Our Mission
With a focus on quality, diversity, and impact, The Lower East Side Film Festival aims to create a special experience for both filmmaker and audience through amazing events, neighborhood engagement, industry panels, and film screenings that feature the best and brightest up and coming filmmaking talent.


2019 will mark the 9th Anniversary of the Lower East Side Film Festival. In its inaugural year, the LESFF crew turned a Lower East Side pop-up space into a unique and intimate theater that featured a month long residency of sold-out screenings of some of the independent film community’s most innovative new talent. Since then, the festival has premiered hundreds of short and feature films, hosted thousands of audience members, and has been deemed “one of the most exciting under the radar film events in all of New York City” (Film.com). LESFF was featured in New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix (under “Highbrow/ Brilliant”), The New York Times, Interview, Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, The New York Post, IndieWire, Variety, and many, many more.

Over the years, the festival expanded to bigger venues (the famous Sunshine Cinema, Anthology Film Archives, Soho House, The Crosby St Hotel, Village East Cinema) and created special downtown NYC experiences including Rooftop Pool Party Screenings, Drive-In Movie Theater Block Parties, World Premiere screenings, Industry Panels, Concerts, Comedy Shows, Video Installations. LESFF has also launched a podcast on indie filmmaking, Below the Line, and secured distribution for its up and coming independent filmmakers.

Past Lower East Side Film Festival judges and talent have included Ethan Hawke, Susan Sarandon, Willem Dafoe, Denis O’Hare, Laverne Cox, Rosario Dawson, Rami Malek, Parker Posey, Ilana Glazer, Dolly Parton, Dana Brunetti, Natasha Lyonne, Marky Ramone, Rebecca Miller, Sasheer Zamata, Judah Friedlander, Lizzy Caplan, Amy Arbus, Justin Bond, Nick Kroll, Eliza Dushku, Dee Snider, and many, many more.

Great films are made with creativity, innovation, and heart. In spite of the awesome and famous talent that has passed through our festival, LESFF will always seek out the undiscovered and underdog filmmakers who know that a huge budget does not equal a great film.