FEATURES: What is the SXSW premiere & eligibility policy for feature films?

Well over half of the more than 138 feature films we screened in 2016 were World Premieres. The rest consisted of North American and U.S. Premieres, along with a limited number of non-US Premieres. Our Narrative and Documentary Feature Competition categories, as well as our Episodic section, consist solely of World Premieres.

So yes, the premiere status of your film is an important factor; and all things being equal, the premiere will get the slot. But it’s not absolute - we make exceptions for films we love. For example, the majority of our 2016 Festival Favorites section was comprised of non-premieres. We generally show about 14 films from the Sundance lineup and 10 films from Toronto. Be sure to read here for advice on applying to multiple festivals and navigating deadlines.

If your feature film has been publicly screened in Austin, Texas at another event or festival (i.e Austin Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, etc) or has ever been available online or broadcast it is INELIGIBLE for SXSW. If your feature film HAS NOT screened in Austin, Texas, and has NEVER been available online or broadcast you are eligible to submit to SXSW.

These are the premiere status definitions recognized by SXSW:

World Premiere: Your feature film has never screened publicly at any festival, in theaters, broadcast on television or online. 

North American Premiere: Your feature film may have screened internationally, but has never been shown in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, in theaters, broadcast on television or online. 

U.S. Premiere: Your feature film may have screened internationally but has never been shown in the U.S., in theaters, broadcast on television or online. 

Not a Premiere: Your feature film may have screened publicly at any festival outside of Austin, but has never been made available to a general public audience theatrically, broadcast on television or online. 

 

If you'd like to submit you Feature film to SXSW, click here

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