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The Show Must Go On! ATLFF Goes Virtual In 2020!

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

The Atlanta Film Festival is in full swing! Full virtual swing, that is.

The Atlanta Film Festival is in full swing! Full virtual swing, that is.

The long-running Atlanta Film Festival, normally held in April, faced a brand-new challenge in 2020. In light of the coronavirus pandemic that continues to affect the country, festival organizers were faced with a difficult question. How to still deliver the full experience of the Atlanta Film Festival in a safe and responsible way? The answer, as it happens, is from the comfort of our homes and safety of our vehicles, thanks to ATLFF’s new virtual catalog and select drive-in screenings.

The show must go on, as the old showbiz saying goes. Though the Atlanta Film Society had to push its events back to September this year, no doubt to account for the extensive planning that surely comes with adjusting to a virtual festival, ATLFF is back in business without skipping a beat. And there are plenty of feature films, shorts, documentaries, and panels to stream online.

In fact, it’s a tad overwhelming with all the unprecedented access to content we have this year. But that’s a great problem to have! As I perused this year’s schedule, I had to jot down a list of all the films I was interested in streaming just so I could keep track of everything. The virtual catalog is separated into convenient categories based on a theme, including New Mavericks (Women Directors with Women Leads), CineMás (Latin American), Pink Peach (LGBTQ+), Noire (Black Directors with Black Leads), and Georgia Films. You’ve also got your basic, broader categories for Narrative Features, Documentaries, Shorts, Dramas, Comedies, etc.

So far I’ve watched The Outside Story (dir. Casimir Nozkowski), a heartwarming drama/comedy about a reclusive video editor played by Brian Tyree Henry who is forced to experience the world when he gets locked out of his NYC apartment. I enjoyed the Georgia-filmed 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Bigfoot: Number One Will Blow Your Mind! (dir. Zach Lampaugh), which was a funny and clever satire about internet clickbait and quite possibly the longest film title I’ve ever seen. I’ve also watched a handful of shorts and tonight, I’m attending my first drive-in screening—Uncle Frank (dir. Alan Ball), a road trip film about a young girl (played by Sophia Lillis) traveling with her gay uncle (Paul Bettany) and his boyfriend during the 1970s.

And I’ve barely scratched the surface! I’m looking forward to diving deeper into the catalog and attending more drive-in screenings as the festival continues. Some of the films I’m most excited about include Sylvie’s Love, Curtis, Cinema Pameer, Transhood, and the Georgia films The Glorias and Beast Beast. A note about the drive-in screenings, however: even with a festival pass, you must RSVP beforehand in order to attend. This can be done online when you reserve your tickets. Certain films are drive-in only, so make sure to RSVP if there’s one you don’t want to miss!

In addition to all of the film selections, there are also a handful of panels, all of which are available digitally. This year’s virtual Creative Conference features panels on a number of timely topics (many of which are free) including ‘Casting in the Age of COVID,’ ‘COVID and the Crew,’ and ‘COVID Testing and Film Production.’ The Creative Conference also offers actors roundtables, scoring clinics, and panels on storytelling for indie filmmakers, pitching projects, and more, all available for streaming.

You can purchase passes and view the full schedule here on the main festival site: The virtual catalog, with all content available for streaming, can be found here. The festival runs from September 17 – 27, so there is still plenty of time to browse the virtual content or make it out to a drive-in screening. And last but not least, major props to the Atlanta Film Society for organizing this festival amidst a global pandemic. The power of the Atlanta film community is still as strong as ever.

*Stay tuned for more content from the 2020 Atlanta Film Festival from Atlanta Film and TV!*

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