Known as the “Writers Festival” since its inception 27 years ago, Austin Film Festival recognizes the importance of narrative at the core of filmmaking. By celebrating the work of storytellers; those committed to crafting intricate worlds, fully-formed characters, and diverse perspectives, AFF bolsters its reputation as a champion for the creator.

5 REASONS TO SUBMIT TO AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL:

1. THE CONFERENCE: Accepted filmmakers have access to AFF's Screenwriters Conference, the largest writer's conference in the world. The Conference attracts groundbreaking producers, agents, managers, and development execs, as well as countless working screenwriters and filmmakers. Many conferences are footnotes to festivals; the AFF Conference is worth the trip alone. The lineup is interactive, raw, and fun – you’re destined to leave with a notebook full of strategies and the inspiration to start your next project.

2. THE SELECTION PROCESS: We take to heart the amount of work put into each film. Therefore, we are careful to ensure that each movie is reviewed at least twice. We like to be transparent in our process and judge the story over the production value.

3. THE CITY: There's a reason why Moviemaker Magazine consistently names Austin one of the best cities to live and work as a moviemaker. Perhaps one of the only cities where you can eat authentic BBQ, go to chicken shit bingo and try vegan ice cream in the same night, Austin is rich with culture and renowned for its hospitality and it supportive and innovative film community.

4. THE INDUSTRY PRESENCE: Each year we have a plethora of distributors, agents, producers, and industry insiders that attend and participate in the Festival, excited to meet new faces. Many films are picked up for distribution and many important introductions are made each year in our movie theaters, conference halls, and party venues. In addition, Jury Award winners are decided each year by esteemed and celebrated judges, including executives from Sony Pictures Animation, The Orchard, Roadside Attractions, Showtime, CBS Films, POV, Seed&Spark, Oscilloscope Laboratories, and Gravitas Ventures

5. THE AFF HUB: We can guarantee that AFF isn’t your average fest. Yes, there’s incredible barbecue. Yes, the margaritas can’t be beat. But what's most apparent is the hub of filmmakers and supporters that continues to grow around the Festival. There are no velvet ropes here, and registrants and filmmakers are known to rendezvous with the best of them. At our parties, relationships are made and subsequent babies are created (in this metaphor the babies are films. Or babies. We don't judge).

More info below:

AFF provides filmmakers an invaluable platform among industry professionals and film-lovers. We’ve helped launch the careers of countless filmmakers including Jason Reitman, Cary Fukunaga, Jeff Nichols, Ray McKinnon, Chase Palmer, and Stephen Falk.

Each category is presided over by our A-list jurors, who in the past have included America Ferrera, Tom Skerritt, Ashley Miller, Scott Neustadter, Leigh Whannell, and representatives from CBS Films, Sundance Institute, Oscilloscope Laboratories, Roadside Attractions, The Orchard, Showtime, Sony Pictures Animation and Gravitas Ventures.

Moviemaker Magazine continues to list AFF as one of the Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.

Keep in mind that the Jury Award winners of our Narrative, Documentary and Animated Short categories officially qualify for an Academy Award.

In addition to the films, our annual Screenwriter's Conference draws high profile Hollywood talent like 2018 panelists Roger Corman, Larry Wilmore, Tony Gilroy, Nicole Holofcener, John August, Craig Mazin, Peter Hedges, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, Justin Marks, Michael Weber and Scott Neustadter, Nicole Perlman, Ed Solomon, Chapman and Maclain Way, Herschel Weingrod, Bill Wittliff, Graham Yost and Linda Woolverton. The AFF Film Competition gives every filmmaker the chance to hear from and network with filmmakers and industry insiders like these, all of whom come to Austin looking to meet fellow artists.

Bottom Line: At Austin Film Festival, we pride ourselves on building a unique and powerful hub for filmmakers. By submitting your work to AFF, you’re entering into this welcoming and dynamic community where new visions and untapped talent can flourish. Beyond production value, budget, and stars, we value the power of a well-told story. We can’t wait for you to tell us yours.

Narrative Feature: $2500 Cash Prize. Reimbursement (up to $500) of round trip airfare to attend AFF, reimbursement of hotel accommodations at an AFF hotel (up to $500), the AFF Typewriter Award.

