2020 NashFilm Winners: Film Competition

by NashFilm

Best Narrative Feature: KUESSIPAN

Directed by Myriam Verreault

Two girls grow up as best friends in an Innu community. While Mikuan has a loving family, Shaniss is picking up the pieces of her shattered childhood. As children, they promised each other to stick together no matter what. But as they’re about to turn 17, their friendship is shaken when Mikuan falls for a white boy, and starts dreaming of leaving the reserve that’s now too small for her dreams.

Best Documentary Feature: BORN TO BE

Directed by Tania Cypriano

Born to Be follows Dr. Jess Ting at the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York—where transgender and gender non-conforming people have access to quality transition-related health and surgical care. This documentary takes an intimate look at how one doctor’s work impacts the lives of his patients as well as how his journey from plastic surgeon to pioneering gender-affirming surgeon has led to his own transformation.

Documentary Feature Honorable Mention: SAPELO

Directed by Nick Brandestini

Sapelo is a documentary that journeys within a unique American island to tell the story of its matriarchal griot, Cornelia Walker Bailey, and her adopted sons coming of age in the last remaining enclave of the Saltwater Geechee people.

Best Music City/Music Documentary Feature: AFTER SO MANY DAYS

Directed by Jim Hanft and Samantha Yonack

After a decade of making music together, Jim and Sam, a recently married singer/songwriter duo from Los Angeles, were not the conventionally successful band they hoped they’d be. Feeling stuck and anxious about their future, the duo made a spontaneous decision to go “all in,” making a pact to play one show every day for a year. With suitcases and a guitar, the troubadours ventured out for a 365-day tour down unexplored roads and onto unexpected stages, bringing their music to new audiences throughout 14 different countries. After So Many Days, is an intimate front row seat to the highs and lows of what it’s like for two people to pursue a dream, together.

Best Animated Feature: TRUE NORTH

Directed by Eiji Han Shimizu

After his father disappears and the rest of his family is sent to a notorious political prison camp in North Korea, a young boy must learn to survive the harsh conditions, find meaning in his perilous existence, and maybe even escape.

Best New Directors Feature: FREELAND

Directed by Mario Furloni & Kate McLean

Devi has been breeding legendary pot strains for decades, farming by day and getting stoned by night, fully expecting to live out her days on the remote homestead she built herself. But when cannabis is legalized, the fragile balance of her whole idyllic life is thrown into disarray.

Best Tennessee Feature: YOU DON’T KNOW ME

Directed by Jon Kent

You don’t know TN death row inmate Abu-Ali Abdur ‘Rahman and the cascade of injustices that keep him fighting for his life. You don’t know Lionel Barrett, a celebrated defense attorney turned rural goat farmer, who inexplicably blew Abu’s case. You don’t know the prominent businessman whose mysterious cult orchestrated the crime or the deceitful DA who misled the jury. Know them–and the truth behind one of Nashville’s most notorious crimes.

Best Graveyard Shift Feature: SANZARU

Directed by Xia Magnus

When a home health aid and her nephew move in to care for an elderly woman and her unstable son, two broken families find themselves dangerously isolated under one roof.

Best Narrative Short: STICKER

Directed by Georgi M. Unkovski

37 year old Dejan finds himself at odds with the law after a local DMV is out of registration stickers and is unable to renew his car registration. Determined to continue on the journey to see his daughter, Dejan faces a series of events which test his commitment to being a responsible father.

Best Documentary Short: THE HEART STILL HUMS

Directed by Savanah Leaf & Taylor Russell

A documentary short, following five women as they fight for their children through the cycle of homelessness, drug addictions and neglect from their own parents. Unique, yet undoubtedly familiar to many; a story on fear, sacrifice and the unconditional love between a mother and her children.

Best Animated Short: CRUNCH

Directed by Liukaidi Peng

Best Experimental Short: DYE RED

Directed by Vittoria Campaner

Celeste and Aurora have lived together for some time. Dye Red is a dark but graceful slice of life look at their relationship.

Best Graveyard Shift Short: WEEKEND

Directed by Ario Motevaghe

Moniri and Kheradmand family are in park for a picnic. But after finishing their meal, it is revealed that they are here for something else.


Directed by Orion and Rebekah Pahl

Bury Me at Taylor Hollow follows the growing pains of Larkspur as they set out to raise $210,000 to buy 112 acres for both natural burial and conservation.

Best Tennessee Student Short: CAT BURGLAR

Directed by Tyler Aldridge, Ngoc Chi Nguyen, and Virginia Lake Petty

An overzealous cat burglar must escape with his life after he discovers he has purloined the wrong pooch.

NextGen Junior Division: BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE

Directed by Lily Gibbons

A short animation about an age old argument between siblings that takes a turn for the messy.

NextGen Senior Division: RIO

Directed by Evgeniya Kazankina

Paulina lives and works in a small hotel in the northern town near the border. She and her friend Nadia dream of a different, paradise and exotic world. The girls almost do not leave the empty hotel and live, performing their strange daily rituals in the hope that someday it will lead them to a miracle. Once a stranger arrives at the hotel.

Best Episodic Pilot: GETS GOOD LIGHT

Directed by Alejandra Parody

At the tail-end of a restaurant shift, Andrell, a rookie real estate broker moonlighting as a server, puts his life and career on the line to help his undocumented co-worker during a run in with ICE.

Best Episodic Series: WHEELHOUSE

Directed by Andy Miara and Terrance Brown

Wheelhouse is a show about everything that happens at work that has nothing to do with work. It’s about a group of people who use a company-sponsored activity to escape the prison of the office, shed their work personas, and become more ridiculous human beings they actually are.

Best Virtual Reality Film: THE CURIOUS LIFE OF BILL MONT

Directed by Andrea Patiño Contreras and Katrina Sorrentino