Other Worlds is the premier SciFi film festival in the USA, with seven years running of sold out screenings, 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 to great acclaim. Our films play on DCP with 5.1 sound on giant screens, at the Galaxy Highland. Indie at its heart, OW 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.

As of now, we are moving forward under the assumption that the December festival will happen, live and in person. However, if conditions do not support the idea of a physical festival because our theater is closed, people are unable to travel, or the virus is not sufficiently ‘under control’ to operate safely, the festival will remain in a virtual space (we did it entirely virutal for 2020 and it went AMAZING!!).

Other Worlds was one of the first seven festivals to sign on to the Seed & Spark Film Festival Survival Pledge (https://try.seedandspark.com/film-festival-pledge/), vowing to temporarily waive any premiere status or completion date requirements for this year and next year’s festival. As always, shorts that are available online will be considered for both the 2020 and 2021 festivals, but just to make it clear, any feature that screens online in an official ticketed festival capacity is also eligible to play Other Worlds, it just can’t be available online to the general public.
The team hopes you are healthy and happy during these unprecedented times. We hope this helps ease any concern you have with your Other Worlds submission. Please stay safe out there and ask us any questions you need to. We hope you will be out there creating inspiring stories again soon.



-FILMMAKERS HAVE A BLAST HERE! We firmly believe in framing our festival around you, the filmmaker. At OW, 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). OW 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.

-WE F-ING LOVE GENRE! Lots of festivals only have so many slots reserved for “genre” films. That’s where we come in. OW 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 to great acclaim in 2016!) We 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.) OW 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.


Other Worlds is dedicated to fostering and promoting creativity in Science Fiction in all its forms during every stage of development, and we are proud to announce our 6th annual screenwriting contest is now currently open and accepting submissions! The contest will run concurrently with the film program, and will include a space for shorts and teleplays, in addition to the feature length category.

Starting last year (2020) we began accepting HORROR and FANTASY submissions as well for the Screenwriting Contest.

Other Worlds Film Fest does not offer waivers under any circumstances. Our fees simply pay for the awards and the costs of running the contest (not even). We understand the financial hardship of being a screenwriter and costs of submitting to competitions and have kept our fees low in order to allow the most number of entries as possible. We hope you can find it in your budget to submit your screenplay.

All entries will receive feedback on their scripts at the conclusion of the Other Worldsi Film Festival, December 2020, if desired. All feedback will be distributed by February of the following year at the latest.

Scripts must not have been produced, optioned or sold prior to December, 2020.

All entrants certify to the originality of the entered script, or in the case of Specs, the originality of their handling of the material. Entrants warrant there are no disputes regarding the ownership of the submission and that the submitted material does not defame or invade the rights of any person living or dead. Entrants fully indemnify Other Worlds Film Festival and its agents against any claim made for such violations of law.

In the event of shared authorship, all writers will share prize money equally. It will be up to primary entrant to communicate all notices and divide all prize money with the other writers.

Entrants may submit more than one screenplay/teleplay in any chosen category, as well as enter different scripts in different categories. Each script entry requires a separate application and fee. All entries and payment must be made through the Festival Freeway website, no cash or check payment will be accepted.

Once an entry has been made, we cannot provide a refund. If a payment is disputed, the account holder may be subject to any fees.

All scripts will be judged as entered, no revisions will be accepted.

All scripts must be entered as .pdfs. No physical copies.

All scripts must be in English.

No supplementary material should be sent. No show bibles, treatments, or reality show formats will be accepted for the Teleplay competition.

Consulting can only be done on winning scripts. No substitutions.

By entering the script in the competition, the entrant is agreeing to all rules and regulations of the competition. Entrant agrees to hold Other Worlds Film Festival and its agents 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 script.

Entrant gives Other Worlds Film Festival the non-revokable right to use your name and the script title, synopsis, and short excerpt (no longer than 10 pages) in our marketing materials in perpetuity.

