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25-Apr-2015 7:32am PDT  


Nashville Film Festival

46 Annual April 16, 2015 to April 25, 2015

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161 Rains Ave.
Nashville TN 37203
Phone: 615-742-2500
Fax: 615-742-1004

CLOSED FOR THE SEASON • Information may be outdated. Add this event to your Watch List and set a Remind-Me if you want to be notified when the next Call For Entries is posted.

Narrative Feature Competition
The Bridgestone Narrative Feature Competition is for narrative films 41 minutes and over. NaFF seeks innovative, original films with unique perspectives from all parts of the globe. The winning film receives a cash prize of $3,000 USD. An additional $1,000 will be added if the filmmaker is in attendance at the Awards Ceremony (Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 9pm). Another $1,000 will be added if the film is a World or North American Premiere. Films in this category MUST be Tennessee Premieres.

Additional non-cash prizes are awarded for Best Music, Best Original Song, Best Actor and Best Actress. Special Jury Prizes (also non-cash) may be awarded.

Recent winners include Fernando Eimbcke's "Club Sandwich," Hiner Saleem's "If You Die, I Will Kill You", Matthew Gordon's "The Dynamiter", and Andrew Haigh's "Weekend."

Jurors in the past several years in this category have included David Glasser from The Weinstein Company, Meghan Wurrz from Film Movement, Rosie Wong from the Sundance Film Festival, actor/director Chris Eigeman ("Metropolitan"), Magnolia Pictures VP Arianne Rocchi, Toronto Audience Award Winning Director Claudia Weill, actor Anthony Zerbe, actor/director Dan Butler ("Frasier"), Variety critic Joe Leydon, and curator / critic Elvis Mitchell.

Screening fees are NOT offered to accepted films in this category.
New Directors Competition
The New Directors Feature Competition is for narrative films 41 minutes and over by first-time narrative feature filmmakers. NaFF seeks innovative, original films with unique perspectives from all parts of the globe. The winning film receives a cash prize of $1,500 USD. An additional $500 will be awarded if the filmmaker is in attendance. Another $500 will be added in the film is a World or North American Premiere - for a total cash prize of $2,500.

Previous winners are Academy Award™-winner Shawn Christensen's "Before I Disappear", Michael Mohan's "One Too Many Mornings" (who returned in the Narrative Competition in 2012 with "Save the Date"), Mike Magidson for "Inuk", and Nejc Gazvoda for "A Trip (Izlet)", and David "Tosh" Gitonga for "Nairobi Half Life".

Additionally films compete for non-cash Best Actor and Best Actress prizes, and are eligible for additional prizes, including the Southwest Airlines Audience Awards.

Films in this competition MUST BE Tennessee Premieres and will not receive screening fees if accepted into competition.
Documentary Feature Competition
This is an international competition for documentaries 40 minutes and over, with the winner receiving a $3,000 cash prize. An additional $1,000 will be offered if the filmmaker is in attendance at the awards ceremony (Thursday, April 23, 2015). Another $1,000 will be offered if the film is a World or North American Premiere (for a total of up to $5,000).

Please note that documentaries about music or musicians should be submitted in the Gibson Music Films / Music City category.

Since its inception, NaFF has always offered well-attended screenings of and enthusiastic responses to non-fiction features and shorts, many of which have been nominated and/or received Academy Awards, such as "Born into Brothels," "Daughter From Danang," "Encounters at the End of the World," "Murderball", and "Story of a Weeping Camel."

Recent documentary hits at NaFF include "BESA: The Promise," "The Case Against 8," "Far Out Isn't Far Enough", "I Am Divine", "Beauty is Embarrassing", "Buck", "Most Valuable Players", "Prodigal Sons", "Garbage Dreams", "Pressure Cooker", "American Teen," "Mountain Top Removal," "Up the Yangtze," "Banished," "The Devil Came on Horseback," "Manufactured Landscapes," and "The Trials of Darryl Hunt."