Documentary Feature: $2500 Cash Prize. Reimbursement (up to $500) of round trip airfare to attend AFF, reimbursement of hotel accommodations at an AFF hotel (up to $500), the AFF Typewriter Award.

Narrative Short: $1000 Cash Prize. Reimbursement (up to $500) of round trip airfare to attend AFF, reimbursement of hotel accommodations at an AFF hotel (up to $500), and the AFF Typewriter Award.

Narrative Student Short: $500 Cash Prize. Reimbursement (up to $500) of round trip airfare to attend AFF, reimbursement of hotel accommodations at an AFF hotel (up to $500), the AFF Typewriter Award.

Animated Short: $500 Cash Prize. Reimbursement (up to $500) of round trip airfare to attend AFF, reimbursement of hotel accommodations at an AFF hotel (up to $500), the AFF Typewriter Award

Documentary Short: $500 Cash Prize. Reimbursement (up to $500) of round trip airfare to attend AFF, reimbursement of hotel accommodations at an AFF hotel (up to $500), the AFF Typewriter Award.

Dark Matters Feature: $1000 Cash Prize. Reimbursement (up to $500) of round trip airfare to attend AFF, reimbursement of hotel accommodations at an AFF hotel (up to $500), the AFF Typewriter Award.

Comedy Vanguard Feature: $1000 Cash Prize. Reimbursement (up to $500) of round trip airfare to attend AFF, reimbursement of hotel accommodations at an AFF hotel (up to $500), the AFF Typewriter Award.

GENERAL ELIGIBILITY
1. Submissions must be accompanied by the applicable submission fee PER ENTRY and a completed online entry form.
2. Submissions must be in English or have English subtitles at the time submitted.
3. Submissions must be submitted as an online streaming video via a participating submission platform (FilmFreeway), a password-protected streaming URL, or on DVD with NTSC or PAL formatting (please test before sending).
4. In the event of a password change or link change after submitting, you must email the Festival at programming@austinfilmfestival.com immediately with that change so we may update your record. If the Festival is not notified of the change and the link is found to be inactive or the password to be incorrect, the submission may be deemed ineligible.
5. AFF screens films and series as digital files during the Festival and does NOT screen on Blu-Ray, HD-CAM, or DCP. If you are unable or unwilling to provide us your submission as a digital file for exhibition, DO NOT SUBMIT.
6. Feature Films and Short Films must have been completed after April 1, 2019. Digital Series must have been completed after January 1, 2019. Films and Series must be available for screening during the Austin Film Festival, October 22-29, 2020.
7. Films and series that have been submitted to AFF in previous years are eligible to be resubmitted, provided they are eligible according to all of AFF’s current rules.
8. Films and series with US distribution (obtained prior to being selected for AFF screening) or submissions produced, financed or initiated by a major film studio or television network are ineligible for competition, but may be considered for a special screening. Selection for screening will be determined no later than one month prior to the festival. Films that have screened on US network or cable television or distributed to theaters prior to the festival dates are also ineligible for competition.
9. Short Films that have played in Austin in a theatrical setting to a public audience prior to October 22, 2020 are not eligible to compete at Austin Film Festival. This includes Shorts Night or other festivals. The ONLY exception is that a short may play as part of a class screening for an accredited university’s film program. We prefer that shorts be Texas premieres.
10. Short films that are publicly available online prior to the Festival may be considered for exhibition during the Festival, but will be ineligible for Jury Awards. We prefer that shorts not be publicly available online.
11. Feature films must be at least a Texas premiere. AFF will not screen features in competition that have played at other Texas festivals or screened publicly in a theater in Texas (including a one night only screening in a rented space) prior to October 22, 2020. We prefer World, North American, and US premieres and all things being equal, will often opt to program the film that has not yet had a release over one that has played at several festivals.
12. Digital Series must be the first one to three episodes of the series’ first season. Only new series will be considered. Series that have played in Austin in a theatrical setting to a public audience prior to October 22, 2020 are not eligible to be screened at the Austin Film Festival.
13. Digital Series that are already publicly available online are still eligible for entry and Jury Award.
14. Private invite-only screenings (for instance for cast and crew or donors) do not affect a submission’s eligibility.
15. AFF reserves the right in its sole discretion to reject or disqualify any ineligible entries, without a refund.
16. Films and series that are selected to screen at the Festival may not necessarily be selected to be “in competition” for awards purposes. Notifications regarding potential selection for competition status possibly may occur subsequent to notifications of acceptance for exhibition.

