Fresh. Indie. Anti-Niche.

ReelHeART International Film and Screenplay Festival is a fully Registered Not-For-Profit Arts Organization.

Each season we hold a Premiere Only, worldwide, fiercely independent week-long festival during the 1st week of July in Toronto, Canada. We Celebrate the Culture of Film from Around the Block and Around the World, to all Aspects of Indie Filmmaking From Acting, To Script, To Screen.

ReelHeART is an open genre film competition Film, Documentary and Screenplay competition that premieres Films, Documentaries, Screenplays and TV Pilots from the best of emerging and master indie Filmmakers and Screenwriters. We also hold topical and commemorative monthly Community Events.

The 18th Annual ReelHeART runs July 04-10, 2022

We are an IMDB eligible festival. This means Filmmakers will be able to post their Nominations and Wins on their IMDB Profiles.

ReelHeART Celebrates the Culture of Film from Around The Block and Around The World, and all Aspects of Indie Filmmaking From Acting, To Script, To Screen.

We are an open genre Film competition film festival that screens Film Premieres from the best of emerging and master independent filmmakers. We host very competitive Screenplay Competitions for both Short and Feature Scripts.

In 2004, a film supporter and world traveler of Irish descent who speaks 3 languages founded the ReelHeART International Film Festival (ReelHeART)

Our founder had a vision that a new film festival could be formed to fill the void created by the growing trend of ‘niche’ festivals in the City of Toronto.

After placing a Director as second in command, the shape and focus of ReelHeART became a reality and to this day, constantly evolves to refine its mandate to put the spotlight on the best in independent filmmaking from around the world from any genre.

ReelHeART accepts Films, Documentaries, Music Videos, Web Series, Experimental, Animation and Dance and Music Related Films of all genres, countries and film lengths.

All Categories are Competition.

ReelHeART is dedicated to supporting the need for exposure for ALL LEVELS of independent filmmakers around the world. We put emerging and student artists alongside established and master filmmakers in an effort that all filmmakers can be recognized for their art, rather than their credits.

We also have a goal to satisfy and challenge the interests of filmgoers and film supporters, to encourage, reward and celebrate the “Real HeART” and 'Real Guts' of Independent Filmmakers and Screenwriters.

Whether filmmaker, movie-goer, reviewer, screenwriter, media or industry professional, the welcome and networking opportunities you experience at ReelHeART will be talked about from one year to the next!

ReelHeART International Film Festival is for Films and Screenplays with ‘Real Guts’ and ‘Real Heart’.

We celebrate films that are Original. International. Independent.

Regardless of genre, it’s the story we’re interested in. If your film or documentary has that balance of a terrific story, an interesting vision and solid production standards, then we think an audience should see your film. We’ll do what we can to make that happen.

Any Genre is accepted at ReelHeART: Feature and Short Narratives such as: Drama, Comedy, Black Comedy, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Film Noir, Satire, Mockumentary, Animation, Experimental, Music Videos, as well as Feature and Short Documentary, Profiles, Underground and more.

What kind of film or documentary do you have? Is it a fun film, an outrageous film, a quirky film, an intense film; a film that will rip your heart out or a film that will make your ribs hurt with laughter, a gut wrenching, bittersweet or tragic story? Then ReelHeART is for you…

Screenwriters, we haven’t forgotten about you.

#1: ReelHeART was the 1st Screenwriting competition in the WORLD that offered a Rehearsed Cast-to-Type Live Read for its Top 3 Feature Script Winners. We do that for our Top 3 Short Screenplay Winners too.

Winners get a semi-staged Live Script Read with Actors that go through an audition process, so they can bring your script to life right in front of your eyes.

#2: Unlike many other Screenwriting competitions, we do not charge extra for Feedback
#3: We give great, industry relevant feedback. Again, for FREE!
#4: Amazing things have happened to a large number of our Top 3 Winners. Agent representation, Options at big Hollywood studios like CAA, Paramount, and Disney. And one of our writers even became a jury member for the Golden Globes. Pretty cool huh?

Never entered a film festival before? If you have never entered a competition before for film, documentary or screenplays, ReelHeART should be your first film festival stop.

