We celebrate 25 years and 2021 will be the biggest VAFF ever!

VAFF is the longest running pan-Asian diaspora film festival in Canada, founded in 1995 and debuted in September 1997. Since then, tens of thousands of film lovers have experienced a diverse selection of Asian North American and international films, in English and in other languages.

We pride ourselves on being the festival where many successful Asian filmmakers first showcased their work and are looking for great films that tell compelling narratives for us, by us and about us.

Prize for 2021
We have a minimum prize fund of $2,500 CAD (get it - 25th anniversary!) for:
$1,500 CAD for the category of Canadian Features awards
$1,000 CAD for the category of Canadian Shorts awards

We will continue to update our prize fund as we move closer to the festival.

Why we are great for all Asian Filmmakers…

We have Awards!

We plan to further update our prize fund as we move closer to the festival. We have established juried awards, last year we awarded:

Jury Awards

Shorts:
Best Canadian Short
Best Director for Canadian Short
Best Cinematography for Canadian Short

Features:
Best Canadian Feature
Best Director for Canadian Feature
Best Cinematography for Canadian Feature

Audience ‘People’s Choice’ Awards:
Overall Performance Award
Overall Short Film Award
Overall Feature Film Award

Last year, programming also featured:

Industry Series - including panel discussions, networking, & gala events
Artist/Concept Spotlight
International Spotlight
International Shorts
Q & A sessions

We have national and international publicity!

This year is big and we are going big. 2021 marks VAFF’s 25th year of continuous programming. Eyes will be on us and your films too.

We plan to go ‘Hybrid’ this year! That means an online festival Canada-wide for 7 days and live screenings and presentations in Vancouver for 4 days. The festival will run from November 4 - 14.

Each year VAFF attracts close to 5,000 audience members. Due to the changing nature of the pandemic, any updates to the format of this year's festival will be announced by early September.

Screening Fees For Filmmakers

VAFF is also committed to paying screening fees to films from Canadian/Canadian resident directors part of the official selection of the 25th Vancouver Asian Film Festival. Eligible filmmakers will be notified of our fee structure if successfully selected. All fees will be paid post-festival. Please note we cannot pay fees for productions with filmmakers who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada that are not based in Canada.

Success Stories – Our Festival Alumni

Being the platform where a number of successful Asian filmmakers first showcased their work, VAFF’s visiting artists have included:

Justin Lin (Fast & Furious), Quentin Lee (White Frog), Benson Lee (Seoul Searching), Evan Jackson Leong (Linsanity), Jessica Yu (Grey’s Anatomy), Tze Chun (Gotham), and Freida Lee Mock (Return with Honor), as well as Canadian filmmakers Julia Kwan (Everything Will Be), Mina Shum (Meditation Park), Ann Marie Fleming (Window Horses), Ben Lu (Blood and Water), Phil Planta (Beyond Redemption), and Jeff Chiba Stearns (Mixed Match). Attending performers have included Edison Chen (Infernal Affairs), Tzi Ma (Mulan), Osric Chau (Arrow), Ludi Lin (Mortal Kombat), Anastasia Lin (Miss World Canada 2015), Agam Darshi (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency), Sarita Choudhury (Hunger Games franchise), and Rizwan Manji (The Dictator).

About Us

VAFF is a not-for-profit film festival society committed to supporting both emerging talents and established filmmakers, offering programming reflective of the Asian diaspora experience. VAFF offers unique perspectives on storytelling from diverse filmmakers, to diverse audience members, achieving our goal: to celebrate diversity in film.
The festival is entirely organized and produced by a group of dedicated volunteers, and is made possible by generous financial support from corporate sponsors, public funders and private donors.

