Now approaching its 46th 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. Recent festivals have seen audiences of over 28,000 film-lovers joining over 300 attending filmmakers in support of works that push the boundaries of independent cinema.

Every spring, our 11-day festival—recognized as the 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—presents approximately 175 local and international works selected from over 9,400 submissions (consisting of 7,000+ films and 2,400+ screenplays) representing 50+ countries. 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. Historically, over 90% 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 2021 festival, 53% of the program was directed by women and 50% by BIPOC directors. The Atlanta Film Festival seeks inclusivity in on-screen representation as well, with 74% of the 2021 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, family friendly films, food films, and puppetry films.

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 seventh year, our Georgia Film Award honors a Georgia-made production. A subsidized submission fee is available for submissions 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 qualifications to GA@atlantafilmfestival before submitting. Georgia Film submissions will be considered for additional competition categories as applicable.

Cash prizes ranging from $750-$1,500 accompany the Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short, Best Animated Short, and Georgia Film Award distinctions.

Nearly $100,000 in combined cash and prizes for are given for awards in the following categories:

Best Narrative Feature ($1,500 prize)
Best Documentary Feature ($1,500 prize)
Best Narrative Short ($750 prize)
Best Documentary Short ($750 prize)
Best Animated Short ($750 prize)
Best Cinematography ($90,000 value in camera and post rental/services)
Sponsored by Panavision and Light Iron
Filmmaker-to-Watch ($500 prize)
Georgia Film Award ($1,000 prize)

The winners of our Narrative Short, Documentary Short, and Animated Short prizes all qualify for the following year’s Academy Awards.

ATLFF juries are composed of filmmakers, film critics 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 the Southern Documentary Fund Award, the Georgia Film Award, and the Filmmaker-to-Watch Award. All official selections that meet the guidelines of these non-juried competitions, in a year when they are being presented, will be eligible.

Additional prizes to be announced.

We strongly encourage you to review the following carefully. By submitting your project, you acknowledge that you have read and agreed to all of the following rules and terms. All projects that have been submitted by our final deadline and that adhere to the following terms will be considered for inclusion in the 2022 Atlanta Film Festival.

If you have any further questions, please visit our FAQ page: http://www.atlantafilmfestival.com/submission-faq/

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Each submission must be accompanied by a submission fee paid in full and a working screener in order to be considered. Once we have all necessary materials, the submission will be marked “In Consideration”. It is the submitter’s responsibility to make sure that all submission requirements are met. If your submission is marked “Incomplete” and you’re unsure why, please email submit@atlantafilmfestival.com.

Press kits and cover letters are not required but are appreciated. If you wish to submit either, please attach it to your submission. DO NOT send hard copies to our office; they will be recycled.

Any submissions that are incomplete by our final deadline will be disqualified without refund of submission fees. Reasons a submission will be considered incomplete include (but are not limited to) the following:
Screener is missing
Screener has been deleted or password has been changed
Screener is missing subtitles (if in a foreign language), audio, image, or any feature that prevents us from properly judging it

SCREENERS

All projects must be submitted via secure online screener - either as a password protected Vimeo link attached to your submission or uploaded directly to FilmFreeway. Online screeners must be available to stream; we do not accept any films that must be downloaded (ex: Dropbox, Google Drive, WeTransfer, etc.). The only exception for downloadable links is for Virtual Reality submissions (see below).

We DO NOT accept DVD or Blu-Ray screeners. In addition, we cannot accept screener links via email, they MUST be attached to your submission.

The submitter is responsible for ensuring that their screener link and password are active throughout the entire submissions cycle (at least to March 1, 2022). In the event of a password or URL change after submitting, email us immediately. If we discover an error with the screener before our final deadline, we will attempt to email the submitter for an update. Failure to respond by the final submission deadline (November 18, 2021) will result in disqualification without refund of submission fees. If we discover that a screener is incomplete after our final deadline, it may be directly disqualified without refund of submission fees.

For Virtual Reality film submissions, see requirements below:

For 360° video — please provide either or both:
A) Private 360-enabled screener (Vimeo, YouTube or Oculus Media Studio.)
B) Downloadable video link.
NOTE: 360° video is reviewed via headset whenever possible.

For tethered/Quest VR and other interactive projects:
You MUST provide a full video recording of the experience. While you may include builds alongside that — the video screener is the primary format for consideration. Lastly, please detail any needs for the exhibition (such as schematics, compatible HMD/tech, etc.).

SUBTITLES

All foreign-language films must be submitted with English subtitles. If we discover a foreign-language submission is missing subtitles, we will attempt to email the submitter for an update. If the submitter fails to provide working subtitles by the final submission deadline, the project will be considered incomplete and will be disqualified without refund of submission fees.

