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The mission of the Au Contraire film festival (ACFF) is to showcase stirring and thought-provoking films that explore issues of mental illness and health from different angles.

In a culture that stigmatizes people living with mental illness, the ACFF challenges audiences to see the personal behind the labels—stories of hope, stories of suffering and, often, a mixture of both. It calls on filmmakers to help us look at our human shadows with greater compassion.

The physical festival is held in mid- August and a digital edition is released each October. Films are complemented by post-screening panel discussions inviting audience participation. Panelists have included directors, subjects of documentaries, youth living with a mental illness and leading professionals in the field.

The ACFF is the only completely bilingual, French and English, mental health film festival in the world.

The ACFF, under the umbrella of Urban Pardes, a Canadian registered charity, raises funds for Montreal organizations providing direct services for people living with mental illness and related issues.

The Au Contraire does not offer awards nor prizes. It is a non-competitive festival that aims to increase awareness about issues of mental illness, stimulate conversation and entertain.

As this is a mental health film festival, submitted films must be thematically centered on or related to issues of mental illness or addiction for them to be considered for selection.

Mental illness is intertwined with other illness and conditions, a short list of examples is: addiction, homelessness and ptsd. Likewise, the Au Contraire Film Festival will consider films with themes that coincide with mental illness issues.

Does your film relate to issues of mental illness? Should you submit it? The litmus test, we suppose, is if your film can be validly discussed within the context of mental illness issues.

The Au Contraire Film Festival (ACFF) in Montreal, Canada is proudly bilingual (French and English). Don't let this scare you off if your film is not subtitled:

Submitters with highly-considered English films without French subtitles and submitters with highly-considered French films without English subtitles will be contacted by the ACFF to discuss arrangements for subtitling. If such is the case, and we do contact you, you will be asked for a time-coded script of the film for translation.

However, films that are in languages other than English or French must be subtitled either in English or French to be considered for selection.

The ACFF will accept all genres of film thematically related to issues of mental illness: short, long, animation, music video, documentary, public awareness advertisement— you name it.

Our "Films orientated towards Youth (high school-aged)" category refers to programming specifically for high school students. Typically, one day of the festival is reserved for our "Youth Awareness Program." After the festival our Youth Awareness Program is compiled into our "Au Contraire in the Classroom" program where we bring the Youth Awareness Program into high schools. All films submitted to the festival by the deadline will be automatically considered for our Youth Awareness Program/Au Contraire in the Classroom program.


The following submission requirements must be met before a submission can be considered. Submission materials will not be returned.

1) Your film must be in French with English subtitles or English with French subtitles or, if your film is in another language, it must have English or French subtitles.

2) A completed "My Projects" page on FilmFreeway.

3) Submissions must include an online (Vimeo preferred) link to a screener which can be posted on your "My Projects" page on FilmFreeway.

*Please note that the ACFF reserves the right to share submitted links (with their passwords) internally for programming purposes.


1) Must be available for exhibition in one of the following formats:

if you do not have a DCP version, any of the other formats listed below.

- H264 or ProRes .mov files *with file sizes that are less than 3 GB*

2) A few high resolution production stills (JPEG/TIFF 300 DPI) taken from your film, a short and medium synopsis and a director bio. You can send these via email.

3) If available, promotional posters and/or postcards and digital promotional materials (e.g., digital image of film poster) should be sent to the Festival's office for marketing purposes.

Please note that the schedule of all accepted work is determined by the festival.


1) certify that you are authorized to submit this work to the Au Contraire Film Festival and that any copyrighted materials included in the work have been legally cleared for use;

2) understand that all print source information provided will be printed in the festival catalogue and may be made available on the festival website;

3) grant that the ACFF is entitled to use part of your film (up to 3 minutes) and/or your film's trailer for promotional purposes;

4) give full permission to use the still images you supplied for all festival promotional purposes;

5) understand that a) the festival will add your film to its archive and the ACFF may make its archives available to film festivals, broadcasters, distributors and curators for preview purposes only;

6) understand that your online submission link with password may be shared internally by the ACFF for programming purposes;

7) note that, only upon your permission (or the permission of the distributor) may your film/video be used for year-round festival outreach initiatives;

By submitting your film to the Au Contraire Film Festival you agree that you have read, understood, and agree to all the aforementioned festival rules and guidelines.

If you have any questions please contact us.