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2024 Atlanta Film Festival Announces Creative Conference Programming


The educational workshops, panels, and conversations taking place virtually and in person from April 30 – May 3 will feature industry experts from across the country

Amber Nash Master Class – ATLFF ’18 Creative Conference

ATLANTA, GA (April 11, 2024) — Today, the 48th annual Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF) announced its lineup of Creative Conference panels, workshops, and conversations that will take place from Tuesday, April 30 – Friday, May 3, 2024. This will be the 14th year that ATLFF has curated a robust lineup of educational programming, known as the Creative Conference, as part of the annual film festival. This year, the Creative Conference will offer 32 in-person panels during the 11-day festival and 12 virtual panels post festival.

The Creative Conference serves to educate, entertain, engage, and enlighten festival-goers by pulling back the curtain on film and television production. Festival filmmakers share how their projects got made, and industry professionals discuss their craft and the future of the industry. While offering a wide variety of topics, the conference spotlight is on acting, directing, and producing in Georgia.

“This year’s Creative Conference explores building community, developing homegrown projects, and supporting emerging filmmakers from development to post production,” said Linda Burns, a 30-year industry veteran and Creative Conference Director. “We’re excited to offer interactive events with Art of the Pitch and Crowdfunding to Build Independence from Emily Best at Seed&Spark, Improv: Learning to Pivot while Producing from Dad’s Garage, and the wildly popular and epic literary battle Write Club will wrap up the Creative Conference on Friday afternoon.”

Panels feature revealing conversations with some of the most admired and sought-after artists in their respective fields. Highlights include a discussion on the Art of Casting with Casting Society members Erica A. Hart (We Strangers, A Black Lady Sketch Show, That Damn Michael Che), Kate Geller (Bob Trevino Likes It, Molly and Max, Shiva Baby), and Rori Bergman (Powerbook III: Raising Kanan, Rabbit Hole, Retribution). Additionally, Production Designer Christopher Glass joins Molly Coffee, the Creative Director of Film Impact Georgia, for a 1-on-1 conversation about his career, his process, and how he gets the look that defines his projects including Ms Marvel, Amazing Stories, and The Jungle Book. SAG Actors Nelson Bonilla (Sacrifice, Ozark, Buried in Barstow), Mike Pniewski (Hightown, The Good Fight, Madam Secretary), Sharon Conley (Perimeter, NCIS: New Orleans, Rectify), Christina Kari (Law & Order: Organized Crime, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, Queen Sugar), Kurt Yue (Will Trent, Haunted Mansion, General Hospital) and Donielle Hansley (Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter is Dead, BMF, Terror Lake Drive) share career advice, how they got their start, and how to build long term relationships in the industry. And panelists Nikka Duarte (Netflix’s The Liberator, Jeb Stuart’s Takeover, George RR Martin’s Night of the Cooters), and Glen Owen (Signing Day) will explore how to develop, pitch, raise funds, and sell original stories produced in Georgia. 

As with the lineup of 142 selected works and Marquee screenings, the 2024 Creative Conference programming will highlight underrepresented filmmakers and stories. Panel topics will explore Animation and African Filmmaking, The Journey of Making ‘Color Book’ – Our First Feature – Sponsored by MPA, The Intersection of AI and Cinema: Innovations, Ethics, and the Future, Documentary Funding with ITVS, Cutting Edge Creativity: Voices from the Black & Queer Community, Mental Health and Parenting While Filmmaking, The Directing Challenge, and Latinas in Media among others.

All Creative Conference content, other than in-person panels, will be available for streaming worldwide during the entire 11 days of the festival. In-person panels will not be offered virtually. Festival badges are on sale now at or by clicking here.

The full list of programming for this year’s Creative Conference can be found below. As previously announced, ATLFF’s 2024 lineup of 142 selected works, presented in person or virtually, can be found on the festival’s website here.



Tuesday, April 30, 2024

The Rej (Upstairs) – 11:30am – 1:00pm

Animated, Music Video, and Experimental Filmmaker Roundtable

Festival Filmmakers discuss their approach to these projects – the process, art, challenges, and joys of making these types of films.

Moderator: Director/Writer Hannah Patterson (Late to the Party)
Panelists: Texas Smith (Yes! Yes! A Thousand Times Yes!), Sebastien Abou-Chakra (VAINGLORIOUS), Anna Winter (Islets of Langerhans)

The Mike (Upstairs) – 11:30am – 1:00pm

Producing Low Budget Features

Indie producers, working in the under $1M budget range, share their struggles and tips for successfully developing, fundraising, producing, and distributing work with limited budgets.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director Linda Burns
Panelists: Luke Williams (Hold the Fort, The Murder Podcast, A Band of Rogues), Leanna Adams (Christmas with Jerks, The Worst Couple), Tim Reis (Adult Swim Yule Log, Hold The Fort, Bad Blood), Michelle Riviera (Blurred Lines), Diego Silva Acevedo (Hunting Souls)

The Lefont (Downstairs) – 12:00pm – 1:30pm

Casting Call

Join Fox 5’s Casting Call host Tess Hammock as she discusses all things casting from extra roles to guest starring, recurring, and series regular speaking parts with casting directors, an agent, and an extras casting company.

