Founded in 1969 as the Sinking Creek Film Celebration, Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) is one of the longest-running film festivals in the country and one of the most acclaimed festivals in the South. Hosted in Music City, NashFilm attracts enthusiastic film lovers from all across the country and has been praised by film-goers and filmmakers alike for its unique combination of big city festival atmosphere and laid back Southern hospitality.

Our 2021 Festival is committed to presenting a Festival that includes in-person screenings at a variety of venues around Nashville in addition to offering a majority of the Festival films, panels and Q&As online securely through our partner Eventive. Please note that the scope of the in-person portion of the Festival is subject to ongoing federal, state and local public health guidelines. With that said, we are looking forward to our re-imagined 52nd Nashville Film Festival and the continuation of our mission to elevate and honor filmmakers, screenwriters, musicians and artists from around the world.

Nashville Film Festival offers $100,000 in cash and in-kind sponsor prizes to filmmakers with winners selected by industry power players – including studio representatives, producers, and fellow filmmakers.

The winning short films in the Narrative, Animated, and Documentary Short Film Competitions are eligible for Academy Award® consideration without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.

NOTE: This is the competition portal for films, for screenplays go to the Nashville Film Festival Screenplay Competition page.

-Films that have screened virtually at a Festival prior to the Nashville Film Festival are eligible for submission and competition. However, films must not have premiered to the public theatrically, at a Film Festival or virtually before January 1, 2020.

-Competition is open to U.S. and International entries. Please check individual categories for additional requirements.

Non Competition categories include:
U.S. Independents: A selection of up to 6 narrative feature films made in the U.S.
World Cinema: A selection of up to 6 unique features from around the world.

-Feature films are 40 minutes in length or longer. Short films are under 40 minutes in length.

-Films not in the English language must be subtitled in English.

-Entries must be submitted for pre-screening via Vimeo or YouTube link. If you use a secured link, you are REQUIRED to keep us updated with passwords or your film may be rejected. NO HARD COPIES WILL BE ACCEPTED FOR ENTRIES.

-Works-in-progress are accepted but are not encouraged. We can't promise that we will be able to watch re-edited submissions. Please only submit work-in-progress if you are submitting close to the final deadline.

-You may submit multiple entries but must fill out a separate entry form and pay an entry fee for each.

-NashFilm employees, including seasonal staff, board members, sponsors, and their immediate families, are not eligible to submit in any category to this competition.

-By submitting your work (features, shorts, episodic & VR or 360 film experience) you are giving permission for the Nashville Film Festival to showcase your work at the festival and for promotional purposes.

-Any potential prize awards are subject to all relevant federal and/or state laws and are therefore not guaranteed. Prize winners are responsible for providing required documentation in a timely manner and are responsible for any tax liabilities they may incur. Nashville Film Festival is not responsible for providing tax advice.

FESTIVAL SCREENING
The individual or corporation submitting the film warrants that he/she/they is authorized to commit the film to at least two screenings at any time during the 2021 Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) taking place September 30 - October 6, 2021 and limited, ticketed, secure online presentations during that same period. Selected entries must provide exhibition copy in DCP or Blu-ray format for in-person and H264 for virtual.

LIABILITY
Every possible care will be taken with entries while in our possession, however, we cannot accept responsibility for loss, damage or additional charges incurred en route, or due to normal wear and tear, or due to equipment failure. Do NOT send original prints or master copies.

Additionally, NashFilm is held harmless from any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity or screening of any film.

SHIPPING
The cost of shipping an entry to the Festival must be paid by the entrant or preceding festival. All international entries must be sent with all transportation charges, duties, and taxes prepaid by the shipper. For films accepted into the Festival, the entrant is responsible for inbound shipping. In most cases, NashFilm will pay the cost of outbound shipping of the print to its next destination. However, the Festival will not be responsible for unnecessary expedited or overnight shipping charges to other destinations.

