Located in one of North America's 10 Best Cities to Live and Work As a Movie Maker and going into its 24th year, the 11-day Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) has grown to be the biggest film festival in Alberta and the sixth-largest in Canada.

Offering over $40,000 in cash and prizes, the festival awards outstanding films selected by the audience and esteemed juries. Showcasing an average of 200 short and feature length multi-genre films, from Canada and around the world, CIFF is a qualifying, accredited festival for the Academy Awards® and the Canadian Screen Awards.

Taking place on the edge of the world's most dynamic filming locations, the festival is known for its hospitality and has been named one of the “Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” by MovieMaker Magazine in 2019, 2020, 2022, and 2023.

Eligible for audience awards, CIFF 2023 non-juried competition sections include: Late Shift (Genre Films), Music on Screen, Generation Next and Special Presentations.

Should filmmakers require extensions or have questions, they can contact us at programming@ciffcalgary.ca.

Waivers: We provide fee waiver codes for festival alumni and Alberta productions. Please contact us if needed.

$10,000 CAD: RBC Emerging Canadian Artist. This juried award is given to the Canadian director who creates the best first or second narrative feature film.

$5,000 CAD: DGC Canadian Documentary Feature. This juried award is given to the Canadian director who creates the best documentary in the section. Presented by Directors Guild Canada.

$1,000 CAD: International Narrative Feature. This juried award is given to the international director who creates the best film in the section.

$1,000 CAD: International Documentary Feature. This juried award is given to the international director who creates the best documentary in the section.

$2,500 CAD: Short Film Grand Jury Prize. This juried award is given to the best overall short film at the festival and also qualifies the winner for consideration in the appropriate category of the Academy Awards®, without the standard theatrical run that a film typically needs to qualify for an Oscar® nomination.

Additional prizes for short films include:

$1,000 CAD: NBCUniversal Alberta Short Film Devon Bolton Memorial Award
$1,000 CAD: Live Action Short Film
$1,000 CAD: Documentary Short Film
$1,000 CAD: Animated Short Film
$1,000 CAD: Student Short Film
$1,000 CAD & Scholarship Opportunity to Vancouver Film School valued at up to $18,000 CAD: NBCUniversal Youth by Youth Canada Short Film

9 Feature Film Audience Choice Awards:

Alberta Feature
Canadian Narrative
Canadian Documentary
International Narrative
International Documentary
Late Shift
Music on Screen
Generation Next
Special Presentations

4 Short Film Audience Choice Awards:

Live Action


1) The film must not have been exhibited before June 1, 2022 and not previously submitted to the Calgary International Film Festival.

2) FEATURE FILMS MUST be at minimum a Calgary premiere (i.e. the film cannot have been screened publicly in Calgary prior to the 2023 Festival, including broadcast versions of any length, other local film festivals and cast/crew screenings.

3) FEATURE FILMS MUST NOT be or have been available online in any form within the province of Alberta (e.g. iTunes, VOD, Netflix).

4) SHORT FILMS - Priority is given to films that have not yet screened in Calgary and are not yet available online. We do accept competition-based created shorts, where screening online is part of the process (e.g. Telus STORYHIVE).

5) All applicable licenses and waivers of copyrights, moral rights, trademarks and other such intellectual property rights have been secured by the filmmaker(s) .

6) Films not in the English language must be subtitled in English.

7) Films previously submitted to the Festival in any stage of completion (i.e. films that were submitted as rough cuts) will not be reconsidered.

8) Submission fees are NON-REFUNDABLE.

9) Submission deadlines are at 11:59 PM MST of the posted date.

10) Generally, we aim to preview each film a minimum of two times. Some films may only be viewed once if by a programmer or member of programming staff or Artistic Director.


We provide fee waiver codes for festival alumni & Alberta productions. Please contact us if needed.

Alberta Short Films: Films must meet the Alberta point requirements to qualify. (Total of 5 points required). In order for the fee to be waived filmmakers must contact the programming department to request a waiver PRIOR to submitting their film. Please contact programming@ciffcalgary.ca.

Alberta location (2 points)
Resident Albertan principal cast member (1 point)
Resident Albertan writer (1 point)
Resident Albertan producer (1 point)
Resident Albertan director (1 point)
Alberta funding source (2 points)

Student Short Film: Must be enrolled in or recently graduated from a post-secondary institution. Must upload a copy of student ID, transcript or signed letter from a professor on university letterhead to FilmFreeway.

Youth by Youth Canada: Must be 18 years of age or under at the time of filming and a Canadian resident. Must upload a copy of student ID, driver's license or signed letter verifying age and Canadian residency from a teacher on school letterhead to FilmFreeway.

Overall Rating
  • Kevin Dong

    Always great to show at our hometown festival. The fest transforms our local scene into a great hub for networking, inspiration, and overall a great celebration of community. The shorts programming team was a blast to work with!

    December 2022
  • Sean McCarron

    I had a wonderful experience at the Calgary International Film Festival. My short film "Corvine" had its world premiere here. It was my first festival and I was impressed with the festival team, the communication, and the programming. I will certainly be back to enjoy the festival regardless if I have a film in competition.

    November 2022
  • Jessica Brown

    Unfortunately we weren't able to attend the festival due to other projects so we weren't able to take advantage of the networking opportunities, however we are so very proud that our film played at the Calgary International Film Festival!

    November 2022
  • Being part of the CIFF has been incredible for me. As a young filmmaker I didn't even thought that my first ever short film "CO2", would displayed in this festival. I really enjoyed participating and I hope to do it next time.

    November 2022
  • Aviva Zimmerman

    Fantastic staff, great films, wonderful audiences - overall amazing festival! I am so happy to have screened my films at CIFF!

    November 2022