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 notโ€‘forโ€‘profit organization works to promote Canadian film as distinctive and vital to our countryโ€™s culture and the local economy. Screening fees are paid for all films selected to screen at the festival.

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OCan is an IMDB qualifying festival, and is listed among qualifying festivals for the Canadian Screen Awards by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.

The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival is artist and volunteer-run, and is strongly committed to fostering diversity in our approach to programming. We achieve 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, OCan is now accepting submissions for its 8th annual Film Festival Program which will take place in November 2024.

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

- Exhibition / 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.
- Creative teams from selected films are invited to a networking event with industry professionals, held in Ottawa during the festival.

Screening Access
The Festival will provide two complimentary festival passes 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
- Films are shortlisted by a Jury
- FIlmmakers from shortlisted films are notified, and available screening slots are filled on a first-come first-served basis, based on delivery of required materials
- Multiple submissions are allowed
- We only accept submission entries digitally through www.filmfreeway.com
- 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
- 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 August 1, 2024

Jury Process
- All film submissions will be assessed based on the criteria and rules and guidelines as described in the call for submissions.
- Filmmakers will be notified if their films are on the shortlist by June 15, 2024
- If your film is short-listed by the jury, you will be asked to confirm that your film is available for screening at the festival, and required to submit an exhibition copy of the film, and promotional materials to the festival electronically
- Filmmakers are required to respond by June 30, 2024

The following information related to short-listed films MUST be included with your response:
- Film title and year of production,
- log line (brief one sentence summary)
- Name of the director (preferred pronouns) and contact information (email address)
- Tagline for the film (up to 100 characters)
- A brief synopsis of the film (up to 250 characters)
- A brief biography of the filmmaker (up to 250 characters)
- Film poster (jpg or png)
- Director headshot (jpg or png).
- Film trailer (if available) or a short segment from the film for publicity
- Behind the scenes, production photos (optional)
- Social Media handles for the film/director (FB, IG, X, YT)

Official Selections
- Available screening slots will be filled based on filmmaker responses, on a first-come, first-served basis when all required material is received
- 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 the selection committee and festival is final
- Final Official Selections for the 2024 festival will be published on August 1, 2024

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

Technical Details
- We require an electronic exhibition copy of the film. DCPs are preferred, DNxHD, h.264 or ProRes codecs in mov or mp4 containers are acceptable. If submitting a DCP, we require a backup mp4/mov, in case there are technical issues using the DCP at the cinema.
- Resolutions: 2K or 1920x1080. Audio: mono, stereo or 5.1
- Filmmakers must deliver a final format as indicated for festival screening. There are no exceptions.

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
  • Marc Bourdeau

    What a great festival, proudly presented in Canada's capital. Excellent organisation, communication, as well as consistent marketing presence on socials. Highly recommended!

    November 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you very much, Marc.

  • Kris Fleerackers

    I was very happy and honoured to have my film IDOL included in this great, all-Canadian film festival. So important to have such a festival as we live next to a media giant! The festival is very well run and the communication was fabulous. My only regret is that I could not be there in person. Hopefully next time!

    November 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thanks for submitting your film and participating in the insightful radio interview, Kris.

  • Thaรฏs Despont

    Awesome experience. I couldn't attend in person, but the communication by email with the organizers was excellent, they were always very responsive, and with the coverage on social media, it almost feels like I was there. I'm very proud that my short film got to be part of their lineup.

    November 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thanks for bring us your film, Thaรฏs. The audience enjoyed it. There were audible laughs at that final moment in the end credits. Looking forward to seeing more from you.

  • Stephanie Lalonde

    Ocan film festival was amazing. The organization and film selection was phenomenal. It was a complete honor to share the screen with the selected films. The communication was easy and prompt. The networking event was a nice touch. Great way to connect with the other filmmakers. I would definitely recommend this festival.

    November 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for bringing us your film, Stephanie and congratulations on being it being selected as the audience favourite. Keep putting Canadian film and productions from the Ottawa-Gatineau region on the map!

  • 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.