The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers is the South’s only tour of filmmakers. We collaborate with a network of Screening Partner venues and filmmakers to share the transformative power of indie film with people in communities across the South.

Southern Circuit is an amazing opportunity for both emerging and established filmmakers. Filmmakers are paid to tour with their film, participate in post-screening Q&A’s, and lead conversations through educational, social, and press engagements. Meeting with Southern audiences of all makeups and backgrounds, filmmakers share their work and experience their film through the lens of local audiences.

Southern Circuit works with our Screening Partners to develop independent film audiences throughout the South. Our Screening Partner venues come in many shapes and sizes, including schools and universities, performing arts centers, places of worship, and museums. Southern Circuit isn’t just for film aficionados – audiences are comprised of high school and college students, community members of all ages, families, social clubs—everyone! These are more than a screening; we connect audiences face-to-face with some of today’s most sought-after filmmakers for an in-depth look at the art of filmmaking and a host of relevant topics. Films explore the issues—and people—that affect our world, sparking important conversations at the local level.

We screen feature-length animation, documentary, experimental and narrative films. Southern Circuit is composed of three separate Circuits, each with six filmmakers (for 18 filmmakers total) who travel (by air and auto) to an estimated six-eight communities each throughout the South (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee). The Circuit tours take place the months of September, October, November, February, March, and April. Filmmakers will tour an estimated 10-12 days.

Filmmakers selected for the 2018-2019 Southern Circuit receive:
• A $400 screening honorarium for each screening on the tour. Total screening honoraria may total as much as $3,200.
• Paid travel expenses (prepaid airfare; reimbursement for car rental, gas expenses, and airline baggage fees) for the tour.
• A per diem of $200 (per evening away from home) to cover expenses for meals and lodging.
• Logistics and travel support from the South Arts staff.
• Marketing support from South Arts and Screening Partners for each screening.

Submission Rules

• Entry fees are nonrefundable.
• Submissions must be available via the secure online screener function of FilmFreeway. Discs will not be accepted. You are required to keep us informed if passwords are updated.
• Entrants are responsible for obtaining any necessary licenses, royalties, release forms, clearances, and permits necessary to present their work.
• Southern Circuit does not accept rough cuts, only completed films.
• All decisions made by Southern Circuit are final.

Film and Filmmaker Eligibility

• Southern Circuit accepts animation, documentaries, experimental and fiction films.
• Applicants must live in the United States with a valid driver’s license.
• Filmmakers must submit a film 40-120 minutes in length.
• Films must have been completed after January 1, 2016.
• Both online screeners and exhibition prints must either be in English or have English subtitles.
• Filmmakers will be expected to drive between venues that are 300 miles or less.
• Southern Circuit does not have premiere requirements. However, the program does take previous screenings and broadcasts into consideration during the selection process. It is the filmmaker’s responsibility to notify Southern Circuit of any change in a premiere status during the submission process.
• If a film has a confirmed distribution deal, the filmmaker (or their production company) must legally maintain festival and educational distribution rights to participate in Southern Circuit. South Arts does not provide distribution fees.
• Films selected to tour must screen in DVD, Blu-ray or DCP.

Terms and Conditions

By submitting your film to the 2018-2019 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, you authorize that your work can legally be screened for festival presentations, and used for educational and community outreach purposes. Entrant represents and warrants that all materials submitted shall be original work of the applicant (and its employees, if any), and not of any third party. Entrant warrants that it has good and marketable title to the entire submitted work. Entrant releases South Arts from any and all claims and causes of action whatsoever (including, without limitation, any infringement or violation of personal and/or property rights of any sort including, to the maximum extent permitted by law, defamation) arising from the use, production, promotion, distribution and exploitation, and presentation of the film. Entrant agrees to defend, indemnify and hold the South Arts harmless (including its directors, officers, and employees) from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, suits, damage costs, and expenses (including but not limited to reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs), and damages suffered, incurred, arising out of, or related to any claims that any part(s) or all of the film infringe upon any copyright or trademark (statutory or common law); constitute an invasion of the right of privacy or publicity; constitute a defamation; or constitute an infringement of any other right or any kind, of any third party.

Selection & Notification

Qualifying submissions enter into an adjudication process with films reviewed by Southern Circuit programmers, invited jurors (Southern Circuit alums, filmmakers, film festival programmers, film presenters, etc.). Final selections are made by Screening Partners who determine which films will screen in their communities as part of the 2018-2019 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers

The primary contact listed in the FilmFreeway submission will be notified of their film's status via email by June 8, 2018. It is the primary contact's responsibility to update Southern Circuit with any change in their relevant contact information or eligibility.

For questions, please contact Teresa Hollingsworth at

Overall Rating
  • John Upchurch

    The Southern Circuit is the best festival experience I have had. I can't recommend it enough. I attended seven screenings at universities throughout the southeast. The audiences were enthusiastic and asked lots of questions. Plus, I got paid to show my film. I am so grateful and proud to have been part of the 2016-2017 Southern Circuit Tour.

    February 2017