ELIGIBILITY

VAFF accepts:
● Independently produced films and videos by Asian North American artists (including Asian-Canadian or Asian-American artists), or
● Films or videos produced in East Asia (including People’s Republic of China [incl. Hong Kong], Macao, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Taiwan), Southeast Asia (including Myanmar [Burma], Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Timor-Leste) or South Asia (including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh), in English or with English subtitles, or
● Films or videos produced must have at least one member of the creative team (director, writer, producer/production company or cinematographer) or at least one of the lead actors/subjects (if Documentary) self-identify as being of Asian or part-Asian heritage.
● Current VAFF Board and Executive members are also eligible to submit but their work will be reviewed by third party judges outside of VAFF. However, they are not eligible for awards even if films or videos are selected.
● Please specify how your submission meets our eligibility criteria above, in your submission notes/cover letter.
● If the country you are submitting from currently has a banking embargo, in these cases, we recommend that you find friends/filmmakers in other countries to assist your payment/submission.
● Films and videos must have been completed no earlier than January 01, 2019. Submissions completed prior to this date will not be considered. Films that have been previously submitted will not qualify for submission.
● Important Note - In the initial submission phase - DCP will not be acceptable. However, if the feature film is chosen for screening, Filmmakers will later be given the option of sending in the DCP for that purpose. Acceptable exhibition formats are as follows:
○ Feature Films – Digital exhibition formats H.264 (.MOV or .MP4) /ProRes/ DNxHD files; in HD resolution (1080p or 2K) at 23.98 frame rate. Audio in 5.1 surround (and or Stereo if that is the only available mix). If possible, a BluRay disc for backup.
○ Short Films - Digital exhibition formats H.264 (.MOV or .MP4) /ProRes/ DNxHD files; in HD resolution (1080p or 2K) at 23.98 frame rate. No DCP Audio in 5.1 surround (and or Stereo if that is the only available mix). If possible, a BluRay disc for backup.
● Other exhibition formats, e.g. 16mm, DVD, HDCam, Digibeta, VHS cannot be considered.

RIGHT TO USE

● All entries, selected for the Festival, grant VAFF the rights to use footage, stills, titles and information as we deem appropriate for publicity and promotional purposes. This requires:
The applicant must hold the necessary rights for the submission and exhibition of this work. The applicant agrees that if his/her title is selected, that any material including photographs and/or video submitted to VAFF may be used by the festival or a third party authorized by the festival for the purpose of promoting the festival (online, in print and media).

NOTE ON FEES

● OPEN CALL SUBMISSION/ENTRY FEES: VAFF does not waive entry fees for Open Call Submissions.

SUBMISSION MATERIALS

Preview Screeners: Discs
● Preview screeners on playable DVD/Blu-Ray or digital file format (.MOV or MP4) on disc/drive are only accepted for feature length (over 40 min TRT) submissions.
● Submit 2 preview screeners in playable DVD/Blu-Ray or 1 copy in a digital file format (.MOV or MP4) on disc/drive. Please check that the DVD/Blu-Ray discs are playable on all consumer DVD players.
● Discs/drives must be labeled with the film title, total running time, contact name, address, phone number and email address.
● Preview screeners can be mailed/couriered to:
Print Traffic Coordinator
Vancouver Asian Film Festival
1178 W. Pender Street
Vancouver, BC, V6E 2R9
Canada
Preview Screeners: Digital Files
● Preview Screener Links are accepted for feature length (longer than 40 min TRT) and shorts (up to 40 min TRT).
● For FilmFreeway, you have the option of submitting a secure screener link or uploading directly online.

PRESS MATERIALS

● VAFF requests press materials and film/production details if your film is accepted for programming in 2021, for its online and print program and other festival promotion. If available, submit an Electronic Press Kit (EPK) with your signed Notice of Acceptance (NOA):
○ Provide a download link, or provide a data disc or USB thumb drive with your exhibition screener (if sending a physical copy)
○ Label all files descriptively e.g. “Film Title_Still 1,” “Film Title_Director Name”
● If you do not have an EPK, VAFF will request the information in your NOA.
● The press kit should contain:
○ A film synopsis (approximately 100 words) and logline;
○ Film stills (photos or hi-resolution electronic images: minimum 1200×1800 pixels @ 300 dpi) for program guide and publicity;
○ An above-the-line cast and crew list;
○ Director(s) biography (80 words each) and headshot(s) (see above for technical specs);
○ Press/publicity clippings and list of awards and screenings (Word or PDF)
○ Official website URL; social media URL/handles
● Note: Press materials and preview screeners will not be returned.

JURIED AWARDS: QUALIFICATIONS

All adjudicated awards are given to eligible Canadian films only, including Best Canadian Short and Best Canadian Feature, Best Director for Canadian Short and Best Director for Canadian Feature, & Best Cinematography for Canadian Short and Best Cinematography for Canadian Feature. Some awards may include a cash prize if funding is available. To qualify for any of the above awards, filmmakers must meet the following criteria:
● The director, producer or writer must be a Canadian citizen or Canadian resident;
● One of the key members (director, writer, producer or cinematographer) or one of the lead actors/subjects (if a documentary) must self-identify as being of Asian or part Asian heritage;
● Films by current VAFF Board and Executive members selected for screening are not eligible for awards. Members who have left the organization for over 12 months are eligible to enter into competition again.
● Both dramatic narrative and documentary genres accepted;
● How the submitted works have been funded or majority financed - for example from institutions (public or federal organizations, film schools, broadcasters etc.) will be taken into account when judged.
● The film must not have been broadcast on television or have received commercial theatrical distribution prior to the festival screening;
● Due to the continued restrictions of COVID-19, a film that has been released digitally online through a distributor or broadcaster after March 15th 2021 will be accepted.
Films that have been self-distributed online, across all and any media platforms, will be ineligible.
The award winner will be determined by an adjudication panel of industry professionals and announced during VAFF25.

Best Canadian Short Award

Best independent dramatic narrative/documentary short, primarily live action, 40 minutes or under by a Canadian filmmaker. For VAFF25 we will award a cash prize to the winner. To qualify, filmmakers must meet the following criteria:
● The director, producer or writer must be a Canadian citizen or Canadian resident;
● The film must be under 40 minutes in length;
● The director must have final creative control of the work.

Best Canadian Feature Award

Best independent dramatic narrative/documentary feature, primarily live action, over 40 minutes by a Canadian filmmaker. For VAFF25 we will award a cash prize to the winner. To qualify, filmmakers must meet the following criteria:
● The director, producer or writer must be a Canadian citizen or Canadian resident;
● The film must be over 40 minutes in length;
● The director must have final creative control of the work.

Best Director for Canadian Short Award

Best independent dramatic narrative/documentary short, primarily live action, 40 minutes or under by a Canadian filmmaker. For VAFF25 we will award a cash prize to the winner. To qualify, filmmakers must meet the following criteria:
● The director must be a Canadian citizen or Canadian resident;
● The film must be under 40 minutes in length;
● The director must have final creative control of the work.

Best Director for Canadian Feature Award

Best independent dramatic narrative/documentary feature, primarily live action, over 40 minutes by a Canadian filmmaker. For VAFF25 we will award a cash prize to the winner. To qualify, filmmakers must meet the following criteria:
● The director must be a Canadian citizen or Canadian resident;
● The film must be over 40 minutes in length;
● The director must have final creative control of the work.

Best Cinematography for Canadian Short Award

Best independent dramatic narrative/documentary short, primarily live action, 40 minutes or under by a Canadian filmmaker. For VAFF25 we will award a cash prize to the winner. To qualify, filmmakers must meet the following criteria:
● The director, producer or writer must be a Canadian citizen or Canadian resident, but the Cinematographer does not need to be Canadian;
● The film must be under 40 minutes in length;
● The cinematographer must have full creative control of the cinematography.

Best Cinematography for Canadian Feature Award

Best independent dramatic narrative/documentary feature, primarily live action, over 40 minutes by a Canadian filmmaker. For VAFF25 we will award a cash prize to the winner. To qualify, filmmakers must meet the following criteria:
● The director, producer or writer must be a Canadian citizen or Canadian resident, but the Cinematographer does not need to be Canadian;
● The film must be over 40 minutes in length;
● The cinematographer must have full creative control of the cinematography.
People’s Choice Awards

The People’s Choice Awards are presented at the Closing Night Awards Ceremony November 13, 2021. The audience selects the best Overall Feature, Overall Short, and Overall Performance. Online voting will be open from November 04 through November 13 inclusive, throughout the November 2021 Festival.
● The award is open to all eligible films by filmmakers from all countries.
● Films by current VAFF Board and Executive members selected for screening are not eligible for awards. Members who have left the organization for over 12 months are eligible to enter into competition again.

