The Pendance Film Festival has quickly become one of the largest film festivals in Canada and is among the fastest-growing film festivals in the world. The 4-day event takes place in downtown Toronto at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The festival features the best films from around the world, numerous panels, hundreds of international guests, workshops, conferences, concerts, networking events, and parties.

Pendance is supported by some of the top filmmakers, studios, and sponsors in the world. The festival features top-industry members on both shorts and features juries, and draws in mid-tier distribution companies and sales agents each year. Curated with love, and organized with filmmaker support and experience always in mind, Pendance is a must-stop for independent filmmakers around the world.

5 Reasons to Submit to Pendance

1) Story Over Everything. That's our motto, and it means the world to us. That means star-power, buzz, hype, language, country of origin, genre, OR whether a filmmaker has been selected in a previous edition does not determine our decision as programmers. We program purely on the basis of story, and a film's technical polish. We're uniquely transparent about why films get into Pendance.

2) No screeners. We don't outsource our screenings to volunteers. Ever. Programmers watch each film through to completion.

3) We prioritize filmmaker education. Not only does Pendance select some of the top emerging filmmakers in the world each year, it also plays host to some of the top minds in the Canadian film industry, leading panels and workshops. Past workshop leaders include filmmakers like Mark Raso, Barbara Vekaric, Ann Lupo, Peter Brunner, and Miljan Milovanovic. Panelists in 2020 included Daniel Bekerman, Lauren Grant, Lauren Howes, Ani Simon-Kennedy, and Katarina Gligorijevic.

4) We pack the house. You're a filmmaker. We're filmmakers. We understand the pain of watching a film with fifteen people. We work very hard each year to make sure that not only do we host Pendance at the top venues in Toronto like the AGO and TIFF Bell Lightbox, but that these venues are packed to capacity.

5) Programmers respect Pendance. We're a young festival, but we've quickly earned a solid reputation for programming great films. Due to our rigid quality control standards, you can be sure that an official selection at Pendance can be leveraged forward to gain a lot of credibility with other festival programmers as well.

Best Picture - A Prize awarded to the best feature film
Jury Prize: Best Short Film- Awarded to the best short film (under 40 minutes)

1) Only films completed after January 1st, 2019 are eligible for the festival. 

2) Pendance maintains strict premiere requirements for features. Feature films which have previously screened in Ontario are not eligible to screen at Pendance. Shorts will be subject to more flexible premiere requirements, but Pendance would prefer films that have not previously screened in Ontario.

3) STUDENT FEES are only for current film school students or filmmakers who made films while enrolled in film school. In order to qualify for a student fee, please be sure to upload a clear copy of a student ID on the attachments section of your filmmaker profile. 

4) Please do not change the screener link address or password of your submission. If you do, please notify us immediately or you risk your film not being previewed and thus considered for the festival.

5) Films in a language other than English must be subtitled in English. We prefer subtitles be burned into the submission copy. 

6) Pendance requires DCPs for exhibition. In the event that one is unavailable, we request a PRORES screener link so that we may create a DCP on your behalf.

7. All submission fees are non-refundable. If your film does not fit our submission guidelines, it will be disqualified.

8. Press Kits are requested, but not required. Trailers are however required. If your film is selected, and a trailer is not available, Pendance may on your behalf create a clip no longer than 60 seconds for promotional purposes only.

9. The final date to withdraw a selected film from the festival is January 5th, 2021. This is to clear up any premiere conflicts. After this period, you may not withdraw the film.

10. Films must not be available online or be publicly available in the United States or Canada. If your film is available publicly and you still wish to submit for our special screenings, please email us. Do not submit your film, as it will be disqualified.

Filmmakers are encouraged to attend the festival. If you’re selected and intend to attend the event, please get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can arrange for complimentary passes and gala tickets. The festival provides 2-nights stay at a hotel downtown to short filmmakers selected, and airfare as well as 4-nights stay for features filmmakers.


Additional Information 

We strongly encourage filmmakers to submit their film only after it is fully finished and will judge each submission as a completed work, whether it is or not. Once a film is entered, we will not update the submission with a more recent cut. That said, because Pendance's focus is primarily on story and writing, minor technical changes will not affect the final decision of any film. Should the film be accepted to play during Pendance, the filmmaker will have the opportunity to supply the festival with their most recent version. 
*PENDANCE PRESS: We are often asked for private screeners to review ahead of and after the screenings to generate positive publicity. The list of media are widely known and reputable. If you do not wish for your screener to be reviewed by the press via private link, or if you'd prefer to handle publicity on your own film, please specify this upon selection.
*GENRE RESTRICTIONS: While we’re open to all genres, if your film features excessive violence, gore, nudity or sexuality, please email to the festival before submitting to confirm it is eligible.

Overall Rating
  • A life changing experience! Congratulations to the whole team at Pendance. They truly care and even more importantly, they think!

    May 2020
  • Alberto Corredor Marina

    Curated with love and dedication, you won't find any festival director more committed than Robert Misovic. He gave his everything to make this edition of the Pendance Festival special, and I'm happy to have been part of a tremendous lineup of films. Pendance is a blast! Definitely one to follow, you won't be disappointed.

    April 2019
  • Incredible festival that truly supports indie film makers. Excellent communication and follow up - great promotion of our short film 'Fake News'. Wonderful to be included!

    April 2019
  • Grayson Whitehurst

    Pendance was such an unforgettable experience. They’re highly selective with their films and rightfully so - Rob and his team have designed something incredible for filmmakers and film lovers alike. Communication was phenomenal from the moment we were accepted, the event schedule was packed with some amazing workshops and networking opportunities, and the quality of the viewing experience went above and beyond expectation. 5/5.

    April 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Grayson! It was wonderful to have yourself, Taylor, and the Handful of Dust team up in Toronto. It was such a pleasure to meet you and we all wish you so much success on your road ahead.

  • Great communication and selection of films ! I was honored to have a film in this festival. They even edited a beautiful trailer for my film ;-) Unfortunately I couldn't attend the festival (I had a shooting in France at the same time) but I had the feeling of being there thanks to facebook and the team's perfect communication. One of the festival I would really wish to attend.

    April 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Thomas. We're so humbled by your talent as a storyteller and can't wait to see more work in the future.