About BronzeLens Film Festival
The BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta, Georgia is a non-profit organization, founded in 2009, that is dedicated to bringing national and worldwide attention to Atlanta as a center for film and film production for people of color.
In fact, the mission of the BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta, Georgia is two fold: to promote Atlanta as the new film mecca for people of color; and to showcase films and provide networking opportunities that will develop the next generation of filmmakers.
Each year, film lovers, actors, and film makers gather in culture-and-heritage-rich Atlanta, Georgia to share a creative platform of education, entertainment and empowerment discussions related to film, as well as television, and the production of both. The BronzeLens Film Festival will feature screenings in multiple venues, as well as informative panels, and enlightening Master Classes led by top names in film, direction, and production.
Learn more about BronzeLens Through the Years
The BronzeLens Film Festival (BLFF) concept was originated by the President of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB), William Pate. He believed that with the growing number of films being made in Atlanta and Georgia, a destination festival focused on films made by African Americans would have an audience. Kathleen Bertrand, Sr. VP at ACVB at the time, was charged with doing a feasibility study. After meeting with other existing festivals geared to African Americans, she concluded that there could be a niche for a new festival and began the process of launching what was to become BronzeLens. ACVB incubated BLFF for its launch in 2010 and its next 5 festivals.
In 2009, BLFF was incorporated as a non-profit organization. We have taken that original concept and expanded the vision into our mission: to promote Atlanta as the new film mecca for people of color; and to showcase films and provide networking opportunities that will develop the next generation of filmmakers.
Our first festival in 2010 screened twenty-four films over four days. There were fourteen workshops and panels. We heavily depended on local filmmakers to share their expertise. Although they were Atlanta based, they had national name recognition. This line-up included producer Will Packer, director Rob Hardy, producer/director Roger Bobb and publicist Tirrell Whittley. All the judges were Atlanta based as well.
A newcomer and California based filmmaker, Ava DuVernay, screened her first feature, “I Will Follow,” with BronzeLens. After the Festival in 2010, She invited BLFF to be a charter member of AFFRM (which was later renamed ARRAY), a film distribution network of a select number of African American film festivals throughout the country. The publicity gained from this alliance catapulted BronzeLens onto the national/international scene. Since that time, we have partnered to form a grassroots distribution network and have screened 21 documentaries and features geared to People of Color and women through ARRAY.
We have expanded from a four-day festival to year-round programming. We also have conducted additional screenings of independent films, participated in workshops with partnering organizations, created a Page to Screen Book Club, conducted specially designed bi-annual programming especially for children, and will soon launch a Facebook Live series of interviews with screenwriters thanks to the City of Atlanta’s Power2Give funding.
Another major accomplishment is that in 2016 BronzeLens was designated as an Academy Award Qualifying Festival in the Shorts Category. This is virtually unheard of for such a young festival. In our second year of this designation the 2018 BLFF Best Short, “Wale,” made it to the Oscars Best Short top 10. Although it did not receive a nomination, we are proud of the caliber of work that was submitted and recognized.
The BronzeLens reach has expanded tremendously. By using Film Freeway as a submission portal over the past few years, we have received films from throughout the world. We can also access judges locally, nationally and globally. In 2018, the Ninth Annual BronzeLens Film Festival screened 79 films and conducted 17 workshops tapping experts and filmmakers for engaging exchanges ranging from film financing to social activism using film as a medium.
Most recently, BronzeLens was voted winner in two categories in Atlanta Magazine’s annual “Best Of” awards: Best Showcase for New Filmmakers and Best Place to Break into the Film Industry. This honor truly recognizes one of the key elements of our mission, which is to support the next generation of filmmakers.
Our Festival attendees have said that BronzeLens: ” …was nothing short of spectacular.”; “…truly cares about the filmmakers and getting you in the room with the people that make decisions.”; “…does everything possible to make sure your film isn’t the last one you make.”; “…far exceeded our expectations.”