The Southern City® Film Festival (SCFF) will celebrate its 4th annual film festival from February 20-23, 2020. SCFF is committed to providing an outstanding experience for both our filmmakers and our audiences. Located in Aiken, SC 'Southern Living Magazine' recently named Aiken as the South's "Best Small Town" in America!

Featuring industry roundtables, filmmaker Q&A's, VIP Lounge, prizes, parties with TITOS® open bar and amazing food, celebrity guests, after parties, networking events, and so much more. This year's festival is sure to have something for everyone! In previous years we have screened over 70 films across 5 different venues with multiple world premiers.

Southern City® is Aiken's premier film event of the year. The festival attracts hundreds of attendees each year including industry professionals and emerging undiscovered independent filmmakers.

All filmmakers chosen will receive two (2) Filmmaker Badges allowing ALL ACCESS to all events throughout the festival. Join us this year to see southern hospitality epitomized.

"Hollywood glam meets southern charm at the southeast's best film festival, Southern City." - Ashley Bratcher (Actress/Writer)

"This festival is a HOME RUN!" "The Southern hospitality never stops in Aiken." "Not pretentious and not boring." - Douglas Monroe (Filmmaker)

"Good food, great films, and new friends await you in in Aiken, SC." - Jared Callahan (Filmmaker)

"SCFF takes southern hospitality to a new level. They create a great experience for the filmmakers. It was a pleasure to attend a festival that wasn't over-programmed. There was plenty of time between screenings for Q & A, a bite to eat, and real human connections. Feature selections showed a real sense of artistic taste. It's nice to know that SCFF's standards make your selection meaningful; not just another set of laurels. I felt valued and validated having a short film at SCFF; rather than insignificant and ignored." - Nick Lavanos (Filmmaker)

"The hospitality shown to me and my team was world class. Aiken, South Carolina is a magical place. A perfect setting for an amazing film festival." - Chris White (Filmmaker)

We have prizes for each category!

Best Feature Film
Best Documentary Film
Best Short Film
Best Animation Film
Best Homegrown Film
Best Screenplay
-Short & Feature

Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Cinematography

Along with our Jury Awards

We provide fee waiver codes for festival alumni & CSRA productions. Please contact us if needed.

The Southern City Institute is dedicated to the education and promotion of the arts by celebrating film through the Southern City Film Festival. SCFF seeks to create venues in the community to encourage education, artistic expression, and acknowledge emerging filmmakers from around the world and within our community.

COMPLETION DATE: Only films made within the last two (2) years are eligible for submission. Southern City does not have any premiere requirements. However, the festival does take previous screenings and broadcasts into consideration when making its official selections, particularly when films have already screened in South Carolina.

LANGUAGE: Screeners and exhibition prints must either be in English or have English subtitles.

ROUGH CUTS: Rough cuts are accepted for entry. If you submit a rough cut, we cannot guarantee that the programmers will be able to review an updated cut at a later date. If you are submitting a rough cut, make sure it is indicated as such on your submission copy. Include intended final running time and work remaining to be completed with your entry. Southern City does not exhibit works-in-progress at the festival. Films must be completed by November 15, 2019 in order to be screened.

EXHIBITION FORMATS: You must have one of the following formats available by July 15, 2018, if accepted, for screening at the festival.

**UPDATE** We're doing away with requiring DVD's, we're going to digital files only this year!

FESTIVAL NOTIFICATION: Notification will be sent by email or phone to the contact listed on the entry form by mid-August 2018. You are responsible for updating Southern City directly regarding any change to your contact information and ensuring that emails from are not blocked by spam filters.

SUBMISSION FORMAT: Southern City requires a digital file of the film. It must be under 10gb and at at least 1920x1080.

FOR INTERNATIONAL SUBMISSIONS: (Outside U.S.) - filmmakers MUST write on the package, "NO commercial value - for cultural purposes only."

APPLICATION DETAILS: Preview materials will NOT be returned. Include the film title, running time, and format (NTSC or PAL) on your disc. All entry deadlines are postmark deadlines. Entries postmarked after the final deadline will not be considered. Submission fees are non-refundable.


By submitting this film and/or screenplay, I understand that I am agreeing to the following:

I own or control the copyright in and to, and am duly authorized to submit this film and/or screenplay to the Southern City Film Festival ("Southern City") and to the best of my knowledge, all statements on this document are true; I take responsibility for securing and obtaining any and all third party material, trademarked material and copyrighted material (collectively, the "Content"). Southern City will not be held responsible for any Content in my film which may result in a claim arising out of use of the Content. If Southern City requests, I will provide all appropriate clearance paperwork for Content. This film contains no material which could result in tort claims, royalty claims, claims for breach of contract, or claims of any sort whatsoever; If this film is selected for screening at Southern City, I grant Southern City the right to screen this film in Aiken, South Carolina, November 2-4, 2018; I understand and agree that this film entry, if selected for the Festival, may be used for promotional and advertising purposes for Southern City and/or its partners and affiliates and I grant Southern City and its partners the rights to use up to two minutes of footage, photographic stills and/or titles and information from the film for promotional purposes; I fully indemnify and hold Southern City and its partners and affiliates harmless from: a) damage to or loss of the film print or videotapes en route to or from Southern City or during the course of festival possession of the entry; and b) from any claims which may arise in connection with this film. If a claim arises in connection with this film, I will bear all the costs of defense incurred by Southern City and pay any award of damages which may ensue. I also agree to reimburse Southern City for any attorney fees incurred in connection with the defense of such a claim. I understand their will be no refunds. I also understand that Southern City reserves the right to place my film in the appropriate competition category. By submitting my film, I am indicating that I understand, comply with and agree to the Terms of Entry and the eligibility requirements.

Overall Rating
  • Tim Johnson

    I won a Grand Jury Award at this year's festival for my film, Keep The Engine Running. This was my fifth festival for this film and it really felt like the best one. I felt very welcomed and respected and I really enjoyed participating in the panel discussion. Everyone was very enthusiastic and felt like family. From the Tito's-sponosored, open bar to the great food and to the professional projection and audio, this festival got it all right IMO. Kudos to Justin Wheelon and his crew for a great event.

    February 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Tim! Keep the Engine Running was a fun ride from the opening frame to the last! Kudos to you and your crew for pulling off that authentic 70’s vibe. We enjoyed having you and thank you for your contribution to the filmmaking community!


    A great festival made by great people. Thank you so much for making us part of the SCFF experience. Love from Mexico!

    February 2019
    Response from festival:

    🇲🇽 We are proud to have you as an alumni! Keep making beautiful films!

  • My short film "the Wanting" was at the Southern City Fest this year and I have to say that this was one of the best festivals I have been associated with. From the awesome Friday night Opening Party until the end, they treat you like a million dollars. They give you the opportunity to showcase your film as well as answer questions about it. I cannot wait to submit my next film her and join them again. Justin Wheelon and your team ROCK!

    February 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for the kind words. We try and show that famous "southern hospitality" as much as we can! Can't wait to see you turn "The Wanting" into a series!! See you again here in the future for sure!

  • Southern City Film Festival is a great multi-day film festival in Aiken, SC. Very supportive of independent filmmakers. Thanks for the chance to take part!

    March 2019
  • John Leary

    Great communication from Justin and his crew. Timely. Considerate. It was an honor to have my short script 100 Proof Warlock in the Fest.

    March 2019