The Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLIFF) is a free national film festival which first started in 2009.
The CLIFF founding committee, composed of social justice, community and trade union activists, took two years to plan the festival before it made its debut across Canada. In its inaugural year, more than 40 locations across the country participated in CLIFF.
Since November is Labour Film Month, CLiFF is held across Canada each year in the month of November.
CLIFF has developed the innovative Festival-in-a-Box (FIAB) program, designed to make it more accessible for any groups or individuals to organize a CLIFF screening in their communities. FIAB programs a complete film festival in a ready-to-use format which means that community film gatherings can be made possible without requiring too many additional or unaffordable resources.
The CLiFF Board selects a 120-minute to 180 minute program comprising films already accepted into the festival and produces a DVD for the hosting location. Pop the DVD into a laptop with a projector or a DVD player and your festival is ready to start!
CLIFF tells the stories of workers (both paid and unpaid) and is the stage and the voice of those who seek justice on the job and dignity in the workplace.
Our festival provides a national platform to showcase those stories which have been made into films, but cannot find an audience beyond the film makers’ own circle of influence. We give filmmakers exposure across Canada and also help to direct community attention towards labour films made in the past that represent stories that deserve a wider and current audience.
History and Young Workers
CLIFF also provides workers with examples of what other workers have done or are doing, whether in Canada or around the world, to deal with challenges they have had in their workplaces, and more broadly in their lives as a result of being workers.
The trade union movement and individual workers have played an important role in shaping the Canada we know today. Many of our films show struggles of the past, as well as details of what is happening today.
Furthermore, giving workers, especially young workers, an opportunity to learn some of the history of the trade union movement is crucial in continuing to fight for working class justice.
Awards & Prizes
The CLiFF Best-in-Festival Award goes to the film judged to be the best in the festival by audiences during the Toronto festival and is announced after votes have been tabulated. This prize has a cash value of $500.00 CAD.
The Miguel Cifuentes Radical Change Award has been created in memory of CLIFF’s late board member and a longtime labour activist, Miguel Cifuentes, who passed away in 2014. The award goes to the film that best reflects his passion for social justice and commitment to social change. The winning film is chosen by Miguel’s family and is announced after the final screening in November. This prize has a cash value of $500.00 CAD.
The Best Canadian Film award is to recognize the Canadian film which best meets CLiFF's purpose of telling stories of workers, unionized and non-unionized, thorough film by sharing the voice of those who seek justice on the job and dignity in the workplace.
The prize has a case value of $250.00
Rules & Terms
CLIFF features films made by, for, and about the world of work and those who do it, in Canada and internationally. The films we showcase are about unionized workers, as well as those not represented by unions. We encourage projects regarding any and every aspect of work, as well as issues affecting work or workers. The festival draws trade unionists, community members, youth, activists, students, educators, artists, and allies from across North America and one day, we hope, the world.
We are looking for films on a wide spectrum of labour and worker issues, including films about: privatization, youth, First Nations people, people of colour, immigrants, refugees, detainees, health and safety, resistance, art, poetry, women, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, taxi drivers, truck drivers, rickshaw drivers – anyone who does anything considered work.
We also encourage the widest possible variety of films: from documentaries to drama to poetry/poetic treatments to comedy and animation.
• The Festival is open to all film and video makers.
• The Festival is open to all lengths but there is a strong preference for shorter works.
• Films and videos must be in English or have English subtitles. French subtitles are also accepted (and encouraged).
• Entries should be produced between 2014 and 2017.
Preference will be given to films not yet widely distributed.
Submissions must be received no later than May 1, 2017.
If your submission is accepted:
TWO COPIES of each submission will be required. We keep submissions as part of our Labour Film Library, which we will use for on-going educational work. You may submit the entry form electronically, by mail or fax prior to shipping media and other materials.
You will be asked to deliver an MPEG 2 or MPEG 4 file at a specific bit rate for our duplication service. Please note that your film may not be screening in Toronto, but might at one or more of our other numerous locations across Canada.
You will be asked to provide a trailer and photos for the film.
Submission Fee and Screening Fees
CLIFF does not charge filmmakers any submission fees, nor do we pay filmmakers any screening fees. CLIFF screenings are free for audiences in order to ensure that the films are seen by and accessible to as many people as possible.
CLiFF Board of Directors