When does the 68th Sydney Film Festival take place?
18 to 29 August 2021.
How do I submit my film to the Sydney Film Festival?
Details of how to submit your film, along with SFF regulations and entry fee requirements are available at:
When is the submission deadline?
All submission categories close on 26 March 2021.
Please note that this is the date by which your online submission should be completed, fee paid, and link uploaded. This is especially important if you are submitting to the Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films because entries are submitted to the jury immediately after the closing date.
Can you mail or fax me a submission form?
No. We only accept online applications through
What are the submission fees?
- Australian Features – Fiction (over 40 minutes): $80.00
- Documentary Australia Foundation for Australian Documentary Prize: $45.00
- Dendy Awards for Best Live Action Short (under 40 minutes): $40.00
- Yoram Gross Animation Award (under 40 minutes): $40.00
- Screenability program: no fee applicable
- First Nation program: no fee applicable
All fees are in Australian dollars and include appropriate taxes.
Please note: Submission fees cannot be waived.
How can I pay the submission fee?
What do I do if I’ve missed the deadline?
Please email email@example.com – we do our best to be flexible wherever possible, however, with entries to competitive sections we do not accept further submissions once the jury or selection panel has commenced viewing.
Where can I find out if my film is eligible for the Sydney Film Festival?
Full SFF regulations are available at:
For the General program:
Entries must have been completed in the prior year; films over 40 minutes in length must not have previously screened in public in New South Wales or Sydney; films under 40 minutes in length they must not have screened in public in Greater Sydney (with the exception of entries to the Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films*).
For the Screenability program:
Eligible films must have been directed and/or written by a filmmaker with disability.
For the First Nations program:
Eligible films must have been directed and/or written by a First Nations filmmaker.
*For the Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films, a previous public screening is not a bar to entry – your film can have screened anywhere, in cinemas, online or other festivals. Cast & crew screenings, which are invitation only, and not open to the public are not considered public screenings.
My film is an international production, can I submit?
In response to the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the Sydney Film Festival and screen industry, we will only accept unsolicited entries from Australia for our 2021 festival. Productions from outside Australia which the Sydney Film Festival has not specifically invited to submit will not be eligible to apply.
What is a “public screening”?
For the purposes of the festival, a public screening is any screening open to the public, this includes festivals, previews, broadcast, theatrical screenings and online. Cast & crew screenings, which are invitation only, and not open to the public are not considered public screenings.
I want to submit my film to the Dendy Awards competition, but I’d also like it to be considered for the general Festival. Is this possible, and do I have to fill out two online forms or make two separate payments?
Australian productions eligible for Dendy Awards should only submit to that competition. If you are not a finalist in the Awards and your film meets the eligibility criteria for a general Festival screening, you don’t need to fill out a second submission online – your film will be automatically considered for the general Festival program (if it meets all the criteria for the Festival) at the same time as it is considered for the Dendy Awards.
If I enter my film in the general Festival program, is it automatically considered for the Dendy Awards?
No. It works the other way around. If your film is entered in the Dendy Awards and is not shortlisted as a finalist, it is automatically considered for the general Festival program (if it meets all the criteria for the Festival). If you only enter the general Festival program, your film will not be considered for the Dendy Awards.
If I submit an Australian production to either the Screenability or First Nation programs, will it be in considered for the Documentary or Short Film Awards?
No. To be considered for either the Documentary or Dendy Short Film Awards you must submit your film to those competition categories.
If my film has already screened in Australia, NSW or Sydney, can I still submit to SFF?
If your film screens publicly in Sydney prior to 29 August 2021, it is not eligible for submission to SFF. The only exception being Australian productions under 40 minutes in length, completed in last year, which may be eligible to enter the Dendy Awards (check the criteria on
Can I submit a film that is a work-in-progress?
Works-in-progress [WIPs] are accepted for the main program and Documentary Australian Foundation for Australian Documentary competition provided that the film is intended to be completed by June 2021. WIPs are not accepted for the Dendy Awards or Yoram Gross Animation Award.
If I have already completed the online submissions form, can I go back to edit information or to update my contact information or my film’s screening history?
Once you have completed and submitted the online submissions form, you cannot go back to edit. If you need to change any information you have provided us with, you must email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is Sydney Film Festival a competitive festival?
SFF conducts the following competitions (only Official Competition is open to productions outside Australia):
- Official Competition
- Documentary Australia Foundation for Australian Documentary Prize
- Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films (Live Action Short and Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director)
- Yoram Gross Animation Award
Which competitions are open to films from outside Australia?
The only competition that is open to films produced outside Australia is the Official Competition.
Only Australian productions, that meet all the eligibility requirements, are eligible to enter the: Documentary Australia Foundation for Australian Documentary Prize, Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films (Live Action Short and Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director), or Yoram Gross Animation Award.
What is the Official Competition?
The Official Competition was established to reward new directions in film. SFF will be seeking films that have emotional power and resonance, are audacious, cutting edge and courageous, and go beyond the usual treatment of a subject matter. Films may only enter the 2021 Official Competition by invitation from the SFF. Eligibility requirements are listed in the Festival’s rules and regulations at
Can I enter The Rouben Mamoulian Award?
No, a jury of film industry representatives will select one film from the 10 Dendy Awards finalists to be presented with The Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director.
How will the Documentary Australia Foundation for Australian Documentary competition be judged?
A jury of film industry representatives will select one film from the 10 finalists (selected by the Festival’s programming team) to be awarded the Documentary Australia Foundation for Australian Documentary Prize, which carries a cash prize of $10,000. The prize money cannot be shared between more than one finalist. The winner will be announced at the Festival’s award ceremony on Sunday 29 August.
Does the Festival have an audience award?
The Festival audience is encouraged to rate the films they have viewed on a scale of 1 to 10. The collated results are announced in the week following the Festival.
How do you decide if a film is ‘Australian’ or ‘International’?
We don’t make this distinction based on locations, actors, subject matter, or script. Our general rule is any film with 51% or more Australian financing will be considered an Australian film. See regulations for more details:
Can I re-submit my film from last year?
We do not accept re-submitted films. If your film has substantively changed, since your previous submission, please email details to email@example.com. Please note that variations to running length, minor additions or changes to the soundtrack, are not considered substantive.
Do I have to obtain rights and clearances for the music or other copyrighted material included in my film?
Yes, please review the Rules and Regulations carefully.
What happens to my submission fee if the Festival announces a cancellation?
In the event the Sydney Film Festival announces a cancellation due to restrictions associated with COVID-19 before 1 June 2021, submission entry fees will be refunded, less any credit card or other associated transaction fees. After 1 June 2021, only films which have been formally notified of their selection for the 2021 festival, will be entitled to a refund.
What are you looking for? What kind of films stand out?
Quality productions from around the world; works which stimulate debate and inform discussion; films of merit which might not otherwise be shown in Sydney; works which promote better understanding among nations through the film medium; and works of innovation.