The Canadian Film Industry is alive and well despite the pandemic that has virtually shut down the entire movie industry worldwide. Fortunately, the moviemakers across Canada and the US have been making a strong comeback. These days filmmakers large and small have been working on their projects throughout 2021.
This means the Canadian film festivals are alive and well right along with them. In cities across Canada, there are some very popular film festivals that you should not miss. While not many festivals are on the same level as the world-renowned Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals held each year.
Top 10 Canadian Film Festivals
#1 Toronto international film festival (largest film festival in Ontario)
The TIFF of Toronto International Film Festival is an annual event that is held in Toronto in early September (9th through the 18th). It is one of the largest public film festivals in the world with more than 480,000 visitors enter the festival over the 9 days. As part of the 9-day event, hundreds of films are screened by festival-goers from filmmakers from nearly 90 different countries. It began back in 1976 and it has grown in popularity and attendance year after year.
#2 Montreal world film festival (largest film festival in Quebec)
The Montreal World Film Festival was one of the oldest Canadian Film Festivals that were held every year. It began back in 1977 in August and it was put on every year until it was canceled back in 2019. It is held in Montreal every year from late August to early September (exact days depend on the circumstances). At one point it held the distinction for being the only North American Film Festival to be accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations
#3 Vancouver International Film Festival (largest film festival in Vancouver)
The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) is North America’s 5th largest film festival. It runs for two weeks from September 30th through October 10th. It is attended by more than 100,000 people annually and with more than 300 films are viewed. The films come from more than 70 countries around the world and many of them are from well-known moviemakers. However, there are several that are entered by relatively unknown moviemakers. The Vancouver International Film Festival first opened in 1958, but it was briefly shut down in 1969 due to financial and organizational concerns. It was later reopened as it is today in 1982.
#4 Calgary international film festival (largest film festival of Alberta)
The Calgary International Film Festival, is the 6th largest of all the Canadian International Film Festivals. It runs from September 23rd to October 3rd, it is an annual event that began in 2000. It attracts a very large number of people each and every year. It attracts very talented filmmakers from all across the world and it gives out awards (monetary prizes are also given out) for a number of different categories.
#5 Edmonton International Film Festival
The Edmonton International Film Festival (EIFF) is held each year since its inception back in 1986. It is held at the Landmark Cinema 9 in Centre City Edmonton, Alberta. It is being held this year for nine days from October 1st through October 10th. The festival features more than 100 full-length and short movies from mostly well-known moviemakers and some newcomers to the industry. You will likely see some familiar faces since they invite actors, writers, and directors to be part of the festivities. They hand out some very nice awards and some cash prizes for a number of categories.
#6 Atlantic International Film Festival (largest film festival of nova scotia)
The FIN: Atlantic Film Festival is an annual event that is held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is held the week of September 16th through September 23rd. It was first opened in 1998 and it has been held annually ever since. Every year it attracts hundreds of film entries from filmmakers that come from all over the world. Most recently they have accepted more than 200 film entrants into the judging.
#7 Festival du nouveau cinéma (Festival du nouveau cinéma de Montréal) The Festival du nouveau cinéma is one of the oldest of all film festivals that are held annually. The event is held in Montreal, Quebec and it is attended by roughly 160,000 people each year. It originally began in 1971 and it is designed to feature diverse independent filmmakers from across Canada and around the world. It is a 12-day long event that begins on October 2nd and runs through October 20th. Filmmakers like Spike Lee were first introduced to attendees of the festival du nouveau cinéma.
#8 Hot Docs (largest Canadian Documentary Festival)
The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is the largest festival in North America that is dedicated to documentary films. It was originally launched to the public in 1997 and is held in Toronto, Ontario. The event is held annually from April 26th through May 6th and features more than 200 documentary entries. Previous events have been attended by more than 200,000 people and it looks to be another well-attended event. Entries to be judged have come from all across Canada and numerous countries around the world. They are all vying for several awards and cash prizes.
#9 Imagine NATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival (largest indigenous film festival)
As the name would imply, the Imagine Native Film and Media Arts Festival is designed to celebrate and judge films, music, video, and new media from indigenous, Aboriginal, and First Peoples from all over the world. The event is jam pacts with all kinds of individual events including a film screening, parties, and panel discussions. It was originally launched back in 1998 and is held in Toronto annually and is attended by thousands of people every year.
#10 Regina International Film Festival (largest film festival of Saskatchewan)
The Regina International Film Festival and Awards (RIFFA) is held annually in Saskatchewan. This film festival is relatively new since it was first launched in 2015. The festival also runs programs that focus to provide platforms that empower and amplifies marginalized voices. This fast-growing festival’s awards ceremony and red-carpet arrival is a notable event for the film and fashion industries in the city of Regina and province of Saskatchewan. The festival runs for five days in the month of August. As an attendee, you will be able to view many full-length movies, documentary films, and movie shorts with a wide range of subjects and themes.
Written by: Brucei Tallentire