The Guelph Film Festival started in the early 1980's, making it one of the oldest documentary-focused film festivals in the world. We are located in Guelph, Ontario, Canada and our programming focuses on social justice, the environment, and community building (all broadly construed). We have purposefully kept the festival small to encourage participation in our post-film discussions, which are lead by the filmmaker, film subject, and/or someone from the community with knowledge of the topic(s) that can connect broader issues with local initiatives and understandings. At the GFF we focus on inspiring community engagement and appreciation for the arts through connecting people with stories of global reach and local relevance. #LetsTalkDoc

The Guelph Film Festival is dedicated to expanding the proliferation of  voices and perspectives of all kinds, through the presentation of stories from the margins. We program 50% Canadian Documentaries (this applies to both films shot in Canada and/or with a Canadian Director), 50% with Female/Female-Identifying Directors, 50% Diversity (BIPOC/LGBTQ+/Deaf & Disabled). At least two screenings every year are dedicated to Indigenous-made documentaries. We are serious about promoting gender parity and diversity in the film industry and every decision we make is guided by principles of inclusion.

Our 2019 festival opened with the important social justice doc Conviction, hosted the world premier of the NFB eco-doc Sovereign Soil, and closed with the urgently needed PUSH. In addition to offering screenings of well renowned films, we are passionate about discovering and supporting the hidden gems and emerging filmmakers...the great docs that may not have made it into HotDocs, but that deserve a passionate audience to experience their stories.

The festival takes place over nine days at the beginning of November in a variety of venues throughout downtown Guelph. Venues range in size from 80-300 seats, with most being around 80-100 seats and include a variety of community locations from galleries, museums, and performance centres to coffee shops, large churches to art studios, and a 300 seat theatre on campus.

An honorarium will be awarded to each documentary selected for screening at the twenty-third annual Guelph Film Festival.

$500 (CAD) for features: International/World Premiere 
$350 (CAD) for features: Canadian Premiere 
$250 (CAD) for features: Guelph Premiere
$65-200 (CAD) for mid-length between 21-59 mins
$50-65 (CAD) for shorts less than 20 mins

The festival considers films that have screened in Canada - ONLY GUELPH PREMIER IS REQUIRED- however, we do take these previous screenings and filmmaker availability into consideration when making official selections.

23rd Annual Guelph Film Festival
The Guelph Film Festival is a not-for-profit that presents more than 30 documentaries (features, mid-length, and shorts) every year to a dedicated audience of film enthusiasts during the nine day festival. Each screening receives the full focus of the festival, as each event has a dedicated time slot with no overlap, so that all films can be attended by the full community. Most of the screenings are accompanied by a post-film discussion focused on either the filmmaker, film subject, or community connections to the film's topic(s).

If your film has a connection to the city of Guelph (either in having been partial filmed here or having crew members connected with the city), please reach out and let us know!


1. The GFF only accepts DOCUMENTARIES, with the exception of the children’s program, which focuses on short docs, narratives, and animations geared towards children audiences with the age range of 4-11.
2. The content of the documentaries must fit within the festival themes of SOCIAL JUSTICE, the ENVIRONMENT, and/or COMMUNITY BUILDING (all broadly construed).
3. Only films completed after April 2019 will be considered.
4. Films which have received screenings in Guelph, ON prior to the festival are ineligible.
5. Films previously submitted to the Guelph Film Festival are ineligible.
6. Films openly available on the internet are ineligible (some exceptions are made for shorts).
7. Press Kits are required upon selection, including 3-5 film stills, a director's headshot, a short (50 words) and long (<200 words) synopsis.
8. Promotional materials of selected films become the property of the GFF and can be used to promote the Festival and the programs of the Festival in all mediums.
9. All films must be submitted with a private online screener embedded on FilmFreeway.
10. If selected for the festival, a high quality H264 QUICKTIME compliant file is the preferred exhibition format (15GB max), as we believe in saving filmmakers money (especially emerging filmmakers).
11. Shorts and mid-length docs chosen will be compiled into programs for screenings.
12. Short submissions must be under 20min in duration.
13. Mid-length submissions must be between 21-60min in duration.
14. Feature submissions must be over 61min in duration, and not exceed 110min.
15. ALL SUBMISSION FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE. It is the responsibility of the filmmaker to ensure that their submission is applicable for our festival, meets all requirements, and adheres to all rules.

Screening Access

The Festival will provide two complimentary Festival passes for each feature (60+ minutes) presented. Short and mid-length filmmakers will receive one complimentary Festival pass. Some support for travel to attend the festival may be available, but is subject to funding and is influenced by the volume of requests.

Program Selection

Entries will be reviewed by a Programming Committee appointed by/and including the Artistic Director. The programming committee is made up of local filmmakers, artists, and community members/documentary enthusiasts.

Upon Acceptance

1. All digital screeners must be delivered to the GFF by September 10, 2020 and can provided either via a download link/instructions emailed to or mailed on a USB key at shipper’s expense to:
@ 10C Shared Space
42 Carden Street
Guelph, ON, N1H 3A2
Note: USB keys will not be returned.
2. Digital Press Kits including 3-5 film stills, a director's headshot, a short synopsis (~50 words) and long synopsis(<200 words), trailer (if available), and social media handles/hashtags should be emailed to
3. Promotional materials of selected films become the property of the GFF and can be used to promote the Festival and the programs of the Festival in all mediums.

Overall Rating
  • Had a great time at this little fest. It was very well run, with excellent communication channels, lots of filmmaker perks, and a slate of films worth seeing. I will be submitting again next year!

    November 2019