Attending Film Screenings

Please note, the following information pertains to the 2015 SXSW Film Festival. Check back in the spring for more up-to-date information on how to attend screenings.

Seating for each screening is subject to capacity and will occur on a priority basis approximately 30-45 minutes before the screening starts. Don’t be discouraged by the lines. Many of our venues are quite large and our systems ensure that you’ll know quickly if it’s worth waiting. For a primer, check out the video below.

General Line Procedure

Filmmakers & Their Guests
Filmmakers are given Filmmaker Guest Tickets that allow them priority entry to their premieres. These tickets are good for up to 30 minutes before showtime.

SXSW Film Attendees

1. SXSW Film, Gold & Platinum badgeholders with SXXpress passes for the screening are allowed entry.

2. The remaining Film, Gold & Platinum badgeholders are allowed entry.

3. If seats remain after all badgeholders have been let in, attendees with Film Wristbands will be allowed entry. SXSW Film Wristbands are $90 (tax included) and will be sold at Waterloo Records, Violet Crown Cinema, the Marchesa Theatre and participating Austin-area Alamo Drafthouse theaters starting in mid-February.

4. If any seats remain, single-admission tickets will be sold for $12 starting 15 minutes before showtime. We sell tickets most often at our larger venues: The Paramount Theatre, Vimeo Theater at the Austin Convention Center and the Topfer Theatre at ZACH.

SXXpress (South by Express) Passes

All Film, Gold, and Platinum badgeholders can request up to two passes per day (one pass per film) for the current day’s screenings. These passes allow you to jump to the front of the badge line.

Show up early. Simply having the SXXpress pass does not guarantee you a seat. You must arrive at the theater at least 30 minutes before the screening to guarantee entry.

SXXpress Passes:

  • can only be used to obtain tickets on the day of the screening.
  • must be used in combination with a registration badge.
  • are limited - we allocate approximately 20% of each venue’s capacity to SXXpress passes.

SXXpress passes will be distributed March 13-21 from 9:00am - 4:00pm, on the upper level of the Austin Convention Center near the panel room 15.

SXSW 2015 Queue Card

Queue Cards

If you have a badge, and you want to ensure you get a seat at the Stateside Theatre, Rollins Theatre, Violet Crown Cinema, Marchesa Theatre or any Alamo Theater, show up early to get a numbered Queue Card. Queue cards will be distributed starting 1 hour before screening time, and will be handed out until capacity has been met. A card guarantees you a seat as long as you stay in line at the venue.

SXSW 2015 Buffer Cards

Buffer Cards

After all available Queue Cards are distributed at a screening SXSW staff will start handing out Buffer Cards.

While these cards do not guarantee entry to the theater, they will help badgeholders secure a seat if any filmmaker guest tickets or SXXpress passes go unused at the screening.

SXSW Venue Status BoardsVenue Status Boards

We’ll be continually updating the Venue Status Boards (VSB) in the SXSW GO app, online at and on screens at select venues throughout the event with the line status information for every screening at the festival. Venue Status Boards are color coded to make things easy for you! See the graphic on the right for more information.

Questions about any of this? Just email

Photo courtesy Slackerwood