Film Submissions

Premiere your film in front of press, film industry, and film lovers at the SXSW Film Festival.

Submissions are now closed for the Film Festival for SXSW Online 2021.


Cast and director of “Short Term 12” - 2013 SXSW Film Awards. Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW.

Cast and director of “Short Term 12” - 2013 SXSW Film Awards. Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW.

Film Submissions

 

SXSW provides the game-changing buzz every filmmaker dreams about for the premiere of their feature film, short, episodic or XR project.

The SXSW Film Festival is the only place in the world bringing together creative people from so many different industries, making the SXSW Film Festival an unparalleled experience at the forefront of discovery, creativity, and innovation.

Submissions are now closed for the Film Festival for SXSW Online 2021. Miss the deadline? Learn about how to request an extension.

Take a look at the Premiere Status & Eligibility info, Film Submission FAQs, our handy Submission Guide, and watch the Film Submissions AMA video.

If you still have any questions regarding the SXSW Film Festival, please email us at filmfest@sxsw.com.

2021 Event Information

SXSW is launching SXSW Online as part of our 2021 offerings. The digital experience will feature conference keynotes and sessions, screenings, showcases, networking, and exhibitions. The dates for SXSW Online will take place March 16 – March 20, 2021.

SXSW is working with the City of Austin and public health authorities on plans for a physical event in 2021. We will provide updates as more information becomes available.

Sign up to receive important SXSW updates.

Philip Kalin-Hajdu

SXSW has become, starting with Game of Death in 2017 and every year since with meetups and mentorship and what was to be this year my first panel, not only the most important annual event in mine and my colleagues year, but one that felt comfortable and inspiring and fun.

Philip Kalin-Hajdu
Producer / Game of Death

Kat Candler

I love SXSW because it fosters gorgeous collaboration among a community of wickedly talented artists.

Kat Candler
Director / Hellion

Hannah Fidell

SXSW changed my life by introducing me to so many wonderful people that I’m happily working with and am inspired by today. After programming my first short, the festival gave me the confidence to dedicate my life to making films. Going to SXSW (with or without a film) feels like coming home. Janet and the entire film programming team have been true champions of independent film and I can’t thank them enough for all their support over the past few years.

Hannah Fidell
Director / 6 Years and A Teacher

Film Festival Screening Sections

 

Feature Film Screening Sections

The 2020 Screening sections are below, and are subject to change as we build the 2021 program.

Narrative Feature Competition Ten world premieres, ten unique ways to celebrate the art of storytelling.

Documentary Feature Competition Ten world premieres, ten real world stories that demonstrate innovation, energy and bold voices.

Headliners Big names, big talent: Headliners bring star power to SXSW, featuring red carpet premieres and gala film events with major & rising names in cinema.

Narrative Spotlight High profile narrative features receiving their World, North American or U.S. premieres at SXSW.

Documentary Spotlight Shining a light on new documentary features receiving their World, North American or U.S. premieres at SXSW.

Visions Visions filmmakers are audacious, risk-taking artists in the new cinema landscape who demonstrate raw innovation and creativity in documentary and narrative filmmaking.

Midnighters Scary, funny, sexy, controversial – provocative after-dark features for night-owls and the terminally curious.

24 Beats Per Second Showcasing the sounds, culture & influence of music & musicians, with an emphasis on documentary.

Global A diverse selection of International filmmaking talent, featuring innovative narratives, artful documentaries, premieres, festival favorites and more.

Festival Favorites Acclaimed standouts & selected previous premieres from festivals around the world.

Special Events Live soundtracks, cult re-issues & much more. Our Special Events section offers unusual, unexpected & unique one-off film events.

Episodic Screening Sections

Episodic Premieres Presenting world premieres of prestige serials slated for release and accompanied by show-runners, directors and cast members featuring extended Q&As.

Episodic Pilot Competition A pilot showcase introducing fresh work from bright new talent, many with an eye towards finding production, completion funds, or a release platform.

Short Film Screening Sections

Narrative Shorts A selection of original, well-crafted films that take advantage of the short form and exemplify distinctive and genuine storytelling.

Documentary Shorts Slices of life from across the documentary spectrum.

Animated Shorts An assortment of stories told using traditional animation, computer-generated effects, stop-motion, and everything in-between.

