November 7, 2018

Breakthroughs Film Festival Presenting at Media Seminar (Maine, USA)


This past February I attended the Association for Baha'i Studies Media Working Group Seminar in Maine, USA. The seminar brought people together from around the world, mostly North America and aimed to provide a space in which participants could analyze and reflect on the current discourses around media. Two main themes were explored in plenary sessions including: 'Reflections on Commercial and Public Service in Media' and 'Identity and Representation in Media'. The organizers reached out and invited me to give a presentation about Breakthroughs Film Festival (BFF) at one of the plenary sessions. As a board member of BFF, who always looks for opportunities to share what we do as a festival, and our work, I quickly agreed. 

The presentation covered details around our festival's history, our goals, aspirations, and the things we've learned over the past few years. I shared statistics around women's involvement in the film industry, which sadly was not the best news to share. The numbers are in-your-face too low. For example, "of the top 250 films of 2017, only 18% employed women directors, writers, producers, editors and cinematographers" (Share Her Journey, 2017). These are depressing numbers and so, to be able to speak about this and know that BFF is actively working to empower female writers and directors was something that was not only inspiring, but it gave me more determination to continue this work.

This may not have been a very large crowd, but the fact that we can have platforms, big or small, to engage through communication the advancement of women in the film business, is just another step closer to encourage and motivate our female driven industry. The whole weekend's focus on identity and representation was a perfect opportunity to discuss these themes. 

As I reflected about the festival, the realization struck me of how much our team has learned by simply "acting". It's easy to speak about our ideals, goals and causes we believe in, another is to act on it. As BFF enters its 8th year and as I wrap up my 3rd year with the festival, it has become so obvious to me that the festival's success is a result of everyone's long-term commitment and willingness to act. In this very busy world, it's tempting to spend one's personal time doing things that are easy. This group of volunteers work tirelessly every year to bring this festival to the colourful city of Toronto, and every year we grow, we learn, we implement what we learn, and we explore new avenues. It was an honour to be able to represent our BFF festival in the US and I look forward to more opportunities like this one. 

Laura Friedmann (BFF Board Member)


August 17, 2018

BFF is proud to present the inaugural Breakthroughs Film Festival Award at the upcoming Toronto New Wave Festival

At the 2018 Breakthroughs Film Festival (BFF) this past June, we introduced the very first TORONTO NEW WAVE Award, which was presented to a local emerging woman-identified filmmaker. Honoured with that inaugural award was director Jasper Savage/Filmcoop for her smart, funny, clever short film JESSICA JESSICA.

This August, BFF has the good fortune of reciprocating that token of recognition at the Toronto New Wave festival, taking place August 25 at The Redwood, 1300 Gerrard St. E., from 4:00pm – 12:00am, where we will present the Breakthroughs Film Festival Award to a first-time woman-identified filmmaker. Once again, we are thrilled to be partnering with Astrolab Studios, who are generously providing production and post-production in-kind services to the recipient of this award.

Toronto New Wave (TNW) is an independent short film, music and VR festival hosted annually in downtown Toronto. The event will screen a collection of the most unique short-films, live performances by the best of the best local musicians, and astounding, immersive storytelling that will be on display through virtual and augmented reality. Aside from this exciting celebration of multiple art forms, there will also be a bunch of food trucks, craft beer and local art for sale.

Our festivals connected because we believe in the same thing – the necessity of celebrating up and coming filmmakers who are making creative, original works. – This is what we do and we are thrilled to be welcomed by this fantastic organization that is committed to representing emerging artists and their work.

See you all August 25. You can see the full details and buy tickets here

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July 5, 2018

BFF presents "Bollywood/Hollywood", a film by Deepa Mehta
Screening August 8 Outdoors at Regent Park Film Festival’s

Regent Park Film Festival is back with their popular outdoor summer screening series UNDER THE STARS: MOVIES IN THE PARK, and we at Breakthroughs are so pleased to co-present one of the films.

Please mark your calendars – Wednesday August 8 – and join us for the outdoor screening of Bollywood/Hollywood by the awe-inspiring Canadian Woman Director, Deepa Mehta.

