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Submit Your Film By July 31, 2024
OYFF 2024
Submit Your Film By July 31, 2024
OYFF 2024

Southwestern Ontario’s Banner Event for High School Filmmakers


The Forest City Youth Film Festival is a year round program where Southwestern Ontario high school filmmakers are supported and celebrated in a culminating fall event. We enhance skills and expose the talent of SWO youth while igniting a passion for film. While promoting an exceptional interdisciplinary opportunity, we will help this region to become renowned for our film talent.

Submissions close on July 31st, 2024!

Enhancing Skills and Exposing Talent

Over $5,000 in Prizes and Money!

In each of the 6 categories, the runner up wins $200 and the winner takes home $300. Both top films from each category are also entered into the Ontario Youth Film Festival to compete against young filmmakers from across the province!

Additional prizes include:

Best Overall Film – $500
Best Use of Sound – Prize package provided by Long and McQuade and OIART
Most Enterprising Young Filmmaker – $500, courtesy of Connor Kalopsis
Audience Choice Award – Festival Passes

Year-Round Seminars

Youth Filmmaking 101 Virtual Seminars

Our virtual interactive seminars give high schoolers and aspiring filmmakers the opportunity to learn about the various aspects of filmmaking from industry experts, student filmmakers, and post-secondary educators, with additional focus on career opportunities.

Filmmaker Resources

From the cultural impact of your work, to the personal and professional impact on your life, making a film is a way to channel all kinds of skills and creativity to create your unique style of storytelling.

Read more

Question: Isn’t making a movie really hard?

Yes. But … so what? It’s true that making a movie is challenging, but it is currently easier than ever before. In fact, the technology might literally be in the palm of your hands.

Keep in mind, the equipment is not important. Your technical skills are not important. How much and what kind of resources you have available is not important. With a little help and determination, you can overcome all of that. Do not let yourself be intimidated by the equipment, the technical skills required or your lack of any of it.

The STORY is what’s important. Even if you don’t own a camera, or lights, or sound equipment here are some ways to overcome the basic obstacles to creating a movie!

Read More

Things to Avoid

  • DO NOT disrupt people’s lives to make your movie. Be respectful of your neighbours, people on the street, and everyone who is near you when you are making your movie.
  • DO NOT shoot on private property without proof of permission.
  • DO NOT put yourself or anyone else in dangerous situations.
  • DO NOT use published music without permission.


  • You can enter more than one film and category!
  • You can enter as an individual in one category and as part of a team in another.
  • This is YOUR vehicle to communicate YOUR ideas! Be original!
  • Show us who you are – as an individual or as a team!
  • Stay safe, have fun, and do your best to make your audience FEEL something! You have only one job: TO ELICIT AN EMOTIONAL RESPONSE FROM YOUR AUDIENCE.
  • ANYONE can create a movie. Every life experience, every background, every detail of your, unique life can help create an original and interesting film. Don’t try to blend in. Do your best to STAND OUT!

Learn More

2024 OYFF

Ontario Youth Film Festival

The FCYFF is the SW Ontario regional festival for the Ontario Youth Film Festival. Select filmmakers from our festival will move on to compete provincially against top filmmakers across Ontario.

Storytelling has the power to educate, inspire, and foster empathy across cultures and ages. Making your own film empowers you to channel your creativity. FCYFF believes in providing world-class opportunities right in our region, and has put together these resources on how you can integrate filmmaking into your curriculum.

2024 OYFF

Team and History

OYFF Staff

Dorothy Downs, Co-Founder & Executive Director, FCFF
Karen Ralph, Youth Festivals Supervisor
Danny Santarella, Engagement and Education Director

OYFF Committee

Katie Thibert, TVDSB Visual Arts Teacher & Designer
Elyse Booth, TVDSB Communications Technology & Arts Teacher
Candace Marzano, TVDSB Communications Technology Teacher
Danny Santarella, LDCSB Communications Technology Teacher
Mark Vogelsang, OIART College professor
Kate Nash, Youth Liaison


Co-founders, Laura Briscoe and Dorothy Downs first connected in 2018 to build this youth film festival. Dorothy had planned to include a youth film festival for Southwestern Ontario in FCFF since the inception of the festival. Laura was a passionate teacher looking to bring a school film festival board-wide in order to create opportunities for students to develop global competencies and empower their voices. It was a great connection and it made sense to elevate student voices to the entire region. The two gathered a committee of dedicated secondary school educators and quickly grew to include students, industry experts, and post-secondary support.

The TVDSB Community Connected Experiential Learning fund granted the Forest City Youth Film Festival assistance in its first year. This funding encourages learners to develop a deeper understanding of Ontario Curriculum, global competencies, student well-being, and career planning. This strongly impacted our launch and ability to reach students to make content accessible and inclusive. We have continued to work on the principles of accessibility and inclusivity since that time, and the foundation that TVDSB has given this festival is now proudly growing through all of Southwestern Ontario and beyond!

Experiential Learning coordinators throughout Southwestern Ontario have become interested in sharing the festival with students and educators to actively participate, reflect and apply their learning. Our education programs are now available throughout the province.

Today the festival continues to grow and inspire young minds. If you want to like to join our committee for this Youth Film Festival, please contact youthfest@forestcityfilmfest.ca

2024 Ontario Youth Film Festival

Sponsors & Partners

Presenting Partners