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). Pre-pandemic annual attendance of 3,000+ included members of the general public who look forward to the festival every year, as well as Grade 1-12 students and their teachers from many schools in the region. The Friday night Psycho Shorts package is very popular with horror fans. The Best of the Fest package is a crowd favorite that screens the juried award winners and audience choice winners.

Grande Prairie is a vibrant city of 69,000 in northwest Alberta that can be used as a base for exploring the Peace Region and Rocky Mountains. 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.

There are 6 Juried awards: (1) Special Jury Prize, (2) Best Live Action Short Under 15 Minutes, (3) Best Live Action Short 15+ Minutes, (4) Best Animated Short, (5) Best Documentary Short, and (6) Best Peace Region Short. There are 3 audience choice awards: (1) Audience Choice, (2) Youth Audience Choice, and (3) Kids Audience Choice.

Screening fees (royalties) are paid to filmmakers for all selected films. Cash awards of $300 CAD are paid to filmmakers whose films win a juried award.

Submissions must be received by 11:59pm PST, Sunday, November 7, 2021. There is no submission fee.

Please submit your film or video if ALL of the following conditions are met:
(1) it was completed AFTER January 1, 2020
(2) it has a minimum duration of 2 minutes and a maximum duration of 31 minutes 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 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 too short (less than 2 minutes) or too long (over 31 minutes)
(3) it is an experimental film (lacks a story plot)
(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 or as a Dropbox or Google docs link. We ONLY accept submissions that are uploaded to FilmFreeway as a file or 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 RSFF on May 8, 2022.

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. Horror films since we have a very popular late night horror package

The festival prefers to program films that are NOT available to watch online by the public before the last day of the festival (May 8, 2022).

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 and give the title and tracking number for the submitted film. 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 the best quality HD 1920 x 1080p digital file (MOV or MP4) of the film using the H.264 codec. If an HD 1920 x 1080p digital file (MOV or MP4) of the film encoded with ProRes 422 or ProRes 422(HQ) is available, please provide it as well. We will not accept ProRes LT, 4444, or Apple Animation Codec files. Please include English subtitles if applicable. Please DO NOT include a film leader countdown. Digital content should be submitted with 2-channel 16 bit, 48 kHz audio.

RSFF screens selected films for a live audience, and has an online festival component that can be accessed only by registered pass or ticket holders.

Overall Rating
  • What an amazing festival! Truly honored to be included in the lineup alongside so many talented filmmakers.

    July 2021
    Reel shorts logo for filmfreeway
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, Ali! It was great to have your comedy in our fest!

  • Angus Swantee

    A real gem of a festival, it was an honour to be part of Reel Shorts. It's so well run, with great communication. Can't say enough great things about this fest.

    May 2021
    Reel shorts logo for filmfreeway
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much! It was wonderful having your film in our program!

  • Fantastic festival. Have attended as an audience member and a filmmaker. Wonderful people and great curation.

    May 2021
    Reel shorts logo for filmfreeway
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, Rew! I'm so sad we couldn't see you in person this year, but it was great having your wonderful documentary in our fest!

  • Sandy Blanco

    Great festival. Great organization and communication. Thanks a lot Terry. We are very happy to have been part of it!

    May 2021
    Reel shorts logo for filmfreeway
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for your kind words! We were thrilled to share your wonderful film with our audience!

  • Jean-Luc Julien

    Happy to have our film "Limbo" screened at the festival but unfortunately we were unable to attend. The communication was great and the fact they offered to pay the filmmaker something for travel and participating in a Q&A was excellent.

    May 2019
    Reel shorts logo for filmfreeway
    Response from festival:

    We really appreciated the opportunity to share your film with our audience - thank you!