From April 26 - 28, the Canton Film Festival will screen short films in the historic Palace Theatre in downtown Canton, Ohio. Short films selected to screen in our weekend festival are all eligible for 6 audience choice prizes and a grand jury prize.

Canton Film Festival builds relationships between emerging filmmakers and an enthusiastic audience. From our selection process to our programming to our awards to our events -- everything focuses on giving filmmakers the chance to connect with the audience.

We don't invite films to play, we carefully select them through a screener process. We aren't looking for Hollywood insiders: we focus on having a majority of NEW FILMMAKERS at our festival. We're excited about fresh voices and the visions that will define tomorrow's cinema. Check out our rules for submission to see how we ensure that we're supporting NEW FILMMAKERS.

Our programs, events and structure are carefully designed to maximize opportunities for filmmakers to connect with audiences and build followers who will continue with them throughout their careers. If we select your film, you've won lifelong fans already, and the Canton Film Festival is where you'll meet them.

Even our awards are designed to facilitate these connections. Some of our awards are only available to filmmakers who join us for some great Midwestern hospitality during our festival. Six of our awards are selected by the audience.

Come and experience our midwestern, post-rustbelt, hardscrabble unforgettable hospitality. You'll never think of Ohio in the same way.

Audience prizes will be awarded in every block of the festival.

Short Films for Families: $200

Animated Short Films: $200

Documentary Short Films: $200

Dramatic Short Films: $200

Comedy Short Films: $200

Horror & Sci Fi Films: $200

A $1000 Final Jury Prize will be chosen from the top films in each block which will screen on our final day in the BEST OF THE FEST SCREENING. In keeping with our focus on building audience/filmmaker relations - only films whose filmmaker attends the festival are eligible for this Top Prize.

AWARDS FROM THE 2019 Festival:

The Canton Film Fest is delighted to announce the winners of each of our genre-driven AUDIENCE AWARDS.

MONSTERS - Family Friendly
SPIRIT SEAM - Animation
BOB & EDGAR - Comedy

The juried prize for best of the fest went to THE THING ABOUT BEECHER'S GATE (Jeremy Herbert) and an Honorable Mention was awarded to Jonathan Chiarle for FINAL CURTAIN.


This year, we are accepting films completed on or after January 1, 2018.

We do not require premiere status and will consider shorts which have been made available for online viewing (though preference will be given to films not available online).

Every submitted film will be viewed in its entirely by member(s) of our selection team.

Students are welcome and should include school information in their cover letter.

All submitted material must be the original work of the author(s) aside from copyrighted music (which we accept).

We accept material from anywhere in the world. All submitted material must be in English or with english subtitles.

Entry fees are non-refundable. No refunds will be issued for any reason.

Contest applicants must accept without reservations the decisions rendered by the competition.

Festival cannot provide lodging or travel stipends, but we will do our best to provide affordable options. Hosting filmmakers here in Canton, Ohio is a top priority for our festival.

Upon invitation, participants will be contacted via email with format confirmation, exhibition details, and delivery instructions.

Overall Rating
  • Thiago Dadalt

    Great Festival, great films and great people. I can't wait to come back soon.

    July 2019
  • Bill Redding

    Andrew and his team were very welcoming, organized, and filmmaker friendly. This is a great festival to submit to. Oh, and the Canton Palace Theater is beautiful.

    May 2019
  • I had the honor as my film as being selected as a finalist. unfortunately, I could not get to the USA but the director of the festival, Andrew gives great support and I have an only good word about him and is a wonderful festival. I strongly recommend submitting your films to this festival 😊

    May 2019
  • Jeremy Herbert

    I never thought I'd see something I made in a theater quite like the Canton Palace. The staff is second-to-none. The programming was top-to-bottom fantastic. The venue is Muppet-Show-ready Historic with a capital-H. I can't recommend it enough. One of the best fests I've ever been to.

    May 2019
  • Barbara Meier

    I wasn't able to attend the festival, but all the communication was great. Good job and good luck with the festival in the future.

    May 2019