We are proud to announce the third Durham Region International Film Festival to be held September 18-24, 2017. Building on the wonderful success of our previous two events, this film festival will bring interesting films from around the world. Join us in celebrating you, the artist, as we focus on giving you a platform to showcase your creative work, excite audiences and receive recognition for excellence in the arts. Our goal is to give you the opportunity to build great relationships, a sense of pride as you connect with the audience and creative workshops to help you hone your craft. Features, shorts, documentaries, animation, comedies and student film projects are all invited for submissions. Trophies will be awarded to first place winners in 8 categories and three monetary prizes will be awarded as well.

Taking full advantage of Durham’s cultural landscape, DRIFF offers the magical experience of film both on screen and behind the scenes to audiences at the following locations: the elegant Regent Theatre, authentic Docville Wild West Movie Set, vibrant Robert McLaughlin Gallery and historic St. Francis Centre for Community, Arts & Culture. Various events will inspire filmmakers, movie buffs and the curious-minded with our script-to-screen programming and extraordinary stories we create. It is an opportunity to foster permanent connections between like-minded cineastes and industry professionals.

Throughout its seven-day duration, DRIFF will offer on-screen film screenings, industry mixers, an awards ceremony, receptions and creative workshops led by successful talents both on screen and behind the camera. A new addition to the festival this year is Monday through Thursday night programming which brings a new "red carpet" experience.

DRIFF brings this exciting event to Durham with the wonderful support of a volunteer committee who are very passionate about showcasing the film industry and talented artists. They are dedicated to the education, growth and support of local filmmaking as a cultural and economic asset, honoring the creative spirit and believing that film can effect positive change.

In future years, DRIFF will continue to grow and become an integral part of the local and international film culture as we aim to create experiences that bring people together through the art of cinema and foster a community that is more artistic, engaged and enlightened.

Awards & Prizes

Submissions to the festival are evaluated in an exciting array of competitive categories with following awards given:
1) Best Animated Short - Trophy, Certificate Portfolio
2) Best Feature Film - Trophy, Certificate Portfolio
3) Best Documentary Short - Trophy, Certificate Portfolio
4) Best Documentary Feature - Trophy, Certificate Portfolio
5) Best Comedy Short - Trophy, Certificate Portfolio
6) Best Comedy Feature - Trophy, Certificate Portfolio
7) Best Short Film - Trophy, Certificate Portfolio
8) Best Student Film $500, Trophy, Certificate Portfolio
9) People’s Choice Award - $1000, Trophy, Certificate Portfolio
10) Best Regional Film - $1000, Trophy, Certificate Portfolio

Rules & Terms

This festival is sponsored by the Durham Region International Film Festival (DRIFF) and is governed by the following official rules. The contest is subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations, and is void where prohibited by law.

Entrants must be at least 18 years old at the time of submission for all categories other than the Student category where they can be 14 years and over.

All genres are welcome however, films with “graphic content and/or language will be reviewed at the discretion of the festival screening committee. Pornographic or adult sex films, as defined by the Ontario Regulation 452/05 of the Film Classification Act, 2005, meaning, a film that has, as its main object, the depiction of explicit sexual activity, will not be accepted. DRIFF adheres to the guidelines and regulations of the Ontario Film Review Board in rating original material. Foreign language films must be subtitled or dubbed in English.

DRIFF will accept films from 1 minute in duration and up. Films must be completed after 2012 and not have a scheduled theatrical release in Durham Region within 30 days before the festival dates, which are September 18 to 24, 2017. No entry shall have been screened commercially, released in video format or available on the internet or video-on-demand prior to the Festival or within 30 days of the Festival (exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Festival Committee).

Entries can be received online, by mail, or in person at 128 Reynolds St., Whitby ON, L1N 3W6. Please put the title of the entry and your DRIFF tracking code on all submission materials, including directly on the DVD. Please note all entry materials, including hardcopy DVD material, will not be returned. Screeners may only be submitted in the following formats: Blu-ray, DVD or a Windows compatible file. Please do not send press kits with screeners. All Entrants authorize DRIFF permission to screen their film at the festival. If a film is selected, entrants will be required to provide a presentation film on a DVD or Blu-ray with the audio options to include “stereo only”, a press kit, and promotional items.

Entrants must cover all expenses related to transportation of the documentation; DVD and publicity material to the Festival (indicate No Commercial Value). Limit of two entries per category per entrant. If an entry is received without a clearly designated category, judges reserve the right to place the entry in the appropriate category. Entries and entry fees will not be returned.

Films must be postmarked by the deadline under which category they are submitted (i.e. Early-bird submissions must be postmarked by 11:59 pm April 10).

Winners' names and photographs will be published on www.durhamregionfilmfestival.ca. The filmmaker grants permission to DRIFF for the use of all publicity materials (including preview Blu-rays, DVDs and extracts or trailers of the selected film) to be used for promotional purposes, unless otherwise noted. Photos published will be credited to the photographer where possible. Winners may be asked to participate in other marketing initiatives related to promoting DRIFF.

