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Film Submissions
Rules and Regulations

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2020 Film Submissions
  • Deadline for entry forms and film URLs: Friday, May 29th, 2020
  • Only animated films that were completed after May 31st, 2019 are eligible.
  • There is no entry or registration fee.
  • You must submit your entry form online through your account on the OIAF website.
  • Your preview film must be submitted as a streamable URL link. The link must remain accessible until the end of July.
  • If your film has dialogue that is not English and is not subtitled, you must include an English dialogue script.
  • Entries must include a director's biography, director's photograph (300 dpi, jpg or tif), and minimum 3 stills from the film (300 dpi, jpg or tif).
  • By submitting your online entry form, you are agreeing to the OIAF 2020 Rules and Regulations.
  • If your film is selected, you must submit a high-definition Quicktime .mov file (H264 or ProRes only, minimum resolution 1920x1080). Selected films must be received by Friday, August 7, 2020 or you risk disqualification
  • We also accept DCP, however you will still be required to provide an .mov file as well in order to screen at our non-DCP venues as needed.


To submit your film, just log in to your OIAF account and click the "Entry Form" link from your User Menu. Don't have an account yet? Click here to register!
Rules and Regulations

QUALIFICATION FOR ENTRIES: Only works completed after May 31st, 2019 will be accepted.

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS: Film works submitted for selection must be presented as a URL link to a streaming video source. No downloads. The link must be active until the end of July 2020.

VR submissions can be presented either as a URL link to a streaming video play-through, or as a URL link to a VR build file. The link must also be active until the end of July. Supported platforms are Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, HTC Vive / Vive Pro, and Samsung Gear VR only.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: The official languages of the Festival are English and French. The Festival requires all submissions to include English subtitles where applicable.

REGISTRATION AND DATES: No registration fee is required. The entry form and final preview URL must be submitted online by 11:59 PM (Eastern Standard Time) on May 29th, 2020. The entrant must include the director's biography, director’s photo (300 dpi, TIF or JPG) a minimum of 3 stills (300 dpi, TIF or JPG) and a trailer link for the film where applicable. These files can be uploaded online, submitted on a USB or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

DEADLINE FOR RECEIPT OF FILES FOR SELECTION: Copies of works submitted for selection must be added to your entry form on or before May 29th, 2020. Works sent after this date will not be accepted. Blank entries and broken or incomplete URL links will not be considered.

SELECTION: Each entry is considered for the Official Competition and the out-of-competition Panorama screenings. The Festival Selection team will choose the films to be screened in Competition and Panorama. Works will be judged within their category for conceptual, technical and aesthetic innovation and excellence.

NOTE: The OIAF Festival Selection team reserves the right to switch an entry's category if they feel the film is better suited to different category.


REQUIREMENTS: Directors or Producers must provide a final screening copy as an HD Quicktime (MOV) digital video file (ProRes or H.264, no MP4) without leaders. If the screening copy does not have a 5.1 (6 channel) audio track, the OIAF Film Operations team reserves the right to create a 3.1 (4 channel) DCP from any Mono/Stereo files to ensure optimal sound quality at all our venues. The Festival also requires a director's bio, photo (300 dpi), three (3) CMYK 300 dpi film stills, and a link to the film trailer where applicable.

Directors or Producers of films selected for Official Competition and Panorama have the option of also sending a DCP copy as long as an .mov file is also provided for non-DCP equipped venues.

In cases where only a Quicktime file is provided, the OIAF may create a DCP to ensure quality and stability at a specific venue. Any DCPs created will be optionally available to filmmakers at a competitive rate after the Festival if they wish to keep the copy for future use.

If the Festival Office does not receive the required presentation copy in the proper format on or before August 7th, 2020, the selected work will be withdrawn from the Competition or Panorama program.

NOTE: The screening copy must have either an English dialogue track or have English subtitles. The entrant or producer must also provide an adequate supply of stills and documents to allow the Festival to promote the film properly.

FEATURE FILMS: By submitting your film to the selection process you agree to accepting screening fees no greater than those outlined in the IMAA Fee Schedule ($268 CAD for the first screening and $134 CAD per screening thereafter). If selected for competition the Festival cannot pay fees higher than the above amounts.

TRANSPORTATION AND INSURANCE: The Primary Contact is responsible for the transport costs, insurance charges and customs fees incurred when shipping material to the Festival. The Festival is responsible for the costs incurred with the return of material to the Primary Contact. However, due to budgetary limitations, the material will be shipped via SURFACE MAIL. Filmmakers requesting the return of materials via courier must incur the cost themselves.

