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Marte Um (Mars One) - 53rd Nashville Film Festival award winners
Cícero Lucas in Marte Um (Mars One) by Gabriel Martins | photo by Leonardo Feliciano.

The Brazilian film Mars One, written and directed by Gabriel Martins, was named Best Narrative Feature, and Tracey Arcabasso Smith’s Relative earned the Best Documentary Feature award at the 53rd Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm).

In Mars One, Brazil’s official selection for the International Feature Award at 2023 Oscars, a working-class Black family tries to keep their spirits up after the election of a right-wing president.

Filmmaker Tracey Smith confronts her own childhood sexual abuse and unearths a dark history of multi-generational abuse in her seemingly-idyllic family in the documentary Relative.

Other top honors went to And Still I Sing for Best Music Documentary honors, and Alex Heller’s The Year Between was honored as Best New Directors Feature.

In the Screenplay Competition, Aaron Braxton’s The Passage of Sun was named Best Drama Feature Script, while Roxy Mitchell’s Elektra and David Daniels’ Our Lady of Justice earned Best Comedy and Best Horror Feature Script honors, respectively. The Screenplay competition also awarded honors for scripts in categories including Best Short Film Script, Best Hour Pilot Script and Best Tennessee Writer, which was given to Nate Eppler for Floridamen.

This year’s 53rd Nashville Film Festival closes with Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues, following the life and legacy of the master and so-called founding father of jazz, America’s first pop star, and cultural ambassador.

“We have been so amazed and impressed by the immense creative talent showcased in this year’s festival,” said Jason Padgitt, Executive Director of Nashville Film Festival. “We are truly honored to celebrate the innovative work of our filmmakers and screenwriters and provide a platform to accelerate their future success.”

The 53rd Nashville Film Festival winners are as follows:

Best Narrative Feature MARS ONE (d. Gabriel Martins)
Best Documentary Feature RELATIVE (d. Tracey Arcabasso Smith)
Best Music Documentary Feature AND STILL I SING (d. Fazila Amiri)
Best New Directors Feature THE YEAR BETWEEN (d. Alex Heller)
Best Graveyard Shift Feature ROUNDING (d. Alex Thompson)
Best Tennessee Feature JACIR (d. Waheed AlQawasmi)
Best Narrative Short THE BLANKET (d. Teppo Airaksinen)
Best Documentary Short LOVE, DAD (d. Diana Cam Van Nguyen)
Best Animated Short NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (d. Ida Melum)
Bet ‘The Edge’ Short BEEF (d. Sean Webley & Brendon Kingsbury)
Best Graveyard Shift Short MOSHARI (d. Nuhash Humayun)
Best Tennessee Short HERMIE (d. Jonathan Becker & Anthony Pitsilos)
Best Tennessee Student Short EMBER AND THE KEEPER OF THE CAULDRON (d. Audrey Witherspoon & Natalie Peterson)
Best NextGen Short MOLES (d. Vanja Victor Kabir Tognola)
Best Episodic Pilot CAMP GREENWOOD (d. Kourtney Bell)
Best Episodic Series MASHED (d. Stacey Maltin)
Best Virtual Reality & 360 GLIMPSE (d. Michael O’Connor and Benjamin Cleary)

The Nashville Film Festival Screenplay Competition winners are as follow:

Best Drama Feature Script THE PASSAGE OF THE SUN, written by Aaron Braxton
Best Comedy Feature Script ELEKTRA, written by Roxy Mitchell
Best Horror Feature Script OUR LADY OF JUSTICE, written by David Daniels
Best Genre Feature Script EYELASHES, written by Kelly Palmer
Best Short Script SEPTEMBER 13, 2004, written by Derrick Benton
Best Half Hour Pilot Script BABY GAY, written by Keyanna Khatiblou
Best Hour Pilot Script MURDER SHOW, written by Rosiland Grush
Best Tennessee Writer FLORIDAMEN, written by Nate Eppler

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