The films selected for screening at the DRIFF will be chosen by the DRIFF programming committee. The winners of categories except for the “People’s Choice” will be selected by a panel of official judges and will be notified before the festival begins. Filmmakers whose films have been chosen for screening at the festival will be notified by EMAIL ONLY, by July 15, 2017. The judge’s decisions are final and not subject to appeal. Scheduling of screening dates, times, and locations is at the sole discretion of DRIFF.

DRIFF cannot be held responsible for entries that are lost, damaged, or delayed during transportation. DRIFF is not responsible for any failure of the website during this contest. Nor is it responsible for any problems or technical malfunctions of computer online systems, servers, access providers, computer equipment, software or any email, online or internet entry lost due to technical problems or traffic congestion on the internet or at any website or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to an entrant’s or any other person’s computer or property related to or resulting from playing or downloading any material in the promotion.

With regard to any film submitted to this contest, the entrant, or the owner of copyright of the film, retains copyright. By uploading or submitting any film to this contest, the entrant grants (or warrant that the owner of such materials expressly grants) DRIFF a royalty-free, world-wide, perpetual, non-exclusive license to display, distribute, reproduce, and create derivative works of the entries, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or subsequently developed, for any purpose, including, but not limited to advertising and promotional materials, its website, exhibition, and commercial products, including but not limited to DRIFF publications. DRIFF will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses. Winning entrants are required to sign a release containing the above conditions. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations.

The winner will be announced at the awards night and if the winner is not in attendance at DRIFF during the allotted time to accept their award, they must contact DRIFF within 10 days of that event, to discuss details of prize redemption and pick up. If the winner does not make contact within this time period, a new winner will be chosen.

Entrants must own all rights to the films submitted. Entrants hold Durham Region International Film Festival and the contest sponsors harmless from any breach of copyright. Films that violate or infringe upon another person's copyright are not eligible.
By accepting a contest prize, the winner: confirms compliance with these contest rules; acknowledges that the prize is not transferable (except as provided for herein and only at the Region’s absolute discretion) and must be accepted as awarded or otherwise except where stated; and releases DRIFF and all of its directors, officers, employees and agents, from and against all liability in connection with the contest and/or the awarding and/or use of any contest prize.

By entering the contest and for the sole purpose of DRIFF administration of the contest, you consent to the collection of your personal information by DRIFF.
By entering the contest you agree for any purpose and at any time in the future, without any fee or other form of compensation, to have your entry:
• Displayed at any DRIFF event location.
• Used in DRIFF’s print and electronic communications materials.
• Used in DRIFF’s advertising and promotional materials.

By participating in the contest, you agree to hold harmless DRIFF and its employees, agents and representatives from any and all damages, injuries, claims, causes of actions, or losses of any kind resulting from your participation in this contest, or attempted participation in the contest and any contest prize, including, without limitation the administration of the contest, the selection and confirmation of any contest winners, the arranging, awarding and use of any contest prize, and infringement of another person's intellectual property rights. You also release DRIFF and its employees, agents and representatives from any responsibility or liability for any damages, injuries, claims, causes of actions, or losses of any kind you may incur or suffer arising in whole or in part from your participation in this contest.

The awards process during the Durham Regional International Film Festival will be run in accordance with these rules, which shall be subject to amendment by DRIFF without notice. Entrants must comply with these rules and will be deemed to have received and understood these rules by participating in this film festival. The terms of this film festival, as set out in these rules, are not subject to amendment or counter-offer, except as set out herein. The awards process is subject to all applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws and regulations.

Cancel and Amend
DRIFF reserves the right to cancel, modify, or suspend this contest or to amend the contest rules at any time and in any way, without prior notice, for any reason whatsoever. Without limiting the foregoing, if for any reason the contest is not capable of running as originally planned, for example as a result of tampering or infection by computer virus, bug, corruption, security breach, or other cause beyond the contest sponsors’ reasonable control, DRIFF reserves the right to cancel or suspend the contest.

DRIFF reserves the right, in its absolute discretion, to disqualify without notice any entrant that they find to be: violating the contest rules; tampering or attempting to tamper with the entry process or the operation of the contest or any contest website; acting in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with the intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person; or attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the contest. Any attempt by an entrant or any other individual to undermine the legitimate operation of this contest may be a violation of criminal and/or civil laws. Should any such attempt be made, DRIFF reserves the right to seek remedies and damages to the fullest extent permitted by law, including criminal prosecution, and to ban or disqualify an entrant from this contest and any future contests.

