Cool, international, independent, politically incorrect and eye-opening, the Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) is about discovery. TBFF will showcase the most outstanding and most powerful Black films while creating a space to debate major cultural, social and socio-economic issues.

The Toronto Black Film Festival is dedicated to giving unique voices in cinema the opportunity to present audiences with new ways of looking at the world. A dynamic, refreshing and audacious Festival whose ambition is to encourage the development of the independent film industry and to promote more films on the reality of Black people from around the Globe.

IMPORTANT: Need to be films about Black realities or showcasing black actors. All films if in a foreign language must have English subtitles.



The goal of the Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) is to: promote independent author’s films from Canada and around the world, promote cultural and cinematographic diversity within Quebec and Canada, promote Black cinema and stimulate the development of quality cinema, discover and encourage new talent, encourage meetings between Black filmmakers and professionals working in the film industry from here and abroad, cultivate opportunities for North-South co-productions, encourage the development of the Black Film Industry here and abroad.

The 7th annual Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) will run in Toronto from Wednesday, February 13 to Monday, February 18, 2019.

The Selection Committee selects and invites the films that will be presented in the Competition, Out-of-Competition, Retrospective, For a Certain Perspective categories...

Each film invited by the Selection Committee to be part of the Official Selection will receive a Certificate of Participation.

Only films that meet the following criteria may be selected and invited to be part of the Official Selection:
1° Must have been made in the 24 months preceding the Festival.
2° Must not have previously been distributed and/or released in Ontario theatres (unless an exception is made by the festival).
3° Priority will be given to previously unreleased works.
4° Must not have been broadcast on television or on the Internet.
5° Must not have been released on the market on VOD, Blue-Ray, DVD or VHS cassette.
6° Must respect the goal of the Festival as defined in Paragraph I (GOAL).

The upcoming Toronto Black Film Festival will include the following categories:

Narrative features
Short Films

Submitting or sending a film to the Festival implies that the producers or their representatives agree to these rules and regulations.


The Executive Management of the Festival has the power to settle any cases that are not covered under these rules and regulations.

Once selected, no film may be withdrawn from the program during the Festival.

Invited films may only be shown in the Festival’s theatres until the Festival has officially closed.

By invitation only, this section is dedicated to the great men and women of cinema: Screenwriters, directors, actors, producers, directors of photography, composers, etc.

Industrial, advertising or educational films are not eligible for any of the categories (competitive or non-competitive). Racist, pornographic and political propaganda films, as well as films based on gratuitous violence, are not eligible.

The Selection Committee refers to the President and to the other members that compose the Jury for each film category.

The President of the Festival and the Programming Director of the TBFF may attend Jury deliberations but may take no part in the voting.

Jury members may in no way be associated with a film that has been entered in the competition. The following persons may not sit on the Jury: the President of the Festival (and of the Fabienne Colas Foundation), an organizing member of the Festival, or anyone who has been involved in producing, distributing or releasing a film in competition.

Films selected to be part of the Official Selection agree to use the "Official Selection" logo of the Toronto Black Film Festival in all their publicity.

By participating in the Festival, the award winners and distribution companies agree to use the Toronto Black Film Festival name or logo, as well as the award they received, in all their promotions and advertisements (posters, ads, etc.).

The deadline for registering films is NOVEMBER 1st.
A registration form must be filled out online and along with a digital file of the film.

The President of the Fabienne Colas Foundation, the organizing body of the Festival, has the authority to settle any cases not covered under these rules and regulations.

Submitting a film does not mean that it will automatically be selected for participation in the upcoming Toronto Black Film Festival. Only those films selected by the Selection Committee shall be screened.

Participation in the Toronto Black Film Festival means you agree to abide by the aforementioned rules and regulations and respect the pre-selection conditions.

These rules and regulations apply to all Official Selection categories.

The Selection Committee of the Toronto Black Film Festival is exclusively responsible for the Official Selection and for deciding the section in which a film may be categorized: Competition (short and feature films), Out-of-Competition or for a Certain Perspective, other views, retrospectives, invited films, etc.

Films registered for Official Selection must meet the following criteria (except for retrospectives):

Must have been made in the 24 months preceding the Festival.
Must not have previously been distributed and/or released in Ontario (unless an exception is made).
Must not have been broadcast on the Internet or on television.
Must not have been released on the market on VOD, DVD, Blue-Ray, VHS cassette or else.
1) Individuals of any ethnicity (race) and from any country may also submit films to the Toronto
Black Film Festival as long as the film meets ONE of the following conditions:

Deals with a Black reality.
Deals with a Black community.
Has one or several actors of Black origin playing in major roles.
Deal with a particular theme in the Festival.
2) In the invited films category, the terms and conditions for eligibility indicated in Point 1 above would not apply, due to the fact that these films are specially invited by the Festival for a very particular and special reason.

Our definition for film length:
40 min or less: Short film; 41 to 74 minutes: Medium-length film; 75 min and more: Feature film.

The deadlines for registering films are available on the Festival’s FilmFreeway page.
Registration, payment and film screener link must be done online through FilmFreeway by those dates.

Regardless of the equipment used to shoot the film (mini DV, super 8, 35mm, HD…):

For the pre-selection phase, all film screeners should be uploaded directly on FilmFreeway.

If your film is accepted, you will be asked to send a copy for public screening.

For the public screenings (in theatre), only the following formats will be accepted: DCP, Blue-Ray, MOV files.

The Selection Committee will view films:

WITH NO subtitles, if the film is originally in English.
WITH English subtitles, if the film is originally in another language.
The final screening copy MUST have English subtitles if/for any parts that are spoken in another language.

Film copies (Blue-rays, DVD, DCP): Must be sent by registered mail or via an express courier service (FedEx, DHL, UPS…) directly to the address indicated at the bottom of the registration form. Please indicate the following on the parcel: “For cultural use only” and “No commercial value.”

The transportation costs, customs duties and taxes on all films sent through an express courier service
must be paid up in full when the package arrives at the Festival or the Festival will not sign the acknowledgement of receipt.

Film copies: The Festival does not return DVDs, Blue Rays and DCPs on USB keys after viewing them. If you absolutely must have your Blue-ray or DVD returned to you, please indicate so and send us a bank or postal money order in the amount of CDN$75 payable to the Toronto Black Film Festival.
NB: Selecting a film for the Festival in no way guarantees that the film’s representative (director, actor, producer, distributor, etc.) will be taken care of (i.e. transportation to Toronto, lodgings, etc.).
The final screening copy MUST have English subtitles if/for any parts that are spoken in another language.

Emile Castonguay
Programming Director
Toronto Black Film Festival
465 Rue St-Jean, Bureau 900
Montreal, Quebec H2Y 2R6

Overall Rating
  • One of the best curated film festivals I've taken part in.

    The time and careful detail that went into curating the films was simply impeccable! A #masterfulflow. This was certainly on of my top film fests when it came to film line-ups. And of course it should be since it's an academy qualifying festival.

    But we all know that all that glitters isn't gold. They popped on the the "curating", but the hospitality needs some housekeeping. Unfortunately, things moved virtual due to a spike in Covid which is understandable. What wasn't understandable is the fact the filmmakers were not given one pass to view film(s) in blocks. Not ONE. Venue prices were cut because it's on-line, so I'm unsure why filmmakers weren't given a code or a complimentary day to watch their film or peer films. We all had to pay. Yes! Pay for submission and pay for a viewing. Though the team mentioned, "...due to a very high volume of film this year (over 200 films). We are working very hard with our logistics team to provide that in the future."

    I don't think this was cool at all. a true supportive filmmaker, I paid. I wanted to see the other films because the trailers were so good and some had some great star power.

    I have never experienced anything like this. That's certainly an area that they can improve on.

    The team was great with communication and emails. Very friendly, professional and specific about items needed for a clean and crisp website. They fixed errors right away when emailed and that was wonderful.

    The only thing that could have been improved upon in this area is sending filmmakers a thank you email. Call me old fashion, but I thank you is quick, easy and shows the other party involved that they are appreciated. Film festivals wouldn't be successful if filmmakers didn't submit. So I'm unsure why a lot of festivals find it difficult to draft and schedule a simple thank you email to all participants. Only a few festivals have done so. Like, geesh...come on Toronto.

    All in all, not my top festival, but it's somewhere in the middle due to the quality of films and professionalism of team and communication. There was no creative way for us to network unless you did it yourself. Their marketing and graphics were pretty solid and screamed black excellence. So, yeah, not a bad festival at all.

    August 2022
  • Toronto Black Film festival has giving a warm welcome to our film, we're very proud and honoured to be part of this adventure!!

    March 2022
  • An amazing festival, it was a great pleasure to be present at this great festival, which certainly provided me with new openings.
    Long life to the Toronto Black Film Festival.

    March 2022
  • Michael H. Lints

    Great team and great festival

    February 2022
  • Lynn Dow

    Greatest festival on the other side of the boarder!

    February 2022