Applications are now closed!

TIFF Filmmaker Lab is a talent development programme that takes place during the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Each year, 20 Canadian and international directors receive an exceptional professional development experience, and an introduction to the global community of filmmaking. Over a four-day period, participants have the opportunity to interact with and learn from internationally acclaimed filmmakers and guests. Past mentors and speakers include Darren Aronofsky, Juliette Binoche, Jane Campion, Alfonso Cuarón, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Julie Dash, Claire Denis, Ava DuVernay, Atom Egoyan, Cassian Elwes, Mia Hansen-Løve, Agnieszka Holland, Jia Zhang-ke, Spike Lee, Steve McQueen, Sandra Oh, Ivan Reitman, Lone Scherfig, Jim Stark, Jean-Marc Vallée, and Wim Wenders.

What’s Included

  • A four-day, feature film–focused programme from September 9 to 12, 2020
  • Mentorship from TIFF’s programming team and expert guests
  • Complimentary accreditation for the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival
  • Complimentary accreditation for TIFF’s Industry Conference, Business Centre, and Delegate Resources


TIFF Filmmaker Lab focuses primarily on narrative storytelling and filmmaking.

  • This programme is open to emerging filmmakers with a minimum of two short-film credits and a maximum of one feature-film credit as director or screenwriter.
  • International applicants are welcome. All sessions are held in English, which applicants will need to be able to speak and understand fluently.
  • Only one submission per applicant.
  • There is a maximum of three submissions to Filmmaker Lab per applicant over the last 10 years. If you have applied unsuccessfully on three different occasions in the past decade, you are not eligible to apply for the 2020 Lab.
  • Applicants must submit a continuous one-minute excerpt of one film project (short film, feature film, documentary or animation). The clip must not exceed one (1) minute in length. If you have applied for TIFF Filmmaker Lab in previous years, you must re-apply with a different film clip. Online applications must be submitted by 11:59pm EDT on June 7, 2020.
  • Applicants must submit a video pitch, no more than two minutes in duration. The applicant should comment on their project and filmmaking approach, as well as why they would like to participate in Filmmaker Lab.

Key Dates

Applications open
April 9
Standard application deadline
June 12
Participants notified of selection
By August 4

Applications for Filmmaker Lab 2020 are now closed. Thank you to all that have applied.

Selection Process

Each submission to TIFF Filmmaker Lab is carefully reviewed by a pre-selection committee comprising up to three members of the TIFF Industry programming team. A shortlist of candidates will then be presented to a jury that may include members of the TIFF Industry, Festival, and Audience and Community programming teams. Using an established set of criteria, the jury will convene to review and deliberate each application to collectively determine programme participants.

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