The BronzeLens Film Festival Back in Atlanta for the 14th Year

Editorial: Lashley | Images: Zeriba Media | #Bronzelens23

The 14th annual Bronzelens Film Festival has come to an end after five days of activities, with the closing award ceremony at the Carter Center in the city of Atlanta. Some festival activities had to be postponed due to the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, but the festival continues to expand its reach and growth in prominence.

The festival was established to fill a noted gap in supporting and enabling creators and creatives of darker hues to have a just space in the industry. The festival’s founder, Kathleen Bertrand, stated in her opening remarks that she was given the task of organizing a festival in Atlanta to support cinema and individuals who are launching careers in the arts and film industry, as Tyler Perry had emerged as a major force and was making significant contributions to the city’s cinema industry. There was a need for a festival in the city to support and encourage the growing talent pool that was rapidly emerging.

Kathleen said, “We knew we had to create a space and grow an audience to support this venture and the industry. We wanted our community to know that there would always be a space for us in this industry, and it’s been beautiful to see it blossom over the years to become an Emmy-nominating festival”. The festival’s artistic director, Deidre Mc. Donald, stated, “The festival began with 23 films in its inaugural year. We received 124 applications this year from 59 countries.

The festival now has a very strong global appeal, which is a reflection of Kathleen’s original vision for its space and role in the city, but also to communities beyond. Terri Vismal-Morris, the festival’s public relations director, stated, “This year the festival found it fitting to delve into unique aspects of the Atlanta Hip Hop community by relating their journey in film.”

The Andrew Young Cinema and Social Justice Award was added as a new category to acknowledge and represent the role that Atlanta has played in advocating for social change in the American journey. The category acknowledges the body of work undertaken by justice warriors from within the community.

Screenings were held at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema and The South West Art Center. The Award Show was held at the Carter Center.

The 2023 Award Festival Winners
Best of the Festival: “Song of the Rifles”
Best Feature Film: “The Song of the Rifles”
Best Student Film: “Love Taps”
Best Actress: MaYaa Boateng – “Reunion”
Best Actor: Sanou Titiama – “The Song of the Rifles”
Best Documentary: “Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land”
Best Short Documentary: “Conducting Life”
Best Short: “As the Cookie Crumble”
Best Web Series: “Token”
The Andrew Young Cinema and Social Justice Award
“Move When the Spirit Say Move: The Legacy of Dorothy Foreman Cotton”
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