47th Annual

Nashville Film Festival

April 14, 2016 to April 23, 2016

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

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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 $2,000 USD. An additional $1,000 will be added if the filmmaker is in attendance at the Awards Ceremony (Thursday, April 22, 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.

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 representatives from distributors such as The Weinstein Company, Magnolia Pictures, Roadside Attractions, Film Movement, festivals including Sundance Film Festival, AFI Los Angeles, and River Run Film Festival.

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 $2,000 USD. An additional $1,000 will be awarded if the filmmaker is in attendance. Another $1,000 will be added in the film is a World or North American Premiere - for a total cash prize of $4,000.

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 41 minutes and over, with the winner receiving a $2,000 cash prize. An additional $1,000 will be offered if the filmmaker is in attendance at the awards ceremony (Thursday, April 22, 2016). Another $1,000 will be offered if the film is a World or North American Premiere (for a total of up to $4,000).

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," "5 Broken Cameras," " If a Tree Falls," "Encounters at the End of the World," "Murderball", and "Story of a Weeping Camel."

Recent documentary hits at NaFF include "Frame by Frame," "In My Father's House," "The Barkley Marathons," "The Case Against 8," "Far Out Isn't Far Enough", "I Am Divine", "Beauty is Embarrassing", "Buck", and "Prodigal Sons",

Additional non-cash prizes are available, including the Southwest Airlines Audience Awards.

Films in this category MUST be Tennessee Premieres.
Music Films / Music City Competition
Music Films/Music City is an international competition for documentaries about music, musicians and the impact of music that are 40 minutes and over. The winning film will receive a cash prize worth up to $4,000 - a $2,000 base cash prize with a $1,000 bonus if the film is a World Premiere and another $1,000 bonus if the filmmaker is present to receive the award at the awards ceremony (April 22, 2016).

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 The Blind Boys of Alabama, Sam Bush, Glen Campbell, Rob Thomas, Kiefer Sutherland, William Shatner, Ben Folds, Chris Thile, John Mellencamp, and Henry Rollins.

Recent Music Films / Music City hits at NaFF include: Academy Award-nominee "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", and "Wish Me Away."

Accepted films in this category MUST BE Tennessee Premieres.

There will be a STRONG preference toward WORLD PREMIERES in this category.
Tennessee First 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.

The winning film will receive a $1,000 cash prize.
Narrative Short Competition
International competition for Live Action narrative films under 40 min. with the winning film becomig eligible for Academy Award™ consideration, provided it meets all other eligibility requirements. The winner also receives a $500 cash prize. Previous Winners include Riz Ahmed's "Daytimer," Erik Schmitt's "Rhino Full Throttle," Christoph Kushnig's "Hatch," and Academy Award-winner Shawn Christensen's "Curfew."

Other recent NaFF selections that went on to receive Oscar nominations include: "Butter Lamp," "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 selected to be shown.
Documentary Short Competition
An international competition for non-fiction films under 40 minutes. The winning film will qualify for Academy Award™ consideration (provided it meets all other eligibility requirements) 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, "La Vie en rose comme dans les films," "The Last Days of Peter Bergman," and "A Story for the Modlins."
Animated Short Competition
An International competition for Animated Short Films under 40 minutes in length. The winning film will qualifies for Academy Award™ consideration, provided it meets all other eligibility requirements. Additionally, the winner receives 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," 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.

Students in Tennessee colleges and universities, please enter the Tennessee First Student Category.

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 2016entry@nashfilm.org 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, "Wire Cutters," "Pink Helment Posse," "I Think This is the Closes to How the Footage Looked," "Bian Zi," and "Deeper Than Yesterday."
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 First Short Film Competition

The Tennessee First 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.

The winning narrative and winning documentary each receive a $500 cash prize.

World premieres are a requirement in this category to win the cash prize. Exceptions will only be granted upon request. Cast/crew screenings do not disqualify a film, however, if there are tickets sold to the public in any way, the film will be disqualified from competition.
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.

