ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
SXSW® Film Conference & Festival champions the vitality, innovation and opportunity that drives the entertainment and media landscape, and boldly tackles the evolution of all aspects of today’s “film,” down to its very definition. Every March, creatives of all stripes gather in Austin to witness, share and inspire the visions that will galvanize the filmmakers and creative ideas of tomorrow.
A nexus of discovery and collaborative energy, SXSW Film celebrates the art and business of the possible.
SXSWeek 2013 runs March 8-16, encompassing Film, Interactive & Music.
Film Festival dates are March 8-16 (Film Conference March 8-12)
Interactive Festival dates are March 8-12
Music Festival & Conference dates are March 12-16
SUBMISSION DEADLINES AND FEES
Early Deadline: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Late Deadline: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Last Minute Deadline: Thursday. November 15, 2012
Final Texas High School Deadline: Friday, December 14, 2012
Keep in mind; these deadlines are on a RECEIVED BY basis (not based on a postmark date). In other words, all 2013 film submissions (not including Texas high school) must arrive at the SXSW offices in Austin no later than NOVEMBER 15, 2012.
In rare, exceptional cases. Please contact us at email@example.com before November 15, 2012, if you absolutely need an extension. We will grant only a few, on a case by case basis.
Early Submission Deadline
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Feature - $40
Short Film - $25
Music Video - $25
High School - $10
Title Sequence Design - $10
Official Submission Deadline
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Features - $60
Shorts - $40
Music Videos - $40
High School - $10
Title Sequence - $10
Late Submission Deadline
Thursday. November 15, 2012
Features - $100
Shorts - $50
Music Videos - $50
High School - $10
Title Sequence - $15
Texas High School / Title Sequence Last Deadline
Friday, December 14, 2012
High School - $10
Title Sequence - $15
SXSW, Inc. may, in its sole discretion and at any time, cancel or refuse from any individual or company the following: registrations, applications, purchases, and/or hotel reservations made through SXSW Housing. SXSW will not be responsible for any penalty, fee, loss, or expense that might result from such action.
- Payments are not refundable for any reason including, but not limited to, failure to use SXSW credentials due to illness, acts of God, travel-related problems, loss of employment and duplicate purchase.
- Discounted prices are based on the date payment is received in the SXSW office.
- Unused registrations/applications have no monetary value and cannot be credited to future years or events. Be aware no refunds or credits are allowed due to failure to redeem a discounted coupon during the registration process.
- Badges are issued to individuals and can be picked up and used only by the individual named.
- A $125 processing fee will be assessed to change the name on a registration.
- SXSW Registration Badges may not be used as a prize in any form of contest, game, or sweepstakes without written approval from SXSW.
- SXSW Platinum, Gold, Film, Music and Interactive Conference registrations include a one-year subscription to SXSWorld Magazine valued at $20.
SXSW will receive over five thousand submissions. Please include everything that is requested on the online submission form including; a 250-character logline, 700-character synopsis, director's bio, cast and crew lists, and list of previous and planned screenings. Do not underestimate the importance of reading and following the instructions.
SXSW will begin accepting Film Festival submissions in early August 2012. Please go here for more information and to submit your film. Note that the very last-minute-received-by deadline for film submissions is Thursday, November 15, 2012. Please understand that entries received after Thursday, November 15, 2012 have no guarantee of being viewed for consideration.
We only accept NTSC Region 1 or 0-compatible DVDs for preview. We do not accept tapes for preview, including PAL or BETA tapes or VHS tapes. We are also unable to view PAL DVDs. Please be sure to clearly label your DVD (the disc itself, no paper labels) with the Film title, Director's name, and the Date of the cut. If your film is selected to show at SXSW, we will work with you to ensure it is screened in the most appropriate format.
Whoever is going to be SXSW's sole contact for the next five months. Status of your entry will not be divulged to anyone but this contact person. Make sure we can easily reach this person by phone and email for the next five months. Please understand that in most cases, this contact will be the ONLY person SXSW is in touch with before the festival. To keep important SXSW emails from landing the Primary Contact’s spam folder it's a good idea to add this address to your contact list: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All entries must be received by the deadline they were submitted under. The deadlines and DVD screener received by dates are listed below.
Early deadline entries must be received by Thursday, October 4, 2012.
Final deadline entries must be received by Thursday, November 1, 2012.
Last minute deadline entries must be received by Thursday, November 15, 2012.
YES. Each work you submit must be accompanied by a separate entry form and entry fee. One submission per DVD, please. Please be sure to clearly label your DVD (the disc itself, no paper labels) with the Film title, Director's name, and the Date of the cut.
NO. In keeping with our effort to be a green festival, SXSW requests that you do not send press kits, photo stills, or any other extraneous material. Please ONLY include the submission confirmation e-mail you received from SXSW and your DVD clearly labeled (the disc itself, no paper labels) with the Film title, Director's name, and the Date of the cut.
