Guide to Winnipeg’s Film Fests and Events

Hope you all are having a fun/relaxing weekend! This week thought I’d make a list of ALL the film festivals and film events in Winnipeg. I’ll put them in chronological order best I can. So let’s get into it:

Film Festivals:

Freeze Frame’s International Film Festival for Kids of All Ageshq5_drvt

This festival actually starts tomorrow (March 5, 2017)! It’s aimed at kids and screens many international films, including French. The films show at Cinematheque and CCFM. I’ve acually volunteered with this festival for a couple years and it’s a good time. They also have a Youth Video Contest which is judged by a Youth Jury.

M21 Human Rights Film Festival

I’m actually not sure if this fest is happening this year. Last year, the 6th annual festival was held at the West End Cultural Centre around mid-March, but I haven’t found anything about this year’s festival. The festival focuses on films centred around discrimination and social inequality issues. It’s held by the Manitoba Association for Rights & Liberties, so maybe they’re too busy this year.

Alliance Française French Film Festivalaffff2017-240x240.jpg
This French-focused festival will be March 22-25, 2017, at Cinematheque. It’s held by Alliance Française du Manitoba and features seven feature-length French films. It also will be screening four short films by local filmmakers. There will be English subtitles, if you’re like me and have forgotten all your high school French.

Architecture + Design Film Festival Winnipeg

This year’s festival will be May 3-7, 2017. It has a short film competition called ArchiShorts, which is accepting submissions until April 10, 2017. The chosen shorts will screen for free on May 6 at Cinematheque. I went to that screening last year and it was a good watch; lots of diversity because some were experimental local shorts and some were higher-budget international shorts. Screenings are held at Cinematheque, the Millennium Library, 5468796 Architecture, and Number Ten Architectural Group.

jff-website-600-pxWinnipeg International Jewish Film Festival

This Jewish-focused festival is usually held in late-May/early-June. It’s held at the Rady Jewish Community Centre and last year had 15 feature films, including Son of Saul which won Best Foreign Languge Film at last year’s Oscars.

Winnipeg Underground Film Festivalwuff-ad-1_zpsqvczmiua

This festival will be June 2-4, 2017, and is currently accepting submissions. It focuses on underground/experimental/avant-garde films. I’ve attended this festival before and enjoy it’s unpredictability. It’s held by Open City Cinema, which is also organizing a screening next week called Banned Pt. 1 – Films from Iraq, which will be on March 9, 2017 at Ace Art on McDermot Avenue.

Jazz and Blues Film Fest

This festival is part of Jazz Fest, which will be June 15-25, 2017. The screenings are held at Cinematheque. Last year there were four films (three documentaries and one narrative). There was also a panel on the portrayal of jazz/blues artists in films and a record sale.

WNDX Festival of Moving Image

wndx2017-1The 12th annual festival will be September 27-October 1, 2017 and is currently accepting submissions. It focuses on experimental films, videos, performances, installations, etc. Also, the films from the WFG’s One Take Super 8 are shown in WNDX’s programming.


This French-focused festival is held in mid-October at CCFM. This year will be the 26th annual festival. They also have a short film competition and English subtitles. Last year, they had a retrospective celebrating that Cinémental is the oldest festival dedicated to French-language cinema in Western Canada.

Reel Pride Film Festival

1488380728143This year’s festival will be October 16-21 2017. This festival celebrates queer media arts and is usually held at the Park Theatre. It also has a short film competition. They’ll also be holding their annual fundraiser on May 26, 2017, screening the Best International LGBTTQ* Commercials, which will also be at the Park Theatre.

UWpg Film Fest

cropped-uwpg-film-fest-title-header-website-drop-shadow-w-deptThe 15th annual festival will be October 18-21, 2017 and is currently accepting submissions. Post-secondary students worldwide can apply. It’s held at the University of Winnipeg (obv).

Gimme Some Truth Documentary Festival 

6030_wcf-gst_-facebook_cover_1This festival is held in early November by the Winnipeg Film Group and screens at Cinematheque. It features documentaries from all over the world and lasts 4 days. There are also lectures and workshops for documentary filmmakers (and anybody else that wants to go).

Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival

waff-logo-colourThis indigenous-focused festival is held in late-November and screens at Towne 8 Cinema. It’s also currently accepting submissions. Last year, it featured 40 feature-length and short films.

