The Calgary International Film Festival is now an Oscar-qualifying festival for short films.

That means that going forward, winners of CIFF's annual Best of Shorts Award will be able to submit their films to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science in two categories — Best Animated and Live Action Short.

A film can only be considered for an Oscar nomination if it has had a theatrical run or is nominated by a qualifying festival — a designation CIFF now holds along with big players like Cannes and Sundance.

"They can they submit to the Academy and they can be looked at, even though they didn't have a theatrical run," said Laura Carlson, marketing and communications manager for CIFF.

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The Oscar-qualifying designation for CIFF kicks in this fall.

"This a testament to the strength of CIFF's short film section, and especially the talent of the filmmakers," Steve Schroeder, executive director of the festival said in a media release.

"We are delighted and humbled to join the small and distinguished group of Oscar-qualifying film festivals."

In December, the Edmonton International Film Festival also got the Oscar stamp of approval— joining four other Canadian festivals approved by the Academy to put forward nominations for short films:

  • Canadian Screen Awards
  • Ottawa International Animation Festival
  • Montreal Festival Du Noveau Cinema
  • Montreal World Film Festival

Bear Story, the 2015 Best of Shorts winner at CIFF, has just been nominated for an Academy Award in the 2016 Best Animated Short category.

Calgary can't take credit for that because its designation does not kick in until the 2016 festival, this fall. Bear Story has won numerous awards at other Oscar-qualifying festivals.