"There are more film festivals in Buffalo now than any time in the area’s history, and that’s a great thing for lovers of cinema. The most purely fun of these movie extravaganzas? It’s undoubtedly the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival, which offers action, animation, comedy, fantasy, horror, thriller and science fiction features and shorts from around the world." - The Buffalo News
“This is one of the very few festivals I would travel to attend even without a project involved. It is always incredible.” Skip Shea, filmmaker and Shawna Shea Film Festival Director
"Buffalo Dreams is a well oiled machine of blatant awesomeness, due completely to the fierce dedication of its showrunners, Gregory Lamberson and Chris Scioli. These two work tirelessly to program one intense and well rounded festival, and perhaps what’s more impressive is the fact that they still remain completely approachable throughout. They do all the greeting, introductions, and personally hand out passes and talk to fans and festival goers." - Bro Knows Movies
Welcome to the tenth anniversary of Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival! For nine years, filmmaker Gregory Lamberson (Slime City, Guns of Eden) and Chris Scioli have brought the greatest independent genre films from around the world to Western New York: action, animation, comedy, fantasy, horror, science fiction and thriller. Buffalo Dreams has become a destination event for creators of fantastic cinema everywhere.
In 2022, Buffalo Dreams screened 20 features and 40 shorts – the best of the best. In terms of features, we hosted eight World Premieres, two Festival Premieres, seven New York Premieres, and three Western New York Premieres. Buffalo Dreams is one of the most eclectic festivals in the Eastern United States, and for Year 10 we plan to pull out all the stops!
We crave films that are smart, innovative, and push the envelope, regardless of genre. It’s cliché to say we want originality, but that’s the fact, Jack. We love films that don’t necessarily fit into one easy genre classification. We also love westerns and musicals. We want cool movies that stimulate the imagination.
We screen at a venue with a large screen, excellent sound, comfortable seats, and convenient parking. We only show one film at a time, on one screen, with no counter-programming, so attendees don’t have to choose between films. Providing a first-rate theatrical experience is one of our primary goals. We look for that same commitment to quality in the films we select.
We provide two free passes good for the entire festival to every official selection. We do not require world premiere status, but we do require Western New York premiere status for features; local filmmakers should schedule their cast and crew screening after their festival premiere if they want to participate. We do not screen films already available to the public, whether on YouTube, Vimeo or through a distributor. We will show Micro Shorts that have previously screened as part of the 48 Hour Film Project, as long as they are not available online.
We conduct Q&A sessions for attending feature filmmakers and are known for our lively and informative discussions. We cannot offer a Q&A for every short film we screen, but often invite attending filmmakers to introduce their short films. We only hold in-person screenings. Even at the height of the pandemic, we did not offer an online alternative. Likewise, we only hold in-person Q&As.
We separate films according to region: Western New York, U.S. and Canada, and International. We show Micro Shorts, Shorts, Medium Length Films, and Features. We reserve the right to combine categories for awards purposes, and often do.
We do not have a documentary category. Filmmakers may submit documentaries according to length and region, but we advise only submitting if your film is related in some way to fantastic cinema, or if they hold special local interest.
We usually run for seven days and present our Dreamer Awards in person during the festival, usually on a Sunday. We issue awards to celebrate excellence, but our primary focus is showing filmmakers’ work on a large screen. Our awards presentation is casual and fun, just like our whole event: we don’t pretend to be Sundance.
We go out of our way to welcome visiting filmmakers, and love pointing them to restaurants, the best wings, Beef-on-weck (your life will never be the same), etc. Summer is now our permanent slot, so visitors can enjoy Niagara Falls.
We do not pay screening fees. We do not pay for filmmakers’ transportation, lodging, or other expenses. WE DO NOT OFFER WAIVERS.
Our venue is equipped to exhibit DCP files. If you wish your feature to screen from a DCP, you must provide the DCP on an external hard drive, at your own expense. We will not download DCP files, and neither will our venue. We accept .MOV or MP4 h264 files only. For all films other than features, we will only accept .MOV and MP4 h264 files.
We offer the following awards as plaques or trophies:
Best of the Fest
Outstanding International Feature
Off Beat Cinema Award
Michael O’Hear Award for Outstanding WNY Film
Outstanding Animated Film (short or feature)
Outstanding Medium Length Film
Outstanding Short (US & Canada)
Outstanding International Short
Outstanding Western New York Short
Outstanding Unproduced Screenplay
Additional awards may be issued as certificates.
We no longer cover shipping fees for awards.
1. Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival accepts Feature, Short Feature, Short Films, and Super Shorts in the following genres: Action, Animation, Comedy, Documentary, Family, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction and Thriller. "Action" includes martial arts, war, police, crime drama, western, etc., and "Thriller" includes mystery and suspense.
2. We have US and Canada, International and Regional ("Western New York") divisions.
3. We only accept online screeners.
4. Non-English language films must be dubbed or subtitled in English.
5. Exhibition copies must be MP4 h264 or .MOV files for screening. If you have a DCP professionally made and ship it to our venue, we will pay for the return shipping of that professionally made DCP. We do not download DCP files or Blu-ray files. Do not send us uncompressed files.
6. This festival is not liable for any damage or loss suffered during shipping, previewing, or screening.
7. Your digital signature on the entry form authorizes us to use excerpts from your film for marketing purposes on television, in advertising, promotional items and/or news and other programs.
8. If your film is selected for screening at the festival, you will be asked to immediately forward: stills, a poster image, and an online trailer. We do not require one sheets, posters or press kits, but postcards for features are helpful in our marketing.
9. If your film is selected for screening, you grant Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival the right to show the film one more time outside the festival, in a "Best of Buffalo Dreams" program at a Buffalo area venue.
10. Acceptances: upon receiving an acceptance notification via FilmFreeway, filmmakers will have one week to return a screening agreement to the festival, and two weeks to provide us with an MP4 h264 or MP4 file. Any films for which we have not received a screening agreement and an acceptable screening file within two weeks of notification will be withdrawn from the festival and a substitute will be announced.
11. We do not offer submission fee waivers.
12. Entrants are responsible for obtaining any necessary licenses, royalties, release forms, clearances, permits necessary to present their work. Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival is not responsible for any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, or royalty infringement related to the work.
13. This festival reserves the right to make any necessary changes in festival scheduling. All submitting filmmakers will be notified of any regulation or date changes that affect them. Any changes to regulations after a submitter has already submitted will not apply to them.
14. Submitters to Buffalo Dreams will receive two free passes for the entire festival, regardless of acceptance for screening.
15. The creative team for each selected feature film will receive an additional two free passes good for the entire festival, for a total of four free passes.
Legal: I, an authorized representative of the project being submitted (the "Film"), acknowledge and agree as follows in connection with the Film's submittal for consideration for the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival (the “Festival”): I am duly authorized, on my own behalf and on behalf of all other persons or entities who have any ownership rights or interests to exhibit this Film at the Festival, (b) exhibition of the Film at the Festival will not violate any law or any right or consent of any person or entity; and (c) the Film is not subject to any litigation, arbitration, or other adversarial claim or proceeding, nor is the Film the subject of any threat of litigation, arbitration, or other adverse claim or proceeding. I further represent and warrant, on behalf of myself and the Film’s Owners, that the exhibition of the Film at the Festival will not violate or infringe any copyright, patent, privacy right, publicity right, trademark, service mark or any other personal or property right of any person or entity, and that the Film does not constitute or include a defamation of any person or entity. I have paid and will pay in full all license fees, clearance fees, and other obligations, of any kind, arising from or associated with the exhibition of the Film at or in connection with the Festival. I warrant and agree, on behalf of myself and each of the Film’s Owners, that the Film is being submitted to the Festival voluntarily and without promise or inducement, and that the submission of the Film neither imposes nor creates any obligation or responsibility on the part of the Festival to accept the Film for the Festival, to exhibit the Film at the Festival, or to return the Film to me or others. I further agree, on my own behalf and on behalf of the Film’s Owners, that I and the Film’s Owners, in submitting the Film for consideration, are waiving and relinquishing any right to assert any claim or commence any proceeding against the Festival, based upon, arising out of or otherwise relating to the submission, exhibition, or failure to exhibit the Film. In the event that the Film is accepted by the Festival, I hereby grant, on behalf of myself and each of the Film’s Owners, each of the following rights to the Festival without reservations, conditions or qualifications: (a) the right to use footage, stills and/or titles, and information from or relating to the Film for promotional purposes; and (b) the right to issue and authorize publicity concerning the filmmakers and the Film and to use all associated names, likenesses and biographical information. I also agree to provide contact information for the director and producer(s) of the Film and to grant the Festival the right to provide this information to film industry organizations sponsoring Festival events at its discretion. I represent that I am 18 years of age or older, or that, if I am younger than the legal age to enter into contracts in my state, I have provided the Festival with a written consent from my parent or legal guardian.