Other Worlds Austin is one of the premier SciFi film festivals in the USA, with four years running of sold out screenings, over a dozen World and North American Premieres, and filmmakers from all over the world in attendance. In 2016 we added Horror to the mix with Under Worlds Austin to great acclaim. Screening at Flix Brewhouse, America's only cinema with its own microbrewery, our films play on DCP with 5.1 sound on giant 42+ foot screens, arguably the best in the Austin area. Indie at its heart, OWA is firmly committed to championing filmmakers and writers and bringing the best films to the Geek Capital of the World. With a diverse and approachable team of programmers, we are building a network of SciFi fans and filmmakers, leading a loyal community, and launching SciFi films into the wider world.

(Note: If you are looking for the Screenwriting Contest, head to: filmfreeway.com/festival/OtherWorldsAustinSciFiScreenwritingContest)

But really...why send us your film? Well:

-FILMMAKERS HAVE A BLAST HERE! We firmly believe in framing our festival around you - the filmmaker. At OWA, you can count on a full theater of genre fans eager to watch your film (and ask you questions after - we hold a Q&A after every screening!) Network with other artists at our annual Filmmaker Happy Hour and throughout the fest.

-WE GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT YOUR FILM! We want our programs to have the biggest reach possible – we pick the films we do for a reason, after all (hint: they’re awesome and everyone should see them). OWA prides itself with awesome marketing efforts, both on our own website/blog and coverage from taste-maker publications like The Austin Chronicle and Austin360. And those full audiences we mentioned earlier? They’re ready to spread the word too by telling their friends and sharing on social media (how else do people hear about new films these days anyway?)

-WE F-ING LOVE GENRE! Lots of festivals only have so many slots reserved for “genre” films. That’s where we come in. OWA is all about giving a platform to stories set in fantastical worlds. We’re constantly pushing the boundaries of what makes SciFi, well, SciFi. Same for Horror (we launched permanent Horror sidebar Under Worlds Austin last year to great acclaim!) All you need is a great story and the eye to tell it. We even have a year-round screening series, Other Worlds Orbiter, because once a year is just not enough to share the awesome SciFi films that we come across.

-HOW ABOUT REASONABLE FEES & TRANSPARENCY? We know how rough it is out there money-wise for artists (many of us on the team are filmmakers ourselves.) OWA prices its submissions accordingly and of course rewards thinking ahead with cheaper Early Bird rates! Another thing we offer: transparency to submitters. Even if you aren’t accepted to the festival, feel free to request feedback from our programmers. You paid us money – the least we can do is offer some constructive notes on your project and why it didn’t make the cut this time.

All films will compete for the Audience Award as selected by voting by festival attendees. Fan Films will be considered with shorts or features, depending on their length. Filmmakers will be allowed to vote for their own films if in attendance (because, obviously.)

In addition, the Mary Shelley Award, sponsored by Canine Productions, will be awarded to the best film that furthers the involvement and representation of women in genre filmmaking. Granted by a jury of Industry professionals, the award includes a $500 cash prize. Previous winners have gone on to be nominated for the Film Independent Spirit Awards and take part in the inaugural class of directors at the FOX Filmmakers Lab! Past jurors include writer/director Sarah Adina Smith (The Midnight Swim, Buster's Mal Heart), producer/actress Alysia Reiner (Equity, Orange is the New Black), and film festival directors Anne Chaisson (Hamptons International) and Kristy Breneman (Atlanta Film Festival).

Finally, the programming team (10 opinionated, argumentative members strong) gives out the Cthullhies, bragging rights awards that live forever on our website (and on laurels on your films):
Best Script (feature and short)
Best Directing (feature and short)
Best Actor (feature and short)
Best Actress (feature and short)
Best Editing (feature and short)
Best Cinematography (feature and short)
Best Score or Music (feature and short)
Best VFX (feature and short)
Best Production Design (feature and short)

Films will be judged and selected based on their narrative quality. SciFi features can be any film set in another world, reality or time. Action Films, Comedies, Horror, and Dramas can all be science fiction if the setting or story lines have a particular SciFi bent. Want to know what SciFi is? Check out our SciFi Checklist by founder Bears Fonte: http://www.otherworldsaustin.com/what-is-scifi/. Horror films aim to create a sense of distress, panic, alarm, and dread for the audience. They can be unsettling either through what is portrayed on screen, or the thoughts they provoke inside the viewer, preying on our worst fears and nightmares. Documentaries and Animation will be accepted in either genre as long as the films are story-based and not experimental or facts-and-figures types of filmmaking and would be of interest to genre fans (we've played docs every year). Music Videos will be acceptable if they tell a cohesive story (think "Take On Me" by A-ha). A Fan Film is any short or feature based on pre-existing characters or properties (that the filmmaker does not own). Common examples might utilize characters or worlds from Star Wars, Star Trek, the Marvel Universe or even Flash Gordon. Other examples of fan films are ‘lost’ Twilight Zone episodes (done entirely in the style of the original series), fake commercials or trailers for films that based on pre-existing characters or properties that do not exist, mash-ups of characters from different universes, or using new audio or new video in sync with existing video or audio for new effect. The rule is creativity – what can a fan do to make a new work out of something they don’t own, without hope of making a penny? Films can be one-minute or feature length and of any production quality, we are looking to reward ingenuity, not your ability to buy an authentic stormtrooper costume. Features must be 41 minutes or longer, Shorts 40 minutes or shorter. Fan Films can be any length.

