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SXSW Doesn't Wait for Sundance: Film Festival Moves Up Submission Deadlines

Photo of Dana Harris By Dana Harris | Indiewire June 1, 2011 at 10:55AM

Heads up, filmmakers: If you want to be considered for SXSW, you'll need to submit your film before you hear from Sundance.
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Heads up, filmmakers: If you want to be considered for SXSW, you'll need to submit your film before you hear from Sundance.

The final submission deadline for the 2012 SXSW Film Festival is November 15, 2011. For the 2011 festival, the deadline was December 9, 2010.

Beyond calendar adjustments, the deadline date change represents interesting positioning on the part of SXSW. November 15 is a good two weeks ahead of the time that the Sundance Film Festival traditionally announces its lineup -- the starting gun of the new year's festival circuit.

In the past, SXSW's submission deadline would allow a film that didn't make the cut at Sundance enough time to then be submitted for SXSW consideration. Under the new SXSW deadline, a filmmaker could still be considered for both festivals, but it would require simultaneous submissions to do so.

However, festival producer Janet Pierson says the change has nothing to do with Sundance and everything to do with managing an onslaught of submissions with a limited staff. Last year, SXSW received direct submissions of 2,000 features and 3,000 shorts.

"We just need more time," she says. "The submission increase was 23% last year.  We need the extra time to give careful, serious consideration to all the submissions. The old deadline was just cutting it too close with the turnaround."

For the 2012 SXSW Film Festival, the call for entries begins in early August. The 2012 festival will run Friday, March 9-Saturday March 17.