The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival is a cultural, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to recognize, promote and celebrate the art of cinema by showcasing Canadian films and filmmakers.

Our Mission
Our mission is grounded in the belief that Canadian film and filmmakers are distinctive and vital to Canada’s culture and the development of the local economy.

Our Vision
We believe in programming and content that provides Ottawa audiences with entertaining and high-quality independent films, information, activities and events. Our festival, events, online presence and resources aim to encourage collaboration, artistic innovation and creativity while providing access for a broad audience segment.

The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival is committed to cooperation and collaboration with other arts organizations as well as the business community. Our programs are interactive, entertaining, educational and great value for the money.

A Special Note about our November 2020 Festival Screenings
As a result of the covid-19 pandemic and out of an abundance of caution we have decided to move OCanFilmFest screenings in November 2020 online to Vimeo’s On Demand platform. All other aspects of the festival remain unchanged, including the jury process, and screening fees paid to all films selected to be included in the festival. We plan to return to the Arts Court Theatre in 2021.

Submission Acceptance
As part of its commitment to promote the growth of independent Canadian films, Ottawa Canadian Film Festival is now accepting submissions for its 2020 Film Festival Program which will take place in October 2020.

We are looking for great stories in all genres whether they are fiction or documentary of short or feature length.

We invite filmmakers to visit our website and check out some Frequently Asked Questions:

These Canadian films must meet the following criteria:

- Films submitted MUST be written or directed by a Canadian filmmaker
- May be fiction, documentary, animation or experimental of short or feature length
- Films which have received television or theatrical exposure are eligible*
- Films available on the Internet are eligible*
- There are NO exceptions to these criteria.

* Please note: In deciding the festival's film program line-up a strong emphasis and consideration will be given to film submissions that will have an Ottawa premiere.

- Screening fees will be paid to all selected films.
- An Audience Favourite will be named based on votes cast by audience members at the festival.
- All selected film entries will be promoted and featured on the festival's website and on its social media platforms.

Screening Access
The Festival will provide one complimentary festival pass for each film selected.

To be eligible please read all of the rules and guidelines carefully before making your submission.

- Films submitted MUST be written or directed by a filmmaker who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident,
- We can not accept films made by filmmakers who are not Canadian Citizens or permanent residents for this call for submissions.
- Multiple submissions are allowed.
- We only accept submission entries digitally through
- We do not accept submissions by email or physical submissions sent by mail.
- We are not responsible for improperly functioning on-line screeners or passwords.
- All submitted films in a language other than English must have English subtitles.
- We strongly encourage submissions by Ottawa based filmmakers as well as submissions by Canadian filmmakers of French language films (with English subtitles).
- Films which have received television or theatrical exposure are eligible*
- Films available on the Internet are eligible*
- Entrants are responsible for securing all rights and permissions from copyright and other holders relating to their film and agree to all terms as detailed herein.
- The festival reserves the right not to select any submission that we feel is inappropriate for any reason.
- All submissions will be notified of the results of the festival's decision by September1, 2020.
- If selected for the festival, we will require an electronic exhibition copy of the film. DNxHD, h.264 or ProRes codecs in mov or mp4 containers are acceptable. Resolutions 1920x1080 or 1280x720.
- Filmmakers must deliver a final format as indicated for festival screening. There are no exceptions.

* Please note: In deciding the festival's film program line-up a strong emphasis and consideration will be given to film submissions that will have an Ottawa premiere.

- All film submissions will be assessed based on the criteria and rules and guidelines as described in the call for submissions.
- If your film is short listed, you will asked to confirm that your film is available for screening at the festival.
- A submission may not be withdrawn from the Festival once they have been accepted and you have confirmed its availability.
- The decision of selection committee and festival is final.

Visit our website for Frequently Asked Questions:

The following information MUST be included with your submission:
- Film title and year of production,
- logline (brief one sentence summary)
- A brief synopsis of the film (100 words max.),
- Running time/length of the film
- Language(s) of film and available subtitles (where relevant),
- Premiere status (i.e. has it premiered in Canada or internationally and, if so, where?),
- Full name of the filmmaker,
- A brief biography of the filmmaker (100 words max., including province of origin and current residence) and
- Contact information (email address, phone number and complete mailing address).

Terms and Conditions
I as submitter of this entry and the undersigned, acknowledge and agree that:
1. I have read, understand and fully comply with all submission eligibility Rules, Guidelines, Terms and Conditions requirements;
2. To the best of my knowledge, all of the statements in my submission document are true;
3. This film or video is not subject to any litigation nor is threatened by any litigation;
4. I am duly authorized to submit this film to the festival;
5. I hold the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival and its parent organization the Ottawa Independent Film Festival as well as its owners, management, juries, subsidiaries, agents, sponsors, affiliates, etc. harmless from any and all claims of liability resulting from my entry;
6. I certify that I am the copyright holder of the film and have all necessary rights and clearances to have the film publicly screened by the festival;
7. I certify that I have full rights to the use of the music in the entered work;
8 . I give permission to the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival to screen the film at the festival
9. I also give permission to the festival to use stills, titles, copy, and/or information from the film for promotional purposes and the right to adapt/modify the film's trailer or to use a very brief portion of the film (if trailer is not available) for promotion of the festival's events and screenings.

Overall Rating
  • Matthew J. Blecha

    Highly Recommend This Festival. Well-Organized! Good Communication. Great Mindset Towards the Promotion of All Participating Films. Great Job, Everyone!

    November 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Matthew. It was a pleasure to meet you at the festival this year. Looking forward to more amazing shorts from your team!

  • Matt Kelly

    We were thrilled to hold the world premiere of The Mayor of Comedy at the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival. The staff and venue were a highlight, thanks for having us.

    November 2019
    Response from festival:

    It was our pleasure. Thanks for a dynamic and enlightening Q&A session as well!

  • Love this curated festival! I will definitely submit my next film here!

    November 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Luvia. Your film was well received. Looking forward to checking out future projects from your team.

  • This festival is wonderful. The programming is really high quality. For a small festival, I had one of my best screenings. The audience is so engaged and intelligent I was taken aback of how intimate the audience interaction was with my film. The festival staff are professional, they really try and promote your film within the community. I will apply again. I recommend this festival. I am honoured I got to take part.

    November 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much for the review. It was great to see you there in person and the audience really appreciated the opportunity to chat with you about your film and the process you went through to create it. Keep creating great Canadian art. As we have learned over the past few years, there is a highly engaged audience for them. It is especially amazing to feature local Ottawa-area filmmakers.

  • Darlene Tait

    2019 was our teams second appearance at this gem of a festival! Wonderful people, very well organized and great advance communication. Will submit again!
    Darlene Tait; Producer
    The Still Life of Annika Myers

    November 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much for the review. We are looking forward to what you've got coming up next. Keep creating great Canadian films! If we have learned anything though the experience of putting this festival together, there's so much excellent Canadian film out there and there are audiences ready to appreciate it.