Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival

Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival, also known as Cinéfest and Cinéfest Sudbury is an annual film festival in Sudbury, Ontario, held over nine days each September. It is one of the largest film festivals in Canada.
First held in 1989, Cinéfest quickly became a popular destination for Canadian filmmakers. Unlike the larger film festivals in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, Cinéfest offered filmmakers a chance to gain exposure among more typical film audiences in a city which, at the time of its launch in 1989, had never had a venue for screening independent and non-mainstream films. Cinéfest presents an annual programme of over 135 films, both domestic and international, often screened towards English and French language audiences.
Cinéfest is a qualifying film festival for the Canadian Screen Awards.


's I've Heard the Mermaids Singing was presented in Sudbury in 1988 at a special test screening. Planned as a onetime event, Sudbury was being used as a test market for alternative Canadian films in small communities. The result surprised everyone, with over 900 people attending the sold out screening. Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival was established a year later in 1989 as the Sudbury Film Festival, and despite some remaining skepticism, local citizens proved that a mining-oriented community could be receptive to repertory film culture, as approximately 9,000 cinema buffs crowded theatres during the three-day event. The event proved so popular, in fact, that despite having booked opening gala Jesus of Montreal in a 600-seat hall rather than a movie theatre, 1,500 people lined up for the screening and the festival had to quickly add two follow-up screenings. Director Cameron Haynes noted that not even the Toronto International Film Festival had been as wildly popular in its first year of operation.
By 1993, Cinéfest evolved into a full-service film organization, with the festival growing to include upwards of 60 films over five days. Cinéfest Sudbury has become recognized as one of Canada's premiere film festivals. The festival has developed a distinct identity and role within its community and the media arts industry, winning provincial and national acclaim. Cinéfest currently boasts a nine-day repertoire of film programming for local, national and international guests. It is administrated by the non-profit Cultural Industries Ontario North.

Northern Film Circuit

Cinéfest Sudbury has a long history of promoting Canadian cinema and supporting the local film industry. One of the organization's most ambitious projects was the establishment of the Northern Film Circuit in 1992. An attempt to build audiences in Northern Ontario for Canadian and international film, the NFC began with only four members. The NFC was eventually used as a model for the Film Circuit, which was developed in partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival and now operates in over 110 communities throughout Ontario.

Northern Connections

Constantly working to bring knowledge to the north, Cinéfest introduced Industry Forum to the Festival's framework in 2003, an initiative that has since provided emerging and mid-career film artists with access to key film representatives, and invited partnerships between Festival, industry and educational institutions. Since the introduction of industry forum, Cinéfest has established itself as a focal point for independent filmmakers, and programmers. While the festival has a long history of presenting and supporting films that represent the output of Canada's independent film artists, Cinéfest Sudbury has also over the years extended significant support to its regional film artists. Through programs such as Northern Connections, a program which highlights the best and brightest of regional film talent, and the CTV Best in Shorts Competition, which has awarded over $92,000 in cash prizes to up-and-coming regional film talent since it was established in 2001, the festival has served as a place for regional artists to have their work seen and celebrated.


Since the overwhelming success of Cinéfest Sudbury in 2003, which saw 80 per cent of festival screenings either reach or exceed capacity, festival organizers have worked aggressively to ensure accessibility for its audiences. The Festival Expansion Initiative was developed and launched in 2004, through which the festival was expanded from six to nine days. A plan was also developed at that time to establish Cinéfest as a year-round venue to showcase the best in film. In 2006, Cinéfest Sudbury introduced two new mini-festivals, Canadian Spotlight and Show & Tell Children's Film Showcase). These events are now providing audiences with even greater access to the works of Canadian film artists and are providing area schools with educational and inspirational film works that meet the needs of each curriculum.

Cinema Summit

In 2010, Cinéfest Sudbury introduced The Cinema Summit, a presentation, exchange and development series devoted to the celebration, promotion and advancement of Canada's new and emerging filmmaking talent. Aside from expanding the number of film screenings attended by talent associated with selected films, Cinema Summit features additional panel discussions, master classes and lectures with specific topics of focus, and introduces attendees to experts in the film and media arts industries. Cinema Summit represents Cinéfest's next efforts to inspire audiences, talent, students and industry.

Cinéfest Sudbury Film Series

In 2010, Cinéfest Sudbury further expanded its year-round presence by introducing the Cinéfest Sudbury Film Series, a monthly film presentation series typically held on the last Thursday of each month, featuring the best in Canadian and international cinema.

Cinéfest Collection

The Greater Sudbury Public Library maintains a dedicated "Cinéfest Collection", featuring DVDs of over 200 films that have previously screened at the festival.



Gala presentations included ', You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Casino Jack, Made in Dagenham, Jack Goes Boating, The Bang Bang Club and Barney's Version''.


Gala presentations: Restless, The Guard, I'm Yours, The Woman in the Fifth, Starbuck, Albert Nobbs, Donovan's Echo, Take This Waltz.
Special Presentations: Afghan Luke, Monsieur Lazhar, Sophie, Midnight in Paris, Sleeping Beauty.


Gala Presentations: The Riverbank, The Angels' Share, A Dark Truth, Midnight's Children, En Kongelig affære, Old Stock, Inch'Allah, Still Mine, A Late Quartet
Special Presentations: All in Good Time, Amour, Crooked Arrows, , The Hunt , Inescapable, Laurence Anyways, Rust and Bone , The Suicide Shop , No, Revolution, Safety Not Guaranteed, Stories We Tell, War Witch


Gala Presentations: The Art of the Steal, The Invisible Woman, Cubicle Warriors, Kill Your Darlings, The Story of Luke, Parkland, Gabrielle, The Right Kind of Wrong, Cas & Dylan
Special Presentations: Les 4 soldats, Adore, All Is Lost, The Armstrong Lie, Les beaux jours, The Face of Love, Gloria, La grande bellezza, Jeune & Jolie, Shoshite chichi ni naru, Louis Cyr: L'homme le plus fort du monde, The Lunchbox |The Lunchbox , Le passé, La vie d'Adele


Gala presentations: Maudie, Manchester by the Sea, Chocolat, Denial, The Headhunter's Calling, Toni Erdmann, Mean Dreams, I, Daniel Blake, The Dressmaker.


Gala presentations: Back to Burgundy , Borg/McEnroe, Breathe, Call Me By Your Name, Don't Talk to Irene, Indian Horse, Long Time Running, Mary Shelley, Stronger.
Gala presentations: 1991, Bel Canto, Colette, The Grizzlies, The New Romantic, Sharkwater Extinction, The Sisters Brothers, Through Black Spruce, What They Had
Gala presentations: American Woman, And the Birds Rained Down , La Belle Époque, The Farewell, Guest of Honour, Judy, The Last Full Measure, The Rest of Us, The Song of Names
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, organizers have announced that the 2020 Cinéfest is tentatively slated to proceed with a mix of in-person and online screenings, similarly to the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival.