Original. Indie. Contra-Niche!

ReelHeART International Film and Screenplay Festival is a worldwide independent film festival held in Toronto, Canada. The 16th Annual ReelHeART runs July 06-11, 2020.

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. As of 2019 have NINETEEN (19) Categories to choose from:

* TWO (2) Screenplay Competitions
* SEVENTEEN (17) Film Competitions
* Top Prize is the “FOUNDERS AWARD” (‘Best of the Fest’)
* We award in each category as well as *BEST* Categories of Foreign Film, Canadian Film, LGBTQ Film, Action Film, as well as: *Best* Editing, *Best* Sound, *Best* Cinematography, *Best* Actor and *Best* Actress

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 NINETEEN (19) Competitions to choose from:

* ONE (1) TV Pilot (Produced) Competition
* TWO (2) Screenplay Competitions
* SEVENTEEN (17) Film Competitions
* We award in each category including: *BEST* Categories of Foreign Film, Canadian Film, LGBTQ Film, Action Film, 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 will 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 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!

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 ENTHUSIASTICALLY promote his/her screening from the moment of Notification of Acceptance at ReelHeART will automatically be pulled from competition.

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-

Nothing to Send us.
We will download your film file (2 GIGS MAX)
We require online Access to your Film with a Password -
*If Accepted, we 'may' ask for either a High Resolution Download or a DCP

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 2017

2) Foreign Films
All Foreign 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) Packing Your Film
Please send your film in (the preferred) BUBBLE WRAP package. Any other delivery package with stuffing other than bubble wrap, newspaper, cardboard, plain paper, cloth or “packing peanuts” will be discarded and disqualified. The grey stuffing and the pink stuffing kills our preview equipment. Entry Fee will NOT be returned.

7) Sending Your Film

7a) 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 submit TWO (2) DVD copies of your film
You must email your screenplay if there is no upload link
You must include your full contact information and tracking number or discount code-

8) Exhibition Media Submission Deadline
Deadline for receipt of Exhibition copies is 6 Weeks Before Festival Week. NO EXCEPTIONS.

9) 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.

10) If Your Film 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.

10a) 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.

11) 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.

11a) 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 Print.

12) 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

12a) 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
  • Alexandre Jallali

    it was a pleasure to be on board, love you

    August 2019
  • James Davoll

    Thanks for putting on what looked like an awesome festival!

    Shame we couldn't attend but communication was great.

    July 2019
  • Russell Emanuel

    AMAZING festival that that treated us well and gave us an award for our film "The Assassin's Apprentice"! Thank you so much!

    July 2019
  • Russ Greaves

    Congratulations to the 2019 ReelHeART Film Festival Team on another successful festival.
    This Team gets it! It's all about communication and working with film makers to ensure that your efforts and talents are recognized and appreciated. They do watch your films from start to finish and always respond to any inquiries and questions in a timely manner.
    They are very encouraging, supportive and always give you and your film constructive comments and the respect that it deserves.
    Even though our 2019 film only made the Finalist level, they referred us to another Film Festival that our film was a better fit. They follow up and they network and they make it Reel!
    Thank you , Russ Greaves - Producer/Director - Moving Hands Pictures

    July 2019
  • Demitra Papadinis

    ReelHeART is an incredibly exciting and welcoming festival with a truly great team. Everyone I met was not only highly professional but also very helpful and kind. The hospitality and networking events are definitely some of the best out there. Screenings, parties, panel discussions, seminars and all sorts of other amazing events are held in some very cool venues both large and small all around the great city of Toronto. And ReelHeART isn't just for filmmakers – it's a great place for screenwriters, too. Top finalists in both the short and feature screenwriting competitions are given a full reading of their scripts by professional actors during the festival week. This gives screenwriters a true presence at the event, whereas at other festivals they may tend to fall between the cracks. ReelHeART is a first-class festival, and it's definitely worth the trip to Toronto to attend no matter where in the world you are. I was truly honored to have been a part of it!

    November 2018