What do you get if you're a winner in the SXSWclick competition? Well, you get your short film screened at one of America's coolest film festivals ... and a bunch of editing software and other little prizes. But playing at the South By Southwest Film Festival? That's every indie filmmaker's "realistic" dream, isn't it? (The unrealistic one would be: Winning an Oscar, sleeping with Scarlett Johansson at Sundance and beating Spielberg out of a directing gig.) And why exactly should you care about short films? I mean, short films rarely feature big stars or talking dogs or giant robots ... so who gives a wet slap?

Good question. Try checking out the SXSWclick award winners and then tell me if you still feel the same way. For the record, the winners are: Don Brown's Pierre (Grand Jury Winner -and- Animate-it), Will Elliott's Peterson's Savings and Loan (Popularity Contest -and- Old School Shorts), David Serota's Ubutu (Really Real Shorts), Andrea Giacomini's Always Near (Sound Checks), and Tipper Newton's The Timebox Twins (What the F*#!?). Congrats to all the winners! And if your short happens to be playing in front of a gory horror movie at SXSW 2008, then I'll probably see it. (Feel free to browse through the winning shorts right here. Dang, you can even watch 'em on your phone. And in the bathroom!) Judges for the SXSWclick competition include filmmakers Bob Odenkirk, Kal Penn, AJ Schnack, Michael Tully, bloggers Agnes Varnum and Violet Blue, and Homestar Runner co-creator Craig Zobel.

Speaking of SXSW '08, consider this the starter's pistol: (Bang!) Filmmakers! Time to get your flicks into the SXSW offices if you want to be considered for next year's slate. True, the admission process runs until (almost) the end of the year, but why not be an early bird? Catch those programmers while they're still bubbly and pleasant! And as far as movie-watchers go, festival master chief Matt Dentler would like to extend a personal invitation to any and all Cinematical readers. Mention this article during SXSW '08 and get a free beer at the Austin bar of your choice! (Offer expires March 6, 2008)