Pendance is an independent film festival supported by a bevy of great sponsors and key artists in the Canadian film community. We exist to give a serious platform to innovative storytellers and to spark a new love affair with cinema among modern audiences starving for truth and meaning on the big screen. Our slogan ‘Story Over Everything’ effectively sums up our event in eight syllables. To find out how we started this crazy journey and what we’re planning for the future, keep reading.
Pendance was founded by long-time friends writer Robert Misovic & composer Andjelika Javorina over a late afternoon coffee in August of 2017. A few months later on December, 15, 2017 at the Regent Theatre in midtown Toronto, the first edition of the Pendance Film Festival opened to 415 guests for a single night of short films.
Due to the unimaginable success following the first edition, Pendance expanded focus dramatically in years 2 and 3. Year two was held again at the Regent, but was expanded from a single night in 2017 to a full four day marathon from January 31st to February 3rd, 2019. The festival included over 40 international guests, four workshops, panels, 41 selected short films, and 8 selected features. It was a monumental step forward for a young festival, and despite a blizzard, thousands of guests poured in for the four day event.
For the 2020 edition, Pendance moved downtown between the TIFF Bell Lightbox and the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Jackman Hall Theatre. The third year was again a four day event, which now included; Pendance Doctrina, Pendance Music and the Pendance Director’s Lab. With after-parties at Arcane and Drom, film panels and workshops and a full-fledged concert for opening night, year 3 was effectively Pendance in full-form.
New in 2021, Pendance launched a revamped Pendance Library—a place to stream dozens of amazing films for free. From past selections and festival favourites to cult classics and video essays about cinema. The library adds at least one title per week, and is a promissory commitment from the festival to any and every official selection at Pendance that whenever a film is ready to be released publicly, Pendance will support it. Forever.
Our selection process is uniquely transparent. Each official selection to Pendance is the process of deep deliberation over months of internal debates among our programmers. We care a great deal about the films we consider and the filmmakers who have entrusted us to consider their work.
As filmmakers, we know that each film is the result of months and sometimes years of work. Each submission is watched by no less than two programmers. Prior to being officially selected, a film is then watched and reviewed by each programmer before being subject to a final vote.
We don’t outsource our screenings to volunteers for preliminary selections. Our attention to detail is why there are no fillers at Pendance. We’ve never selected a film we didn’t feel warranted our stamp of approval. Passing up a hidden gem, or selecting a film we’re not comfortable with isn’t something we take lightly.
All of the talk around the festival is about the art and craft of cinema. Pendance is a marathon of galas, screenings, networking events, and workshops. We foster a real connection with our audience and the filmmakers we select. We take the time to actually learn about our filmmakers and communicate with them on a very human level.
We’ve always believed in generating as much value for those we select, and we work tirelessly on behalf of our official selections to make sure they’re seen, talked about, and have an imprint in the world beyond just our festival.
Film festivals are about more than just films, and we’ve devoted ourselves to networking, education, and fostering a great atmosphere for film lovers and filmmakers to connect. In 2019, we launched our workshops, headlined by veteran filmmakers like Mark Raso, Peter Brunner, and Ann Lupo. We feel that it is through these workshops that Pendance can give value to emerging talent in Toronto and to those visiting from abroad. Our workshops are truly hands-on and cover a wide range of topics for intermediate and advanced filmmakers.
The Pendance Film Festival’s 5th Edition takes place February 24-28th, and we have every intention at the current time to ensure that our event is live and in-person.