Submission FAQ

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When is the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival?
What is VIFF's mandate?
How many films does VIFF screen?
Does VIFF offer any awards?
What types of films can be submitted to VIFF?
How do I submit a film to VIFF?
What are your submission deadlines and entry fees?
Does VIFF offer fee waivers?
Is my film too old to submit?
Do you accept late submissions?
Where can I read the fine print?
What preview formats do you accept?
What formats does VIFF screen during the festival?
Does my film need to be a World or Canadian Premiere?
Can I submit a work-in-progress?
How many films can I submit?
When is a short film not short enough?
Can I send you press/publicity materials related to my film?
Will VIFF confirm receipt of my submission?
Will you return my DVD?
Who watches my submission?
When will I be notified of VIFF's decision? 
Will I receive feedback if my film isn't selected?
What is the VIFF Industry Conference? 

When is the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival?

The 35th annual Vancouver International Film Festival runs from Thursday, September 29 to Friday, October 14, 2016.

What is VIFF’s mandate?

The purpose of the not-for-profit Vancouver International Film Festival is to:

  • encourage the understanding of other nations through the art of cinema
  • foster the art of cinema
  • facilitate the meeting in British Columbia of cinema professionals from around the world
  • stimulate the motion picture industry in British Columbia and Canada

How many films does VIFF screen?

In 2015, 370 films played on nine screens. By the time our 16-day festival had wrapped, more than 140,000 attendees had enjoyed some of the top films from more than 70 countries.

Films selected to play VIFF will be presented in one of our signature series at the discretion of our programmers. Additional series may be announced prior to this year’s festival.

  • Canadian Images
    One of the largest showcases of new Canadian cinema on the planet and a true point of pride for VIFF. This series is also home to the BC Spotlight, which focuses on the best and brightest of our homegrown talent.
  • Canadian Images Shorts
    Carefully curated short film programs showcase both established Canadian filmmakers and emerging artists we’ll be seeing more from in the future.
  • Cinema of Our Time
    A spectacular showcase of narrative films from around the globe featuring both today’s masters and tomorrow’s visionaries.
  • Dragons & Tigers: The Cinemas of East Asia
    For more than 25 years, VIFF has presented one of the world's largest and most adventurous collections of East Asian cinema.
  • Spotlight on France
    VIFF honours the rich cinematic culture that continues to flourish in France by highlighting the nation’s finest big-screen offerings.
  • Nonfiction Features
    Acclaimed documentary and essay films that expand the form's possibilities and invite us to view the world in different lights.
  • Arts & Letters
    A cinematic celebration of visual and performing arts with a strong focus on captivating films in which music takes centre stage.
  • Altered States
    This is where international genre films come out to play. A selection of fantastic cinema that defies ready classification.
  • International Shorts
    VIFF introduces you to exceptional international artists who push short-form storytelling to its limits.

Does VIFF offer any awards?

In 2015, VIFF offered $33,500 in cash prizes plus another $25,000 in services and prize packs as part of six adjudicated awards. Audience Awards were announced in six categories, including the Rogers People's Choice Award. Details of our 2016 award categories will be announced soon. 

What types of films can be submitted to VIFF?

All types! VIFF screens everything from crowd-pleasers to avant-garde experimental work. However, please be sure to submit your film into the appropriate category: 

  • International Narrative Features (over 20 minutes in length)
  • International Nonfiction Features (over 20 minutes in length)
  • International Shorts (maximum 20 minutes in length)
  • Canadian Features/Documentaries (over 20 minutes in length)
  • Canadian Shorts (maximum 20 minutes in length)

How do I submit a film to VIFF?

Features and short films can be submitted to VIFF either through Withoutabox.com or directly to the festival.

WITHOUTABOX

INTERNATIONAL SUBMISSIONS

CANADIAN SUBMISSIONS 

What are your submission deadlines and entry fees?

International Narrative Features

Open to non-Canadian narrative films with runtimes over 20 minutes.

Deadline Entry Fee
Early Deadline - April 29, 2016 $65.00
Regular Deadline - June 10, 2016 $80.00
Extended Deadline - June 24, 2016 $95.00

International Nonfiction Features

Open to non-Canadian documentary and essay films with runtimes over 20 minutes.

Deadline Entry Fee
Early Deadline - April 29, 2016 $65.00
Regular Deadline - June 10, 2016 $80.00
Extended Deadline - June 24, 2016 $95.00

International Shorts

Open to non-Canadian narrative and nonfiction films with runtimes of 20 minutes or less.

Deadline Entry Fee
Early Deadline - April 29, 2016 $50.00
Regular Deadline - June 10, 2016 $55.00
Extended Deadline - June 24, 2016 $60.00

Canadian Features/Documentaries

Open to narrative and nonfiction films with runtimes over 20 minutes directed by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and produced or co-produced in Canada.