NaFF offers an Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature. Recent winners include "Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me", "Beauty Is Embarrassing", "The Topp Twins", "For Once in My Life", "Rock Prophecies," and "Born Into Brothels." Please note that Documentaries and Music Films / Music City documentaries compete for the same Audience Award.

Additional non-cash prizes are available.

Films in this category MUST be Tennessee Premieres.
Music Films / Music City Competition
Presented by Gibson - an international competition for documentaries about music and musicians that are 40 minutes and over.

Since it is Music City, the Music Films Competition has always been one of the hottest, most sought-after prizes on the festival circuit - featuring world premiere films by and about Rob Thomas, Kiefer Sutherland, William Shatner, Ben Folds, Chris Thile, John Mellencamp, and Henry Rollins.

Recent Music Films / Music City hits at NaFF include, "Glen Campbell...I"ll Be Me," "The Ballad of Shovels & Rope," "Die Thomaner: A Year in the Life of the St. Thomas Boys Choir Liepzig", "Good Ol' Freda", "Under African Skies", "Butch Walker: Out of Focus", "Wish Me Away,", "It's About You", "Ain't In It For My Health", "For Once in My Life," "The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls", "Rock Prophecies", "I Trust You to Kill Me", and "My Secret Record".

Additionally, Music Films / Music City Entries will compete for The Southwest Airlines Freedom to Choose Audience Award for Best Documentary and the NPT Human Spirit Award.

Accepted films in this category MUST BE Tennessee Premieres.
Tennessee Spirit Feature Competition
The Tennessee Spirit Award for Best Feature is presented to the best feature film (all genre and styles welcome) that meets two of the three criteria (proof is required to win the award):

1 - The Director is a current Tennessee Resident or Tennessee Native.
2 - The Executive Producer or Screenwriter is a current Tennessee Resident.
3 - At least 65% of the film was shot in Tennessee.

Previous winners of this prize include Clay Jeter's "Jess + Moss", Brent Stewart's "The Colonel's Bride" and The Deagol Brothers' "Make-Out with Violence," and Jace Freeman's "The Ballad of Shovels and Rope."

World Premieres are given top preference in this category.
Narrative Short Competition
International competition for Live Action narrative films under 40 min. with the winning film declared eligible for Academy Award™ consideration. Additionally, a $500 cash prize is offered. Previous Winners include Erik Schmitt's "Rhino Full Throttle," Christoph Kushnig's "Hatch," Academy Award-winner Shawn Christensen's "Curfew," Sean Durkin's "Mary Last Seen," Jamie Travis' "The Armoire," and Denis Villeneuve's "Next Floor".

Recent NaFF selections that went on to receive Oscar nominations include: "Buzkashi Boys," "Kavi," "Miracle Fish," "The Pig," "Instead of Abracadabra," and winner, "West Bank Story."

Submitted films that have lost their Academy eligibility in this category will not be eligible for the Grand Jury Prize, but may be shown if not nominated and thus shown in the nominated shorts package.
Documentary Short Competition
An international competition for non-fiction films under 40 minutes the winning film will qualify for Academy Award™ consideration and will receive a check for $500 (USD).

Some documentary short film highlights from previous festivals include Academy Award nominees, "Mondays at Racine", "Witness from the Balcony of Room 306" and Academy Award-winner "Freeheld", as well as recent winners, "The Last Days of Peter Bergman," "A Story for the Modlins" and "Meaning of Robots".
Animated Short Competition
An International competition for Animated Short Films of under 40 minutes in length, the winning film will automatically qualify for Academy Award™ Consideration. Additionally, the winner will receive a $500 cash prize.

Recent winners include such classic animators as Don Hertzfeldt, Bill Plympton, Chris Landreth, and Academy Award™ winning films such as "The Danish Poet", "Ryan," "Rabbit and Deer," and "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore." Recent selections to receive Academy Award™ nominations include "Feral," "Room on the Broom,"
A Morning Stroll," and "The Gruffalo."
Experimental Short Competition
The Nashville Film Festival has a long history of celebrating Experimental Shorts - movies that stretch the definition of expression and form - going back to its earliest days in East Tennessee in 1969.

