Ted Crockett is directing his fifth festival as Executive Director, a role he assumed in early 2012. He brings deep experience in all aspects of film festival management, as he has worked with NaFF since 2004. Under his leadership, the festival won the coveted Frist Foundation Revenue Generation Award, presented at the Search for Excellence Gala by the Center for Non Profit Management. Crockett has been named one of Nashville’s top “Movers and Shakers” by Nashville Lifestyles Magazine and Variety Magazine named him to its Top 30 Music City Impact Report. The festival has consistently been named one of the top film festivals in the world by MovieBytes Magazine.
Under his leadership the Festival has forged important relationships with the the Film Producer’s Association in China and the Kurdish Regional Government in Northern Iraq. He has strengthened ties with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and many leading entertainment individuals and firms. He launched the Nashville Screenwriting and Web Series Competitions.
Ted is an engaging and frequent speaker at festival conferences. He works with the Art and Business Council to help Tennessee non-profits navigate the business side of working in the arts. He is a member of Tennesseans for the Arts, the Nashville Arts Coalition, and serves on the Film Television Transmedia Council, as well as the National Museum of African American Museum Community Council.
Previously, Crockett was an account executive at Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy, one of the world’s leading music business management firms, where he managed the finances of entertainers including Wynonna, Naomi Judd, Gary Allan, Shawn Colvin, Garbage and others. He earned a B.S. in broadcast journalism from Brigham Young University and moved to Nashville in 1998.
A passionate art collector, he is known for his unique collection of 21st Century oil paintings.
Brian Owens has programmed NaFF since 2008. He came to Nashville after founding and managing the Indianapolis International Film Festival. In 2010 he was named one of Nashville’s People in Charge by the Nashville Post and one of the 50 Most Influential People of the 2000’s by the Indianapolis Star.
Owens developed his knowledge of film early in life and honed his skills at Indiana University, where he studied Film. He is an annual guest of the Toronto Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival where he selects films and filmmakers for the April Festival.
Brian has served on multiple film festival juries and has been published in several online and print publications.
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Debra Pinger is producing her fourth Nashville Film Festival. She directs all marketing, communications and donor-related efforts, as well as the Screenwriting Competition.
Previously, she was executive director of the VIA Institute on Character, an international non-profit organization in the science of positive psychology. She led VIA’s training program in Australia, Copenhagen, the U.K. and Canada. She was also Executive Director of RISE Learning Solutions, a television-based distance learning organization where she programmed an instructional channel for teachers on the DISH Network. Both organizations were based in Cincinnati, OH.
Pinger was a television news reporter, producer and anchor at WDIV-TV, Detroit; WCPO-TV, Cincinnati; WNEM TV, Saginaw; and KAAL-TV, Austin MN. She studied liberal arts at Sarah Lawrence College. Her daughter is a singer in Nashville and her son is a journalist in Cincinnati.
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Josh Escue manages the screenwriting and film competitions, communicating with filmmakers and screenwriters, daily. This is his third year with NaFF, starting as a seasonal employee and now year-round. Josh is a Nashville native and is excited to see that the film community is constantly growing. He is passionate about helping to bring that growth to his home town.
Josh graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in Media Production and Film Studies. He has been involved in multiple production projects as well as film reviewing. As an avid film-goer and lover of the medium since a young age, Josh brings his communication skills and knowledge of film to the NaFF team.
Melissa recently returned to the Nashville area and is happy to be back at the Nashville Film Festival. She previously lived in Chicago, where she spent her time in the Second City film archival office during the day, and writing and performing sketch comedy and improvisation at the iO Theater and Second City Training Center at night.
Melissa studied Film & Digital Media at Baylor University before transferring to Belmont University and receiving a B.S. in Video Production and a Minor in Theatre. She previously worked at Third Man Records and on several production jobs, including the Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food Nation”.
Melissa returns for her third year in the programming department, where she works closely with filmmakers, web series creators, and panelists. Melissa is a life-long film lover and is excited about engaging Nashville’s creative community through the screenings, panels, and special events at this year’s festival.