Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question to send in? Check out the email button in the CONNECT area a the bottom of the page.


Some of your screenings are presented online. Can you explain how to go about renting films presented this way?

We use the Vimeo on Demand platform to run our online screenings. If you are new to Vimeo or need a refresher, we have prepared this explainer. Check it out.

How long has the festival been around?

Our founders have been curating and collaborating with other organizations and film festivals in Ottawa since 2011. We incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2014. Our first full festival was in 2017. We have hosted annual festival screenings and other screening series ('Shorts at Home', 'OCanFilmFest Presents') between annual festival since then. Some of the panel discussions we have hosted can be views on your YouTube channel and our 'OCanFilmFest Talks' podcast is available on Major podcast platforms. Check the CONNECT links at the bottom of this page.

OCanFilmFest 2017 festival poster
OCanFilmFest 2018 festival poster
OCanFilmFest 2019 festival poster
OCanFilmFest 2020 festival poster

Do you collect any personal information on your website?

The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival (OCanFilmFest) does not require or collect personal information to use this website. We use Google Analytics to track usage on our website in order to focus on content popular with our audience and we use third party services for film curation and payment processing. Complete details can be found in our Privacy Policy.

What's the difference between your annual festival screenings and the 'Shorts at Home' screenings?

Our annual screenings are competitive. Films submitted by filmmakers across Canada via FilmFreeway are evaluated by a jury of volunteers comprised of film fans and filmmakers. The 'Shorts at Home' series films are curated by OCanFilmFest's Board of Directors. The selections are non-competitive and are schedule to run between annual festival screenings. The 'Shorts at Home' films are presented online using Vimeo's On-Demand platform and we publish a discount code (follow us on social media) which alls all audience members to rent these videos free of charge.

Participating filmmakers in both the annual screenings and the 'Shorts at Home' screenings are paid artist fees, in keeping with the festival's mission to support and celebrate the production of Canadian films.

Shots at Home 1
Shots at Home 2
Shots at Home 3
Shots at Home 4

I heard you have a podcast. What platforms is it available on?

Yes. We do have a podcast. It is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and SoundCloud.  Search for 'ocanfilmfest' on your favourite platform.

OCanFilmFest Talks Podcast

Are submissions accepted exclusively thorough FilmFreeway or can we send in work directly electronically or by mail?

We only accept submissions via FilmFreeway.

How much local (Ottawa) content is showcased in the festival?

We receive Canadian film submissions from across Canada. How many local shorts and feature films showcased depends primarily on the quality and quantity of eligible films received and the available screening slots. A jury comprised of volunteers from the community and alumni filmmakers view the submissions to arrive at the short list used as the basis for the official selections.

Why do you charge a submission fee? There are plenty of free festivals around.

There are couple of reasons that motivate the inclusion of the submission fee.

From our experience with earlier seasons, free submissions generated a large number of spam submissions and/or submissions that did not fit the criteria mentioned in the call. We are a volunteer-run organization and the investment in terms of time to weed out and disqualify these entries was significant. It is hoped that requiring a submission fee would encourage filmmakers to make sure the films they submit match the required criteria.

The second reason for requiring the submission fee is for a source to fund the artist/exhibition fee we pay to the filmmakers whose films are selected to screen at the festival.

My film premiered at a festival screening in the Ottawa. Is it eligible for your festival?

We will accept submissions that have already premiered in the area.

What is the difference between your Annual Festival screenings and the Shorts at Home screenings?

The films for the 'Shorts at Home' screenings are curated by the OCanFilmFest Board of Directors. The films are presented as on-demand rentals on Vimeo. A discount code is published so that all audience members can rent these films free of charge from the comfort of their homes. Filmmakers are paid an artist fee.

The Annual Festival screenings are comprised of films selected by a jury. This is a competitive process and submissions are gathered exclusively via FilmFreeway. Screenings are held in a physical theatre (or online, based on guidance from public health professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic). Filmmakers from the jury selected films are paid an artist fee.

I have licensed my film to a broadcaster. Is it eligible for your festival?

If your film has been broadcast on a network with coverage in Ottawa area prior to the festival date, it is still eligible. Please double-check with the broadcaster and notes in your specific license agreement to confirm it is allowed.

My film was shown at a screening primarily for cast and crew in the Ottawa area. Is it eligible for your festival?

Yes it is eligible.

I saw the line “Films submitted MUST be written or directed by a Canadian filmmaker” in your criteria on FilmFreeway. Can permanent residents, submit films?

Thanks for the question. We have reworded our criteria so that permanent residents qualify. Films submitted MUST be written or directed by a Canadian citizens or permanent resident.

How old do you have to be to submit a film?

We do not have a minimum age requirement to submit a film for consideration to our festival. However, if your film is short-listed, before it could be accepted, we would need your parent or legal guardian to take legal responsibility and certify that all permissions and releases have been obtained for all footage, music and appearances (interviews or actors) used in the film.

Do you offer the ability to pay submission fees in currencies other than USD?

As of January 2020, FilmFreeway has updated their platform so that we can now list our submission fees in Canadian Dollars! Ensure you choose your preferred currency in your profile.

Do you offer waivers for submission fees?

We do not offer submission fee waivers since that wouldn’t be fair to the independent filmmakers who pay to submit their work for consideration.