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The Best in (Tiny) Film

July 10–18, 2018

The TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival is a digital shorts competition that invites aspiring and established international filmmakers to share their original works through the world’s largest creative digital community — Instagram.

Now in its third year, the TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival continues to celebrate new voices. TIFF recognizes that many creators with these new voices often face barriers when breaking into the film industry. In an effort to be the change we want to see, the TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival is dedicated to meeting gender parity in 2018. TIFF encourages filmmakers of all backgrounds and gender identities to apply, including — but not limited to — creators who identify as trans, transgender, transsexual, transfeminine, transmasculine, pansexual, gender fluid, genderqueer, non-binary, gender non-conforming, neutrois, agender, two-spirited, female or male.

“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.”

2018 Key Dates

May 29
Submissions open
June 18
Submissions close
July 10
Voting starts!
July 10-18
Festival runs on Instagram
July 18
Voting ends
July 19 & 20
Winners announced
TIFFxInstagram Awards Reception at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival

The Films


2018 Winners

We launched the TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival two years ago in hopes of creating a zero-barrier platform for creators around the world to have their work seen by audiences around the world and evaluated by some of the coolest and most inspiring people in the film and media industry. We’re thrilled with the creativity, depth and breadth of the 23 films we featured this year (11 global, including Colombia, Philippines, South Korea, Pakistan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, UK, India, China). Congratulations to all of the filmmakers — take some time to watch all of their films if you haven't yet! They're only 60 seconds each.

The Jury's Choice Award goes to the horror Edge of Seventeen by South Korea’s Nuri Jeong @nuri.never.knows. “It’s so hard to to tell a story that unnerves in just one minute, but this unnerved me,” said TIFFxInstagram juror Amma Asante, “I loved the choice of shots, the cinematography and the deft performance.”

The Fan Favourite Award winner (most likes-to-views) is The Minute by Colombia's Adrián Suárez @lausiv, a quirky meditation on how we use the time given to us. Congrats to Adrián, who returned to the Festival for his second year.

And new this year, the Share Her Journey Prize, chosen by Amma Asante, was awarded to the atmospheric There Must be Land on the Other Side by Germany’s Petra Priskin @petrapriskin: “It felt complete, it had a strong sense of identity and director’s voice, and it moved me.”

All three winners receive:

  • A round-trip flight to Toronto from anywhere in the world to attend the Toronto International Film Festival this September
  • 3 nights’ accommodation in Toronto for the Festival
  • An Industry pass for TIFF’s Industry Conference to network with the film community
  • A selection of tickets to exciting TIFF film premieres
  • Recognition and celebration of filmmaker and film at the Awards Cocktail Reception

The Jury

The 2018 TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival jury features award-winning UK writer, director, and Share Her Journey Ambassador Amma Asante (@iammasante); leading arts-marketing guru and #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign (@reignofapril); film reporter and host of The FilmStruck Podcast Alicia Malone (@aliciamalone); rapper, comedian, and Ocean’s 8 star Awkwafina (@awkwafina); and activist, artist, and actor Sarain Fox (@sarainfox).

Past Juries

2017 Jury

Actors Isabelle Huppert, Lake Bell, and Ashton Sanders, music-video visionary Director X, director and producer Karan Johar, and Fast Retailing’s President and Head of Global Creative, John C. Jay.

2016 Jury

Directors Ava DuVernay and Xavier Dolan, actor Priyanka Chopra, cinematographer Ben Richardson, illustrator and animation artist Rachel Ryle, music video director Nabil Elderkin, and actor-director James Franco.

2017's Shorts Festival

The 2017 competition featured a diverse group of entries, including 40 percent from female filmmakers based in countries such as Colombia, Norway, Lebanon and the United States. The festival’s jury was comprised of actors Isabelle Huppert, Lake Bell and Ashton Sanders, music video visionary Director X, director and producer Karan Johar, and Fast Retailing’s President and Head of Global Creative John C. Jay.

The 2017 TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival Jury's Choice Award winner was Moscow’s Natalia Gurkina @madhatterzero for Confession. France’s Justin Wu @justinwu earned the Fan Favourite Award for Overtime, as voted by the public via Instagram likes throughout the festival.

2016'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.

The 2016 TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival 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.


Terms & Conditions



When is the submission period?

Submissions open on May 29. The deadline for submissions is 11:59pm EST on June 18.

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.

The ethos of the festival has always been to celebrate new voices and the multiplicity of identities in the storytelling community. But we recognize that many creators face barriers and have been systematically marginalized in the film community. So this year, in an effort to be the change we want to see, we are dedicated to meeting gender parity and hopefully, going beyond, within our final selection. This starts with your submissions, and we encourage filmmakers of all backgrounds and gender identities to apply, including, but not limited to, creators who identify as trans, transgender, transsexual, transfeminine, transmasculine, pansexual, gender fluid, gender-non binary, gender non-conforming, male, or female.

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 (available on May 29). The short film must be publicly available on the entrant’s Instagram account until July 20.

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 July 20.

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 (form now offline).

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 (now offline), include the names of all filmmakers. However, if a film wins one of our prizes, only one representative of the film team's co-directors can join for the Festival.

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.

I have a question about film rights and ownership.

We encourage all filmmakers to read point number 5 in our [Terms and Conditions](

Do you accept works-in-progress?

No. The short film that is submitted via Instagram by 11:59pm EST on June 18 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](

Can my film be animated?


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?

Once you've completed your submission form and uploaded your film to Instagram using #TIFFxInstagram, you're all set!

How are the award winners chosen?

A selection of finalists will be highlighted on TIFF’s Instagram channel from July 10–18, at which point our jury will select a winner for the Jury's Choice Award. A Fan Favourite Award will be awarded to the entrant film with the highest Likes-to-Views ratio on Instagram.

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

From July 10–18, 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.

What prize do award winners receive?

The Jury's Choice Award and Fan Favourite Award winners receive a trip to Toronto (including round-trip flight and 3 nights' 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 July 9. 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 and Fan Favourite Award winners will be announced July 19–20.

Don’t go! I still have more questions.

If you have any other questions or concerns, email the TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival team at []( or [DM us on Instagram](!

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