San Francisco is home to the second-largest film market in the country, meaning that local cinephiles have an exciting lineup of film festivals to enjoy all year round. Here we’ve outlined a running list of nearly 40 film festivals happening in San Francisco and surrounding Bay Area cities, from the highly-anticipated SF International Film Festival in April to the swanky Napa Valley Film Festival in November.
SF hosts an impressive number of festivals that are the world’s longest-running such events of their kind, including the Frameline LGBTQ+ Film Festival in June, the SF Jewish Film Festival in July, the Superfest Disability Film Festival in October, the American Indian Film Festival in November, and the SF Transgender Film Fest in November.
Table Of Contents
Summer film festivals in the Bay Area
- SF Documentary Festival – June 1-11, 2023 – San Francisco – A unique documentary film fest geared toward younger subcultures.
- Queer Women of Color Film Festival – June 9-11, 2023 – San Francisco – A free film festival 19 years running, showcasing works from queer women of color.
- Frameline: San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival – June 14-24, 2023 – San Francisco – The largest and longest-running LGBTQ+ film festival in the world.
- SF Silent Film Festival – July 12-16, 2023 – San Francisco – A silent film festival dating back 25+ years with musical accompaniment from international musicians.
- SF Jewish Film Festival – July 20-Aug. 6, 2023 – San Francisco, Albany – The world’s largest and longest-running Jewish film festival spotlighting Jewish stories and perspectives.
- Cinequest – San Jose Film Festival – Aug. 16-29, 2023 – San Jose – An international film festival marrying the cinematic arts with the innovation of Silicon Valley.
- Brainwash Film Festival – Aug. 25-27, 2023 – Oakland – Watch a fun mix of shorts and feature films in an Oakland parking lot at this drive-in, walk-in, bike-in event.
Fall film festivals in the Bay Area
- Crossroads (SF Cinematheque) – Sept. 8-10, 2023 – San Francisco – Annual avant-garde film festival from SF Cinematheque, a media arts organization dating back over 50 years.
- Cine+Mas SF – SF Latino Film Festival – Sept. 29-Oct. 14, 2023 – San Francisco – A festival spotlighting films from the US, Latin America, Spain and Portugal.
- Cinema Italia San Francisco – Sept (2023 dates TBA) – San Francisco – Film festival dedicated to classic Italian cinema.
- Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment Grassroots Film Festival – Sept (2023 dates TBA) – Oakland – A film festival showcasing the power of grassroots activism.
- SF International South Asian Film Festival – Sept-Oct (2023 dates TBA) – San Francisco – A presentation of films from the South Asian diaspora including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, France, UK, Canada and the USA.
- Mill Valley Film Festival – Oct. 5-15, 2023 – Mill Valley – An internationally-renowned and prestigious film festival celebrating independent and world cinema.
- San Francisco Short Film Festival – Oct. 12-22, 2023 – San Francisco – SF IndieFest presents this popular film festival dedicated to shorts.
- Green Film Festival – Oct. 12-22, 2023 – San Francisco – SF IndieFest presents this film festival dedicated to celebrating our planet and sustainability.
- United Nations Association Film Festival – Oct. 16-19, 2023 – Palo Alto, San Francisco – A festival demonstrating the power of international documentary films in dealing with global crises.
- Superfest Disability Film Festival – Oct (2023 dates TBA) – Berkeley, San Francisco – The world’s longest-running disability film festival dedicated to portraying disability and prioritizing disabled filmgoers.
- SF Dance Film Festival – Oct-Nov (2023 dates TBA) – San Francisco – Celebrate the artistry of dance with this film festival screening both local and international dance films.
- American Indian Film Festival – Nov. 3-11, 2023 – San Francisco – The world’s longest-running film exposition dedicated to Native American Cinema.
- Arab Film Festival – Nov. 11-20, 2023 – SF Bay Area – The nation’s oldest and largest Arab film festival dedicated to films showcasing Arab culture and perspectives.
- Napa Valley Film Festival – Nov. 13-17, 2023 – Napa Valley – A prestigious film festival celebrating independent cinema accompanied by wine tasting, gourmet cuisine, and parties.
- San Francisco International New Concept Film Festival – Nov. 15-19, 2023 – San Francisco – An international film festival dedicated to scouting new talent and encouraging new filmmakers.
- Tiburon International Film Festival – Nov (2023 dates TBA) – Tiburon – A festival dedicated to its motto of “understanding the world through film.”
- San Francisco Transgender Film Fest – Nov (2023 dates TBA) – San Francisco – The longest-running transgender film festival in the world, showcasing beautiful films centered on the trans and gender non-conforming community.
- California Independent Film Festival – Nov (2023 dates TBA) – Orinda – The “fastest growing film festival in California” screens independent films celebrating diversity and human rights.
Winter film festivals in the Bay Area
- Another Hole in the Head Film Festival – Dec. 1-17, 2023 – San Francisco – SF IndieFest presents this festival dedicated to science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other genres.
- Coven Film Festival – Dec (2023 festival postponed) – San Francisco – A film festival showcasing works by women and non-binary filmmakers.
- Legacy Film Festival on Aging – Jan (2024 dates TBA) – San Francisco – A film festival highlighting shorts and feature-length films about the process of growing older.
- Noir City Film Festival – Jan (2024 dates TBA) – Oakland – A popular film noir festival screening films from Hollywood’s film noir movement in 1948.
- SF Independent Film Festival – Feb. 1-11, 2024 – San Francisco – SF Indie’s titular film festival of the year with thousands of moviegoers in attendance.
- Noise Pop – Feb (2024 dates TBA) – San Francisco – A series of film screenings about music accompany Noise Pop’s annual music and arts festival.
Spring film festivals in the Bay Area
- SF Urban Film Fest – Mar. 6-12, 2023 – San Francisco – A diverse presentation of films that use storytelling to promote civic engagement around urban issues.
- Berlin & Beyond Film Festival – Mar. 23-28, 2023 – San Francisco, Berkeley – An exhibition of contemporary German cinema 27 years in the making.
- Poppy Jasper International Film Festival – Apr. 12-19, 2023 – Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Hollister, San Juan Bautista – An award-winning film festival promoting diversity and inclusion in independent cinema.
- International Ocean Film Festival – Apr. 13-16, 2023 – San Francisco – A film festival dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of our marine ecosystems.
- SF International Film Festival – Apr. 13-23, 2023 – San Francisco – The longest-running film festival in the Americas, featuring consistently impressive lineups from filmmakers both local and international.
- DocLands Documentary Film Festival – May 10-14, 2023 – San Rafael – A documentary film festival presented by the California Film Institute.
- CAAMFest – May 11-21, 2023 – San Francisco – The Center for Asian American Media presents Asian American documentary works on public television.