"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, drama, fantasy, horror, thriller and science fiction features and shorts from around the world." - The Buffalo News

"Whatever your tastes, this festival has something for you." - The Public

"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

“I wanted to take a moment to personally thank Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival for what was, in my opinion...our best screening yet!” – Lindsay Katt, The Avant-Gardener

The 2020 edition of Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival will be the eighth year this acclaimed international film festival screens the best independently produced Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Action, Experimental, and Animated films for Western New Yorkers. Over the last seven years, Buffalo Dreams has become a destination festival for some of the most talented independent filmmakers in the world, and we look forward to expanding our family. We have hosted world premieres, US premieres, New York premieres, and local premieres, but we do not have a “premiere” requirement – we just want to show the best films available to our loyal audience, and to celebrate the artists who created them.

In 2019, Buffalo Dreams screened over 100 films (25 features, 78 shorts) over seven days. In 2020, founders Gregory Lamberson and Chris Scioli intend to screen a minimum of 15 features and 45 shorts. Screenings occur all weekend long and on the following weekday evenings. The festival will run between five and seven days, depending on our programming choices.

Approximately 90% of the films selections for screening at Buffalo Dreams are from blind submissions. Buffalo Dreams will continue to host an Unproduced Screenplay competition (feature length only). An awards presentation will be held midway through the festival, on Sunday, August 30th.

Lamberson and Scioli pride themselves on hosting a filmmaker-friendly festival with strong communication, presentation, hospitality, and Q&As for feature filmmakers. Nothing makes us happier than to see attending filmmakers bonding and supporting each other.
Buffalo Dreams holds it screenings at the Dipson Theatres Eastern Hills Cinema, 12 minutes away from Buffalo-Niagara International Airport and less than half an hour away from Niagara Falls. The theatre has a large screen, excellent sound, comfortable rockers, and is located in a shopping mall on a commercial strip with numerous nearby hotel options. Our philosophy is to show films on a big screen, as they deserve to be seen, with no counter-programming, so attendees have the chance to see every film we offer.

Buffalo Dreams screens Micro-Shorts (7 mins or less), Short Films (8- 30 mins), Short Features (31 – 74 mins) and Features (75 mins and longer). The festival also runs an Unproduced Screenplay competition (feature length only).

This year we are doubling down on our Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Action, and Animation roots; we will only consider documentaries related to those primary genres, and will only consider family films that fall under those genres.

The festival’s programmers like bold, original, and edgy films that are well made. There is even a “WTF” category for the most outrageous films selected – films that surprise with their originality and unpredictability as much as they entertain. The festival does not accept pornography or “fan films” featuring copyrighted characters, and every film must feature original, copyrighted music.

Western New York filmmakers: Buffalo Dreams is committed to supporting the work of regional filmmakers. All locally produced films are eligible for consideration, in all genres, including Comedy, Drama and Documentary. However, we expect local filmmakers to participate in the festival itself, which offers incredible networking opportunities.

The entire Buffalo Dreams team looks forward to considering your excellent work for inclusion in what promises to be our best season yet.

Please read carefully:

Buffalo Dreams only accepts online submissions. Exhibition copies for features must include two formats: 1) physical media, such as a DCP, Blu-ray or DVD (US region only); and 2) a digital file for backup. Digital files must be MP4 / h264. We will not accept .mov files of any kind.

Exhibition copies of shorts and short features must be digital filesL MP4 /h264. Exhibition copies must be received no later than August 1st. Any film not received by that date may be withdrawn by the festival. Filmmakers are responsible for covering the cost of return shipping for physical exhibition copies.

By submitting your film to Buffalo Dreams, you grant to the festival the right to share your completed film with local film reviewers - for this purpose you may provide an additional watermarked version; to provide (for features) a trailer and poster image; and the right to feature your trailer and poster in advertisements and social media promotions. The festival directors cannot properly promote your feature without a trailer. Please read our guidelines before submitting your work.


We do not offer waivers. Because we rent a state of the art theater for the festival to screen all of our Official Selections on a big screen, we need to charge submission fees to cover those costs. Any request for a waiver will be ignored - with one exception: we sympathize with filmmakers who live in oppressed countries such as Iran, who are prohibited from submitting their work to U.S. film festivals. We believe artists who live in such countries deserve to have their work seen, and it is our responsibility as the directors of an international film festival to help make that happen, so we will grant waivers from filmmakers who live under these extremely difficult political circumstances. This is the only exception.

We do not require submitted films to have been completed within any specific time frame, as long as they are finished by the festival deadline.
We will only screen films which have not already been distributed. We do not mind if a film has a distribution deal in place, as long as it has not been released to the public at the time of the festival. We will not screen films that are available online. We will consider films that are in the rough cut stage, but encourage filmmakers to contact us first to discuss their film's status. In the event that a film is not completed in time to deliver a completed exhibition copy by the August 1st deadline, we reserve the right to screen the film the following year.

We do not insist on World Premiere status, we just want good films. We must insist on Buffalo-Niagara premiere status, though: there are just too many film festivals in the area to justify showing films that have already screened in Western New York.
We encourage out of town filmmakers to attend the festival, but there is absolutely no requirement or pressure to do so. We will arrange a discounted hotel on your behalf, but are unable to pay for visiting filmmakers' travel or lodging expenses.