Deadline Entry Fee
Early Deadline - May 13, 2016 $40.00
Regular Deadline - June 10, 2016 $50.00
Extended Deadline - June 24, 2016 $60.00

Canadian Shorts

Open to narrative and nonfiction films with runtimes of 20 minutes or less directed by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and produced or co-produced in Canada.

Deadline Entry Fee
Early Deadline - May 13, 2016 $20.00
Regular Deadline - June 10, 2016 $25.00
Extended Deadline - June 24, 2016 $30.00

Does VIFF offer fee waivers?

As a not-for-profit society, VIFF relies on submission fees to help cover administration and programming costs. In order to maintain the high quality of our film festival, we are not able to offer fee waivers.

Is my film too old to submit?

Films submitted for VIFF 2016 should have been completed after June 1, 2015.

Do you accept late submissions?

Once our Extended Deadlines have passed, we deal with late submission requests on a case-by-case basis.

Where can I read the fine print?

All of our official regulations can be found in these two PDFs:

International Films – Narrative Features, Nonfiction Features and Shorts
Canadian Films – Narrative Features, Nonfiction Features and Shorts

What preview formats do you accept?

We accept both online screeners (password protected Vimeo link, etc.) and DVDs for previewing purposes. If you choose to submit a DVD, NTSC or Region 1 are our preferred formats. While we can also accept PAL, we do not accept data discs (.mov files, etc.). Please indicate the formatting on the DVD and be sure to test the disc before submitting.

What formats does VIFF screen during the festival?

DCP, HDCam, 35mm and 16mm. Select venues also have 3D capability.

Does my film need to be a World or Canadian Premiere?

No. However, films submitted must be Vancouver premieres. They must not have been broadcast, distributed on VOD/DVD or screened either at another festival or commercially (i.e. an advertised public screening at which an admission was charged; excluding film school graduation screenings) in the Vancouver area. Please carefully review the regulations. Email us at submissions@viff.org should you require any clarification.

Can I submit a work-in-progress?

While we are willing to watch “rough cuts,” we strongly recommend that you submit your film in the most polished form possible. Due to the high volume of submissions we receive every year, we are rarely able to preview multiple versions of a single film. We ask that you address any rough cut issues (temp music, unfinished VFX, etc.) with your film in the fields available on the WAB site or in an email to submissions@viff.org once you’ve completed your online entry form. You should also advise us of the exact date you expect the film to be fully completed.

How many films can I submit?

You are free to submit as many films as you wish. However, each submission must have its own completed entry form, submission fee, etc. Please do not put multiple projects on the same DVD.

When is a short film not short enough?

When it’s over 20 minutes long. (At least that’s our definition.) Enforcing this maximum runtime for International and Canadian short films allows our programmers greater flexibility when curating diverse programs.

Can I send you press/publicity materials related to my film?

There are specific press/publicity materials that will be requested from you (hi-res photos, press kit, etc.) if your film is accepted to play VIFF. You are welcome to send any materials you deem important with your submission. However, all we consider essential is a quality film and detailed production and contact information. Again, please ensure that you include everything requested on the WAB site and/or VIFF’s online entry form. Also, please note that any additional material you may include with your submission will not be returned to you. Take this into consideration.

Will VIFF confirm receipt of my submission?

If you have submitted through Withoutabox, you can check the status of your film, which we actively update. If you have sent in a WAB submission and your status has not been updated from “Submitted” to “In Consideration” after several weeks, please write to submissions@viff.org. It’s possible that there is information missing from your entry.

If you submit directly to VIFF through our online entry forms, you’ll receive an email with your tracking number.

 

Will you return my DVD?

Due to increased mailing costs, we do not return DVDs that have been submitted to us. They remain in our secure archives.

Who watches my submission?

Submissions to VIFF are reviewed by year-round programming staff, seasonal programmers and screening committees made up of film critics, filmmakers and other film-literate individuals.

When will I be notified of VIFF’s decision?

You will be advised of our decision by email no later than September 2, 2016. Please do not call our office asking about the status of your submission.

Will I receive feedback if my film isn’t selected?

As a general rule: no. With thousands of submissions every year, we don’t have the ability to offer notes to each individual filmmaker.

What is the VIFF Industry Conference?

The VIFF Industry Conference is the premier media conference in Western Canada. This year, it’s scheduled to take place October 5-October 8 during the heart of the Vancouver International Film Festival. The Conference offers professional development sessions, one-on-one meetings and networking receptions for established and emerging film, television and new media professionals.

The 2015 Conference hosted over 1,400 delegates and included sessions with creative heavyweights such as Joel Cox (editor of Oscar-winner Unforgiven) and Christopher C. Rogers (co-creator of Halt and Catch Fire), as well as executives from FX Networks and Entertainment One Television. Furthermore, an entire day was devoted to exploring the immersive storytelling capabilities of Virtual Reality.

Be sure to visit the VIFF Industry section of our website for more details on the 2016 edition. Any questions can be directed to industry@viff.org.

 

Have a question that hasn’t been answered here?

Call 604.685.0260 or email submissions@viff.org