Local Film Industry pros affectionately refer to us as “The Filmmaker’s Bootcamp” as the only film festival that shows all levels of filmmakers ‘the complete indie package’ on how to hit the ground running with promotion, marketing, networking and how to garner distribution interest. Filmmakers refer to us as “The Filmmaker’s Film Festival”. We are proud to wear both banners. We invite you to find out why…

The experience you gain at ReelHeART along with the networking opportunities and the welcome you’ll receive are among our priorities and quite possibly one of the top film festival events you’ll ever experience.

Absolute film,
Abstract animation,
Actuality film,
Adventure film,
Amateur film,
Animated documentary,
Animated Film,
Anthology film,
Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction,
Art film,
Arthouse action film,
Austrian Film,
Australian Film,
B movie,
Backstage musical,
Bad girl movies,
Beach party film,
Biographical film,
Body horror,
Bromantic comedy,
Buddy cop film,
Buddy film,
Camcorder or SmartPhone film,
Cannibal film,
Chicano film,
Chick flick,
Children's film,
Cinéma vérité,
Colonial cinema,
Comedy film,
Comedy of remarriage,
Comedy thriller,
Comic fantasy,
Comic science fiction,
Coming-of-age story,
Commedia sexy all'italiana,
Compilation film,
Composite film,
Conspiracy fiction,
Crime film,
Dance film,
Direct Cinema,
Disaster film,
Documentary film,
Drama film,
Educational film,
Epic film,
Erotic thriller,
Ethnographic film,
Euro War,
European art cinema,
Eurospy film,
Experimental film,
Exploitation film,
Fantasy film,
Female buddy film,
Fictional film,
Film à clef,
Film gris,
Film noir,
Florida Western,
Found footage,
French Film,
Genre movie,
Gentleman thief,
German Film,
German underground horror,
Girls with guns,
Gods and demons fiction,
Gross out,
Guerrilla filmmaking,
Guy-cry film,
Heist film,
Heritage film,
Highlight film,
Hip hop film,
Home movies,
Hood film,
Horror comedy,
Horror film,
Independent film,
Industrial video,
Interstitial art,
Japanese film,
Japanese horror,
Jukebox musical,
Korean horror,
Korean melodrama,
Legal drama,
Legal thriller,
Werewolf fiction,
Mafia comedy,
Magic realism,
Film manifesto,
Martial arts film,
Message picture,
Mexican sex comedy,
Midnight movie,
Mob film,
Monster movie,
Musical film,
Musical short,
Mystery film,
New Queer Cinema,
Opera film,
Operetta film,
Outlaw biker film,
Parallel Cinema,
Parody film,
Historical period drama,
Poetry film,
Political thriller,
Postmodernist film,
Prison film,
Propaganda film,
Psychological horror,
Psychological thriller,
Pulp noir,
Race film,
Revenge film,
Real time,
Reality film
Remodernist film,
Road movie,
Romance film,
Romantic comedy film,
Romantic thriller,
Samurai cinema,
Satanic film,
Science fiction film,
Screwball comedy film,
Silent film,
Slapstick film,
Slasher film,
Slow cinema,

All Categories are Competition.
We have TWENTY-THREE (24) Competitions to choose from:

* TWO (2) Screenplay Competitions + 1 TV Pilot Competition at our Writers Only Contest
* TWENTY-TWO (22) Film Competitions
* We award in each category including: *BEST* Categories of International Film, Canadian Film, LGBTQ Film, Action Film, Comedy Film, Drama Film, Experimental Film, Animated Film, Dance Film, Music Related Film, First Time Filmmakers, as well as: *Best* Editing, *Best* Sound, *Best* Cinematography, *Best* Actor and *Best* Actress and More.
* Top Prize is the “FOUNDERS AWARD” (‘Best of the Fest’)

For our Screenplay Winners

InkTip: Where Producers go for Scripts and Writers.

Winners *may* receive an InkTip Script Listing and have their logline featured in InkTip Magazine so they can promote themselves and their scripts to InkTip’s entire network of producers, managers, and agents. InkTip Magazine is sent to over 15,000 producers and representatives.

