2020 was a tumultuous year as Covid-19 brought the world to a halt. The year taught us new words and new ways of living. It forced us to rethink and reimagine how we run exhibitions and festivals and many live events moved online with guests showing up on their own small rectangular boxes rather than in person.

In the last few months of 2020 some of the major festivals and exhibitions in the Southasian region took place online, including the Dharamshala International Film Festival, the Mumbai International Film Festival, the Indus Valley International Film Festival. Photo Kathmandu 2020, the Kathmandu Mountain International Film Festival as well as online film screenings by the Documentary Association of Pakistan and entirely online pitching sessions like the one held by Dhaka DocLab.

Film Southasia is putting out this call for submissions with the expectation that FSA’21 will be an in person festival, but we will also be preparing an online version of the festival just in case the pandemic does not settle down by then.

We are excited to make this call for submissions and are looking forward to receiving films from all parts of Southasia and from around the world.

Film Southasia invites submissions for the 13th edition of the premier documentary festival of films on the Southasian region that will take place from 2 – 5 December 2021 in Kathmandu.

Film Southasia (FSA) is a biennial festival held in Kathmandu, Nepal, initiated in 1997 to popularise documentaries that inform, entertain and transform lives. In between festivals, a package of fine and representative films travel the region and overseas as mini-festivals titled Travelling Film Southasia (TFSA).

‘Ram Bahadur Trophy’ for Best Film

Runner-Up Award

Tareque Masud Debut Film Award

UNICEF-Nepal Award for social/children’s issues

Student Film Award (entries to be submitted through film schools)

Non-fiction films made after 1 January 2019 are eligible for entry in FSA 2021. Films made in this period that have been submitted to FSA in previous years, but have not been selected, may be submitted again. Entries must necessarily be on Southasian themes or subjects, while the filmmakers need not be Southasian. Entries may cover any subject pertaining to Southasia: from people, culture, lifestyle and adventure to environment, economy, politics and history. Entries that have not been released publicly will receive some priority. Films may be in any Southasian language, but have to be subtitled or dubbed in English.

Film Southasia accepts entries in the following categories; Competitive, Non-Competitive and Student films.

Both shorts and full length feature productions are welcome. However, for shorts, the film duration must be more than 10 minutes.

There is no charge for entry.


Submission deadline for entries:
Regular Deadline: 31 July 2021
Entries must be submitted through FilmFreeway.com along with an application.

Notification Date: 15 September 2021
Directors/producers of entries which have been selected will be notified and asked to submit copies in professional video format for screening at FSA.

Submission of final version of selected films: 1 October 2021
Filmmakers must submit the final version of their entry through FilmFreeway.com for screening at FSA before this date.

Films must be submitted via online screener ONLY. We do not accept DVDs, pen drives or hard drives.
If selected, the film you upload to FilmFreeway.com must meet the following criteria:
Video bitrate: 18000 Kbps, H.264, mp4
Audio: 320 Kbps, AAC, 2 channel stereo
Aspect ratio preserved; maximum video height of 1080 pixels
Cinemascope videos should HAVE black bars
Subtitles should be in English and should be over video for films in cinemascope

The festival reserves the right to use up to 10 percent of the entry’s running time for promotional use. Production stills, filmmaker bio-sketches and other information submitted in the entry form may also be used for promotional purposes on the web, print, television etc.

Films submitted in the competitive category are judged by a three-member jury. The ‘Ram Bahadur Trophy’ carries a cash prize of USD 2000, while the Runner-Up Award, Debut Film Award and UNICEF-Nepal Award each carry cash prizes of USD 1000.The Best Student Film Award carries a cash prize of USD 500. All awards come with citations. Selections made by the FSA Jury are final.

FSA ’21 will select a maximum of 45 films in the competitive category and a varying number in the other categories.

As in the past, FSA expects to host the maximum number of delegates of selected films. Besides attendance in screenings and the camaraderie among filmmakers coming from a spectrum of Southasian societies, November and early December is also a pleasant and culturally vibrant time to be in Kathmandu Valley. FSA offers complimentary food and accommodation to delegates, who will have to bear their own travel costs to and from their home countries.

The final submissions of the selected films will be deleted from all our databases at the filmmaker’s request unless filmmakers want the FSA Archive to retain a copy.

All submissions will be catalogued for the FSA Archive. These copies will be maintained as a record for FSA and will be made available in-house to researchers and journalists. Films in the FSA Archive are held in trust, and will not be screened commercially.

It is the sole responsibility of the filmmaker to ensure s/he owns full copyright to the submitted film. The filmmaker is required to clear all contents of the submitted film from any and all actual or potential legal claims and issues and must have express permission from all parties involved in the production of the film. FSA reserves the right to disqualify any film with unauthorised inclusion of copyrighted/trademarked content or materials. In the event that any claim, dispute, action or proceeding is asserted by any person or entity that alleges that the film makes unauthorised or unlawful use of any copyrighted content or material, the filmmaker shall fully indemnify FSA from any liability in connection therewith and from any fees and expenses that may be incurred in light of such claims.

Overall Rating
  • Schokofeh Kamiz

    I unfortunately was not able to attend! Considering the strong line-up I am happy to be selected. I'll definitely submit future projects to them again.

    January 2020
  • simone mestroni

    Great film selection and warm hospitality!!

    November 2019
  • Wonderful festival. You could really feel that they put so much work and effort into it in order to make it so full of life! It was an honour to be part of this film festival.

    November 2019
  • Jesse Alk

    I unfortunately was not able to attend at the last minute, but Film Southasia was a really excellent festival to deal with. Communication was excellent, the other films that I've seen from their program were all very strong, and I think it's a "must apply" for documentary festivals in South Asia, where the form is undervalued by so many other festivals and commercial outlets. These are people who really care about non-fiction filmmaking, that is clear.

    November 2019