Southampton Film Week, now in its 17th 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. In a change from previous years, we will be accepting films of up to 15 minutes in length, including titles and credits. The only other limitations set are that the film must have been made no earlier than January 2023, 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, Best Artist Film and Best Music Video. 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 the best animated film across all categories will be awarded the Solent University Award for Best Animated Film.

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 8 and 17 November 2024.

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

Best Music Video - for short films that integrate visual imagery with a song or an album, including performance, narrative, concept or animation

Solent University Award for Best Animated Film - all shortlisted animation films are eligible; awarded by the panel of judges.

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.

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 15 minutes duration (including titles and credits). There is no minimum length. Films made before January 2023 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 Wednesday 1st June 2024. The Regular deadline is Friday 2nd August 2024.
10) The Late and final deadline is Tuesday 1st October 2024. 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 18th October 2024.
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 SFW24. 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. All animated films from any category will be eligible for the Best Animation prize. 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: 1st October 2024

Good Luck!

Overall Rating
  • Good festival, thank you for selecting my short film NATURE ATTACK.

    April 2024
  • Tyrese Shipp

    A wonderful evening of some brilliant hand picked films. I had a wonderful time, the organisers were extremely friendly and I shall definitely be coming along. Well worth entering!

    November 2023
  • boredomresearch .

    Fantastic festival, really well organised and it was great to see such a diverse range of films screened. We are very proud that our film 'Call of the Silent Cell' won Best Film, Best Artist Film and Best Regional Filmmaker Awards. Thanks for a great event, looking forward to the next one.

    December 2022
  • Iosu CowHedgehog

    Nice of them to show my film, but all the shorts were crammed into one single day, there was no networking oportunity, no way to know who is a filmmaker or who isn't, no filmmakers acreditation given. I just felt like I walked into a normal cinema were apparently some filmmakers were present, but lost in the crowd. No introductions or discussions of each film so no way to know who made what, which would have helped network.
    They could at least arrange some sort of filmmakers meetup before or after.

    I've been to a lot of film festivals and the way this one operated was very disappointing.

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for sharing your film with us and for your feedback. We are sorry that you were unhappy with the experience at our Screening and Awards event. Unfortunately a number of challenges dictated that we could not offer a networking experience for filmmakers on the night. We are in planning for this year's SFW: Shorts Screening and Awards and are focused on ensuring a better experience for all filmmakers.
    Thank you again for submitting to and attending Southampton Film Week.

  • Francesca Svampa

    I could not attend, but my experience with the festival has been great. We are happy and honoured to be part of it among other great films.

    November 2022