With its biggest-ever lineup set, the Nashville Film Festival is ready to steal the spotlight from Nashville’s music scene for a week.

The event’s increasing clout on the festival circuit, which runs April 15-22 at the Regal Green Hills Cinema, has resulted in a larger slate of feature-length movies, documentaries and shorts in competition in every category, including GLBT cinema. The festival has also added some new categories and competitions, said Brian Owens, artistic director.

“We now have four main competitions: best narrative feature, the director’s competition, best documentary and the Music Films/Music City competition,” Owens said. “We have the grand prizes and jury prizes in those, plus we also have competitions for best live-action short, animated short, documentary short, experimental short and our young filmmakers and college-student competition.”

The festival also is adding competition for actors and actresses, which should help boost a film’s efforts as its makers and backers launch a distribution campaign.

The Nashville Film Festival
April 15-22
Regal Green Hills Cinema

nashvillefilmfestival.org

On the GLBT front, NFF has added such major new titles as “8: The Mormon Proposition,” which examines the Mormon church’s involvement in the battle over gay marriage in California, from filmmakers Steven Greenstreet and Reed Cowan, whose “The Other Side of the Lens” made its world premiere at the festival in 2009.

“We are expanding our GLBT film section this year, because it’s our role to tell the stories of the entire community,” Owens said. “We have two documentaries that are just under an hour, both of which examine the coming-out process in very different ways, and we also have two great films in our world cinema area that also look at the process.”

By showing movies that illustrate the homosexual experience, whether that’s by coming out in a small fishing village in Colombia or presenting a lively debate on homosexuality amongst biblical scholars, the festival creates dialogues among straight and gay attendees alike. And that’s what it’s all about, Owens said.

“We are taking a brand-new look at the world,” he said. “We have films from 38 different countries this year, and what we see in all of them is not the differences between us, but the similarities. All across the world people are either looking for love or they’ve found it and are trying to support the people they love. If the festival has an agenda, it’s about finding commonality between us; that’s where it can use a lot of different perspectives to teach us all the same lesson.”

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