No entered material can be returned or loaned during the festival. Any filmmaker requiring their work for private use during the Festival is asked to bring a separate copy. The Festival will be responsible for storage and insurance costs of the hard drives only between the time drives are taken into care and the time they are handed to the carrier. In case of loss or damage to a hard drive the obligation of the festival is limited to the replacement value.

COMPOSITION OF PROGRAMMES FOR OFFICIAL COMPETITION: The OIAF Festival Selection team will define the order and composition of the programs presented in the Official Competition and the overall program schedule. Short programs submitted on digital formats will be duplicated into Competition-specific compilations for screening purposes only, and will not be made available beyond such purposes.

INVITATIONS: Invitations are given to filmmakers with films in Competition. The invitation, intended solely for the use of the film's director, includes accommodation for the span of the event. If a film is made by several directors, only one of the directors will be entitled to complimentary accommodations. The invitation is not transferable under any circumstances.

ARTIST REMUNERATION: Screening fees for non-commissioned, independent works shown in Competition or Panorama are paid in Canadian dollars according to length as follows: 0-5 mins receive $89; 5-15 mins receive $135; 15-30 mins receive $180; 30-60 mins receive $222; 60+ mins receive $268. Unfortunately, commissioned works do not qualify for artist fee payments. We reserve the right to screen films in Competition and Panorama up to three times (one Gala, two repeats) during the Festival, with a possible fourth screening if the film is selected as an award winner or Jury Prize.

We cannot pay additional fees to distributors. Films in the Commissioned category do not receive a screening fee. One director from each film in Competition will receive complimentary accommodations for their own use for the span of the Festival. All directors in Competition and Panorama will receive a complimentary pass for their own use.

COMPETITION JURIES: The Festival will have three juries: one international jury for the Feature Competition; one for the Short Film (Narrative, Non-Narrative, Student, Commissioned) Competitions and VR; and one Children’s Jury comprised of local 6-13 year olds to judge the Animation Made for Young Audiences Competitions. All members of the international juries will be closely connected with the art of animation. The jury members will elect a president at their first meeting. Productions produced or directed by members of the jury are not eligible for entry in any Official Competition that they are judging. The decisions of the juries are final.

FESTIVAL PRIZES: The juries will present the following awards:

Grand Prizes

GRAND PRIZE for Best Feature Animation

GRAND PRIZE for Best Independent Short Animation

Category Awards

AWARD for Best Narrative Short Animation

AWARD for Best Non-Narrative Animation

AWARD for Best Student Animation

AWARD for Best Commissioned Animation

AWARD for Best Virtual Reality (VR)

AWARD for Best Animated Series

AWARD for Best Animation Made for Young Audiences: Preschool

AWARD for Best Animation Made for Young Audiences: Ages 6-12

Craft Awards

AWARD for Best Script

AWARD for Best Animation Technique

AWARD for Best Sound Design

AWARD for Best Design

Other Prizes


Canadian Film Institute (CFI) AWARD for Best Canadian Animation

AWARD for Best Canadian Student Animation

Vimeo Staff Pick AWARD

A prize will be awarded to the best entry in each of the Competition Categories. The juries, at their discretion, may also award additional special prizes.

NOTE: The juries have the right to withhold an award in any category where no entries, in the Jury’s view, meet its standards for recognition.

MENTIONS: The producers and directors of award-winning films at OIAF should mention the prize obtained, the year and the name of OIAF in the credits of their film and on all related documentation.

PROMOTIONAL USE OF WORKS: By accepting these terms the entrant grants the Festival the right to show, for publicity purposes only, up to 10% of the running time of the production to a maximum of three minutes free of charge and for a period of one year from the entry date. Any other proposed use outside of the Festival will be referred by the Festival to the Primary Contact for direct negotiation.

ACCEPTANCE OF REGULATIONS: By agreeing to and submitting the entry form for the 2020 Ottawa International Animation Festival, the participant accepts, without reservation, the terms of the present regulations as stated in this document.

When submitting your film, choose the category that best describes your film's production environment, distribution method and/or purpose:

A - Feature Film Competition
Animated Feature: An animated film over 45 minutes in length.

B - Independent Short Film Competition
Short-format, non-commissioned animated films or videos. Suggested maximum length of 30 minutes.

