Call for Proposals: Sarnia On Screen at SWIFF8

Proposal Deadline: August 29th, 2022

Photo credit: Barry Schneider

The South Western International Film Festival welcomes proposals for a short film (up to 15 minutes; documentary or fiction) by an emerging Ontarian filmmaker and their collaborators that highlights an aspect of Sarnia-Lambton’s history, nature, culture, and/or communities to be produced this fall and premiered at the 8th edition of SWIFF between November 3rd-6th, 2022 in Sarnia.

One Ontario-based filmmaker and their creative team will be selected to make an original short film and awarded up to $15,000 depending on their proposed budget. To qualify as an emerging filmmaker, the applicant should have directed at least one short film and not yet directed a feature. We will consider exceptional circumstances on a case-by-case basis. If you are not sure whether you are eligible, please email

Proposals will be accepted now through August 29th with a project selected by September 2nd, 2022. The project will be expected to go into production before October and completed before October 21st, 2022.

Suggested themes include Diversity & Inclusion, Arts & Culture, Indigenous Culture, Youth & Education, Nature & Landscape, Environment & Sustainability, Regional History, and; Achievements & Adversity. Each of these themes are open to interpretation on behalf of the filmmaker. However, the thematic correspondence to the project’s mandate to highlight Sarnia-Lambton will carry significant weight in the evaluation of proposals.

The awarded filmmaker must provide their own creative team, crew, and, if necessary, cast. Their creative team will plan for and execute the project independently while working in contact with SWIFF throughout the process. The project will be closely monitored by a Project Coordinator and other SWIFF employees.

Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Originality and creativity
  • Strength of subject
  • Level of experience
  • Detailed and clear planning
  • Overall feasibility (including demonstrated ability to complete the film within the time constraints of the project)

Photo credit: Jakob Owens

How to Apply:

To apply, please email the following components to in a PDF along with CVs/Portfolios and Budget spreadsheets as separate attachments and using the subject line: “Sarnia On Screen Application”.

Applications must include the following:

  • The title of your film project
  • Select one of the following overall themes for your project: Diversity & Inclusion, Arts & Culture, Indigenous Culture, Youth & Education, Nature & Landscape, Environment & Sustainability, Regional History, and; Achievements & Adversity
  • Director’s Statement that describes the vision behind the project and its significance and/or relevance to its overall theme and to Sarnia-Lambton (up to 500 words)
  • A Project Outline that details the story and structure of your film and any other relevant details (up to 1000 words)
  • A list of confirmed and proposed crew (and cast if necessary) and an accompanying paragraph describing the choice in collaborators and how they will contribute to the project’s success (up to 500 words)
  • A paragraph on why your project is feasible and how you will ensure its successful and timely completion (up to 300 words)
  • A budget detailing all of your projected expenses (including fees, equipment, subsistence, travel/gas/accommodations, etc.) required for your film and their estimated costs (budgets of all kinds will be considered as long as they do not exceed $15,000)
  • A production plan and timeline for the project (up to 500 words)
  • Links to up to a total of 10 minutes from one or more past projects made by the filmmaker and, optionally, additional members of their creative team
  • A CV and/or Portfolio from the filmmaker and, optionally, additional CVs or Portfolios from members of their creative team

SWIFF is committed to diversity and inclusiveness. We encourage qualified candidates from all backgrounds to apply.

Please note that expenses incurred beyond the awarded budget will not be covered by SWIFF. If expenses come in under the awarded budget, excess funds will be returned to SWIFF. All receipts and invoices must be submitted throughout the process and following the completion of the project.

The goal of this project is to provide an emerging talent with a unique opportunity to direct a film; resources to execute an accomplished work; and a platform to reach local and visiting audiences; as well as to the celebrate the history, nature, culture, and/or communities of Sarnia-Lambton and to promote it as a viable place to make film and television content. The selected project will be aligned with SWIFF’s core values of inclusion, diversity, and excellence in the arts.

Now in its eighth year of continuous operation, the South Western International Film Festival is an annual not-for-profit arts and culture festival based in Sarnia, Ontario. SWIFF is equally based around showcasing the work of varied, ground-breaking artists operating in the film and music sectors as well as educational opportunities predicated on the advancement of multidisciplinary arts. Our mandate is to positively contribute to the artistic infrastructure of Sarnia and the growing cultural communities of surrounding Southwestern Ontario, creating opportunities for meaningful interaction amongst individuals and collectives of diverse artistic backgrounds, demonstrated through four days of film, music, and workshops each November.

Image credit: Tourism Sarnia-Lambton

For any questions, please email

We acknowledge that our festival and this production take place on the ancestral land of the Chippewa, Odawa, and Potawatomi peoples, referred to collectively as the Anishinaabeg. As uninvited guests, we ask of ourselves and all participants to consider their relationship to the land and people who have tended to this place for centuries. We are thankful to be able to work and create on this land.
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