Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about our festival?  Let us know using the form below, via our Get Involved page or via our social media pages.  We’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.  Common questions and answers are added to this page periodically. Our next call for submissions will open in early 2020.

The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival proudly accepts entries on FilmFreeway, the world’s #1 way to enter film festivals and creative contests.


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.  Links to past screenings are available in the navigation menu of this site.

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 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.

Do you pay artist fees for films selected for the festival?

Yes. We have paid artist fees to filmmakers for all films selected to screen at OCanFilmFest since its inception.

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 but your film’s premiere status will be taken into consideration when final programming decisions are made.

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 but your film’s premiere status will be taken into consideration when final programming decisions are made.

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”. Can permanent residents, submit films?

Thanks for the question. We are rewording 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?

Unfortunately we do not have access to payment information nor do we control how the payments are made.  All of this functionality occurs within FilmFreeway.  We understand that FilmFreeway is actively looking at adding the ability to pay in different currencies in the future.  We will take advantage of that functionality as soon as it is available.  Stay tuned.
UPDATE: 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.


Didn’t see an answer to your question above? Use the form below to submit your question.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and out of an abundance of caution this year’s festival will take place online.  Check for more details on our OCanFilmFest2020 page.