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.
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 2023 Atlanta Film Festival.
If you have any further questions, please visit our FAQ page: http://www.atlantafilmfestival.com/submission-faq/
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 email@example.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
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, 2023). 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 17, 2022) 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/VIVE/Rift/Quest and other roomscale/interactive projects:
We REQUIRE a full video recording of the experience. While you may include app links and 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.).
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.
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.
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, kid friendly films, and more. If you have questions about any of our submission categories, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ATLFF will not pre-screen or evaluate films prior to submission for the purpose of recommending a category for submission.
A discounted 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 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.
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.
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).
Any project that was completed on or after October 1, 2020 will be eligible for consideration at the 2023 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 17, 2022.
If selected, the final version of the film must be available by February 2023.
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 2023 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. A Georgia Premiere is required for consideration in the feature competition categories excluding the Georgia Feature Award. Feature 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 2023 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.
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 17, 2022 at 11:59pm EST).
You can find a full list of deadlines under the “Dates & Deadlines” section of our FilmFreeway listing.
All works selected must have the final version available by February 2023 for inclusion in the festival.
Upon acceptance into the 2023 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, screening venues, digital platforms, and time slots are at the discretion of the ATLFF staff and are subject to change.
Invitations may be extended to films for virtual only presentation, in-person only presentation, or both.
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 programming team, 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).
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 2023 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.
ATLFF reserves the right to decline any submission for consideration for any reason.
If you have any questions that are not answered here or in our Submission FAQ please email us at email@example.com. We are unable to address inquiries via phone.