Film Festivals: Getting Your Film into SxSW

Getting your film into various film festivals can be a difficult task. The SxSW Film Festival is held on a yearly basis in Austin, Texas. Many people do not realize that the SxSW Film Festival is an official qualifying film festival for the Academy Awards Short Film competition. The guideline below will go over the rules and regulations for getting your film into the SxSW Film Festival.

Step 1 - Knowing the SxSW Film Festival Guidelines

The SxSW Film Festival only accepts NTSC Region 1 or 0 compatible DVDs. The SxSW Film Festival is unable to view PAL DVDs, VHS tapes, and PAL or BETA tapes. When you submit your DVD, the name of your movie must be noted on the spine of your DVD. If you are submitting your film as a short film, the film must be no longer than 40 minutes. However, due to the time restrictions at the SxSW Film Festival, your film has a better chance of being accepted if it is much shorter than 40 minutes. The SxSW Film Festival does not accept works in progress.

Step 2 - Selecting a Film Category

You must place your film into the correct film category in order for the SxSW Film Festival to consider your submission. Available film categories include narrative feature, documentary feature, narrative short, documentary short, animated short, Texas high school short, music video, and title sequence. Keep in mind that your film must be less than 40 minutes in length in order for it to be considered a short film by the SxSW Film Festival.

Step 3 - Application Deadlines and Fees

While the exact dates may vary by year, the SxSW Film Festival typically accepts submissions from August through December. The SxSW Film Festival is usually held in March. The SxSW Film Festival has different fees for early deadline submissions, late deadline submissions, and last minute deadline submissions. The fees also vary by film category. Early deadline submissions must typically be received by the SxSW Film Festival by the first week of November. Last minute deadline submissions must be received by the first week of December. In comparison to the application fee for early deadline submissions, the last minute deadline application fee is close to double in price.

Step 4 - Submitting the Application

You must submit your application directly from the SxSW Film Festival website. The SxSW Film Festival application is not available until the SxSW Film Festival begins accepting submissions, which is typically in early August. If your film is accepted by the SxSW Film Festival, you will be notified by mid-February of the following year. You should not register for tickets for the SxSW Film Festival until you have been notified of your application status. If your film is accepted by the SxSW Film Festival, you will receive complimentary registration. If your film is not accepted, you will be offered a discounted registration rate.

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