Winnipeg Reel to Reel Film Festival

This festival is held in late-February at North Kildonan MB Church. It’s not Christian exclusive, but does feature a few Christian-themed films. This year’s best picture was Queen of Katwe.

IOU Video Fest

This was the first year of this fest! I’m not sure if they’ll make it annual, but thought I’d include it anyway. It’s a one-night event featuring short films by young Manitoban filmmakers held at the Park Theatre

Other Events:


F-Wordz-315x198.jpgIt’s a competition where poets team up with filmmakers to make a short film inspired by a poem. The films are then screened while the poem is performed by the poet, which makes a really cool experience. It usually takes place in early-May at the Park Theatre, and registration is a while before that. Organized by the Winnipeg Film Group.

48 Hour Film Contest

48-hour-film-contestBasically just like is sounds, groups register and make short four-minute films in 48 hours. Vague themes that you must incorporate are revealed at the start so you can’t cheat. It usually takes place about late-June and registration is a while before that. Then, all the films screen at Gimli Film Festival in late-July. I believe last year was the first year they screened them at Gimli Film Fest and it was packed. I participated in this contest last year and it was really awesome! It’s organized by the Winnipeg Film Group and after registration they hold a meet-and-greet for crew to join teams, and that’s how I got involved. Highly recommend!

Winnipeg Film Group Member Screening

WFG holds an annual member screening, for which members submit their films and WFG chooses a few to show. But, they also hold periodic BYOF (bring your own film) member screenings. Basically, follow the WFG on social media to stay in the loop.

Other Series:

The Decolonizing Lens

assini-and-reel-injun-poster-790x897This is an indigenous-focused film series and many (if not all) of the screening are free. I saw Reel Injun a while ago and it was an incredibly interesting watch. It also screens short films with the features. I can’t find who organizes the Decolonizing Lens series. I know it’s screened at Cinematheque, the WAG, and the U of M and is sponsored by  National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and the Margaret Laurence Endowment Fund for Women’s and Gender Studies, but I can’t actually find who organizes it. So, that’s why there’s no link above. Follow the venues on social media to know when screenings are happening.

Film @ Forth

p1141783Forth, a coffee shop on McDermot Avenue, screens weekly films on Wednesdays based on a monthly theme. January’s theme was music, February was Black History Month, and I’m not sure what this months’ theme is yet. I saw Paris is Burning there for the first time and loved it. Forth held the first Forthwith Festival in February, which isn’t exactly a film festival but featured a lot of experimental visual arts. They also host other screenings, like for the Architecture + Design Film Festival Winnipeg.

Honourable Mentions:

Gimli Film Festival

clip_image0024It’s not in Winnipeg, but is only an hours drive away. This year’s festival is July 26-30, 2017. Gimli Film Fest features a wide variety of films from international drama to kids movies to old favourites. It also holds the RBC Emerging Filmmaker Competition, screens the 48 Hour Film Contest films, and shows short films from MTS Stories from Home. Plus, the beach is cool.

NSI Online Short Film Festival

nsi-online-short-film-festival-call-for-films-2017It’s online so not really in Winnipeg, but the NSI office is in Winnipeg. They’re currently accepting submissions. It’s not really annual because they periodically open submissions and show films throughout the year, but offers lots of good Canadian shorts to watch.


vucavu-logo-yellowVUCAVU is a Canadian film streaming platform partnered with organizations throughout Canada, including the Winnipeg Film Group and Video Pool. Sometimes you can see a preview but need to rent the films, and other times there are specific online screenings.

Cannes Lions at the WAG

Yeah, they’re commercials, but I like this one. Annually, the WAG will screen the winners of Cannes Lions, a competition for commercials. I’ve been a couple times and am always entertained.

And that’s all folks! That list took me way longer to put together than I expected, which just goes to show how many film fests and events we really have. If I missed one, please comment below!

Also, next year this list may include IceScreen (tentatively titled) a film-screening event featuring short films by Winnipeg filmmakers I will be organizing (pending approval), so keep a look out for that and if you’re a filmmaker submit a short film!

Anyway thanks for reading, like, comment, follow, share, and all that jazz 🙂


One Comment Add yours

  1. corinne says:

    Great list – amazing what Winnipeg has to offer!

    Liked by 1 person

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