Premiere Status and Eligibility for 2021 SXSW Film Festival Submissions

Emily Blunt and John Krasinski attend the premiere of “A Quiet Place” at SXSW 2018. Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW.

The SXSW Film Festival recognizes 7 types of premiere status for the 2021 season: World Premiere, International Premiere, North American Premiere, U.S. Premiere, Texas Premiere, Austin Premiere, and Not a Premiere.

Navigating premiere status and eligibility for your film or project can be tricky, so before you submit your film to the Film Festival for SXSW Online, review premiere status information and dive into the requirements for each screening section.

To be eligible for SXSW 2021, your project must have been completed in 2019, 2020, or be on track for completion in early 2021. Please note that each submission category has different premiere and eligibility requirements – review below and in our 2021 Film Submission Guides for a complete breakdown.

The premiere status of your film is an important factor; however, due to these challenging times, we will be more flexible on premiere status for SXSW 2021. All things being equal, the premiere will get the slot, but it’s not absolute. We make exceptions for films we love regardless of where they’ve screened. For example, our 2020 Festival Favorites section was comprised of non-premieres.

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.

Eligibility Requirements

Click through to read the premiere and eligibility policy for each screening section:

Explore 2021 Film Festival Submission Guides for information about each screening section. Read through the Film Submissions FAQ for specific questions about submitting your film, premiere status, eligibility, and more.

Submit Your Film

Submit your film to the Film Festival for SXSW Online from March 16-20, 2021 before the official deadline on October 28 at 11:59pm PT. As part of our 2021 offerings, this digital experience will feature conference keynotes and sessions, screenings, showcases, networking, and exhibitions.

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.

Submit Your Film

A Quiet Place, 2018 Premiere – Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer

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