This festival is all about the CLIMATE CRISIS and WATER. The Water Docs Film Festival presents Canadian and International features and shorts about climate change and water, engaging discussions with filmmakers and special guests, and opportunities to take action to learn about and protect water and a liveable climate.

The festival informs, educates and activates our audiences about water and water issues, including the climate crisis, because the likelihood of having enough clean, fresh water and a liveable climate is diminishing everywhere, daily and rapidly.

We are motivated to act by seeing viable solutions and conversely, we are unlikely to act without a clear vision of a way forward. Our films and programs will inspire you to be part of the solution and show you that there are many positive solutions happening all around us and so many more opportunities and ways for you to take action too.

So, for the love of water and a liveable climate on our beautiful planet, come join us!

Thank you for submitting to the 2023 Water Docs Film Festival.

PLEASE NOTE: Your film submission MUST have a central climate change and/or water issue or theme to be eligible for screening. We are specifically interested in films that showcase positive solutions to the climate crisis, both at the global scale and at the community/personal scale. Please read the submission criteria carefully before submitting your film.

At this time, we request only online submissions. All materials must be viewable online as we want to remain as green (blue) as possible. The easiest way to submit your film is through the FilmFreeway platform. Alternatively, and with pre-approval only, you can email us a link to your film online with the preview screening password and proof of submission fee payment. Online payments for this method of submission can be made via PayPal. Our preferred streaming services are Vimeo or YouTube.


1. Your film MUST have a central climate change or water issue or theme.
2. Your film must be in English or subtitled in English.
3. Your film should not have been completed more than 3 years ago (2020, 2021, 2022 or 2023 - some exceptions for retrospectives may apply - please enquire).
4. Your film should not have previously screened widely in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada market or anywhere online. Should your film have had a limited run in Toronto or online, please advise/enquire before submitting.
5. As we are trying to become a more accessible festival, open captioning of your film is encouraged and appreciated but not mandatory at this point. If your film is Open Captioned, please let us know.

By submitting to the festival, you agree to allow us to screen your film (or other artistic work) anytime during the entire festival run for which you are submitting, at no charge to the festival and for any additional screenings via our Water Docs Where You Live Community Screenings program beyond the current festival.

All media selected by the festival will be asked to provide promotional materials, but we ask that no promotional materials be sent until we notify you of selection.

By submitting to the festival you are admitting copyright ownership of everything submitted, including any music and/or external footage used in the production via artistic compensation, acknowledgement, or via fair use parameters.

Because we prefer online screener links, please only send DVD preview copies (NTSC, Region 0 or 1) under certain pre-approved circumstances. (Please send an email explaining the particular situation before mailing a DVD.)

If approved, any mailings must be received postmarked by the deadline (June 30, 2023) to be considered for the 2023 festival. Do not send masters or irreplaceable material. Submitted DVDs must be able to play on standalone DVD players. Please label in ink each item clearly with the film title, director’s name, running time, year, and contact information. Preview screeners WILL NOT be returned. Please do not send unnecessary printed material.

For international packages: The customs declaration should clearly state that the preview video has no commercial value, is for temporary consideration and for cultural use only. Water Docs will not cover any resulting customs and duties charges and will refuse the package if there are any supplemental charges. Do not send entries in a fibre-filled envelope.

Submissions received by the Earlybird deadline (April 30, 2023) must include an entry fee of CAD $25.00, submissions received by the Regular deadline (May 31, 2023) must include an entry fee of CAD $35.00 and finally, submissions received by the Late deadline (June 30, 2023) must include an entry fee of CAD $45.00. Please include the receipt for online payment in the package. For other methods of payment please contact the festival directly. There are absolutely no refunds of submission fees. Thanks for your understanding.

The Water Docs Film Festival proudly accepts entries exclusively via FilmFreeway.com, the world’s best online submissions platform. FilmFreeway offers free HD online screeners, Vimeo and YouTube integration, and more.

Upon selection, the entrant grants the Water Docs Film Festival the right to utilize publicity materials related to the production (i.e. press kits, posters, stills, preview tapes, etc.) for promotional purposes in all mediums, including broadcast, print and internet.

The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations.

The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless Water Docs Film Festival and the Ecologos Environmental Organization from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

The film has been submitted for consideration with the knowledge and consent of the Producer(s) listed in this form.

Participation in the Water Docs Film Festival implies an understanding and acceptance of these regulations. The Festival reserves the right to rule on cases not foreseen by these regulations.


By participating in the Water Docs Film Festival (WDFF), I certify that I/we are the sole owner(s) of the work submitted and that I/we have obtained all necessary releases and clearances necessary for public screening. By submitting this entry, I agree that the Water Docs Film Festival (WDFF) & the Ecologos Environmental Organization (EEO), its affiliates and assigns may publicly screen the work, as part of WDFF, and may use all or part of the work and any stills and descriptive material, including the title of the work in any publicity efforts for the festival, including any broadcast or internet and website use. I/we also agree to allow this submission to be included in repeat screenings of WDFF or the Water Docs Where You Live Community Screenings program which may occur outside of the original context, and which may include being part of a WDFF sponsored screening at other film festivals both within and outside of Canada. I understand that my screening copy will not be returned.


All films must be the original work of the entrant and must not infringe upon the copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy, publicity or other intellectual property or other rights of any person or entity. If the film contains any material or elements that are not owned by the entrant and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, the entrant is responsible for obtaining, prior to the submission of the film, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the use of the film by the Water Docs Film Festival (WDFF). WDFF reserves the right, in its sole and unfettered discretion, to verify at any time during the Competition that all necessary clearances relating to any film have been obtained. At any time during the Festival, WDFF reserves the right, in its sole and unfettered discretion, to disqualify and remove any film that potentially or actually infringes any third party's copyright(s).


By entering into this Contest, entrants hereby release and discharge the Water Docs Film Festival (WDFF) and its respective affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents, representatives, independent contractors, officers, employees and directors from and against any and all claims, liabilities, costs, damages and expenses of any kind arising out of or relating to their participation in this Festival, their use or acceptance of any prize, the use by WDFF of any films submitted by entrants and/or any actions or decisions of WDFF in connection with the conduct and administration of this Festival. Entrants hereby waive any right to seek injunctive or other equitable relief in connection with any claim against WDFF, any of the Sponsors or Co-Sponsors, or any of their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents, representatives, independent contractors, officers, employees and directors.

WDFF is not responsible for technical failures of any kind or any problems or delays arising from any technical, software or equipment malfunctions, computer viruses, or any other technical, equipment or human errors of any kind, or any damage or alteration to your film that may occur in connection with the uploading or display of the film. If WDFF determines in its sole discretion that there is any suspected or actual evidence of electronic or non-electronic tampering or fraud relating to any portion of the Festival, or if technical difficulties compromise the integrity of the Festival, WDFF reserves the right to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Contest, in whole or in part, at any time without notice. WDFF is not liable for any failure to screen any submitted films if that failure is due to circumstances beyond its control.

Overall Rating
  • I was honoured to be part of this important festival. The screening program was high quality.

    November 2021
  • We are very grateful that our art film Precious Balance Walk was selected for Water Docs Film Festival, it was our first choice when we started to submit to film festivals. Thank you deeply from our hearts!

    November 2021
  • Roger Williams

    Water Docs is a very important festival that we have been lucky enough to have two films in. RiverBlue and Last Paddle? were both well received and we had a great time with the Q&A. Overall a very positive festival that I support and hope to have another film at this festival in the future.

    November 2021
  • Harrison Swanson

    We had a great time at the Water Docs Film Festival! So accommodating and fun to be a part of. Will definitely want to come back again in the future. Thanks again!

    April 2019
    Response from festival:

    We were so happy to have you and Oliver join us this year. We do hope that if you make another film about water that you will remember to submit it to our festival in the future too.
    With gratitude,
    The Water Docs Team

  • Rachael Dudley

    Thanks for having us! We felt in good company at this festival. Great venue and a variety of interesting films, that would appeal to anyone who cares about our planet.

    March 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thanks to you, Kate and Amanda for coming to the festival this year. Glad to hear you all enjoyed yourselves too. We were most happy to have you with us.
    Thanks again,
    The Water Docs Team