Now approaching its 45th 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 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 approximately 200 local and international works selected from over 8,500 submissions (consisting of 7,200+ films and 1,300+ 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, ATLFF’s program is composed 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), and filmmakers from the American South. For the 2020 festival, 55% of the program is directed by women and 51% by filmmakers of color. The Atlanta Film Festival seeks inclusivity in on-screen representation as well, with 70% of the 2020 program featuring a woman and/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 sixth 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.
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 composed 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 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 2021 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 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.
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.
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 3, 2021. 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 film submissions, please provide either:
A) 360 Vimeo/YouTube screener (other 360-enabled platforms welcome).
B) Downloadable link (to be reviewed via Oculus Go).
C) Both the 360 screener and download link.
For non-360 VR films, installations, augmented reality and/or interactive projects:
1) You MUST provide a full gameplay recording as the primary screener for consideration. We refer to this screener in the event of any issues with the build, as well as to highlight any live installation components.
2) You may only provide a build or app as well if we have the primary screener.
3) Please detail any needs for the exhibition (such as schematics, compatible VR gear, 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.
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.
For the 2021 festival, the Georgia Film category will no longer exist as a separate submission category, but will be a discount code that allows a discounted submission fee. 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 your project applies, email GA@atlantafilmfestival.com to obtain the discount code. Please allow up to 7 business days for a response.
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).
While we do not have any separate categories or competitions for student films, we do offer a submission discount to students ($5 off of the submission fee). This discount should be built into FilmFreeway. To qualify, you must either be a current student or you must have completed the film during the time you were a student. If you have questions about accessing this discount, please contact FilmFreeway directly.
In accordance with Seed&Spark’s “2020 Film Festival Survival Pledge” we are maintaining the completion date requirements of our previous submission cycle.
Therefore, any project that was completed on or after October 1, 2018 will be eligible for consideration at the 2021 Atlanta Film Festival.
For more information on the pledge, please visit:
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 12, 2020.
If selected, the final version of the film must be available by February 2021.
We do not require a World Premiere in any category, but premiere status is taken into consideration when making final selections.
Films must not have publicly screened in the greater Atlanta area prior to the 2021 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) publicly released online, on VOD, or DVD prior to the 2021 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. In accordance with Seed&Spark’s “2020 Film Festival Survival Pledge”, films that have screened online as part of a virtual festival presentation will be 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 12, 2020 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.
All works selected must be available by February 2021 for inclusion in the festival.
Upon acceptance into the 2021 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).
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 2021 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 email@example.com. We are unable to address inquiries via phone.