oj simpson made in america

The top 15 film festivals in Toronto this spring

Toronto has more than a few film festivals in store this spring, so movie buffs can expect to be busy over the next few months. This season there's everything from a cat-centric viral video marathon to a silent film fest. These festivals might not have the star-calibre of TIFF, but spring is still a season to celebrate cinema in in this city.

Here are my picks for the top film festivals in Toronto this spring.

Toronto International Spring of Horror and Fantasy Film Festival (April 8-10)
The Toronto International Spring of Horror and Fantasy Film Festival spotlights the top horror, fantasy and sci-fi films from around the world from both seasoned veterans and novice filmmakers. The event will feature a melange of short films, music videos and feature-length flicks, so you've got options.

Toronto Silent Film Festival (April 7-12)
In a time where IMAX films and 3D features are the norm, it's nice to harken back to the early days of cinema now and again. This year Mark of Zorro, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, and The Romance of Far Fur Country are playing at select theatres.

Just For Cats Video Festival (April 14)
TIFF's annual viral cat video festival returns to the Lightbox mid-April. Making this year even more special, Lil BUB will be in attendance. For those unaware of the famous feline's work, she's garnered more than one million Instagram followers, is the star of a storybook, sells a host of merch, and even has her own LP (making her far more successful than the average Torontonian).

Images Festival (April 14-23)
While not strictly a film fest, the Images Festival always has plenty of cinematic gems to check out. The annual experimental film and media event boasts a bevy of short screenings, installations, performances, art exhibits and more at local galleries.

Toronto New Urbanism Film Fest (April 21, May 26)
The inaugural Toronto New Urbanism Film Fest will take over Innis Town Hall to showcase the best short films from around the world, focusing on themes like transportation, cycling, urban gardening, urban revitalization and street art. The goal of the event is to motivate viewers to improve their own communities with the help of some stunning visuals.

Next Exit Film Festival (April 28)
The Next Exit Film Festival allows you to see flicks from the future stars of Toronto's film world before they hit the big time. The event will showcase a collection of short films and animations by OCADU graduating Integrated Media and DPXA students. Good news: it's also free.

Hot Docs (April 28-May 8)
If you reserve your Netflix account for David Attenborough-narrated flicks and Cowspiracy-esque educational movies, Hot Docs is the place to be this spring. The documentary festival is the largest of its kind in North America and shows over 200 films from Canada and around the world to massive audiences.

Music Docs at Hot Docs (April 29-May 8)
Canadian Music Week may be known for throwing a kickass roster of shows each year, but its events aren't limited to concerts. CMW has teamed up with Hot Docs to screen a few music-oriented movies including Strike a Pose, Madonna: Truth or Dare, Hip-Hop Evolution, I Am the Blues and more.

Spanish Film Festival (May 2-23)
Get introduced to the latest trends in Spanish cinema by heading to the Revue Cinema this May. This year's lineup includes Nothing In Return, Death of a Fisherman, Traces of Sandalwood and Happy 140.

Toronto Jewish Film Festival (May 5-15)
The Toronto Jewish Film Festival highlights the diversity of Jewish culture and identity in an effort to break down racial, cultural and religious barriers and stereotypes. The lineup and details for this year's event are still TBA, but you can buy your tickets and passes in advance here.

Lakeshorts Film Festival (May 6-7)
If you prefer shorts over feature films, you're in luck. The Lakeshorts Film Festival showcases a curated selection of independent short films from around the world, bringing them to the Lakeshore and South Etobicoke. If you want to kick off the event in style, snag a ticket to the Ticket Launch Party on April 7.

Inside Out (May 26-June 5)
Inside Out, not to be confused with the Oscar-winning animated picture of the same name, showcases flicks made by and focusing on the LGBTQ community. Over 11 days you'll be able to catch screenings, artist talks and discussions and attend some pretty killer parties.

T.O.WebFest (May 27-29)
Spend the end of May getting acquainted with web series and movies. The event bolsters the work of homegrown independent content creators and includes a range of panels, workshops, networking, screenings, installations, awards and special events.

Italian Contemporary Film Festival (June 9-19)
Fittingly, the annual Italian Contemporary Film Festival takes place during Italian Heritage Month. The fest celebrates the work of Italian film makers from across the world and includes a range of feature films, documentaries and shorts.

Female Eye Film Festival (June 14-19)
Celebrate the ladies of the film industry by hitting up the Female Eye Film Festival at the end of spring. Details for this years fest are still in the works, but you can expect to see everything from action to animation movies and get in on panels, workshops and pitch sessions.

What did I miss? Add more spring film festivals to the comments.

Photo via O.J. Simpson: Made in America screening at Hot Docs.

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