As with other submissions sites, we offer all entrants $5 off our standard fees for using FilmFreeway. This competition is for finished films only. See www.OtherWorldsAustin.com/submissions for our Film FAQ.

OWA is a green festival. Features, Shorts and Fan Films must be submitted as an online screener. You may use the FilmFreeway system or Vimeo, although Vimeo is preferred because it allows for streaming to giant television sets through things like Roku or Amazon Fire. Please check your upload and make sure that it plays properly, has sound and (if foreign) English subtitles. Other Worlds Austin is not responsible for the streaming quality of Secure Online Submissions uploaded by the filmmaker. If your entry is unable to be watched by our programmers due to issues with your upload, your film may be disqualified and no refund will be made.

Features, Shorts, and Fan Films must be available to screen as a digital file or a keyless (nonKDM) DCP. If you are unable or unwilling to provide us your film as a digital file, or keyless DCP, DO NOT SUBMIT your film. We do not screen off of BluRay or DVD under any circumstance. Digital files will be converted to DCP for theatrical playback at no cost to filmmakers (filmmakers may 'buy' the DCP from OWA to use again at a cut-rate deal).

Films may not have been shown publicly (online, theatrically, on VOD or at a festival) prior to July 1, 2016. If a film was submitted to Other Worlds Austin in 2017, we are happy to reconsider it for 2018, but only recommend resubmission if significant changes have been made. Films must be available for screening during Other Worlds Austin, December 6-9, 2018. Films must be AUSTIN PREMIERES but no other premiere status is required. Quality of filmmaking equal, some preference will be given to World, US or Texas Premieres. Short films and Fan Films available publicly online will be eligible for the festival, but features will not. Short films that have appeared on US network or cable television will also be eligible for screening at the festival, features that have appeared on US network or cable television or available for VOD/download/purchase will not be eligible for screening at the festival.

Other Worlds Austin does not pay screening fees under any circumstance. By submitting your film, you are agreeing to screen your film without a screening fee or any other compensation if selected.

COMPETITION CERTIFICATION I/We have read all of the Other Worlds Austin (a.k.a. Festival or OWA) rules. I/We understand and have complied with these rules. I/We warrant the submission of my/our original work and there are no disputes regarding the ownership of the submission, or if a Fan Film, my/our original take on pre-existing characters with no desire to supersede applicable copyright law. I/We also warrant the submitted material does not defame or invade the rights of any person living or dead and I/we fully indemnify the Festival against any claim made for such violations of law. To the best of my/our knowledge, all of the statements herein are true and correct. I/We understand that failure to adhere to the Festival rules will result in disqualification and forfeiture of entry fee. I/We agree to hold Other Worlds Austin harmless from and defend them against all claims, demands, losses, damages, judgments, liabilities, and expenses (including attorney’s fees) arising out of or in connection with any and all claims of third parties, whether or not groundless, based on any film submitted to the Festival. Once an entry payment has been processed we cannot provide a refund. If a payment is disputed, the account holder may be subject to any fees.

PLEASE NOTE: Other Worlds Austin does NOT waive entry fees. We are a small festival and entry fees are the primary source of income for the running of the festival. Some films may be invited to submit to OWA by the Artistic Director after screening at a major festival. This will be on a case-by-case basis and will be initiated by OWA. Please do not email us and ask for a waiver. Because the audience decides all awards, each film selected to screen at OWA will have the same chance to win the cash prize. We understand the financial constraint of filmmaking and costs of submitting to festivals and have kept our fees low in order to allow the most number of submissions as possible. We hope you can find it in your budget to submit your film.

RETURNS & ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: All entries will be acknowledged by email or through the FilmFreeway communication system.

Overall Rating
  • Phil Bucci

    Great festival with great people. I'll always submit my films here!

    January 2018
  • Michael Bartolomeo

    I couldn't attend OWA this year unfortunately, but I had an overwhelmingly positive experience communicating with the festival programmers and staff, particularly Jordan, Bears and Nate. I was honored to have my short horror film (it's not just a sci-fi fest!) screen with these guys, and I can't wait to submit again and hopefully make the trip out to experience the fest firsthand.

    December 2017
  • A top notch genre film festival. The festival directors and staff do an amazing job to make the filmmakers feel welcome. With an excellent selection of films, high quality and sold out screenings, great panels and a wonderful opportunity to network with other filmmakers this is bound to become one of the best genre festivals around! I am very fortunate to have been selected to screen my film at OWA and I would highly encourage other genre filmmakers to submit.

    December 2017
  • Eric McEver

    A truly exceptional festival. OTA balanced an intimate feeling ideal for meaningful conversations and networking with a truly world class slate of films, industry guests, and social events. After screening at OTA, my film began receiving a flurry of acceptances at other festivals, attesting to its influence. It's no surprise that it's growing so quickly, and should rapidly become one of the top genre festivals worldwide. Highly recommended.

    December 2017
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    Response from festival:

    Thanks Erik - it was an honor to host you and your beautiful film!

  • Excellent across the board. This is a great fest run by passionate filmmakers who truly care. Highly recommended!

    August 2017
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    Response from festival:

    Thanks Steve! People are still talking about MONSTERS today! One of the most well-thought-out 'twists' I've ever seen. Great work and hope to host your next film as well!