Not every ‘other world’ is far away or in the future. UNDER WORLDS has played as part of OTHER WORLDS SCIFI FILM FESTIVAL since its second year, and in 2021 it emerged from the shadows as its own festival. At Under Worlds, we bring the best in indie horror to Austin, TX using the same curatorial eye that has earned our festival rave reviews from fans and press alike at Other Worlds, with much of the same team.

SciFi and Horror share the same heritage- they put voice to mankind facing the unknown. If SciFi reflects the piercing light of imagination and research, Horror sinks into the darkness of fear and doubt. If SciFi can transport you to other worlds of possibility, Horror often reveals the darkness just under the world we know.

We're looking for the freshest new voices in Horror & SciFi filmmaking.

Horror films aim to create a sense of distress, panic, alarm, and dread for the audience. They can be unsettling either through what is portrayed on screen, or the thoughts they provoke inside the viewer, preying on our worst fears and nightmares.

Playing UW allows you to tap into the loyal, engaged, genre-crazy fanbase we've spent the last eight years building. With affordable submission fees, we make sure the best new Horror projects have a platform here in Austin, the Geek Capital of the World!


Filmmakers have a blast here! We firmly believe in framing our festival around you - the filmmaker. At UW, you can count on a full theater of genre fans eager to watch your film (and ask you questions after - we hold a Q&A after every screening!) Network with other artists at our Filmmaker Happy Hour and throughout the fest.

We get the word out about your film! We want our programs to have the biggest reach possible – we pick the films we do for a reason, after all (hint: they’re awesome and everyone should see them). UW prides itself with awesome marketing efforts, both on our own website/blog and coverage from taste-maker publications like The Austin Chronicle and Austin360. And those full audiences we mentioned earlier? They’re ready to spread the word too by telling their friends and sharing on social media. Word-of-mouth for the win!

We f-ing love genre! Lots of festivals only have so many slots reserved for “genre” films. That’s where we come in.

How about reasonable fees & transparency? We know how rough it is out there money-wise for artists (many of us on the team are filmmakers ourselves.) UW prices its submissions accordingly and of course rewards thinking ahead with cheaper Early Bird rates! Another thing we offer: transparency to submitters. Even if you aren’t accepted to the festival, feel free to request feedback from our programmers. You paid us money – the least we can do is offer some constructive notes on your project and why it didn’t make the cut this time.

Selected by a jury of awesome industry people and the programming team.

Best Feature
Best Short
Best Director (for short/feature)
Best Acting (for short/feature)
Best Screenplay (for short/feature)
Best Cinematographer (for short/feature)
Best Production Design (for short/feature)
Best Editor (for short/feature)
Best VFX (for short/feature)
Best Score (for short/feature)

Films will be judged and selected based on their narrative quality. Action Films, Comedies, Horror, and Dramas can all be Horror if the setting or story lines have a particular horrific bent. We especially love SciFi Horror.

Horror films aim to create a sense of distress, panic, alarm, and dread for the audience. They can be unsettling either through what is portrayed on screen, or the thoughts they provoke inside the viewer, preying on our worst fears and nightmares. Documentaries and animation will be accepted as long as the films are story-based and not experimental or facts-and-figures types of filmmaking and would be of interest to genre fans (we've played docs every year). Music Videos will be acceptable if they tell a cohesive story (think "Take On Me" by A-ha). Films can be one-minute or feature length and of any production quality, we are looking to reward ingenuity, not your ability to buy an authentic xenomorph costume. Features must be 41 minutes or longer, Shorts 40 minutes or shorter.

UnderWorlds is a green festival. Features and Shorts must be submitted as an online screener. You may use the FilmFreeway system or Vimeo, although Vimeo is preferred because it allows for streaming to giant television sets through things like Roku or Amazon Fire. Please check your upload and make sure that it plays properly, has sound and (if foreign) English subtitles. Under Worlds is not responsible for the streaming quality of Secure Online Submissions uploaded by the filmmaker. If your entry is unable to be watched by our programmers due to issues with your upload, your film may be disqualified and no refund will be made.

Features and Shorts must be available to screen as a digital file. If you are unable or unwilling to provide us your film as a digital file, DO NOT SUBMIT your film.