NO. Any materials you send us will not be returned. Please do not send us your one and only DVD copy (sounds silly, but it's been done before).
Please send only a printout of the submission confirmation e-mail you received from SXSW and your DVD clearly labeled (the disc itself, no paper labels) with the Film title, Director's name, and the Date of the cut.
11. You include two addresses to send material to: a P.O. Box and a street address for overnight delivery. Will you be more impressed if I overnight our package?
NO. We prefer for you to send your package to our P.O. Box, but some folks insist on sending their package overnight, so we also include our street address. You will receive a notification email when your submission arrives at our offices and been processed by our staff. It is your responsibility to ensure your package arrives at our offices by the corresponding deadline date.
"Registration" is when filmmakers, film fans and individuals in the film industry purchase a badge to attend and participate in SXSW Film conference panels, workshops, mentor sessions, the Trade Show, Film Festival, Awards Show, Film Parties and other special events.
A film "submission" is the way to be considered for a screening slot at the SXSW Film Festival. You do not need to purchase a registration badge to submit a film.
13. My film won't be done in time for your submission deadline. Can I submit a rough cut? What about a trailer/screenplay/presskit/begging letter?
SXSW does accept work-in-progress cuts (picture lock with temp sound, color, etc.) but will not accept subsequent cuts of more complete versions. SXSW will only preview the first submitted cut. Please send your film in the most complete and finished form possible. Do be sure to include an opening slate listing what elements are still to be completed, such as color-correction, sound mix, special effects, etc.
We will not view or consider anything sent separately or in lieu of a finished (or close to finished) film.
NO. Well, not unsolicited and only in very rare occasions. Your film must be finished and ready to be shipped to us at least two weeks before the festival begins.
15. I submitted a rough cut and now I want to submit a more polished finished version instead. Can I send a replacement copy?
No. SXSW will not review multiple updates/versions of your film for programming consideration. Please send your review copy of the film (your DVD screener) in the most complete and finished form possible when submitting. If your film is selected, you will need to provide us with a final, completed exhibition copy of the film.
Please send at least one DVD, which you have already checked on multiple players to make sure it works. We highly recommend you send two copies, to mitigate problems that can arise with DVD player compatibility, and to ensure your film is seen as easily as possible.
Well over half of the over 130 feature films we screened in 2012 were World Premieres. The remaining balance consisted of North American, and U.S. Premieres, along with a limited number of non-US Premieres. Our Narrative and Documentary Feature Competition categories consist solely of World Premieres. So yes, the premiere status of your film is ONE of the factors we pay attention to as we make our programming decisions. On the flip side, if we really love your film, we’ll do our best to try to find a way to show it regardless. For example, the majority of our 2012 Festival Favorites section was comprised of non-premieres.
While it is a factor in our final decision-making, we don't place tough restrictions on the premiere status of shorts. In 2012 we played a number of shorts that had appeared on the Internet and played at other festivals. 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.
Yes! We encourage you to submit to all the festivals you think are the right fit for your film, paying close attention to submission deadlines. For example, many of you will not have heard from Sundance or Berlin before our final submission deadline. If SXSW is desirable, you should also submit to SXSW on time, before our final deadline of November 15th, 2012. If you are invited to SXSW, you will have the option of accepting or declining the invitation before we announce our line up in early February. Keep in mind too, that while World, North American and U. S. premieres are preferable, we do show films from other festivals. For example, we generally show about 14 films from the Sundance line-up and 12 films from Toronto.
3. I had a cast and crew screening of my film in Austin, but it hasn't played anywhere else in Austin. Does this mean it's ineligible for SXSW?
NO, your film is still eligible. Films that have played in Austin in a theatrical setting to a general-public audience are ineligible. The only exception are shorts that have played solely in conjunction with the University of Texas. Private cast and crew screenings are fine.
If your film has screened in a theatrical setting to a general-public audience in Austin, including other film festivals (i.e Austin Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, etc), it is NOT eligible.
Yes! We accept submissions from anywhere and everywhere in the world. Just make sure you follow all the submission guidelines in the application, and remember that our deadlines are received by deadlines, not postmark deadlines and we do not accept PAL DVDs. In other words, we must have your screener in our hands by the deadline you’ve chosen for submission.
No. To be eligible for SXSW 2013 your film must have been completed in 2011, 2012 or be on track for completion in early 2013.
If you’ve continued to work on your film and it is substantially different from the previously submitted version, you’re welcome to re-submit. You will have to start from scratch in terms of completing the submission application and paying a submission fee.
9. My FEATURE LENGTH film is available as VOD/Digital Download/DVD. Am I still eligible for consideration at SXSW Film?
Unfortunately not. If a FEATURE film has already been publicly available in any form we will not consider the film for inclusion in the festival. This does not apply for Shorts, Music Videos and Texas High School films.
