Boston Film Festival Guide

Where to Find Boston Film Festivals 

Boston Film Festival - Bogart Mural in Casablanca Restaurant in Cambridge
Famous movie scene mural at the former Casablanca Restaurant

Use this Boston Film Festival Guide to find more than a dozen annual film festivals held in Boston throughout the year, plus the most convenient hotels if you're visiting from out of town. 

If you're really addicted to movies, check out our list of excellent film schools in Boston where you can learn to make your own. 

Some of these Boston film festivals attract large crowds and boast an international reputation, such as the Boston Underground Film Festival, the Boston Film Festival, and the Boston International Film Festival.  Others draw smaller numbers of equally enthusiastic fans. 

Most film festivals in Boston allow you to buy single tickets, or choose passes or packages good for multiple days and events.  Even bigger savings may be available through Goldstar.

Festival venues include regular Boston movie theaters, colleges and universities, Boston museums, and even the grassy expanse of the Boston Esplanade.  Most of these film festivals include additional events such as panel discussions, workshops, and social events.


Boston Film Festivals in February

Russian Short Film Festival

Only 1 day (after all, the films are short!) of Russian Films

  • Venue:  Modern Theatre at Suffolk University, 525 Washington St, Boston
  • Hotels near the Modern Theatre in Boston:  Theatre District Hotels

Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival

10 days of sci-fi movies and videos, including "The 'Thon"

  • Venue:  Somerville Theatre, Davis Square, Somerville (short walk from Cambridge or go to the Davis T stop on the Red Line of Boston's subway)
  • Hotels near the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival - None - but you'll find plenty of choices 3 minutes away (by T) near the Harvard Square T stop - check out hotels near Harvard Square

Bugs Bunny Film Festival

9 days of Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes, usually overlapping with winter school vacation week . . . doesn't get better than this!

  • Venue:  Brattle Theatre, Harvard Square, Cambirdge (Red Line/Harvard)

Cambridge hotels near the Boston Sci-Fi & Bugs Bunny Film Festival


Boston Film Festivals in March

Boston Underground Film Festival

8 days of experimental films, indie films, alternative vision films

Boston Irish Film Festival

4 days of Irish cinema

  • Venue:  Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave, Boston's Fenway neighborhood
  • Where to stay nearby:
Colonnade Hotel near Museum of Fine Arts in Boston Inn at St Botolphs in Boston near Museum of Fine Arts Copley Square Hotel in Boston Lenox Hotel near Museum of Fine Arts in Boston's Back Bay


Boston Film Festivals in April

Loews Theater on Boston Common, site of Boston International Film FestivalBoston International Film Festival

10-day festival screening the best local and international experimental and independent films.

Independent Film Festival of Boston

This 8-day film festival features indie films from around the world, plus lots of panels and parties, and attracts art house fans from Boston as well as across the U.S.

  • Venues:  Somerville Theatre, Davis Square, Somerville (Red Line/Davis Station on the T, Boston's subway - only about 2 minutes from Harvard Square, Cambridge); Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline; Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square, Cambridge
  • Where to stay:   Hotels near Harvard Square

Boston Running Film Festival

The new Boston Running Film Festival takes place on Patriots Day Weekend before the Boston Marathon and features films about running.  

  • Venue:  Hynes Auditorium
  • Where to stay:  Boston Marathon Hotels (note: all hotels near the Marathon fill up this weekend - so you need to plan far in advance)

Check the Event Calendar for April for exact dates and times for the Boston International Film Festival, the Independent Film Festival, and the Running Film Festival


Go on a Boston Movie Tour

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Boston Film Festivals in May

Boston LGBT Film Festival at the MFA

Almost 2 weeks long, the LGBT Film Festival screens a wide selection of LGBT movies and videos from around the world.


Boston Film Festivals in June

Free Friday Flicks at the Esplanade

Family classics every Friday under the stars on Boston's Esplanade - June - August.

Boston Hotels near the Esplanade

Liberty Hotel near Boston's Esplanade Taj Hotel Boston Beacon Hill Hotel in Boston Charlesmark Hotel in Boston's Back Bay area

More hotels in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood

Roxbury International Film Festivals

This 4-day film festival features films written, acted, produced, and directed by filmmakers from around the world with African roots.

