When you're ready to start filming in Tennessee, here's what you need to know.


This year the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission, in conjunction with the regional film festivals, will roll out a new pilot program, TNFILMLAB. Tennessee Film, Entertainment & Music and TNFILMLAB will be providing finishing funds for documentary and narrative formats (both feature & short) that are in various stages of the production and post-production process. Funds received from grants will be used to support completion of film production and to subsidize post-production costs such as, but not limited to, color correction, laboratory and sound mixing fees and access to advanced editing systems.  


TNFILMLAB is searching for Tennessee filmmakers with projects that possess a passionate and purposeful narrative that advocate for a positive social commentary across a broad spectrum of subject matters. Content must put forth unique perspectives and cater to discovery, specific passion points and niche interests; subject matter must maintain a level of relevance.  The resulting project must not be obscene in nature, be needlessly provocative or portray Tennessee or Tennesseans in a negative light. 

Applicants will apply to the TNFILMLAB through an online application process available through the film festival’s designated website. Applicants must include a proposal and provide a sample of the work in progress no more than 15 minutes in length. The sample work should accurately represent the film you plan to complete and provide a solid example of your storytelling technique and visual aesthetic. A panel of industry experts will evaluate all applications and make written recommendations. Selection will be based on applicant’s proposed subject matter, how finishing funds will be utilized and ability to deliver a final product. Please check with your regional film festival regarding applications and program details. 

2015 Film Festivals associated with the TNFILMLAB

Nashville Film Festival                   https://nashvillefilmfestival.org/ 

Chattanooga Film Festival             http://chattanoogafilmfest.com/ 

Knoxville Film Festival                    http://www.knoxvillefilmfestival.com/  

Indie Memphis                                 http://indiememphis.com/       


The State of Tennessee requires production companies to provide a Certificate of Insurance prior to filming when filming on state property.

Labor and Union
Tennessee is a right-to-work state that welcomes both union and non-union productions.

Child Labor
Minors are exempt from Child Labor Law provisions if the child is employed as a musician or entertainer. For further information, contact the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Division of Labor Standards at (615) 741-2858 or

Download Child Labor TCA 29-31-101 Power to Remove

Contracting with performers under the age of 18 in the state of Tennessee generally requires the involvement of a Tennessee court.

Individuals under the age of 18 are usually considered minors and are usually not legally competent to enter into a contract.  This “legal disability” of minors requires special consideration for film and recording companies that want to employ individuals under the age of 18 as actors or recording artists. Unless a valid, enforceable contract exists, the terms under which a performer is engaged can be contested.

There is a relatively straightforward process in Tennessee that will allow a minor to enter into a legally binding contract, based upon court approval. 

The process in Tennessee requires that a petition be filed on behalf of the minor performer (or jointly on behalf of the minor and the film or recording company) in a chancery or circuit court in Tennessee for “removal of legal disability.” The minor must be a resident of Tennessee or a nonresident who has a property interest in the state of Tennessee (such as a contract under which the minor will receive money that is to be paid in Tennessee). In the typical circumstance, the petition requests that the court remove the legal disability sufficiently to allow the minor to enter into a legally enforceable contract, which contract (as signed by the parents and the minor) is usually attached to the petition. The judge of the chancery or circuit court will review the petition (with the attached contract) and then make a determination as to whether the contract is in the best interest of the minor. If the court finds that the contract is in the best interest of the minor, it will enter an order stating that the contract can be legally enforced.

If the minor performer is not a resident of Tennessee, the film or record company would usually be well advised to repeat the same court approval process in the state of the minor’s residence.

Practically, film and record companies should file a petition and the attached contract with the court in sufficient time to allow the court to enter an order removing the minor’s disability with respect to the contract prior to any actual performance under the contract by the minor or payment under the contract by the film or record company.

Workman's Comp
Out-of-state production companies are subject to Tennessee Workman’s Compensation laws and must maintain a Tennessee Workman’s Compensation Insurance plan covering all Tennessee crews. For more information contact the Tennessee Department of Labor, Workman's Compensation Division at 615.532.4812.

Photography of Tennessee wildlife is permitted as long as there is no attempt to disturb the normal habits of the animal or its environment. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) allows, under permit, the importation into Tennessee of certain domesticated wildlife or exotic species for motion picture purposes.

For more information contact the TWRA at 615.781.6500.

Economic Development Form

All productions are required to fill out an Economic Data Submission form and submit it to the TFEMC.  It provides us quick information on the Tennessee crew hires, the types of productions that are utilizing our state, and the economic benefit for the State of Tennessee.    

So, thank you kindly.

Go To Economic Data Submission Form

Ready to Film in Tennessee?

When a company wants to discuss filming in Tennessee, they get Bob Raines. Raines is the middle man between you and local, state and federal government, and is an industry expert on both ends.

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