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The Nashville Film Festival today announces its impressive full film program for the 52nd annual hybrid (in-person + virtual) event.

Nashville Film Fest

The Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) today announces its full film program, including special events, official selections, and more for the 52nd annual event, happening September 30 – October 6 both in-person and online. This year’s festival features a total of 160 titles, including 45 feature-length films; more than 30 selections mark their U.S., North American, and world premieres with the festival.

Opening night selection Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road, Brent Wilson’s (no relation) chronicle of the musician’s storied life and iconic work, honors the festival’s deep ties to music and the music industry; filmmaker Wilson and Jason Fine, executive producer and featured in the film, will be in attendance.

The festival’s program features several music-centric selections, including Fanny: The Right to Rock, about the 1970s all-female rock band; Hard Luck Love Song, the story of a down-on-his-luck troubadour starring Michael Dorman and Sophia Bush; and a-ha: The Movie, following the Norwegian pop sensation on their rise to fame.

 The full festival program, including official film selections, live music performances and the line-up for the annual Creators Conference is included below and available online at, where tickets are now on sale for Festival badge holders. General public tickets for individual films, events, and online access begin September 1.

Following the Opening Night screening, NashFilm announced many additional notable festival presentations.

Petite Maman

These include Flee, Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s award-winning documentary on one man’s harrowing childhood as a refugee;  Petite Maman, filmmaker Celine Sciamma’s follow-up to the acclaimed Portrait of a Lady on Fire; and Old Henry, an action western written and directed by Potsy Ponciroli and starring Tim Blake Nelson. Nelson is scheduled to attend the festival, one of several anticipated special guests throughout the week.

In addition to Wilson and Fine with Long Promised Road, others scheduled to appear include: Júlia Parés, writer of The Return: Life After Isis and CJ Hunt, director of The Neutral Ground, both Documentary Feature Official Selections; and legendary musicians John Hiatt and Jerry Douglas with the world premiere of Leftover Feelings: An RCA Studio B Revival, a new documentary chronicling the first-ever collaboration between the music icons, an album recorded in Elvis’s favorite studio at RCA.

The festival will close with A24’s The Humans, Stephen Karam’s adaptation of his Tony Award-winning play exploring the hidden dread of a family and the love that binds them together; Karam is scheduled to attend, as well Additional special guests to be announced.

True to its Tennessee roots, this year’s program features 29 films made in or with connections to the state.


These include the world premiere of Kd Amond’s Faye, about a personal growth author on a journey to mourn her husband and finish her next book; Invisible, T.J. Parsell’s examination of gay women in southern music; Thistle, featuring stories of survival from Nashville’s Thistle Farms, a sanctuary for women overcoming abuse and addiction; as well as several short film programs featuring work by students, Tennessee-based filmmakers and more.

Both Leftover Feelings and Invisible will feature live music performances in conjunction with their screenings, two of the more than a half dozen planned live music performances during the week.

“This year’s Nashville Film Festival will deliver a dynamic mix of films, music, and live events,” said Director of Programming Lauren Ponto, “and our team is excited for the community to be a part of it in new and innovative ways.”

“From narratives and documentaries to our newest category of films, The Edge, a new shorts competition highlighting boundary-pushing cinema from emerging filmmakers, we’re presenting a vibrant line-up of films from right here in Tennessee as well as across the country and around the world. This year’s content is stronger than ever and very intentionally curated to bring audiences exceptional film and music experiences.”

Of the 160 films selected for this year’s Nashville Film Festival, more than 50 will screen in-person at iconic cultural venues throughout the city over the course of the week.

In addition, many of them — and the remaining official selections — will be available online through the festival’s virtual platform.

Additionally, the festival’s Creators Conference, a two-day program (Oct. 1-2) of film and music industry panels featuring special guests including filmmaker Kirsten Johnson (Dick Johnson is Dead), producer Peter Gilbert (Hoop Dreams), and composers Leo Sirdan (The Motorcycle Diaries) and Joe Kraemer (Mission Impossible; The Way of the Gun) will take place entirely online.

This hybrid approach to the 2021 festival reflects the organization’s priority in making this year’s event available to both local Nashville audiences eager to safely return to cinemas and those across the country interested in attending the festival’s unique blend of film and music programming.

Photo Credit: Heather Hillhouse

Even more programming announcements are expected in the run-up to the 2021 Nashville Film Festival, including a surprise screening slot and late additions to the program as festival organizers put the finishing touches on the most compelling festival line-up in years.

The full Nashville Film Festival program to date follows; film and event details, images and trailers are available online here. The full lineup also appears below. Note: *Denotes films that will only screen in-person.

