"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

“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

For our ninth year, Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival is seeking seeking visionary films in the genres of horror, suspense, action, animation, fantasy and science fiction. We also love westerns and musicals!

We enjoy communicating with filmmakers and fostering ongoing relationships, and screen all final selections on one screen, with no counter-programming. We are always looking for films from bold new voices and hope to spotlight more films from female artists.

We believe in cinema, and in the cinema going experience, and only hold in-person screenings. Over the past eight 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. Every year filmmakers from across the US attend and have a great time.

We offer two free passes good for the entire festival to every artist who submits work for consideration, and an additional two passes will be given to the creative teams responsible for feature films that we select. Passes must be used by people who actually worked on the selected film and may not be transferred to friends and family members.

Our Dreamer Awards ceremony is a casual in-person presentation held in the WBBZ TV Studio located in the Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville, New York. Award winners receive a plaque or trophy. We reserve the right to delete, combine, or add categories depending on the films we select for our final program.

We also present Special Awards when we deem them appropriate: the Indie Genre Spirit Award, the Lois Weber Award, and Filmmaker to Watch.

Western New York submissions

We have always spotlighted the work of local artists and will continue to do so. We’re looking for local filmmakers who wish to participate in the festival as much as visiting filmmakers do: to attend the screenings of other filmmakers, to network with other filmmakers, and to take advantage of what our festival has to offer


We answer all communications from filmmakers in a timely manner and ask for the same consideration. We’re very clear about scheduling, venue location, passes, etc. in our notifications.

Acceptable Exhibition Formats

We require MP4 h264 or .MOV files for screening. If you have a DCP professionally made and ship it to us, we will pay for the return shipping. We do not download DCP files or Blu-ray files.

Outstanding Feature (61 mins and up)
Outstanding International Feature (61 mins and up)
Michael O’Hear Award for Outstanding Western New York Film (any length)
Off Beat Cinema Award (61 mins and up)
Outstanding Director (feature)
Outstanding Screenwriter (feature)
Outstanding Short Feature (31 – 60 mins, any country)
Outstanding Short Film (8 – 30 mins, US and Canada)
Outstanding International Short Film (8 – 30 mins)
Outstanding Super Short (under 8 mins, any country)
Outstanding Animated Film (any length, any country)
Outstanding Student Film (any length, any country)
Unproduced Feature Screenplay
Unproduced WNY Feature Screenplay


1. Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival accepts Feature, Short Feature, Short Films, and Super Shorts 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 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.

Overall Rating
  • Jamie Wede

    It was an honor for my film to have been a part of such a "fantastic" festival. Networking was great! Best festival experience I've had!

    March 2022
  • Manny Serrano

    Excellent festival with great curation and a team that actually cares about the films they play. Greg and Chris are visible and available throughout the festival, making sure each and every filmmaker is happy and enjoying themselves, even going out of their way to personally drive folks back and forth from their hotel to the theater if need be.
    Q&A's were well handled and lengthy, giving filmmakers a real opportunity to discuss their films and their processes with the loyal BDFF crowd. It has been a goal of ours to play here ever since they were Buffalo Nightmares and I'm happy to have finally been part of it.
    Their awards are also incredible and beautifully made. A lot of care and love goes into this festival and I applaud them for their hard work.
    Oh, and, Food Truck!! Always love a festival with a good food truck.

    December 2021
  • 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