DEFY is focused on great work. Work made outside of the system. Work that had to defy all conventions to be made. Filmmakers that defy expectations. We are searching for artists that broke the mold, went beyond formulas, stepped outside of the frame, artists who took the traditions by the shoulders and shook out the dust.

As a small festival, without limiting categories, we are open to anything, as long as it inspires. Defy gravity to lift us up and remind us why we love movies, love art, love the crazy people who put any chance of a normal life on the line in the service of bold, new work.

All great art is a disruption. Defy Film Festival.

Nashville is in the middle of unprecedented growth. It's being flooded with hundreds of new people every month and the need for bold artistic experiences is insatiable. DEFY is driven by the desire to showcase unknown talent from around the world and to program with focused intention for a unique experience. It's this cinematic experience that we are determined to bring our Nashville audiences.

There are only two categories, features and shorts.

Without specific genre categories, DEFY has the flexibility to steer into whatever ideas and talent are submitted each year. We won't feel obligated to program something mediocre just because we have to fulfill a category. Your work will inform our festival.

No matter what kind of film you have, we want to see it - drama, comedy, experimental, animation, documentaries, horror/sci-fi, music videos, etc. We are independent filmmakers ourselves and we know the financial hardships you went through and the uncompromising passion it took to create the great film resting in your hands right now. Your film will treated and viewed with the respect that we would want for our own films.

Best of Festival SHORT
Best of Festival FEATURE

Award of Excellence SHORT
Award of Excellence FEATURE

Eligibility Requirements for the feature film and short film competition:
- Running time for all feature films must be 45 minutes or more
- Running time for all shorts must be less than 44 minutes.
- Defy requires a Nashville Premiere for screening.
- Selected films must be made available in a Quicktime file.
- Film submissions in a foreign language must be subtitled in English.
- Preview screening format are digital screeners ONLY - No DVD screeners.
- If submitting more than one film, a separate completed entry is required for each title.
- All entries fees are non-refundable.

- Films are scheduled at the discretion of the Defy Film Festival. Defy retains the right to make changes to the published schedule at any time and for any reason. Films may be screened more than once.

Overall Rating
  • Julie Morey

    Screening at Defy was a great experience. Curated by filmmakers and run by an awesome staff, Defy attracts a very engaged and receptive audience. Speaking both as filmmakers and viewers, it’s impossible to leave Defy without feeling inspired.

    September 2018
  • Randall Whittinghill

    I wish we could have attended to experience this festival. The communication and direction was well instructed. We heard our block was sold out and our film received great reviews from spectators. We were honored to receive a personal message about Zero-Zero from one of the attendees. We look forward to next year with plans to attend.

    September 2018
  • Stavit Allweis

    This young festival has all the markings of a great underground mainstay to come. It is tightly run by a passionate team and has an all-around fresh, brazen feel about it. I look forward to watching it grow and draw the most interesting and unusual voices from around the world.

    September 2018
  • William S. Davis

    So many positive things to say about this festival...engaging, communicative staff, well-curated + promoted films for an event designed to grow relationships with filmmakers beyond screenings. Happy to be involved, can't wait to attend and hopefully screen more works!

    July 2018
  • Jesseca Ynez Simmons

    It is always a pleasure to work with a festival that takes submissions seriously and communicates effectively. Although I couldn't attend the festival in person, I felt that I was able to have an experience through talking with the team/fellow filmmakers and engaging with the great social media presence. Will submit again and you should too!

    December 2017