If you are a registered filmmaker and have any questions about the festival, always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for information. These are just general answers to general questions. Follow your filmmaker checklist and email us if you have a specific question.
Q: What is the Digi60 Filmmakers’ Festival?
Digi60 is a registered not-for-profit short film festival that focuses on grassroots independent filmmaking for new and emerging filmmakers in the Ottawa area. We aim to 1) foster opportunities for filmmakers to gain skills and receive mentorship, and 2) provide a platform for a filmmaker to create and screen their film for industry professionals, allowing them to grow and challenge themselves as artists.
Q: How long has the festival been around?
Digi60 was founded in 2004. Over the past 12 years we have grown from an invite only festival, to having 50-60 openly registered filmmakers on our roster each fall. In 2012 we added two new programs to the festival: a Spring festival, which is shorter but still solicits upwards of 30 entries; and a documentary program to our Fall festival, partnered with Algonquin College and La Cite Collegiale. We also host workshops and panels as regularly as possible, focusing on the needs of aspiring local Ottawa filmmakers.
Q: Sounds great! Can anyone register to be a filmmaker?
A: Yes! We do not discriminate based on experience, but would like to focus on new and emerging filmmakers. If you feel you are in that category – awesome! If you are a more experienced filmmaker and aren't sure how you'd fit into the festival, please email us at email@example.com. We encourage our alumni to take on roles that are more along the lines of mentorship and support - of course you can participate as a registered filmmaker, but please keep in mind that mentorships and workshops that are provided in awards and prizes are meant for filmmakers at a new and emerging level, not at an experienced or professional level.
We also particularly encourage the involvement of students and youth, indigenous, French speaking persons, persons of from underrepresented communities such as persons of colour, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and women.
Q: Who runs this thing?
The festival is run by active members of the Ottawa film and media community. It’s a festival for filmmakers, by filmmakers. Check out or team members and members of the board here.
Q: Can I get involved?
OMG pls! We are always looking for people to help us out – after all, this festival is run entirely on volunteer hours! We welcome students and youth who are looking to complete placement or internship hours, event volunteers to usher or serve at the bar, translators and members of the board, planning and more! Check out our current needs here and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you are interested!
If you are part of an organization, company or collective that wants to get involved with Digi60 in a sponsorship way, please email us at email@example.com and we will forward you our sponsorship options. We love and emphasize community partnerships, and would love to have your logo on our programme and screen!
Q: When do the screenings take place?
A: We try to announce the screening date as far ahead as possible, but we always have it finalized by the day of the Catch Event & Pitch event.
Q: Where/when can I get tickets?
We sell the majority of our tickets online before the festival opens. We highly encourage guests to buy them in advance and cannot guarantee any tickets being available at the door. For example, we sold out our 233 seat theatre for all 3 screenings at the Fall 2015 festival. We hate to turn people away!
Q: I want to bring my child to a screening event, but I’m afraid the content will be too rough. What should I do?
A: There are no censorship restrictions on the content made by the filmmakers. If in doubt, please make alternate arrangements for childcare if you plan on attending the event.
Q: Are there any student/child/seniors discounts or prices for the tickets?
A: Apologies, but no. There is a flat rate for the screenings which is determined based on the season and the amount of screenings taking place. We often have discounts for festival passes, saving the guest a few dollars if they attend all the programs at the festival.
Q: The website has a mistake. Who should I contact?
A: The Directors can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. All questions should be sent through that channel. We no longer accept requests, questions or complaints via Facebook, and certainly not through any of the Directors private channels.
Filmmaker Guidelines *
* These are general tips and do not qualify as final requirements for submitted festival films. If you have questions, please refer to the Checklist you are provided after the catch is released or email us at email@example.com. Never assume that general FAQ are the correct answers ALL the time. The best way to find out is to ask. Never assume!
Q: What’s the cost?
A: Filmmakers register for $30 + hst for the Spring festival, and $40 + hst for the Fall festival. This guarantees your completed film will be screened and will also include 1 festival pass for all screenings for your registered season.
Q: Are there prizes?
A: Yes! Thanks to the generous community sponsorship, we are able to reward the winning filmmakers with mentorship opportunities, workshops, equipment rentals, discounts and awards geared toward new and emerging filmmakers so as to give them an extra leg-up on their journey toward professional filmmaking. Categories include: Cinematography, Writing, Producing, Directing, Technical and Acting.
Q: I signed up, does it mean I have to make a film as either a producer or filmmaker?
A: You can take on any hat that you want to, in fact many people play multiple roles in their films. The person who is “Directing” or “Producing” is usually the person who accepts the Best Film award. So there’s that.
Q: Can I use someone else’s copyrighted material in my film?
A: There are VERY few cases where it’s allowed to use someone else’s creation without at least asking for permission. You must obtain permission, and the artist can ask to be compensated. You cannot use another artist’s work that you don’t own without their permission. We may spot check films, or may request proof if there is questionable content. If something looks or sounds fishy, we will investigate. Believe us - juries know when something is amiss!
Q: Can I use popular music in my film, like something from Taylor Swift or Black Sabbath?
A: Not unless you have obtained the relevant rights to their songs. The music produced by these artists is either owned outright, or by a publishing company. You must seek their permission in a binding contract for the release that you are seeking.
