OCan is a Film Festival in Ottawa that celebrates Canadian film. Through annual festival screenings at the Bytowne Cinema in November and activities throughout the year, our not‑for‑profit organization works to promote Canadian film as distinctive and vital to our country’s culture and the local economy. Screening fees are paid for all films selected to screen at the festival.

OCanFilmFest is artist and volunteer-run, and is strongly committed to fostering diversity in our approach to programming. We achive this by encouraging film submissions from under-represented independent artists including female and non-binary filmmakers, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, and members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. We recruit diverse members and voices to our Board of Directors and film selection juries.

As part of its commitment to promote the growth of independent Canadian films, Ottawa Canadian Film Festival is now accepting submissions for its 2023 Film Festival Program which will take place in November 2023.

We are looking for great stories in all genres whether they are fiction or documentary of short or feature length.

We invite filmmakers to visit our website and check out some Frequently Asked Questions: https://ocanfilmfest.ca/faq.html

- Screening fees will be paid to all selected films.
- An Audience Favourite will be named based on votes cast by audience members at the festival.
- All selected film entries will be promoted and featured on the festival's website and on its social media platforms.

Screening Access
The Festival will provide two complimentary festival pass for each film selected.

To be eligible please read all of the rules and guidelines carefully before making your submission.

- Films submitted MUST be written or directed by a filmmaker who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident,
- Multiple submissions are allowed.
- We only accept submission entries digitally through www.filmfreeway.com.
- We are not responsible for improperly functioning on-line screeners or passwords.
- All submitted films in a language other than English must have English subtitles.
- We strongly encourage submissions by Ottawa based filmmakers as well as submissions by Canadian filmmakers of French language films (with English subtitles).
- Films which have received television or theatrical exposure are eligible
- Films available on the Internet are eligible
- Entrants are responsible for securing all rights and permissions from copyright and other holders relating to their film and agree to all terms as detailed herein.
- The festival reserves the right not to select any submission that we feel is inappropriate for any reason.
- All submissions will be notified of the results of the festival's decision by October 1, 2023.

- All film submissions will be assessed based on the criteria and rules and guidelines as described in the call for submissions.
- If your film is short listed, you will asked to confirm that your film is available for screening at the festival and to submit an exhibition copy of the film to the festival electronically.
- A submission may not be withdrawn from the Festival once you have confirmed its availability and transmitted the film to the festival.
- The decision of selection committee and festival is final.

Visit our website for Frequently Asked Questions: https://ocanfilmfest.ca/faq.html

The following information MUST be included with your submission once it has been short-listed:
- Film title and year of production,
- log line (brief one sentence summary)
- Running time/length of the film
- Language(s) of film and available subtitles (where relevant),
- Full name of the director, and
- Contact information (email address).
- A brief synopsis of the film (100 words max.),
- A brief biography of the filmmaker (100 words max., including province of origin and current residence),
- Film poster (jpg or png), and
- Director headshot (jpg or png).

Technical Details
- We require an electronic exhibition copy of the film. DNxHD, h.264 or ProRes codecs in mov or mp4 containers are acceptable. Resolutions: 1920x1080 or 1280x720. Audio: mono or stereo. Depending on the technical specs of our venues we may be unable to accept DCPs and 5.1 audio.
- Filmmakers must deliver a final format as indicated for festival screening. There are no exceptions.
- film trailer (if available) or a short segment from the film for publicity (same format options as for copy the film noted above),

Terms and Conditions (deemed accepted upon submission of materials detailed above)
I, as submitter of this entry and the undersigned, acknowledge and agree that:
1. I have read, understand and fully comply with all submission eligibility Rules, Guidelines, Terms and Conditions requirements;
2. To the best of my knowledge, all of the statements in my submission document are true;
3. This film or video is not subject to any litigation nor is threatened by any litigation;
4. I am duly authorized to submit this film to the festival;
5. I hold the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival and its parent organization the Ottawa Independent Film Festival as well as its owners, management, juries, subsidiaries, agents, sponsors, affiliates, etc. harmless from any and all claims of liability resulting from my entry;
6. I certify that I am the copyright holder of the film and have all necessary rights and clearances to have the film publicly screened by the festival;
7. I certify that I have full rights to the use of the music in the entered work;
8 . I give permission to the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival to screen the film at the festival
9. I also give permission to the festival to use stills, titles, copy, and/or information from the film for promotional purposes and the right to adapt/modify the film's trailer or to use a very brief portion of the film (if trailer is not available) for promotion of the festival's events and screenings.

Overall Rating
  • Nicole Bedford

    I really enjoyed my experience participating as a filmmaker in this festival. The communication is excellent because you are working directly with the key organizers. They helped set up media opportunities for the filmmakers and they featured each filmmaker on their social media channels. They hosted informal networking nights after every screening. And the venue they use for the screenings is wonderful -- it's the best I've ever heard my film sound at a festival. I highly recommend attending as a viewer and submitting your film as a filmmaker to this festival!

    December 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thanks, Nicole. It was our pleasure to screen your film and to play a small part in bringing its important message to larger audiences.

  • Peter Riddihough

    Really pleased to be selected for OCFF 2022. Well organized and thoughtfully curated

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    Congrats on the film and thanks for making the trip to Ottawa for the screenings!

  • Amir Zargara

    Thanks for having us :)

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    It was our pleasure. 'Plus que des cheveux' is a beautiful film that really resonated with our jury and our audience. Congratulations.

  • C. Hudson Hwang

    Always an honour to screen at this wonderful Canadian creative centric film festival. Well organized with great communication from the festival team. Looking forward to attending the festival in future, especially as in person screening begin resuming.

    December 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks very much. It was a pleasure to screen another film from you this year. Looking forward to see you back again at OCanFilmFest in the future.

  • Peter Findlay

    Great festival and strong on communication. Like all festivals, OCan was hindered by going online, but hard to know what to do during Covid. Looking forward to seeing what the festival does once the pandemic lifts! Thanks for including Company Town!

    December 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks very much, Peter. Hope to see you back at OCanFilmFest soon!