The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival® is a unique showcase of work from the Asian diaspora and contemporary Asian cinema. Works include films and videos by East, South and Southeast Asian filmmakers in Canada, the U.S., Asia and all over the world. As Canada’s largest Asian film festival, Reel Asian® provides a public forum for Asian media artists and their work, and fuels the growing appreciation for Asian cinema in Canada.

Founded in 1997 by producer Anita Lee and journalist Andrew Sun, this non-profit community-based festival has grown into an eagerly anticipated annual event that attracts thousands of attendees to ten exciting days of galas, screenings, forums, workshops and parties.

Audience Award
Best Feature Film Award
Best Canadian Film or Video Award
Best First Feature Film Award
Female Director Award (for Ontario-based female filmmakers)
Best Short Film or Video Award (multiple awards)
Animasian Award for Best Animated Film

We welcome new film and video submissions by East, South, and Southeast Asians from around the world, including North America.

***Reel Asian is founded on the principles of building community and sharing our unique and important stories. Regardless of COVID-19, we are committed to continuing this work in 2021 as we always have. Like many film festivals around the world, Reel Asian hosted its 2020 festival digitally and with continued vigilance for the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and communities the 2021 festival will also be hosted digitally.


We require submissions that are produced with an East/South/Southeast Asian/Asian North American and Asian diaspora artist in a major key creative role (behind the camera and/or on-screen).

We welcome films and videos of all genres, including but not limited to: narrative, documentary, short, animation, experimental, etc.

Eligible short film or video work submissions have a max runtime of 40 minutes.

For all submissions, we strongly encourage and prioritize works completed in the last two years. If your work was completed before 2019, please contact us before submitting.

If you are submitting a previously submitted work, note that all re-submissions must have significant edits and changes for it to be re-considered. Please contact for further clarification.

Incomplete applications will not be considered. If you are submitting a rough cut and update your submission later, we cannot guarantee that the updated version will be reviewed.


SCREENERS - Secure online screener links are the previewing method. If you need to submit in another format please contact to make arrangements.

INFORMATION - Provide concise loglines, synopsis’, artist statement/cover letters, behind-the-scene photos, (and trailers for feature films) etc.

SELF-IDENTIFICATION - Please share how you self-identify. Reel Asian aims to be a more diverse and inclusive festival. To help us measure and improve upon these efforts, we kindly ask you to respond to the questions regarding self-identification as best you can. All responses are anonymous, will have no impact on your submission, and will only be used for research and statistical analyses to help us better serve the filmmaking community.


Selected applicants must provide a high-quality digital video file for exhibition of their film or video work. Please contact the festival directly if you have other formats for consideration.

Reel Asian is not responsible for transfer costs for the appropriate exhibition format.


Reel Asian is committed to paying artist fees to directors in selection and follows standard rates set by the Independent Media Arts Alliance ( Artist fees will be paid post-festival.


By submitting to this festival, you hereby grant the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival permission to screen and otherwise use the aforementioned title (the “Work”) in connection with the 2021 festival. You represent and warrant that you have all the rights in and to the Work and/or you have the authority to grant Reel Asian the rights to screen and otherwise use the Work. Your film festival acceptance also grants Reel Asian permission to use stills and excerpts from the Work for promotional and publicity use.

Should unforeseen events alter the format of the film festival, Reel Asian will contact and inform filmmakers in selection of how such events may affect and change the nature of their status.

Overall Rating
  • Farah Abdo

    Reel Asian has been such a pleasure to be apart of. We made the right decision to premiere our at this festival. Not only are they located in our hometown, but they made sure to take care of our team and keep contact throughout the year.

    We premiered in 2020 and Reel Asian still keeps in contact with us to this day. They check in from time to time asking about new projects and to see how we're doing. They've given us multiple resources while also introducing us to many industry people and filmmakers. It's truly a caring festival that wants to uplift its community and help them grow.

    We will continue to support Reel Asian as they've been a huge part of our growth. It's a special festival that's really for the Asian community. Keep up the great work Reel Asian! Can't wait to see the line up this year!

    - A Lonely Afternoon (SHORT) Team

    September 2021
  • The best festival that i've ever been so far!!! I really appreciate how the festival truly made sure that everyone feel included and involved in the festival's activities. They even made a Discord server for everyone to hang out. The staffs also always update us on what's going on, what to see. They also hype, post and tagged the film and filmmakers on their social medias. And then there's the artist fee! Very few festivals give screener/artist fee and i'm very thankful of the festival commitment on giving financial support to their artists. Simple acts of respect like encouraging people to put their pronouns, giving land acknowledgement before any event shows how awesome this festival is.

    Reel Asian doesn't feel just like a one week festival, but a community. I'll make sure next time i'll be able to attend the festival in person. Last but not least, thank you for selecting Rong and shout out to the staffs, but especially to Kelly for taking care of me during the festival!

    November 2020
  • Molly Patterson

    The communication and organization of this festival were outstanding, even with the time difference (we're in China) I received fast responses to all of my questions and regular updates from Kelly. While we were unable to attend this year it was an honor to have our film screened and we will certainly submit and try to attend next year.

    December 2019
  • Raymond Limantara

    Probably the best festival I didn’t get to attend. The communication and the social media coverage was great and comprehensive. Please keep up the good work!

    December 2019
  • Absolutely loved everything about this festival! The staff and volunteers were so amazing and welcoming, and the audience was so open to every genre in our shorts program. Highly recommend applying to this festival - we will definitely apply again in the future!

    November 2019