Since its inception in October 2017, the Pendance Film Festival has committed itself to a standard of excellence and an unrivaled passion for cinema. We truly believe in the work we do, and are very clear on why we're doing it. We exist to unite audiences who love great films with the directors who create them.

Our devotion to filmmakers and cinema has led us to work around the clock to make sure we find the best films in the world, and the largest audiences to watch them.

We have a knack for programming films that stick with audiences, and it is the trust of both filmmakers and audiences that has made Pendance one of the fastest growing film festivals in the world in 2018.

Pendance is an independent film festival supported by a bevy of great sponsors and key artists within the Canadian film scene. We find that 99% of film festivals either exist because they're funded, or are funded because they exist. We exist to give a large platform to innovative storytellers and to spark a new love affair with cinema among modern audiences starving for truth and meaning on the big screen. Our slogan is 'Story Over Everything' and it's an apt description of exactly how we program.

5 Reasons to Submit to Pendance:


Our selection process is uniquely transparent. Each official selection to Pendance is the process of deep deliberation over months of internal debates among our programmers. We care a great deal about the films we consider and the filmmakers who have entrusted us to consider their work. As filmmakers, we know that each film is the result of months and sometimes years of work. Each submission is watched by no less than two programmers. Prior to being officially selected, a film is then watched and reviewed by each programmer before being subject to a final vote.

Unlike most festivals, we don't outsource our screenings to volunteers for preliminary selections. Our attention to detail is why there are no fillers at Pendance. We've never selected a film we didn't feel warranted our stamp of approval. Passing up a hidden gem, or selecting a film we're not confident in is certainly not something we take lightly.


As filmmakers, we've travelled across the country for a film only to screen in front of twenty people. It happened at bigger and smaller festivals. When we started Pendance, our goal was to never let it happen to any Pendance filmmaker. In our very first year, Pendance screened on the busiest night of the year during a snow storm to a packed theatre of over 400 film lovers for an all-shorts program.

It was the result of the aforementioned programming efforts and months of heavy promotional efforts by our in-house professional designers and film editors and their deep backgrounds in promotion and advertising. Having these skills on our team allows us to help filmmakers reach wider audiences.

We do marketing campaigns for trailers, build individual web pages for both shorts and features, and do featured articles on the directors selected to Pendance. Everything we do is in service of the films and filmmakers we select, and the audiences that attend. In an age where theatre attendence has been on sharp decline for almost a decade, we knew from the start that to fill the seats, we needed to think differently.


Pendance has a unique vibe which is rarely found at North American film festivals. Our diverse audience members are often the most die-hard cinephiles, and all of the talk around the festival is about the art and craft of cinema. Our elegant gala sets the mood with a glass of wine, live jazz performances, and an intimate atmosphere for artists to connect.

We're big believers in the law of attraction. It is this immutable law that has drawn the best filmmakers from around the globe to submit to our festival, and it is the same law that has drawn so many sophisticated and wonderful people to attend our screenings.

The red carpet and celebrity appearances will remain a component of any film festival, but we strive to make sure that those things never become the focus of our event. We knew we were on to something when we looked around last year at our closing gala and didn't see a single person on their cell phone for almost an hour.

We take the time to actually learn about our filmmakers. We created a filmmaker lounge for all selected filmmakers to hang out during the festival with complimentary food and drinks always on hand. Perhaps a first for any second year festival, we also offer hotel accommodations to international filmmakers coming into Toronto for their film's screening, and offer airfare credits for feature filmmakers travelling from abroad. Many film festivals treated us with excellent hospitality on our lengthy festival runs, and we've adopted this approach because we believe firmly in this 'filmmaker-first' approach.


New this year, Pendance will introduce four filmmaker workshops with the goal of adding a small teaching component to our festival. The workshops will be led by industry leaders. 2019's workshops include; directing actors, scriptwriting for the big screen, securing distribution, and a masterclass in low-budget horror.


The Regent is one of the oldest theatres in North America and retains a special sort of charm which is seldom found in modern multiplexes. It's an enormous and immaculately well-maintained venue with a 530-person seating capacity, a 40 foot screen, and one of the best sound systems in the city. So you can rest assured that the film you poured years of your life into is going to get the gold-standard exhibition it deserves.

Toronto is one of the most diverse, and rapidly growing cities in the world. Already home to the Toronto International Film Festival each fall, we hope Pendance gives the film industry a reason to make a second trip north of the border each year.

