Submit Your Work

17th Annual Festival is now open for submissions!

Film + Video

Access the online submission form HERE.

Audio + Digital Media

For submissions inquiries, please contact


2016 Deadlines:

Free Deadline: May 15, 2016

Late Deadline ($25 fee): June 1, 2016

You will be asked for payment via PayPal at the end of completing your submission. Signing up for PayPal is not necessary to make payment. Registering for PayPal is free. If you have any questions or special requests, please contact




The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is an international festival that celebrates the latest works by Indigenous peoples on the forefront of innovation in film, video, new media and radio. Each October, the Festival presents a selection of the most compelling and distinctive Indigenous works from around the globe. The Festival's screenings, panel discussions, industry initiatives, and cultural events attract and connect filmmakers, media artists, programmers, buyers, and industry professionals. The works accepted reflect the diversity of the world's Indigenous nations and illustrate the vitality and excellence of our art and culture in contemporary media.



Inspiring and connecting communities through original, Indigenous film and media arts.



imagineNATIVE showcases, promotes, and celebrates Canadian and international Indigenous filmmakers and media artists. imagineNATIVE is committed to a greater understanding by audiences of Indigenous peoples, cultures, and artistic expressions





•   imagineNATIVE respects the integrity and intention of Indigenous artists and supports the artistic visions and perspectives of Indigenous artists working in the media arts.

•   imagineNATIVE acknowledges, promotes and respects cultural protocols.

•   imagineNATIVE values, acknowledges and respects diversity and strives towards dispelling stereotypical notions of Indigenous peoples through diverse media presentations from within our communities.

Fair Processes

•   imagineNATIVE is committed to a fair and democratic selection processes. Decisions are made by consensus, with considerable thought and discussion. We are an open organization that appreciates feedback on our processes and from our community.

•   imagineNATIVE is respectful, caring and fair in  all of our dealings.

Do No Harm

•   imagineNATIVE strives towards an ethic of “do no harm”. This means ensuring funding and resource decisions will contemplate how and if companies exploit Indigenous communities or territory.

•   This ethic also applies to the organization’s daily operations with staff, stakeholders, and the public. Due to the traumatic effects of colonization, a foreign and polarizing problem known as “lateral violence” has become commonplace in communities, organizations and society today. imagineNATIVE adopts a “zero tolerance of lateral violence” policy, and by extension models healthy behaviour and responds in compassion and solidarity without enabling or allowing the lateral violence to continue.


•   imagineNATIVE values excellence. We strive for excellence by creating a sustainable and accountable organization, ensuring that our processes are professional and transparent, and developing harmonious working relationships guided by our shared values.




Artistic Policy


imagineNATIVE considers film, video, radio and new media works made by Canadian and international Indigenous artists. In programming work for imagineNATIVE, the festival strives to represent a diversity of ideas, themes and genres in its programming, seeking representations of subjects that would not necessarily be made available through the mainstream forms of media. The festival prioritizes works that balance unique and new perspectives expressed within the content of the work, cultural and social relevance, a creative approach to form characterized by innovative expression, distinctive style, personal vision, as well as the practice of crossing aesthetic borders in terms of genre, medium and emerging content platforms.


imagineNATIVE is a Festival that supports the diverse artistic visions and perspectives of Indigenous artists working in the media arts; thus works selected for programming do not need to have overt Indigenous content or themes. As identified in our mission statement, imagineNATIVE is committed to a greater understanding by audiences of Indigenous peoples, cultures, and artistic expressions.


Selection criteria for the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is based on:

•   Artistic Excellence;

•   Innovation in representations, content, aesthetic form and genre;

•   Relevance of the work to the Indigenous community and to general Canadian audiences as a whole;

•   Relevance of the piece in terms of form and content, with consideration to emerging themes and issues that present themselves during the programming process, which create an artistic framework for the overall program;

•   A key member of the creative team (director, writer, producer) must self-identify as Indigenous. Joint creative positions (co-director, writer, producer) are also considered with detailed submission requirements for creative role and decision-making involvement to ensure the Indigenous team member had active and key creative involvement. Executive Producers with creative and practical involvement (ie. not advisory) are also considered.


Selection Processes


The programming process at imagineNATIVE is an involved and challenging one, and we wish to share with submitting artists that many factors are considered when selecting works. Decisions are made by consensus, with considerable thought and discussion during programming deliberations. All programming decisions are confidential as we receive hundreds of submissions and the process of accepting and declining works is a necessary, but emotional, experience for everyone involved.


If a film is not programmed, it is not a comment on individual achievements, nor does it reflect the artistic value of the work.  Outside of our eligibility terms, artistic and programming policies, the programming process also includes considerations such as available programming slots, scheduling, thematic arcs, and representing the diversity of artistic and cultural perspectives from Indigenous nations in Canada and around the world.  


imagineNATIVE is committed to a fair and democratic selection process. All works that meet eligibility requirements detailed in our submission process are considered, short-listed, and selected by the Programming Committee. Juries, consisting of community members including, at minimum, one Indigenous member and one imagineNATIVE board member, choose winners for the festival's annual awards. imagineNATIVE’s  Jury Guidelines state: “We especially support works that are innovative in form and content – ones that are creating a new aesthetic language and that contain new ways of telling stories, specifically from an Indigenous perspective.”


Priority is given to works that have not yet been broadcast in Canada. International and Canadian premiere status is also a consideration; however, as the Indigenous film industry grows, Indigenous film makers are becoming more prominent and premiering at mainstream festivals such as Sundance, Toronto International Film Festival and Hot Docs, imagineNATIVE has unique audiences for Indigenous filmmakers, therefore works should not be excluded from imagineNATIVE based on premiere status.


imagineNATIVE supports the work of Indigenous media artists, including those who give their time, insight and talent as Board members, staff, contractors, and volunteers of the organization. The Indigenous media arts community is a small one and we value Indigenous artistic representation within our organization. We believe we cannot disadvantage Indigenous artists who give their time to imagineNATIVE by excluding them from artistic presentation opportunities or prizes, both of which are determined without their input or influence. These artists are eligible to submit their work to the Festival; however, they do not influence programming decisions. In cases where their work is being considered, they are not present for programming discussions and decisions about their work, nor do they have input into the scheduling of it. These artists are also eligible for annual prizes. The Festival’s competition is adjudicated by independent juries at arm’s length from the organization.


imagineNATIVE is committed to paying industry-standard artists fees for all our initiatives and asks all our co-presentation partners to ensure these fees are paid. 


Screening Protocols


We recognize that barriers to services exist for members of diverse communities, particularly for equity-seeking groups, and we are committed to acting as a positive force in eliminating these barriers.  To achieve this, and as stated in our equity policy, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival will:


·      ensure that diverse members of the Aboriginal community it serves have equitable access to its services, resources and decision-making.

·      be non-discriminatory and promote the goals of anti-racism, access and equity; and

·      take reasonable steps to ensure its services, programs and decision-making reflect the community it serves.


As reflected in our organizational values, imagineNATIVE strives towards an ethic of “do no harm”. In the event that the content of films may trigger trauma – for example topics such as residential schools or violence against women – we want to ensure the wellbeing of our audience members. This may include the presence of Cultural Support Workers during screenings, or in some cases may include Audience Warnings reflected in both the catalogue and at the time of the screening. We also strongly encourage a positive, safe environment for all Festival attendees (artists, guests, audiences, etc.) and ask the same from those attending the Festival as guest artists or delegates.


Programming Policy


imagineNATIVE’s mandate is to support and present the works of Indigenous media

artists from around the world. The organization’s goal is to present these new, innovative works to Festival audiences in a live public presentation and to offer these audiences the opportunity to see works outside established mass media outlets (such as work publicly-viewable sites on the Internet and/or television.)




The Festival prioritizes film and video works not permanently and publicly accessible for viewing via the Internet on outlets such as iTunes and/or other media service providers or distribution channels are considered ineligible for the Festival. Film and video works broadcast on television outside of Canada are eligible for programming consideration. Film and video works broadcasted in Canada (or available on televisions in Canada) are stringently evaluated for programming consideration using the Festival’s Artistic Policy. Music Video submissions are not subject to ineligibility due to online and broadcast history.  imagineNATIVE welcomes innovative artistic and culturally specific on-screen presentations. If your work has a unique presentation requirement outside traditional in-cinema experiences, please contact us at


Audio: Radio works submitted to the Festival are considered eligible regardless of their broadcast status or availability.


Digital Media: Digital Media works are eligible for consideration regardless of prior exhibition in galleries, presentations or via the Internet. These include artistically based work on all digital platforms (online, computer, tablet or mobile/wearable devices).


Installation works are not accepted as regular submissions, but are selected through a project-based curatorial initiative at the Festival, instigated and solicited by imagineNATIVE’s Programming Team. imagineNATIVE encourages artists to contact the Programming Team to discussion installation programming.




Made-for-television films and documentaries are eligible for programming submission. However, consideration will be given to the domestic and international broadcast status and licensing of the works. Works that have been broadcast or have a broadcast license in Canada (which have or will have the support and opportunity to reach a public audience either provincially or nationally in advance of the Festival) are stringently evaluated on a case-by-case basis for consideration using the Festival’s Artistic Policy. Television pilots that have not yet been aired prior to the Festival, and which do not have a confirmed broadcast date, are eligible for submission and programming consideration. ? ?


Episodic television series (dramatic and documentary), news reports, extended reportage, television magazine formats, and information programming or segments (such as PSAs) are NOT eligible for programming (ie. screening) consideration. However, episodic television series (dramatic and documentary) led and produced by Indigenous production companies that have been aired prior to the Festival or have broadcast licenses are eligible to submit their work to the Mediatheque only. imagineNATIVE considers the format and structure of episodic television series outside the Festival’s artistic programming policy. imagineNATIVE acknowledges the creative, cultural and industrial importance of these works in the Indigenous media arts landscape. Television series eligibility into the Mediatheque allows opportunities for acquisition and presentation by international television broadcasting corporations, which supports the artistic and economic development of Indigenous television content producers and the vitality of their practice.


Music videos are eligible for submission to the Festival, regardless of their Canadian broadcast status, as music release strategies require the public release of video content outside the Festival submission timeline.


Web Series (episodic shows made for the Internet) are eligible for submission to the Festival and will be presented online and/or via the Festival app. Web series works are considered under the Festival’s digital media category.


Jury Guidelines


All award categories include national and international titles with the exception of “Best Canadian Short Drama and the “Jane Glassco Award for Emerging Talent”. Please keep in mind that some of the works being judged are online-quality viewing portals, and therefore may not reflect the quality of the original works.


Conflicts + Confidentiality


Members of the juries should have had NO involvement with the works in their category. If you were involved in any of the works you are judging, please notify the imagineNATIVE Programming Coordinator immediately, by email:, or by phone: 416 585 2333. 


Please keep all discussions pertaining to the jury process confidential. Juries are not permitted to consult with other juries or external parties regarding decisions. It is imperative to keep jury results confidential until they are announced at the Awards ceremony at the festival.


Guidelines for Decision Making


imagineNATIVE especially supports work that is innovative in form and content – ones that are creating a new aesthetic language and that contain unique ways of telling stories, specifically from an Indigenous perspective. Although imagineNATIVE recognizes the importance of technique, not all artists have the same level of access to training, funding and equipment; we therefore ask that you consider the ambitiousness, scope and spirit of the work as well as the quality of execution. imagineNATIVE also has a mandate to prioritize supporting works that involve an Indigenous person in a key creative role. The role and level of creative involvement of the Indigenous person affiliated with each project is also a consideration.


