Reelworld Film Festival - 21st year and going strong!

The Reelworld Film Festival showcases a wide variety of genres in narrative and documentary features, narrative and documentary shorts, music videos, animation, episodic content for web and television, and VR/360 works. From dramatic storytelling, to hard-hitting documentaries, to witty comedies, to thoughtful abstractions, Reelworld 2021 selections will reflect the strong and authentic voice of Canadians identifying as Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour.

We focus on BIPOC talent as well as BIPOC content. We showcase and support BIPOC producers, directors, screenwriters, actors and all on and off screen talent. We connect with agents, casting directors, broadcasters and distributors, invite them to the festival, and help them find new BIPOC talent. The Reelworld Film Festival features 100% BIPOC talent from Canada, and has become the country’s largest socially impactful film festival, reaching a diverse audience of over 350,000 engaged individuals to-date.

Works selected for the festival will be screened and considered for awards by an independent jury of professional filmmakers and industry executives. The festival grants $20,000 in cash and prizes in total to award recipients.

Awards are dependant on programming. Suggested Awards in 2021 are:

Outstanding Feature Film Award

Outstanding Short Film Award

Audience Choice Award (Highest rated film by the audience)

Standout Feature Film Producer

Standout Short Film Producer

Standout Feature Film Director

Standout Short Film Director

Standout Feature Film Actress

Standout Short Film Actress

Standout Feature Film Actor

Standout Short Film Actor

Standout Feature Film Writer

Standout Short Film Writer

Standout Feature Film Cinematographer

Standout Short Film Cinematographer


- Submissions must have been completed after January 1, 2018;

- Eligible submissions must be by Black, Indigenous and/or People of Colour Canadian creatives;

- All submissions and exhibitions must be in English, subtitled in English or English versioned (if selected, any subtitles must be burned into final submission file);

- Must not be available online, via any home device (blu-ray, DVD, etc.) or screened/released theatrically or on TV in Canada by the time of the festival exhibition October 2021;

- Rough cuts and works-in-progress will be considered this year.

- Entrant confirms and warrants required legal authority to submit the entry into the Festival and to use all music, images, and content in the entry; Entrant hereby grants Reelworld permission to screen and otherwise use the entry in connection with the 2021 festival. Your film festival acceptance also grants Reelworld permission to use stills and excerpts from the entry for promotional and publicity use.


We accept narrative films, documentaries, animation, webisodes (web series), episodic content, music videos, and VR/360 films by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) Canadian filmmakers that explore current issues, and ideas or themes with social impact.

All programs are carefully curated and submissions will be fully considered by Reelworld’s programming team. PLEASE ENSURE YOUR SCREENER PASSWORD IS CORRECT AT TIME OF SUBMISSION.


For the purposes of eligibility and awards consideration, Reelworld uses the following definitions:

Feature-Length: 45 minutes or longer
Short: up to 44 minutes
Episodic: up to 45 minutes (must be part of or intended to be part of a 3+ part series)
Virtual Reality (VR/360): up to 12 minutes in length
Music Video: up to 6 minutes


Canadian Submissions: All films produced in Canada and/or directed by Black, Indigenous or People of Colour Canadian filmmakers who are living abroad.


Accepted applicants will be notified of programming decisions by email before August 31st, 2021. If applicants do not hear by that date, then they have not been selected for the festival. Final programming, categorization and slotting of films will be determined by the Reelworld programming team. Their decision is final. Successful applicants will receive this information in their official invitation.

Selected applicants must send in a film trailer and 3 one-minute scenes of their choosing. Other requirements, such as social media handles, press information, etc will be outlined in your selection letter.

Acceptance of your invitation into the festival indicates an understanding that this will be an online-only festival screening, geoblocked to Ontario.

Selected Applicants will receive passes to the Festival and complimentary tickets to surrounding events. These details will be outlined in your selection letter.


For this year's digital online festival, a direct FTP upload link to our secure online streaming platform, CineSend is the required method for uploading film assets, as well as critical film info like credits, premiere status, synopses, etc. Selected applicants must provide a high quality digital file that meets the source file technical requirements for upload. Details about this will be outlined following your selection letter.

For accessibility for Deaf/Hard of Hearing people, all accepted English language films should have subtitles or closed captions in WebVTT or TTML file format included with the delivery (can be sent via email directly to, with the file clearly labelled with the film title and the subject header: "Subtitle/Closed Captions: [Film Title]")

All film assets, as well as film stills, director bios, and other relevant marketing information that will be outlined in the acceptance letter must be received by the deadline of 11.59pm, EST, July 29, 2021.

In the event of an in-person festival, selected applicants must provide a DCP format of their film or video work. In some cases (especially short films), filmmakers may be required to provide a high quality Pro Res file for exhibition. For the purpose of the online festival, complete source file requirements/upload specifications to our CineSend streaming platform will be sent to selected applicants. Please contact the festival directly if you have other formats for consideration. DVD is not accepted at Reelworld.

VR/360 Projects, must be accessible on a GearVR or Oculus Headset, and are accepted pending programming capability for the 2021 Festival.

The participant agrees to pay print shipping costs to the Festival. Shipping information must be settled upon confirmation of participation. The work must arrive at the festival one month prior to the festival.

Reelworld 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 via e-transfer on the last day of the festival.

Overall Rating
  • Maninder Chana

    What a terrific festival. One of the best in the country and on the circuit. I had one of my first films at Reel World a decade-plus ago and it's gotten even more better over time. Top-notch communication and a fantastic dedicated team that went above and beyond to support filmmakers and their work.

    November 2020
  • Andrew Chung

    An amazing festival that supports BIPOC filmmakers as selflessly as they possibly can. After programming a few of my films, I've always had a great experience. They make sure your work is seen, they provide numerous networking opportunities to industry people who tangibly help your career, and they ensure that every single filmmaker feels valued. They're the only festival in Canada (and at 20 years old, I think longest-running) that unapologetically supports Canadian BIPOC filmmakers. They have no corporate or elitist agendas - they only aim to give BIPOC filmmakers a platform. Nothing more and nothing less. If you're a Canadian BIPOC filmmaker, this is the festival you need to participate in!

    October 2020
  • Alice Shin

    Reekworld Film Festival is a very professionally run festival that takes place at a great cinema with networking opportunities. The good people behind this festival make sure that filmmakers are well-taken care of. Thank you Reelworld!

    October 2020
  • Brandon Jordan

    Such a great experience, such a great team! ReelWorld does an amazing job of empowering their filmmakers, and creating a platform to foster emerging talent. I will definitely be submitting my next film to this festival again!

    October 2020
  • I've been fortunate enough to have several of my films screen at ReelWorld over the years and the in-person experience is great. Tonya Williams really is the heart and soul of the festival and she surrounds herself with a great team. This year they went virtual, and I dare say in many respects it may have been even better especially in terms of the networking opportunities and promotion. For instance, they scored an article in the Toronto Star highlighting a bunch of shorts (mine included!) Also, they hand out lots of awards so don't skip closing night! Submit, you won't regret!

    October 2020