Southampton Film Week, now in its 15th year, is a festival at the heart of the South of England's developing production hub. The festival is focused on creating opportunities for filmmakers through its programme of networking, workshops and masterclasses and in providing opportunities for work to be showcased to the wider public and film community.

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. Within Southampton Film Week you will find features and shorts, drama and documentary, and 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 2021, 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. Animation can be submitted to any of the three categories and in 2022 the festival, for the first time, will award a prize for Best Animation.

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 is now located within its 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.

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 11 and 20 November 2022.

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

Please read our terms and conditions before submitting.

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-fiction 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 and voted for by the audience during the festival.

Animation Award - eligible for all shortlisted animation films, awarded by the panel of judges.

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 2021 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
  • Laurent Metrich

    This was a brilliant night. The networking opening event and mid projection break were nice opportunities to meet other film makers. The whole process was very smooth and it was great to see my film against some strong competition! Laurent

    February 2022
  • What a joy it was to participate in Southampton Film Week two years in a row! Even though we could only participate virtually this year, the in-person festival looked fabulous and we so enjoyed watching all the films online! Southampton does such an amazing job of finding the most interesting and unconventional films from around the world! A big thank you to the team for such a wonderful festival and for allowing us to share our short film “Tales of the Marvelous and News of the Strange” with your audience!

    December 2021
  • Trudie Shutler

    Thanks for a great festival and thanks for selecting my film.

    November 2021
  • Blank Shore Productions

    What a fantastic festival. A brilliant night of shorts in a wonderful location. The team were very easy to chat to and super supportive and helpful. We came away as very proud winners of the Michael Fuller award. A real honour!

    November 2021
  • 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