Annual Hamilton Film Festival

Annual Hamilton Film Festival
27 Dundurn St N
Ontario L8R 3C9
Hamilton, Canada

Tel: (905)529-3000

2018, Finished
Sat 3rd Nov to Sun 11th Nov

Festival Overview


"Fox Incendo, the Canadian branch of 20th Century Fox, came knocking after a senior vice-president saw an episode at the Hamilton Film Festival."

The 13th Annual Hamilton Film Festival continues to be one of Canada’s most important up-and-coming film festivals for Canadian and International films. We will continue offering opportunities to network, engage, pitch and participate. Distributors actively look to the Hamilton Film Festival (via the Canadian Film Market) for titles.

HFF Guests have included Academy Award® winner Colin Chilvers, Daniel Baldwin, Michael Pare (Eddie and the Cruisers), Tony Rosato (SCTV), Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Robert Miano (Donny Brasco), Alex Elena (Drummer for Bruce Dickinson) Frank D’Angelo (Red Maple Leaf), Fred Fuchs (Godfather III Executive Producer, Milton's Secret) Art Hindle (Black Christmas), Doug McGrath (Goin’ Down the Road), Lynne Griffin (Curtains), Julian Richings (Superman: Man of Steel), Craig Davidson (Author / Rust and Bone) Kirsten Bodenstedt (COO and Co-Owner of Peregrine Labs) Academy Award® winner Colin Doncaster, Bob Munro (VFX Supervisor), Sean Sullivan (Wayne’s World, Back to the Future III) Lisa Langlois (Class of 1984) Dan Lyon (Telefilm), Matthew Willson (Producer) and many, many more! Filmmakers and producers attended from Italy, Germany, Austria, France, the USA and all across Canada.

We have 14 prize categories, including Jury, Feature, Short, Doc, Actor, Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Screenplay (x2), Music, Student, Truly Independent local award and the legendary Sparquie the Squirrel award!

More prizes will be announced!

This year’s theme will be DARKNESS. Celebrating our 13th year, this theme will be at the forefront in our decision making. Having said that, we will absolutely accept your comedy, light-hearted, inspiring films as we will be programming several spots that are not dedicated to the DARKNESS theme.

DARKNESS can be many things. Dark comedy, drama, lore, animation style, genre, horror, thriller, subject matter for a documentary.

The festival is as diverse as our alumni, who come from over 50 countries around the world. Filmmakers globally are looking to the Hamilton Film Festival as an accessible event with multiple chances to screen, network, win awards and gain post-festival promotion as our Alumni is our family and your movie never has a shelf life with us! You’d be surprised how much we remember about you and your film even from our earliest screenings!

We want you to think about disability and film. Specifically we want you to consider the people who are hard of hearing or Deaf. These people want to watch your films!

The Hamilton Film Festival is offering a submission discount to films that have English subtitles. Yes, even for English-language films.

If your film has (or will have) subtitles please reach out to us prior to submitting and we will offer you a discount code which will apply to both the Hamilton Film Festival screenings and the Canadian Film Market. Contact us directly for the code.

We receive between 400 - 700 films, typically screening around 150 of them, so if your film is good…so are the odds!

We are a festival that is very proud of screening films made by all filmmakers, regardless of gender or race. Everyone has a chance!

We are proud to offer, for the third year, the Canadian Film Market which runs the final weekend of the festival and will include Industry Development events, quality networking, pitches and more! Dozens of countries have participated. You should too!

Guillermo Del Toro love’s our city and say’s he’s been watching it since the 90’s and would like to set up his own studio here. Hamilton, Ontario, Canada is a major destination for film and television productions. Shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, The Shape of Water, Spotlight, Crimson Peak, Suicide Squad, The Hulk and Robocop are just a few films that have taken advantage of Hamilton’s many incredible locations. Producers love the additional tax credits, Directors love the “anywhere is here” look of the city, and people love seeing it on screen! You will also have the opportunity to meet with the people who run the film office, should you wish to film in our great city!.

Filmmakers around the world are choosing the Hamilton Film Festival as a required stop, and we want YOU to be a part of this growing scene that is on the verge of expanding into a not-so-hidden gem! See you, and your film, in Hamilton this November!


During the Early Bird submission period we are finalizing our prizes and opportunities. As always, the Early Bird is a time where filmmakers save money while putting their confidence knowing that we will have some amazing things this year!

Jury Choice
Truly Independent
Best Film (Feature)
Best Short
Best Documentary
Best Screenplay (for a submitted film)
Best Screenplay (script submission)
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Music
Best Special FX (new category)
Best Student
Sparquie the Squirrel
(the most electrifying film in honour of a squirrel who knocked out the power during our gala in 2012. Sparquie did not make it but his legacy lives on)

In 2017 we gave out over $10,000 in passes, almost $8,000 in gear rental, $6000 in production value for films made during HFX 72 hour film challenge, and we have to include the valuable connections people made!


Animation Art-house Comedy Documentary Drama Experimental Independent National Student

Apply via Film Freeway

Known festival contacts Contacts
Nathan Fleet
Primary contact


Open to the public


All genres and lengths are accepted. Movies and scripts will be accepted for competition.
Festival has a Market (Canadian Film Market) THEME for 2018 is: DARKNESS


Blu Ray DVD
File / Digital


Early Bird, Regular, Late and Extended deadlines and rates apply to short, mid-length and feature films. Please visit the website for details.

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