A comedy tonight: The funniest indie film fests
Whether you’re looking to laugh or you’re looking to make people laugh, you’d benefit from knowing about the best independent comedy film festivals. In the U.S. and beyond, there are some extremely unique celebrations of comedy filmmaking out there. Whatever your comedy looks like and whatever tickles your funny bone, you’re sure to find a home at any one of these ten hilarious independent comedy film fests from all over the world.
Offering a unique forum for comedy filmmakers & television producers from across the globe to show off their talents to an avid Atlanta audience, the Atlanta Comedy Film Festival is a fast-paced humor spree. Showcasing TV episodes, micro short films, and music videos with the power to split sides and crack an entire audience up, this one-day indie film fest features a unique program of films full of back-to-back japes and shenanigans.
August 30 – September 2
Los Angeles, U.S.
Honoring female filmmakers in comedy, this niche film festival is dedicated to highlighting all the ways female-made comedy can send an audience into hysterics. With submissions from women making up to 95% of programming, the festival showcases features & screenplays developed by the freshest and funniest female voices in comedic filmmaking. Finalist screenwriters are even treated to a live stage reading of their work by L.A. stage and film actors in front of a packed out audience.
Over seven uproarious, gnarly festivals, BoneBat has earned itself a stellar reputation as a singular celebration of hilarious & horrifying independent cinema. Having screened the Seattle premieres of comedy-horror indie hits including WolfCop, Ava’s Possessions, Grabbers, and The Moleman of Belmont Avenue, BoneBat screens the work of emerging talent alongside some of the most notorious and beloved names in independent horror and comedy. Promising “prizes galore” alongside features, shorts, and even some independent music, BoneBat is a unique extravaganza of dark, fearsome comedy.
Showcasing shorts by local (and out-of-town) comedians & filmmakers who are laughable for all the right reasons, Philly Sketchfest was devised with the aim to support the growth of Philadelphia’s comedy community while entertaining audiences. With the film festival portion of Philly Sketchfest arriving prior to the four-day live showcase, all shorts featured offer a witty warmup for performers, celebrating the art of comedy on screen in an energetic single day spectacular.
Held at the prestigious Hackney Picturehouse, this indie film fest connects and promotes talented comedy filmmakers from all over the world by sharing some chuckle-worthy undiscovered gems. Looking for creative ideas, the festival firmly believes “audiences won’t care if you filmed your masterpiece on your uncle the swinger’s 1980s video camera,” opening the festival up to filmmakers of all levels and budgets for an essential night of laughter.
Now featuring the prestigious sponsorship of HBO, the Women in Comedy Festival is still an indie film fest at heart. Resolutely determined to close the gender gap in film, the event aims to pave the way for more unconventional female characters and narratives written, directed, and produced by women.
On the lookout for unique female-driven comedy films that side-step tiresome tropes, the festival showcases outstanding shorts and presents standout prizes to winners in return. In 2018, winning filmmakers will be offered the opportunity for one-on-one mentoring with HBO’s director of comedy programming, Ada Chiaghana, and comedy filmmaker, Paul Feig (The Heat).
October 12 – 21
Cluj Napoca, Romania
As Europe’s biggest comedy film festival, Comedy Cluj showcases over 100 comedy films across ten days of screenings, alongside bustling networking events with fellow comedy makers and film industry professionals. Adding further scope to the festival is a new category “dedicated to exploring the sense of humor of people from places such as North Korea, Kazakhstan, or Paraguay,” with an aim to familiarize local audiences with fresh, international perspectives on comedy.
November 9 – 11
With a mission to support comedy as a vital and influential art film, the Chicago Comedy Film Festival aims to showcase films both humorous and poignant. Showcasing movies from first time and experienced comedy filmmakers, the festival provides a relaxed & welcoming atmosphere for visitors to discover obscure comedy gems and network with some of the funniest filmmakers, celebrities, and comedians in the world.
Dedicated to elevating the art of laughter on screen, the SICFF showcases a series of short funnies to a beer-swilling, convivial audience. With on-screen hilarity coming courtesy of comedy visionaries from around the world, the program is full of diversity regardless of “budget or any other pretences.” All the organizers ask of filmmakers? Make them laugh, broskis & brosephines! Duh!
January 28 – March 4
Various locations, Australia
With a mission to challenge the parameters of what comedy is, Over The Fence is a grassroots festival celebrating the very best in new and independent comic masterpieces. Championing the emerging comedic voices at the beginning of their filmmaking careers, Over The Fence aims to entertain and inspire within a vibrant and stimulating shorts program selected to nurture and promote new talent while enlivening audiences across Australia.