Premiere Status and Eligibility for 2019 SXSW Film Festival Submissions

Navigating premiere status and eligibility for your film or project can be tricky. The SXSW Film Festival recognizes four types of premiere status defined below. To be eligible for SXSW 2019 your project must have been completed in 2017, 2018 or be on track for completion in early 2019. Please note that each submission category has different premiere and eligibility requirements.

The Premiere status of your film is an important factor; and all things being equal, the premiere will get the slot. But it’s not absolute – SXSW makes exceptions for films we love regardless of where they’ve screened. For example, the majority of our 2018 Festival Favorites section was comprised of non-premieres.

While there are numerous screening sections that makeup the film festival, SXSW Film will determine the ultimate place for your project. Take a look at our past programs here.

The Early Submission deadline for the 2019 SXSW Film Festival is on August 23. Head over to our Film Submissions page for more information about additional deadlines and fees.

Premiere Status

  • World Premiere: Your film has never screened publicly at any festival, in theaters, broadcast on television or online.

  • North American Premiere: Your film may have screened internationally, but has never been shown in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, in theaters, broadcast on television or online.

  • U.S. Premiere: Your film may have screened internationally but has never been shown in the U.S., in theaters, broadcast on television or online.

  • Not a Premiere: Your film may have screened publicly at any festival outside of Austin, but has never been made available to a general public audience theatrically, broadcast on television or online.

Features

  • If your feature film HAS NOT screened in Austin, Texas, and has NEVER been available online or broadcast you are eligible to submit to SXSW.

  • Your feature film is NOT eligible for SXSW if it has had a public screening, will be publicly screened in Austin, Texas at another event or festival, and/or if it has been publicly available as VOD/Digital, Download/DVD or in any other form online or broadcast before SXSW 2019.

  • Our Narrative and Documentary Feature Competition, consist solely of World Premieres.

  • Check out our guide to submitting a feature for more information.

Shorts

  • If your short film HAS NOT screened in Austin, Texas, you are eligible to submit to SXSW.

  • If your short film HAS been publicly screened or WILL be publicly screened in Austin, Texas at another event or festival before SXSW 2019, your short is ineligible.

  • The SXSW Film Festival doesn’t place tough restrictions on the premiere status of shorts. If we really connect to and love a short film and it hasn’t received a huge amount of attention, we will try to share it with our audience.

  • Take a look our short film submissions guide for more details.

Episodic

  • If your Episodic project HAS NOT screened in Austin, Texas, you are eligible to submit to SXSW.

  • If your Episodic project HAS been publicly screened or WILL be publicly screened in Austin, Texas at another event or festival before SXSW 2019, your Episodic is ineligible.

  • Similar to shorts, SXSW doesn’t place tough restrictions on Episodic premiere status.

  • For more specific information about Episodic submissions take a look at Episodic Guide.

Music Video

  • SXSW does not place any restrictions on the premiere status of music videos. The vast majority of music videos screened at SXSW will have premiered online prior to the festival.

  • It’s important to note that only OFFICIAL ARTIST APPROVED Music Videos are eligible for SXSW.

  • The music video should be the official music video for that song by that artist. As in, the artist and/or label commissioned the video and has their approval to be made.

Virtual Cinema

  • If your VR/AR/MR project HAS NOT been exhibited in Austin, Texas, you are eligible to submit to SXSW.

  • If your VR/AR/MR project HAS publicly exhibited in Austin, Texas at another event or festival it is ineligible.

  • Just like shorts and episodic submissions, SXSW doesn’t place tough restrictions on premiere status for Virtual Cinema.

For more specific questions about submitting, look no further than our Film Submissions FAQ. Still have questions? Don’t hesitate to email filmfest@sxsw.com.

Submit Now

Join Us in March 2019

Mark your calendars for August 1 when registration and housing opens for the 2019 SXSW season. In the meantime, get inspired by previous Keynotes, Featured Sessions, Red Carpets, and Q&A’s on our YouTube Channel.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News for the latest SXSW coverage.

See you in March!

American Animals Screening – Photo by Alexa Gonzalez Wagner

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