive art installations. The festival kicked off in 2003 with the intention of celebrating the new wave of documentaries that were hitting the screen at the time. Today it’s known for bringing together the best & brightest nonfiction films from around the world, and it continues to grow, now drawing more than 50,000 attendees every year. Films screened here are diverse and challenge the audience to think critically.
    Photo courtesy of True/False Film Fest

  • Tribeca Film Festival
    New York

    New York City is known for the Tribeca Film Festival, which has taken place every spring since 2002. But this Lower Manhattan event is more than just movies. Families enjoy the street fair, panels are free for working and aspiring filmmakers and there’s even a related sports film fest. Since its inception, the main festival has screened more than 1,400 films from around the world to some 4 million attendees. Did we mention the festival was co-founded by Robert De Niro?
    Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

The top 10 winners in the category Best Film Festival are as follows:

  1. Ann Arbor Film Festival - Ann Arbor, Mich.
  2. Atlanta Film Festival - Atlanta
  3. Chicago International Film Festival - Chicago
  4. American Black Film Festival - Miami
  5. Toronto International Film Festival - Toronto
  6. Chelsea Film Festival - New York
  7. Seattle International Film Festival - Seattle
  8. Sonoma International Film Festival - Sonoma, Calif.
  9. True/False Film Fest - Columbia, Mo.
  10. Tribeca Film Festival - New York

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning festivals!

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