We expect local filmmakers whose work we select to attend their screening, and we strongly recommend they participate in the festival, which provides excellent networking and learning opportunities. Filmmakers have traveled to Buffalo Dreams from Australia, the UK, Mexico and from all over the United States to screen their work. Local filmmakers need to step up their game and support other filmmakers whose work screens at the festival. We also expect local filmmakers to promote their screening to family and friends through social networking, which is the best way to ensure a successful screening.

We offer two free passes good for the entire festival to every film that is submitted, in the submitter's name, whether the film is selected or not. We offer two free passes good for the entire festival, in the submitter's name, to every short film selected for screening. The same courtesy is extended to Unproduced Screenplay Competition submitters. We offer four free passes good for the entire festival to filmmakers whose features are selected. Filmmaker passes are not mailed out, and must be picked up at the venue once the festival has started.

While we consider the categories of Comedy and Fantasy self explanatory, we offer the following additional comments for our other categories:

Action: For our purposes, this category also includes crime dramas, noir, westerns and war films. We love westerns! Audiences expect action films to be extremely well executed, with a level of professionalism not necessarily demanded of indie films in other genres.

Animation: We are actively seeking to increase our animation programming - cell animation, stop motion, and CG.

Documentary and Drama: Our primary venue caters to an art house audience, and we wish to appeal to that audience for our matinee screenings. Documentaries should engage our patrons on a human interest level. Dramas should be accessible to a general audience. For international dramas, we are looking for beautiful films that will transport our patrons to new locales and showcase different cultures.

Family: Our Buffalo Dreams Family Film Festival section includes children's films, family films, and films made by children and young student filmmakers.

Horror: Prior to launching Buffalo Dreams, Lamberson and Scioli collaborated on Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival. Horror still comprises a large portion of our programming (although this depends on the submissions we receive and could change any given year). We want the best horror films being made today, films which are original and daring, suggestive or in your face.

Science Fiction: We've screened excellent science fiction films the last few years, and see that as an area for growth.

Thriller: Suspense films of all types.

Unproduced Screenplay Competition: We accept unproduced, feature length screenplays in all genres. Our selection committee will narrow the list of submitted screenplays down to 10 semi-finalists, then five finalists, which will then be sent to a guest screenplay judge. The First Place winner will receive a plaque, and the Second and Third Place finishers will receive certificates.

Dreamer Awards: The festival will hold an awards presentation on Sunday, August 30th. Winners will receive plaques. All selected films are eligible for this award, not just features.

We look forward to experiencing your work!

This year, we intend to present plaques for the following categories:

Best of the Fest
Outstanding Feature
Outstanding International Feature.
Outstanding Micro-Budget Feature
Outstanding Off Beat Cinema Feature
Outstanding WTF Feature
Outstanding Western New York Feature
Outstanding Director
Outstanding Screenwriter
Outstanding Male Performance
Outstanding Female Performance
Outstanding Short Feature
Outstanding WNY Short Feature
Outstanding Short Film
Outstanding WNY Short Film
Outstanding Micro-Short
Outstanding WNY Micro-Short
Outstanding Animated Film
Outstanding WNY Animated Film
Outstanding Student Film
Outstanding WNY Student Film

We reserve the right to combine award categories based on the number of films we select in a given category. We also reserve the right not to issue an award in any category at our discretion.

1. Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival accepts Feature, Short Feature and Short Films in the following genres: Action, Animation, Comedy, Drama, Documentary, Family, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction and Thriller. "Action" includes martial arts, war, police, crime drama, western, etc., and "Thriller" includes mystery, suspense and crime drama.

2. We have North American, International and Regional ("Western New York") divisions.

3. We now accept only online screeners.

4. Non-English language films must be dubbed or subtitled in English.

5. Exhibition copies should be Region A Blu-rays or NTSC R1 DVDs. We also accept DCPs. Downloads are acceptable, even preferable. NOTE to short filmmakers: please do not send uncompressed files that are larger than most features! MP4s are desirable.

6. The packages for all foreign exhibition copies should have "No Commercial Value - For Cultural Purposes Only" clearly marked on them.

7. Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival is not liable for any damage or loss suffered during shipping, previewing, or screening.

8. 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.

9. 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 really helpful in our marketing.

10. 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.

11. Any requests for submission fee waivers will be ignored.

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. Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film 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.

15. The filmmakers responsible for each selected film will receive two free passes good for the entire festival for shorts and four free passes for the entire festival. If you're traveling from out of town and have more than two/four people, we will do our best to accommodate you.

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.

Overall Rating
  • Thank you BUFFALO DREAMS for having KILL AL be part of your festival. I am so sorry that I could not make it up there.

    The pics look amazing. So jealous of those who were able to attend.

    October 2019
  • Unfortunately I could not attend the festival, however I am really proud that my short film was screened in this festival. I hope they support the independent films as much as possible.

    September 2019
  • It was a great experience.. #letsgobuffalo

    September 2019
  • Great Festival! High level! Amazing organization and communication. Wonderful venue for screening! A quality Q&A. Excellent standard! Super hospitality! It's more than a film festival, it's a real exciting and an incredible experience. I definitely recommend it!

    September 2019
  • Mikey McMurran

    I can’t say enough about how great Buffalo Dreams Film Festival is! Greg and the rest of the gang at Buffalo Dreams we’re so accommodating and welcoming. I had excellent communication throughout the whole process with them. The audience was very enthusiastic and had lots of questions during the q&a and the picture and sound have never looked better.
    I would definitely recommend this festival to all filmmakers.

    September 2019