Submissions

Submissions will reopen in spring 2023.

Submissions are now closed for the 23rd annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, which will run from October 18-30, 2022. Thank you to everyone who submitted their work for consideration. 

The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is the world’s largest Indigenous festival of its kind. The Festival is hosted every October in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and showcases artistic and industry programming work in film + video, audio, and digital + interactive media created by Indigenous artists at all experience levels including directors, producers, writers, and designers. Since 2020, imagineNATIVE has increasingly included digital and hybrid presentations of these works. 

As an Indigenous-led and Indigenous artist-centred organization, we support the visions and perspectives of inclusive and professional Indigenous artists working in film and media arts. As identified in our mission statement, we are committed to helping audiences gain a greater understanding of Indigenous peoples, cultures, and artistic expressions. Works are not required to have overt Indigenous content or themes, and can include productions of all budget levels. We strive to represent a variety of ideas, themes and genres in addition to diverse Indigenous languages, Nations, and cultures. 

Submissions closed Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at 11:59 PM ET. For more information, please contact submissions@imagineNATIVE.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the questions we regularly receive about this topic. If you have another question that isn’t answered here, you can browse our comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions page.

If my film is not chosen, can you give me notes or feedback?

Unfortunately, no. Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we are unable to provide feedback or notes for unsuccessful applicants. The process of accepting and declining works is an emotional yet necessary experience for all involved. As artists ourselves, we understand how difficult it can be to receive such news. We appreciate feedback on our processes, and in return, are pleased to suggest alternative exhibition strategies for your work beyond our festival. We hope you continue to share your work and we look forward to meeting you at the festival!

Why does my submission status column say “Disqualified” on FilmFreeway?

If your submission status is “Disqualified,” this means your submission was not completed by the final day of the deadline window. Projects that are not received within the selected deadline window will be disqualified for the festival. If this happens, the main application contact will receive a notification from FilmFreeway. If you believe that your project was disqualified in error, please contact submissions@imagineNATIVE.org. If your project is not eligible for any of our festival programs for any reason, we will contact you directly.

How can I tell whether or not my submission is complete?

Check your submission status by logging into your FilmFreeway account and navigating to the “Submissions” tab at the top of the page. From there, ensure the submission status column next to “imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival” shows a circular green icon next to the words “In Consideration.” If your submission status is listed as “Incomplete,” please review your submission to ensure all requirements and qualifications have been met and your video upload or link is in place.

What if my contact information or other details in my submission change before the festival?

Log in to your FilmFreeway account at any time to update or revise information on your project page. You can also upload a new version of your film or change your video link under the “Project File” tab. We will use the contact information from the “Submitter Information” section of your project page to contact you regarding the status of your submission, including whether or not you were accepted into the festival. Please ensure this information is kept up to date. imagineNATIVE will not be held responsible for incorrect or outdated contact information in your submission.

What is the process for the festival awards?

The annual imagineNATIVE Awards are adjudicated by an independent jury and each award is determined by jury consensus, with the exception of our Audience Choice Award.

What happens if my work wins an award?

Along with the award, winners receive a sponsored cash prize.

How do I get accessibility assistance in order to submit my work?

Please email us at submissions@imagineNATIVE.org and we will work with you to ensure you can submit to the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.

Does my final work require subtitles or a closed caption file?

To ensure we are accessible, imagineNATIVE requires a closed captioning file. However, if a version of your film exists with open captions embedded, then you can submit that version. During the festival we embed the submitted closed caption files, forcing them to become open captions. All our publicly screened films with in-person screenings will have open captions. Any films posted online will have closed captions, giving the viewer control.

We have included some additional context on captioning:

  • Captions are intended to provide an equivalent viewing experience for individuals who are D/deaf or hard of hearing
  • There are two types of captions: open and closed. Open captions are embedded into the video file and cannot be turned off, while closed captions (CC) can be turned on or off by the user
  • Captions must include all audio sounds including sound effects, speaker IDs, background noises and other relevant elements translated from sound to text
  • Captions improve user engagement and contribute to a better watching experience

Do I qualify as an emerging artist?

imagineNATIVE considers an emerging filmmaker as someone of any age who has less than three years of practice and has completed or is completing at least one independent film or video work.

I am an imagineNATIVE volunteer. Can I still submit?

Yes. imagineNATIVE supports all Indigenous artists’ work, including those who give their time, insight and talent as board members, staff, contractors and volunteers.

What if my submission is not in English?

