26th Annual

Austin Film Festival

October 24, 2019 to October 31, 2019

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Film Market
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1801 Salina St.
Austin TX 78702
Phone: 512-478-4795
Fax: 512-478-6205

DECISIONS ALREADY MADE • This event has already made decisions and notified submitters for the current cycle. Submissions are no longer being accepted.

Narrative Feature
Any narrative work of fiction with a running time of 41 minutes or longer. Feature films must be at least a Texas Premiere, but US and World Premieres are always preferred.
Narrative Short
Any narrative work of fiction with a running time of 40 minutes or less. Shorts must be Austin premieres, although Texas Premieres are preferred.
Narrative Student Short
Any student narrative work of fiction with a running time of 40 minutes or less. The film's credited writer or director must be a current student or completed the film during the time the filmmaker was a student. Student Shorts must be non-animated, narrative works only. Documentary and Animated Shorts should be entered in their respective category. Shorts must be Austin Premieres, but Texas Premieres are preferred.
Entrant must provide proof of enrollment in the form of an official transcript or signed letter from faculty on official letterhead. This can be sent to programming@austinfilmfestival.com
Documentary Feature
Any non-fiction film with a running time of 41 minutes or longer. Feature films must be at least a Texas Premiere, but US and World Premieres are always preferred. AFF specifically looks for documentaries that tell compelling and well-structured stories.
Documentary Short
Any non-fiction work of film with a running time of 40 minutes or less. Shorts must be Austin premieres, although Texas Premieres are preferred. AFF prefers films with compelling and well-structured stories.
Animated Short
Any animated narrative work of fiction with a running time of 40 minutes or less. Open to any form of animation. Animated Shorts must be narrative works only--no experimental pieces. Shorts must be Austin premieres, although Texas Premieres are preferred.
Dark Matters Feature
Any narrative work of fiction with a running time of 41 minutes or longer and with a story that is easily identified as belonging to the horror or thriller genre and that embodies dark themes, unconventional subject matter, or suspenseful sensibilities. Films must be at least a Texas Premiere, but US and World Premieres are always preferred.
Comedy Vanguard Feature
Films must be feature-length, 41 minutes or longer.
Must be original narrative films that encompass any and all forms of the comedy genre, where the only thing that outweighs the humor is the story.
Films must be Texas Premieres (prefer World/North American/US Premieres)
Open to anyone who wishes to enter.


Austin Film Festival furthers the art and craft of filmmaking by inspiring and championing the work of screenwriters, filmmakers, and all artists who use the language of film to tell a story.

Austin Film Festival recognizes the writer as the heart of the creative process of filmmaking and strives to uncover outstanding, emerging filmmakers; serve as a creative catalyst for legendary, contemporary and rising talent; foster their development through panels, workshops and master classes conducted by professionals; recognize, encourage, and challenge the skills of these new filmmakers and provide outreach opportunities to writers and filmmakers.


Known as the “Writers Festival” since its inception 26 years ago, Austin Film Festival recognizes the importance of narrative at the core of filmmaking. By celebrating the work of storytellers; those committed to crafting intricate worlds, fully-formed characters, and diverse perspectives, AFF bolsters its reputation as a champion for the creator.

AFF provides filmmakers an invaluable platform among industry professionals and film-lovers. We’ve helped launch the careers of countless filmmakers including Jason Reitman, Cary Fukunaga, Jeff Nichols, Ray McKinnon, Chase Palmer, and Stephen Falk.

Each category is presided over by our A-list jurors, who in the past have included America Ferrera, Tom Skerritt, Ashley Miller, Scott Neustadter, Maz Jobrani, and representatives from CBS Films, Roadside Attractions, Sundance Institute, Indiewire, Showtime, Seed&Spark, The Hollywood Reporter, The Orchard, and Gravitas Ventures.

Moviemaker Magazine consistently names Austin one of the best cities in which to be a moviemaker and continues to list AFF as one of the Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.

Keep in mind that the Jury Award winners of our Narrative, Documentary and Animated Short categories officially qualify for an Academy Award.

In addition to the films, our annual Screenwriter's Conference draws high profile Hollywood talent like 2018 panelists Roger Corman, Larry Wilmore, Tony Gilroy, Nicole Holofcener, John August, Craig Mazin, Peter Hedges, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, Justin Marks, Michael Weber and Scott Neustadter, Nicole Perlman, Ed Solomon, Chapman and Maclain Way, Herschel Weingrod, Bill Wittliff, Graham Yost and Linda Woolverton. The AFF Film Competition gives every filmmaker the chance to hear from and network with filmmakers and industry insiders like these, all of whom come to Austin looking to meet fellow artists.

Bottom Line: At Austin Film Festival, we pride ourselves on building a unique and powerful hub for filmmakers. By submitting your work to AFF, you’re entering into this welcoming and dynamic community where new visions and untapped talent can flourish. Beyond production value, budget, and stars, we value the power of a well-told story. We can’t wait for you to tell us yours.


Barbara Morgan (Executive Director); Rob Gonzalez (Film Competition Director)



The following rules govern all film submissions to the Austin Film Festival (“AFF” or the “Festival”)

General Eligibility

1. Submissions must be accompanied by the applicable submission fee PER ENTRY and a completed online entry form.

2. All films must be in English or have English subtitles at the time submitted.

3. In the event of a password change or link change after submitting, you must email the Festival at programming@austinfilmfestival.com immediately with that change so we may update your record. If the Festival is not notified of the change and the link is found to be inactive or the password to be incorrect, the submission may be deemed ineligible, without a refund.

