imagineNATIVE considers film, video, audio and digital media works made by Canadian and international Indigenous media artists (directors, producers, screenwriters). In programming work for the Festival, imagineNATIVE strives to represent a diversity of ideas, themes and genres in its programming, seeking representations of subjects that would not necessarily be made available through the mainstream forms of media. The Festival prioritizes works that balance unique and new perspectives expressed within the content of the work, cultural and social relevance, a creative approach to form characterized by innovative expression, distinctive style, personal vision, as well as the practice of crossing aesthetic borders in terms of genre, medium and emerging content platforms.

imagineNATIVE supports the diverse artistic visions and perspectives of Indigenous artists working in the media arts; thus works selected for programming do not need to have overt Indigenous content or themes. As identified in our mission statement, imagineNATIVE is committed to a greater understanding by audiences of Indigenous peoples, cultures, and artistic expressions.

Selection criteria for the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is based on:

  • Artistic Excellence;
  • Innovation in representations, content, aesthetic form and genre;
  • Relevance of the work to the Indigenous community and to general Canadian audiences as a whole;
  • Relevance of the piece in terms of form and content, with consideration to emerging themes and issues that present themselves during the programming process, which create an artistic framework for the overall program;
  • A key member of the creative team (director, writer, producer) must self-identify as Indigenous. Joint creative positions (co-director, writer, producer) are also considered with detailed submission requirements for creative role and decision-making involvement. Executive Producers with creative and practical involvement (ie. not advisory) are also considered.

Read about our Selection Processes

Read about our Screening Protocols

Read about our Programming Policy


Statement on Programming

imagineNATIVE supports the work of Indigenous media artists, including those who give their time, insight and talent as Board members, staff, contractors and volunteers of the organization.

The Indigenous media arts community is a small one and we value Indigenous artistic representation within our organization. We believe we cannot disadvantage Indigenous artists who give their time to imagineNATIVE by excluding them from artistic presentation opportunities or prizes, both of which are determined without their input or influence.

These artists are eligible to submit their work to the Festival; however, they do not influence programming decisions. In cases where their work is being considered, they are not present for programming discussions and decisions about their work, nor do they have input into the scheduling of it. These artists are also eligible for annual prizes. The Festival's competition is adjudicated by independent juries at arm's length from the organization.

A note from the Programming Team:

We, the Programming Team, comprised of a group of peers and Festival employees, appreciates the dedication of all the artists who feel that their work compliments the artistic mandate, policy and vision of imagineNATIVE in the presentation their work. The programming process at imagineNATIVE is an involved and challenging one, and we wish to share with submitting artists that many factors are considered when selecting works. Decisions are made by consensus, with considerable thought and discussion during programming deliberations. If a film is not programmed, it is not a comment on individual achievements, nor does it reflect the artistic value of the work. Outside of our eligibility terms, artistic and programming policies, the programming process also includes considerations such as available programming slots, scheduling, thematic arcs, and representing the diversity of artistic and cultural perspectives from Indigenous nations in Canada and around the world.

We receive hundreds of submissions and the process of accepting and declining works is a necessary, but emotional, experience for everyone involved. As artists, we understand how difficult it can be to receive such news. We appreciate feedback on our processes, and in return are pleased to suggest alternative exhibition strategies for your work beyond the official program. We hope to continue to receive your works and look forward to meeting you at the Festival.