B.1 - Narrative Short: Structured with some sort of narrative or story. (ie. "something happens")

B.2 - Non-Narrative Short: Structured without a clear narrative or cause-effect plotline.
*Note: 'Non-narrative' does not mean 'dialogue-free'. Dialogue, i.e. narration, is fine.

C - Student Animation Competition
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.

D- Commissioned Films Competition
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.

E - Animation Made for Young Audiences Competition
Independent or commissioned films that are produced and distributed specifically for young audiences aged 0-12. Please note only one episode per series is eligible and is limited to 22 minutes and under.
E.1 - Preschool: Any non-feature animated film (under 30 minutes) that is aimed specifically at young audiences aged 0-5.

E.2 - Ages 6-12: Any non-feature animated film (under 30 minutes) that is aimed specifically at young audiences aged 6-12.

F - Virtual Reality (VR) Competition
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.

G - Animated Series Competition
Works that are creates 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.

General Information
How frequent is the Ottawa International Animation Festival?
What is the deadline for entries to the 2020 Festival?
How can I submit my film?
Is there an entry fee?
If I enter, what costs am I responsible for?
Is there still a biennial Student Festival?

If I send you a link to my site, can you tell me if my work is good enough to submit?
My film has lots of live action with some animation. Is it still considered animation?
My film wasn’t accepted for last year’s festival. Can I submit it again this year?
What’s the minimum length you can accept for a film? The maximum?
I live in the country of (…). Can I still send you my film?
Can films be screened at other festivals prior to screening at OIAF?
My film is on YouTube/Vimeo/otherwise posted online. Does this affect my eligibility?
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.
I only have my film available in SD, and don't have an HD copy ready now. Can I still submit my film?
My film is not in English. Does it need subtitles?

Entry Form
How can I get an entry form?
Can I download a PDF version of the entry form?
I don’t like to fill out entry forms. Can I just send you my film anyway?
Who is the "Primary Contact"? (What does this mean? Or we have multiple directors for our film; who should fill out the form?)
Do I really need to fill out every single crew member?
Can I put multiple films on one entry form?
Do I need to send you a paper entry form?
My film’s ratio is 16:9, but I don’t see that listed in your options.
What does “Premiere” mean?
How will I know you received my entry form?
How can I update or fix my entry details? (I pressed “Submit” before I was done OR I put in the wrong title OR My film has been shown somewhere else and I need to change the premiere type.)

What are the categories for 2020 and which one should I enter my film in?
Can I submit a film to more than one category?
What if my VR project is not on the Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, HTC Vive/Vive Pro, or Samsung Gear VR?
If I'm submitting for an animated series, which category should I select?
Can I enter multiple episodes of a series?
Where are the individual Promotional/Music Video categories?
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?
How do I submit to the School Showreel category?

Preview Copies
Can I just use FTP or a file transfer service like WeTransfer/YouSendIt for my preview film? Can I burn a MOV directly as a data file onto the DVD? What about a CD? What about thumb/flash/pen/USB drives?
Can I put multiple films in one link?
I’m nervous that maybe my link won’t work. Can I send a backup DVD just in case?
How will I know you received my entry form?
I understand that the deadline is May 29, 2020, but does this mean you have to receive everything by then, or it only has to be postmarked no later than May 31?
When are the films selected?

Additional Documents
What other information should I send to complete the submissions process?
How should I send you my additional documents?
Is there a deadline for the additional documents?
How big should my director photo and film stills be?
Should I send biographies and pictures for everyone credited?
I think my film synopsis is too long. Is there a word count limit?
I’m submitting more than one film; do I have to send you a copy of my bio and picture for each film?
How will I know you received my additional documents?

What criteria are used to judge the submissions?
Under what circumstance can my film be rejected immediately?
... What? Really?
How will I know if my film has been selected?
I heard something about screening digital files... is this true? Are you sure you can’t accept my 35mm / BetacamSP / 16mm / DigiBeta / HDCam / miniDV / BluRay for screening?
How do I properly label the package so that it is not delayed by customs?
What if my film has been selected and I need a visa to enter Canada?
Who is given a free pass?
Where can I find out about hotel accommodations?
When is the schedule of events published?

Technical Help
Your website isn’t working!
I made an account, but it won't let me log in / tells me my account is blocked!
Whenever I try to upload my files and click “Submit”, the webpage just sits there. Did you get them?
I uploaded the wrong file! How can I delete it?
I clicked the “Submit” button twice, and now there are two entries with the same name in my account. How can I delete one?