With the election behind us--finally--we can finally exhale--focus on the future!
These are exciting times for the Atlanta Film Festival.
Our 2009 dates are set: April 16-26.
ATL Film Fest crowds mingle outside the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, and nosh at Apres Diem
Our venue is locked: Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.
Filmmakers Danielle Bernstein & Anne Slick (When Clouds Clear) at the Independent between screenings
Our Call for Entries is open: Friday 11/7 marks the next graduated Without a Box deadline--so the time to submit is NOW!
If early returns are any indication, we're headed towards a record year for submissions!
When it comes to movies, ATL FF (under the watchful eye of programmer Dan Krovich) strikes out on its own, apparently drawing from its pool of submissions more often than relying on crowd pleasers from larger fests. Some of the usual suspects were in the program -- American Teen and Son of Rambow can hardly be considered "undiscovered" -- but for the most part the lineup feels cultivated for the Atlanta audience. Locally-made (Rome, GA) horror comedy Dance of the Dead packed three screenings and Southern-interest doc 'Bama Girl earned an additional screening after a strong first night. This is good news for submitting filmmakers, particularly those with local ties or with pics of special interest to a Southern audience. The fest's homegrown "Teen Screen" and "Rapid I Movement" segments make for programming unique to Atlanta.
The festival is not without its quirks -- post-flick Q&As can be a bit awkward without proper lighting or PA systems and films can jump from theater to theater without warning. (Confusing but hardly fatal when the alternative venue is a few yards away.) (Note: We've heeded Chris' advise here, and have already hired an A/V specialist with Festival Experience to address lighting, mic, and other technical concerns which perpetually dog underfunded film festivals.) More important, however, are the fest's growing pains: how do you add more opulence, attract more prominent filmmakers, and bring in bigger crowds without sacrificing the intimate vibe that current participants seem to enjoy so much? I don't have an answer, but I think the tight-knit bunch at the Atlanta Film Festival do. I look forward to finding out at future ATL fests.
What Chris is hinting at regarding growth is our ambitious Strategic Plan, on which we've been working all year, and which will be officially unveiled in early 2009!
I've already pimped Chris' book on this blog once--but it stands to reason that many good folks out there haven't yet heard of his book "Film Festival Secrets" which is on sale now, because, well, it's kind of a secret.
But like my man, the Masked Magician, who took the Illusionist world by storm a few year's back by blowing all of Magic's Greatest Secrets Chris has unlocked the key strategies to a successful film festival run.
Unlike some other books, filled with tired, outdated information, "Film Festival Secrets" is current, and chock full o' nuggets o' wisdom.
(Or download it for free...what do I care.)