The Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) celebrates innovation, music and the many voices of the human spirit through the art of film. Originally founded in 1969, the Nashville Film Festival is one of the longest-running film festivals in the United States and the first in the South. NashFilm discovers, elevates, and honors filmmakers, screenwriters and musicians from around the world while engaging, connecting and strengthening the community.

The 54th Nashville Film Festival taking place September 28 - October 4, 2023 plans to feature seven days of in-person screenings, panels and music showcases, parties and more at a variety of venues throughout Nashville. Stay connected via our website and social media for more information and join the celebration of film, music and culture!

Nashville Film Festival offers $100,000 in cash and in-kind sponsor prizes to filmmakers with winners selected by industry professionals – including studio representatives, producers, DP’s, editors and fellow award winning 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.

-Entries must not have premiered to the public in-person or virtually before January 1, 2022.

-Films that have screened virtually at a Festival prior to the Nashville Film Festival are eligible for submission and competition.

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

-Films submitted in previous years are not eligible for resubmission to the current and open season.

-NashFilm will program 1-2 Spotlight sections this year. The films will be out of competition, but contain a highly curated selection of films that share a common theme.
-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 filmfreeway. 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 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.

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 2023 Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) taking place September 28 - October 4, 2023 and limited, ticketed, secure online presentations during that same period. Selected entries will be given more detail on what film file formats to deliver (file type based on venue capabilities) .

Every possible care will be taken with DCPs 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.
-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 August 11, 2023.

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

Notification of Festival acceptance status is scheduled to be given to all entrants on or about August 11, 2023.

What important dates do I need to know?
Open for Entries - January 2, 2023
Early Bird Deadline - March 20, 2023
Regular Deadline - May 15, 2023
Late Deadline - June 9, 2023
Extended Deadline - June 19, 2023
Notification Date - August 11, 2023
54th Nashville Film Festival - September 28 - October 4, 2023

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 2023 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 do we notify filmmakers of acceptance or rejection?
Filmmakers will be notified on or before August 11, 2023

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

Overall Rating
  • Tracey Smith

    Nashville was by far the best run festival in terms of coordination, communication, and programming. Also the accommodations were wonderful. Thank you for an outstanding experience this year. What a wonderful crew you all have!

    November 2022
  • Caleb Suggs

    Very nice, inviting, and professional. The quality of films at this festival are some of the best indie film blocks I've seen.

    November 2022
  • Stephen Schlager

    I had a wonderful experience at Nashville.

    The festival was very well organized and the communication from the Nashville team was thorough and easy to understand. They were responsive when I had questions and willing to work with me to get my film's marketing on point.

    The festival itself was awesome and well organized and the film teasers/posters were posted on their socials before hand.

    I'm just really happy to have been part of such a prestigious festival and having such a friendly team working with me to get my film as much publicity as possible as they provided press contacts to reach out to for viewing my film.

    Thanks so much team Nashville!

    October 2022
  • Nashville Film Festival was awesome! They screened my documentary series, Trans in Trumpland during their 2021 festival. The entire festival experience was smooth, and I enjoyed seeing the other films there, in addition to the filmmaker panels. It was very informative. I highly recommend this festival!

    March 2022
  • Justin Ethington

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

    November 2021