Last week, I got back from screening SLEEP at the Atlanta Film Festival. That was a great accomplishment for the film because ATLFF is an Academy Award qualifying festival. And everything was organized accordingly. The festival provides free shuttles from the airport to the festival grounds. This was an over a week long event. Unfortunately, I was only capable of staying for five days. Those five days was exactly what I needed in regards to stepping away from New York City for a bit.
I totally recommend ATLFF simply because they have the full support from the city’s community. I screened with five other dramatic short films and every seat was filled. I failed to do my best promoting since transportation wasn’t as convenient as being in New York, but I found out that promoting wasn’t a factor. The festival works hard to get the word out and it shows. The line to get in before the doors opened ran out of the theater into the street. My greatest showing was down in Miami with the American Black Film Festival, but Atlanta proved to be the second. There was so much positive energy during the Q&A. Normally, as the filmmakers are lined in the front of the venue, one could feel the anxiety of a crowd intended on leaving the theater to continue on with their lives. That feeling did not exist in Atlanta. People actually asked questions that showed their investment. One moviegoer asked us about our favorite lines from each of our films. I’ve never gotten that question before and it stumped me for a bit. Then it became a no-contest. My favorite line from SLEEP is…”Open the fucking door.” Spoken by Rashad (Gregory Barnes). We screened in a black box theater, which was pretty odd, but it brought a different energy and I was all about that.
The other positives were the down to Earth atmosphere, free liquor, free transportation and a staff that was more than excited to answer everything single question that each filmmaker had about anything and everything. This is an A+ festival and I suggest every filmmaker experience it. The dates ran from March 15th-24th. Festival center was at the Highland Inn in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia.