How to Submit Your Project to the Paddling Film Festival

Submissions for the film festival are open for 2024. 

Paddling Film Festival proudly accepts entries on FilmFreeway.

Film Categories, Awards and Prizes

  • Best Sea Kayaking Film
  • Best Canoeing Film
  • Best Whitewater Film
  • Best Kayak Fishing Film
  • Best Standup Paddling Film
  • Best Paddling Documentary
  • Best Adventure Travel Paddling Film
  • Best Instructional Paddling Film
  • Best Short/Amateur Paddling Film
  • Best Environmental Paddling Film
  • Best Rafting Film
Each year there are $5,500 in cash prizes awarded.
Each of our 11 category winners receives a $500 cash prize, paid in Canadian dollars. Films may be entered in more than one category, but may only win in one.
The Aqua-Bound People's Choice Award winner also receives a $500 cash prize, paid in Canadian dollars. How do we decide who wins the Aqua-Bound People's Choice Award? We don't, audiences decide. Near the end of the tour, the scores will be tallied and the Aqua-Bound People's Choice Award winner will be announced at one of the major outdoor industry trade shows.

Rules & Terms

Since 2006, the Paddling Film Festival and World Tour has been showcasing the very best paddling films. The World Tour was screening in 130 cities around the world. So far it’s screened 984 times to more than 296,864 audience members. The Paddling Film Festival has awarded $94,00 in cash prizes to paddling filmmakers and World Tour hosts have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charitable projects. The Paddling Film Festival World Tour has grown to become one of the largest paddling events in the world.

In 2021, as a direct result of the pandemic lockdown and restricted public gatherings, we adapted and evolved the Paddling Film Festival World Tour. Our local hosts offer both live theatre shows—where possible—and virtual online streaming programs to viewers who can’t make it out or in communities where it is not viable to host live theatre screenings.

We’re committed to supporting our local outdoor communities with engaging live shows in theatres, school auditoriums and church basements. We believe the best place to see the year's best paddling films is on the big screen surrounded by friends and family. But in the meantime, local hosts can provide their viewers with virtual programs in the comfort of their homes. To offset smaller live screenings and further support local fundraising efforts, local hosts will share in the virtual screening ticket sales revenues.

We hope to pack cinemas again soon. In the meantime, our new hybrid World Tour format will continue to inspire more of us to explore rivers, lakes and oceans, push extremes, embrace the paddling lifestyle and appreciate wild places.


  • International exposure of winning and shortlisted films and filmmakers
  • $5,500 in cash prizes for category winners ($500/category)
  • $500 in cash prizes People’s Choice Award winner
  • Retail sales/digital download sales opportunities

Entry Qualifications

Sending an entry to the Paddling Film Festival and World Tour implies acceptance of the Rules and Regulations.

  • Entries can be of any duration. Films longer than 20 minutes may be accompanied by a shorter World Tour version, but this is not required.
  • Entrants grant the Festival organizers the right to make Festival versions of films.
  • Films can be narrative, story, animated, or experimental and can be entered by professional or amateur filmmakers.
  • Foreign language films must be accompanied by an English translation or have English subtitles.
  • All music rights must be cleared before films are submitted. Consent of performers and/or persons appearing in the film must be obtained before films are submitted.
  • Films may have been previously entered in other film festivals.
  • Films may be entered in more than one category.
  • Entrants grant the Festival organizers permission to use excerpts, not exceeding three minutes, for promotional purposes in various media, trade shows, and retail stores.
  • Entrants are required to supply promotional materials, such as still images, for the purpose of promoting the films, Festival and World Tour.
  • Entrants grant the Festival organizers the right to copy the entry in part or in its entirety in any media format to facilitate the operation or promotion of the Festival and/or World Tour.
  • Selected shortlisted films will compete for our annual film awards and people’s choice award. Screening fees will not be paid for film screenings during the live World Tour. Selected films will receive a share of revenue from ticket sales of virtual/digital screenings.
  • The entrant acknowledges and agrees that all matters not covered by these Rules and Regulations, and questions arising from them, will be decided at the sole discretion of the Festival organizers.

Technical Requirements

You will be required to provide a HD high-resolution version of the film.

FilmFreeway accepts all major video formats in full quality HD up to 10 GB. We transcode videos for playback compatibility and performance and recommend that you use settings close to our output settings:

  • Maximum video bitrate: 2200 Kbps, H.264, mp4
  • Audio: 128 Kbps, AAC, 2 channel stereo
  • Aspect ratio preserved; maximum video height of 720 pixels

Films will need to be in NTSC format. NTSC (National Television System Committee) is a Color TV standard for the United States, Canada, Japan, and other countries of North and South America and Asia. To resolve the incompatibility problem of the NTSC and PAL video formats, it’s best to use software that can change PAL to NTSC and vice versa.

Promotional Images

Entries MUST be accompanied by a minimum of three (3) high-resolution images from the film to be reproduced, published and/or exhibited for promotional purposes as they pertain to the Paddling Film Festival.

The annual signature image is used on our marketing materials which include posters, banners, website, programs, newsletters and magazine ads.

Preferred Format: Digital; 300 dpi jpeg and/or Tiff format; minimum size is 4" x 6" landscape or portrait. Please include a press kit and director's CV, if available.

Entry fee and deadlines

  • Early Bird Deadline - October 1st 2023 ($20 per entry)
  • Deadline - December 1st 2023 ($25 per entry)
  • Late Submissions - January 2024 ($30 per entry)

Selection Process

Each year, films are entered by both professional producers and up-and-coming filmmakers from all corners of the world. The Paddling Film Festival committee narrows these submissions down to a shortlist of films and then decides upon 10 winners - one film per category - who receive cash prizes and recognition.

The shortlisted and winning films are then toured around the world as the Paddling Film Festival World Tour. Winners will be notified after the premiere in February. Prizes will be awarded for the best film entry in each category.

Winners and shortlisted films will be the only films screened in the Paddling Film Festival World Tour. Screening fees will not be paid for film screenings during the live World Tour. Selected films will receive a share of revenue from ticket sales of virtual/digital screenings.

How to submit your film

To submit your film to the Paddling Film Festival, all entrants are required to provide a HD high-resolution version of the film via FilmFreeway, pay the applicable submissions fee and include a downloadable link to your film along with promotional graphics. Please review the Rules and Regulations prior to completing the online entry form.

To submit your film to the Paddling Film Festival use the FilmFreeway service. Film details and payment are submitted directly through Film Freeway.