Companies who are InkTip members include: ABC, Anonymous Content, APA, CBS Films, HBO Films, ICM, Paradigm, Paramount Pictures, Hallmark Channel, FX, Universal, WME, Echo Lake, Zero Gravity, Bad Robot, 20th Century Fox, and many more.

Producers have made more than 375 films from scripts and writers found through InkTip.


Any film and screenplay of any kind that has screened (or given a Live Script Read or any sort of Feedback) in and around Toronto and /or the Province of Ontario in any kind of screening that may have slipped through our due diligence research and into the notification process will be automatically pulled from the current year line-up. No refunds will be offered. No Exceptions.


Any Screenplay of any kind that has been given a Live Script Read, Nominated For an Award or any Sort of Feedback in and around Toronto and /or the Province of Ontario will be automatically pulled from the current year Competition. No Refunds. No Exceptions.

Screenwriters - Please Read:
>If your Screenplay is an Official Selection - You will NOT receive your Coverage until Festival Week is Over. While you may have beaten out many other screenplays to get into the Top 3, your script will not be perfect and it will have notes about Formatting and Other issues that will be suggested to you for a re-write.

>If your Screenplay is NOT an Official Selection - You WILL receive your Coverage BEFORE Festival Week. This happens usually around the end of April for about 1 month via email.

Films in a language other than English must be Subtitled.
All Films must NOT have Public Viewing Links on any Platform.



You can promote your film whether you live 10 minutes or 10,000 miles from ReelHeART. The Internet makes it all possible.

Any Filmmaker who does not Reply to Emails and Updates, or Promote his/her screening from the moment of Notification of Acceptance at ReelHeART to throughout Festival Week will automatically be pulled from the Program and Competition.

Any Filmmaker who pulls their Film after Notification of Official Acceptance will be charged a $250 Administration Fee.

We’re not asking you to spend extra money, we’re asking you to be passionate about your film and spend energy promoting and marketing your film from the moment of your acceptance notification. Many FREE options are available to you: (Print, Free Community Papers, Radio, TV, Internet: including Instagram, Twitter, FaceBook, Blogs, etc)

The TOTAL running time of your film MUST INCLUDE the end credit role to the end. We do not program on time, we program on content. BUT, we need ACCURATE RUN TIMES, to keep our screenings on schedule at the theaters-

Send Nothing to Us.
We will download your film file (2-4 GIGS MAX) When if It becomes an 'Official Selection'
We require online Access to your Film with a Password for the Screening and Scoring Rounds. The link must point to FilmFreeway, Vimeo, YouTube or your own Website.

*If Accepted, we will ask for either a High Resolution Download or a DCP File depending on what the screening exhibition system requires.

Feature Screenplays 125 Pages MAX
Short Screenplays 30 Pages MAX
Only PDF Files Please. Or a full, professionally formatted screenplay in MS Word

You Title Page should only include:
Screenplay Title
Your Name
***NO Contact Information

1) Completion Date
Submitted films must have been completed after September 2018

2) International Films
All International Language films must have English subtitles.

3) Publicly Screened
If you are submitting a film that has already been publicly screened you must disclose this information including date, city, country, theater etc. along with your entry form

3a) Premiere Status
We NEED a Premiere! (i.e. in the least an Ontario Premiere).

ReelHeART must have a Premiere of Some Kind in order to keep your film In Competition.

As well, you must be able to assure us that only 5% or less of your film in its entirety exists on the Internet. Failure to do so will disqualify the film. This also applies to Music Videos.

Submissions may NOT be withdrawn from ReelHeART once they have been entered, except at the sole discretion of ReelHeART.

If a filmmaker has a conflict with premiere status and demands withdrawal, there will be a monetary fine payable to ReelHeART. This fine must be paid immediately upon receipt of notification from ReelHeART.

If you accepted screening in Toronto and have kept it quiet from us, your film will be immediately pulled from the final program.

4) Student Films
If you are submitting a student film or as a student, you can either be currently be enrolled in a recognized film program or have graduated. You must disclose school information including graduation date, city, country, school name and program enrolled in, school web site address etc. along with your entry form. Failure to do so will result in disqualification.

