While scholars have theorized major film festivals, they have ignored smaller, ephemeral, events. In taking seriously minor European and North-American LGBTQ festivals which often only exist as traces within archival collections, this book revisits festival studies' methodological and theoretical apparatuses. As the first 'critique' of festival studies from within, LGBTQ Film Festivals argues that both festivals and queer film cultures are by definition ephemeral. The book is organized around two concepts: First, 'critical festival studies' examines the political project and disciplinary assumptions that structure festival research. Second, 'the festival as a method' pays attention to festivals' role as producers of knowledge: it argues that festivals are not mere objects of research but also actors already shaping academic, industrial, and popular cinematic knowledge. Drawing on the author's experience on the festival circuit, this book pays homage to the labour of queer organizers, critics, and scholars and opens up new avenues for festival research.