Nashville Film Festival - 2021 Horror Film Lineup

Horror films are coming to Nashville September 30 - October 6 for the 52nd annual Nashville Film Festival and we've got the scoop on what the hybrid event is offering.


Horror is coming to Nashville! The 52nd Nashville Film Festival aims to elevate and honor filmmakers and screenwriters from around the world and those in Tennessee. This year's expanded festival plan includes a full range of in-person screenings at venues throughout Nashville in addition virtual programming that will include festival films, panels and Q&A sessions.


This year's festival will be hosted September 30, 2021 through October 6 and will feature more than 150 films, Creators Conference panels, Q&A sessions and other exclusive content in an engaging mix of in-person and online events. Let's dig into what horror films we can attend virtually and in-person this year.



Horror enthusiasts can dig into features and shorts from the official Graveyard Shift selection with feature length films including:


The Beta Test, written and directed by Jim Cummings and PJ McCabe follows a married Hollywood agent who receives a mysterious letter for an anonymous sexual encounter and becomes ensnared in a sinister world of lying, infidelity, and digital data. The horror community should recognize Cummings, who starred in, wrote and directed The Wolf of Snow Hollow.


The Murder Podcast, directed by William Bagley is the story of two amateur podcasters who start investigating a murder in their hometown only to become wrapped up in a terrifying adventure full of supernatural threats. The film stars Brian Emond (15 Things You Didn't Know About Bigfoot), Cooper Bucha and Luke Michael Williams. This will be the feature film debut for Bagley. We love a good murder podcast and are eagerly awaiting our chance to screen the film.


We're All Going To The World's Fair, written and directed by Jane Schoenbrun is a coming-of-age horror drama that follows Casey, a teen who becomes immersed in an online role-playing horror game, wherein she begins to document the changes that may or may not be happening to her. The film premiered in May at the New Directors / New Films festival in New York and is the debut narrative feature from Schoenbrun. HBO Max and distributor Utopia have acquired the rights to the film for streaming early next year.


Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror, directed by Kier-La Janisse, the documentary is already an audience favorite within the film festival circuit and is an epic journey through the forests, fields and furrows of the phenomenon known as ‘folk horror.’ We had an opportunity to screen the film at the Popcorn Frights Film Festival where it took home the Audience Award for Best Feature Film. With a runtime over three hours, be sure to block out your time to consume all of the incredible information about folk horror this film has to offer. Janisse is a horror academic, author and the founder of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies.



We love horror shorts! This year's Graveyard Shift selection also includes 15 horror short films. Be on the lookout for these bite-size horror offerings virtually and in-person:


  • Atomic Spawn, this creature feature directed by Arthur Veenema harkens back to the atomic age of horror.

  • Cutter, directed by Dan Repp and Lindsay Young, this film follows a teenage cutter in recovery and her overbearing mother who are haunted by a ghost seeking to keep them at odds.

  • Harvest Bowl, directed by Cody Kostro this film takes place within a secluded farming village in 19th century New England where horror unfolds between a pair of sister-wives.

  • Heavy Petting, follows a woman struggling to fill the void left by her missing cat. She has a queer encounter with an unexpected visitor and when the cat returns, the visitor is abandoned to a life of profound invisibility, which prompts a macabre test of their social obscurity. The film is directed by Brendan Prost.

  • Her Release, directed by Valentine Miele, this four-minute short follows a woman reaching for love and connection who surrenders everything in this blackly comic absurdist nightmare.

  • I'm Not A Robot, written, produced and directed by Brian Olliver, this film is a job hunting horror story. While conducting an exhaustive search for the right employee, a weary employer discovers that his latest applicant is a robot.

  • J'ai Le Cafard, is a creature feature directed by Maysaa Almumin, it follows a woman with depression struggles to keep up appearances in front of her chirpy and driven office colleagues. An encounter with a dying cockroach in the office toilet develops into an absurd friendship, becoming the comforting companion she needs until she realizes its destructive effects on her life.

  • Poor Glenna, written and directed by Jean-Paul DiSciscio. As the story goes, once upon a time, there was a woman named Glenna. Everyday, she would bring platters of raw meat and cigarettes to her adult son Alex who lived in the basement. But Alex wasn’t like everyone else. Alex had tentacles and sharp teeth and lashed out at anyone who intruded into his basement lair.

  • Shallow Graves, written and directed by Jake Stark who blends a gritty small town, crime and horror together in this short.

  • Still Together, is the story of a department store window designer and a Nordic warrior trapped in the body of a mannequin. This short is directed by Christopher piazza and co-written by Sara Ruth Blake.

  • Stuffed, directed and co-written by Theo Rys with Joss Holden-Rea is a short musical about a taxidermist who dreams of stuffing a human and the man she meets online, so afraid of aging he volunteers to be her specimen. An unexpected romantic spark between them complicates their plans.

  • Survivers, written and directed by Carlo Gomez-Trigo, this Spanish horror short looks like a horror meets science fiction story about natural selection.

  • What Happened Downstairs?, is a ghost story directed by Andrew Nisinson.

  • When I Explode, written and directed by Angelo Raaijmakers, the film follow birthday boy Chris and his girlfriends who's baking him a birthday cake.

  • With Pleasure, takes place inside a fruit-themed burlesque bar, time and space take a backseat to poetry and proverb. This film is written and directed by Maxwell Nalevansky and co-director Carl Fry.


Festival goers will have four festival badge options to choose from this year and the opportunity to purchase individual screening tickets in September with some restrictions for virtual screenings based on guest location in limited cases. Nashville Film Festival Badge packages include:


  • Icon Badge - Badge holders will get maximum access to Hybrid festival benefits, access to all in-person screenings, live Q&A sessions and more you'll want to get your hands on these passes early because availability is limited.

  • Icon+ Badge - Badge holders will get all the benefits of the Icon Badge pass and an extra Icon badge to share with a friend. Think fast if you want to grab this option because availability is limited.

  • Film Focus Badge - This Badge will get film goers full access to all regular live in-person film screenings and Q&A sessions, but include some exclusions and benefits that must be purchased separately.

  • Virtual Pass - Screen films by streaming them and original content from the comfort of your own home and at your convenience.


For a full list of festival programming and to obtain festival badge and ticketing information, please visit The Nashville Film Festival website. Tickets will be available to purchase on September 1, 2021. VIP Badge holders and NashFilm Members will have early access to pre-order and purchase additional tickets starting on August 25, 2021.



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