Midnight Shorts Bite-sized bits for all of your sex, gore, and hilarity cravings.

Music Videos A range of classic, innovative, and stylish work showcasing the scope of music video culture.

Texas Shorts An offshoot of our regular narrative shorts program, composed of work shot in, about, or somehow relating to the Lone Star state.

Texas High School Shorts A preview of the next filmmaking generation, as Texas High Schoolers present shorts of 5 minutes or less.

Title Design Competition Inspired by an essential part of the theatrical experience, these are works of art in their own right.

XR Screening Sections

Virtual Cinema The immersive arts are finding new ways to enhance our ability to perceive the world that surrounds us, and in many instances they are redefining how we experience the world. The projects presented in our Virtual Cinema emphasize storytelling, ingenuity and also showcase how other industries are embracing this new medium.

Premiere Status & Eligibility

 

The SXSW Film Festival recognizes the following types of premiere status:

  • World Premiere: Your project has not screened theatrically prior to SXSW, whether at a film festival or other ticketed public theatrical exhibition, and has not been broadcast or streamed on television or the Internet or released via any home video or other public distribution platform (Blu-ray, DVD, streaming, VOD, etc.) in any country prior to SXSW.

  • International Premiere: Your project has not screened theatrically outside of its country or countries of origin prior to SXSW, whether at a film festival or other ticketed public theatrical exhibition, and has not been broadcast or streamed on television or the Internet or released via any home video or other public distribution platform (Blu-ray, DVD, streaming, VOD, etc.) in any country prior to SXSW.

  • North American Premiere: Your project has not screened theatrically in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico prior to SXSW, whether at a film festival or other ticketed public theatrical exhibition, and has not been broadcast or streamed on television or the Internet or released via any home video or other public distribution platform (Blu-ray, DVD, streaming, VOD, etc.) in any country prior to SXSW.

  • U.S. Premiere: Your project has not screened theatrically in the U.S. prior to SXSW, whether at a film festival or other ticketed public theatrical exhibition, and has not been broadcast or streamed on television or the Internet or released via any home video or other public distribution platform (Blu-ray, DVD, streaming, VOD, etc.) in any country prior to SXSW.

  • Texas Premiere: Your project has not screened theatrically in Texas prior to SXSW, whether at a film festival or other ticketed public theatrical exhibition, and has not been broadcast or streamed on television or the Internet or released via any home video or other public distribution platform (Blu-ray, DVD, streaming, VOD, etc.) in any country prior to SXSW.

  • Austin Premiere: Your project has not screened theatrically in Austin prior to SXSW, whether at a film festival or other ticketed public theatrical exhibition and has not been broadcast or streamed on television or the Internet or released via any home video or other public distribution platform (Blu-ray, DVD, streaming, VOD, etc.) in any country prior to SXSW.

  • Not a Premiere: Your project has screened theatrically in Austin at a film festival prior to SXSW, it has been released in a country other than the U.S. via television broadcast or theatrical screening before SXSW, or has been broadcast, streamed on television or the Internet as part of a limited-time virtual festival event.

The premiere status of your film is an important factor so be sure to review eligibility listed for your screening section. Explore the Film Submission Guides and the Film Submissions FAQ for specific questions about submitting your film, premiere status, eligibility, and more.

Submission Confirmation

Once you have submitted your project, you will receive a confirmation email from SXSW within 48 hours. This email will confirm that your film has been submitted correctly. If you do not receive this email within 48 hours, please follow up by emailing filmfest@sxsw.com to ensure your film has been submitted properly and is under consideration.

All applicants will be informed of the status of their project no later than Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

Extension Requests

 

How to Request an Extension for the 2021 SXSW Film Festival

  • Extensions are granted on a case-by-case basis.
  • You must fill out this form.
  • Please double check and make sure all the information provided is correct and that the date requested is within a reasonable time frame.
  • To ensure your submission is eligible, take a look at our guides for every category.
  • Please note that completing this form does not guarantee you to an extension to submit your project. You should expect follow up correspondence from SXSW within 48 hours of submitting your request. At that point, we will let you know if your request has been approved or denied and send you the information on how to submit.
  • Questions? Take a look at our Film Submissions FAQ.
  • If you need additional help, don’t hesitate to email filmfest@sxsw.com.

Extension Request Form

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