Invalid Entry
DRIFF is not responsible for computer system, hardware, software or program malfunctions or other errors, failures, or delayed computer transactions or network connections that affect the contest or your participation in it. Furthermore, DRIFF is not responsible for: lost, misdirected, misplaced, illegible, unintelligible, incomplete or late entries any act, failure to act, or delay regarding the transmitting or processing of entries. DRIFF is entitled to interpret these rules as required and its decision is final.
DRIFF reserves the right to disqualify any entrant that it has reason to believe does not comply with the contest rules. DRIFF is not required to notify any entrants of disqualification. If, after the awarding of the contest's prizes, a contest winner is disqualified or determined to be ineligible, an alternate winner will be selected using the same random draw process described above. Alternative winners are subject to all requirements set forth in these rules.

4 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    Kyle Reaume

    A fantastic festival run by wonderful people. I had a great time seeing my short at the festival! Thanks to everyone at DRIFF!

    October 2017
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    Cassaundra Sloan

    I have to disagree with the comment below mine addressing the Docville screenings very negatively - while the venue was not a theatre in any means, the concept was the coolest and most original I've seen in a small film festival. I will be looking forward to it next year!

    No, it is not the place to screen the world premiere of your film so you can't judge it by that standard. It is a fantastic, fun, family friendly environment that puts emphasis on the great films with great clarity and communication from everyone involved. I can see DRIFF becoming a spectacle in a few years where the Docville idea becomes incredibly appealing to movie goers further out of the area. I had no negative experiences at DRIFF - my film was well received and played well on the screen with no audio or visual issues and no other films which I saw experienced this either. I am excited to return to this fantastic, innovative, fun festival next year with more of my friends and family.

    October 2017
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    Nick White

    It hurts me to give a poor rating to a newer festival just trying to make a name for itself, but I have to be honest both to inform other filmmakers looking to apply, as well as hopefully allow the festival itself to know about its own issues.

    To begin with, the specific venue that my short played at, the Docville Movie Set, is not in any way suitable for holding a film screening. House lights were left on, uncomfortable wooden chairs were scattered around for seating, some of which had obstructed views of the screen, and some guests of mine who were older actually had to leave early because the chairs were too hard on their backs. While the room was already too bright because of the lights being on, partway through the screening the staff also decided to open up a sliding door which let a significant amount of sunlight into the room. This not only created so much glare that the screen was nearly impossible to see for darker films like mine, but it also cast ugly shadows and sunspots over top of the images. This, above all else, is completely unacceptable. It shows a serious lack of professionalism and disrespect for the work being screened. The sound was also muddy and unclear at times, which makes sense given that we were in a barn not designed to have ideal acoustics, but that's just another great reason not to have your screening in a barn. I was also given assurance that all of the films had been tested beforehand, but given that my film kept cutting to black, and another film's sound played without dialogue the first time through, I am doubtful that this actually occurred, or if they were tested, I have a feeling it was in a different venue.

    In addition to this, because the festival was also filming a short film over the course of the day to screen at the end (a cool idea in theory), staff members and volunteers were talking loudly over top of the films as they were trying to organize their shoot. I think it's neat to use this venue to shoot a short and screen it at the end, and if that's all that was happening than I think this would be an okay event for the festival, but the actual film screenings happening throughout the day should not be going on there at the same time. It just makes all of our work, and the festival itself, look unprofessional.

    From what I heard from other attendees, the previous screenings held at actual movie theatres were pretty good, so I don't see why they are trying to screen more films in the barn. Just show them in a theatre another day, and if it's a matter of not being able to book proper venues for all the days, than there just shouldn't be as many days. There is no reason why a regional film festival that's been running less than 5 years needs to be a week long anyway.

    To go to issues not dealing with the venue though, the organization of the festival was rather poor, with no one seeming to be on the same page. Every time I would ask a staff member or volunteer something (I in particular was trying to get my filmmaker pass which would get me into the events), they would say they would go ask someone else about it and then never return, before finally at the end of the day, I was simply told that they had run out of passes and given them all to volunteers. I also had issues ahead of the festival e-mailing them looking for information about getting my tickets and how many I was entitled to so I knew how many people I could bring, and they would repeatedly dodge my questions and never give me straight answers. But I can at least say that the staff and volunteers were polite and courteous, and at least seemed to be trying to make the best of a mess of an event, even buying everyone lunch when the food trucks that were supposed to be there cancelled.

    The only other really positive thing I can say is that the festival was okay value since I was allowed to submit for free, but I was also told this was because they weren't getting enough applications. And this ties back to my aforementioned problem: if they aren't getting enough submissions, don't have as many screenings, so that the ones you do have can be held at adequate venues.

    I can't really comment on the networking as I wasn't able to attend any of the mixer events (it would be nice if the events were in the same city every day so that not so much travelling was required, thus leaving people like me who don't have cars unable to attend), but at my particular screening their were hardly any filmmakers (or audience members) there so networking was not really possible.

    All in all though, I wouldn't recommend other filmmakers apply to DRIFF unless there are significant changes in the organization of the festival next year.

    September 2017
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    Nikole Hidalgo

    It was a great experience. The organisation was really involved in offering a good experience to all the participants to the different events.

    September 2016