Experimental filmmakers who have screened here include the greats Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakahge, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul as well as more recent talents like Jason LaRay Keener and Athina Rachel Tsangari.

The winning film will receive a $500 cash prize.
College Student Short Competition
The College Student Film Competition winner receives a $500 cash prize.

Entrants MUST send a photocopy of a valid College ID, OR a copy of their most recent transcript along with entry. You may email a scan of the document to if you enter via online screener.

If validation is not received, the film will be placed in the category most appropriate (narrative, animated, documentary, or experimental).

Please note: Student Films will ALSO compete in the above four mentioned categories, but MUST be entered in this category to be eligible for the College Student prizes. For instance, our Grand Jury Prize winner for Best Student Short in 2013 went to "I Think This is the Closest to How the Footage Looked." It was also the Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Short. Student films entered in other categories will only be eligible in that category. You need only enter once, in this category, to be eligible in both categories.

Recent winners include, "Pink Helment Posse," "I Think This is the Closes to How the Footage Looked," "Bian Zi," "Deeper Than Yesterday," and "Walnut."
Young Filmmakers Short Film Competition
VERY IMPORTANT: The Young FIlmmakers Competition is open to all filmmakers age 18 and under - a copy of a State or School ID or a verification letter from a teacher MUST be provided with entry. Additionally, you MUST enter a birth date for the director on the entry form.

Entries submitted into this category who do not meet the age requirements will be disqualified and no refund will granted.

If you find you have entered by accident, please delete and resubmit your entry in the appropriate category.

The winning filmmaker receives a scholarship offer from Watkins School of Art, Design and Film worth $20,000 over four years.
Tennessee Spirit Short Film Competition
FOR TENNESSEE FILMMAKERS or FILMS MADE IN TENNESSEE. The Tennessee Spirit Award for Best Short Film is presented to both the best narrative short film (live action or animation) and Best Documentary short film that meets two of the three criteria (proof is required to win the award):

1 - The Director is a current Tennessee Resident or Tennessee Native.
2 - The Executive Producer or Writer is a current Tennessee Resident.
3 - At least 65% of the film was shot in Tennessee.
Graveyard Shift Feature
The Graveyard Shift Feature Competition is for narrative films 41 minutes and over. This competition is for genre cinema. We're looking for horror films, science fiction, over-the-top gross-out comedies, outrageous action films and generally weird stuff that will mess with people's minds. Films in this category MUST be Tennessee Premieres.

As a category of entry, this is the inaugural year. However, the first juried prize from selected films was given to "Wetlands" in 2014.

Screening fees are NOT offered to accepted films in this category.
Graveyard Shift Shorts
Graveyard Shift Shorts (usually put together in a program called OMG WTF or paired with a Graveyard Shift feature is a category to celebrate genre shorts.Maker of horror shorts, sci fi shorts, outrageous gross-out comedy shorts, over-the-top action shorts or shorts that just really mess with audiences minds - you have found your home at a mainstream film festival.

This is the inaugural year for this as a category of entry, but we've been programming these films for years.
Web Series
The Web Series competition celebrates content created for small screens. To be considered a "web series" for NaFF purposes, at least two episodes must be produced and published. Genre is wide open. We will consider drama, comedy, non-fiction, mockumentary, instructional, horror, sci fi - you name it. Episodes should be under 30 minutes, but preference will be given to episodes under 7 minutes. While we seek to showcase the newest material, series in later seasons may submit their most current content for consideration. The winning series will receive a $1,000 cash prize.

NaFF amplifies our collective and individual awareness by bringing the world to Nashville to celebrate innovation, music and the many voices of the human spirit through the art of film.