Jury Process


Juries will have approximately six weeks to screen the selected works. Audio works may be dispensed as a web link or a podcast. Digital Media works will be dispensed as a web link or podcast, or in the case of gaming, an on-site adjudication may take place for proper artistic evaluation.


Juries will also receive a printed list of your films for their selected jury category(s) with a rating column. Juries are asked to rate the works out of five and bring their list highlighting the top three choices to the jury meeting.


Ideally there should be a consensus for jury decision, but if that is not possible, the results may be determined by a majority vote with the moderator acting as a tie-breaker only if necessary.


imagineNATIVE strongly encourages jury members to select a single recipient per prize category. Honourable Mentions may be given, however, these honourary prizes should only be given in exceptional circumstances where the jury feels strongly in giving this recognition to an exceptional work. Recipients of Honourable Mentions do not receive any cash or in-kind prizes; recipients of Honourable Mentions receive a certificate at the awards celebration.


Juries choosing awards for more than one category should consider all works equally eligible for each category. A single work may be eligible for more than one award. 


Once a decision has been made, the jury is expected to provide a typed, short citation that speaks to the award winning work and/or on their juried experience.


Please see below for complete list of jury-selected awards. Please note: Awards will be given out by other independent juries in three other categories: The August Schellenberg Award of Excellence, Drama Pitch Prize and Documentary Pitch Prize. Panellists at the respective competitions will select winners of the Pitches.




1. imagineNATIVE exhibits Indigenous-made works only (ie. an Indigenous person must have held a key creative role on the project as a writer, director, or producer).

2. Films must have been completed on or after January 1, 2014.

3. All non-English language films must have English subtitles for final viewing and English transcripts for the programmers.

4. Preview screeners and exhibition masters must have no commercial blacks or broadcaster promos.

5. Each film must have its own screening copy and submission form. Compilations will not be accepted.

6. The post-mark deadline for late submissions is June 1, 2016, but if your work is not ready for the deadline and you wish it to be considered for this years Festival, please contact immediately.

7. Read the submission instructions carefully before submitting.

8. Incomplete Submission Forms will not be processed.




1. There is no submission fee for films submitted online or received post-marked by May 15, 2016. Late submissions past May 15, 2016 are subject to a $25 CAD processing fee and forms can only be submitted online with a valid credit card via PayPal. See online submission form for instructions.

2. Fill-out a Submission Form by providing requested information and submission materials listed in the "Submission Checklist"

3. For mailed submissions, label your package FOR CULTURAL PURPOSES FESTIVAL PREVIEW ONLY NO COMMERCIAL VALUE. Do not value the package any higher than $5 CAD.

4. Send submission package to:

Attn: Submissions

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival

401 Richmond Street West, Suite 349

Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 3A8




• imagineNATIVE will not pay customs duties, cash on delivery or any other charges incurred during shipping, and will return the package to the sender.

• Preview DVDs will not be returned unless specifically requested and a self-addressed envelope with Canadian postage is provided, after the Festival.

• There is a separate form to submit TV series, new media and radio works. Please visit to receive the applicable form.

• If selected, artist/screening fees are issued to the Indigenous creative as indicated on the Submission Form, or to a recognized distribution company. Awards will be given to the Indigenous creative.

• If selected for the festival, exhibition copies must be sent in by September 9, 2016.




All entries must include:

- A completed submission form through Zone Festival

- Short and long synopsis

- One paragraph Indigenous key creative biography

- Private, DOWNLOADABLE, online preview link for EACH submitted work (i.e. No compilations will be accepted)

- 2 digital film stills from the entry AND 1 digital headshot of the Indigenous key creative(s) on the work. Digital file stills must be a minimum of 300 dpi and can be sent as TIFF or JPG files on CD or emailed to or uploaded

- If available, electronic press kit, press clippings and clips and trailer(s) (widescreen is preferred under 5mb and optimized web playback (.mov), or URL) may be attached separately.

Participants will be notified by email of the selection results by end of August (date approximate).


Please contact for more information or visit for our mandate, artistic and programming policies



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