The Reel Shorts Film Festival celebrates short films and the filmmakers who make them by screening gems of storytelling brilliance from around the world, across Canada, and in the Peace Region of northeast BC and northwest Alberta. The festival screens 80+ films, many of them world, North American, Canadian, or Alberta premieres.

The festival is a qualifying festival for the Canadian Screen Awards presented by the ACCT (Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television). Annual attendance of 3,500+ includes members of the general public who look forward to the festival every year, as well as Grade 1-12 students and their teachers from 18 schools in the region. The Friday night Psycho Shorts package is very popular with horror fans. The Best of the Fest package on Sunday is a crowd favorite that screens the juried award winners and top audience choice films including the Audience Choice Award winner and Youth Audience Choice winner.

Grande Prairie is a dynamic city of 68,000 in northwest Alberta that can be used as a base for exploring. The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is a 20-minute drive west. Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway is an hour drive to the west. The historic Dunvegan Bridge and Peace River are an hour drive to the north, and the Rocky Mountains (Grande Cache) are a 2-hour drive to the south with Jasper National Park a 2-hour drive south of Grande Cache.

Awards & Prizes

There are 4 Juried awards: (1) Best Live Action Short Under 15 Minutes, (2) Best Live Action Short 15+ Minutes, (3) Best Animated Short, and (3) Best Documentary Short. There is also an Audience Choice Award and a Youth Audience Choice Award.

The Frantic48 Film Challenge has 2 awards: (1) Frantic48 Best Film and (2) Frantic48 Audience Choice.

All award winners receive a beautiful award designed by Grande Prairie sculptor Grant Berg.

Rules & Terms

Submissions must be received by 11:59pm PST, Thursday, November 30, 2017. There is no submission fee.

Screening fees will be paid to filmmakers for selected films.

Please submit your film or video if ALL of the following conditions are met:
(1) it was completed AFTER January 1, 2016
(2) it is no shorter than 2:00 minutes in duration and no longer than 40:00 minutes in duration including credits
(3) the filmmaker(s) has secured permission to use all copyrighted and trademarked material (music, images, text sources, etc).
(4) it has English subtitles if applicable

The following films or videos are INELIGIBLE. Please DO NOT submit if ANY any of the following conditions apply to your film or video:
(1) it has been previously submitted to RSFF (Reel Shorts Film Festival)
(2) it is less than 2:00 minutes or longer than 40:00 minutes
(3) it is an experimental film
(4) it is a dance video
(5) it is a music video that promotes a performer or band
(6) it is part of a web series
(7) it is on YouTube
(8) it is submitted as a private YouTube screener. Instead, upload to FilmFreeway or submit it as a Vimeo link. If it is submitted as a YouTube video, it will NOT be considered even if it is a private link.
(9) it has or will screen for the public in Grande Prairie before the last day of the 2018 RSFF on May 14, 2018

All persons submitting films and videos warrant that they have the authority to submit the work to RSFF. Such persons indemnify and hold harmless the Reel Shorts Film Society, its judges, funders, sponsors, directors, staff and volunteers, individually and collectively, from and against all claims, demands, losses, damages, costs, liabilities and expenses including legal expenses arising out of or in connection with any and all claims, including third party claims, based on films/videos/artworks submitted to RSFF.

Submissions are judged on 4 criteria: (1) is it a good story; (2) is it beautifully crafted; (3) is it memorable; (4) does it offer insight into an unfamiliar world or a fresh perspective on a familiar one. The festival welcomes dramas, comedies, documentaries, and animated films as submissions. Two types of films are of special interest:
1. Films that are appropriate and entertaining for children and teens since over half of our audiences are school groups
2. Genre films such as horror, horror/comedy, zombie, vampire, etc. since we have a very popular late night horror package

The festival has a strong preference for films that are NOT available to watch online by the public before the last day of the festival (May 14, 2018).

If the submitted film has a connection to the Peace Region (northwest Alberta or northeast British Columbia), please email Festival Director Terry Scerbak at to identify how the film is connected to this region. The connection can involve location (shot in the region), creative personnel (producer, director, and/or writer are or have been residents of the region), or actors who are or have been residents of the region.

If one of the creative personnel (producer, director, and/or writer) is an alumni filmmaker of the festival (i.e. such person was the producer, director, and/or writer of a selected film at a previous Reel Shorts Film Festival), please email Festival Director Terry Scerbak at to identify who the alumni filmmaker is, the name and tracking number for the current submitted film, and the name of the previous selected film that person was also involved with.

If a submitted film is selected and invited to screen at the festival, we request that the filmmaker provide an MOV digital file encoded with ProRes 422 or ProRes 422(HQ) with 2-channel 16 bit, 48 kHz audio, and with English subtitles if applicable. This file should NOT have a film leader countdown. We will not accept ProRes LT, 4444, or Apple Animation Codec files. If an MOV digital file encoded with ProRes 422 or ProRes 422(HQ) is not available, we will accept the best quality (lowest compression, highest resolution) digital file (MOV or MP4) of the film using the H.264 codec.

RSFF does NOT have an online festival component.

2 Reviews

Overall Rating
  • false
    Gordie Haakstad

    Comprehensive festival with world-class films, thematic programming, and strong workshops -- and each night had fun social events. Even though it's in a smaller town, it was able to bring in both a quality jury and fantastic visiting filmmakers. I've attended Reel Shorts the last few years and the networking has grown each year.

    May 2016
  • false
    marco di gerlando

    very great Festival!

    May 2016