Fall is the season of oyster roasts, changing leaves (yes, that does happen in some parts of the country), and perhaps most importantly, film festivals. Charleston’s own film fest hits the Lowcountry from Nov. 4-8. That’s also the weekend of the Virginia Film Festival, which we’ll be attending, previewing some of the season’s newest international films, U.S. blockbusters, and documentary shorts.

You don’t have to hit the Music Hall or Charlottesville to get a taste of fall’s latest and greatest though. We’ve rounded up the best places to watch this season’s newest films. Grab your popcorn.

Charleston, cool flicks and fests

The 18th Annual Manhattan Short Film Fest at the Terrace, Sun. Oct. 4. Check out our preview here. 

Circle Unbroken — A Gullah Journey from Africa to America, Oct. 5 on PBS. Shot on the seas islands and in Beaufort, S.C., this musical documentary is producer Ron Small’s second film to hit PBS.

The Carolina Surf Film Festival, Oct. 16-17. looks gnarly as hell. And other surf words. We detailed the films here. 

Fathom Events brings special stuff like music documentaries to two local theaters — Charlestowne Square 18 in North Chuck and Azalea Square Stadium 16 in Summerville. On Oct. 8 Charlestowne Square 18 will screen The Who: Recorded Live form Hyde Park in London in honor of the band’s 50th anniversary (wowza). On Oct. 22 and Oct. 24-26 both Charlestowne and Azalea Square Stadiums will screen Ed Sheeran: Jumpers for Goalposts, a concert documentary of Ed Sheeran playing in London’s Odeon Leicester Square. 

Soak in some culture Italiano at the Nuovo Cinema Italiano Film Festival at Sottile Theatre from Oct. 22-Oct. 25.  Tickets go on sale on Oct. 7.

Charleston can’t get enough of Thibault Fagonde’s locally shot film Overalls & Aprons. You can check it out at the Music Hall on Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m.

The Charleston International Film Festival, now in its 10th year, has moved from the spring to the fall and settled into the Charleston Music Hall for a five-day fest. The festival features primarily shorts, with some feature-length films like Wildlike, a thriller about a teenaged girl traveling across Alaska to escape her threatening uncle, and Girl on the Edge, which is eerily enough very similar to Wildlike, with a troubled teen falling victim to an online predator. Head online to buy your tickets. 

The Charleston Food Film Festival, Nov. 11-13. While we’re most excited about the premiere of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown — Charleston (Bill Murray, y’all), this third annual foodie film fest features some other real ripe pickings. We’re looking forward to Growing Local: Seeding a Dream about a young couple who turns a piece of farmland into a community food hub, Cultured Craft Beer about Charleston’s craft beer scene, and Rosemary Gin Smash, a food porno that details the making of a Gin Cocktail. We discuss all the films here

Halloween movies 

Fathom Events will also screen a Dracula double feature on Oct. 25 and Oct. 28 at 2 and 7 p.m. Each screening will show two versions of Dracula, both shot in 1931: the first is the classic Bela Lugosi version and the second is the Spanish language version shot with a different cast. We can hear it now … “I am Dracula, I bid you welcome.” 

If old black and white movies don’t quite get ya going, then buy your tickets now for a screening of John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN, at both Charlestowne Square 18 and Azalea Square 16 on Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. The 1978 film horrified (in a good way) the country when it came out and we swear it still scares the bejeezus out of us. 

Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which isn’t a new flick, but we’re adding it because we know some of y’all ghouls and boils are tickled by this cult classic showing at the Terrace on Oct. 30 and 31 at 9 p.m. 

Holiday flicks

Start spreading holiday cheer early with a screening of Home Alone in honor of its 25th anniversary on Nov. 8 and Nov. 11 at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. at Charlestowne Square 18 and Azalea Sq. 16. It’s fun just to see what Macaulay Culkin once looked like … 

Fests worth the drive (we stayed on the East Coast for this list)

Washington West Film Festival, Oct. 21-26. Head to Washington, D.C. (well, technically Reston, Va., which is right outside of the capital) for this film festival featuring such varied flicks as Salam Neighbor, a film about life inside a Syrian refugee camp, and 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets, a Sundance award-winning documentary about the murder of 17-year-old Jordan Davis at a Florida gas station in 2012. 

Atlanta Horror Film Festival, Oct. 29-30.  If you didn’t get your fill of horror at Charleston’s Crimson Screen horror film festival last May, head to Georgia for a two-day fright fest just in time for Halloween. The schedule of films is TBD but we’re sure they’re all scary as heck.

The Underexposed Film Festival, Nov. 4-7.
Rock Hill, S.C. is home to more than … well whatever it’s home to, it is also the host of the Underexposed Film Festival which features 38 films from five continents and 16 countries. Head to their site for a full list of flicks and viewing locations. 

Virginia Film Festival
, Nov. 5-8. If you’ve never been to the vibrant college town of Charlottesville, here’s a reason to head there. This fest brings big names every year, with world premieres and talks by hotshot directors and producers (Meg Ryan will be there this year. Yes, she’s a director now). Some of our past favorite moments include hearing Bob Woodward speak after a screening of All the President’s Men and watching the opening night of Silver Linings Playbook (which doesn’t hold up the second time around). With over 100 films, this festival is perfect for film buffs.

If you’re looking to head out west (or to Canada) make sure to check this site for a full list of North America’s film fests.

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