Screening fees are NOT offered to accepted films in this category.
Graveyard Shift Shorts
Graveyard Shift Shorts is a category to celebrate genre shorts. Makers 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.

In it's inaugural year, over 70 entries were received and the winner was "Alone," directed by Didier Philippe.
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 10 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 $500 cash prize.

The inaugural winner was "24HR Records."
Tennessee First Student Shorts Competition
This competition is specifically for Tennessee college and university students, with the winning filmmaker receiving a $500 cash prize. Entries may be narrative, documentary, animated or experimental.

Proof of Student Status is required.

Additionally, to qualify, the film must meet two of the three following standards.
1 - The director is a Tennessee native, resident or currently attends a Tennessee college or university.
2 - The Producer and/or screenwriter must be a Tennessee native, resident or currently attends a Tennessee college or university.
3 - At least 65% of the film must be shot in Tennessee.

This is the inaugural year for this competition.


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 $65,000 in cash and prizes and an Academy Award* qualifier for short films, Nashville Film Festival enters its 47th year after welcoming more than 43,000 guests in 2015. Special guests of the 46th festival included Nick Kroll, Tig Notaro, Colin Jost, Emmylou Harris, John Oates, Ricki Stern, and Academy Award-winning composer/rapper Che "Rhymefest" Smith.

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 280 films from 47 countries, innovative industry panels, live music showcases, and parties almost every night, the 2015 NaFF drew over 43,000 attendees and sold out nearly 50 films and events.

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, the Tennessee First Competition for Tennessee-based filmmakers and the Graveyard Shift Competition for horror, sci-fi and other genre films. Competitive programs for shorts filmmakers are: Best Narrative, Best Animated Short Film and Best Documentary Short -- all three of which qualify films for Academy Award consideration, provided they meet all other eligibility requirements. Other competitive programs include Best Experimental Short; Best College Student Short; Graveyard Shift Shorts; and a Young Filmmakers Competition for filmmakers under the age of 18. The final prizes are the Tennessee First Competitions for Narrative, Documentary and Student Shorts. For the second year, NaFF will hold a Web Series Competition for content created for smaller screens.

Named to MovieMaker's list of the 50 Film Festival Worth the Entry Fee for 2015 and 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 $65,000. Additionally, apart from many other film festivals, films compete for several prizes for music composition, supervision, and collaboration. Winners of the Short Narrative, Animation and Documentary competitions are automatically qualified for Academy Award consideration, provided they meet all other eligibility requirements. Other short films categories compete for cash prizes.

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: "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl," "I'll See You in My Dreams," "Welcome to Me," "Words and Pictures," "The One I Love," "Locke," "Ida," "Mud", "Stories We Tell," "The Way, Way Back", and "The Spectacular Now."

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, Ashely Judd, Seth Green, Ray Liotta, Lizzy Caplan, Brie Larson, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, William Shatner, Hal Holbrook, Al Gore, Vincent D'Onofrio, Craig Brewer.

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 city...how 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 and non-cash prizes are eligible in many categories for films that elect to have their World or North American Premieres at the 2016 NaFF. The only Premiere REQUIREMENT for most categories is that the film is making its Tennessee Premiere, however, some categories do require World Premiere. Exceptions may be made buy only by request.

-- Entries must not have been publicly shown before January 1, 2014. Preference will be given to feature film that premiered after May 1, 2015.

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

-- 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 2016 Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) - April 14-23, 2015. Selected entries must send festival screening copy on DCP or ProRes 422 file (for shorts under 15 minutes). 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 560p x315p. 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 BluRay upon acceptance.

Notification of Festival acceptance status will be given to all entrants by February 26, 2016.


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 up to three public screenings of the entry during the dates of April 14-23, 2016.

IMPORTANT: Entries that are not completed or available for screening MUST pull their entry prior to March 15, 2016 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 copies or files.