Attending Film Screenings

Please note - these are the procedures for the SXSW Film 2014 event. Details may change as SXSW 2015 approaches - please stay tuned to this page for the updated information.

Please take a moment to read this page on the procedures for accessing SXSW Film screenings. Learn these tricks and make the most out of your SXSW Film Festival experience! For a primer, check out this quick & highly informative video, then scroll down for more information on how seating works for SXSW Film.

Seating for each screening is subject to capacity and will occur on a priority basis approximately 30-45 minutes before the screening starts. Don’t be discouraged by the lines. Many of our venues are quite large and our systems ensure that you’ll know quickly if it’s worth waiting.

General Line Procedure

Filmmakers & Their Guests
Filmmakers are given Filmmaker Guest Tickets (15-50 per screening depending on the venue) that allow them priority entry to their premieres. *Good for up to 30 minutes before showtime.

SXSW Film Attendees

1. SXSW Film, Gold & Platinum Badge holders with SXXpress passes for the screening are allowed entry.

2. The remaining Film, Gold & Platinum Badge holders are allowed entry.

3. If seats remain after all badge holders have been let in, guests with Film Wristbands will be allowed entry. SXSW Film Wristbands are $90 (tax included) and will be sold at Waterloo Records & participating Austin-area Alamo Drafthouse theaters starting in mid-February.

4. If any seats remain, single-admission tickets will be sold for $10 starting 15 minutes before showtime. We sell tickets most often at our larger venues: The Paramount Theatre, Vimeo Theater at the Austin Convention Center and the Topfer Theatre at ZACH.

SXXpress (South by Express) PASSES

All Film, Gold, and Platinum Badge Holders can request up to two passes per day (one pass per film) for the current day’s screenings from the SXXPress Box Office. These passes allow you to jump to the front of the Badge line.

Show up early. Simply having the SXXpress pass does not guarantee you a seat. You must arrive at the theater at least 30 minutes before the screening to guarantee entry.

SXXpress Passes:

  • can only be used to obtain tickets on the day of the screening.
  • must be used in combination with a registration badge.
  • are limited - we allocate 20% of each venue’s capacity to SXXpress passes.

SXXpress passes will be distributed March 7-15 from 9am - 4pm, on the upper level of the Austin Convention Center near the panel room 15.

Queue Cards

If you have a badge, and you want to ensure you get a seat at the Stateside Theatre, Rollins Theatre, Topfer Theatre at ZACH, Violet Crown Cinema or any Alamo Theater, Show up early to get a numbered Queue Card. Queue cards will be distributed starting 1 hour before screening time, and will be handed out until capacity has been met. A card guarantees you a seat as long as you stay in line at the venue.

Buffer Cards

After all available Queue Cards are distributed at a screening SXSW staff will start handing out Buffer Cards.

While these cards do not guarantee entry to the theater, they will help Badge Holders secure a seat if any filmmaker guest tickets or SXXPRESS passes go unused at the screening.

Venue Status Boards

We’ll be continually updating the Venue Status Boards (or VSB) in the SXSW GO App, online at and at large info boards at downtown venues throughout the event with the line status information for every screening at the festival.

Here is what to look for:

GREEN means GO! - Lots of seats left

YELLOW means HURRY! - It’s filling up fast, so hustle.

RED means FULL! - No need to try this one, it's sold out.

So before you hightail it to the Paramount or jump on a shuttle – check the board!

Questions about any of this? Just email

Photo courtesy Slackerwood