In addition to being a music extravaganza, South by Southwest (SXSW), the ever-growing interactive music festival usually around spring break in March in Austin, Texas, also hosts a week-long film initiative, screening independent and big-ticket cinema. Unfortunately, the festival has sky rocketed in recent years gaining the appeal of musicians and actors world-wide and steadily increasing participants to both parts of the festival, as well as higher price tags to those wishing to be part of the events and festivities. Fortunately, the month of March is jam-packed full of film festivals around the globe that are just as unique, if not more-so, and sure to get you more indie cred as SXSW continues to grow in popularity.

Here are 3 film festivals that are worth taking note of:

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Cleveland International Film Festival
March 18 – 29th 2015

The Cleveland International Film Festival promotes artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition to enrich the life of the community.

One of the featured films that caught my attention, I’ll See You in My Dreams by American director Brett Haley, has actors Sam Elliott and Martin Starr listed.

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Film Description: “Carol Petersen (Blythe Danner), a widowed retiree in her early 70s, has had a full life. She had fruitful careers as a musician in Greenwich Village in the 60s and later as a schoolteacher in Southern California. She was married to a successful lawyer. And she raised a beautiful daughter named Katherine (Malin Akerman). But that, as Carol says, “is all in the past tense.” Now, 20 years after the death of her husband, she spends her days quietly reading books, golfing, or playing cards with her kooky friends Sally (Rhea Perlman), Rona (Mary Kay Place), and Georgina (June Squibb). While Carol is happier living on her own than in a retirement community with her friends, she still feels her current life is incomplete – that is, until she meets Lloyd (Martin Starr), an aimless pool boy and dejected poet in his 30s, and then Bill (Sam Elliott), a handsome cigar-toting fellow retiree. Suddenly, Carol is navigating more plans than she’s had in years. In the charming dramedy I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS, filmmaker Brett Haley combines astute performances with a sharp script to prove it’s never too late to keep living. – E.B.”

**College students can screen films at this festival for FREE!

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Cinedans Film Festival
March 11 – 15th 2015

Cinedans – Dance on Screen Festival – is unique in the Netherlands and in the world. The central focus of the festival is on dance film. Cinedans sees the ideal dance film as a true synthesis between the two media of dance and cinematography. At Cinedans the emphasis lies on choreographies created specifically for the camera and on special film adaptations of existing dance performances.

This is the festival I would want to attend. This year’s arguably most highly anticapted film is the science-turned-art collaboration, filmed in the CERN’S Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelorator in Switzerland.

The film is called Symmetry. The teaser is below.

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Atlanta Film Festival
March 20th – 29th 2015

Now in its fourth decade, the Atlanta Film Festival—one of only two-dozen Academy Award® qualifying festivals in the U.S.—is the area’s preeminent celebration of cinema. The Atlanta Film Festival is one of the largest and longest-running festival in the country, welcoming an audience of over 25,000 to discover hundreds of new independent, international, animated, documentary, and short films, selected from 3000+ submissions from all over the world. It is also the most distinguished event in its class.

From Sci-Fi to the Pink Peach category – showcasing the best in LGBTQ films – the Atlanta Film Festival is known for showcasing innovative, outstanding cinema. It was recently announced James Franco’s, I Am Michael will open the festival with the actor expected to attend. Many films grabbed my attention including, Female Pervert, Love and Mercy, and The Dickumentary; however, it’s Sand Dollars, or Dolares de Arena, the Spanish film directed by Israel Cárdenas, Laura Amelia Guzmán I’m most interested in.

“Young, beautiful Noeli has been in a relationship with the much older, much richer Anne for three years. Anne believes that Noeli really loves her despite the large role money plays. Their life together falls apart when Noeli receives unexpected news. —Jordan Young”

So Bees, what festivals do you plan to attend and what films are you interested in viewing?