Austin Film Festival will be October 24 - 31, 2024!

Included in MovieMaker's Top 50 Festival's Worth the Entry Fee for 2023!

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.

Known as the “Writers Festival” since its inception 31 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 writers conference in the world. The Conference attracts groundbreaking producers, agents, managers, and development execs, as well as countless working screenwriters and filmmakers. The 2023 Festival hosted legendary Hollywood talents alongside the year's biggest writers and filmmakers like Paul Reiser, Michael Arndt, Meg LeFauve, Damon Lindelof, Lauren Shuler Donner, Dan Erickson, Celine Song, Ashley Lyle, Emerald Fennell, Chikodili Agwuna, Benji Samit, and Cord Jefferson.

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 inspiration to start your next project.

2. THE SELECTION PROCESS: We take to heart the amount of work put into each film. 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. The AFF screening team is made up of filmmakers, industry professionals, and AFF staff members who all carry a deep passion for the art of filmmaking, the craft of storytelling, and the desire to support rising filmmakers. 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 sent to the Oscars!

AFF provides filmmakers an invaluable platform among industry professionals and film-lovers. We’ve helped launch the careers of countless filmmakers including Jason Reitman, Jeff Nichols, Sean Collins-Smith, Chase Palmer, Stephen Falk, Ashley Lyle, and John Hoberg & Kat Likkel, who wrote this year’s animated blockbuster “Elemental.”

3. 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 MGM, Netflix, Roadside Attractions, Anonymous Content, Walt Disney Animation, Showtime, 20th Century Television, POV, IDA, XYZ Films, and Gravitas Ventures. Past jurors include Roy Lee, America Ferrera, Leigh Whannell, Simon Kilmurry, Ashley Lyle, Kemp Powers, Katie Silberman, Dan Guando, and Carly Wray.

4. THE CITY: There's a reason why Moviemaker Magazine consistently names Austin one of the best cities to live and work in 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, renowned for its hospitality, and is bolstered by an innovative film community.

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).

We are thrilled to once again offer the Enderby Entertainment Filmmaking Fellowship and the Dark Matters Feature presented by Vertigo Entertainment!

The Enderby Fellowship is available to entrants in the Narrative Short and Narrative Student Short competition categories. The winner will be provided travel and lodging for a trip to Enderby’s Los Angeles offices. Once there, company executives will offer career guidance and the opportunity to shadow company executives and filmmakers on-site.

The winner of the Dark Matters Feature presented by Vertigo Entertainment will be granted a 6-month Fellowship under Co-founder and producer Roy Lee and executives. Fellowship will include one monthly meeting / virtual call (if filmmaker does not reside in the greater Los Angeles area) with Vertigo executives and associates such as producers, managers, and agents. Meetings will involve conversations based in career guidance, including networking tips and workshopping ideas, insight into the Hollywood studio system, and an opportunity to discuss future scripts/films with Vertigo co-founder Roy Lee.

All entries into the Dark Matters Feature presented by Vertigo Entertainment category will be considered for the fellowship at no extra charge.

Our partners and jurors are excited to make their annual pilgrimage to Austin every year. “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!

Narrative Feature: $2,500 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 Feature: $2,500 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 presented by Vertigo Entertainment: $1,000 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. In addition to the Cash Prize and Travel Reimbursement, The winner of the Dark Matters Feature presented by Vertigo Entertainment will be granted a 6-month Fellowship under Co-founder and producer Roy Lee and executives, which includes but is not limited to one monthly meeting / virtual call with Vertigo executives and associates focused on career guidance and providing insight to the filmmaker. Consideration for the Fellowship does not require additional fees.

Comedy Vanguard Feature: $1,000 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: $1,000 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: $1,000 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: 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 add-on categories will be considered.
* Consideration requires an additional $25 fee.


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, 2023. Films and series must be available for screening during the Austin Film Festival, October 24-31, 2024.
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 24, 2024 are not eligible to compete at Austin Film Festival. This includes Shorts Night, ATX Film Showcase, Austin Under the Stars, SXSW, Fantastic Fest, and other festivals or public film events. 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 24, 2024. 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 submissions must be the first one to three episodes of the series’ FIRST season. The total runtime of the submission must be under 30 minutes. 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 24, 2024 are not eligible to be screened at the Austin Film Festival.
13. Digital Series submissions 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 and contact purposes.
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 $50 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. Jury Winners will be announced on October 26, 2024. 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.
5. In an effort to create a more accessible environment for our audience, AFF reserves the right to require programmed filmmakers to provide Closed-Caption and/or Subtitle files with their films. All accepted filmmakers will be notified in a timely manner.


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
  • lois lipman

    I cannot praise Austin Film Festival more highly - from that first thrilling phone call from Andy Voss accepting our submission & every encounter we had with the wonderful festival folks. They are warm and generous and value and take care of the filmmakers. In fact every filmmaker has a local host to answer questions and help you! That personal care and warmth was apparent throughout and made it unusually easy to meet other filmmakers in an open, collaborative way. And they love writers- so thinking and exchanging ideas is part of their MO. Great panels, lots of events and hospitality. Thank you dear Austin Film Festival for launching our film and awarding it Best Documentary. You have made such a difference in our film’s life and in the impact it will have. Whether you win an award or not I urge filmmakers to submit to this uniquely great and inviting film festival. You will love it!

    January 2024
  • Seckeita Lewis

    We had an incredible time at the World Premiere of our film ImPossible! The festival does an incredible job of supporting the filmmakers with roundtables, strategy sessions and panel opportunities to make great connections for the film. As an attendee to the festival, it was the perfect mix of entertainment and education. We enjoyed incredible films from both established and emerging filmmakers but also attended panels and roundtables to learn more and continue to grow as a filmmaker. The presenters are authentic, inspiring and generally approachable. Loved the experience and meeting fellow writers and filmmakers to support and root for along the way!

    December 2023
  • Attending AFF with our short film 'The Jellyfish Man' was such an affirming experience for our entire team. The atmosphere was nothing short of electric. We attended a myriad of panels, screenings, and events. The festival's commitment to artistic excellence was at the forefront. We particularly enjoyed the screening of ‘American Fiction’ followed by a thoughtful speech from director Cord Jefferson. The festival purposely over programs so prioritize 3-5 events and consider that a successful day. The entire event radiated with a palpable sense of camaraderie, making the journey not only professionally rewarding but also deeply enjoyable. We left inspired and motivated, already anticipating our return in 2024.

    November 2023
  • Could not be happier with the experience screening at AFF30 - incredible programming team that fostered a warm and welcoming environment, and also took the time to know each film and filmmaker. As for the programming itself: every film I saw was top tier, and it was amazing to meet the other filmmakers after the screenings.

    AFF will be a creative staple of my filmmaking career from here on out!

    November 2023
  • I was very lucky to screen CANNIBAL MUKBANG twice at the 30th edition of the Austin Film Festival, and holy cow, what a magical experience! This festival is so special for many reasons, but the biggest two for me were the opportunity to connect with fellow film industry professionals and the fantastic programming from Andy and the rest of the team. I swear, everyone I met at the fest had such a positive and supportive attitude. I could rave about the festival for days, but if you have the chance to submit and are wavering, I would say GO FOR IT! And even if you don't have a film/project in the festival still attend because AFF 2023 was the best week of my life.

    November 2023