Films may not have been shown publicly (online, theatrically, on VOD or at a festival) prior to December 1, 2019. If a film was submitted to Other Worlds, we are happy to reconsider it for Under Worlds 2022, but only recommend re-submission if significant changes have been made. Films must be available for screening during Under Worlds, May 2022.

Films must be AUSTIN PREMIERES. Just to be clear, your film cannot have screened at any other Austin-based festival and remain eligible for Under Worlds. This includes Austin Revolution, Austin Lift-Off, Austin Spotlight, Austin Indie, Austin Comedy, Austin Micro, Austin After Dark, Austin Under the Stars, Etherial or any other festival that screens in Austin. Also always be sure the Austin festival you submit to screens in an actual theater on a weekend and its run by people who actually live in Austin and can get an audience in to see your film. Once Austin became the coolest place in the US, festivals started popping up every other week here. Some are run by Los Angelenos and screen films on Tuesday evening for audiences of 3 unsuspecting filmmakers.

Other than Austin, no other premiere status is required. Quality of filmmaking equal, some preference will be given to World, US or Texas Premieres. Short films available publicly online will be eligible for the festival, but features will not. Short films that have appeared on US network or cable television will also be eligible for screening at the festival, features that have appeared on US network or cable television or available for VOD/download/purchase will not be eligible for screening at the festival.

Under Worlds does not pay screening fees under any circumstance. By submitting your film, you are agreeing to screen your film without a screening fee or any other compensation if selected.

COMPETITION CERTIFICATION I/We have read all of the Under Worlds (a.k.a. Festival or UW) rules. I/We understand and have complied with these rules. I/We warrant the submission of my/our original work and there are no disputes regarding the ownership of the submission. I/We also warrant the submitted material does not defame or invade the rights of any person living or dead and I/we fully indemnify the Festival against any claim made for such violations of law. To the best of my/our knowledge, all of the statements herein are true and correct. I/We understand that failure to adhere to the Festival rules will result in disqualification and forfeiture of entry fee. I/We agree to hold Under Worlds harmless from and defend them against all claims, demands, losses, damages, judgments, liabilities, and expenses (including attorney’s fees) arising out of or in connection with any and all claims of third parties, whether or not groundless, based on any film submitted to the Festival. Once an entry payment has been processed we cannot provide a refund. If a payment is disputed, the account holder may be subject to any fees.

Please note: Under Worlds does not waive entry fees. Entry fees are the primary source of income for the running of the festival. We understand the financial constraint of filmmaking and costs of submitting to festivals and have kept our fees low in order to allow the most number of submissions as possible. We hope you can find it in your budget to submit your film.

Overall Rating
  • Grateful to have my debut film premiere here. Great festival elevated by a strong emphasis on filmmaker connections. Met a lot of cool people and felt quite appreciated. Thanks for the hospitality Under Worlds.

    May 2022
  • Isaac Rathbone

    A great festival to be a part of that gave me a lot of support communication.

    March 2020
  • The crew at Other Worlds Austin are amazingly supportive friendly and on my sci-fi wavelength. I loved the festival. I appreciate that they have a competition category for Sci-Fi TV pilots. This is a particular skill set and I appreciate being evaluated by and among my peers. The films were very high quality, inspiring and thought provoking. If you're a sci-fi filmmaker or screenwriter, I can't recommend this festival highly enough.

    January 2019
  • I am reviewing this competition after entering the screenplay contest. This contest is top notch. You can feel the quality here. In terms of value, this is money well spent. In the upper tiers they offer feedback and promotions for your screenplay which you can't really beat that for the price. Networking and communication are great, there is a huge noticeable difference here with this competition as compared with many others. Other Worlds Austin has a dedicated Facebook page and website with tons of info about their competition. I was not left in the dark on anything. Plus if I did have a question I simply emailed my category director and received an answer within 24 hours usually. The judges, directors and curators of this competition all exceeded my expectations. Plus they have a really cool mascot! You can't go wrong entering this contest. I hope to enter this one every year moving forward.

    December 2018
  • A must in Sci-Fi Festivals. Other Worlds is recognized as the apex in new Sci-Fi story telling while honoring the past. Truly amazing to have been involved in the 2017 Season and can't wait to submit for 2018!

    December 2017