CAPTIONS

All accepted films must provide captions in order to screen. Captions are text assets that include all dialogue, speaker identifications, and described audio elements such as sound effects and music. Captions are NOT synonymous with subtitles. Filmmakers can access a complete captioning guide here: https://www.3playmedia.com/learn/popular-topics/closed-captioning/

Films without captions are eligible to submit, but will be required to create a caption file upon acceptance in order to screen. Limited captioning assistance may be provided by the festival, but is not guaranteed.

SUBMISSION CATEGORIES

Please review all submission categories carefully before submitting your project. All entrants are required to pay the submission fee of their film’s appropriate category. If you believe you have submitted your film to the wrong category, contact us immediately. While we can typically facilitate a change in category, the entrant will be responsible for any changes in submission fees. We cannot offer partial refunds for categories with a smaller fee. If the new category has a higher fee, the entrant is responsible for paying the difference.

Submission to multiple categories is not encouraged. Please read category descriptions carefully to determine where your submission belongs. If the entrant wishes to submit to multiple categories, a separate submission fee must be paid for each category. ATLFF reserves the right to determine eligibility of a submission in each respective category. Refunds will not be offered for submission to an inappropriate category.

Categories are defined by film format rather than genre. We accept a variety of genres and film themes in every category, including but not limited to comedy, drama, horror, sci-fi, puppetry films, food films, family friendly films, and more. If you have questions about any of our submission categories, please email submit@atlantafilmfestival.com.

GEORGIA FILM

A subsidized submission fee is available for submissions 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 qualifications to GA@atlantafilmfestival before submitting. In order to qualify your project must meet BOTH of the following terms:

Project was at least partially filmed in Georgia
Director currently resides in the state of Georgia

Films meeting these qualifications may be submitted for 50% off normal submission fees. Georgia submitters will use this code to submit their work to the category it belongs to.

If this applies to your project, email GA@atlantafilmfestival.com to obtain the discount code. Please allow up to 7 business days for a response, particularly when approaching a submission deadline.

Films submitted with this code will be eligible for our Georgia Film Award as well as any other juried categories that we may deem appropriate. All films submitted with this code must adhere to the rules of the festival at large and the category to which they submit. If you submit using this code without meeting the necessary criteria, you will be disqualified from consideration for the festival and will not be issued a refund.

Please note, submitting with the Georgia Film code makes no difference to the chances of being accepted into the festival, as all local films must stand alongside the other films in ATLFF’s programming. This code is intended as a way to support our local filmmaking community by offering a low-cost means of entry (and also makes it easier for us to identify local films within the thousands of submissions we receive each year).

COMPLETION DATE

Any project that was completed on or after October 1, 2019 will be eligible for consideration at the 2022 Atlanta Film Festival.

WORKS IN PROGRESS

Works-in-progress are accepted with the following stipulations:

Incomplete projects must be clearly listed as such. Films should be marked as either a “Rough Cut” or “Work In Progress/WIP”. All incomplete materials or changes to be made should be clearly indicated (ex: temporary score, missing VFX, no color-correction) both in your cover letter and the film cut itself (ideally as a title card at the start of the film).

The submitter may update their screener up until the final deadline, as long as the link and password for the submission remains the same. However, ATLFF is only responsible for considering the project as it exists at the time of review. We are under no obligation to revisit updated cuts once a screener has been seen. Therefore, you should not submit your project if it is not complete enough to adequately represent the final product.

Updated cuts must be accessible via your FilmFreeway account. We cannot accept updated cuts via email.

No updated cuts will be accepted after the final submission deadline: November 18, 2021.
If selected, the final version of the film must be available by February 2022.

PREMIERE STATUS

We do not require a World Premiere in any category, but premiere status is taken into consideration when making final selections.

Films should not have publicly screened in the greater Atlanta area prior to the 2022 Atlanta Film Festival, and we strongly prefer to program works that have not yet screened in the state of Georgia. Exceptions to this rule may be made on rare occasions and are solely at the discretion of the programming team. However, films that are not Georgia Premieres will NOT be eligible for competition. Similarly, films that have acquired US distribution of any kind prior to selection at ATLFF are not eligible for competition.

Feature films that have been (or will be) publicly released online, on VOD, or DVD prior to the 2022 Atlanta Film Festival are not eligible to screen. Short films that are available online are programmed on a case by case basis, but we typically prioritize films that have not yet been released to the public.

NOTE: This clause only applies to films that are PUBLICLY available to screen. Films that have screened online as part of a virtual festival presentation are still eligible for screening at ATLFF.

