BronzeLens Film Festival 2013

I had the immense pleasure of attending Atlanta’s BronzeLens Film Festival this year. My attendance was a win-win because not only do I love attending interesting events in Atlanta, this particular event is something I’m passionate about.

BronzeLens

I am an aspiring filmmaker, so this post will do more than just introduce you to BronzeLens; it is also a peek inside what I learned from the festival.

mayor
Pictured above: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed with BronzeLens Executive Producer Kathleen Bertrand and
Artistic Director Deidre McDonald 

If you’ve never been to a film festival before, Bronzelens is a great one to start with. Founded in 2009 by Kathleen Bertrand of Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, BronzeLens is a five-day annual festival dedicated to developing and supporting the next generation of multicultural filmmakers.

Taking place in downtown Atlanta (primarily at the Marriot Marquis and the Georgia-Pacific auditorium, as well as the Hyatt Regency and Ferst Center for the Arts), the festival attracts filmmakers, producers, actors, and film buffs from all over the world.

This year, BronzeLens kept attendees like me enthralled with comprehensive workshops, panels, master classes, an Awards Show, and hot-ticket red carpet events. And that’s not to mention that the festival screened more than three dozen films, including the widely-acclaimed Grigris:

Grigris_2013_film_poster

Take a peek at a trailers of some of the other films here.The magic of BronzeLens is that even with so much going on, the festival finds a way to be a highly personal experience.

In addition to all the events above, the festival is also a place to network, get advice, make friends and connections, screen your short or feature-length film (if accepted), get ideas for a project, discover resources out there to help you realize your dreams or give you more information – and maybe even burst your bubble a little bit.

Yes, the film industry is neither for the faint of heart nor for those who’d rather sit on their laurels than work smart and show persistence.

Alice-Walker-600x465The festival kicked off with an up-close-and-personal experience with renowned author and activist Alice Walker.

Having won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for writing the novel “The Color Purple,” Walker, 69, has led a passionate and poetic life that the new documentary “Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth” explores.

The documentary features interviews with friends such as Angela Davis, Quincy Jones, Gloria Steinem, and Danny Glover. And it offers a penetrating look at her life and work. The screening was followed by a talk-back session with Walker and director Pratibha Parmar.

That was just the first evening. The rest of the festival carried that same high-quality energy. Attendees had to keep a very close eye on the itinerary to follow where all the events were going to be.

The workshops are well-rounded and extremely informative, with a stellar pool of experts teaching the sessions. BronzeLens attracts top Hollywood producers, studio executives, makeup artists, acting coaches, writers, distributors, and seasoned filmmakers to share information, wisdom, and lessons learned.

When you attend BronzeLens, be prepared for informative workshops such as:

  • “The Art of the Pitch” taught how to capture the attention and backing needed to take your film projects to the next level
  • “Status on Production in Georgia” included insight on Georgia’s new crowd- funding regulations, as well as current and future production opportunities for actors and crew
  • The Producer’s Roundtable brought a panel of Hollywood producers together to answer audience questions
  • “Tax Credits: How to Use them to Fund Your Projects” explained in easy-to-understand terms how to apply and leverage film tax credits to your production
  • “The Role of Makeup Artistry in Film” demonstrated film makeup techniques, discussed the role of makeup artistry in film and the future of film makeup
  • The two-day master class taught actors how to put their best foot forward in auditions

Two major events are the Women’s Superstar Luncheon, which brings attention to women for their achievements in film, and the Awards Show that honors the films screened during the five-day festival.

There were screenings of “Black Nativity” starring Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jacob Lattimore, Tyrese and Jennifer Hudson; and “Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley,” the HBO documentary that follows the life of the pioneering black comedian who rose to fame in 1950s and ’60s in the “chitlin’ circuit” tradition.

BronzeLens also screened the much-anticipated “The Best Man Holiday”; tickets to that sold out very quickly, and I believe Morris Chestnut appeared on the red carpet! (I think. Someone from the movie did. My media pass didn’t include a ticket, so I didn’t even attempt to attend that one, LOL.)

best man holiday
I took pages of notes from the workshops, but I will share with you three of the most significant takeaways for me:
  1. Define your personal brand. This is applicable even outside of the film industry. It is important that you be able to clearly and concisely express who you are and what you’re about; in 2013, your most important brand is you.
  2. Show people what you can do. Ten minutes a day of working on your dreams is better than not working on them at all. Begin your dream and work on it. Compile your samples so you can exhibit what you can do to interested parties.
  3. Begin where you are. If you wanted to be an actor 30 years ago and you still hold that dream dear, give it a shot. Make the effort to find out what you need to know/do, and do it.

Having volunteered at BronzeLens in the past, I can personally attest to the benefits of networking there. I met a musician at BronzeLens a few years ago who not only became a dear friend, he ended up composing the musical score to my audiobook. ♥

If you missed BronzeLens this year, I urge you to check it out next year. This festival is in a class of its own.

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