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The Best in (Tiny) Film

August 9-20, 2017

Brought together by a shared desire to celebrate the work of international filmmakers and discover emerging talent through the world’s largest creative digital community, TIFF joins forces with UNIQLO to present the TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival, a digital shorts competition that invites aspiring and established filmmakers from around the globe to share their original works. This year's TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival jury includes Isabelle Huppert, John C Jay, Karan Johar, Ashton Sanders, and Director X. Additional jury members will be added before voting commences on August 9.


“TIFF remains committed to discovering and nurturing the talent of up-and-coming filmmakers,” said Piers Handling, Director and CEO of TIFF. “The TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival presents a unique opportunity for TIFF to engage with emerging talent on a global scale. This year, we hope TIFFxInstagram encourages even more talent internationally to create and submit films, highlighting perspectives and experiences from around the world.”

Last Year's Shorts Festival

The inaugural 2016 competition saw entrants from regions all over the world, including submissions from Asia, Africa and the Americas. During the festival’s run, finalists' videos were viewed over four million times in just 11 short days. The festival's jury comprised of directors Ava DuVernay and Xavier Dolan, actor-director James Franco, actress Priyanka Chopra, cinematographer Ben Richardson, illustrator and animation artist Rachel Ryle, and music video director Nabil Elderkin.

Last year’s TIFFxInstagram produced Fan Favourite Award winner, Tunisia’s Mohamed Abdallah (@mrtam13) for Hope, and Jury's Choice Award winner, the Dominican Republic’s Ivan Herrera (@ivanherrera) for La Pasión Original.

Since their wins, Herrera and Abdallah have had continued success, including Herrera’s work on the music video for John Legend’s “Love Me Now” alongside 2016 TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival jury member Nabil Elderkin. Abdallah’s Hope was a step in a series of events that led to its subject, breakdancer Zulu Rema, receiving new prosthetic legs earlier this year.

Do you make (tiny) films?

To enter the TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival, submit a 60-second-or-less film on Instagram using the hashtag #TIFFxInstagram and complete the submission form below.

Submit your short film now!

The deadline for submissions is July 30. Entries must be submitted from an open Instagram account, which must remain public until August 21.



When is the submission period?

Submissions open on July 11. The deadline for submissions is 11:59pm EST on July 30.

Who should enter the TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival?

TIFF and Instagram encourage all aspiring and established filmmakers from all over the world to enter the TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival.

Do you accept international short films, or just Canadian short films?

We accept both international and Canadian short films, 60 seconds or shorter.

How do I submit my short film?

To enter, submit a 60-second-or-less film on Instagram using the hashtag #TIFFxInstagram and complete the submission form here. The short film must be publicly available on the entrant’s Instagram account until August 21.

Do I really need an Instagram account to submit my short film?

Yes. Entries must be submitted from an open Instagram account, which must remain public until August 21.

But my Instagram account is private.

To adjust this, start your Instagram app on your mobile device, go to your profile and tap “Edit Your Profile.” Toggle the “Posts Are Private” switch to the “Off” position.

How much does it cost to submit?

It’s free!

Can I submit more than one short film?

Yes. There is no limit to how many films you can submit. Please upload each individual short film to Instagram as a separate post using the hashtag #TIFFxInstagram in your captions, and submit a separate submission form for each individual short film here.

What if a short film is directed by more than one person?

That’s okay. Choose one of the director’s Instagram accounts on which to upload, and when you complete your submission form here, include the names of all filmmakers.

My film is not in English. Can I still submit?

Yes. However, please subtitle your film in English if the spoken language is not English.

Am I required to own the music in my short film?

If your short film features music, it must either be an original composition, a song that you have licensed, or have the artist’s permission to use. By uploading your work to Instagram, we will assume your work, including any music, is completely yours, or that you have full permission to post it with all its elements.

Do you accept works-in-progress?

No. The short film that is submitted via Instagram by 11:59pm EST on July 30 must be the final cut of the film and cannot be altered after submission.

My short film contains explicit content. Is that okay?

All submissions must follow Instagram’s Community Guidelines.

I already published my short film online (Instagram or otherwise).

Don't worry — you can still submit your film! But if your film will premiere at TIFFxInstagram, make sure to let us know on your submission form.

My short film has already played at a film festival. Can I still submit?


How can I tell when TIFF has received my short film?

After completing your submission form, you will be sent a confirmation email.

How are the award winners chosen?

30 finalists will be selected and highlighted on TIFF’s Instagram channel from August 9 to 20, at which point our jury will select a winner for the Jury's Choice Award Presented by UNIQLO. A Fan Favourite Award Presented by UNIQLO will be awarded to the entrant film with the most Likes on Instagram.

Wait — What do you mean by “fan favourite”?

From August 9 to 20, TIFF will highlight each finalist on its Instagram channel. At the end of the festival, each short film’s Likes will be divided by the number of video views. The short film with the highest “Likes-to-views” ratio will be selected to receive the Fan Favourite Award Presented by UNIQLO.

What prize do award winners receive?

The Jury's Choice Award Presented by UNIQLO and Fan Favourite Award Presented by UNIQLO winners receive a trip to Toronto (including flight and accommodations) to attend the Toronto International Film Festival this September. At TIFF, the award winners will network with the film community at our popular Industry Conference and see a selection of exciting film premieres with complimentary Industry passes. Winners will also have their short films showcased on TIFF and Instagram’s digital channels.