ORIGINALITY AND PERMISSIONS; INDEMNITY
1. Submissions must be the original work of the applicants. If a film or series is based upon another person’s life or upon a book or other underlying work, applicant(s) must secure any necessary rights to make such adaptations. However, it is not necessary to submit the adaptation rights agreements to the Festival. Neither the Festival nor its jurists investigates or attests to the authenticity of an applicant’s statement of authorship or rights secured. By entering the competition, you represent that you have secured all necessary rights.
2. Applicants are solely responsible for obtaining all necessary rights and permissions for third-party materials included in their films, including but not limited to music, trademarks, logos, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights. AFF expressly disclaims all liability or responsibility for any violations of the foregoing.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
1. We strongly encourage filmmakers to submit only after their film or series is fully finished and will judge each submission as a completed work, whether it is or not. Once a film is entered, we will not update the submission with a more recent cut. That said, because AFF’s focus is on story, minor technical changes will not affect the final decision of any entry. Should the film or series be accepted to play during the Festival, the filmmaker will have the opportunity to supply the Festival with their most recent version.
2. Filmmakers who are unsure whether to enter their film into the Narrative Feature Category or one of the genre categories (Dark Matters or Comedy Vanguard) should select the genre category so the film will be watched with that in mind. Austin Film Festival reserves the right to switch the entry category or otherwise assign a category to fit programming needs and interests, and films will not be penalized for the original submission selection.
3. Once an entry payment has been received we cannot provide a refund. If a payment is disputed by an entrant for any reason, the entrant may be subject to any transaction fees or similar amounts incurred by AFF in connection with the dispute.
4. You MUST include your physical address either in your entry or in your cover letter. Please do not submit a film without giving us your address, which we need for our records.
5. Payments made with a check are subject to our Bounced Check Policy: If we receive a returned check from our bank for a payment you made, you will be invoiced for the original amount of the check plus a $25 bounced check fee. The payment of the invoiced amount will be due within 30 days of invoice date. We will not re-submit the original check, nor will we accept another check for repayment. Repayment must be made by money order or cashier’s check.
6. Please include in your submission package if your film or series was SHOT IN TEXAS (include locations) or made by TEXAS FILMMAKERS. We don’t want to miss your film

SELECTED ENTRIES AND WINNERS
1. AFF has no obligation (other than as stated in these rules or on our website) to disclose any of the following information: i) identities of screeners or judges; ii) notes, feedback, or information relating to the submitted project; and/or iii) details regarding the submission review or selection process.
2. AFF explicitly disclaims any liability or responsibility for any comments, notes, or opinions expressed about a submission, whether by AFF or by its volunteers.
3. Winners will be announced on October 24, 2020. The judges’ decision is final. Judges reserve the right not to grant an award.
4. Winners receiving cash prizes are solely responsible for payment of all applicable local, state, and federal taxes.

RETURNS & ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:

DVDs and press materials will not be returned under any circumstances. Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard for each submission if you wish acknowledgment of the receipt of your entry.

COMPETITION IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Yi Tang

    It was a blast!!!!My first film festival and first won. Thank you Austin!!!

    January 2020
  • I had my best festival experience yet at the Austin FF 2019. Warm, welcoming vibes all the way, and I loved how accessible all the panels, events and parties were. I felt like an insider from the moment I picked up my badge and would give the festival seven stars if I could.

    December 2019
  • Jeremy Zelnik

    A great festival !!! with great people !!!

    November 2019
  • An absolute must submit, must attend festival! The staff is welcoming, professional, and very easy to communicate with. The festival itself has a great atmosphere and a sense of community. Not forgetting the high profile delegates, enlightening talks, and valuable networking opportunities throughout.

    November 2019
  • I-hui Lee

    Such a helpful festival for writers!

    November 2019