"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

In August of 2020, Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival did what seemed impossible: when other film festivals were forced to cancel, postpone, or switch to a virtual format, and when all movie theaters in New York State were closed, we held live, in-person screenings of all of our Official Selections in an excellent venue. We did this by limiting our seating capacity, requiring masks, and enforcing social distancing measures. It was important to us to show films on a big screen, even if only to a devoted audience of film lovers and moviemakers. We hosted the World Premieres of Skip Shea’s horror film Seeds and Jordan Warner’s action-thriller The Wilderness Night, the North American Premiere of Juan Diego Escobar Alzate’s indescribable Luz: The Fower of Evil, the New York Premieres of the documentaries Clapboard Jungle: Surviving the Independent Film Business by Justin McConnell, Hail to the Deadites by Steve Villeneuve, and The Ventures: Stars on Guitars by Staci Layne Wilson. And we spotlighted the work of such rising independent artists as Mickey Reece, Cate Jones. Mehdi Fard Ghaderi and Michael Fausti. In total, we screened 70 Micro Shorts, Shorts, Short Features, and Features. In 2020, we are returning to our early November slot for what we anticipate will be a seven-day festival.

We are a “fantastic fest,” meaning we love science fiction, fantasy, action, horror, and animation, but over the years we have demonstrated our eclectic sensibilities with musicals, dramas, westerns, crime dramas, comedies and experimental films. We love art films and exploitation films equally, as long as they’re well made and have a point of view. We love supporting independent filmmakers, and following their progress as artists. We are not a festival that accepts a film, ignores communications from filmmakers, then schedules as many films as possible in three different banquet rooms at a hotel, forcing patrons to choose between films. We enjoy communicating with filmmakers and fostering ongoing relationships, and we show all of our films on one screen, with no counterprogramming.

We believe in cinema, and the cinema going experience.

This will be our ninth edition as Buffalo Dreams. Before that, we ran Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival for three years. Over the past eleven years, we’ve become a destination spot for filmmakers visiting from around the world. Isaac Ezban has travelled from Mexico several times to screen his work for our appreciative audience; Richard Rowntree and Simon Pearce have come from the UK; Christophe Karabache from France; Megan Riakos from Australia; and so many more. We are always looking for films from bold new voices, and hope to spotlight more films from female artists.


We are always trying new things. This year, we are replacing our Western New York categories with New York State categories, although we will continue the Michael O’Hear Award for Best Western New York Film, named after our late volunteer and WNY acting mainstay.

Our Unproduced Screenplay competition will now offer two awards: Winner for the overall competition, and Winner for New York State. If a screenplay wins in both categories, only the overall award will be issued. We will no longer offer certificates for Second and Third places.

Four free passes good for the entire festival will be offered to Selected features, two free passes good for the entire festival will be issued to Selected shorts and screenplays, and two free passes good for the entire festival will be issued to everyone who submits work to the festival. However, passes must be used by people who actually worked on the films, and may not be transferred to friends and family members.

The world is an uncertain place, and although we’ve shown our commitment to presenting films on a big screen, the world is an uncertain place and we absolutely reserve the right switch to a different model or format. All Selected filmmakers will be consulted regarding any possible changes.

Best of the Fest
Outstanding Feature
Outstanding International Feature.
***Michae O’Hear Award - Outstanding Western New York Film
Outstanding Director
Outstanding Screenwriter
Outstanding Male Performance
Outstanding Female Performance
Outstanding Short Feature
***Outstanding Short Feature
Outstanding Short Film
Outstanding International Short Film
Outstanding NYS Short Film
Outstanding Micro-Short
Outstanding Animated Film
Outstanding Student Film

Unproduced Feature Screenplay
Unproduced NYS Feature Screenplay

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
  • Than you again for the selection Buffalo ! great com and great tem

    November 2021
  • Mel House

    Wonderful festival and experience! 2021 was my second time to attend BDFFF with a project to screen, and it has only gotten better and more fun. Not only did I enjoy the venue, the audience, and the food (oh my god the food), but the film program was stacked as well! I enjoyed everything I watched, all the Q&A's from attending filmmakers, and when it was time for our MYSTERY SPOT screening, I was truly impressed by the audience response and engagement. I also stayed in the sponsor hotel, which was pretty freaking sweet (jacuzzi tub in the room, which I used every day...sometimes multiple times a day). Could not ask for better! Highly recommended. Kudos to Chris and Greg for putting on a killer fest!

    November 2021
  • Casey Bowker

    Very glad to be a part of the festival for my screenplay, Teachers Suck. It made it all the way to the end but didn't win...still very happy to be involved with the festival. Great communication from everyone and I can't wait to submit something again next year!

    November 2021
  • Drew Bialy

    It's in the name: FANTASTIC.
    Buffalo Dreams remains the Western New York region's best film festival. Offering a diverse variety of films ranging from family friendly pieces to the outré, Buffalo Dreams screens something for all tastes. Showcasing films from around the world, the festival is a terrific place to meet filmmakers from all over. Festival directors Gregory Lamberson and Christopher Scioli make themselves available for any questions, making for an accommodating and welcoming experience. Simply a delight to be a part of. Highly recommended.

    November 2021
  • Mira Steuer

    Fantastic festival! This is my second year being able to be a part of this one and it is a favorite!

    November 2021