FAQs – VIFF Canadian Film Submissions 2021

The Vancouver International Film Festival is a showcase of exceptional international cinema in one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Featuring an expansive and diverse collection of contemporary Canadian cinema, VIFF invites exciting new voices to share the spotlight with national treasures as we celebrate narratives that demonstrate originality, documentaries that change the way we see the world, and short films that push the form to its limits.

Festival update – January 2021: At this time, we anticipate that the 40th edition of VIFF will include both in-person and online screenings. VIFF will continue to closely monitor the situation regarding COVID-19 and will adapt the scope of our in-person events accordingly to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Should you have any questions regarding your project, please email canadian.submissions@viff.org.

  • The 40th edition of VIFF will run September 30 - October 10, 2021.

  • VIFF will start accepting submissions through FilmFreeway on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

  • The following dates are the deadlines to submit your film through FilmFreeway. All submissions must be sent through that platform. Submissions fees are non-refundable.

      Feature Films Short Films
    Early Deadline: April 23, 2021 $35.00 USD $20.00 USD
    Regular Deadline: May 28, 2021 $40.00 USD $25.00 USD
    Late Deadline: June 11, 2021 $45.00 USD $30.00 USD
    • Canadian Narrative Features: Open to narrative films with runtimes over 25 minutes directed by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident with Canada listed as one of the countries of production OR with 51% or more Canadian financing. Feature length films must not have been broadcast, distributed on VOD/home video, or screened either at another festival or publicly (i.e. an advertised public screening at which an admission was charged, excluding film school graduation screenings) in the Vancouver area. We will consider films that have played at online festivals as long as said festivals have been geo-blocked to their regions.
    • Canadian Documentaries: Open to nonfiction films with runtimes over 25 minutes directed by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident with Canada listed as one of the countries of production OR with 51% or more Canadian financing. Feature length films must not have been broadcast, distributed on VOD/home video, or screened either at another festival or publicly (i.e. an advertised public screening at which an admission was charged, excluding film school graduation screenings) in the Vancouver area. We will consider films that have played at online festivals as long as said festivals have been geo-blocked to their regions.
    • Canadian Shorts: Open to narrative and nonfiction films (including animation) with runtimes of 25 minutes or less directed by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident with Canada listed as one of the countries of production OR with 51% or more Canadian financing. VIFF will consider short films that have been made available online.
  • Yes, as long as your film has substantively changed since it was last submitted.

  • Any Canadian film submitted for VIFF 2021 must have been completed after January 1st, 2020.

  • While we are accustomed to watching unfinished films, we strongly recommend that you submit your film in the most finished form possible. If submitting a rough cut, please include a title card indicating the current state of your film (example: temporary score, unfinished VFX). You should also advise us of the date you expect the film to be fully completed.

  • Due to the high volume of submissions we receive every year, we are not able to preview multiple versions of a single film.

  • It is the filmmaker’s responsibility to ensure that the film link and password submitted are working. In the case that a password changes, we may attempt, but are under no obligation, to contact the applicant in order to obtain a replacement online screener. Updated screener information can be sent to canadian.submissions@viff.org.

  • You are free to submit as many films as you wish. However, each film must be submitted (and paid for) separately.

  • While VIFF has presented all of these in the past, we are not currently accepting unsolicited submissions in these categories.

  • Yes, the full list of awards from the 2020 festival can be found on FilmFreeway. We anticipate our 2021 awards to be confirmed in the spring.

  • Film submissions to VIFF are reviewed by year-round programming staff, seasonal programmers and screening committees made up of film critics, filmmakers and other individuals well-versed in world cinema.

  • Many of VIFF’s programmers and previewers live outside of the Vancouver area, so the views may appear from other regions. Additionally, films that are viewed through third-party platforms like FilmFreeway do not count as views through Vimeo.

  • As a not-for-profit society, VIFF relies on submission fees to help cover administration and programming costs. In order to maintain the high quality of our programming, we are not able to offer fee waivers.

  • We respect that the COVID-19 crisis has caused unprecedented disruption and that many of us have found our financial circumstances dramatically altered. In turn, we hope that you can appreciate that a not-for-profit charitable organization such as ours is now all the more reliant on submission fees to fund our operation, which includes compensating a small, dedicated programming staff for the care and attention they bring to their assessment of films. Given these realities, we regret that we're not able to discount submission fees at this time. We hope that you still offer VIFF the opportunity to consider your film.

  • Yes, you can email canadian.submissions@viff.org to inform us, but unfortunately we are not able to help you make a decision about participating in other festivals.

  • Regrettably, with thousands of submissions every year, we don’t have the ability to offer notes to each individual filmmaker.

  • Once you’ve submitted through FilmFreeway, you can check the status of your film on their website. If your status seems incorrect, please write to canadian.submissions@viff.org.

  • You will be advised of our decision by email no later than September 3, 2021.