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, we carefully select them. 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.


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
  • Brian Leitten

    We were honored to be a part of this festival. Communication with the staff was smooth. Nice venue and great audience. Hope to make it back next year.

    May 2017
  • Jeffrey Madzia

    Overall, another great experience this year at the Canton Film Festival! I plan to submit my work again next year. The Place Theater is a great venue in a downtown area with lots to explore. The only issue I had this year was a fairly minor one: identifying the people in charge at the event itself. I had some questions and had a hard time finding someone "in charge" to answer them for me. Eventually, all of my questions were answered. Perhaps some name tags would help?

    May 2017
  • Eddie Shieh

    Wonderful festival that's growing in size and stature. I'm honored to have screened here and hope to be back sooner than later!

    May 2017
  • Jeff Seemann

    CFF did an excellent job with promotion, and they opened up extra locations so they could accommodate more films by young filmmakers.

    Canton, Ohio has made excellent strides in their downtown area over the past decade, thanks to the local art community - and the Canton Film Festival is a huge part of that progress.

    I'm proud to have been part of this festival, and I intend to return as both a filmmaker and a film lover.

    May 2017