Selection Processes

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. All programming decisions are confidential as we receive hundreds of submissions and the process of accepting and declining works is a necessary, but emotional, experience for everyone involved. 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.  

imagineNATIVE is committed to a fair and democratic selection process. All works that meet eligibility requirements detailed in our submission process are considered, short-listed, and selected by the Programming Team's Selection Committee (Programmers). The Selection Committee for the Festival works with Programming Advisors who provide additional perspectives on individual titles as requested by the Programmers. 

Priority is given to works that have not yet been broadcast in Canada. International and Canadian premiere status is also a consideration; however, as the Indigenous film industry grows, Indigenous film makers are becoming more prominent and premiering at mainstream festivals such as Sundance, Toronto International Film Festival and Hot Docs; imagineNATIVE has unique audiences for Indigenous filmmakers, therefore works should not be excluded from imagineNATIVE based on premiere status.

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.

Selection of award winners are determined by individual jury members. Juries consist of industry and community peers and are majority Indigenous representation; these independent juries choose winners for the Festival's annual awards. imagineNATIVE’s Jury Guidelines state: “We especially support works that are innovative in form and content – ones that are creating a new aesthetic language and that contain new ways of telling stories, specifically from an Indigenous perspective.”