Now approaching its 47th year, the Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF) is the Southeast’s preeminent celebration of cinema and the flagship production of the Atlanta Film Society. One of the largest and longest-running festivals in the country, ATLFF showcases the work of both emerging and established artists and is one of less than twenty US film festivals that is Academy Award®-qualifying in all three shorts categories: Narrative Short, Documentary Short, and Animated Short.
Every spring, our 11-day festival presents approximately 150 to 175 local, domestic, and international works selected from over 10,000 submissions (consisting of 7,900+ films and 2,100+ screenplays) representing approximately 40 countries. Year to year, historically, 90 to 95% of ATLFF’s program is composed of submissions. ATLFF actively strives to be an inclusive showcase with spotlights on filmmakers of color, LGBTQ+ films, women and gender noncomforming filmmakers, and filmmakers from the American South. For the 2022 festival, 51% of the submitted program was directed by women and gender nonconforming directors and 56% by BIPOC directors. The Atlanta Film Festival seeks inclusivity in on-screen representation as well, with 77% of the 2022 program featuring a woman, gender non-conforming person, and/or person of color in a leading role.
In addition, each year ATLFF seeks to program a variety of genres and film styles including (but not limited to) experimental films, music videos, comedies, horror and sci-fi, kid friendly films, food films, and puppetry films.
ATLFF has been named a “Top 50 Festival Worth the Entry Fee” and one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker magazine, and has been recognized as a Best Film Festival by Creative Loafing, Sunday Paper, USAtoday 10 Best, and Atlanta Magazine, as well as the Best Spring Festival by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
ATLFF’s continued exposure is in part thanks to growing distributor and press attention. Recent distributor attendance includes A24, Paramount, Netflix, Lionsgate, Focus Features, The Orchard/1091 Media, Magnolia, Bleecker Street, The Film Collaborative, Participant Media, Archer Gray, XLrator Media, CNN, HBO, Showtime, AMC, Sundance TV, Warner Media, NBC Universal, Filmstruck, Kickstarter, Seed & Spark, Vimeo, and MUBI.
Now in its eighth year, our Georgia Film Award has grown into two juried awards – Georgia Feature Award and Georgia Short Award to further celebrate and recognize the outstanding work of filmmakers in our community. Films made by Georgia-based directors and submitted to either feature film category or short category in Narrative, Documentary, or Animation will be eligible for consideration for the appropriate category upon inclusion in the festival. Georgia film submissions are also considered for non-Georgia competition categories as applicable.
Georgia filmmakers may submit with a discounted submission fee for projects that were both shot in Georgia and come from a director with a current Georgia address. Projects that meet both qualifications can submit at a discount of 50%. To obtain the discount code, applicants will need to email GA@atlantafilmfestival before submitting with the following information: the city the director resides in and where in GA the film was shot. Films that are not live-action are also eligible for the discount if the director resides in the state and partially produced the film in Georgia.
Over $100,000 in combined cash and prizes for have been given for awards in the following categories year to year:
The winners of Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, and the Georgia Feature Award receive a rental credit from the Atlanta Film Society's own annual credit donated by the Plaza Theatre to perform a week-long Oscar Qualifying Theatrical run at the Plaza Theatre (up to a $6,500 value each).
Best Narrative Feature ($2,000 cash prize + theatrical run prize)
Best Documentary Feature ($2,000 cash prize + theatrical run prize)
Best Narrative Short ($1,000 cash prize)
Best Documentary Short ($1,000 cash prize)
Best Animated Short ($1,000 cash prize)
Best Cinematography ($90,000 value in camera and post rental/services)
Sponsored by Panavision and Light Iron
Filmmaker-to-Watch ($1,000 cash prize)
Georgia Feature Award ($2,000 cash prize + theatrical run prize)
Georgia Short Award ($1,000 cash prize)
*Additional prizes may be announced. Current award categories and prizes are subject to change.
ACADEMY-QUALIFICATION: The winners of Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short, and Best Animated Short all qualify for the following year’s Academy Awards in their respective categories.
ATLFF juries are composed of filmmakers, film critics, academics and industry figures. Recent jurors have included Academy Award-nominated filmmakers and representatives from The Los Angeles Times, Indiewire, TIME, Adult Swim, VICE, Vimeo, NPR, Film Independent, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Seed and Spark, Music Box, NEON, Oscilloscope Laboratories, IFC Films, and MUBI.
Films competing in juried categories are chosen solely at the discretion of the ATLFF programming team. Acceptance to the festival does not guarantee placement in competition. Films are not programmed in or out of competition, as competition status is determined once the full program has been locked.
All officially selected features and short films will be eligible for our Audience Awards. In addition to the juried prizes listed above, ATLFF also awards prizes in a variety of non-juried categories. While they vary from year to year, recent non-juried prizes have included Programmer Awards, the Filmmaker-to-Watch Award, and the Southern Documentary Fund Award. All official selections that meet the guidelines of these non-juried competitions, in a year when they are being presented, will be eligible.