2017-2018 Southern Circuit Call for Film Submissions


Southern Circuit Filmmaker submissions for the 2017-2018 Southern Circuit are now closed. Submissions for the 2018-2019 Southern Circuit will open in December 2018.


At the screenings, I had the pleasure to meet young people who want to tell stories– to become editors, journalists, directors and more. They are the future, and if the story of ‘I Will Dance’ inspired any one of them to create, question or dream more, the trip was more than worth it for them alone.
~ Joseph East, I Will Dance, Southern Circuit 2015 – 2016

About the Circuit

Selected as one of MovieMaker Magazine’s ’50 Film Festivals worth the Entry Fee, 2015,’ Southern Circuit brings the best of independent film to communities across the South. Audiences have seen over 300 films and have engaged filmmakers in post-screening discussions in more than 100 Southern communities. The tour takes the audience away from their televisions, computers, tablets and phones to connect them with independent filmmakers – live! Southern Circuit transforms watching independent films from a solitary experience into a communal one. 

As the nation’s first regional tour of independent filmmakers, Southern Circuit provides filmmakers with the paid opportunity to participate in a multi-venue tour of the American South, screen their films for new audiences, and engage audiences in discussions about the content and production of their films. Southern Circuit works with our Screening Partners to develop independent film audiences throughout the South.

Southern Circuit is composed of three separate Circuits, each with six filmmakers (for a total of 18 filmmakers) who travel (by air & auto) to an estimated six-eight communities each throughout the Southeastern United States. The Circuit tours take place the months of September, October, November, February, March, or April. Filmmakers will tour an estimated 10-12 days.

Filmmakers selected for the 2017-2018 Southern Circuit receive:

  • A $400 honorarium for each screening on the tour. Total screening honoraria may total as much as $3,200.
  • Paid travel expenses (domestic airfare, car rental, gas expenses, and airline baggage fees) for the tour.
  • A per diem of $200 (per evening away from home) to cover expenses for meals and lodging.
  • Logistics and travel support from the South Arts staff.
  • Marketing support from South Arts and Screening Partners for each screening.

In return, selected filmmakers agree to:

  • Travel to designated Screening Partner venues throughout the South.
  • Present a screening approximately 40-120 minutes in length.
  • Engage audiences in a 30-minute post-screening Q&A discussion of the work, the film-making process, and their lives as artists.
  • Participate in program-related events coordinated by Screening Partners on the tour, such as private dinners, public receptions, classroom presentations, etc.
  • Participate in Southern Circuit social media to further promote the tour.

Film and Filmmaker Eligibility:

  • Southern Circuit accepts films, including animation, documentaries, experimental and fiction.
  • Applicants must live in the United States with a valid driver’s license.
  • Filmmakers may submit a feature-length work (40-120 minutes) or collection of short films (minimum of 40 minutes total running time).
  • Films must have been completed after January 1, 2015
  • Both online screeners and exhibition prints must either be in English or have English subtitles.
  • Southern Circuit does not have premier requirements. However, the program does take previous screenings and broadcasts into consideration during the selection process. It is the filmmaker’s responsibility to notify Southern Circuit of any change in a premier status during the submission process.
  • If your film is selected, Southern Circuit will screen in DVD, Blu-ray or DCP.

Submission Rules

  • Entry fees are nonrefundable.
  • Submissions must be available via the secure online Screener function of FilmFreeway. Discs will not be accepted.
  • Entrants are responsible for obtaining any necessary licenses, royalties, release forms, clearances, and permits necessary to present their work.
  • Southern Circuit does not accept rough cuts, only completed films.
  • All decisions made by Southern Circuit are final. 

Submission Deadlines & Fees (opens December 1, 2016)

  • Early Bird: January 13, 2017 – $25
  • Regular: February 28, 2017 – $30
  • Late: March 10, 2017 – $35
  • Extended: March 20, 2017 – $50 

Terms and Conditions

By submitting your film to the 2017-2018 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers you authorize that your work can legally be screened for festival presentations, and used for educational and community outreach purposes. Entrant represents and warrants that all materials submitted shall be original work of the applicant (and its employees, if any), and not of any third party. Entrant warrants that it has good and marketable title to the entire submitted work. Entrant releases South Arts from any and all claims and causes of action whatsoever (including, without limitation, any infringement or violation of personal and/or property rights of any sort including, to the maximum extent permitted by law, defamation) arising from the use, production, promotion, distribution and exploitation, and presentation of the film.  Entrant agrees to defend, indemnify and hold the South Arts harmless (including its directors, officers, and employees) from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, suits, damage costs, and expenses (including but not limited to reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs), and damages suffered, incurred, arising out of, or related to any claims that any part(s) or all of the film infringe upon any copyright or trademark (statutory or common law); constitute an invasion of the right of privacy or publicity; constitute a defamation; or constitute an infringement of any other right or any kind, of any third party. 

Selection & Notification

Qualifying submissions enter into an adjudication process with films reviewed by Southern Circuit programmers, jurors and Screening Partners.

The primary contact listed on the entry form will be notified of their film’s status via email by June 4, 2017. It is the primary contact’s responsibility to update Southern Circuit with any change in their relevant contact information.

For questions please contact Teresa Hollingsworth at thollingsworth@southarts.org