Nashville Film Festival Announces dynamic "2019 Creators Conference" Lineup

Diverse Entertainment Industry Panels offer a unique opportunity for insights, networking, and career growth - October 4-5, 2019 at the Nashville Film Festival.

NASHVILLE, TN (SEPTEMBER 20, 2019) - The Nashville Film Festival, celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, is proud to be hosting the NashFilm Creators Conference October 4 - 5, 2019. The Creators Conference is an annual event where creative-minded people can connect with their peers, discover the latest industry trends, and expand their networks. The event offers attendees the opportunity to take a look at what is happening in their community as well as engage with film, television, and music industry veterans from all over the country.

The NashFilm Creators Conference combines professional development of a conference with the kinetic energy of a festival. Sessions include intimate conversations and diverse panels covering a range of topics within this ever-changing medium. With Nashville's unique musical footprint, the conference will also take a deep dive into how music and film work hand-in-hand to tell compelling stories across multiple platforms.

This year's conference will include a keynote conversation with Len Amato, HBO's President of Film, Miniseries, and Cinemax Programming, in which he discusses his method for choosing projects as well as his working relationship with Emmy Award-winning producer/music supervisor Evyen J. Klean, who will also join the panel. Another highlight will be "The Ends and Outs of Mining Comedy Gold," a talk with industry leaders Michael Abbott, Jr., Chuck Hayward, Kevin Kane, Shawn Harwell, and Sunita Mani about the not-so-serious business of making people laugh. Filmmakers, John Carter Cash, Thom Zimny and David McCallister will present "Songs as Storytelling: Dragon Song Panel and Film Preview," with the world premiere of the short film "Dragon Song" to follow on Sat. Oct. 5. Actors Jessica Barth (Ted, Ted 2) and Johnathan Schaech (That Thing You Do, DC's Legends of Tomorrow) will also take the stage to discuss the #MeToo movement and their personal stories of survival and hope.

"The 2019 NashFilm Creators Conference reflects our ever-expanding entertainment industry and presents attendees with more exciting insights and opportunities within the film, music, television and gaming industries," said Creators Conference Producer, Kalyna Kutny. "The conference also provides a platform for global industry leaders to also connect and learn from so many of our diverse content creators in our very own great city."

The NashFilm Creators Conference will take place on Friday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Nashville Film Festival. All panels are free to VIP badge holders and $15 per session for general admission. For more information about the NashFilm Creators Conference, visit



The Evolving Future of VR in Filmmaking

A workshop showcasing how to implement VR and 360 cameras into every production (pre- and post-). We will demonstrate how to use a 360 camera to locate, scout, and plan lighting and shots. We will also demonstrate how to use the 360-degree photos to light a subject in C4D and plan lighting out ahead of time. Experience using a VR-ready camera within a VR film set, where we will ask audience members to come up operate in a virtual environment.
Panelist: Matt DeLisi, director, VFX artist, and editor based out of Nashville TN.
Friday, October 4 - 10:00 a.m.

Take a Stand: Films for Social Justice

A look into how filmmakers are using their creativity and platforms to highlight social injustices across a variety of subjects. We will talk about how these filmmakers decided to stand up, be brave and tell important stories.
Panelists: Blair Durham - Lawyer; Peter Samuelson - Filmmaker; Andy Peterson - Founder of the Justice Film Festival
Friday, October 4 - 10:00am

New Voices in LGBTQ Filmmaking

Artistic freedom, diverse urban scapes, smart casting, and authentic stories that matter. New Voices in LGBTQ Filmmaking will go in-depth on what it means to make films using their unique voices and perspectives creating dynamic stories that have no boundaries.
Panelists: David Plazas - Opinion and Engagement Director, USA TODAY NETWORK; Flavio Alves - Filmmaker; Roy Wol - Filmmaker; Emerson Kyle - Filmmaker
Friday, October 4 - 11:15am