NOTIFICATION OF FESTIVAL SELECTION

● You will be notified of festival selections on or around September 01, 2021, or earlier.
● If selected, a Notice of Acceptance (NOA)—including a request for press kit information and festival attendance RSVP—will be sent to you.
● The NOA must be completed, signed and returned by the deadline date listed in the NOA document, or your position in the festival may be offered to another film.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

By submitting your entry to the Vancouver Asian Film Festival, you represent that you have the authority to do so and that you have reviewed all the VAFF submission rules and information as stated on FilmFreeway and published PDF document.
You agree to hold VAFF harmless and without liability for the statements you make, and you assert that there are no assigned rights, agreements, distribution agreements, production deals or any other arrangements whatsoever attached to this work - that would in any way interfere with the showing or screening of your entry to the public by VAFF.
We cannot offer any exception to current policies regarding submissions. Absolutely no fee waivers. No submissions past the late deadline. Absolutely no refunds. Please read through our submission criteria carefully. Please contact us if you need any further clarification.

Exhibition Screeners: Digital Files

● Send digital file download link to printtraffic@vaff.org
Exhibition Screeners: Hard Copy Shipping Policy and Guidelines
● Ship exhibition prints (Blu-Ray or DCP) to VAFF, prepaid, to arrive no later than October 04, 2021.
● If exhibition prints/files are coming from other festivals, VAFF must receive print traffic contact information of the prior festival two weeks prior to VAFF’s start date.
● If VAFF is to send the exhibition print/file to another film festival, this outbound address must be given to VAFF one week prior to the start of VAFF or it will be sent back to the print source.
● Exhibition Prints/Files can be mailed or couriered to:

Print Traffic Coordinator
Vancouver Asian Film Festival
1178 W. Pender Street
Vancouver, BC, V6E 2R9
Canada

● The filmmaker is responsible for providing any required paperwork for the shipping of his/her films, particularly those coming from outside of Canada.
● VAFF TYPICALLY PAYS FOR ONLY THE RETURN OR OUTBOUND* SHIPPING COSTS OF THE SCREENING FILM/VIDEO. INBOUND SHIPPING CHARGES WILL BE COVERED BY PRINT SOURCE OR PRECEDING FILM FESTIVALS. *If by special arrangement VAFF pays for inbound shipping, the outbound shipping cost must be covered by the print source or the forwarding contact/festival.
● VAFF does not insure the films during the festival or during shipping. This is the filmmaker’s responsibility. VAFF takes no responsibility for loss or damage to films in transit.
● Do not send the original, or your only copy, of your film/video.
● If shipping a disc or hard drive/thumb drive, use bubble wrap envelopes or stiff cardboard backing rather than fiber-filled packages or envelopes.
● Please ensure the file/print is playable before sending to VAFF. Please also include any relevant screening notes with your film, if possible.
● Please label your films as “For cultural and educational purposes only.”
● If the film is coming from outside of Canada, please identify on the package that it is a temporary importation and that the films will be returned to the original country.
● If your film is being shipped from outside of Canada and you are declaring the value of your film as above CAD $20, this may delay your film at Canada customs, so please send it two weeks earlier than planned.
● Always use a tracking number, regardless of whether the film is sent by post office or courier*. *If you are sending by a courier, we recommend using FedEx. Many filmmakers have encountered border delay issues and poor or lack of communication with UPS.
● Any costs incurred by VAFF as a result of the filmmaker not following the provided shipping guidelines may result in charges to the filmmaker to recover these costs.

QUERIES: CONTACT INFORMATION

● Programming/Curation: programming@vaff.org
● Submissions: submissions@vaff.org
● Notice of Acceptance (NOA) and Print Traffic (contact only after August 1, 2021): printtraffic@vaff.org
● Festival Attendance/Liaison (contact only after September 15, 2021): filmmaker@vaff.org

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Rami Kahlon

    My producer and I had a wonderful time at the festival! The volunteers made sure that all the filmmakers and guests felt welcomed. The selection of films, especially the short works, were excellent in quality.

    December 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for your encouragement, Rami. We're really pleased that you enjoyed yourself and look forward to giving filmmakers and film goers a great experience.

  • I think it is the best film festival.

    November 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you very much for your thoughts Hiroyuki. We're very glad to know that you had a good time at the festival and look forward to a chance in welcoming you back.