Established in 1987, Images Festival is one of the most enduring and respected platforms in the world for the exhibition and discourse of independent film and media art. Our ON SCREEN program is an annual presentation of contemporary film and video in a cinema context that explores the moving image in all its forms.
Images presents work that counters dominant mainstream narratives and forms and provides, through hybrid curatorial and educational programs, alternative ways of thinking and seeing that expand our understanding of media art.
Images is broadly interested in a range of moving image works that share formal and political sensibilities that emerge from recent critical discourses at the intersection of contemporary art, cinema, and media arts. Our programming is not guided by any particular themes or formats.
The 34th edition of Images Festival will take place between April 15-21, 2021.
OCTOBER 31, 2020
The festival is not obliged to view entries received after the deadline.
Notification is by email.
The full program will be announced on Images Festival’s website in early April 2021. Please note that the festival reserves the right to include your submitted work, stills, and text in any press releases or materials in advance of April 2021 at our discretion.
As we proceed with planning the 2021 program, we will be closely observing the advice of local, provincial and national public health officials and will continue to comply with standards of social distancing and safety measures in place.
Images Festival will consider works that have been completed in the last three years (from 2017–present), including short, mid-length and feature-length films. Artists maintain final edit and copyright control.
If we receive an incomplete work, such as a rough cut or work-in-progress, a locked picture is ideal in order for the programming team to get the fullest sense of the final cut. It is helpful to provide a list of the unfinished elements and cite potential changes to the film’s edit.
If we select an in-progress film, and receive a final cut that radically departs from its received form, the programming team may not be obliged to include, or further consider it until the following programming cycle. This is contingent on timeline, capacity, and the nature of the dialogue between filmmaker and programming team.
Images Festival currently does not have the resources to fund the completion of works, or consider proposals for commissions.
Images Festival will accept student works that have been completed in the last three years (from 2017-present) for consideration in our annual International Student Showcase, which is a shorts program curated by an individual or a collective of students and/or recent graduates as part of the festival. The work submitted must not exceed 20 minutes in duration in order to qualify.
Student artists and filmmakers can submit a maximum of two submissions/works. If there are multiple submissions, only the first two works submitted by each student will be reviewed.
PLEASE NOTE: Student works may NOT be entered into both the Student and On Screen categories.
All applicants submitting work for consideration in our ON SCREEN program are required to pay a fee of $15 CAD per film or video work. Our accepted forms of payment are Paypal or cheque.
Submissions to the student program (a maximum of two works per artist) are exempt from the entry fee. See STUDENT SUBMISSION ELIGIBILITY.
If a student chooses to submit their work for consideration towards the general On Screen program (rather than in the student category), they will be required to pay the ON SCREEN submission fee.
Cheques can be mailed to:
309–401 Richmond Street West
At Images, submission fees account towards the programming team’s labour and to maintain our submissions database.
In light of the economic hardship that many are facing throughout the pandemic, we can offer submissions fees waivers to those currently facing financial barriers. Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once we successfully receive your submission, the festival will not issue any refunds.
Images Festival offers screening fees for all works selected to screen in our program in accordance with the 2020-21 Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA) Fee Schedule.
Please upload a preview copy of your submitted work to Vimeo and add a link to view it on the online entry form. Make sure the password is active from the date of submission until six weeks after the festival (See PUBLICITY AND PRESS PREVIEWS).
Please see that your submission is supplemented with the correct instructions for viewing, if any. The festival team is not obliged to contact the filmmaker if we encounter issues in viewing the work such as broken links or expired, incorrectly entered passwords during the pre-screening.
We only accept digital preview copies as we do not have the capacity to view analogue prints in their original formats.
Submissions should be made online via the following links for:
General ON SCREEN Programs:
International Student Showcase:
All submitted works are prescreened, adjudicated, and reviewed by our 2021 Programming Collective. Staff members that are adjacent to the programming team may be consulted internally for insights and feedback on submissions.
As we are a small team, we appreciate the opportunity to invite our colleagues to participate in the discussion of politically complex works in consideration, which can allow for a more fulsome deliberation of how those works can be framed to resonate with our program and audience.
Consult our Staff page for details on who is on the team.
Additionally, all Student Submissions are evaluated and selected by the Student Programmer with support and direction from the programming team.