Please register your script. Although this is not a requirement, it is highly suggested. The only true protection for a writer in any dispute is a proper registration with the US Copyright Office, this is in addition to any registration with the WGA West or WGA East.

All decisions of the festival and its agents are final.

About feedback:
Written feedback will be provided to every entrant of the competition, if desired, which we believe is the least a screenwriting competition can do to certify your script was read with precision and professional concern.

Feedback will be in the form of a scored, seven criteria breakdown with one to two sentences provided in each heading. Please note, this feedback is part of the judging process and is not necessarily written with the writer in mind. Your entry fee pays for the logistics of the competition. The feedback is provided to you as a bonus.

Writers will not be able to contact the judges or ‘argue’ against their feedback.

Scripts may receive overwhelmingly positive feedback and yet still not place in the competition, this usually means the script was eliminated in later rounds of the competition. Additional feedback may be provided to the writer, by a second judge, and this feedback may be shorter than the primary feedback, although this is not guaranteed. The Competition reserves the right to provide only the initial judge’s feedback.

The primary purpose of the competition is to identify and celebrate the top scripts in each category, not to be a source for script notes. We do not offer ‘upper levels’ of judge’s notes for higher fees. If looking for more detailed feedback, we highly suggest seeking out a respected script consultant.

All films will compete for the Audience Award as selected by voting by festival attendees. Documentaries, Music Videos, and 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 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.

Finally, the programming team (10 opinionated, argumentative members strong) gives out the Parsecs, bragging rights awards that live forever on our website (and on laurels on your films), including Best Script, Best Director, and Best Editing.

$250 Features / $250 Teleplays / $250 Shorts PLUS an additional $250 for the Grand Prize Winner selected from all three categories.
Winning Scripts will be announced the week after the Other Worlds Film Festival, December 2021 with the Audience Awards and the Parsecs in a national press release. Finalists will be announced in November.

NOTE: there must be at least 50 entries in a category to be awarded a prize. Categories w/ less than 50 entries will be combined w/ other categories when awarding prizes. However, a winning script will still be selected in each category (no matter the total entries).

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 Rebecca 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.

See our website at www.OtherWorldsFilmFestival.com/submissions for our Film FAQ.

OtherWorlds 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 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 OW 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, 2018. If a film was submitted to Other Worlds in 2019, we are happy to reconsider it for 2020, but only recommend re-submission if significant changes have been made. Films must be available for screening during Other Worlds, December 2020. 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 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 (a.k.a. Festival or OW) 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 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 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 OW by the Artistic Director after screening at a major festival. This will be on a case-by-case basis and will be initiated by OW. Please do not email us and ask for a waiver. 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
  • I'm truly honored to have my horror feature "Faithful Shadow" selected as a Semi-Finalist in 2020! Thank you so much!

    October 2021
  • Kelli Horan

    I love this festival so much. The whole team does so much to recognize filmmakers and include a variety of films. Even during pandemic, they did a phenomenal job creating a fun atmosphere with tons of opportunity for networking and connecting with audiences.

    September 2021
  • Chris Benn

    A very well run festival. Solid communication and easy to contact with any questions. We have been lucky enough to have had a few of our films included at Other Worlds and it has always been a professional and fun experience. Check this one out.

    December 2020
  • C.S. John

    This was a really well run festival!
    A ton of communication and film-maker interaction.
    The way they managed the virtual screenings with the "meet up" lobby was the best I have seen any fest handle it this year.

    December 2020
  • William Hellmuth

    2020 has been a difficult year, and an especially difficult year for film festivals. Still, Other Worlds somehow managed to craft one of the best festival experiences I have ever had in the midst of this pandemic. Jordan, Bears, and the entire team are super accessible and communicative. Beyond that, even with the limitations of a remote festival, they managed to create an incredible platform for filmmakers to engage with each other, support each other, watch each others films, and connect. I was honestly blown away by how much fun I had at this festival. It was such a positive experience and I can't wait to come back.

    December 2020