"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
The 2017 edition of Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival was another banner year for our event, and for Buffalo itself, with almost 50 out of town filmmakers attending to screen their work. We are proud that filmmakers consider Buffalo Dreams a "destination event," and of the accolades attributed us by attending filmmakers. Each year we are pleased to add names to our growing family of visiting filmmakers - you are consistently the soul of our event.
In 2017 we received a record 450 submissions - approximately 50 screenplays, 125 features and 275 shorts. Over 11 days, we screened 112 films: 40 features and 72 shorts. Festival organizers Gregory Lamberson (Slime City, Killer Rack, Johnny Gruesome) and Chris Scioli intend to build on that momentum to make the 2018 edition, which will run 10 days, the best international film festival in New York State outside New York City.
The dates of the festival are Friday, November 2nd - Sunday, November 11th, 2018. The first week will be held at the Dipson Theaters Eastern Hills Cinema, located in the Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville, New York, outside Buffalo. The final three days will be held at the Screening Room Cinema Cafe, behind the Boulevard Mall in Amherst, New York, also outside Buffalo. During our initial week, we show films from noon to midnight, and during our final three days we show three blocks per day, including the evening. This broad canvas enables us to screen a diverse selection of films. We love to show an eclectic range.
Buffalo Dreams is a filmmaker friendly event which celebrates the best independent films from around the world in the following categories: Action, Animation, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction and Thriller. The festival separates content into three divisions: North American (U.S. and Canada), International, and Western New York. We have an Unproduced Screenplay competition, Young Student and Student competitions, and the Lois Weber Award in recognition of outstanding work by female directors. Last year we screened outstanding family films, and we are always on the lookout for good westerns. We screen non-genre foreign films during weekday matinees, for the regular patrons at the Eastern Hills Cinema.
Lamberson and Scioli intend to showcase approximately 100 of the best movies submitted: features (70 mins - 120 mins); short features (31 - 69 mins); and short films (1 - 30 mins). Music videos may be submitted as short films, and web series may be submitted in the category with the corresponding running time.
Buffalo Dreams does not screen films in hotel banquet rooms or bars. The festival directors believe every selected film deserves to be seen on a big screen in a real theater. Their philosophy is to screen only one film at a time, with no counterprogramming. Patrons who wish to experience the entire festival should never have to choose between films.
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. But in terms of dramas, they also like delicate, beautiful films. The programmers accept film submissions that would receive an NC-17 rating, but will not show pornography. The festival does not accept "fan films" featuring copyrighted characters, and every film must contain only original or licensed music.
Buffalo Dreams only accepts online submissions. Exhibition copies of features can be DCP, Blu-ray and DVD (US region only), or a digital file. Exhibition copies of shorts and short features must be digital files. Exhibition copies of whatever nature must be received no later than October 20th. Any film not received by that date may be withdrawn by the festival. Filmmakers are responsible for covering the cost of return shipping for 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 two venues for the festival to screen all of our 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 consider waiver requests from filmmakers who live under these extremely difficult political circumstances. This is the only exception we will make.
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. With the exception of web series compilations, 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 October 20th 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 have to insist on Buffalo-Niagara premiere status, though: there are just too many film festivals in the area crammed into the Fall 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 films screened at the festival, attending filmmakers, and other local artists. 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 Original 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, westerns and war films. We love westerns! Audiences expect action films to e 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.
Original Screenplay Competition: We accept unproduced, feature length screenplays in all genres. Submitted screenplays should include the title of the work on the title page, but not the screenwriter's name. Our selection committee will narrow the list of submitted screenplays down to 10 semi-finalists, then five finalists, which will then be sent to this year's guest screenplay judge. The First Place winner will receive a plaque, and the Second and Third Place finishers will receive certificates.
The Dreamer Awards: The festival will hold an awards presentation at the WBBZ TV Studio in the Eastern Hills Mall, where our first venue is located, on Sunday, Nov. 4th. Winners will receive plaques. All selected films are eligible for this award, not just features.
We look forward to experiencing your work!
Awards & Prizes
This year, we will present plaques for the following categories:
Best of the Fest
Best International Feature
Best Western New York Feature Best Micro-Budget Feature
Best Un-Produced Original Screenplay
Best Feature Director
Best Western New York Director
Best Feature Screenwriter
Best Western New York Screenwriter
Best Short Feature
Best International Short Feature
Best Western New York Short Feature
Best Short Film
Best International Short Film
Best Western New York Short Film
Best Micro-Short Film
Best Animated film (any length, any division)
Best Student Film
Best Young 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 in which we feel the selected films do not meet the standard of "the best."
Rules & Terms
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. Selected entries will be notified on or about October 1st, 2018.
15. Submitters to Buffalo Dreams will receive two free passes for the entire festival.
16. 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.