You can reach out to us at email@example.com if you have any queries regarding submissions or require any assistance navigating the form.
Please ensure we have your current email address on file if it changes between the date of submission and this time. Please contact us immediately if it has changed since the date of submission. In the past, we have been unable to reach filmmakers whose films were selected.
Please do not email stills or submission information. This can be submitted in the official submission form.
Each year, we shortlist a number of films and strive to notify filmmakers with light feedback and notes of appreciation.
Because we are a small programming team, we do not have capacity to extend feedback if your film is not selected.
Please do not call the office to inquire about the status of your submission prior to early-March 2021, and allow for a response time of two weeks for any email queries.
Once your film has been selected, the programming team will contact you to reconfirm the title, location, exhibition formats, artist bio, credits, and technical specifications of your submission. Film synopsis, artist bios, and other information is subject to modification at the festival's discretion.
If we select a film submitted by a distributor, the distributor will sign the necessary agreements on behalf of the artist and function as the primary contact for delivery of publicity materials and exhibition files.
If a film enters distribution between the time of submission and the time of invitation to screen, the artist must advise on whether Images Festival will proceed with the distributor or the artist as the point of contact, and whether Images will forward screening fees to the distributor, or to the artist. In both cases, we will dispense the fee according to the 2021 IMAA Fee Schedule.
If you are a distributor experiencing a financial barrier in providing a submission fee, please get in touch with us for a fee waiver code at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Availing this code will allow you to submit a maximum of 10 titles for free through our system. Please note that we will not accept any submissions over and beyond the 10 works when the code is applied (i.e. you will incur the fee on the eleventh submission onwards).
All film and video submissions must be available in one of the following exhibition formats:
We do not screen work on DVD or Bluray.
Works with dialogue or substantial text in languages other than English must be English-subtitled for exhibition.
We will follow up with you about the venue specifications upon confirmation of participation.
We encourage filmmakers to caption or audio describe their films whenever possible. Please let us know if your film is accompanied with audio or SRT files so we can plan for access thoroughly, inform our technicians at the venue, and include this information in our catalogue.
Images strives to arrange marketing, communications, outreach and budget for the planning of relevant accommodations for screening(s) and discursive program(s) such as Q&A and artist talks.
The preview link submitted to the festival will be distributed to press outlets and independent critics in the weeks leading up to, during, and up to six weeks after the festival. If there are any changes to your link, please contact the Programming Assistant at email@example.com.
The scheduling of screenings and programming is at the discretion of the festival.
For digital files, digital file transfers are preferred. For digital storage or film prints, detailed shipment information will be provided upon confirmation of participation. The filmmaker is responsible for the shipment of their film to the festival. We will not accept shipments unless previously arranged by the festival.
Images will arrange the return shipping costs of exhibition copies. All entries are treated with utmost care. However, Images is not responsible for any loss of or damage to shipped materials during transport. See INSURANCE.
All prints will be returned within six to eight weeks following the festival. We will ship the film to the address provided in the submission. Please inform the festival immediately if there is a change of address for delivery.
Films under the care of Images Festival are covered by our insurance policy. In case of damage or loss of a film during the festival, the festival is only responsible for the costs involved in replacing the print. We do not offer insurance for property in-transit.
The entrant’s signature on the entry form creates an agreement between the entrant and the Images Festival that the entrant will provide an exhibition copy of the submitted work to the festival by March 1, 2021 if the work is selected for inclusion. It also certifies that the entrant is the legal owner of the work, and that any copyrighted materials included in the work have been legally cleared for use. The entrant agrees not to hold Images Festival liable for any expenses resulting from any claims arising from the exhibition of the work submitted or the use of publicity material relating to the work submitted.
All community participants, including members and guests of members, event hosts, sponsors, presenters, exhibitors, and attendees, are expected to abide by the Images Festival Code of Conduct and cooperate with organizers who enforce it. Images Festival insists that everyone who uses the spaces remains mindful of, and takes responsibility for, their speech and behaviour. We embrace respect and concern for the free expression of others, but will not tolerate words or actions that are racist, sexist, homophobic, ageist, classist, transphobic, cissexist, or ableist. Respecting physical and emotional boundaries, we do not accept oppressive behaviour, harassment, destructive behaviour, or exclusionary actions.