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July 03, 2022

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52nd Nashville Film Festival Announces 2021 Event

​​​​​​​Festival returns to in-person screenings, events and panels at new venues in central Nashville, September 30 - October 6, 2021.

The Nashville Film Festival has announced plans for the organization’s 52nd annual event, a week-long celebration of film, music and culture reimagined to spotlight the city’s vibrant cultural venues and bring the surrounding communities and creative industries back to central Nashville. To take place September 30 through October 6, 2021, the 52nd Nashville Film Festival will present in-person screenings, events, workshops and panels throughout the week, while maintaining a virtual festival platform to host the more than 150 planned films, talkbacks and more to be featured this year. The festival also announces the first four titles selected for inclusion in this year’s program.

Prior to the Festival’s virtual event in 2020, the Nashville Film Festival had been hosted in multiplex theater environments, limiting the organization’s ability to fully capture the vibrancy of the city of Nashville for the event and its attendees. With the capacity to reexamine festival logistics and priorities over the last year, NashFilm Executive Director Jason Padgitt, Programming Manager Lauren Ponto and the organization’s board of directors seized the opportunity to reimagine the in-person Nashville Film Festival experience for 2021. 

This year, the festival will take place across a selection of iconic cultural venues in the heart of the city, including:

  • Rocketown (601 4th Ave. S) – Downtown’s vast event and concert venue will be home to Opening Night events on Thursday, September 30 and festival screenings, Q&As and select live events through Sunday, October 3
  • Belmont University Theater (1900 Belmont Ave) – A world-class performing arts center on the heart of Belmont’s campus, the theater will host film screenings and panel discussions on Monday, October 4
  • Marathon Music Works (1402 Clinton St.) – A turn-of-the-century auto factory turned Nashville’s most unique concert & event venue, Marathon Music Works will host film screenings, Q&As, live music performances and more on Tuesday, October 5
  • The Belcourt Theater (2012 Belcourt Ave) – Home to silent movies when it opened in 1925, then the Grand Ole Opry and more, the historical Belcourt Theater will host the Nashville Film Festival Closing Night presentation on Wednesday, October 6 

“This year’s festival will create an attendee experience unlike any in our more than fifty year history and bring our film screenings and events into the downtown footprint for the first time,” said Padgitt. “One of our festival’s long-term ambitions has been to integrate our programming and events into the heart of Nashville, and this year, we are one major step closer to creating a festival experience that brings that vision to life.”

Each slated to screen in-person over the course of the event as well as on the festival’s virtual platform, the first titles to be announced as official selections for the 52nd Nashville Film Festival are:

  • 7 Days, the clever and intimate COVID-era romance written and directed by Roshan Sethi and produced by the Duplass Brothers; 
  • The Return: Life After Isis, Alba Sotorra’s compelling documentary on two young women who gave up everything to join extremists; 
  • Fanny: The Right to Rock, directed by Bobbie Jo Hart, that reveals the untold story of the Filipina American garage band that almost became the female Beatles; and 
  • We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, Jane Schoenbrun’s visually haunting thriller about a teenager who becomes immersed in an online role-playing horror game.

The full slate of films and programs selected for the 52nd Nashville Film Festival will be announced in August.

Beyond the traditional film festival, which is slated to feature 150 feature-length and short films across every genre, NashFilm will again host events and programs that highlight the many aspects of filmmaking, including: a Screenwriting Competition (September 30-October 6); Music Programming (virtual panels, workshops and more, September 29-October 1); the Creators Conference (film industry panels and conversations, October 1-2); and live music performances and new artist showcases throughout the week.

Passes are now on sale for the Nashville Film Festival; attendees have the option to purchase passes for the in-person experiences only or a combination pass that offers access to both in-person and virtual screenings and events. For more information and to purchase passes, visit www.nashvilefilmfestival.org.

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About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing and Entertainment Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 3-year-old Ezra.