The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival is a cultural, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to recognize, promote and celebrate Canadian films and filmmakers.

Our Mission
Our mission is grounded in the belief that Canadian film and filmmakers are distinctive and vital to Canada’s culture and the development of the local economy.

Our Vision
We believe in programming and content that provides Ottawa audiences with entertaining and high-quality independent films, information, activities and events. Our festival, events, online presence and resources aim to encourage collaboration, artistic innovation and creativity while providing access for a broad audience segment.

The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival is committed to cooperation and collaboration with other arts organizations as well as the business community. Our programs are interactive, entertaining, educational and great value for the money.

A Special Note about our November 2021 Festival Screenings
As a result of the covid-19 pandemic and out of an abundance of caution OCanFilmFest screenings will take place online, using Vimeo’s On Demand platform, which we began using in 2020. Film rentals will not be geo-restricted. As a result, films can be rented by audiences around the world. Post-screening Q&As with filmmakers will take place online, as we did in 2020. All other aspects of the festival remain unchanged from previous in-person cinema screenings, including the jury process, and screening fees paid to all films selected to be included in the festival.

Submission Acceptance
As part of its commitment to promote the growth of independent Canadian films, Ottawa Canadian Film Festival is now accepting submissions for its 2021 Film Festival Program which will take place in November 2021.

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:

- 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 one 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,
- We can not accept films made by filmmakers who are not Canadian Citizens or permanent residents for this call for submissions.
- Multiple submissions are allowed.
- We only accept submission entries digitally through
- We do not accept submissions by email or physical submissions sent by mail.
- 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, 2021.

* Please note: In deciding the festival's film program line-up a strong emphasis and consideration will be given to film submissions that will have an Ottawa premiere.

- 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.
- A submission may not be withdrawn from the Festival once they have been accepted and you have confirmed its availability.
- The decision of selection committee and festival is final.

Visit our website for Frequently Asked Questions:

The following information MUST be included with your submission:
- 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),
- Premiere status (i.e. has it premiered in Canada or internationally and, if so, where?),
- Full name of the director, and
- Contact information (email address).

The following information will be required if your film is selected:
- 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. Due to technical specs of our venues and chosen streaming platforms, we are unable to accept DCPs or 5.1 audio at this time.
- 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),
- 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).

Terms and Conditions
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
  • Jesse Pickett

    Really wonderful and supportive festival. I highly recommend submitting to Ottawa Canadian Film Festival. Great communication, great support for the indie film community. A+++

    November 2021
    Response from festival:

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

  • Tamer Soliman

    OCan was a fantastic film festival to be a part of. Our film The Great Disconnect screened alongside some amazing films and we were grateful for the experience. Also, the organizers and programmers did a fabulous job of marketing and promoting the films through various media mediums which got the word out about our documentary and the film festival. I highly recommend this festival to any Canadians who produce great films.

    December 2020
    Response from festival:

    It was our pleasure, Tamer. Thanks to you and Sarah for participating in an enlightening Q&A session as well!

  • Simon Longmore

    Really top shelf festival. Made some many things happen for the film makers. Would highly recommend.

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

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

  • Patrick Weiers

    OCanFilmFest is led by an incredibly organized and passionate group of programmers. They're genuinely motivated to collaborate with the filmmakers, and they go to great lengths to promote their films. I especially enjoyed participating in a panel, where I got to connect with other filmmakers and discuss each other's work.

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Patrick. It was our pleasure.

  • Matthew J. Blecha

    Highly Recommend This Festival. Well-Organized! Good Communication. Great Mindset Towards the Promotion of All Participating Films. Great Job, Everyone!

    November 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Matthew. It was a pleasure to meet you at the festival this year. Looking forward to more amazing shorts from your team!