TIFF Filmmaker Lab is a talent development programme that takes place during the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Each year, 20 Canadian and international directors receive an exceptional professional development experience, and an introduction to the global community of filmmaking. Over a five-day period, participants have the opportunity to interact with and learn from internationally acclaimed filmmakers and guests. Past mentors and speakers include Hany Abu-Assad, Jane Campion, Alfonso Cuarón, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Julie Dash, Claire Denis, Ava DuVernay, Atom Egoyan, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Agnieszka Holland, Jia Zhang-ke, Spike Lee, Steve McQueen, Deepa Mehta, Cristian Mungiu, Wim Wenders, Saul Williams, and Edgar Wright.


1. You meet the eligibility requirements for TIFF Filmmaker Lab and agree to provide all the required submission materials.

2. You have created a new project under the “My Projects” section of your profile for this specific programme application. The project is titled “FIRST AND LAST NAME – TIFF FILMMAKER LAB – 2023” and is a Film / Video project type.

NOTE: After saving your new project, return to the TIFF Filmmaker Lab FilmFreeway event page to fill out the application.

3. You have uploaded the materials listed below to the “My Projects” section. (NOTE: Go to https://filmfreeway.com/projects and click “View” on your project to upload your video files.)

a. A video pitch about the submitted project, no more than two minutes in duration. The video should tell us: i. a bit about your project; ii. your directorial approach (your filmmaking voice); and iii. why you’d like to participate in TIFF Filmmaker Lab.
Upload this file in the “Add an Online Screener” section of your project.

NOTE: The jury will not be evaluating the quality of the video but the statements made by the applicant. This can be recorded on a cell phone.

b. A one-minute clip from a previous project on which you are credited as director, uploaded in the “Add a trailer” section of your project. Please follow these guidelines for your clip submission:
- The clip must be no longer than one minute.
- Ensure that the clip is in high resolution.
- After the project title on the video file, include in parentheses where the clip is from: a short, feature, or episode.
- Ensure that the clip includes English subtitles if the language spoken is not English.
- Demo reels, trailers, and music videos will not be accepted.
- Submissions of full films or episodes with time codes will not be considered by the jury.


TIFF Filmmaker Lab focuses on narrative storytelling and filmmaking.

Applications are open to Canadian and international emerging filmmakers with a minimum of two short-film credits and a maximum of one feature-film credit as a director or screenwriter.

Only one submission per applicant.

There is a maximum of three total submissions to Filmmaker Lab per applicant over the last 10 years, i.e. if you have applied unsuccessfully on three different occasions in the past decade, you are not eligible to apply for the 2023 Lab.

Applicants must submit a continuous one-minute excerpt of one film project (short film, feature film, documentary, or animation). The clip must not exceed one minute in length. If you have applied to TIFF Filmmaker Lab in previous years, you must re-apply with a different film clip.

Applicants must submit a video pitch, no more than two minutes in duration. The applicant should comment on their project and filmmaking approach, as well as why they would like to participate in Filmmaker Lab.


Clip Submission:

If you would like to password-protect your Vimeo file, please use the password FL2023.

Demo reels, trailers, and music videos will NOT be accepted.

Collectively, the total running time of your Vimeo file cannot exceed one minute.

Please add information on the clip context to the description on Vimeo.

Submissions of full-length films indicating a time code will not be considered by the jury.

Please ensure that the clip includes English subtitles if the language spoken is not English.

Please see "About" section for more details on the application.

Overall Rating
  • Gavin Seal

    An invaluable experience curated by a lovely team, with mentorship from some of the most acclaimed filmmakers on the planet. If you're considering applying, do it...It will exceed all of your expectations and help you grow as a filmmaker. Apply!

    September 2022