Frequently Asked Questions
What is OIAF?
The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) is one of the world’s leading animation events providing screenings, exhibits, workshops and entertainment since 1976. OIAF is an annual five-day event bringing art and industry together in a vibrant hub. Learn more about the festival here.
When is OIAF?
OIAF will be held Sept 20 – 24, 2023.
where is OIAF?
OIAF is held in-person in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.
How can I submit my film?
You can submit films via our Entries page
When do submissions open and close?
Submissions open March 1st, 2023 and close at 12 midnight EDT on May 31st, 2023.
Is there an entry fee?
No, as always, submitting work to the Festival is free. Tell your friends!
If I enter, what costs am I responsible for?
If the film is selected, the filmmaker is responsible for providing an HD digital screening copy of the film and all costs related to getting the file to the festival, if any. The Festival will not cover customs fees. We will cover the cost of getting any drives or USB devices back to the filmmaker after the festival. However, due to costs the package will be sent back via regular post.
If I send you a link, can you tell me if my work is good enough to submit?
Unfortunately, we do not provide feedback. But since we do not charge an entry fee, there’s no harm in simply submitting your film.
My film has lots of live action with some animation. Is it still considered animation?
While films with very little animated content will probably not be accepted, the presence of live action certainly does not disqualify your film. Your submission should use enough animation to clearly define your work; however, with no entry fee, there is no harm in trying.
My film uses artificial intelligence and/or algorythmic imaging. Is it still considered animation?
Submitted works must be original, and have some level of (non-algorythmic) human involvement in their creation. While we are not opposed to AI-assisted works, submissions should at least show some sign of the artists’ hand.
My fIlm USES the work of other animators. Is it eligible?
The work you submit must be original. Repackaging other peoples films as your own is grounds for immediate disqualification. That being said, we do welcome films that contain collage or found footage. In these cases, remember that all the elements of your film should be licensed (including music!).
My film wasn’t accepted for last year’s festival. Can I submit it again this year?
Films submitted for OIAF 2023 must be produced AFTER May 31, 2022. Films submitted to previous editions of the OIAF would not fulfill this requirement, and so would be ineligible.
What’s the minimum length you can accept for a film? The maximum?
There is no minimum duration limit, however for the short film categories, it is highly unlikely we will accept any films over 30 minutes. We strongly recommend keeping your films under this length. The minimum duration for films in the Feature Competition is 45 minutes, and while we don’t have a set maximum limit, we’re probably not going to accept anything that’s unreasonably long.
I live in the country of (...). Can I still send you my film?
Absolutely! We accept and encourage films from all over the world at our festival. Keep in mind that the Festival cannot cover customs fees for screening copies. Filmmakers whose works are selected and plan on attending the OIAF will receive an invitation letter to aid in organizing the appropriate travel documents.
Can films be screened at other festivals prior to screening at OIAF?
Yes, however please notify us if the film is selected at another festival, and please update us on its premiere status; whether it will be a World, North American, Canadian, Ontario, or Ottawa premiere. A film’s premiere status (or lack thereof) does not affect whether or not the Selections committee chooses a film for Competition or Panorama.
My film is on YouTube/Vimeo/otherwise posted online. Does this affect my eligibility?
No, it’s fine.
My film won’t be finished until after the deadline. Will you still accept it? I’ll send you a finished version once it’s done.
While we won’t automatically reject incomplete works, films will be judged “as is”, alongside hundreds of other works that have been finished. As well, we do not accept any entries that arrive after the deadline.
It is strongly recommended that you don’t rush your art; wait until your film is complete and submit it next year. Films will still be eligible for the 2024 Festival if they’re produced/completed after May 31, 2023.
I only have my film available in SD, and don’t have an HD copy ready now. Can I still submit my film?
Absolutely. You will only need to supply an HD file if your film is selected. If you are notified that you have been selected, arrangements for sending us an HD Quicktime file can be made at that time. The festival will not accept any physical/analog formats as screening copies.
If your film is selected and you do not have a high-quality video file, please inform us immediately so that we have time to arrange a digital copy of your screening format.
My film is not in English. Does it need subtitles?
Yes. We accept films in any language, however your online screener must have English subtitles if your film is not in English.
Non-English films that are selected will also need their final screening files to have English subtitles.
What are the entry categories for 2023 and which one should I enter my film into?
Information about the categories for this year’s OIAF can be found below under ‘Competitions’.
Can I submit a film to more than one category?
No. Films can only be entered into ONE category each. This also means that we will not accept the same film twice.
Note: the OIAF Selection team reserves the right to move an entry to a more appropriate category.
What if my VR project is not on the Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, Oculus Quest, or HTC Vive/Vive Pro?
Sorry, we won’t be able to accommodate your project this year. We re-evaluate which VR platforms we accept every year and do our best to reflect current trends and technology.
If I’m submitting for an animated series, which category should I select?
