Film Submissions

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

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.

Take advantage of the opportunity to get your work in front of press, industry, and our smart, enthusiastic audiences. We’re 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.

Take a look at our Film Submission FAQs and if you have questions regarding the SXSW Film Festival email us at

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.

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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

2021 Dates & Deadlines


Stay tuned for more information on each 2021 Film Festival application coming Tuesday, October 6.

Screening Sections Early Deadline
October 14, 2020
Official Deadline
October 28, 2020
Features $80 $110 Learn More
Shorts $55 $75 Learn More
Music Videos $55 $75 Learn More
XR $55 $75 Learn More
Title Sequence  $15 $20 Learn More
Episodic $55 $75 Learn More
Texas High School $15 $20 Learn More

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.

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