2021 Festival

Our expanded 2021 festival plan includes a full range of in-person screenings at venues throughout Nashville in addition to festival films, panels and Q&As securely online! The 52nd Nashville Film Festival extends our important goals to elevate and honor filmmakers, screenwriters, musicians and artists from around the world and here in Tennessee. This year's festival will feature more than 200 films, Creators Conference panels, Q&As, the annual Music Program and other exclusive content in an engaging mix of in-person and online events.

The Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) is a year-round, 501c3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to fostering cross-cultural communication through the art of film and music. We present the annual film festival as well as important educational and community programs that engage and inspire the Nashville community.

For real-time updates and NashFilm news, make sure to subscribe to our e-mail list!

2021 FESTIVAL PREVIEW

2021 FILM COMPETITION

September 30 – October 6, 2021

Founded in 1969 as the Sinking Creek Film Celebration, Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) is one of the longest-running film festivals and most acclaimed festivals in the U.S.  NashFilm attracts enthusiastic film lovers from all across the country. Showcasing approximately 200 films from over 30 countries, a screenplay competition, episodic competition and music showcases the 52nd Nashville Film Festival will take place September 30 – October 6, 2021.

2021 SCREENWRITING COMPETITION

September 30 – October 6, 2021

NashFilm’s screenwriting competition is focused on creating a place where aspiring screenwriters can have a community and get the long term support that they need to succeed. Our all-industry panel is curated based on their ability and desire to find new voices. That includes top Hollywood/New York-based management, active producers, and talent. Finalists at all levels are offered one-on-one help with their projects, including helping them make industry connections when their projects are market ready.

2021 Music Program

September 29 – October 1, 2021

Presented annually during the Nashville Film Festival, the Music Program was launched more than a decade ago to showcase the diverse music of Nashville to the Film, TV and Advertising sync communities. Through educational Music Supervisor panels, one-on-one mentorships, artist showcases, and VIP events, the objective of the committee is to bring more sync opportunities to the Nashville Community. These virtual VIP events happen over the course of two days and in conjunction with Nashville Film Festival programming. The 2021 edition of the Music Program will take place Wednesday, September 29 through Friday, October 1, 2021.

2021 Creators Conference – Industry Panels

October 1 – 2, 2021

The NashFilm 2021 Creators Conference connects filmmakers, industry trailblazers, tastemakers and thought leaders, the panels explored the current industry trends in the film and music industries while also focusing on important topical cultural issues.

NashFilm expands the inclusive nature of the festival by bringing film and music industry leaders together for a fully immersive experience of insights, content, resources and new relationships.

2021 Parties and Social Events

September 30 – October 6, 2021

Nashville is known world-wide for a city that can really throw a party and the Nashville Film Festival is an annual highlight for all people with a love for film and music. The 2021 edition of the Nashville Film Festival is positioned to safely bring the in-person aspect of social networking back in a big way! Hosted at venues throughout the city, NashFilm events are the perfect way to make new film and music industry contacts, meet new friends and re-connect with those that you missed sharing time with in the past year!

Film, Music and Media Industry Networking

Year-Round 

The Nashville Film Festival brings together a unique blend of film, music and media talent in a way that no one else can. By providing one-on-one opportunities for filmmakers, music-makers and screenwriters to connect in meaningful ways, NashFilm offers a 360 view of the integrated entertainment industry and provides an important platform for creative talent to take their projects to the next level.

Music Performances and New Artist Showcases

September 30 – October 6, 2021

The Nashville Film Festival has a long history of highlighting the world’s best music films as part of our eclectic programming. With a culture rich in music, the Nashville Film Festival also creates opportunities for live music performances from world-renowned artists and emerging artists.

NashFilm’s “Living Reel” Initiative – In Support of Nashville’s At-Risk Youth

Year-Round Advocacy Initiative 

Each year, the festival partners with an organization whose efforts serve at-risk youth from diverse backgrounds. During the Living Reel program, NashFilm partners with filmmakers and musicians to help the teens learn to work together as a team, while expressing their thoughts and experiences through the art of music and film.

MORE ABOUT THE 2021 PROGRAMMING:

FEATURE FILMS

Narrative Feature Competition:

6 films will be selected to compete for up to $4,000 in cash.

Documentary Feature Competition:

6 non-fiction films will be selected to compete for up to $4,000 in cash.

Music Feature Competition:

Open to narrative and non-fiction, 6 films about music, musicians or the impact of music will be selected to compete for up to $4,000 in cash & prizes.

New Directors Feature Competition:

4 films by first time feature fiction filmmakers will be selected to compete for up to $4,000 in cash.

Graveyard Shift Feature Competition:

4 films will be selected to compete in this category for the best in “genre cinema.” This category includes horror, sci-fi and thriller.

Tennessee Feature Competition:

The Tennessee First Competition is open to feature films (over 40 minutes) that meet two of the three following criteria: 1 – The Director is a Tennessee Resident 2 – The Producer or Screenwriter is a Tennessee Resident 3 – At least 65% of the film is shot in Tennessee. Films submitted in this category MUST be Tennessee Premieres. STRONG preference will be given to World Premieres.

Out of Competition Categories:

U.S. Independents:

Up to 6 narrative feature films made in the U.S.

World Cinema:

Up to 6 unique features from around the world.

SHORT FILMS

Narrative Shorts Competition:

International competition for Live Action narrative films under 40 minutes in length. The Grand Jury Prize-winning film will be eligible for Academy Award™ consideration, assuming it meets all other eligibility requirements.

Animated Shorts Competition:

International competition for animated films under 40 minutes in length. The winning film will be eligible for Academy Award™ consideration, assuming it meets all other eligibility requirements.

