Launched in 2014, the Programmer Initiative is an unique opportunity for Atlantic Canadian filmmakers to have their short films showcased to an international audience. Past year's initiatives included programmers from the Vancouver International Film Festival, Montreal’s Festival du nouveau cinémaSouth By Southwest, Vienna Independent Shorts and Edinburgh International Film Festival. This initiative has led to seven Nova Scotian films screening at VIFF and six Nova Scotian films screening at FNC, plus a special screening of AFCOOP’s 40th Anniversary Retrospective.

In 2017 HIFF welcomed programmers from four internationally-renowned film festivals. The Programmers watched local shorts and took part in one-on-one meetings with local filmmakers.  HIFF'S 2017 Visiting Programmers were:

Jason Anderson - Toronto International Film Festival

Émilie Poirier - Festival du Nouveau Cinéma

Kerri Long - Edmonton International Film Festival

Delphine Jeanneret - Interationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur


“Being able to meet top tier festival programmers one-on-one at HIFF was a great help to me in the distribution plan for my new short film TRANSFER. Not only did the programmers give me valuable feedback on where they thought the film might fit in the international festival circuit but they also invited me to contact them for further feedback when it came time to submit to their festivals.”

Chris Spencer Lowe, FILMMAKER

“Being a guest at the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival proved an incredibly valuable and rewarding experience. From the opening night, I was introduced to bold young filmmakers who weren’t yet on my radar.[…] In turn, I believe that I was able to put a human face on the sometimes impersonal and intimidating festival submissions process. In the three weeks since I’ve returned from HIFF, our entries from Nova Scotia have increased sixfold. As a result, Atlantic Canada will be well represented at the 2014 edition of the Vancouver International Film Festival."

 Curtis Woloschuk, PROGRAMMER VIFF