Southampton Film Week, now in its 14th year, is a festival at the heart of the developing film hub on the South Coast of England. The festival is focused on providing opportunities for filmmakers to showcase their work and to develop their knowledge and skill through a range of events from workshops to masterclasses.

Alongside its showcase screenings Southampton Film Week exhibits a wide selection of films, classic and new, to broaden opportunities for film fans and filmmakers to experience the best of UK and International cinema, focusing particularly on films and film-works which are generally less accessible to audiences. The Festival hosts a strand of Music and Film events, Artists’ Moving Image work and a Youth Film Festival.

SFW: Shorts our short film competition was launched in 2012 and attracts films from across the globe. The competition is open to all and offers freedom in theme and genre. The only limitations set are the length of 10 minutes (including titles and credits), that the film must have been made no earlier than January 2020 and that in the organisers’ opinion it is appropriate for a public audience.

Filmmakers can submit their short films to any of the following categories, Best Fiction, Best Documentary and Best Artist Film. All shortlisted films will be eligible for the Michael Fuller Award for Best Film selected by our panel of judges, and the Audience Award voted for at the screening and awards ceremony during the festival. Filmmakers from Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Surrey, West Sussex and Isle of Wight will also be in contention for the Regional Filmmaker Award.

Southampton Film Week is led by City Eye, a film charity which supports the development of filmmakers and film culture through its programme of education and training events, its own production work and its screening programme, which includes Southampton Film Week. Established in 1986, City Eye has recently relocated to new purpose-built filmmaking and screening facilities at the heart of Southampton’s Cultural Quarter. The fit-out and equipping of these spaces is underway and a full programme of events, activities and training, alongside access for emerging and established talent to our new facilities, will soon be announced.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic physical access to our centre and engagement with our activities has been restricted. We will continue to monitor the situation taking account of the latest Government, Public Health England and sector guidance in planning our forthcoming activities, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our participants, audiences and staff at all times.

The SFW: Shorts film competition is run and organised by City Eye. The competition screening and awards event will take place in Southampton Film Week (SFW) between 5 - 14 November 2021. At this stage (March 2021) we have not concluded whether it will be possible for filmmakers and audiences to attend this live and in person or whether it will be accessible online. We will continue to make announcements through our website and social media channels and all submitting filmmakers will be contacted as decisions are made.

The final selection of all films presented at the competition screening is the responsibility of City Eye.

Please read through the Rules & Terms below before submitting your film.

Best Artist Film – for experimental and artist films, can be narrative or non-narrative. Any style accepted including animation, live action, music.

Best Documentary – for non-fictional short films, any theme or style accepted including animation, live action, talking heads,

Best Fiction – for narrative based fictional short films, any theme, style or genre accepted including animation, drama, horror, comedy, etc

Michael Fuller Award for Best Film – eligible for all shortlisted films, awarded by a panel of Judges.

Regional Filmmaker Award – eligible for all shortlisted films made by Filmmakers from Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Surrey, West Sussex and Isle of Wight and awarded by a panel of Judges.

Audience Award - eligible for all shortlisted films, voted for by the audience during the festival.

1) SFW: Shorts is open to short films of all production techniques, including animation, documentary, drama, experimental and artist film. Films should not be focused on the promotion of commercial products or services.
2) Films cannot exceed 10 minutes duration (including credits). There is no minimum length. Films made before January 2020 will not be accepted.
3) The person submitting the film must be authorised to do so and is responsible for ensuring that formal permission is held in relation to all those who have ownership or rights in connection with it. This includes cast and crew (or parents/Guardians if under 16).
4) Third party elements such as music, sound, graphics or still images used within the production should be original, copyright free or where copyrighted filmmakers must have obtained necessary permission for the inclusion of this content.
5) The content of the film cannot, in the opinion of City Eye, be deemed offensive or defamatory.
6) If the original language of any dialogue or text featured in the film is not English, the film must be subtitled in English.
7) By sharing any film with City Eye you agree to grant to City Eye, free of charge, a non-exclusive, perpetual and worldwide licence to re-publish any material you submit, post, upload, email or otherwise transmit to City Eye or Southampton Film Week and permission to use the material in any way it wants (including modifying and adapting it) for the purposes of promoting City Eye or Southampton Film Week. This may include presenting your film at events organised by third party organisations. Your work will always be acknowledged as yours and we will always endeavour to confirm your agreement to further screenings of this kind in advance.
8) You may submit more than one film to SFW: Shorts.
9) The deadline for early bird submissions is Friday 23rd July 2021. The Regular deadline is Friday 10th September 2021.
10) The Late and final deadline is Thursday 30th September 2021. Film submissions will not be accepted for competition after this date.
11) All filmmakers whose films are shortlisted will be notified by email or phone by Friday 15th October 2021.
12) All shortlisted filmmakers will be invited to attend the screening and awards ceremony during Southampton Film Week. City Eye and SFW regret that it is not possible to fund entrants to attend this event (eg travel, accommodation etc).
13) Shortlisted films will be judged by an independent panel and winners will be announced at the Screening and Awards Ceremony during SFW21. The decision of the judges is final. All shortlisted films will be eligible for the Michael Fuller Award for Best Film and the Audience Award. Filmmakers from Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Surrey, West Sussex and Isle of Wight will also be in contention for the Regional Filmmaker Award.
14) City Eye and SFW are not able to provide individual feedback in relation to any submission either before entry or following short-listing or judging.
15) If your film is shortlisted you will be requested to provide a high quality screening copy of the original film as a data file via online transfer and as .mov, .avi, .mpeg or .mp4 format in either standard definition or as HDV1080i/p. If City Eye/SFW does not receive your film within the timescale supplied, your film will no longer be eligible to be judged. It is recommended that filmmakers allow sufficient time for films to arrive and that a guaranteed delivery service is used.
16) Southampton Film Week and City Eye will ensure that all personal information provided within the submission form will never be used for anything other than direct contact from the competition, SFW or City Eye and will not be shared with any other organisation or festival without your permission.

FINAL DEADLINE: 30th September 2021

Good Luck!

Overall Rating
  • Jane Labous

    This was a lovely festival to be part of, and very local to me. I attended the screening and awards ceremony with my production team, and we were thrilled to be presented with an award. Lovely people and very well organised. I'd definitely put work in again. Thank you, Southampton Film Week 😊

    December 2019
  • Excellent festival, genuinely values the work of filmmakers and passionate about promoting their work and encouraging new filmmaking talent. I had a fantastic time at the event at City Eye, including a short presentation from Alice from the BFI, where the networking was great. I've had dealings with other festivals in the Southampton region but this is far and above the best festival for filmmakers and film fans on many, many levels. I hope to be back!

    November 2019
  • Samuel Cocum

    Great festival with a strong and varied selection of films. Screened in an excellent venue with really helpful and supportive staff. I look forward to submitting a film next year!

    December 2017
  • javad daraei

    I am very happy and welcome every year to participate in your festival and thank you for this fine festival.

    November 2017
  • Ben Grace

    A fantastic festival, I've had the pleasure of attending for the past four years. SFW always offers a plethora of screenings, industry days and training opportunities.

    August 2017