Now in its 8th amazing year, the Breakthroughs Film Festival is devoted exclusively to showcasing short films in ANY genre by emerging women-identified, trans, or non-binary directors.

"Breakthroughs" refers to the struggles these artists continue to face in an industry where they must work even harder than their male counterparts to make their voices heard.

Breakthroughs Film Festival also features panel discussions with the participating directors, giving the audience a chance to learn more about what these amazing filmmakers can do!

Breakthroughs Film Festival awards films in the following categories:

Jury Award

New Generation Award

Audience Award

Winners receive custom-designed festival laurels.

• The director must be emerging talent i.e. they must not have directed a feature length-film at the time of the festival in June 2019.
• The director must identify as a woman, trans, or non-binary person.
• Films in a language other than English must have English subtitles.


Do you pay screening fees?
Yes, we pay every artist a screening fee in CAD as per 2019 Canadian Artists Representation Le Front Des Artistes Canadiens (CARFAC) rates.

What is the maximum runtime BFF will accept?
Your short film cannot be more than 20 minutes in length, credits included.

How old can my film be?
All films presented at BFF must be completed after January 2017.

How does BFF accept submissions?
We accept submissions via FilmFreeway only.

What formats do you accept film submissions?
Films must be submitted as online screeners only.

Do all submissions get viewed?
Yes, every single film submitted to BFF gets at least two views.

Do you accept rough cuts?
Yes. Just be sure to mark the submission as a rough cut, let us know which elements are incomplete (music, sound mix, colour, missing scenes) and give us a firm deadline by which the final film will be completed.

Does BFF hand out submission waivers?
As a non-profit organization, we rely upon submission fees to help cover some of the costs of running the festival. However, this year, we are offering a limited number of submission waivers to emerging filmmakers who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, and/or people with disabilities. To request a waiver, please email

Do you offer feedback on unselected films?
No, unfortunately BFF is a volunteer-run organization and we do not yet have the capacity to offer feedback to filmmakers.

I submitted last year and wasn’t accepted. Can I resubmit?
Yes, as long as your submission is still within our eligibility window (completed after January 1, 2017).