Evolve Studios | The New Frontier

In 2010, two "Vimeo Kids" founded Evolve Studios. A project that started out as a dream fueled by an iMac, DSLRs and ramen noodles, Evolve Studios is now becoming one of the most discreetly influential originals and branded content studios. Empowered by incredible talent, team culture and blue-collar creative work effort, Evolve has built a multifaceted studio that produces in three industry verticals -- all from the new content frontier in Nashville, Tennessee. This panel is for everyone; all artists, entrepreneurs, and executives curious to learn more about Evolve's unique organization, big plans for the future, nontraditional process and of course... their secret sauce.
Panelists: Joel Edwards - Founder and President; Jesse Edwards -- Co-founder and Executive Vice President; Zach Prichard -- Sr. Editor; Lindsey Perkins -- Development Head of Story
Friday, October 4 - 11:30am

Adapting Books for Film: Finding the Best Stories

Hollywood has been turning books into movies for decades. Increasingly, a synergy between book IP (intellectual property) and film drives decision-making at the acquisitions and marketing stages as well. Learn more from these seasoned veterans of the publishing and film industries. Presented in partnership with WriterFest Nashville.
Panelists: Andrea Williams - Author, Journalist, and Editor,; Stephanie Beard - Editor, Turner Publishing; Carey Nelson Burch - Consultant, My Own Shingle; Brian Mitchell - CEO, The WTA Group
Friday, October 4 - 11:45am

Marketing from Script to Screen and Beyond: Finding and Serving Your Audience

Discover how to prioritize audience satisfaction in all aspects of development, release, and marketing. A special session featuring Rich Peluso (AFFIRM/Sony Pictures) and Andy Peterson (Aspiration), who've reached millions through the films they've made and the film marketing campaigns they've developed and executed.
Panelists: Tiffany Long - Founder, Troops & Allies; Andy Peterson - Principal, Aspiration Entertainment; Rich Peluso - AFFIRM/Sony Pictures
Friday, October 4 - 1:00pm

Songs as Storytelling: Dragon Song Panel and Film Preview

The 19-minute short film which evolved from the initial concept of a music video is the subject of discussion. Emmy- and Grammy-winning filmmaker Thom Zimny sits down with producer/writer John Carter Cash and director David McClister to uncover the thought process of story development and adding depth to characters in the short film format.
Panelists: Tom Zimny - Director; John Carter Cash - Filmmaker; David McCallister-- Filmmaker
Friday, October 4 - 1:15pm

The Great Unknowns: Making a Music Documentary

A focus on how songwriters who come to the Bluebird are looking to be discovered (a la Taylor); how Ashley Cleveland never became a household name despite her critical success; and how Luke Dick, while not recognizable to many, is responsible for some of country music's most well-known hits. This panel also features a closer look into how three rock documentaries featured at this year's Nashville Film Festival were made and the stories behind the scenes.
Panelists: Joseph Hudak - Editor, Rolling Stone; Luke Dick, Songwriter, Filmmaker; Brian Loschiavo, Director; Ashley Cleveland, Recording Artist.
Friday, October 4 - 1:30pm

Synch Upstream: Growing Your Music Career with Synch

Sync is a billion-dollar industry, and for artists, it can be the launchpad of a career and the foundation of their brand development. For the independent artist, sync can provide a sustainable income. For the legacy artist, sync can reinvigorate back catalog. So we ask the question: "An artist gets a synch placement -- then what?" This panel will go beyond the traditional "Sync 101" layout and dive deeper into the symbiotic relationship that can occur when a sync placement is secured even after the check is cashed, as well as how the positive impact of a sync placement can spill into streaming numbers and in turn create streaming revenue.
Panelists: Wendy Duffy -- Founder/CEO, Resin8 Music Licensing & Artist Management; John Butler -- Head of Artist & Song Development, Getty Music; Corey Hart -- Recording Artist; Sam Tinnesz -- Acclaimed Songwriter & Recording Artist
Friday, October 4 - 2:30pm

The Future Film Experience: In Theater vs. Streaming

The relationship between movie theaters and streaming has fueled a debate about the future of movies, yet new records are being set at the box office at home and worldwide-at the same time options in the home expand. This panel will take a deeper look at the relationship between the two as well as how important diverse voices are to creating cinema fans around the world.
Panelists: Phil Contrino - Director of Media and Research, NATO; Ken Thewes - CMO, Regal; Shawn Robbins -- Chief Analyst, Boxoffice Media
Friday, October 4 - 2:45pm

Women in Cinema: DIY Creation

Taking the do-it-yourself approach, these incredible women took the reins of their projects, creating works from the ground up. Rolling up your sleeves and not taking no for an answer is how these creators started, but hearing about their journeys will educate and inspire.
Panelists: Carey Nelson Burch -Filmmaker; Hannah Leder - Filmmaker; Ani Simon-Kennedy - Filmmaker; Diana Peralta - Filmmaker; Lauren Jenkins -- Recording Artist
Friday, October 4th - 3:30pm

The Case Study in Sync

An in-depth behind the scenes look at the decisions that are made when selecting a song for a sync placement by dissecting specific examples of work by top music supervisors and music producers. We will break down 'the brief', discuss how tempo, tone/feeling, and theme play a role, examine the reason(s) a song gets selected or not selected, the importance of context in a song, and the lines between the lines. This is an advanced look at sync placements.
Panelists: Heather Cook -- Creative Manager/Advertising Markets, Peermusic; Rick Clark - Music Supervisor, Rick Clark Productions; Mandi Collier - Music Supervisor, Whirly Girl Music, Jessica Gramuglia, Music Supervisor, Cond é Nast
Friday, October 4 - 4:00pm

The Future Of Music City: Producing Music for Film, Television, & Video Games - SOUNDSTRIPE

When you think of music licensing, complex (and boring) legalese likely comes to mind. Indeed, the process of copyrighting songs for films can get complicated, and often usage restrictions abound. It's a lot. That's where Soundstripe comes in. Founded in the heart of Nashville, Soundstripe's goal from day one is to do everything possible to empower filmmakers to Keep Creating. Hear from the company's founders as they discuss a multitude of topics, like why it was so important to make it easy, profitable, and fun to license music.
Panelists: SOUNDSTRIPE's Chris Small -- VP of Marketing; Travis Terrell -- Co-CEO; Micah Sannan -- Co-CEO; Trevor Hinesley - CTO
Friday, October 4 - 4:00pm



The Evolving Future of VR in Filmmaking

(*see above synopsis on Oct. 4 lineup for panel details)
Saturday, October 5 - 10:00am

In Conversation with HBO's Len Amato and Evyen J. Klean

A look into how ideas are chosen by the network giant and brought to life from the perspective of HBO's President of Film, Miniseries and Cinemax Programming - Len Amato. We will hear how Len decides what to greenlight and the importance of his working relationship with Emmy Award-winning producer and music supervisor Evyen J. Klean. Moderated by Roger Alan Nichols.
Saturday, October 5 - 10:00am

What's the Score: Composing for TV, Film, and Gaming

Composing for TV, film, and gaming is an ever-changing industry. Hear from Emmy- and Grammy-Award winning composers/producers as they give the insider perspective on how they got their start, the competitive landscape, and what it really takes to compose music for some of entertainment's most recognizable TV shows, films, and games.
Panelists: Composers -- Stacy Widelitz, Matthew Head, Matt Mahaffey, Jessica Rae Huber, and Kristen Baum
Saturday, October 5 - 11:15am

Made In Tennessee: Creator's in the New South

Insight into what is really happening in Tennessee through the perspective of the people who are actually creating compelling entertainment. Learn about the ins and outs of working within the region from traditional and non-traditional producers who call Tennessee home and hear how they have navigated through the region to produce amazing work.
Panelists: Bob Raines -- Executive Director, The Tennessee Entertainment Commission; Chris Conner -Producer/Director, Hideout Pictures; Michael Lohmann - Producer; Lisa Erspamer - Producer/Author; Traylor Woodall - Founder, Fivestone Studios; Jen Lewis - Producer, Evolve
Saturday, October 5 - 11:30am

Power and the Planet: Sustainability in Motion Picture

Sustainability in motion picture is getting interesting with new tech and sustainable solutions to significantly reduce environmental impacts. Learn about industry sustainability trends highlighted by Zena Harris, President of Green Spark Group and the power and technology solutions behind them as discussed by Mark Rabin, CEO of Portable Electric.
Panelists: Zena Harris, President, Green Spark Group; Mark Rabin - CEO, Portable Electric
Saturday, October 5 - 11:30am

The Film School Graduate: What's Next?

NashFilm pays special homage to the budding filmmaker - the next generation of Spielberg's graduating students from Nashville and Middle Tennessee film schools - with a lively panel, "OMG! I'm Graduating! Is there Life After Film School?" Moderated by USC Film School graduate, MTSU Assistant Professor, and Documentary Channel Founder Tom Neff, this panel will feature Billy Pittard, Chair of MTSU's Department of Media Arts; Valerie Stover, founding chair of the Watkins film program; Andy Van Roon, Founder of Film-Com, the nation's first film financing convention. Most importantly, we will have some former film school students who can speak directly from their own experience.
Panelists: Tom Neff, Billy Pittard (MTSU); Valorie Stover Quarles (Watkins); Andy Van Roon, Film-Com; Will Akers (Belmont); Laura Wilbanks Cruz, Jennifer Bonior, Rebecca Woods
Saturday, October 5 - 1:00pm

Inside Casting: So You Want to Be Famous?

Ever dreamed of being on TV? Hear from expert casting gurus who have found some of the most entertaining people for reality TV. Listen as they tell you behind-the-scenes stories about casting shows for network hits on Bravo, MTV, Netflix, TLC, Lifetime, NBC, ABC, and many more! Tips and tricks on how to get the attention of the people that really can turn your dreams into reality.
Panelists: Casting Directors -- Diana Wallace, Holland Weathers, Angelic Mercer, and Ian Young
Saturday, October 5 - 1:30pm

The Ends & Outs of Mining for Comedy Gold

Comedy is a literary genre and a type of dramatic work that is amusing and satirical in its tone, mostly having a cheerful ending. The motif of this dramatic work is triumph over unpleasant circumstance by creating comic effects, resulting in a happy or successful conclusion. Blah, blah, blah...What does this definition have to do with our comedy panel? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Come listen to industry leaders spend time trying to convince you (through their own experiences) that comedy is simply a funny way of being serious. Refreshments not included. Dress is casual.
Panelists: Michael Abbott, Jr. (The Death of Dick Long); Chuck Hayward (Dear White People and Mixedish); Kevin Kane (Inside Amy Schumer); Shawn Harwell (Red Oaks); and Sunita Mani (GLOW)
Saturday, October 5 - 2:30pm

Behind the Lens: The Wide World of Cinematography

Take a deep dive into what it takes to be a modern-day cinematographer. Learn from some of Nashville's best about shooting a feature horror film in just 7 days, traveling the world with sports stars for ESPN and Showtime, and DPing a feature documentary, national ads, and high-end music videos. You'll get a taste for the many hats required to make sh*t happen and the challenges of finding representation as a DP.
Panelists: Nathan Thompson - Filmmaker, Contrast Visuals; Nyk Allen - Filmmaker; Elizabeth Olmstead - Filmmaker; Mike White - Filmmaker; Justin Fredericks - Director of Photography
Saturday, October - 2:45pm

Documentary Filmmaking: Conception to Exhibition

Join the conversation with notable documentarians talking to anyone who ever thought of making a documentary, anyone now working on a documentary or anyone who has already made a doc. This lively panel will be moderated by documentary filmmaker and Documentary Channel Founder Tom Neff and will include experts in every aspect of making a documentary film from concept to distribution. This panel will appeal to both the untutored potential documentarian as well as those working in the industry today. Topics of discussion will include concept, production issues, rights, audience and marketing, and distribution, and will be a "must attend" for anyone interested in documentary and reality programming.
Panelists: Tom Neff - Filmmaker, Founder, Documentary Channel; Demetria Kalodimos - Anchor, Channel 4, Producer, "Barnegie Hall;" Jessica Turk - Programming Manager, Nashville Public Television; Stephen Lackey - Documentary Film Producer; Allie Sultan - Assistant Professor of Cinema/Television, MTSU
Saturday, October 5 - 3:30pm

The Progress of the #METOO Movement: A conversation with Jessica Barth and Johnathon Schaech

Johnathon Schaech and Jessica Barth are survivors, advocates, and heroes both spearheading important changes and awareness surrounding the #METOO movement. They will not only share their stories but also talk about what the industry is doing to provide safer working environments and how they both use their unique platforms and voices to promote awareness and hope. Join these talented actors and advocates on a conversation about how to make a difference and how not to fear standing up for what is right.
Panelists: Jessica Barth - Stage and Film Actress; Johnathon Schaech - Actor, Writer, Producer
Saturday, October 5 - 3:45pm


The Nashville Film Festival will take place October 3-12, 2019, showcasing more than 300 films from over 25 countries across the globe. As part of its lineup, the festival has previously announced International Falls, the world premiere of the civil rights era coming-of-age story TuscaloosaSpeed of LifeBabysplitters, Barbie 's KennyWorking ManInside The Rain, and Hudson as films selected for the U.S. Independents category. The festival will also feature a return to its Music City roots with the world premiere of Chuck Berry by filmmaker Jon Brewer; Born Into the Gig by filmmakers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner; Cool Daddio: The Second Youth of R. Stevie Moore from filmmakers Imogen Putler and Monika Baran; and The Sheriff of Mars from filmmakers Jason Ressler and Matthew Woolf for the music documentary.

Watch the 2019 Nashville Film Festival Official Trailer here

Passes and Tickets for the 2019 Nashville Film Festival: VIP Festival badges are now on sale beginning at $295 at VIP Badges provide priority access to films, panels, and exclusive parties. Single ticket sales are available for films and panels.

ABOUT NASHVILLE FILM FESTIVAL: The Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) is a globally-recognized non-profit organization and cultural event presenting the best in world cinema, American independent films and documentaries by veteran masters, up-and-coming directors, and first-time filmmakers. With Academy Award® qualifying status, the Nashville Film Festival celebrates innovation, music and the many voices of the human spirit through the art of film. Originally founded in 1969, the Nashville Film Festival is one of the first film festivals in the United States and will celebrate its 50th Anniversary October 3-12, 2019. For more information, visit

Thompson Nashville is the official hotel partner of the Nashville Film Festival. There's no place like Nashville, the perennial Southern crossroads that refuses to be typecast. And at the heart of this little big town's explosive growth, this luxury boutique hotel in The Gulch is the place to be. Located in Nashville's The Gulch neighborhood, footsteps away from the iconic "wings mural," the 12-story Thompson Nashville offers in-the-know locals and overnight guests attending NashFilm a genuine boutique hotel experience in the heart of Music City within easy reach of Regal Hollywood Theaters. Celebrating the creative southern spirit of Nashville with a handcrafted, modern experience that is both nostalgic and a haven for the arts scene -savvy, Thompson Nashville has long been a go-to for the arts & film industry offering 224 guest rooms and suites, dynamic guest programming, spacious private event space, and three distinct food and beverage options from QED Hospitality - including Marsh House, featuring southern-style seafood; Killebrew, an elevated coffee spot on the ground floor; and L.A. Jackson, the hotel's indoor-outdoor rooftop bar with a cool eclectic crowd, affording incredible views straight out of a movie set over the Nashville skyline and hand-crafted cocktails and local brews with delicious small plates - perfect for a post-film drink and a bite with friends and colleagues.

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For all media inquiries for Nashville Film Festival please contact:
Dawn Kamerling & April Dickey
The Press House