Feature Competitions

What Qualifies as a Feature Length Film?

Feature films are films that last longer than 40 minutes. We have a variety of competitions for feature length films, ranging from Narratives to Documentaries – even films about music.

Narrative Competition

The Bridgestone Narrative Competition is for Tennessee premiers of narrative feature films that are innovative, original, and show unique perspectives from all parts of the globe. The winning film receives a cash prize of $3,000 USD. $1,000 is added if the filmmaker is in attendance at the Awards Ceremony. Another $1,000 is added for World or North American Premieres.

 

Films in this category are also eligible for  additional prizes, including Best Music (original or adapted) and Best Original Song. Also, non-cash prizes are awarded for Best Actor and Best Actress. Special Jury Prizes may be awarded.

 

Past winners include Fernando Eimbcke’s Club Sandwich, Hiner Saleem’s If You Die, I Will Kill You, Matthew Gordon’s The Dynamiter, and Andrew Haigh’s Weekend.

 

Jurors in the past several years have included Meghan Wurtz from Film Movement, David Glasser from The Weinstein Company, Arianne Rocchi from Magnolia Pictures, actor and director Chris Eigeman (Metropolitan), actor and director Dan Butler, Frasier,  actor Anthony Zerbe, and critics Joe Leydon,  and Elvis Mitchell.

 

Films in this competition must be Tennessee Premieres and will not receive screening fees if accepted into competition.

New Directors Competition

This competition is for narrative feature films by first-time narrative feature filmmakers. NaFF seeks innovative, original films with unique perspectives from all parts of the globe. The winning film receives a cash prize of $1,500 U.S.D. An additional $500 will be awarded if the filmmaker is in attendance. Another $500 will be added if the film is a World or North American Premiere – for a total cash prize of $2,500.

 

Previous winners in this category are Shawn Christensen’s Before I Disappear, David Tosh Gitonga’s Nairobi Half LIfe, Nejc Gazvoda’s A Trip (Izlet), Michael Mohan for One Too Many Mornings and Mike Magidson for Inuk.

 

Additionally, films compete for Best Actor and Best Actress prizes and are eligible for additional prizes.

 

Films in this competition must be Tennessee Premieres and will not receive screening fees if accepted into competition.

Documentary Competition

This is an international competition for non-fiction features.  The winner receives a $3,000 cash prize. Additional $1,000 for filmmakers in attendance.  $1,000 for World or North American Premiere ( total up to $5,000).

 

Since its inception, NaFF has always offered well-attended screenings of doc features and shorts. Many have gone on to Oscar nominations and wins, including 5 Broken Cameras, If a Tree Falls, Born Into Brothels, Daughter from Danang, Encounters at the End Of the World, Murderball, and Story of a Weeping Camel.

 

Recent winners in this category include Rachel Goslin’s Besa: The Promise, Brad Bernstein’s Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story, David Fine’s Salaam Dunk, Marshall Curry’s Academy Award™-nominated If a Tree Falls and Yulene Olazala’s Shakespeare and Victor Hugo’s Intimacies.

 

NaFF offers the Southwest Airlines Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature. Recent winners include TWO:The Story of Roman & Nyro, McCullin, Beauty is Embarrassing, The Topp Twins, For Once In My Life, and Born Into Brothels.

 

Please note that Documentaries and Music Films / Music City documentaries compete for the same Audience Award.

 

Films in this competition must be Tennessee Premieres and will not receive screening fees if accepted into competition.

Gibson Music Films Competition

This is an international competition for documentaries about music and musicians.  The winner gets a guitar. Another $500 cash will be awarded if the film is a World or North American Premiere and an additional $500 will be awarded if the filmmaker is in attendance at the Awards Ceremony.

 

Nashville is America’s “Music City” so, this competition is the hottest and offers the most sought-after prizes on the festival circuit. It features world premiere films by and about Rob Thomas, Kiefer Sutherland, William Shatner, Ben Folds, Chris Thile, John Mellencamp, and Henry Rollins.

 

Recent winners in this category include James Keach’s Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me, Gunter Atteln’s Die Thomaner – A Year in the Life of the St. Thomas Boys Choir Leipzig, Joe Berlinger’s Under African Skies, Jacob Hartley’s Ain’t In It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm and Elizabeth Vasarhelyi’s Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love.

 

Music Films – Music City Entries will compete for The Freedom to Choose Southwest Airlines Audience Award for Best Documentary and the NPT Human Spirit Award.

 

Films in this competition must be Tennessee Premieres and will not receive screening fees if accepted into competition.

Tennessee Spirit Competition

Tennessee Spirit Award for Best Feature is presented to the best feature film (all genre and styles welcome) that meets two of the three criteria (proof is required to win the award):

 

- The Director is a current Tennessee Resident or Tennessee Native

- The Executive Producer or Screenwriter is a current Tennessee Resident

- At least 65% of the film was shot in Tennessee

Previous winners of this prize include Jace Freeman’s The Ballad of Shovels and Rope, Jace Freeman’s Nashville 2012, Jeff Obafemi Carr’s He Ain’t Heavy, Clay Jeter’s Jess + Moss,  Brent Stewart’s The Colonel’s Bride, and The Deagol Brothers’ Make-out With Violence.

 

Films entered in the Tennessee First Category (for TN filmmakers) MUST be World Premieres.

Graveyard Shift Competition

The Graveyard Shift Feature Competition is for narrative films 41 minutes and over. This competition is for genre cinema — horror films, science fiction, over-the-top gross-out comedies, outrageous action films and generally weird stuff that will mess with people’s minds. Films in this category MUST be Tennessee Premieres.

 

This is the first year for the Graveyard Shift as a category of entry, however, there was a juried prize given in 2014 to David Wnendt’s Wetlands.