Documentary Shorts Competition:

International competition for non-fiction films under 40 minutes in length. The winning film will be eligible for Academy Award™ consideration, assuming it meets all other eligibility requirements.

The Edge Shorts Competition:

Explosive, Disruptive, Groundbreaking, and Essential. For our 52nd edition, NashFilm introduces The Edge, a new shorts competition highlighting boundary pushing cinema from emerging filmmakers. This exciting new program spotlights singular, forward-thinking short films with a distinctive sense of style, bold form, and fresh point of view—offering our audience a chance to experience some of the most adventurous short films of the year. A home for the avant-garde, the out-of-this-world, and the one-of-a-kind, this category awards experimentation, big swings, and upending cinematic traditions. The prizewinning short in this category receives $500 cash and The Edge NashFilm Award for Emerging Filmmaker. International competition for films under 40 minutes in length.

Graveyard Shift Shorts Competition:

International competition for live action or animated horror, sci-fi, thriller films under 40 minutes in length.

Tennessee Shorts Competition:

A competition for narrative, non-fiction and animated films under 40 minutes in length that meet at least two of the three following criteria: 1 – The Director is a Tennessee Resident 2 – The Producer or Screenwriter is a Tennessee Resident 3 – At least 65% of the film is shot in Tennessee.

NextGen Competition:

An international competition for narrative, non-fiction and animated films under 40 minutes in length created by student filmmakers.

Tennessee Student Shorts Competition:

A competition for narrative, non-fiction and animated student films under 40 minutes in length made by students at a Tennessee college or university.

A competition for material created for any medium including television, streaming and internet. The pilot must not have been aired in the US and must not be published on the internet at the time of the 2020 Nashville Film Festival. It must be intended to be serialized. Submissions must be a single episode (even if additional episodes have been created) and must be under 60 minutes in length.

Episodic Competition – Pilots

A competition for material created for any medium including television, streaming and internet. The pilot must not have been aired in the US and must not be published on the internet at the time of the 2021 Nashville Film Festival. It must be intended to be serialized. Submissions must be a single episode (even if additional episodes have been created) and must be under 60 minutes in length. The winning pilot receives a $500 cash prize.

Episodic Competition – Series

A competition for material created for any medium including television, streaming and internet. The maximum runtime of the submission is 180 minutes AND a maximum of three episodes may be submitted. Materials should not have been published or aired prior to January 1, 2020 and should be currently airing and/or in production. The winning series receives a $1000 cash prize.

2020 SCREENPLAY COMPETITION

ENTRY CATEGORIES

Screenplay categories include Shorts, Features and Pilots.

SUBCATEGORIES (FEATURES ONLY)

Comedy. This includes blended genres, such as action-comedy or dramedy. If you script is intended to make people laugh as it’s primary element, it will compete best as a comedy. Examples of comedy scripts: Bridesmaids, Stuber, Blockers, Shaun of the Dead, Bad Boys.

Drama. These are scripts that primarily aim to tell a serious story. Parts of it may contain humor or other genre-related elements, but the main thrust is dramatic tension during the hero’s journey. Example of drama scripts: Manchester By The Sea, Moonlight, Roma, Hidden Figures.

Horror. This includes blended genres like horror-thriller or any other blend except comedy. The primary aim of a horror is to entertain the audience through tapping into their fears. Examples of horror scripts: Us, Child’s Play, A Quiet Place, Crawl.

Genre. These include films that are not included in any of the above primary genres. Films that would compete best in genre would include fantasy, science fiction, action, mystery, adventure, family, animation, musical, historical, Western, mockumentary, or any blended genres that are not included in the three main categories above, such as action-adventure. Examples of genre scripts: John Wick, Captain Marvel, The Hateful Eight, Toy Story, Star Wars, Lala Land.

Genre scripts are also invited to enter the genre specific-prize category. While all scripts will be considered together in genre for quarterfinal, semifinal and finalist announcements, only scripts that also enter the genre-specific element will be considered for recognition in that category.

Tennessee Writer. This category is open to Feature, Short, Pilot Hour or Half Hour by writers living in or from TN.

2020 SCREENPLAY COMPETITION

ENTRY CATEGORIES

Screenplay categories include Shorts, Features and Pilots.

SUBCATEGORIES (FEATURES ONLY)

Comedy. This includes blended genres, such as action-comedy or dramedy. If you script is intended to make people laugh as it’s primary element, it will compete best as a comedy. Examples of comedy scripts: Bridesmaids, Stuber, Blockers, Shaun of the Dead, Bad Boys.

Drama. These are scripts that primarily aim to tell a serious story. Parts of it may contain humor or other genre-related elements, but the main thrust is dramatic tension during the hero’s journey. Example of drama scripts: Manchester By The Sea, Moonlight, Roma, Hidden Figures.

Horror. This includes blended genres like horror-thriller or any other blend except comedy. The primary aim of a horror is to entertain the audience through tapping into their fears. Examples of horror scripts: Us, Child’s Play, A Quiet Place, Crawl.

Genre. These include films that are not included in any of the above primary genres. Films that would compete best in genre would include fantasy, science fiction, action, mystery, adventure, family, animation, musical, historical, Western, mockumentary, or any blended genres that are not included in the three main categories above, such as action-adventure. Examples of genre scripts: John Wick, Captain Marvel, The Hateful Eight, Toy Story, Star Wars, Lala Land.

Genre scripts are also invited to enter the genre specific-prize category. While all scripts will be considered together in genre for quarterfinal, semifinal and finalist announcements, only scripts that also enter the genre-specific element will be considered for recognition in that category.

Tennessee Writer. This category is open to Feature, Short, Pilot Hour or Half Hour.