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.
- 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
  • 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
  • Jennifer Bonior

    I can't say enough good things about this festival. Wonderful films, great parties, countless opportunities to network with like-minded filmmakers and artists. I highly recommend it. It's a must each year for me.

    December 2017
  • Also Sisters

    Defy is an honest festival that really cares about discovering talent and showcasing films that defy convention. Submissions are taken seriously and more importantly, the screeners see the films in their entirety!
    The event itself is fun, very well organized, casual, and comfortable enough to make strong lasting connections with filmmakers.
    The screening of our film went very smoothly and the Q&A was smart, insightful and really well conducted. Dycee did an amazing job leading the post-screening chat. It was clear to us that she had prepared and thought it out thoroughly. She encouraged the audience to be active participants but also her comments and questions made us see that our film mattered to her and the festival.
    We couldn't be happier about our experience in Defy.

    September 2017
  • Brian Landis

    Great new fest with people really excited about the films. Great Q&A's and passionate organizers.

    August 2017
  • wendy hacker

    Unfortunately, we were unable to attend in person, but Nashville friends went in our place. They enjoyed the festival and "Witness" screened well and given its due.
    The communication before the festival was clear and timely.
    Thanks for including our film in the festival.!

    August 2017