Offering over $54,000 in cash and prizes and an Academy Award* qualifier for short films, Nashville Film Festival enters its 46th year after seeing a record-breaking 30% spike in attendance in year 45. Special guests of the 45th Anniversary festival included Ashley Judd, Seth Green, Ray Liotta, Joe Pantoliano, Sharon Lawrence, Beth Grant, Juston Stens, Annika Marks, Brian Geraghty, Robyn LIvely and Academy Award*-winner Frayser Boy of Three 6 Mafia.

Founded in 1969 as the Sinking Creek Film Celebration, Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) 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, USA, NaFF 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. With over 250 films from 50+ countries, innovative industry panels, live music showcases, outdoor screenings and parties almost every night, the 2014 NaFF drew over 42,000 attendees and sold out over films and events.

"My movies have premiered here. It's a great place to see some careers get started."
- Craig Brewer, "Hustle & Flow" (won his first professional award at NaFF in 2001 for "The Poor and Hungry").

NaFF provides its community with innovative, inspiring and culturally diverse film programs by celebrating the latest and best works of filmmakers from all over the globe. Competitive programs for feature filmmakers are: the Bridgestone Narrative Feature Competition and the New Directors Competition for narrative Features; the Documentary Competition and the Gibson Music Films / Music City Competition for documentary Features and the Ground Zero Tennessee Spirit Competition for Tennessee-based filmmakers. Competitive programs for shorts filmmakers are: Best Narrative and Best Animated Short Film (both qualify for Academy Award consideration); Best Documentary Short; Best Experimental Short; Best College Student Short; and a Young Filmmakers Competition for filmmakers under the age of 18. The final prizes are the Ground Zero Award for best Tennessee Narrative Short and Documentary Short.

Recently named one of the 5 Best Film Festivals in America by the Brooks Institute, NaFF offers filmmakers a number of outstanding cash and prizes valuing over $54,000. Additionally, apart from many other film festivals, films compete for several prizes for music composition, supervision, and collaboration. Winners of the Short Narrative and Animation competitions are automatically qualified for Academy Award consideration. Other short films categories compete for cash prizes. Additional independently juried awards include prizes for the best LGBT film, best film by a black filmmaker, best Hispanic film, and for best film by a female filmmaker.

"I was here in 2011 with my film "The Off Hours,...and I had my birthday here that year. And it just felt like a good spot to come back to"
- Megan Griffiths, director of "Lucky Them," the 2014 Closing Night Flim, starring Toni Collette, Thomas Haden Church and Oliver Platt.

Presenting the best films by veteran masters, up-and-coming and first-time filmmakers, NaFF has hosted numerous films that have won the highest honors in the film world, from major festival prizewinners to Academy Award winners to indie box office hits. Hit films screened in the past few years include: "Words and Pictures," "The One I Love," "Lucky Them," "Locke," "Ida," "Mud", "Stories We Tell," "Kon-TIki", "The Way, Way Back", "The Kings of Summer", "The Spectacular Now", "Beauty is Embarrassing", "Big Easy Express", and "The Intouchables."

Filmmakers and celebrities from across the country and around the world attend the festival every year. Guests in just the past few years include: Nicole Kidman, Carrie Preston, Kris Kristofferson, Harmony Korine, Emmylou Harris, Lizzy Caplan, Brie Larson, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, William Shatner, Hal Holbrook, Al Gore, Vincent D'Onofrio, Craig Brewer, Gale Anne Hurd, Giancarlo Esposito, Ray McKinnon, Steve James, Brad Paisley, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Ben Folds, Sheryl Crow, and LeeAnn Womack.

Attendees from earlier years have included Robert Redford, Oprah Winfrey, William H. Macy, Danny Glover, Joey Lauren Adams, Ashley Judd, Patricia Neal, Rob Thomas, Lawrence Bender, Kiefer Sutherland, Joshua Jackson, Peter Falk, Paul Reiser, John Pierson, Patrick Swayze, Rick Schroder, Christine Vachon, John Waters, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Redford, James Cromwell, Harry Belafonte, Barbara Kopple, Michael Moore, and D.A. Pennebaker.

