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. Showcasing approximately 200 films from over 30 countries, a screenplay competition, episodic competition, live music showcases and parties almost every night, the 51st Nashville Film Festival will be an event to remember.

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.

-Due to COVID-19, films that have screened virtually at a Festival prior to the Nashville Film Festival are still eligible for submission and competition.

-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 6 narrative feature films made in the U.S.

Fringe World Cinema: A selection of 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 not have premiered to the public before January 1, 2019.

-Entries must be submitted for pre-screening on 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 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.

The individual or corporation submitting the film warrants that he/she/they is authorized to commit the film to at least three screenings at any time during the 2020 Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) - October 1 - 7, 2020. Selected entries must provide exhibition copy in DCP format, preferably NTFS-formatted. Please NO Mac-formatted hard drives! You MUST also send a mp4. and/or BluRay backup for exhibition in case something goes wrong with a digital file.

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.

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.

-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 and at least one web-ready still at 72dpi and 560x315 pixels.

-Selected films must who submitted 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 July 10, 2020.

All submissions must be made 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, or Google Cardboard. If released, all experiences must have download link submitted to NashFilm AND a submission form filled out on FilmFreeway for submission to be considered complete.

Work in Progress: Entries do not need to be submitted in their finished form by the submission date, however the final form must be completed and submitted to NashFilm by May 30, 2020. We cannot guarantee that the finished copy will be watched if a work in progress is submitted. We encourage you to only submit works in progress if submitting close to the final deadline.

Original Content: All entries submitted to the Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) VR & 360 Film Competition must be original works by the applicant. By submitting to this competition, you are attesting that this work is yours and that you have the authority to submit this work to the Nashville Film Festival and agree to all of the rules of the competition and the festival as a whole.

Revisions: NashFilm considers all entries to be complete. You may send in revisions after an initial or work-in-progress has been submitted, but the revised copy will only be used going forward. Any scoring already complete will remain the same, based on the initial submission.

If you have any questions, please contact us by emailing and include in the subject line: “VR Inquiry”

Notification of Festival acceptance status is scheduled to be given to all entrants on or about July 15, 2020.


What important dates do I need to know?
Entries Open - January 3, 2020
Early Bird Deadline - March 27, 2020
Regular Deadline - May 22, 2020
Late Deadline - June 19, 2020
Extended Deadline - June 26, 2020
Notification Date - July 15, 2020
51st Nashville Film Festival - October 1-7, 2020

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. Please see our submission page HERE for a full list of pricing.

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 2020 Festival.

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

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

When we the festival notify filmmakers or acceptance or rejection?
Filmmakers will be notified on or before July 10 , 2020.

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

Overall Rating
  • Robert King

    Spectacular! People running the festival are outstanding and the experience was wonderful. This was a great festival.

    October 2019
  • Valentina Tarelli

    Fantastic all round. Great festival, great communication, great staff. Thank you for featuring us!

    October 2019
  • Gabriela McNicoll

    Wonderful hospitality and incredible films curated. So fortunate to have been selected to screen. Staff and volunteers were wonderful. Thank you, Nashville!

    October 2019
  • Benjamin Howard

    My short played during the NextGen 5 program; only a small handful of people attended, but I chatted with some of the filmmakers afterward and made some neat connections. The features at Nashville provided endless entertainment. 'Greener Grass' was a hoot, 'Kill Team' was incredible. Thank you NFF team!

    October 2019
  • John MacDonald

    Imho this is one of the best run, best programmed festivals in the US. Broad and varied overview of the state of independent cinema.

    October 2019