On Monday, September 16, 2019, we accept submissions to the 14th Reel Shorts Film Festival May 4-11, 2020. The deadline for submissions is 11:59pm PST on Wednesday, November 13, 2019. There is no submission fee. For Peace Region filmmakers, the extended submission deadline is Friday, Jan 31, 2020 – see below for more information.

The festival screens 80+ films, many of them world, North American, Canadian, or Alberta premieres. Screening fees (royalties) for selected films will be paid to filmmakers after the festival when we know how many times each film has screened.

All Official Selections are eligible for 4 juried awards: (1) Best Live Action Short Under 15 Minutes, (2) Best Live Action Short 15+ Minutes, (3) Best Animated Short, and (3) Best Documentary Short. There is also an Audience Choice Award and a Youth Audience Choice Award.

Award winners from the 2019 fest can be found here. The criteria that our programming team uses to evaluate films can be found here as well as a dozen films to watch that we’ve screened in past festivals that illustrate these criteria.

We accept submissions via FilmFreeway.com.

Peace Region Submissions

For Peace Region filmmakers, the submission deadline is Friday, Jan 31, 2020 for short films made in the Peace Region (northeast BC and northwest Alberta) or by filmmakers who currently reside in or have resided in the Peace Region. To submit a Peace Region film after the regular submission deadline of Nov 13, 2019, email Terry Scerbak at terry@reelshorts.ca and request a Deadline Waiver Code which will be required in order to submit on FilmFreeway. Peace Region films must be Grande Prairie premieres, i.e. they cannot have had a public screening in Grande Prairie prior to the festival and cannot be available for the public to watch online. Films that were made for PRIMAA’s Frightening48 Horror Film Challenge in October are exempt from this requirement providing that their only public screening was at the Frightening48 and they are not available for the public to watch online.

The Reel Shorts Film Festival is a qualifying festival for the Canadian Screen Awards presented by the ACCT (Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television). Annual attendance of 3,000+ includes members of the general public who look forward to the festival every year, as well as Grade 1-12 students and their teachers from many schools in the region. The Friday night Psycho Shorts package is very popular with horror fans. The Best of the Fest package is a crowd favorite that screens the juried award winners and top audience choice films including the Audience Choice Award winner and Youth Audience Choice winner.

Grande Prairie is a dynamic city of 69,000 in northwest Alberta that can be used as a base for exploring the Peace Region and Rocky Mountains – see Visitor Info. The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is a 20-minute drive west. Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway is an hour drive to the west. The historic Dunvegan Bridge and Peace River are an hour drive to the north, and the Rocky Mountains (Grande Cache) are a 2-hour drive to the south with Jasper National Park a 2-hour drive south of Grande Cache.

Rules & Terms

Please submit your film or video if ALL of the following conditions are met:

  1. it was completed AFTER January 1, 2018
  2. it has a minimum duration of 2 minutes and a maximum duration of 31 minutes including credits (most selected films are 5-25 minutes)
  3. the filmmaker(s) has secured permission to use all copyrighted and trademarked material (music, images, text sources, etc)
  4. it has English subtitles if applicable

The following films or videos are INELIGIBLE. Please DO NOT submit if ANY any of the following conditions apply to your film or video:

  • it has been previously submitted to RSFF (Reel Shorts Film Festival)
  • it is too short (less than 2 minutes) or too long (over 31 minutes)
  • it is an experimental film (lacks a story plot)
  • it is a dance video
  • it is a music video that promotes a performer or band
  • it is part of a web series
  • it is on YouTube
  • it is submitted as a private YouTube screener or as a Dropbox or Google docs link. We ONLY accept submissions that are uploaded to FilmFreeway as a file or Vimeo link. If it is submitted as a YouTube video, it will NOT be considered even if it is a private link.
  • it has or will screen for the public in Grande Prairie before the last day of the 2020 RSFF on May 11, 2020

All persons submitting films and videos warrant that they have the authority to submit the work to RSFF. Such persons indemnify and hold harmless the Reel Shorts Film Society, its judges, funders, sponsors, directors, staff and volunteers, individually and collectively, from and against all claims, demands, losses, damages, costs, liabilities and expenses including legal expenses arising out of or in connection with any and all claims, including third party claims, based on films/videos/artworks submitted to RSFF.

The festival welcomes dramas, comedies, documentaries, and animated films as submissions. Submissions are judged on 4 criteria:

  1. is it a good story
  2. is it beautifully crafted
  3. is it memorable
  4. does it offer insight into an unfamiliar world or a fresh perspective on a familiar one

Two types of films are of special interest:

  • films that are appropriate and entertaining for children and teens since over half of our audiences are school groups
  • horror films since we have a very popular late night horror package

The festival has a strong preference for films that are NOT available to watch online by the public before the last day of the festival (May 11, 2020).

If the submitted film has a connection to the Peace Region (northwest Alberta or northeast British Columbia), please email Festival Director Terry Scerbak at terry@reelshorts.ca to identify how the film is connected to this region and give the title and tracking number for the submitted film. The connection can involve location (shot in the region), creative personnel (producer, director, and/or writer are or have been residents of the region), or actors who are or have been residents of the region.

If one of the creative personnel (producer, director, and/or writer) is an alumni filmmaker of the festival (i.e. such person was the producer, director, and/or writer of a selected film at a previous Reel Shorts Film Festival), please email Terry Scerbak at terry@reelshorts.ca to identify who the alumni filmmaker is, the title and tracking number for the current submitted film, and the title of the previous selected film that person was also involved with.

Exhibition format

If a submitted film is selected, we request that the filmmaker provide a 1920×1080 MOV digital file encoded with ProRes 422 or ProRes 422(HQ) with 2-channel 16 bit, 48 kHz audio, and with English subtitles if applicable. This file should NOT have a film leader countdown. We will not accept ProRes LT, 4444, or Apple Animation Codec files.

If an MOV digital file encoded with ProRes 422 or ProRes 422(HQ) is not available, we will accept the best quality (lowest compression, highest resolution) 1920×1080 digital file (MOV or MP4) of the film using the H.264 codec.

The festival does NOT have an online festival component.


If you have any questions, contact Terry Scerbak at terry@reelshorts.ca. She and the rest of the programming team look forward to watching your film!