If the show is made for kids and teens, you would submit to either the Young Audiences or Teen Audiences Competition, depending on whether it’s intended for ages 7-12 or ages 13-18.
If the show is not intended for children, then it belongs in the Animated Series Competition. Do NOT submit your episode to more than one category. Duplicate entries will be disqualified.
Can I enter multiple episodes of a series?
No. We ask that you please submit only one episode that is representative of your series as a whole.
Which category do I select if I’m submitting a promotional/music video?
Any type of short animation that was funded and produced for specific commercial or promotional purposes should be submitted to the Commissioned Animation category. That includes (but is not limited to) music videos, trailers, signal films, commercials, title or credit sequences, TV spots, etc.
Having all the varied types of commissioned animation in a single category helps ensure we have a strong competition every year.
I finished my film while in school, but I have since completed my program. Am I still able to submit my film to the Student Animation category?
As long as your film was completed after May 31, 2022 and you were enrolled in the program at the time that it was finished, your film is still eligible for that category.
Animated Feature: An animated film over 45 minutes in length.
Narrative Short Film
Short-format, non-commissioned animated films or videos. Suggested maximum length of 30 minutes. We define “narrative” as a short structured with some sort of narrative or story (i.e. “something happens”).
Non-Narrative Short Film
Short-format, non-commissioned animated films or videos. Suggested maximum length of 30 minutes. We define “Non-Narrative” as a short structured without a clear narrative or cause-effect plotline.
Note: ‘Non-narrative’ does not mean ‘dialogue-free’. Dialogue, i.e. narration, is fine.
Films made by students who are either currently enrolled in a high school, post-secondary or graduate diploma or degree or were so enrolled during the films’ production.
Works that are funded and produced for specific commercial or promotional purposes.
Including but not limited to commercials, title sequences, station/program identification spots, music videos, and trailers.
Animation Made for Young Audiences (Ages 7-12)
Independent or commissioned films that are produced and distributed specifically for audiences aged 7-12. Please note only one episode per series is eligible and is limited to 22 minutes and under.
Animation Made for Teen Audiences (Ages 13-18)
Independent or commissioned films that are produced and distributed specifically for audiences aged 13-18. Please note only one episode per series is eligible and is limited to 22 minutes and under
Works that are created as part of an animated series for television, streaming, or the web and are not intended for children. Please note only one episode per series is eligible and is limited to 22 minutes or less.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Immersive works that are created for the Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, HTC Vive/Vive Pro, or Samsung Gear VR virtual reality platforms.
Immersive works: Independent and commissioned projects including but not limited to narrative short experiences, installations, time based works, interactive works, and non-linear narrative or non-narrative experiences. If applicable, please note only one episode in any series is eligible and all submissions are limited to an experience length of 20 minutes and under.
When Do you start reviewing submissions?
We start reviewing submissions as soon as films start rolling in. Expect that your film will be watched as soon as it is submitted.
When are films selected?
Final decisions are made and will be announced on our website by the end of July.
What criteria are used to judge the submissions?
First, submissions are not judged together. They are divided into their respective categories (eg. animated series, narrative short films, feature films, non-narrative films, etc.). Within those categories we look for technical, conceptual or aesthetic innovation and excellence. Does the filmmaker achieve what they set out to do? Is the idea/execution original or a tired cliché? We want works that are honest, original, and have a distinct personality.
Under what circumstance can my film be rejected immediately?
- Your film was produced before May 31, 2022 and/or it has been submitted to a previous year’s OIAF.
- We don’t receive an entry form for your submission, or it is incomplete.
- We don’t receive a working link to the online screener copy of your submission, or it is an ineligible format.
- Edgar Allen Poe references of any kind.
- The use of any of the following musical pieces:
- Also Sprach Zarathustra – Richard Strauss (more commonly called the
Theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey)
- The Blue Danube – J. Strauss
- William Tell Overture – Rossini (that includes either the “Lone Ranger” or “Sunrise” segments)
- Also Sprach Zarathustra – Richard Strauss (more commonly called the
These references have been overused to the point where they cannot even work in a satirical/parodic manner.
... What? Really?
How will I know if my film has been selected?
You will receive notification by email, by the end of July.
Are you sure you can’t accept my 35mm / BetacamSP / 16mm / DigiBeta / HDCam / miniDV / BluRay for screening?
We screen from digital sources only. This means that we will only accept digital file formats for screening purposes. More information regarding preferred file formats will be provided if your film is selected.
Who is given a free pass?
A free pass is given ONLY to the director or co-director of a film being shown in the Competition or Panorama programmes.
Are selected films given a screening fee?
Independent, non-commissioned films will be paid artist fees. We determine our artist fees in consultation with the fee schedule put forward by the Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA).
|Duration||Base Fee (2 screenings, 600 views)|
< 5 minutes
When is the schedule of events published?
The Schedule of Events is usually published between late July and mid-August. Keep checking our website, or register for our newsletter to stay informed about updates!
Still need to know more about OIAF’s Submissions process? Let us know in the form below!