Our process is clear and transparent. Every film submitted is seen at least two times (most receive three viewings). If one of the first two viewers says yes, the film goes before our third level of pre-screening - members of the professional filmmaking community, including directors, writers, and critics. From there, our programming staff hones the films down to the final selection.

Criteria for film selection includes a strong story line told in a unique and professional way. We are always looking for new and up-and-coming filmmakers. Filmmakers who have had their debut or early career films at NaFF include Joel Potrykus, Leah Meyerhoff, the Duplass Brothers, Joe Swanberg, Zack Parker, Sean Baker, and Craig Brewer.

Submit your film to Nashville Film Festival today for a chance to be a part of this spectacular event!

"I really love this hospitable and welcoming and artistic this city is. So I'm really glad to be here."
--Seth Green, who attended the 2014 NaFF with "The Identical."

Brian Owens (Artistic Director) ; Nashville admin (Administration) ; Programming Assistant (Programming Assistant) ; Programming Intern (Programming Intern) ; Ted Crockett (Administration)

-- Competition is open to U.S. and International entries.

-- Films that have shown theatrically or been broadcast on television in Nashville prior to the Festival or are available for sale on DVD or VOD are not eligible for consideration. Additional cash prizes are eligible in many categories for films that elect to have their World or North American Premieres at the 2015 NaFF. The only Premiere REQUIREMENT is that the film is making its Tennessee Premiere.

-- Entries must not have been publicly shown before January 1, 2013. Preference will be given to feature film that premiered after May 1, 2014. Shorts have no premiere requirements.

-- Entries must be submitted for pre-screening on DVD or BluRay. (Region 1 or 0 Standard), online on WAB or through a Vimeo link. We ask that you use recyclable packaging. If you use a Vimeo link, you are REQUIRED to keep us updated with passwords or your film may be rejected.

-- If you are burning a consumer disc, write your Project Title, Film ID# and Contact # on the disc with a Sharpie pen. PLEASE test your consumer-burned DVD on several makes and models of players BEFORE sending it to our offices.

-- Works in progress are accepted but are not encouraged. We can not promise that we will be able to watch re-edited submissions. Please only submit works in progress if 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.

The individual or corporation submitting the film warrants that he/she is authorized to commit the film to at least two screenings at any time during the 2015 Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) - April 16-25, 2015. Selected entries must send festival screening copy on DCP or Quicktime file (for shorts). You MUST also send a 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, NaFF 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. The Festival 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.

Entrant agrees to grant NaFF permission for accepted films and related marketing materials to be reproduced and distributed - in whole or in part - SOLELY for purposes of jurying, education, and promotion of the festival. Please note that due to schedule conflicts, some jurors may view your films on disc or via online screener. If you submitted a rough cut, it is VITAL that you send a copy of the final edition of your film or bring it with you to the festival. This final copy will also serve as a back-up, in case your selected method of exhibition does not work.


-- Entry fee (Paid via Withoutabox or money order in U.S. funds made payable to the Nashville Film Festival)

--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)

--COLLEGE STUDENTS: Include proof of student status at the time of production. (Copy of student ID or transcript.)

--YOUNG FILMMAKERS: Include a copy of your state or student id verifying your age at the time of completion of the film. You may submit a letter from a teacher if you do not have photo ID.

--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 300dpi still photo from the film and at least one web-ready still at 72dpi and 560x315 pixels. Also, we encourage sending a digital file of your 11'x17' poster.

--Selected films must who submitted a rough cut MUST submit a copy of the final edit of their film on DVD or BluRay upon acceptance.

Notification of Festival acceptance status will be given to all entrants by March 1, 2015.


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 individual or corporation submitting this film additionally grants the Nashville Film Festival the right to one or more public screenings of the entry during the dates of April 16-25, 2015. IMPORTANT: Entries that are not completed or available for screening MUST pull their entry prior to March 15, 2015 or the film will be screened as entered. Nashville Film Festival is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless Nashville Film Festival 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.