Now approaching its 44th 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. In addition, the Atlanta Film Festival is one of less than twenty US film festivals that is Academy Award®-qualifying in all three 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, 10 Best, and Atlanta Magazine, as well as the Best Spring Festival by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution—presents local and international works selected from over 8,400 submissions 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, ATLFF’s program is comprised of approximately 85% - 95% submissions.

ATLFF actively strives to be an inclusive showcase with spotlights on filmmakers of color, LGBTQ+ films (Pink Peach), women filmmakers (New Mavericks), family-friendly programming, Food on Film and/or experimental subjects and themes. In 2019, 50% of the program was directed by women and 43% by filmmakers of color. The Atlanta Film Festival prioritizes inclusivity in on-screen representation as well, with 75% of the 2019 program featuring a woman or person of color in a leading role.

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 fifth 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. This category has a flat entry fee of $25 up until our extended deadline period (when it increases to $50). Georgia Film submissions will be considered for additional competition categories as applicable.

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

Jury awards are given for 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)

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

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.

ATLFF juries are comprised of filmmakers, film critics and industry figures. Recent jurors have included Academy Award-nominated filmmakers and representatives from The Los Angeles Times, Indiewire, XLrator Media, Adult Swim, Vimeo, Film Independent, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Seed and Spark, and MUBI.

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, previous non-juried prizes have included the Georgia Film Award, the New Mavericks Award (for a film directed by and starring women), the Pink Peach Award (LGBT), the Filmmaker-to-Watch Award, and the Programmer’s 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 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 2020 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 film has not been listed “In Consideration” 7 business days after submission, please contact us to find out what is needed to move your film into consideration.

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.

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.

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 is active through at least May 11, 2020. In the event of a password or URL change after submitting, email us immediately. If we discover an error with the screener, we will attempt to email the submitter for an update. Failure to respond by the final submission deadline will result in disqualification without refund of submission fees.

For Virtual Reality submissions, the submitter must A) provide a 360-enabled screener, such as Vimeo or YouTube, or B) both a 360 screener and download link. Downloadable 360 films will be viewed on an Oculus Go.). For non-360 films and interactive works (such as VIVE/RIFT), please send a recording of the project. While you are welcome to also send builds, we must have a recording as the primary submission copy.

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. Failure to provide working subtitles by the final submission deadline will result in disqualification without refund of submission fees.

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.

GEORGIA FILM

The Georgia Film category is for any project that was at least partially filmed in Georgia AND comes from a director who resides in the state of Georgia. This category has a flat entry fee of $25 up until our extended deadline period (when it increases to $50). A password is required in order to submit to this category. If your project applies, email GA@atlantafilmfestival.com. Please allow up to 7 business days for a response.

Films programmed from the Georgia Film category will be eligible for the Georgia Film Award as well as any other juried categories that we may deem appropriate. If you submit to this category without meeting the necessary criteria, you will be disqualified from consideration for the festival and will not be issued a refund.

Please note, submitting in this category 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. The Georgia Film category 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

All projects must have been completed on or after October 1, 2018 to be considered for the 2020 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 entrant 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 14, 2019.
If selected, the final version of the film must be available by February 21, 2020.

PREMIERE STATUS

We do not require a World Premiere in any category, but premiere status is taken into consideration when making final selections. Typically, we prefer to screen films that have premiered after our 2019 festival (May 2019 or later), but there are always exceptions.

Films must not have publicly screened in the greater Atlanta area prior to the 2020 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 very 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) released online, on VOD, or DVD prior to the 2020 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.

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 14 at 11:59pm EST).

Any submissions with an unpaid balance after a deadline will be required to pay the following deadline’s submission fee. Failure to pay the appropriate fee will result in disqualification without a refund.

You can find a full list of deadlines (and associated submission fees) at the following link: atlantafilmfestival.com/submit.

ACCEPTED FILMS

All works selected must be available by February 21, 2020 for inclusion in the festival.

Upon acceptance into the 2020 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 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. 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 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 2020 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
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
  • Maegan Houang

    The programming at the Atlanta Film Festival was fantastic. I went to numerous screenings and by the end I felt so honored that my film had been included among so many great ones. Cannot wait to attend this festival again in the future.

    April 2019
  • Ed Hancox

    Screening at the Atlanta Film Festival was SUCH a fabulous experience. After spending months editing the film and planning its distribution, it was wonderful to meet the incredibly engaged audience, and to hang out with other filmmakers. The programmers, staff and volunteers were diligent, friendly and passionate about film. And, crucially, they know how to throw a party.

    April 2019
  • Daniel Oramas

    Though I've been in Atlanta for a few years now, this was my first time attending the festival. I fell in love immediately. The staff was amazing and the events and screenings they had organized were a wonderful, diverse, and delectable. The master classes were great, the creative conferences were great, and the parties were great. Amazing opportunities and friendships were forged this year, and I look forward to going back for many years moving forward.

    May 2018
  • I couldn't attend because of visa issues, but I followed everything on social media (mainly instagram) and it looked amazing.
    Although we had a short film in the competition, we were contacted by some people who were in the audience during the screening and it always wonderful when people contact u and praise the film.
    Definitely one of the best film festivals in the US.
    Thanks for having us.

    May 2018
  • Ed Barreveld

    A great festival in a great city. Very hospitable festival staff. Wish we could have stayed the whole time!

    May 2018