Premiere Status and Eligibility for SXSW 2021 Movie Submissions

Emily Blunt and John Krasinski attend the premiere of

The SXSW Film Festival recognizes 7 types of first status for the 2021 season: World Premiere, International Premiere, North American Premiere, American Premiere, Texas Premiere, Austin Premiere, and Not a First.

Navigating the premiere status and eligibility of your film or project can be tricky, so before submitting your film to the Film Festival for SXSW Online, review the premiere status information and delve into the requirements of each screening section.

To be eligible for SXSW 2021, your project must have been completed in 2019, 2020, or be on track to finish early 2021. Please note that each category of submission has different first and eligibility conditions – check out below and in our 2021 movie submission guides for a full breakdown.

The premiere status of your film is an important factor; however, due to these difficult times we will be more flexible on the status of premiere for SXSW 2021. All other things being equal, the premiere will have the slot, but it’s not absolute. We make exceptions for the movies we love, no matter where they are shown. For example, our Favorites section of the 2020 festival was made up of non-premieres.

Premier Status

  • World premiere: Your project was not screened in theaters prior to SXSW, either as part of a film festival or other paid public theatrical exhibition, and has not been shown or streamed on television. or on the Internet or streamed via home video or other public distribution platform (Blu-ray, DVD, streaming, VOD, etc.) in any country prior to SXSW.

  • International premiere: Your project was not theatrically screened outside its country or countries of origin prior to SXSW, either as part of a film festival or other paid public theatrical exhibition, and has not been broadcast or streamed on television or the Internet or broadcast via home video or other public distribution platform (Blu-ray, DVD, streaming, VOD, etc.) in any country prior to SXSW.

  • North American premiere: Your project was not screened in theaters in the United States, Canada or Mexico prior to SXSW, either as part of a film festival or other paid public theatrical exhibition, and has not been broadcast or streamed on television or the Internet or broadcast via home video or other public distribution platform (Blu-ray, DVD, streaming, VOD, etc.) in any country prior to SXSW.

  • American premiere: Your project was not theatrically screened in the United States prior to SXSW, either as part of a film festival or other paid public theatrical exhibition, and has not been shown or broadcast in Streamed on TV or the Internet or broadcast via home video or other public distribution platform (Blu-ray, DVD, streaming, VOD, etc.) in any country prior to SXSW.

  • Texas Premiere: Your project was not screened in theaters in Texas prior to SXSW, whether at a film festival or other paid public theatrical exhibition, and was not broadcast or streamed on television or the internet or broadcast via home video or other public distribution platform (Blu -ray, DVD, streaming, VOD, etc.) in any country before SXSW.

  • Austin premiere: Your project was not theatrically screened in Austin prior to SXSW, whether at a film festival or other paid public theatrical exhibition, and was not shown or streamed on television or the internet or broadcast. via home video or other public distribution platform (Blu-ray, DVD, streaming, VOD, etc.) in any country before SXSW.

  • Not a first: Your project was theatrically screened in Austin at a film festival before SXSW, it was shown in a country other than the United States via a TV broadcast or theatrical screening before SXSW, or was aired, Streamed on TV or the Internet as part of a limited-time virtual festival event.

Eligibility criteria

Click to read the premiere and the eligibility policy for each screening section:

To explore Submission guides for the 2021 film festival for more information on each screening section. Read it Movie submissions faq for specific questions about submitting your film, premiere status, eligibility, and more.

Submit your film

Submit your film to the Film Festival for SXSW Online from March 16 to 20, 2021 by official deadline October 28 at 11:59 p.m. PT. As part of our 2021 offerings, this digital experience will include lectures and sessions, screenings, showcases, networking and exhibits.

Once your project is submitted, you will receive a confirmation email from SXSW within 48 hours. This email will confirm that your film has been submitted correctly. If you do not receive this email within 48 hours, please follow up by sending an email to [email protected] to make sure your film has been submitted correctly and is under review. All applicants will be informed of the progress of their project no later than Tuesday February 16, 2021.

Submit your film

A Quiet Place, Première 2018 – Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer


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Vault of Terror needs short film submissions

VIPCO (Video Instant Picture Company) was resurrected from the ashes of the late 1980s VHS distributor to form the new Vault of Terror. If you are a promising filmmaker, they are looking to promote your work.

VIPCO, alias Video snapshot company was a staple of the 1980s VHS scene. If you frequented a Blockbuster or any video store at the time, chances are you’ve seen several of their tracks.

They were the premier cult horror distributor during the era of ‘wicked video’ and banned movies in the UK. Some of their memorable films include Zombie flesh eaters, Psychic killer, The Driller Killer and Nesting Just to name a few.

Although they’ve been gone for years now, VIPCO was resurrected by HorrorScreams VideoVault CEO and Founder Peter Hopkins with writer / director Lorna J. Child. This incarnation of the company seeks to promote new filmmakers.

Their current series proposed, Vault of Terror, is looking for short films in the following genres: horror, science fiction, fantasy and thriller. The big part of this effort is that they keep submissions open year round.

If you have a production that you are dying to share with the world, contact Hopkins and Child at [email protected] For the first anthology release, creatives must submit their entries before January 1, 2021. A panel of judges will select exceptional efforts in the above categories to be broadcast on DVD and VOD platforms.

In order to take your work to the next level, make sure your application meets the following submission criteria:

  • The movie must be in full HD 1080p screen
  • Delivered 24 fps (Movie)
  • Can be filmed on DSLR, Go Pro or even your phone!
  • Please submit your film with the opening and ending credits still attached.
  • No copyrighted music or logos other than you are permitted to use in the production.

You can follow VIPCO on Facebook for more information.

Are you planning to feature in a short film for VIPCO’s anthology series, Vault of Terror? Let us know in the comments.


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