The Pendance Film Festival brings together the brightest emerging talents and original storytellers in the world every winter in Toronto. With packed and energetic audiences, a relentless filmmaker-first attitude and top-notch programming, Pendance has quickly become one of the fastest growing film festivals in the world.

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, politics, country of origin, genre, OR whether a filmmaker has been selected in a previous edition does not sway our decision as programmers. We program purely on the basis of story, and a film's ability to resonate with our audience. We're uniquely transparent about why films get into Pendance.

2) Our programmers watch each film through to completion. There are no volunteer test screeners or rounds to get through. We're obsessed with films.

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.

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 but that these venues are packed to capacity.
Bonus? They're packed with artists. From actors and writers to cinematographers and directors. Our entire network and mailing list is chalk full of screenwriters, directors, producers, actors. This is who we are, who you are, and our audience reflects this. As a side bonus, this is totally reflected in how engaging and deep our Q&A sessions are after each screening.

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.

Jury Prize: Best Picture - A Prize awarded to the best feature film
Jury Prize: Best Short Film- Awarded to the best short film (under 40 minutes)
Best Director - A Prize awarded to the best Director in the Features Competition
Best Canadian Short Film - An Award for the Best Canadian Short Film.


1) Only films completed after January 1st, 2022 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. There are currently no premiere requirements for shorts.

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 December 18th, 2024. This is to clear up any premiere conflicts. After this period, you may not withdraw the film for any reason, including disputes over screening fees. If a selected filmmaker is unresponsive, Pendance cannot guarantee that this will result in automatic disqualification and the film may still end up screening.

10. Films must not be available online or be publicly available in the United States or Canada during the week leading up to the festival. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film may have screened online as part of another festival. Due to the pandemic, exceptions will be made for short films that are available via paid streaming services.

11. If a selected film does not submit materials in time, and materials are not available, Pendance may opt to select the film but not screen it.

In the event of a live event, 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 from outside Ontario, and a limited airfare credit as well as 2-nights stay for International features filmmakers.


The Pendance Library is a tightly curated online library of some of the best independent films from around the world. New in 2022, filmmakers can submit directly for a library selection through FilmFreeway. All films officially selected to Pendance are automatically eligible for the Pendance Library once they become publicly available.
Check the library here:

A) There are no completion date restrictions for Library selections. Any film under 200 minutes is eligible for the Pendance Library.

B) All library selections must be available via a direct link to a vimeo screener. The screener must be made public, and cannot be password protected while the film remains in the Pendance Library.

C) Pendance requests all film stay on our library platform for a minimum of a year.

D) Films selected to the library are not eligible for official selection to the festival.


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
  • This festival is a treasure. Robert really knows how to run a festival! My short "Julie Baby" screened in 2024 to a packed house thanks to Pendance's programming, outreach, and audience. The fest paid special attention to the filmmaker experience, too, by creating comfortable, intimate socials, red carpet and press interviews, and engaging audience Q&As. I feel so lucky to have made the connections and memories I did at Pendance - and thanks to Robert for making it all possible!

    April 2024
  • If you’re a filmmaker reading these reviews trying to find out how is attending Pendance, i’ll tell you what you need to know.
    Our film “L’Incidente” found in Pendance its best audience ever. A theatre packed with young film passionate people. Everywhere Q&As are a little shy, in Pendance they race to ask you questions about your craft (that happened to every screening I attended there).
    The reason for this is that Robert & the Pendance team are extraordinary dedicated, they hand pick their curation with so much care, they value every single filmmaker and they thank them for submitting their work. The networkings are one of a kind because if you’re on your own Pendance team will introduce someone to you and you’ll have the best and most inspiring conversations ever. Pendance is the future of film festivals and you better not sleep on it.

    March 2024
  • What an event! Although new to the festival scene, I was astounded by the quality of the organization and the programming of the festival.

    A highlight of the festival is its conviviality, featuring not only excellent creators but also, and most importantly, exceptional human beings with whom it is very pleasant and easy to engage in conversation!

    I cannot recommend this festival enough and would be honored to return in the future.

    March 2024
  • jake remington

    We were there for our feature $$$. It was an amazing experience with an incredible founder / programmers. A breath of fresh air to arrive and understand that this fest is built by people with serious passion and enthusiasm for cinema and filmmakers. They respect and care about the artists and try to pack the house for them. It was a beautiful weekend that we won't forget. Thanks to Robert and Kayla for everything.

    March 2024
  • Josh Monkarsh

    Such a great experience having my film premiere at Pendance. They are truly an amazing film festival and really do believe in story before everything, which as a filmmaker I appreciate. They are also incredible at promoting their films, hence the full house at my screening. Nothing but great things to say. Incredible festival. Five stars.

    May 2023