Each year we screen just over 100 short films at the festival. Showcased in ten highly curated 90-minute programs, these films are selected from nearly 4000 submissions. I spend much of the fall and holiday seasons watching as many short films as my eyes can handle each day.
Since we’re a general interest film festival, I can basically program any film that I love. Our short films are diverse in story, style and filmmaker background. This helps create the strong sense of community and unique SXSW Film environment that filmmakers love. We take pride in how organically connections between talent, filmmakers, industry and press are made.
I’m always looking for a story that truly moves and engages me to share it with the enthusiastic SXSW audiences. However, I can’t select your film if you haven’t submitted yet. Our next deadline is coming up on October 31, when prices will increase, so if your film is ready to go take advantage of the cheaper submission price and complete your application today! You can find out more on our Submission FAQ page.
See below for information on Eligibility, Awards Qualification, and descriptions of our Short Film Screening Programs.
We only have two requirements for short films to be screened at SXSW.
1. Following the Academy rules, all short films must be less than 40 minutes in length.
2. Your short film must never had a public screening in Austin, Texas. Cast and crew screenings are fine.
Oscar Qualifying Festival
Winners of our Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short and Best Animated Short are eligible for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards.
By being selected and screened at SXSW, UK based short films become BAFTA eligible.
We determine which program your film will be a part of, but here’s an overview of the 10 90-minute Short Film Programs we screen.
Shorts Program 1, 2, 3 and Medium Cool
Each of these programs represents part of our selection of original, well-crafted films that take advantage of the short form and exemplify distinctive and genuine storytelling.
Documentary Shorts Program 1 & 2
Films from across the documentary spectrum land here in one of two 90-minute documentary focused programs.
This program showcases unique stories told using traditional animation techniques, computer-generated effects, stop-motion and everything in-between. To qualify as an animated short, the majority of the short should be told using animation.
One of the most beloved shorts programs at SXSW, these films should fill all your sex, horror, gore and hilarity needs. We like to get down, and freaked out with these films!
A range of classic, innovative, and stylish work showcasing the scope of music video culture.
High School Shorts
A preview of the next filmmaking generation, as Texas High Schoolers present shorts of 5 minutes or less.
Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images