4. AFF screens films as digital files during the Festival and does NOT screen films on Blu-Ray, HD-CAM, or DCP. If you are unable or unwilling to provide us your film as a digital file for exhibition, DO NOT SUBMIT your film.

5. Films must have been completed after April 1, 2018. Films must be available for screening during the Austin Film Festival, October 24-31, 2019.

6. Films that have been submitted to AFF in previous years are eligible to be resubmitted, provided they are eligible according to all of AFF’s current rules.

7. Films with US distribution (obtained prior to being selected for AFF screening) or films produced, financed or initiated by a major film studio or television network are ineligible for competition, but may be considered for a special screening. Selection for screening will be determined no later than one month prior to the festival. Films that have screened on US network or cable television or distributed to theaters prior to the festival dates are also ineligible for competition.

8. Short Films that have played in Austin in a theatrical setting to a public audience prior to October 24, 2019 are not eligible to compete at Austin Film Festival. This includes Shorts Night or other festivals. The ONLY exception is that a short may play as part of a class screening for an accredited university’s film program. We prefer that shorts be Texas premieres.

9. Short films that are publicly available online prior to the Festival may be considered for exhibition during the Festival, but will be ineligible for Jury Awards. We prefer that shorts not be publicly available online.

10. Feature films must be at least a Texas premiere. AFF will not screen features in competition that have played at other Texas festivals or screened publicly in a theater in Texas (including a one night only screening in a rented space) prior to October 24, 2019. We prefer World, North American, and US premieres and all things being equal, will often opt to program the film that has not yet had a release over one that has played at several festivals.

11. Private invite-only screenings (for instance for cast and crew or donors) do not affect a film’s eligibility.

12. AFF reserves the right in its sole discretion to reject or disqualify any ineligible entries, without a refund.

13. Films that are selected to screen at the Festival may not necessarily be selected to be “in competition” for awards purposes. Notifications regarding potential selection for competition status possibly may occur subsequent to notifications of acceptance for exhibition.

Originality and Permissions; INDEMNITY

1. Films must be the original work of the applicants. If a film is based upon another person’s life or upon a book or other underlying work, applicant(s) must secure any necessary rights to make such adaptations. However, it is not necessary to submit the adaptation rights agreements to the Festival. Neither the Festival nor its jurists investigates or attests to the authenticity of an applicant’s statement of authorship or rights secured. By entering the competition, you represent that you have secured all necessary rights.

2. Applicants are solely responsible for obtaining all necessary rights and permissions for third-party materials included in their films, including but not limited to music, trademarks, logos, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights. AFF expressly disclaims all liability or responsibility for any violations of the foregoing.

Additional Information

1. We strongly encourage filmmakers to submit their film only after it is fully finished and will judge each submission as a completed work, whether it is or not. Once a film is entered, we will not update the submission with a more recent cut. That said, because AFF’s focus is on story, minor technical changes will not affect the final decision of any film. Should the film be accepted to play during the Festival, the filmmaker will have the opportunity to supply the Festival with their most recent version.

2. Filmmakers who are unsure whether to enter their film into the Narrative Feature Category or one of the genre categories (Dark Matters or Comedy Vanguard) should select the genre category so the film will be watched with that in mind. Austin Film Festival reserves the right to switch the entry category or otherwise assign a category to fit programming needs and interests, and films will not be penalized for the original submission selection.

3. Once an entry payment has been received we cannot provide a refund. If a payment is disputed by an entrant for any reason, the entrant may be subject to any transaction fees or similar amounts incurred by AFF in connection with the dispute.

4. You MUST include your physical address either in your entry or in your cover letter. Please do not submit a film without giving us your address, which we need for our records.

5. Payments made with a check are subject to our Bounced Check Policy: If we receive a returned check from our bank for a payment you made, you will be invoiced for the original amount of the check plus a $25 bounced check fee. The payment of the invoiced amount will be due within 30 days of invoice date. We will not re-submit the original check, nor will we accept another check for repayment. Repayment must be made by money order or cashier’s check.

6. Please include in your cover letter if your film was SHOT IN TEXAS (include locations) or made by TEXAS FILMMAKERS. We don't want to miss your film!

The Austin Film Festival does NOT waive entry fees. AFF believes waiving entry fees hurts the integrity of the competition. The same rules and entry fees should apply to all applicants so no one film is favored over another. In a similar respect AFF does NOT invite films to be in competition. ONLY films submitted will be considered for competition.

We understand the financial constraint of filmmaking and costs of submitting to festivals and we still hope you can find it in your budget to submit your film.

Selected Films and Winners

1. AFF has no obligation (other than as stated in these rules or on our website) to disclose any of the following information: i) identities of screeners or judges; ii) notes, feedback, or information relating to the submitted project; and/or iii) details regarding the submission review or selection process.

2. AFF explicitly disclaims any liability or responsibility for any comments, notes, or opinions expressed about a submission, whether by AFF or by its volunteers.

3. Winners will be announced on October 26, 2019. The judges’ decision is final.

4. Winners receiving cash prizes are solely responsible for payment of all applicable local, state, and federal taxes.


DVDs and press materials will not be returned under any circumstances. Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard for each submission if you wish acknowledgment of the receipt of your entry.




I/We have read all of the rules, understand, and have complied with these rules.

I/We warrant the submission of my/our original work and that 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.

To the best of my/our knowledge, all the statements herein are true and correct.

I/We understand that failure to adhere to the competition rules and regulations will result in disqualification and forfeiture of entry fee.

I/We acknowledge that once an entry payment has been processed, AFF will not provide a refund.

No revisions of materials will be accepted once entry has been submitted.