  • Venue:  Museum of Fine Arts, Massachusetts College of Art, Wentworth Institute, Northeastern University, Roxbury Center for the Arts, Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline


Boston Film Festivals in July

Magic 106.7 Film Festival

Family favorites every Saturday during July and August

  • Venue:  Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave, Boston's Fenway neighborhood

Annual Boston French Film Festival

Spanning 2 weeks, this annual film festival showcases contemporary French films.

  • Venue:  Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave, Boston's Fenway neighborhood

Best area to stay for all of the July Film Festivals:  Hotels near the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston


Find out how to get discounts of 50% or more for Boston Film Festivals


Boston Film Festivals in September

Films at the Gate

Free Chinese Film Festival in Chinatown.

  • Venue:  Rose Kennedy Greenway, next to the the Chinatown Gate to Essex Street
  • Where to stay:

Top Choices for Boston Chinatown hotels

Ritz Carlton Boston Common

W Hotel Boston Hyatt Regency Boston Courtyard Tremont Hotel in Boston's Chinatown neighborhood


Boston Film Festivals in October

Boston Film Festival

Highly regarded among actors, filmmakers, and film enthusiasts - world premiers, plus lots of question and answer sessions, discussions, and receptions.


Boston Film Festivals in November

Boston Latino International Film Festival

Four exciting days of dozens of international Latino films, receptions, and special events, along with the participation of 15 well-known local, national, and international directors.  

  • Venue:  David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University in Cambridge (1730 Cambridge Street), and other screening venues near Harvard
  • Where to stay:   Hotels near Harvard Square

Boston Jewish Film Festival

The best in Jewish-themed films - typically features 30+ films and shorts..


How to Get Discounts for Boston Film Festivals

- See if the film festival offers blocks of tickets or package deals - always cheaper than buying single tickets!

- If you're a student, check the film festival's website for student discount prices - ditto if you qualify for senior savings.

- Most film festivals have a sponsoring organization; join it, and you'll usually get a discount on film festival tickets, plus you'll have the pleasure of supporting a group related to your interests.


Top Film Schools in Boston

Hooked on films and want to make your own? 

Because of our 60+ universities and colleges in Boston, we have some of the best film schools and programs in the United States. 

If you are planning a film making career and want to get a head start, find out how these top Boston film schools and programs can help you in your profession.

Emerson College Film and Video Programs

Widely regarded as one of the best film schools in America and internationally famous for its communications, media, journalism, and broadcast programs, Emerson College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in film and video in its Visual and Media Arts Department.  Study with top faculty and future stars, use Emerson's state-of-the-art equipment, network with Emerson College alumni in the entertainment industry.  More about Emerson College

Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging Arts

Boston University's film school, Center for Digital Imaging Arts in Waltham Massachusetts (and Washington DC), offers a certificate program in Digital Filmmaking taught by professionals in the field.  Full-time and part-time formats focus on pre-production, production, and post-production to give you career-oriented training.  More about BU's Center for Digital Imaging Arts

New York Film Academy's Film Workshops at Harvard University

New York Film Academy holds summer workshops on the Harvard University campus each summer in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just across the Charles River from Boston.  The full-time workshops include classes and film-making opportunities throughout the Boston and Cambridge area.  More about the New York Film Academy

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Massachusetts College of Art and Design - known locally as "MassArt" - offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in film and video taught by top-notch faculty, and provides a wide array of equipment for students to use.  MassArt's film/video program features weekly screenings of an eclectic mix of films and videos, and usually an opportunity for discussion with the filmmaker.   More about MassArt


Making Your Own Film?

Boston has its share of famous film makers and screenwriters who got their start in local venues - including some interesting beginnings:  Mark Walhberg (rapped under the name "Marky Mark," modeled Calvin Klein underwear on giant billboards displayed all over Boston), Matt Damon (started acting while attending Cambridge Rindge and Latin), and Tommy Lee Jones (star football player at Harvard). 

If you're planning to make your own films some day, check out these sources for film grants as a way to speed your journey.

Be sure to let us know when your film will be in a Boston film festival!



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