Located on the edge of Zion National Park, the O.C. Tanner Amphitheater is one of DOCUTAH's stunning screening settings

Located on the edge of Zion National Park, the O.C. Tanner Amphitheater is one of DOCUTAH’s stunning screening settings. (Credit: Southern Utah International Documentary Film Festival) View the gallery.

While the big boys — Sundance, Tribeca, Cannes — receive acclaim for breaking new films and bringing out the stars, there are countless film festival gems hidden in small towns around America that deserve more attention from filmmakers and filmgoers.

Whether you’re looking for an alternative venue to premiere your first documentary or a scenic weekend getaway for watching a well-programmed slate, these lesser-known fests embody the passion and innovation of the A-listers, but with a little hometown hospitality.

View the gallery of small-town film festivals »

Population source: 2010 Census.

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Emily Thomas is a Fall 2011 intern with POV Digital. She's interned at Esquire magazine and Vice magazine. Currently Emily is finishing her senior year at NYU, where she is double majoring in journalism and social & cultural analysis. She is also a freelance journalist and aspiring documentary filmmaker.Her top five documentaries are:1. Buena Vista Social Club (Wim Wenders)2. Woodstock (Michael Wadleigh)3. Crumb (Terry Zwigoff)4. Dont Look Back (D A Pennebaker)5. Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingston)