Are you currently accepting short films?

Yes. Submit your film by March 12, 2018.

All submissions are accepted through FilmFreeway.

Is there a submission fee?

Yes. $20 (USD).

If your film is accepted, you have a chance of winning $3,750 in prize money. Scroll down for more information on our festival awards.


Please do not resubmit your film if you have previously submitted it to the festival.

How does the NSI Online Short Film Festival work?

The NSI Online Short Film Festival is the National Screen Institute’s year-round short film festival.

We add new films to our website every week of the year.

We promote each new selection of films in our e-newsletter, on Facebook and Twitter – a potential audience of around 16,500.

How long will my film be in the NSI Online Short Film Festival?

If your film is selected, we require your film to play in our festival for a minimum of three months starting from the day it first plays in our festival.

Your film will remain online in our festival archives after its initial ‘screening’ unless you ask us to remove it due to an agreement you have elsewhere.

What kind of films is NSI looking for?

We’re not looking for any particular ‘type’ of film. Above all, we want to program great Canadian short films.

However, there are some guidelines you need to follow.

Your film must:

– be less than 30 minutes (the shorter the better)

– have been released after January 1, 2013

– fit one of the following genres: drama, comedy, experimental, animation, sci-fi, horror, music video or documentary

– be made by a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant. This means the writer, director or producer must be Canadian

– be available on YouTube/Vimeo

– be created by filmmakers aged 18 years or over.

Also, see a list of films which have won awards in our festival.

What kind of prizes do you award*

With the help of an independent jury, NSI currently presents these awards four times a year with the exception of the Blue Ant Media Documentary Award which is presented twice a year:

(1) A&E Short Filmmakers Award* ($1,250) for best film

(2) Brian Linehan Actors Award* ($1,000) for best performance by a lead actor

(3) Blue Ant Media Documentary Award* ($1,500) for best documentary (presented twice a year)

Read more about the awards and previous recipients. *Films from Quebec are not eligible for these awards.

How are the films selected?

We watch every single film we receive. All entries are screened by an NSI selection committee led by the director of NSI Online.

Is the NSI Online Short Film Festival competitive?

You can win cash awards if your film is programmed in the festival. Each award is decided upon by an independent jury comprised of filmmakers and industry members. Quebec filmmakers and actors are not eligible for the awards.

Can I submit my film to other festivals at the same time as yours?

Yes but remember your film will be shown online if we accept it. Make sure this doesn’t conflict with any other festivals your film is accepted to.

A note about films produced with a grant awarded by bravoFACT: before sending your bravoFACT-funded film to the NSI Online Short Film Festival, please contact bravoFACT to review your agreement with them and confirm in writing that you have permission to begin submitting to festivals.

Will NSI pay me for showing my short film?

No. NSI does not pay to show your film but we do award prize money every year.

Do I need to have the rights cleared?


You must think very carefully about all the possible rights involved in your film: music, title, story, copyright, life rights, trademarks, logos, etc.

By submitting your film to us, you’re indicating that you own and/or have acquired the rights in your film and have cleared copyright, trademarks and logos of other parties and obtained their authorization.

NSI exercising its rights to stream your film shall not violate or infringe the copyright or any other rights, including, without limitation, the right of privacy and/or publicity of any person or entity.

It further indicates that you accept full responsibility for any legal outcomes that may arise from the exhibition of your film on the NSI website and that you waive any moral rights you have in and to the film, as such rights now or hereafter exist, by legislative enactment, or otherwise.

What are my “moral rights”?

Under the Copyright Act, you have (i) the right to have your name associated with your film (the “authorship right”), (ii) the right to restrain any modification of your film (the “integrity right”), and (iii) the right to restrain any use of your film in association with a particular product, service, cause or institution (the “right of association”), all of which together are known as “moral rights.”

With regard to NSI’s online film festival this may pertain, for example, to such things as NSI’s methods of promoting your film or its placement on the festival website.

*Films, filmmakers and actors from Quebec are not eligible for these awards.

Is my film eligible to be nominated for a Canadian Screen Award?

The National Screen Institute and the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (Academy) have a partnership for our NSI Online Short Film Festival winners.

For a film to be eligible to qualify for nomination** at the Canadian Screen Awards (CSA) the film must be produced in 2017, and have won an award – A&E Best Short Film and/or Blue Ant Media Documentary Award (and any other added awards outside of acting) by August 31, 2017, to make the nomination application deadline for the Academy.

For more information please visit the CSA website rules and regulations.

All NSI Online Short Film Festival winners throughout the year will receive a complimentary Friend membership for the Academy – this membership can be upgraded to voting for $50 (if eligible).

Winning any non-acting awards does not guarantee a nomination for the Canadian Screen Awards. It is a qualifier only.

Submitting a Canadian Screen Award nomination is the sole responsibility of the winning filmmaker and/or their supporters. NSI is not responsible for making the nomination. Please check the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television website for official nomination info and deadline dates.

*Films from Quebec are not eligible for these awards.

**If your film is programmed in the NSI Online Short Film Festival and (1) wins any non-acting award and (2) was produced between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017, then it will be eligible to be nominated for a 2018 Canadian Screen Award in the live action short drama, short documentary or animated shorts categories.

When do you put out a call for films?

As a general guide (though this is subject to change) we usually put out a call for films during the following months each year:

1. January call with March deadline

2. April call with June deadline

3. July call with September deadline

4. September call with December deadline

To receive news about the official call for films, sign up for our e-newsletter or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.