Hamilton Film Festival

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

Tel: (905)529-3000

2019, Accepting submissions
Submission deadline: Mon 12th Aug 19
Sat 2nd Nov to Sun 10th Nov

Festival Overview

"Amazing festival! It is Canada’s TriBeCa!" - Filmmaker James Stewart

The 14th Annual Hamilton Film Festival continues to be one of Canada’s most important film festivals for Canadian and International films. Hosted in a city with a booming art scene, it has become a go-to destination to live and work for several people in the film and television industry with year-round opportunities to network, engage, pitch and participate. Distributors, festivals and industry professionals actively look to the Hamilton Film Festival for content, connections and top-notch engagement.

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.

The theme this year is COMEDY: HAPPY STUFF! Our main focus will be around fun, energetic, uplifting, inspiring films. However you interpret that, is up to you! Features, Shorts, Docs, Experimental, Animated, Student, Web Series...we accept all genres and lengths. Don't worry, we will always make room for your dark, fun-less films, but it will have to be really good since you will be competing for limited space.

We have 15 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! This year we are adding a Best Sound category.

More prizes will be announced!

Your project could be a feature, short, documentary, animated, experimental, web series or TV pilot or series. If it's great, it will be great on our screen!

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! We had a night dedicated to this and had ASL interpreters on sight, something we hope to duplicate this year.

The Hamilton Film Festival is again 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 fourth year, the Canadian Film Market which runs the final weekend of the festival and will include Industry Development events, quality networking, pitches and more! 50 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!


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 Sound
​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)

Film Challenge
($6000 value) Gear Rental certificates prize value

Each film accepted receives a pass to attend all films, panels, and events!
($15000 total value from approx. 150 passes at $99each)

The top three (3) screenwriting contest winners get a prize package that includes one (1) InkTip script listing and one (1) InkTip magazine listing to promote yourself and your script to InkTip's large network of producers and reps.

Listings also for Best Feature, Best Short and Best Screenplay

Every InkTip producer has been vetted via resume and references and demonstrated the ability to get movies made. Companies who are InkTip members include ABC, Anonymous Content, APA, CBS Films, HBO Films, ICM, Paradigm, Paramount Pictures, Hallmark Channel, FX, Universal, WME, Echo Lake, Zero Gravity, Bad Robot, and 20th Century Fox.


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 2019 is COMEDY: HAPPY STUFF!


Blu Ray DVD
File / Digital


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

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