How will I know if my short film is selected to be a finalist?

If your film has been selected for our official programme, you will hear from us by August 8. If you haven’t heard from us by then, your film unfortunately was not selected this year.

When will the winners be announced?

The Jury's Choice Award Presented by UNIQLO and Fan Favourite Award Presented by UNIQLO winners will be announced on August 21.

Don’t go! I still have more questions.

If you have any other questions or concerns, email the TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival team at socialmedia@tiff.net or DM us on Instagram!

Key Dates

July 11
Submissions open
July 30
Submissions close
August 9
Voting starts
August 9-20
Festival runs on Instagram
August 20
Voting ends
August 21
Winners announced
September 8
UNIQLO Awards Cocktail Reception

The Awards

Jury's Choice Award Presented by UNIQLO
Chosen by the Jury
Fan Favourite Award Presented by UNIQLO
Most ♥'s on Instagram

30 finalists will be selected and highlighted on TIFF’s Instagram channel from August 9 to 20, before a jury comprised of industry professionals and filmmakers selects a winner for the Jury's Choice Award Presented by UNIQLO. In addition, a Fan Favourite Award Presented by UNIQLO will be awarded to the entrant film with the most likes on Instagram.

Both award-winners receive:

The Jury

Isabelle Huppert

@Isabelle.Huppert dominates the screen like no one else. Her staggering oeuvre — which spans over four decades and features more than 100 roles — situates the French actor as one of the most prolific and fiercely committed artists in cinematic history. She has delivered indelible performances for master filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard (Every Man For Himself), Claire Denis (White Material), Michael Haneke (The Piano Teacher), Catherine Breillat (Abuse of Weakness), David O. Russell (I Heart Huckabees), and Claude Chabrol (La Cérémonie, for which she won the coveted César Award). Her emotive and cerebral work has elevated Huppert to the ranks of screen legends Bette Davis and Setsuko Hara. She starred in Mia Hansen-Løve's Berlin Silver Bear–winning Things to Come, Bavo Defurne's Souvenir, and Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, all of which screened at TIFF ’16.

John C Jay

@John_C_Jay is President of Global Creative at Fast Retailing, the parent company of UNIQLO. Since 2015, he has overseen global creative and brand strategy for UNIQLO and the other apparel brands of Fast Retailing, and works to build a flourishing global culture of creative excellence and innovation for the Group.

Jay's career highlights include over two decades at Wieden + Kennedy where he began as Creative Director for Nike USA and Asia, before working his way up to Global Creative Director and Partner & Trustee. In a previous role, he was Executive Vice President, Marketing and Creative Services Director for Bloomingdale's in the US.

Jay was in the top ten “Most Influential Art Directors in the past 50 years” by Graphic Design USA in 2013, and was named to the "100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company in 2011.

Karan Johar

Director, producer, screenwriter, actor, costume designer, television icon: @KaranJohar is a Bollywood Renaissance man. From his blockbuster 1998 directorial debut, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, to his ongoing successes as the helmsman behind the Bollywood distribution dynasty Dharma Productions, to his highly addictive celebrity talk show Koffee with Karan, Johar has established himself as an industry titan. Son of famed producer Yash Johar, Karan was raised in an environment bursting with professional insight into the film business. Mentored in both the artistic and commercial sides of India’s dynamic entertainment industry, Johar hit the ground running — and never stopped. His directorial credits rapidly accumulated and became box-office hits, including Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham..., My Name is Khan, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, which played the Festival, Student of the Year, and Bombay Talkies.

Ashton Sanders

@AshtonDSanders is an actor who most recently appeared in the Oscar-winning film Moonlight (16). He received a number of accolades for his performance, including an MTV Movie Award shared with his cast-mate Jharrel Jerome, the Robert Altman Award at the Independent Spirit Awards, and the Special Jury Award at the Gotham Awards, both shared with his cast. Born and raised just outside Los Angeles, Sanders became interested in theatre at a young age and began taking acting classes at the Amazing Grace Conservatory where he performed in several plays. He eventually moved on to the Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts (Grand Arts High School), where he continued to hone his craft as an actor and eventually earned a scholarship to DePaul University in Chicago. Sanders made his professional acting debut with a lead role in The Retrieval (14), and soon after played a supporting role in the critically acclaimed N.W.A. adaptation Straight Outta Compton (15). Sanders will next appear in in the drama Captive State (18) alongside John Goodman, and is currently working with Calvin Klein as a face of their new collection designed by Raf Simons.

Director X

One of the most prolific music video directors working today, Toronto-born @IDirectorX has created innovative, career-defining videos for such artists as Drake (including the massive "Hotline Bling," "Started from the Bottom," and the award-winning "Worst Behaviour"), Rihanna (her 2016 smash "Work"), Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Justin Bieber, Alicia Keys, Aaliyah, Nelly Furtado, and Sean Paul. He has received numerous MTV, BET, and MuchMusic awards and nominations, and owns his own fashion label, X Fit. X made his feature directorial debut in 2015 with Across the Line, a drama about a young Black hockey player (2015 TIFF Rising Star Stephan James) navigating racial divides in small-town Nova Scotia, which won Best Atlantic Feature at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax.

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