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 up to $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. 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.

Winning screenwriters will receive $750 or $1,000 in cash prizes, depending on the category, and each feature-length category winner.

Scripts from the quarterfinalist level up are hosted on a website for access by industry professionals. Semifinalists will be entitled to purchase a badge at preferred rate. Finalists are treated to a table read scene from their screenplay performed by actors and will receive a complimentary festival badge.

Category winners will receive a cash prize based on the category as well as a personalized NashFilm Award and personalized assistance with their project goals. Category winners are determined by an all industry jury that includes active producers and literary representatives.

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

1. Original Content: All entries submitted to the Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) Screenwriting Competition must be original works by the applicant. If the script is an adaptation or based on source material to which the entrant doesn't own the rights, permission to adapt the original work must be submitted as the first page in the screenplay PDF.

2. Submissions: Submissions must be made online. No mailed or emailed entries are accepted. NashFilm does not allow changes to the categories after submission. All submissions are final, and NashFilm does not issue refunds or adjustments of entry fees. Each submission will be sent a confirmation email once payment is processed.

3. Multiple Categories: Entrants may submit the same entry to more than one category. Each category entered requires an entry fee for that category.

4. Formatting: Screenplays must be formatted according to industry standards. Pages must be numbered and typed in 12 point Courier font. All entries must be submitted in English. Include title only on title page. The author’s name should NOT appear on the title page or anywhere on the script, to preserve anonymity and fairness. This includes the PDF file name.

5. Lengths:
• Feature Scripts: 75 – 110 pages
• Short Scripts: under 45 pages
• Teleplay (30 minute pilot): 25-40 pages (longer lengths formatted with acts)
• Teleplay (60 minute pilot): 59-70 pages (longer lengths formatted with acts)

Scripts will not be disqualified on length alone. The guidelines above are strongly recommended based on what our industry jury is looking for from writers looking to break in and is typical of commercial scripts. There are always exceptions. If you have a longer script, feel free to contact the competition manager for guidance.

6. Revisions: NashFilm considers all entries to be complete. You may not send in revisions after the screenplay or teleplay has been submitted. Finalists will have an opportunity to submit an updated draft for final judging.

7. Ineligibility: The NashFilm Screenwriting Competition does not accept novels, short stories, stage plays, treatments, synopses, reality show concepts, scripts for existing TV series, or works that are not original. Scripts also must not have been sold or currently be under option prior to 10/3/2020. NashFilm employees, including seasonal staff, board members, sponsors, and their immediate families, are not eligible to submit in any category.

8. Judging: Scripts will be judged based on final scores that cover multiple criteria including, but not limited to structure, premise, entertainment value, and commercial viability. All decisions are final.

9. Entry Deadlines / Notifications:
Open for Entries: January 4, 2021
Early Bird Deadline: March 1, 2021
Regular Deadline: April 26, 2021
Late Deadline: May 31, 2021
Extended (FINAL) Deadline: June 14, 2021

Quarter Finalists will be notified by July 9, 2021
Semifinalists will be notified no later than July 16, 2021.
Finalists will be notified by email no later than July 23, 2021. Winners in each category will be announced at the Screenwriting Competition Awards Ceremony during the festival in October 2021.

10. Multiple writers: All awards are on a per selected screenplay basis. NashFilm does not assume responsibility for splitting any part of any award. It is up to the registering writer to notify NashFilm which writer will be the recipient of the awards package. The additional writer(s) will be eligible to purchase a festival badge at the preferred semifinalist rate.

12. Copyright: All entrants are encouraged, but not required to register their screenplays with the Writers’ Guild of America, East or West:, or

Overall Rating
  • Great communication and quick response time! Had a wonderful experience with this festival!

    October 2020
  • Nafi Ayvaci

    The year is 2020. A deadly pandemic sweeps America. Us filmmakers and screenwriters are snatched away from our natural habitats, the film festivals. Anxiety creeps in. Questions abound. What do we do?

    No worries! Nashville Film Festival to the rescue!

    Even though the festival itself was online, the staff did their best to recreate an authentic festival experience. Not only I was able to get my fix of Eastern European short films for the time being, I was also able to meet with amazing filmmakers and screenwriters thanks to the virtual happy hours we held.

    Cat, the Screenwriting Competition Manager, did an amazing job making us feel included. Instead of a copy/paste "congratulations" email that I've gotten used to, I received a heartfelt announcement where I knew she was doing her best to create opportunities for me and my screenplay.

    I hope to return to Nashville soon. Thanks for an amazing experience!

    October 2020
  • The Nashville Film Festival, screenwriting contest team, were great in their communications and clear about what was happening with the festival. The festival's team as a whole adapted it to a virtual experience and remained loyal to the in-person version as much as they could. Good experience and well worth the entry fee.

    October 2020
  • Blake Donovan

    Five stars are not enough to describe the incredible communication from this festival, especially by Cat Stewart. Emails are personalized and responses are even more so. This festival is run by kind people who care about the filmmakers.

    October 2020
  • Collette Legault

    I entered my screenplay and found that Cat Stewart is responsive, incredibly smart and amazing. I'm so happy to have entered even though I didn't make it to the finals, it was worth it.

    October 2020