SXSW Film accepts submissions in the following categories:
- Narrative Feature
- Documentary Feature
- Narrative Short
- Documentary Short
- Animated Short
- Music Video
- Title Sequence
- Texas High School Short
SXSW Film will determine the ultimate screening category for your film. For a sense of the overall program, see 2012 film schedule here.
Jury Awards are awarded to the following screening categories. Juries will be announced on our website at a later date
- Documentary Feature Competition
- Narrative Feature Competition
- Narrative Shorts
- Documentary Shorts
- Animated Shorts
- Midnight Shorts
- Music Videos
- Texas Shorts
- Texas High School Shorts
The winners of the following Audience Award categories are decided by public voting:
- Documentary Feature Competition
- Documentary Feature Spotlight
- Narrative Feature Competition
- Narrative Feature Spotlight
- 24 Beats Per Second
- Festival Favorites
3. What's the difference between the SXSW Interactive's Film/TV category and the SXSW Film Awards? Is my feature film or short film eligible?
The SXSW Interactive Awards category is completely unrelated to the SXSW Film Festival or the SXSW Film Awards. It does not include standalone Feature Films or Shorts, and is instead intended for projects that exist as websites, apps, or similar entities. Those are administered via SXSW Interactive, entirely separate from the SXSW Film submission process For information on SXSW Interactive Awards, please consult this page.
As an Oscar qualifying festival for Animated and Narrative Short Films, SXSW follows the same guidelines as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. They define a short film as any film that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits. A feature is defined as any film with a runtime over 40 minutes.
The majority of the shorts we screen are programmed into 90-minute blocks, meaning, that screen time is limited. Keep in mind that the tighter your short, the easier it is to fit into a program and that the longer it is, the more outstanding and unique it has to be.
Yes. Web series will be considered as part of our Digital Domain section, in the Film Conference, along with cross-platform projects, interactive documentaries, apps and other web-based projects that don't conform to conventional descriptions. Please apply via the PanelPicker. Since the deadline for submission via the 2013 PanelPicker has passed: write to email@example.com for access.
If you wish to show a collection of webisodes as part of our feature program, the collection will be viewed under the same conditions as a feature, and will be considered as such. Similarly, an individual webisode will need be submitted as a standalone short (if less than 40 mins) or feature (if more than 40mins).
No, except for the Texas High School film competition. Otherwise, student and non-student films are considered and shown together.
FILM SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION
The SXSW Film Festival is a highly competitive program consisting of several different sections, curated in-house by SXSW Film Programmers. Submissions are accepted from August until mid November. For an idea of our programming tastes, please check our SXSW 2012 program.
Some spam filters and gray listers may filter out automated communications. Please add the following email addresses to your spam filter’s list of approved senders to be sure our messages reach you:
Yes. You should expect 3 emails from SXSW after you successfully submit your application:
- Film Festival Submission Confirmation Email. When you have successfully submitted your SXSW online film festival application, we will send a confirmation containing your SXSW Tracking Number and our mailing address and instructions. Print it out to send along with your film.
- Film Festival Submission Received Email. After your submission arrives at our office and has been processed by our staff. Keep in mind that it can take a few days or sometimes a week for us to process, as we expect to receive a high volume of submissions for 2013. Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure your package arrives at our offices by the submission deadline you submitted under.
- Film Festival Acknowledgement Email. It takes months for us to complete the consideration process. Generally we’ll start emailing statuses in mid-to-late January 2013. All applicants will be informed of their status no later than Friday, February 8, 2013.
5. I have completed the application process. When can I expect to hear from you regarding the status of my entry? Will it help if I call and harass you daily?
NO WAY! Please don't try. Notifications generally roll out in early January, and continue through early February.
INSIDER TIP: No news is good news. If you haven't heard from us, (outside of your submissions confirmation emails) it means your film is still in the running. Please don't call us panicked unless you still haven't heard from us at all by Friday, February 8, 2013. However, it gets pretty hectic around here. If you haven't heard anything by February 8, please feel free to check in with us after that date.
6. I've been invited to another festival, but SXSW is my preferred World (or North American / U.S.) premiere. Can I check in with you?
Yes. You are welcome to check in to see where your film is in the submission process if you're weighing an earlier premiere invitation. We can't promise a definitive answer but we can try to give you a sense of where you are in the submission process. In fact, if SXSW is really your preference, we encourage you to check in with us before committing elsewhere.
No. Unfortunately, SXSW is only able to provide complementary badges for accepted filmmakers to attend the festival. We are unable to pay for any kind of travel, accommodation or other forms of remuneration.
A number of Austin hotel rooms have been saved for accepted filmmakers. You will hear more about those options when your film is invited to the festival.
For a filmmaker, SXSW can provide an unparalleled opportunity to network with fellow filmmakers, programmers, agents, distributors, financiers, future crews, etc. It’s also a great way to get a sense of the current film landscape, to see what other filmmakers are creating, and how that work is received by fans, press and industry.