Badges go on sale September 1st and several options are available.

For fans outside of Nashville, virtual badges can be purchased for only $165, which includes access to  125 virtual films screening online , access to online Q&As, access to online Creators’ Conference panels, access to online Music Program panels and content, and full customer support to make sure you have the best possible “at home” viewing experience.

Morbidly Beautiful will be covering this incredible event, and we can’t wait to see you there! 


Opening Night Selection

Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road

*Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road (directed by Brent Wilson) – The legendary songwriter and co-founder of The Beach Boys takes viewers on an impressionistic road trip through his life and music in this intimate and unconventional cinematic memoir.

Centerpiece Selections


*Flee (directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen) – The extraordinary true story of a man, Amin, on the verge of marriage, compelling him to reveal his hidden past for the first time.

*Petite Maman (directed by Céline Sciamma) – Nelly has just lost her grandmother and is helping her parents clean out her mother’s childhood home. She explores the house and the surrounding woods. One day she meets a girl her same age building a treehouse.

*Old Henry (directed by Potsy Ponciroli) – A widowed farmer warily takes in a mysterious, injured man with a satchel of cash. When a posse comes for the money, he must decide who to trust, revealing a gunslinging talent calling his true identity into question.

Closing Night Selection

The Humans

*The Humans (directed by Stephen Karam) – From writer-director Stephen Karam, and adapted from his Tony Award-winning play, The Humans explores the hidden dread of a family and the love that binds them together.

Narrative Official Selections


7 Days (directed by Roshan Sethi) – In sunny California, Ravi and Rita meet on an awkward arranged marriage date organized by their parents… that gets more awkward when they’re trapped together by quarantine.

*Huda’s Salon (directed by Hany Abu-Assad) – A woman whose visit to a hair salon turns into a nightmare when she is blackmailed by its owner.

Poser (directed by Ori Segev, Noah Dixon) – A young musician slips into a dark transformation as she explores an exclusive underground music scene.

*Queen of Glory (directed by Nana Mensah) – Ghanaian-American Sarah is all set to abandon her Ivy League doctoral program to follow her married lover across the country when her mother dies suddenly and makes her the owner of a neighborhood bookshop in the Bronx.

See You Then (directed by Mari Walker) – A decade after abruptly breaking up with Naomi, Kris invites her to dinner to catch up on their complicated lives, relationships, and Kris’ transition.

*The Tale of King Crab (directed by Alessio Rigo de Righi, Matteo Zoppis) – Luciano lives as a wandering drunkard in a remote Italian village where spiteful actions ensue between him and the prince of the region over the right of passage through an ancient gateway.

Documentary Official Selections

The Neutral Ground

Charm Circle (directed by Nira Berstein) – Oscillating between present-day and decades-old home videos, Charm Circle is a cinéma vérité portrait of an eccentric New York family navigating the chaos that divides them.

Clean Slate (directed by Jared Callahan) – Two friends in a Southern drug recovery program struggle to come to terms with their addiction and mental illness by making a short film about the pain they’ve caused their families.

The First Step (directed by Brandon Kramer) – In a divided America, Van Jones attempts to bring people together to pass a bipartisan criminal justice bill — and finds himself under fire from all sides.

The Neutral Ground (directed by CJ Hunt) – The Neutral Ground documents New Orleans’ fight over monuments and America’s troubled romance with the Lost Cause.

The Return: Life After Isis (directed by Alba Sotorra) – Shamima Begum (UK) and Hoda Muthana (US) made it into worldwide headlines when they left their countries as teenagers to join ISIS. Now they want to return but their countries don’t want them back.

Socks on Fire (directed by Bo McGuire) – Bo McGuire composes a cinematic love letter to his grandmother as his homophobic aunt and drag queen uncle wage war over her estate in Hokes Bluff, Alabama.

Music Documentary Official Selections

a-ha: The Movie

a-ha: The Movie (directed by Thomas Robsham) – a-ha is Norway’s biggest pop success with their hit “Take On Me!”

*Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road (see above)

Fanny: The Right to Rock (directed by Bobbi Jo Hart) – FANNY: The Right to Rock reveals the untold story of a self-formed garage band — which included Filipina American and queer bandmates — that morphed into the ferocious rock group Fanny, the first band of women to release an LP with a major record label (Warner/Reprise, 1970).

I’m Wanita (directed by Matthew Walker) – A renegade Australian country music singer attempts to hold things together long enough so she can get to Nashville, record her definitive album and fulfill a lifelong dream.

New Directors Official Selections