ALL OF THE FOLLOWING MUST ACCOMPANY YOUR ENTRY:
-Entry fee (must be paid online via FilmFreeway).
-3-Line Synopsis (may be used for Festival Program and website)
-FEATURE-LENGTH FILMS: 250 Word Synopsis (may be used for Festival Program and website)
-STUDENTS: Include proof of student status at the time of production. (Copy of student ID or transcript.)
-TENNESSEE RESIDENTS: Include proof of residence or proof that the entry was shot predominantly in the state of Tennessee.
-Accepted entries must submit at least one digital, horizontal 300dpi still photo from the film.
-Selected films who submit a rough cut MUST submit a copy of the final edit of their film on Vimeo or other digital streaming service.
-Notification of Festival acceptance status is scheduled to be given to all entrants on or around July 16, 2021.

VIRTUAL REALITY COMPETITION RULES
All VR submissions must be submitted digitally through FilmFreeway. Platforms: All submissions must be able to be experienced via one of the following platforms: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR.

WAIVER POLICY
As a nonprofit organization, our annual operations and the process of viewing the volume of submissions we receive are very costly, therefore we do not offer full or discounted waivers in most cases. We aim to keep our fees reasonable, and encourage all applicants to take advantage of our early and official deadlines to save on submission fees. Please do not email about student discounts as our student competition section is already priced at a discounted rate. If you have any questions, please contact us at entries@nashfilm.org.

NOTIFICATIONS
Notification of Festival acceptance status is scheduled to be given to all entrants on or about July 16, 2021.

FILM COMPETITION FAQ
What important dates do I need to know?
Open for Entries - January 4, 2021
Early Bird Deadline - March 26, 2021
Regular Deadline - May 21, 2021
Late Deadline - June 11, 2021
Extended Deadline - June 25, 2021
Notification Date - July 16, 2021
52nd Nashville Film Festival - September 30 - October 6, 2021

How do I submit my film?
You can submit your film via FilmFreeway. Please see our festival listing HERE for all details.

How much is it to enter?
Fees are staggered based entry categories and Earlybird, Regular, Late and Extended Deadlines. You can also receive a discounted rate if you are a Gold member on FilmFreeway.

Do you accept works-in-progress?
Work-in-progress can be submitted, though not encouraged.

Do you accept re-submission from previous years?
We do not. Any work that was submitted in previous years is not eligible for the 2021 Festival.

Do you require premiere status?
We do not require World, US or Southeast premiere status (although preferable and will be eligible for additional awards money). We DO however, require Tennessee premiere status.

Do you prefer DVD, Blu-ray or online screeners?
Online ONLY! No other form of screener will be eligible.

When we notify filmmakers or acceptance or rejection?
Filmmakers will be notified on or around July 16, 2021.

I have a question that wasn’t addressed. Who should I contact?
Please email entries@nashfilm.org

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Justin Ethington

    Nashville Festival was a great experience. Honored to have "Slice of Adventure" included in their lineup of animated shorts.

    November 2021
  • Very grateful for the festival to have my VR project selected.

    However, I did not attend due to the rising Covid cases in Nashville at the time, and was disappointed to see almost no social media coverage of the VR cinema, and did not hear back from organizers when asked for photos. The VR programmer Aidan did an amazing job of connecting with me early on and chatting about my project which I'm thankful for, but at the end I have no idea how the VR cinema looked like and how the reception was, which left me feeling like the VR program was still treated like a sideline attraction which was rather disappointing. Hoping that more attention can be paid to immersive media in future editions of Nashville Festivals.

    Regardless I'm very grateful for the organizing team of Nashville Film Festival 2021 and thank them for all the hard work in putting on a show during a pandemic.

    October 2021
  • Andy Strohl

    The Nashville Film Festival exceeded our expectations. As we chose the NFF for our movie's World Premiere we were hoping the quality of the festival would match the level of passion and commitment the filmmakers put into the three years of making the film. The venues were spectacular, the sound team, lighting team, and red carpet hospitality was next level. We are so grateful to have experienced such an elevated evening.

    October 2021
  • Carolina Sorensen

    Great festival. Really enjoyed the online experience and thought the industry sessions were also great. Cx

    October 2021
  • Kelley Szany

    The Nashville Film Festival was an incredible experience from beginning to end. The quality of films and the team that curates the experience, to warmth and ease of communication, everything was top-notch! Such an honor and pleasure to be a part of the festival this year!

    October 2021