Austin Film Festival will be October 26- November 2, 2023!

Included in MovieMaker's Top 50 Festival's Worth the Entry Fee for 2022!

At Austin Film Festival, it is our ongoing mission to champion the work of writers and filmmakers, and this goal has never felt as urgent as it does today. Our film competition has grown year after year and so have our efforts to serve as an avenue into the ever-evolving entertainment industry.

Submit to one of the Academy Award-qualifying short film categories - Narrative, Documentary, or Animated - for the chance to have your work reviewed by industry professionals and to be entered into the Austin Film Festival Jury Advisory Program!

The Advisory Program will facilitate opportunities for entrants across all nine of AFF’s film competition categories sourced from selected in-competition films. Each Jury Winner per competition category and at least one additional selected in-competition filmmaker per category will have the opportunity to participate in advisory sessions with a member of the AFF jury. The 2022 jury included representatives from notable companies such as MGM, Netflix, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Anonymous Content, Adult Swim, Vertigo Entertainment and Participant Media.

Eligibility for the Advisory Program are as follows:

I. Only in-competition selected filmmakers are eligible for this program.
II. The Jury winner of each competition is guaranteed access to the Advisory Program along with at least one additional selected in-competition filmmaker.

We are excited to partner with legendary horror Producer Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment (The Ring, Barbarian, IT) to present a special award for the Dark Matters Features category! The finalists will have their films reviewed by Roy Lee and his team, with the winner set to receive a six-month mentorship in 2024. This mentorship includes monthly guidance sessions with Roy Lee providing advice and insight on networking, in-depth feedback, and the potential to pitch your next film to Roy himself!

We’re excited to continue these initiatives as a continuation of the legacy of our Festival and competition credo. Our partners and jurors are excited as well, “We are continually impressed with the level of talent AFF attracts and are excited to connect with the selected filmmakers to help them crystallize their vision and further define their voice,” said Kesila Childers, VP of Development for Powderkeg. Feel free to visit our website for further details. We look forward to helping you share your story!


Known as the “Writers Festival” since its inception 30 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.


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. The screening team is made up of filmmakers, industry professionals, and AFF staff members who all carry a deep passion for the art of filmmaking and craft of storytelling.

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, MGM, Netflix, Roadside Attractions, Anonymous Content, Walt Disney Animation, 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, Chuck Hayward, Lisa Freberg, Roy Lee, Tom Skerritt, Ashley Miller, Scott Neustadter, Leigh Whannell, and representatives from CBS Films, Sundance Institute, Netflix, MGM, Oscilloscope Laboratories, Roadside Attractions, The Orchard, Showtime, Sony Pictures Animation and Gravitas Ventures.

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 2022 Nicole Pearlman, Edward Neumeier, Sean-Collins Smith, Ashley Edward Miller, Benji Samit, Dan Hernandez, Samuel D. Hunter, Beau DeMayo, Chris Fedak, Sarah Polly, Elgin James, Stephen Merchant, Nikyatu Jusu, Marc Bernardin, Holly Hester, Rebecca Ewing, Elegance Bratton, Liz Hannah, Michael Starrbury. 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.

Dark Matters Feature presented by Vertigo Entertainment: $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. Six-month mentorship with Vertigo Co-founder Roy Lee.

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.

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.

Produced Digital Series: $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.

Enderby Entertainment Filmmaking Fellowship Award: Airfare and hotel accommodations to visit Enderby Entertainment in LA for one week for the opportunity to shadow executives and filmmakers on-site. The expenses of the writer(s) and the director(s) will be covered under the fellowship (at most 2 people). If only one writer/director, only one person will be covered. Only films entered into the appropriate Enderby Categories will be considered. Consideration requires an additional $20 fee.

Texas Short Filmmaker Award presented by Aduro Studios & Film: Two Texas-affiliated short films will be selected as a finalist and winner for the award. There is no additional submission fee. The winning filmmaker will receive:
• A $2,000 “Gear Grant” toward any rental or purchase at Aduro Film.
• 12 hours in the large 2,1000 square-foot studio space with 14-ft tall Cyc Wall, sound treated walls, and an overhead lighting grid
The finalist will receive:
• A $1,000 “Gear Grant” toward any rental or purchase at Aduro Film.
• 12 hours in the small 1,4000 square-foot studio space with a 14-ft tall Cyc Wall, sound-treated walls, and an overhead lighting grid

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), or a password-protected streaming URL. DVD submissions are no longer accepted.
4. In the event of a password change or link change after submitting, you must email the Festival at 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, Short Films, and Digital Series must have been completed after January 1, 2022. Films and series must be available for screening during the Austin Film Festival, October 26-November 2, 2023.
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 26, 2023 are not eligible to compete at Austin Film Festival. This includes Shorts Night or other festivals. This includes online screenings through festivals based in Austin. 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. Online, private screenings through a festival's online program do not count as 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 26, 2023. 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. If a film is screened online as part of a festival's program that will count as a local premiere to the physical address of the festival played through.
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 (or online through a festival program based in Austin) to a public audience prior to October 26, 2023 are not eligible to be screened at the Austin Film Festival.
13. Produced 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.

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.

1. Films that have not received a full color edit, or sound edit are eligible for submission. AFF prefers picture-locked submissions for the consideration process. AFF’s focus is on story, technical changes such as color or sound will not affect the final decision of any film. Should the film 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 AND phone number in your entry form 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

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 30, 2022. 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.


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.


Overall Rating
  • Austin Kolodney

    We we're deeply honored to World Premiere our short at AFF. Andy Volk and the whole Programming Team curated an incredible festival of well crafted films, panels, and events. Hope that this was the first of many visits to Austin, TX of AFF :D

    March 2023
  • Paris Brown

    AFF was an incredible experience! Being around such talented artists and filmmakers supporting and collaborating with each otherr is exactly what inspires people to keep making great films.

    February 2023
  • hanadi elyan

    One of the best film festivals in the world! Always fun, always inspiring always great.

    December 2022
  • Emily Reas

    A great festival and conference! My teams had the pleasure of screening the feature Beauty of a Blank Space and short Birds, Bees, and Threes at the recent festival.
    AWESOME communication from the film and marketing staff. The conferences were interesting, informative, and diverse. 10/10 recommend

    December 2022
  • lola blanche

    Absolutely brilliant! Felt so welcome and could not believe how many incredible panels there were. Can't wait to return....

    November 2022