Applications for 2020 have now closed.

Since 2012, TIFF Writers’ Studio has provided Canadian participants with a fulsome, curated experience through a unique integration of public and private programming. The programme offers a space for screenwriters to consolidate skills, exchange ideas, and discuss challenges, all within a collaborative five-day intensive lab at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Participants are supported to take their careers and projects to the next level as they participate in workshops, panel discussions, peer-to-peer mentorship, and one-on-one project development consultations guided by Canadian and international experts.

What’s Included

  • A five-day intensive lab — focused on screenwriting, the creative process, and the business of film — to take place in March 2020
  • Mentorship from TIFF programming teams and expert guests
  • Dedicated one-on-one discussions with script consultants/editors
  • Peer-to-peer mentorship with the selected participants
  • Access to the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival
  • Access to TIFF’s Industry Conference, Business Centre, and Delegate Resources
  • A complimentary one-year Industry Membership
  • Access to films and special events screened at TIFF Bell Lightbox during the programme
  • Access to TIFF’s renowned Film Reference Library and archival collection

IMPORTANT: During the Writers’ Studio Lab, TIFF will cover up to five nights’ accommodation at our partner hotel for participants who reside outside of the Greater Toronto Area. Flights, train rides, ground transportation, etc. are the responsibility of the participants.


TIFF Writers’ Studio is designed for mid-level screenwriters and writer-directors across Canada who wish to extend their creative and business skills.

  1. Applications are open to Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. We welcome applicants from outside of Ontario.
  2. Applicants must be credited as a writer on a minimum of either one feature film or one television series.
  3. TIFF Writers’ Studio is geared towards feature-length scripts. Writers working in broadcast, interactive, web series, and transmedia with an interest in feature-length production are welcome to apply (should they meet the criteria outlined in #2).
  4. Applicants must be in development (minimum first draft complete) on a feature-length project. Successful applicants will be required to submit a copy of their script to TIFF by February 21, 2020, so that it may be workshopped during the programme.
  5. Applicants must commit to attending the full programme in order to be considered.

Key Dates

Applications open
November 4
Applications close
December 17
Participants notified of selection
January 29
Participants announced
February 6
Project’s draft due
February 21
TIFF Writers’ Studio Lab
March 9–13

Submission Guidelines

  1. Candidates must fill out the application in full, attaching itemized supporting documents as per the guidelines below, to be considered.
  2. Applications must be completed by applicants themselves and not by third parties (e.g. assistants, co-workers).
  3. Successful candidates are required to include the words “Developed with support from TIFF Writers’ Studio” on subsequent drafts of the screenplay they workshop at the Writers’ Studio Lab.
  4. Successful candidates will be required to acknowledge TIFF Writers’ Studio on the credits of a completed feature film that has been workshopped at the Lab.

Application Materials
Applicants are required to submit the following supporting documents:

  1. A copy of the applicant’s resume in PDF format (maximum one page)
  2. One high-resolution headshot in colour (format: .jpg; orientation: portrait; minimum resolution: 300 dpi)
  3. A long and short version of a professional biography (maximum 100 words and 50 words, respectively)
  4. A video pitch of less than two minutes in duration. The applicant should comment on their project and writing approach, in addition to why they want to participate in TIFF Writers’ Studio.
  5. The following materials from the submitted project:
    • Logline (50 words)
    • Synopsis (250 words)
    • One-page outline
    • Writing sample (two to three pages)

Please note: TIFF’s Industry team takes applicants’ confidentiality seriously and will ensure that submitted materials (excluding headshots and bios) are not shared with any third parties without the owner’s explicit consent. The material will be downloaded by the TIFF Writers’ Studio team and the selection committee.