We are proud to announce the 5th Durham Region International Film Festival (DRIFF) to be held October 03-05, 2019.

DRIFF programs compelling films from around the world while fostering the regional film community that produces high quality content in Durham.

Join us in celebrating you, the Artist, as we focus on providing a platform to screen your creative work, excite audiences and receive recognition for excellence in the arts. Filmmakers have an opportunity to engage with the public through Q&A sessions and social mixers, shining a light on the creative industry behind the lens.

Features, shorts, documentaries, animation, comedies, and student film projects are all invited for submission. Cash awards are given to winners in 4 categories.

DRIFF is dedicated to the education, growth, and support of local filmmaking as a cultural and economic asset, honoring the creative spirit and belief that film can effect positive change.

2019 Festival Awards:

Best Student Film - $500 cash prize
Best Short Film - $500 cash prize
Best Feature Film - $500 cash prize
Best Regional Film - $1000 cash prize*

* If your film contains one or more of the following criteria you will be considered for the Regional prize of $1000.

1. If the producer/director/screenwriter live in Durham Region.
2. If a substantial number of your production crew is from Durham Region.
3. If more than 30% of the film was shot on location in Durham Region.
4. If more than 3 locations in Durham Region were used.
5. If your foley or film score was produced by Durham Region Artists.
6. If the script was written by a Durham Region screenwriter.
7. If your documentary content and subject matter profiles Durham Region.

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.

SHORT FILMS : Films that are over 1 minute and under 44 minutes including all genres.
FEATURE FILMS : Films that are 44 minutes and over including all genres.
Important Dates:
- Production : only works produced after January 1, 2018 will be accepted.
- Submission : The deadline for submission is August 05, 2019.
- Selection : Applicants will be informed of the results of the selection by September 3rd, 2019.

The following should be provided with each submission:
- Completely filled submission form
- A secured web screener, working until the end of the Festival, October 5th 2019
- Full payment of the submission fees.

Films must not have a scheduled theatrical release in Ontario before the festival dates: October 17-20, 2019. No entry shall have been screened commercially, released in video format or available on the internet or video-on-demand prior to the Festival (exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Festival Committee upon selection).

Filmmakers whose films have been chosen for screening at the festival will be notified by EMAIL ONLY, on or before September 3rd, 2019. The judge’s decisions is final and not subject to appeal. Scheduling of screening dates, times, and locations is at the sole discretion of DRIFF.

Please Note. DRIFF organizers have final authority on all matters not specifically covered by these regulations.
For more information, please contact us at programming@driff.ca.

Overall Rating
  • A 'must enter' for any aspiring and seasoned filmmaker. Great people talking, living and loving great movies! ...Recommended.

    November 2018
  • Scott Brown

    They've put together a great event in Durham Region. My film screened at the Docville Wild West Set which was well attended and a very unique place to watch a movie. I was also impressed with the quality of the projector and the audio. It was possibly the best I've seen. I attended several panels and networked with other filmmakers and industry professionals. I had a great time and would definitely return!

    January 2018
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
    Response from festival:

    Nick, thank you for the thoughtfully feedback. Without constructive criticism we as a festival can not evolve.

    First let me say that I am very sorry that you had a very disappointing experience at the festival in 2017.

    My name is Kirk Cooper the new programming director at the festival. I intend to take a closer look at comments regarding the venues to ensure that the filmmaker and the audience will have a wonderful viewing experience. As a festival we will address our overall communication internally and make sure that volunteers are equipped with relevant information for our guests at the festival. In addition I will start by send a comprehensive package explaining what happens after a filmmaker has been selected and I will be available to all our selected filmmakers should they have question or concerns from the moment they have been selected.

    Again, thank you and we understand that our festival may never be your first or any choice for future submissions, but we do hope that you could reconsider.

    I wish you all the best with your endeavour…