The Pendance Film Festival started on a snowy night in 2017 with 420 guests and hasn't stopped rolling since—quietly becoming one of the fastest-growing film festivals in the world. Pendance has quickly developed a reputation for strong programming and a filmmaker-first approach.

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 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) Programmers watch each film through to completion. There are no volunteer test screeners or rounds to get through.

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 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.

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, 2021 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 January 10th, 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.

Filmmakers are encouraged to attend the festival if we're allowed under Canadian guidelines to have a live event.

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, and a limited airfare credit as well as 2-nights stay for 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
  • 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
  • I only wish I could have attended! The festival staff was extremely supportive of my short film. They truly made me feel welcomed and part of a family as opposed to just another film in a festival. Thank you again and I wish you guys the best moving forward.

    May 2023
  • Alan King

    Brilliant! A special festival that stands out from the pack. Festival director Robert Misovic and the Pendance team curated a high quality and diverse program and went the extra yards to ensure the invited filmmakers felt super involved in the festival. Great selection of industry panels and filmmaker Q&A's. Highly recommended!!

    April 2022
  • Matthew Segal

    Pendance was a wonderful festival to be a part of. They treated each of their filmmakers with respect and importance. Their system for streaming was easy to understand, and they were well prepared for live Q&As. The questions they asked at the Q&A were thoughtful and challenging and generated great discussion.

    Thank you so much!

    March 2022
  • Joe Perry

    A festival that really curates independent cinema. Diverse stories and emotions from around the world. Thank you for the selection. Treated like a friend from the very beginning. The team is highly communicative and the passion from founder Robert Misovic is tangible. It was a pleasure to join you and celebrate with our fellow filmmakers.

    March 2022