It is the submitter’s responsibility to notify ATLFF of any updates in premiere status as they occur, especially if the film is selected for another festival in the state of Georgia.

DEADLINES

Please keep track of deadlines closely if you plan on submitting within a certain submission window. All deadlines are set for 11:59pm EDT (with the exception of our final deadline on November 18, 2021 at 11:59pm EST).

You can find a full list of deadlines under the “Dates & Deadlines” section of our FilmFreeway listing.

ACCEPTED FILMS

All works selected must be available by February 2022 for inclusion in the festival.

Upon acceptance into the 2022 Atlanta Film Festival, you grant ATLFF the right to utilize an excerpt from your film for promotional purposes.

All accepted films will screen at least once during the festival, with the possibility of an encore screening for select films/shorts blocks when appropriate. All scheduling is purely at the discretion of the ATLFF staff.

ATLFF only pays for return shipments of prints. Flash drives will only be returned upon request, and local drives are pick-up only. We cannot return international flash drives, so we highly recommended sending them online. Flash drives left after a year will be recycled.

DCP capability is limited and dependent on the screening venue. DCP must be approved by the Print Traffic department after the schedule has been finalized. ATLFF is not responsible for any shipping expenses of unapproved print formats.

Any kind of film exhibition (16/35/70mm) is rare and solely at the discretion of the programmer, venue capabilities and schedule allowances. It is not a format that can be guaranteed at the time of acceptance. If you choose to submit, it is best to assume that (if selected) a digital version would most likely be chosen for exhibition.

Schedule and screening venues are decided solely at the discretion of the programming staff, and ATLFF cannot guarantee that any film will play in a DCP-capable theater. Please be prepared to have an alternate print format available. If approved for DCP, you must provide a backup format (such as Blu-ray or a digital file).

SCREENING FEES

The Atlanta Film Festival DOES NOT PAY SCREENING FEES for submitted films. By submitting your project, you acknowledge that ATLFF will not pay to present your work.

THIRD PARTY SOFTWARE

ATLFF regularly uses private, secure third party software to organize, track, and review submissions. By submitting to our festival, you are authorizing us to include your film in those third party softwares.

CODE OF CONDUCT

Please be advised that the Atlanta Film Festival has instituted a code of conduct by which all attendees of the festival are expected to follow. Those who fail to follow the terms of this code of conduct will face possible dismissal from the festival. Possible grounds for dismissal may include, but are not limited to, the following: gross misconduct or insubordination, theft of property or misuse of agency materials, abuse or mistreatment of clients, guests, staff or other volunteers, failure to abide by agency policies and procedures, any form of harassment or assault. To view the full code of conduct, please visit: http://www.atlantafilmsociety.org/code-of-conduct.

COPYRIGHT & LEGAL TERMS

By entering your film for consideration to the 2022 Atlanta Film Festival, you authorize that your work is cleared for festival exhibition and accept full legal responsibility for the intellectual property therein. The submitter and all filmmakers associated with the project shall indemnify and hold harmless the Atlanta Film Festival, Atlanta Film Society, and any representative or affiliates from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

REFUNDS & DISQUALIFICATION

Once a project is listed “In Consideration” on FilmFreeway, we are unable to offer refunds for any reason, including (but not limited to):
- Submission to the wrong category
- Change in premiere status or distribution
- Duplicate submissions
- Failure to pay the full submission fee by the final deadline
- Failure to provide a working screener by the final deadline
- Project’s failure to comply with submission Rules & Terms
- Improper use of a discount code or waiver
- Rejection from the festival
- Withdrawing your submission for any reason (including changes of heart)

ATLFF reserves the right to disqualify any submission without refund, even after a film has been invited or final programming has been announced, at the sole discretion of ATLFF staff.

If you have any questions that are not answered here or in our Submission FAQ please email us at submit@atlantafilmfestival.com. We are unable to address inquiries via phone.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Skinner Myers

    Was a wonderful experience and can't wait to bring more of my work there in the future!!

    May 2021
  • I love the Atlanta Film Festival! This is my second time there for one of my films. The first time was in 2019 and it was incredible. For 2021, despite the pandemic, they still managed to put together a wonderful drive-in screening and great virtual panels.

    May 2021
  • Cecelia Condit

    I love the Atlanta Film Festival. An impressive festival indeed!!! It is always amazing the number of people who are exposed to one's work at the festival. I can tell because of what people write on online forums. Then they write that they saw it at the AFF!!!!

    May 2021
  • Stephanie Burbano

    one of my favourite film festivals.

    January 2020
  • Giovanna Giovanini

    Very nice overall experience, very good programming

    May 2019