The Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLiFF) features films made by, for, and about the world of work and those who do it, in Canada and internationally. The films we showcase are about unionized workers, as well as those not represented by unions. We encourage projects regarding any and every aspect of work, as well as issues affecting work or workers. The festival draws trade unionists, community members, youth, activists, students, educators, artists, and allies from across North America and elsewhere around the world.

CLiFF is a free national film festival which first started in 2009. The founding committee, composed of social justice, community and trade union activists, took two years to plan the festival before it made its debut across Canada. In its inaugural year, more than 40 locations across the country participated in CLiFF.

CLiFF is held across Canada every year in November - Labour Film Month

Artist Fees and Screening Fees
CLiFF pays artist fees for the right to screen films according to the 2021 CARFAC Minimum Copyright and Professional Fees schedule:

Films up to 15 minutes:
Single Presentation: $112 CAD
Multiple Presentations: $510 CAD

Films Up to 30 minutes:
Single Presentation: $148 CAD
Multiple Presentations: $663 CAD

Films Up to 60 minutes:
Single Presentation: $184CAD
Multiple Presentations: $714 CAD

Festival-in-a-Box (FIAB)
CLiFF has developed the innovative Festival-in-a-Box (FIAB) program, designed to make it more accessible for any groups or individuals to organize a CLiFF screening in their communities. FIAB programs a complete film festival in a ready-to-use format which means that community film gatherings can be made possible without requiring too many additional or unaffordable resources.

The CLiFF Board selects programs of 60 to 120 minute comprising of films accepted into the festival to host screenings in diverse communities around Canada.

VISION
CLiFF tells the stories of workers (both paid and unpaid) and is the stage and the voice of those who seek justice on the job and dignity in the workplace.

Our festival provides a national platform to showcase those stories which have been made into films, but cannot find an audience beyond the film makers’ own circle of influence. We give filmmakers exposure across Canada and also help to direct community attention towards labour films made in the past that represent stories that deserve a wider and current audience.

History and Young Workers
CLiFF also provides workers with examples of what other workers have done or are doing, whether in Canada or around the world, to deal with challenges they have had in their workplaces, and more broadly in their lives as a result of being workers.

The trade union movement and individual workers have played an important role in shaping the Canada we know today. Many of our films show struggles of the past, as well as details of what is happening today.

Furthermore, giving workers, especially young workers, an opportunity to learn some of the history of the trade union movement is crucial in continuing to fight for working class justice.

The CLiFF Best-in-Festival Award goes to the film judged to be the best in the festival by the CLiFF Board of Directors. This prize has a cash value of $100.00 CAD.

The Miguel Cifuentes Radical Change Award has been created in memory of CLiFF’s late board member and a longtime labour activist, Miguel Cifuentes, who passed away in 2014. The award goes to the film that best reflects his passion for social justice and commitment to social change. The winning film is chosen by Miguel’s family and is announced after the final screening in November. This prize has a cash value of $100.00 CAD.

The Best Canadian Film award is to recognize the Canadian film which best meets CLiFF's purpose of telling stories of workers, unionized and non-unionized, through film by sharing the voice of those who seek justice on the job and dignity in the workplace.
The prize has a case value of $100.00 CAD.

The Beating Heart award recognizes a filmmaker from an equity-seeking group to help support these important voices in film. Women, non-binary, LGBTQ, persons of colour or Aboriginal filmmakers are eligible for this award. It was instituted in 2019. The prize has a case value of $100.00 CAD.

The LabourStart Award is for Working Class Solidarity which recognizes the festival film that speaks the most to building worker-to-worker global solidarity. This award is funded by LabourStart and the recipient is voted on by the global executive of LabourStart. It was instituted in 2020. The award includes a $100 CAD prize.

Eligibility
We are looking for films on a wide spectrum of labour and worker issues, including films about: privatization, youth, people of colour, Indigenous peoples, immigrants, refugees, detainees, health & safety, resistance, art, poetry, women, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, taxi drivers, truck drivers, rickshaw drivers – anyone who does anything considered work.

We also encourage the widest possible variety of films: from documentaries to drama to poetry/poetic treatments to comedy and animation.

• The Festival is open to all film and video makers.
• The Festival is accepts films 60 minutes or shorter only
• Films and videos must be in English or have English subtitles. French subtitles are also accepted (and encouraged).
• Entries should be produced between 2018 and 2021.

Preference will be given to films not yet widely distributed.

Deadline
Submissions must be received no later than May 9, 2021.

Artist Fees and Screening Fees
CLiFF pays artist fees for the right to screen films according to the CARFAC Minimum Copyright and Professional Fees schedule:

Films up to 15 minutes:
Single Presentation: $130 CAD
Multiple Presentations: $519 CAD

Films Up to 30 minutes:
Single Presentation: $192 CAD
Multiple Presentations: $640 CAD

Films Up to 60 minutes:
Single Presentation: $262CAD
Multiple Presentations: $772 CAD

CLiFF screenings are free for audiences in order to ensure that the films are seen by and accessible to as many people as possible.

Please note that your film may be shown at one or more of our festival locations across Canada.

In solidarity
CLiFF Board of Directors

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Tom Strnad

    Great festival to showcase the unique story of how a union helped create the extraordinary Gathering Circle - a great voice for films showcasing union projects.

    December 2020
  • I feel proud that my film was selected in this festival .God Luck for future event ..

    December 2020
  • Hello
    The festival was wonderful and successful
    I hope it will be more glorious every year

    December 2020
  • The festival personnel communicated with me regularly, answered my queries quickly, promoted me and my film in the context of promoting the festival and they pay screening fees! The only thing that would have made it better would have been to be able to go there in person for the events.

    December 2020
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    Response from festival:

    Thanks for the review David. We also wish you could have been here in person :-)

  • Peter Findlay

    CLIFF was a fantastic experience for Company Town!!

    Like we've all had to do during Covid, CLIFF adapted to the current realities and fully pivoted to an online festival that was truly second-to-none in reaching an important (and growing) network of politically-engaged labour & social activists who see the power of film in helping transform society.

    From Newfoundland to Nunavut, Surrey to St. John, CLIFF was everywhere in Canada in the month of November --- not to mention audiences as far afield as the UK, Scandanavia, the Far East and across the US!

    Thanks to Frank Saptel, Derek Blackadder and the rest of the festival board for providing this great opportunity to filmmakers. All the best as CLIFF continues to take the message of working people onto screens everywhere!

    December 2020
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    Response from festival:

    That you Peter. Your excellent film helps us advance the cause of workers in Canada - and around the world. We need more films like yours!!