Set in Toronto, this truly delightful and romantic tale revolves around Rahul Seeth a westernized young millionaire and his unconventional relationship with the beautiful and wild Sue Singh. Rahul is devastated after the untimely death of his beautiful, pop artist, blonde girlfriend and to make matters worse, he is under extreme pressure from his family to get engaged to a good Hindu girl. Desperate, Rahul hires the services of gorgeous Sue, one of the highest paid escorts in Toronto to pretend to be his fiancée while attending his sister’s wedding. Starting out as opposites, Rahul and Sue's relationship slowly transcends.

Bollywood/Hollywood Trailer:

nder the Stars: Movies in the Park runs for six weeks every Wednesday in Regent Park from July 11 – August 15.



Apr 24, 2018

BFF 2018 Grant winner


We are thrilled to announce our 2018 Post Production Grant has been awarded to Director Danielle Ayow. Danielle's upcoming documentary, But You're Not Black, challenges our ideas of identity and belonging by allowing us entry into her family's unique background and experiences.

Our annual Post Production Grant awards one emerging director with $1500 worth of services courtesy of Red Square Motion, plus an additional $1000 cash to complete a full post-production package. We'd love to see and support your work next year and encourage you to submit to us next fall!

Join us NOV 10, 2017 for BFF post-production grant fundraiser


May 19, 2017

BFF 2017 Grant winner

Congratulations to our 2017 Breakthroughs & Red Square Motion Post Production Grant Winner Yassmina Karajah! Yassmina will be receiving funds and services to aid in completing her short film 'Rupture', pictured below.


Mar 21, 2017

Breakthroughs Film Festival & Dais presents "Making a Film on a Dime"


Nov 27, 2016

BFF fundraiser party

It's our annual bestie bash! Wrangle your BFFs and join us at The Garrison for the tropical beach party of your December dreams to help raise money for the BFF Post-Production Grant. We will have drinks, prizes, live music and even PWYC shiatsu massages for all the feel good feels!

Starting at 7pm and going until 10pm we will have musical guests, prizes, and a live auction hosted by BFF's own Sarah Kolasky. From 10pm until LATE DJ BLUSH will make the earth quake and our booties shake. Tix are $10 at the door and all proceeds go towards Breakthroughs Film Festival's Post-Production Grant for new generation female filmmakers. 

Grab your BFF and come support women in film!

For more information visit:

Sep 28, 2016

Board Member Position Opening

BFF is looking to add another member to its board! Joining the Breakthroughs team is a fantastic opportunity to gain experience with the operational side of a growing film festival, and build your resume for future employment opportunities in the film industry, nonprofit management, and/or grassroots festival management. Applications may be submitted via email in Word or PDF format to by October 10th, 2016. If you would like more information about the position and/or the organization, please feel free to contact us at

For more information visit:

Aug 25, 2016

2016 Festival wrap up

BFF 2016 was a resounding success!  We are thrilled that the 5th year of Breakthroughs brought in record sales at the box office. Featuring a diverse lineup which included 17 shorts from 9 different countries, we proudly exhibited a range of films from world premieres to award-winning festival favourites.  The screenings were followed by in-depth discussions with the filmmakers in attendance and ended with informative Q&As from our audiences. Many thanks to our most spectacular venue — The Royal Cinema — which really helped to showcase our wonderful filmmakers in the light they deserve!

FEB 7, 2016


Breakthroughs Film Festival is proud to once again be partnering with the Toronto Black Film Festival in 2016!

This year we are co-presenting the film Ayanda and the Mechanic.

In a community vibrant with migrants from across the African Continent, against the backdrop of unspoken love, a young woman tries to navigate a path for herself. But this is a world where everything keeps shifting… Everything except the one thing that really does need to change. Ayanda and the Mechanic is a coming of age story of a twenty one year old Afro hipster, who embarks on a journey of self discovery trying to keep the memory of her father alive, when she’s thrown into a world of greasy overalls, gender stereotypes and abandoned vintage cars in need of a young woman’s re inventive touch who tries to reclaim what would’ve been, what could’ve been.

It’s showing Feb 13, 2016 at 7:00 PM at the Carlton Cinema. Tickets are $10.

Enjoy the trailer below, we’ll see you there!


JAN 22, 2016


HEADS UP! We are now accepting submissions for the 2016 Breakthroughs Film Festival! This year’s fest will be held on June 10th and 11th in Toronto. We can’t wait to see your films! Submit by the early bird deadline of FEBRUARY 17th and only pay $15!

Please submit through Film Freeway.

JAN 22, 2016


We’re pleased to announce Gabor Pertic is the new Executive Director of the Breakthroughs Film Festival! We’re very excited to have him on board and make this year’s festival the biggest and best yet!

Gabor Pertic attended the University of Toronto as a Specialist in Cinema Studies, graduating with an Honours B.A. After working as a film critic in Toronto, he transitioned into the world of film festival programming. For several years, he worked in the programming department of the Toronto International Film Festival, four of those years working as Programming Associate to TIFF Director & CEO Piers Handling. In addition to TIFF, Gabor has been continuously working and programming for North America’s largest documentary-exclusive film festival Hot Docs. Over the last decade, Gabor has had the privilege of curating a diverse, international selection of films for Toronto audiences.

JUN 14, 2015


We are pleased to announce the winners of Breakthroughs Film Festival 2015. The Jury Prize was awarded to Kristina Wagenbauer for her outstanding film “Somewhere Exactly”.

Congratulations to Kristina!

Honourable mentions were awarded to Maya Bedward for “The Foreigner”, and to Caitlin Durlak for “Persistence of Vision”, and the Audience Choice Award goes to Kate Tsang for “So You’ve Grown Attached”!

Thanks to all our filmmakers, jurors, volunteers and audience and we’ll see you in 2016!

MAY 5, 2016


 Withering Heights Elizabeth Cairns Canada Margot’s failing marriage leaves her lonely and sleepless. Oh, and shrinking.       Lucky Pennies Emilie Rosas Quebec Trapped in an abusive home, little Antoine desperately wishes for something good.       Cheese Hannah Cheesman Canada Buying…continue reading

JAN 2, 2015


We are now accepting submissions for the 2015 Breakthroughs Film Festival!

Deadline is April 1st!

ALL directors will be paid an artist’s fee: CAD $111 for films under 15 minutes, CAD $164 for films over 15 minutes.

Please submit through Film Freeway.


JUN 16, 2014


We at the Breakthroughs Film Festival are pleased to announce thatShower/Douche by Marie Eve-Beaumont was awarded the Jury Prize at our festival Friday night.

Wanderings by Eleonore Goldberg received an honourable mention.

Please join us in congratulating these outstanding artists!

MAY 10, 2014


Paruparo Shasha Nakhai A migrant nanny expresses her loneliness and pain through dance. On the Proper Use of Friends Sara Bourdeau A love story old, worn and almost buried. Between half-truths, lies and duplicity, Cath and Olivier weigh the merits of their decision…read more

FEB 1, 2014


This year we are thrilled to be holding our 3rd annual Breakthroughs Film Festival at the 288 seat Al Green Theatre at 750 Spadina Avenue. The Al Green Theatre is the host to a number of cultural arts events every year including theatre, music, dance, film, and literature.  These events reach out to audiences of various ages, cultures, and demographics. We hope to see you there!

FEB 1, 2014


We are now accepting submissions for the 2014 Breakthroughs Film Festival! Deadline is April 1st and all the information can be found here.

MAY 14, 2013


On May 11 at the end of the evening the winners of the 2013 Breakthroughs Film Festival were announced.

The Jury Prize was awarded to Le Futur Proche, directed by Sophie Goyette.

For it’s stunning beauty and layered storytelling the jury has selected LE FUTUR PROCHE as the winner of the Breakthrough Film Festival. Sophie Goyette has masterfully directed a film which delves into the heart of strained familial relationships and the way one ordinary pilot deals with his grief.

An honourable mention was awarded to Acqua, directed by Raha Shirazi.

The jury would like to award an Honourable Mention to “Acqua” by Raha Shirazi. With its meditative pacing and stunning visuals, “Acqua” carries the viewer on hypnotic journey through a compassionate and honest narrative.

Congratulations to our winners and thanks to our audience. See you in 2014!

JAN 26, 2013


We will be accepting submissions starting February 1st!  Stay tuned for more news and details about this year’s Breakthroughs Film Festival.

APR 16, 2012


Expect something and nothing at once (3:36) Michelle Elrick Through blanket forts, poetry, and whispered sounds, Michelle Elrick explores the notion of “home”.     L’empreinte (15:00) Claudia Hebert Obsessed with the soundtrack of her past, a woman tries to move on amidst the…continue reading