Memphis Film Prize Returns for 2021

Festival Heads Online and Widens Filming Zone for Tennessee Directors


The award-winning Memphis Film Prize is back for 2021. The festival hosted its official kick off via a live Facebook event on March 31 with filmmakers, actors, crew members, and lovers of the festival in attendance.

“It’s hard to describe how excited we are to bring Memphis Film Prize back, and to continue our work of giving indie filmmakers a platform to stand on,” said Gregory Kallenberg, Executive Director of the Film Prize. “We’re also thrilled to be able to offer the Film Prize experience to allow all Tennessee-based directors to participate.”

In 2020, Memphis Film Prize halted the competition as the pandemic spread across the country and promised that films made in 2020 would be eligible for the 2021 competition. In order to ensure all filmmakers who had planned on competing or who found other ways to create their projects last year, the eligible production window will consist of any short film production from November 1, 2019 until June 22, 2021 so long as they are otherwise eligible.

The core rules for the competition remain the same: Short films must be between 5 and 15 minutes in length and filmmakers must be able to produce evidence that they filmed within the eligible time period and in accordance with the rules found at memphisfilmprize.com/rules. Filmmakers who had previously registered for the 2020 competition are eligible to receive a grandfathered registration for the 2021 competition.

“This year’s goal for the competition is energize and activate filmmaking all over the great state of Tennessee,” said David Merrill, Associate Director for the Memphis Film Prize. “I have a feeling that this is going to be an amazing year for the Film Prize!”

Additionally, Memphis Film Prize is implementing an expansion of eligibility geographically through the “Film-in-Place” program. In the past, all film production must have taken place in Shelby County in order to be eligible for the Memphis Film Prize. But, in an effort to encourage filmmakers to keep their sets safe and healthy, we are allowing any Tennessee resident director (domiciled for no less than 6 months from the start of production) to shoot a Memphis Film Prize project anywhere within 30 miles of their city of residence so long as the production takes place in the State of Tennessee. Filmmakers traveling from outside the state to participate must still film their production in Shelby County, TN.

In order to facilitate healthy and safe film production, Memphis Film Prize will also be offering a free COVID-19 Best Practices Workshop on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 6pm that will be streamed to the Memphis Film Prize Page on Facebook (facebook.com/memphisfilmprize). The purpose of the workshop is to share information with filmmakers about how to keep their sets safe with advice gathered from film industry professionals operating across the country. A summary document of the best practices will be released during the event and posted to the Film Prize website. The workshop will be led by Chris Lyon, Associate Director of the Film Prize Foundation and certified Film Production COVID Compliance Officer.

Memphis Film Prize will occur August 6-14, 2021. The 10 finalist films will be judged and the Memphis Film Prize will be awarded during Memphis Film Prize Weekend.For more information and to register, visit memphisfilmprize.com.

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The Memphis Film Prize is a member of the Prize Foundation and Prize Fest Family, an award-winning nationally recognized foundation and festival based in Shreveport, LA. The Louisiana Film Prize invites filmmakers across the country to make a short film between five and fifteen minutes long to compete for the largest short film cash prize offered in the world. The chief requirement is that the films must be shot in Louisiana. The top twenty films that have been submitted are then screened for audiences and judges in October and a winner is chosen based on the voting from those two factions.


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