2021 Opening Headliner, Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil

2021 Opening Headliner, Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil

Film Festival

The SXSW Film Festival celebrates raw innovation and emerging talent from both behind and in front of the camera.

Explore the 2021 Lineup, Poster Gallery, Film Awards winners, and more.

About Film Festival


Featuring provocative dramas, documentaries, comedies, genre standouts and more, the SXSW Film Festival has become known for the high caliber and diversity of films presented, and for its smart, enthusiastic audiences. SXSW provides the game-changing buzz every filmmaker dreams about for the premiere of their feature film, short, episodic, or XR project.

Explore the SXSW Film Program

The 2021 SXSW Film Festival featured Opening Night Headliner Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil; Centerpiece film Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free, and Closing Night film Alone Together. The complete program included 75 features including 57 World Premieres, 3 International Premieres, 4 North American Premieres, 1 U.S. Premiere, 8 Texas Premieres, and 53 films from first-time filmmakers. Plus, 84 Short Films with Music Videos, 5 Episodic Premieres, 6 Episodic Pilots, 20 Virtual Cinema projects, 14 Title Design entries, and 30 Special Events. Explore the full lineup by screening sections.

2021 Film Lineup

2021 Film Awards Winners

Explore 2021 SXSW Film Festival Awards winners selected by 2021 Juries for Narrative and Documentary Feature Competitions, Shorts Programs and more.

All films, except Special Events, were eligible for the SXSW Film Festival Audience Awards voting which took place following the SXSW Online event. Votes were calculated and then certified by the accounting firm of Maxwell Locke & Ritter. View the 2021 Audience Awards Winners.

2021 Film Awards Winners

See You Next Year

Following the recent announcement of SXSW 2022 dates, we will also be opening up 2022 participation opportunities this summer including PanelPicker®, Film Festival submissions, Music Festival applications, and more. Stay tuned!

Subscribe to the Film Community Newsletter to receive important SXSW event updates and programming announcements throughout the season.

*Certain film content may be geo-blocked due to rights and the distributor’s discretion.
*Some content will be subject to capacity.

Stella Meghie

SXSW changed my life by giving me a platform to premiere my feature debut Jean of the Joneses. I love SXSW because they love true independent cinema!

Stella Meghie
Director / Jean of the Joneses

Karyn Kusama

SXSW gave us one of the most fulfilling and thrilling moments of our film lives in front of the perfect audience. SXSW means discovery, it means surprise, and it means a jolt of energy, which was there in abundance for us. We carried that energy with us for the life of the movie. SXSW is where it's at.

Karyn Kusama
Director / The Invitation

Annie Silverstein

The spirit of SXSW resonates deeply with us as filmmakers and Bull is a Texas born and bred film. Can’t think of a better TX homecoming.

Annie Silverstein
Filmmaker / Bull

Film Festival Screenings


Feature Film Screening Sections

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.

Film Poster Gallery


The SXSW Excellence in Poster Design Award highlights outstanding work from international design and illustration talent.

Each year, we curate the SXSW Film Poster Gallery with poster designs from films featured in the SXSW Film Program. Posters in this dedicated gallery are eligible for the Excellence in Poster Design Award.

Explore posters from the 2021 SXSW Film Festival for SXSW Online in this gallery and also in the virtual world of SXSW Online XR.

Film Poster Gallery

"I would not have a career in film without SXSW. I first came to the festival during my senior year in college, 2006, and spent five days watching movies and realizing that there was a true community being formed in independent cinema. Over the course of four different festivals I met Joe Swanberg, Ti West, Ry Russo-Young, Aaron Katz, Josh Safdie, Todd Rohal, Amy Seimetz, Allison Bagnall, Mark and Jay Duplass, Andrew Bujalski, Lena Dunham, Craig Zobel, and so many more people who inspired me and became my collaborators and friends. What SXSW gave me, as a young actor/writer/director/producer, was a sense of belonging and a place to be heard. That is more valuable than anything else for a young artist, the knowledge that you are not doing it alone or in a void. The commitment that SXSW had to showcasing the work of people who were truly unique allowed me to trust in my own vision and path, and I will be forever grateful."

Greta Gerwig, SXSW Film Alumni (The Dish & The Spoon, Baghead, Nights and Weekends, and more)

Actors Olly Alexander and Greta Gerwig attend the

Olly Alexander and Greta Gerwig - "The Dish & The Spoon" premiere - SXSW 2011. Photo by Erin Fotos/WireImage.

More SXSW Film Festival

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