Could the Nashville Film Festival someday be as popular as Sundance or the Toronto Film Festival? Organizers of the upcoming eight-day festival are counting on it and say Nashville’s burgeoning national popularity is helping raise the profile of the 44-year old festival enough that an expansion of the 2014 event will be considered.
NaFF Executive Director Ted Crockett said the 2013 festival — to take place April 18-25 at Regal Green Hills 16 — has a record-high operating budget of $1 million and is expected to pump about $1.3 million into the local economy. He said the festival’s budget includes $500,000 cash and $500,000 of in-kind donations.
“We have more than doubled our budget in 10 years, and we’re now seeing that in order to keep growing we’re going to have to expand by adding locations next year,” Crockett said. “Just like the city of Nashville, we’re getting more and more popular. We used to have to recruit people to come to the festival, but now people call us because they want to be a part of it.”
Though expansion currently is “under discussion,” Crockett said no decision has been made about what venues the festival would use if it expanded or what an expansion would entail. Currently, the main bulk of festival screenings and events take place at the Regal Green Hills 16.
More than 200 films from 50 countries will be screened at NaFF. The festival is a qualifying event for Academy Award short films and, over the years, has attracted celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Robert Redford and Susan Sarandon.