Since its inception in October 2017, the Pendance Film Festival has committed itself to a standard of excellence and an unrivaled passion for cinema. We exist to unite audiences who love great films with the artists who craft them.

We have a knack for programming films that stick with audiences, and it is the trust of both filmmakers and audiences that has made Pendance one of the fastest growing film festivals in the world.

Pendance is an independent film festival supported by a bevy of great sponsors and key artists within the Canadian film scene. Our slogan is 'Story Over Everything' and we really own it.

5 Reasons to Submit to Pendance:


Our selection process is uniquely transparent. Each official selection to Pendance is the process of deep deliberation over months of internal debates among our programmers. We care a great deal about the films we consider and the filmmakers who have entrusted us to consider their work. As filmmakers, we know that each film is the result of months and sometimes years of work. Each submission is watched by no less than two programmers.

Prior to being officially selected, a film is then watched and reviewed by each programmer before being subject to a final vote. We don't outsource our screenings to volunteers for preliminary selections. Our attention to detail is why there are no fillers at Pendance. We've never selected a film we didn't feel warranted our stamp of approval. Passing up a hidden gem, or selecting a film we're not comfortable with isn't something we take lightly.

As filmmakers, we've traveled across the country for a film only to screen in front of twenty people. It happened at bigger and smaller festivals. When we started Pendance, our goal was to never let it happen to any Pendance filmmaker.

In our very first year, Pendance screened on the busiest night of the year during a snow storm to a packed theatre of over 400 film lovers for an all-shorts program. In our second year, despite expanding to 4 nights and a 49-film program, we still had relatively huge screening numbers.

This is a testament to the general enthusiasm surrounding this festival and our effective advertising and marketing team. We're not an 'old' festival. We're absolutely attuned to how to market a festival in 2019. Between social media and effective advertising, our in-house design team, Pendance thankfully has a tremendous competitive advantage in this regard.

We do marketing campaigns for trailers, build individual web pages for both shorts and features, and do featured articles on the directors selected to Pendance. Last year we crafted 29 custom trailers as well. Everything we do is in service of the films and filmmakers we select, and the audiences that attend. In an age where theatre attendance has been on a sharp decline for almost a decade, we knew from the start that to fill the seats, we needed to think differently.

For filmmakers by filmmakers. We get it. We've been there. We learned a lot from our own years as filmmakers and we've taken all of those lessons and formulated a truly unique festival experience for our selected filmmakers.

All of the talk around the festival is about the art and craft of cinema. Pendance is a marathon of galas, screenings, networking events, and workshops. We foster a real connection with our audience and the filmmakers we select. We take the time to actually learn about our filmmakers and communicate with them on a very human level. We've always believed in generating as much value for those we select, and we work tirelessly on behalf of our official selections to make sure they're seen, talked about, and have an imprint in the world beyond just our festival.

Film festivals are about more than just films, and we've devoted ourselves to networking, education, and fostering a great atmosphere for film lovers and filmmakers to connect. In 2019, we launched our workshops, headlined by veteran filmmakers like Mark Raso, Peter Brunner, and Ann Lupo. We feel that it is through these workshops that Pendance can give value to emerging talent in Toronto and to those visiting from abroad. Our workshops are truly hands-on and cover a wide range of topics for intermediate and advanced filmmakers.

After 2 years at the Regent Theatre in midtown, Pendance will be moving to the downtown core for year 3 between Jackman Hall and TIFF Bell Lightbox. The Regent provided a large and charming venue, but the shift downtown will be a monumental step forward for the festival in terms of attracting even larger audiences.

Best Picture - A Prize awarded to the best feature film
Jury Prize: Best Short Film- Awarded to the best short film (under 45 minutes)
Audience Award: Best Film- Voted for by the audience in attendance
Best Director- Awarded to the best Director (short or feature)

1) Only films completed after June 1st, 2018 are eligible for the festival. 

2) Pendance maintains strict premiere requirements for both shorts and features. Feature films which have previously screened in Ontario are not eligible to screen at Pendance.

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. FEE WAIVERS; Pendance Film Festival will outright waive submission fees for any short or feature film that has screened at the following festivals; Sundance, Tribeca, Raindance, Austin, Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Telluride, or Slamdance. If your film has screneed at one of these festivals, please email us.

8. Each submission will be watched at a minimum twice, and all selected filmmakers will be notified of their inclusion in the festival no later than January 5th, 2019.

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

10. 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.

11. The final date to withdraw a selected film from the festival is January 23rd, 2020. This is to clear up any premiere conflicts. After this period, you may not withdraw the film.

12. 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. Each selected filmmaker is entitled 2 free passes, and 4 screening passes. Short filmmakers are granted a hotel stay in Toronto, and feature film makers will extend a $500.00 airfare credit along with 3-nights stay at a hotel.


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
  • 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.

  • Marija Apcevska

    An amazing festival team that takes great care of the filmmakers !

    February 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thanks a million Marija. You're such an inspiring and talented filmmaker and we're really proud Ambi had its Canadian premiere at Pendance.