MovieMaker Magazine 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World 2022

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A Fangoria Approved Film Festival

CFF is an entirely volunteer-run non-profit film festival. Though we’ve often been billed as a genre or a horror film festival, the truth is every year; we gather a selection of films we genuinely love and share them with an audience we also LOVE. So whatever type of film your project is, don't hesitate to send it our way. We think of CFF as our yearly movie mixtape, and any mixtape worth its salt owes it to its listener to have a good mix of all kinds of things. We also encourage weirdness: There, we said it.

We share films that are unique, challenging, significant (both critically and well, haha otherwise), and most importantly, fun. We particularly love little films that feel like big films because we like to think of Chattanooga as a small town with big ideas. Our ultimate goal is to remember, discover and cultivate cinema worthy of everyone's love and respect and create a community of warm-hearted cinephiles around it.

CFF is simply put, a summer camp for cinephiles, and we hope you'll consider sending your film our way for consideration. Please don't take our word for it, though here's what the press and a few of our past guests are saying about us:

"The Southern Sundance. Given my experience at this year’s fest, I wouldn’t find it surprising if the Chattanooga Film Festival one day surpassed its elder cousin in the North. For the non-film nerds among you, this is a killer lineup. This is Haight-Ashbury in 1969."

"The Chattanooga Film Festival [rated among the top 30 genre fests in the world] has rapidly developed a solid rep as a back-to-basics exhibition of noteworthy cinema. On the genre circuit, it has become a key destination for Southern fans in search of the best fear fare, shown in both its main CFFeatures and MES After Hours categories. It treats aspiring auteur attendees right, as well."

“A Must-Visit Genre Festival!” As a journalist, programmer, and filmmaker, I've been to my fair share of film festivals. I've just arrived home from Chattanooga Film Festival, and.... WOW.”

“Honestly, just hell yeah.” When it comes to Tennessee’s Chattanooga Film Festival. This is maybe one of the best all-around festivals in the entire country. The programming is impressive, tight, and truly supportive of provocative, independent voices. There’s a real love of the city itself at Chatt, and anyone that attends comes away promising to attend again.”

“CFF combines a giddy reverence for lost classics with a discerning eye for the next wave of great filmmakers. Chattanooga Film Festival is an impressive DIY effort that has grown into a marvelous impressive showcase of inspiring, punk and original programming.”

“The Chattanooga Film Fest has [quickly] done what many festivals strive for for decades: to collect an electric group of filmmakers and connect them to a community tremendously eager to meet them. The energy is palpable, the films exceptional, and the backdrop of Chattanooga’s arts and technology scene only serves to create one of the most attractive young festivals in the nation.”

“Chris Dortch and his incredible team have crafted an excellent film festival with fantastic programming that brought everyone together in a celebration of cinema. I look forward to its continued growth and to hang out in Chattanooga again!”

“I was so fortunate as a youngster to find a productive place in the film and television industry, and when the Chattanooga Film Festival wanted to honor my 55 years of contributions to entertainment, I was humbled and proud. I’m not a center-of- the-bulls-eye kind of actor, so when a truly independent festival, run by independent folks, want to acknowledge me, it makes me realize that I’m doing something right. I love how the festival began, I love it that Chris Dortch has tremendous passion for film, and I love how the filmgoers in Chattanooga (and the surround-ing region) support and embrace projects three minutes to three hours.”

“In an era when film festivals have become bloated commercial bazaars full of hustlers, propagandists and job seekers, Chattanooga has a refreshing innocence as a place where movie lovers gather by the Tennessee River, expecting to be amazed by the art form itself. There’s a renewal going on here, a return to basics, and anyone who cares about the future of cinema should become part of it.”

“The Chattanooga film festival is more than just another fledgling, regional film festival. It is truly special and has the potential to become one of the mini-majors. The force that makes CFF a standout is founder Chris Dortch, who is both a serious and passionate cineaste and a civic-minded community builder. The movies are great, but as important is the support for regional artists. It was an honor to be a part of the festival program this year.”

"An amazing festival! It was hard to believe how young it is!’

Best Feature
Best Short Film
Best First Feature
Best Documentary
Best International Feature
Best Regional Film
Best Student Film
Audience Award - Feature
Audience Award - Short

General Rules

-Entry fee is per category and non-refundable.
-Submission does not guarantee screening.
-All genres of film are accepted.

-Films must be submitted before the end of the deadline that you paid for
-Online screeners (Vimeo, YouTube, etc) are preferred.
-DVDs and physical submissions formats are NOT accepted
-Short films must be under 30 minutes
-Foreign language films must be subtitled or dubbed in English
-If not a foreign film subtitles are still appreciated for audience accessibility reasons
-Please do not send press kits with your screener. If your film is selected, formatting guidelines, a press kit, and promotional items will be requested
-Submitting filmmakers do not dictate how we schedule or handle ticketing for their films if selected.
-Fee waivers are not available except to alumni filmmakers
-From 2020 on our festival will have an annual online component so films restricted against inclusion in a virtual or hybrid event can still be submitted but these restrictions may prevent the films from being selected.
-Student submissions must be accompanied by a copy of current student ID or submitted with a .edu email address.


I agree to the terms outlined in the General Rules section of the Chattanooga Film Festival (CFF). Submission grants CFF the right to utilize an excerpt from any film (up to 2 minutes) submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. Submitting person or persons shall indemnify and hold harmless CFF from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

Overall Rating
  • I am very honored that my film was able to participate in this wonderful film festival. I will continue to work hard and make films so that I can participate in this festival again someday.

    August 2022
  • The passion and dedication is evident in everything the Chattanooga team do. I was so thrilled to be able to participate in the virtual festival from across the pond - they've really got it sussed and know how to make it a fun experience for audiences and filmmakers alike!

    And if that's what it's like virtually I can only imagine how awesome it would be in person - fingers crossed you guys get to return to your usual programming next year!

    July 2022
  • Best virtual fest in the game! I can’t wait to attend in person someday!

    July 2022
  • Nathaniel Hendricks

    Second time getting to attend this amazing festival. Chattanooga has 100% nailed how to replicate the festival experience online - although I'm excited next year's fest - the 10th anniversary - will once again be the long overdue real deal. Saw some incredible features and shorts. Even if you don't have a film to submit, this fest is worth attending!

    July 2022
  • Allison Shrum

    This was the first festival for my short film Roger Must Die, and it was honestly the best way to kick off our festival run! Communication with festival directors was so thorough and easy, and everyone made me feel so welcome. I will definitely be coming back to this festival - whether I have a film playing there or not!

    July 2022