No problem, we are accepting submissions in all languages. However, the festival audience is primarily English-speaking and Non-English language works with dialogue must include English closed captioning to be eligible. As an exception, closed captioning is not required if the artist intends to present the film or piece in the original language without English subtitles for artistic or cultural reasons. If applicable, please specify in the submission form.

What types of work can I submit?

We are accepting film + video works (e.g. cinematic films, music videos, web series), digital + interactive works (e.g. non-interactive digital works, interactive works such as VR, video games, choose-your-own-adventure), and audio works (e.g. soundscapes, sound art, radio plays, audiobooks, narrative podcasts, documentary podcasts).

What if some members of my production team are non-Indigenous?

Joint creative works may be considered with requests for additional clarification.

Do I have to be Indigenous to submit?

Yes. However, in some cases an Indigenous person may not know their nation or community. To gain a better understanding of these realities, we welcome all Indigenous people to share their story.

Is there a fee to submit to the Festival?

No. There is no cost to submit to the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.

Do I have to be Indigenous to submit?

Yes. However, in some cases an Indigenous person may not know their nation or community. To gain a better understanding of these realities, we welcome all Indigenous people to share their story.

What types of work can I submit?

We are accepting film + video works (e.g. cinematic films, music videos, web series), digital + interactive works (e.g. non-interactive digital works, interactive works such as VR, video games, choose-your-own-adventure), and audio works (e.g. soundscapes, sound art, radio plays, audiobooks, narrative podcasts, documentary podcasts).

What if my submission is not in English?

No problem, we are accepting submissions in all languages. However, the festival audience is primarily English-speaking and Non-English language works with dialogue must include English closed captioning to be eligible. As an exception, closed captioning is not required if the artist intends to present the film or piece in the original language without English subtitles for artistic or cultural reasons. If applicable, please specify in the submission form.

Do I qualify as an emerging artist?

imagineNATIVE considers an emerging filmmaker as someone of any age who has less than three years of practice and has completed or is completing at least one independent film or video work.

Does my final work require subtitles or a closed caption file?

To ensure we are accessible, imagineNATIVE requires a closed captioning file. However, if a version of your film exists with open captions embedded, then you can submit that version. During the festival we embed the submitted closed caption files, forcing them to become open captions. All our publicly screened films with in-person screenings will have open captions. Any films posted online will have closed captions, giving the viewer control.

We have included some additional context on captioning:

  • Captions are intended to provide an equivalent viewing experience for individuals who are D/deaf or hard of hearing
  • There are two types of captions: open and closed. Open captions are embedded into the video file and cannot be turned off, while closed captions (CC) can be turned on or off by the user
  • Captions must include all audio sounds including sound effects, speaker IDs, background noises and other relevant elements translated from sound to text
  • Captions improve user engagement and contribute to a better watching experience

What if my contact information or other details in my submission change before the festival?

Log in to your FilmFreeway account at any time to update or revise information on your project page. You can also upload a new version of your film or change your video link under the “Project File” tab. We will use the contact information from the “Submitter Information” section of your project page to contact you regarding the status of your submission, including whether or not you were accepted into the festival. Please ensure this information is kept up to date. imagineNATIVE will not be held responsible for incorrect or outdated contact information in your submission.

How can I tell whether or not my submission is complete?

Check your submission status by logging into your FilmFreeway account and navigating to the “Submissions” tab at the top of the page. From there, ensure the submission status column next to “imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival” shows a circular green icon next to the words “In Consideration.” If your submission status is listed as “Incomplete,” please review your submission to ensure all requirements and qualifications have been met and your video upload or link is in place.

Why does my submission status column say “Disqualified” on FilmFreeway?

If your submission status is “Disqualified,” this means your submission was not completed by the final day of the deadline window. Projects that are not received within the selected deadline window will be disqualified for the festival. If this happens, the main application contact will receive a notification from FilmFreeway. If you believe that your project was disqualified in error, please contact submissions@imagineNATIVE.org. If your project is not eligible for any of our festival programs for any reason, we will contact you directly.

If my film is not chosen, can you give me notes or feedback?

Unfortunately, no. Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we are unable to provide feedback or notes for unsuccessful applicants. The process of accepting and declining works is an emotional yet necessary experience for all involved. As artists ourselves, we understand how difficult it can be to receive such news. We appreciate feedback on our processes, and in return, are pleased to suggest alternative exhibition strategies for your work beyond our festival. We hope you continue to share your work and we look forward to meeting you at the festival!