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.

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.

“We call it Defy for a reason. The festival showcases unique filmmakers and introduces audiences to work that they won’t see anywhere else. We’re always looking for submissions that are a little bit different and one-of-a-kind. We’re about something new and fresh. When you see that spark of innovation and bold intention, that’s what really turns me on about film.” - Dycee Wildman, Festival Director

NASHVILLE

Named “Best Indie Film Festival” last year by the Nashville Scene, DEFY is entering its fourth year and continues to top the one that came before. “Fest organizers brought to East Nashville the festival’s most diverse and dynamic selection of international experimental films and art videos yet” -Joe Nolan, Nashville Scene

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.

THE FESTIVAL
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

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:
Eligibility Requirements for the feature film and short film competition:

- Running time for all feature films must be 45 minutes or more and not exceed 150 minutes
- 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.

ENTRY FEES, DEADLINE, NOTIFICATION, AND SCHEDULING

- 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.

NASHVILLE FILMAKERS

- Our local film community is important to us. If you are the director or producer and a Nashville resident, we will waive your submission fee. Email us a copy of your driver's license for qualification. This offer is only available up to the regular deadline.

WARRANTIES

By submitting an entry, filmmaker states that he or she is responsible as an agent to promote the film and that the film is an original work.

All entry fees are non-refundable.

Filmmaker warrants they have full legal right and authority to submit the mentioned film for consideration by the Defy Film Festival, and that all necessary consents, licensing, and approvals have been obtained.

Filmmaker understands that my submission is in no way a guarantee of acceptance into Defy.

All materials (including but not limited to the submitted film and promotional materials) will be retained by Defy. Excerpts of the submitted film and all promotional materials may be used for various Defy promotional purposes, including but not limited to local, national and international press and electronic media. For films selected in the festival, Defy reserves the right to screen the entry at the festival.

Defy will retain a copy of the film, along with all promotional materials, for its archives. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. The filmmaker shall indemnify and hold harmless Defy from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Mark Ward

    One of the best times we've ever had at a festival. The networking opportunities, the quality of films, the passion of the programmers, the lounges, the fact that it's Nashville... If you get into Defy, absolutely attend.

    September 2019
  • David Lee Hess

    I loved Defy Film Festival. The experience was designed (by and for filmmakers) to highlight the screenings, and so the programming is efficient and mercifully-organized in one location with plenty of space for socializing and re-charging. Good food was added this year, so there's no reason to leave the comfort of the studio. Catch Defy in the next few years while it's still intimate. It's only going to keep growing.

    September 2019
  • Andrea Knowlton

    We had such an amazing time traveling to Nashville to participate in the Defy Film Festival. Everyone there was extremely nice and so gracious. I was thrilled to have my film involved. They managed to smoothly run 3 screening rooms, multiple parties, and a number of awesome concessions. I would highly recommend submitting and attending Defy.

    September 2019
  • Kate Haug

    This is a fantastic festival - truly committed to showing independent work. It's an honor to screen at Defy and be part of their vision.

    August 2019
  • Avner Pinchover

    Unfortunately, I was not able to attend Defy, but I had a great experience communicating with Billy and Dycee from the beginning. They took care of everything with a lot of thought – from screening decisions to web and promotion. Everything was very much in control during the whole period of preparation as well as the festival itself. Highly recommended.

    August 2019