Best Picture - A Prize awarded to the best feature film
Jury Prize: Best Short Film- Awarded to the best short film (under 45 minutes)
Audience Award: Best Film- Voted for by the audience in attendance
Best Director- Awarded to the best Director (short or feature)

1) Only films completed after June 1st, 2018 are eligible for the festival. 

2) Pendance maintains strict premiere requirements for both shorts and features. Feature films which have previously screened in Ontario are not eligible to screen at Pendance.

3) STUDENT FEES are only for current film school students or filmmakers who made films while enrolled in film school. In order to qualify for a student fee, please be sure to upload a clear copy of a student ID on the attachments section of your filmmaker profile. 

4) Please do not change the screener link address or password of your submission. If you do, please notify us immediately or you risk your film not being previewed and thus considered for the festival.

5) Films in a language other than English must be subtitled in English. We prefer subtitles be burned into the submission copy. 

6) Pendance requires DCPs for exhibition. In the event that one is unavailable, we request a PRORES screener link so that we may create a DCP on our behalf.

7. FEE WAIVERS; Pendance Film Festival will outright waive submission fees for any short or feature film that has screened at the following festivals; Sundance, Tribeca, Raindance, Austin, Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Telluride, or Slamdance. If your film has screneed at one of these festivals, please email us and submit under "Special Category" after receiving your waiver code. 

8. Each submission will be watched at a minimum twice, and all selected filmmakers will be notified of their inclusion in the festival no later than January 5th, 2019.

9. All submission fees are non-refundable. If your film does not fit our submission guidelines, it will be disqualified.

10. Press Kits are requested, but not required. Trailers are however required. If your film is selected, and a trailer is not available, Pendance will on your behalf create a clip no longer than 60 seconds for promotional purposes only.

11. Once selected the film may be withdrawn for any reason within 5 days. This may happen due to premiere conflicts, or to clear pending distribution deals. After this period of 5 days following a selection, a film may not be withdrawn from the festival.

12. Films must not be available online or be publicly available in the United States or Canada. If your film is available publicly and you still wish to submit for our special screenings, please email us. Do not submit your film, as it will be disqualified.

Filmmakers are encouraged to attend the festival. If you’re selected and intend to attend the event, please get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can arrange for complimentary passes and gala tickets. Each selected filmmaker is entitled 2 free passes, and 4 screening passes. Short filmmakers are granted a hotel stay in Toronto, and feature film makers will very often be extended full travel and partial airfare.


Additional Information 

We strongly encourage filmmakers to submit their film only after it is fully finished and will judge each submission as a completed work, whether it is or not. Once a film is entered, we will not update the submission with a more recent cut. That said, because Pendance's focus is primarily on story and writing, minor technical changes will not affect the final decision of any film. Should the film be accepted to play during Pendance, the filmmaker will have the opportunity to supply the festival with their most recent version. 
*PENDANCE PRESS: We are often asked for private screeners to review ahead of and after the screenings to generate positive publicity. The list of media are widely known and reputable. If you do not wish for your screener to be reviewed by the press via private link, or if you'd prefer to handle publicity on your own film, please specify this upon selection.
*GENRE RESTRICTIONS: While we’re open to all genres, if your film features excessive violence, gore, nudity or sexuality, please email to the festival before submitting to confirm it is eligible.

Overall Rating
  • Marija Apcevska

    An amazing festival team that takes great care of the filmmakers !

    February 2019
  • Tori Larsen

    Such a good festival! The Pendance team goes above and beyond for filmmakers. Cutting a trailer for each and every short film was such an unexpected and welcomed perk of being accepted. Can't wait to attend again in future years!

    February 2019
  • Otoja Abit

    A must stop for any independent filmmaker. Pendance in it’s second year has exceeded the experience for long running festivals. The curators and programs have done the work to select a range of quality films. They’re workshops are great and hospitality is bar none. Very excited to see what this festival will be like in five years and even more excited as I’ll be sure to boast about it’s growth.

    We’ve screened nationally and won awards and to visit Toronto (although not TIFF) Pendance is honing in on the winter Toronto film festival. Toronto’s own Kiefer Sutherland even showed support.

    February 2019
  • Kalainithan Kalaichelvan

    The entire Pendance team was fantastic, both in the event set up and their communication with the filmmakers. Can't wait for next year!

    December 2017

    Robert Misovic and his team are incredible at doing a festival that presents the best of world's art-house cinema in a fresh and familiar experience for everyone. Moreover, as a novel artist, how many chances there are for you to show your work alongside an Oscar and a Palme d'Or winner? That's the level of sensibility and compromise Pendance shows with their films and idelogy: 'Story Over Everything'. We're really honoured being part of Pendance first edition and wish them long life!

    December 2017