The Bates Film Festival was founded in 2018 and has grown rapidly with each iteration. Initially conceived as a way to connect current students interested in film with alums who work in the industry, the festival quickly evolved to embrace a social justice perspective. Over our first three festivals (20182019, and 2022), we have programmed over 75 films and welcomed over 50 guest experts and filmmakers. Collectively, the films come from 6 different continents, and our guest list includes artists and activists who are Academy Award-, Emmy Award-, and Grammy Award-winners, Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-nominees, and a Rhodes scholar.

Students are involved in every aspect of the festival’s planning and execution. This is what makes our festival unique! Students help to craft the mission statement; select the films; lead promotional efforts; produce festival events; moderate post-screening Q&As and panels; determine festival awards; and much more. Their involvement is intense, multilayered, and essential, and it is deeply valued by our visiting filmmakers.

Ultimately, the festival exists to bring people together around a shared love of movies. In a culture that seems to grow more divided every day, the BFF aspires to initiate and facilitate substantive conversations between individuals who might not have met were it not for a shared interest in movies. Involving students in the planning of the festival allows them to not just witness and engage in those conversations, but also to lead them.

We hope that you will join us at the next festival!

Festival Highlights – 2022

Festival Highlights – 2019

  • 26 Films, Including Our First VR Title
  • Panel Discussions on Border Issues and Representations of Difference
  • First BFF Festival Awards Bestowed
  • Record Attendance and Fundraising
  • Covered in The Bangor Daily NewsThe Sun Journal, and Bates College News

Festival Highlights – 2018

  • 26 Films, Including Several Maine Premieres
  • Panel Discussions on Climate Change, Women in Media, Community and Security, and Navigating Memory Disorders
  • Master Class on Pitching with Noted Television Showrunner Trey Callaway
  • Covered in The Bates Student and Bates College News