5) Selection Process
The festival programmers/reviewers will determine which films will be selected for programming. Their picks along with their scorecards for each film will be turned over to the ReelHeART Master Programmer, who makes the final programming decisions on what films will ultimately screen during the ReelHeART International Film Festival.

5a) Selection Process Final Decision
In the event of a disagreement with a program choice or a substitution, the festival director will determine all final selections for screening.

6) Sending Your Film Checkpoints

You must submit your Entry Fee in the form of PayPal Payment along with your entry if you submit directly via the ReelHeART International Film and Screenplay Festival web site within any of the deadlines.
You must email your screenplay if there is no upload link
You must include your full contact information and tracking number or discount code-

7) Exhibition Media Submission Deadline
Deadline for receipt of Exhibition copies (download) is 6 Weeks Before Festival Week.
NO EXCEPTIONS. This is especially important in the case of requiring a DCP File

8) Selection: If Your Film or Screenplay Is Selected
You will be notified via HIGH PRIORITY EMAIL if your film has been selected approximately 10-12 weeks prior to ReelHeART by the Submissions Team.

9) If Your Film or Screenplay Is NOT Selected
You will NOT be notified via EMAIL if your film has been NOT been selected.
We DO update the submission status and judging status at FilmFreeway if you submit through FilmFreeway.

ReelHeART does notify some but not all submitters. Please check your FilmFreeway account for any notes from the ReelHeART Submissions Team- If submitting directly at ReelHeART, check your spam folders and deleted folders for emails from us.

9a) If Your Film Is Shortlisted but Not Immediately Selected

We may notify if your film was slightly edged out for screening and still is ON HOLD until we complete our Master Program. This happens to about 1-3 films each season. It could happen to your film.

Depending on the score of your film and suitability, there is the possibility for a film to move up from shortlist to a Venue Screening or, from Venue to Main Program-

You are certainly welcome to email us about the status of your film but not until May 15th.

10) Additional Support Materials
If your film has been selected, you must submit additional support materials [if requested], clean exhibition media and signed releases no later than 8 weeks prior to the ReelHeART International Film and Screenplay Festival.

10a) Additional Support Materials
You will be asked to supply a high resolution image, synopsis, social media links, trailer links, for the Official ReelHeART Online Program and/or Print.

11) Copyright Materials Releases
If your film has been selected, you must submit additional signed releases regarding your use of 3rd party copyright material no later than 8 weeks prior to the ReelHeART International Film and Screenplay Festival

11a) Copyright Materials Releases
In the alternative, you will be provided with our standard release voiding us of any responsibility with respect to the Exhibition of your project should it contain 3rd party copyright material unknown to any and all parties connected to the ReelHeART International Film and Screenplay Festival.

ReelHeART “as policy’ does NOT Record Any “Live Script Reads in their Entirety, nor Publish any Recordings as part of any Screenplay Winners' prize.”
ReelHeART however, may record and may publish Screenplay Live Read ‘Snippets’ (Content) for use as Marketing, Promotional, Learning Tools for Screenwriters, Students and/or for use by the contracted Cast Members for their Social Media or Portfolio as per our Artists' Agreement.

Overall Rating
  • Michele Citoni

    The 2021 edition was AMAZING. I am honored to have been included in the program along with top-notch works. I want to underline the very accurate organization, the great attention paid to the authors, the numerous (and even funny) emails to inform about every detail, the Q/As that gave us authors the space to talk freely with really interested and interesting interlocutors, the very pleasant chat with authors and organizers before the final ceremony... in the end my short documentary film "5x7" was awarded, but believe me, this was not the best part of the whole thing.
    They say, "we're a family". I love being a part of the ReelHeART family.

    August 2021
  • Tom McPhee

    Nice job everyone! Lovely to see you all, next time lets do it in person and not be 14 years between visits. Cheers!

    July 2021
  • Hadi Moussally

    Amazing festival with a great selection and communication. Honored for the award. Thank you.

    July 2021
  • gareth brierley

    Brilliant Festival. Lovely people and very professional all the way though. It was honour to have Derek and Daisy Do at the festival. Thank you

    July 2021
  • So pleased to once again screen at one of my favourite film festivals. Thank you ReelHeART!

    July 2021