The Master and Sync license for the music give you the right to use the piece of music and sync it with the video for the release.
If you are worried the judges might disqualify you for copyright purposes based on your music selection, we suggest you send in your contracts/agreements with the musicians/companies when you submit your final film.
Q: Can I put my film online before the screening?
A: No. When you sign the Filmmaker contract, you give Digi60 the right to the first screening of your film. You are free to put it online immediately following the event as you always retain the rights to the film you create. We will even help you promote it. You CAN send it to other festivals as long as it doesn't screen before Digi60 has had the chance to do so.
Q: I don’t want to sign the contract. Can I still sign up?
A: You can certainly pass us the submission fee, but unless you sign the contract, we cannot accept your final film into the festival.
Q: If I submit a French film, do I need subtitles? Isn’t this a bilingual country?
A: Canada is bilingual so we highly encourage French language or bilingual films, but for ease of enjoyment of the entire audience, and to have proper evaluation from the Jury who are often members of the international film community, we will need your French film subtitled in English.
Q: Can I submit a film in another foreign language?
A: As long as there are English subtitles. Same reason as above!
Q: I’m from Toronto/Montreal/Inuvik and I want to enter Digi60. How can I do that?
A: We allow filmmakers to enter from different cities across Canada, as long as they maintain the “local” quality of their film.
Q: I don’t like a decision that the Directors have made. I’m upset. What should I do?
A: You should come and speak with one of them directly. We appreciate straightforward and direct communication.
Q: I won an award, like a pass to go to a festival or workshop, but I can’t go. What should I do?
A: Passes to festivals or workshops represent real money that sponsors have contributed in kind. If you can’t go, we would appreciate the pass be returned at the earliest time possible to permit someone else to go - perhaps the runner up, or someone else on your team depending on the prize itself. Sponsors continue to keep this festival going with their support and we want to ensure that they know their contributions are valued and not squandered.
Q: I don’t like the catch. It’s dumb/there’s too many criteria/it’s too narrow. I’m mad.
A: Each catch is unique. We do our best to keep it challenging while trying not to stifle creativity. Catches shouldn’t been seen as limiting factors, but constraints to drive innovative storytelling.
Q: How will the films be judged?
A: A judging committee will be selected by the Digi60 Directors. They will be industry professionals who have experience with independent film. They will view the films and determine how they rate against a selection grid based on the categories as set out. The festival reserves the right to award, or not award, a prize. If there are no suitable winners for the specified prize, then it will be carried over to the next season.
— Best Film
— Best Director
— Best Ensemble Acting
— Best Cinematography
— Spirit of the Festival Award
— SAW Video Female Filmmaker Award (Spring)
— SAW Video Spotlight Award (Fall)
— Best Screenplay
— The Ottawa Acting Company Emerging Actor Award
Q: I don’t appreciate/like the comments the judges made about my film. They’re wrong and should apologize because I’m mad.
A: If you don’t like getting criticism or critiqued on your work, maybe you should think about why you are making films. We only grow through constructive feedback, which is the only kind of feedback the judges are giving. Please keep in mind that the jury are approaching the evaluation of all films from an objective viewpoint and each film is also evaluated on a points based system, which they are unable to share with each other. It's overall a very removed process. Digi60 also doesn't choose ANY of the awards - this is all done by an external jury - EXCEPT for the Digi60 Spirit of the Festival Award - this is for a hardworking newcomer that we'd like to see come back and participate again and is decided on by a board member consensus. Bottom line: it's not personal.
Q: I’m not happy with the onsite beverage and food selections at the parties because I have special dietary requirements. What are you going to do for me?
A: Unfortunately, we have to go with the best selection at the best price. We can’t afford to accommodate everyone’s specific need. We wish we could, but we would need a big boatload of cash to do that, which we don’t have.
Q: I didn’t complete my film, so I’d like to get a refund of my entry fee.
A: All registrations are final. If you would like to exchange your entry to another filmmaker, you MUST receive permission from the festival first before passing it over to them. There may be people on a waiting list, so we always have to consider them first.
Q: Why is the format for the Spring Festival different than the Fall Festival?
A: After the long, cold, Canadian winter, it’s nice to do something fun and lively. The format is different to reflect a “lighter” attitude.
Q: Why does the time between the Spring Catch Release and the Submission Deadline vary every year?
A: We like to keep filmmakers on their toes. No sense in getting complacent. In the past it’s been two weeks to four weeks in length.
Q: What’s the criteria for the screenplay submission?
–must adhere to standard screenplay format (use screenplay software, some are free!) to avoid issues with margins and spacing.
–must be as free of spelling and grammar errors as possible.
–depending on the spring or fall, must come in around 3-10 pages.
–must be submitted without identification of the writer – remove the cover page.
Q: Why does my screenplay need to be written in “standard screenplay format”? Why can’t I hand write it, scan it, and send it in?
A: We only accept what would normally be accepted by any reputable producer or agent if the writer was a professional looking for representation. Learning the techniques of the craft is important.
Q: How long should my screenplay be?
If written in proper format, each page of a screenplay is roughly one minute of screentime. This varies, but it is a useful guideline. If the criteria is to shoot a 5 minute movie, the script would be between 4-7 pages, give or take.
Q: Does my film have to have dialogue?
A: Only if you want it to.