Moderator: Tess Hammock – Fox 5
Panelists: Jen Kelley and Rita Harrell – Big Picture Casting, Sam Ikhwan – People Store, and Rose Locke – Rose Locke Casting 

The Rej (Upstairs) – 1:30pm – 3:00pm 

The Future of Indie Film in ATL

Local filmmakers discuss the challenges of making art, paying the bills, and building the financial infrastructure in Georgia to keep indie filmmaking sustainable.

Moderator: Camilo Diaz – Producer/Writer/Director (The Old Lady & The Boxer)

Panelists: Kristina Arjona (Christmas with Jerks, Mi Casa, Max), Glen Owen (Signing Day – State Line Films), Cash Robinson (Uncle Honker, Nobody Wants to Be Here, Nobody Wants to Leave), Molly Coffee (Come Correct, Jenna Gets an Abortion, Fear Haus)

The Mike (Upstairs) – 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Post Production In The Age of AI & Remote – Sponsored by Moonshine Post-Production

Join Moonshine Post as they discuss creative approaches and techniques across the full post pipelines of feature, series and advertising. Emerging technologies and the remote landscape demand that artists and producers embrace innovation, and upskill their collaboration tool kit to maintain the craftsmanship and apprenticeship that propels our industry.

Moderator: Drew Sawyer – MPP, Co-Founder, Moonshine Post-Production

Panelists: Gennifer Allen – Social Media Strategist, Kristina Kromer – Editor, Grant Reynolds – Colorist, Chris Nicholson – Sound Mixer, Caleb Wood – Post Producer

The Lefont (Downstairs) – 3:00pm – 4:30pm

The Art of the Pitch

Founder and CEO of Seed & Spark, Emily Best, shows you how to frame and pitch your story effectively and efficiently to showcase your project in a way that grabs attention.

Moderator: Emily Best – Founder and CEO of Seed&Spark

The Rej (Upstairs) – 3:30pm – 5:00pm

At the Intersection of Race & Sexuality: Bringing Authenticity To Our Work

Exclusively featuring Black and Queer voices, this panel delves into the complexities of maintaining authenticity while working in commercial and industry spaces while navigating independent and personal projects. It explores the unique challenges and strategies for Black and Queer creatives to stay true to themselves in an industry that often demands conformity.

Moderator: Jazelle Foster – Actor, Acting Coach & Media and Marketing, Specialist
Panelists: Ava Davis – Transwoman (The Duchess of Grant Park, What is Art?, Holy Irresistable), Onyx Keesha – Producer (Fatal Attraction, For My Man, The Calling)

The Mike (Upstairs) – 3:30pm – 5:00pm

Short Filmmaker Roundtable (1 of 3)

Festival Filmmakers discuss writing and directing shorts, and how they got their projects made.

Moderator: Jonathan Banks – ATLFS Filmmaker-In-Residence (Young Kings – Best Georgia Short Film at the 2023 ATLFF)
Panelists: Neal Reddy (Barely Breathing), Dominick Cormier (Don’t Wipe Your Tears), Thang Ho and Danielle Nebeliuk (The Last Black Dinosaur), Joshua C. Okwuosa (OKEM),  A. Kate Espada (I Could Just Die, and That Would Be All Right)


The Rej (Upstairs) – 11:30am – 1:00pm

Film Impact Georgia – Grant Winner Roundtable

Past grant winning short filmmakers discuss the submission process, the support the program provides, and how the grant helped push their project over the top to get made.

Moderator: Melissa Simpson – Education Director, ATLFS and ED, Film Impact Georgia
Panelists: Sabrina Saleha, Erika Miranda, Ciera Thompson, Shandrea Evans, Jeremy Thao, Andrew J. Lee, Hannah Patterson

The Mike (Upstairs) – 11:30am – 1:00pm

Podcast to Film: How Podcasting is IP Gold for Hollywood

Three screenwriters / producers from the film world discuss their success in the podcasting realm, how they got started, and how they hope to or have converted that success into a big budget deal.

Moderator: Mykal Alder June (Stones Touring PartyToo Much InformationWhere Were You In ‘92?TENDER BLOODSPORT)
Panelists: Jeff Keating (Fight Night: The Million Dollar Heist, PeeWee Gaskins Was Not My Friend), Dan Bush (Tomorrow’s Monsters, The Mantawauk Caves, The Passage), Nick Tecosky (13 Days of Halloween, 12 Ghosts, The Mantawauk Caves)

The Lefont (Downstairs) – 12:00pm – 1:30pm

Lenders, Investors and Other Financial Animals – Sponsored by Fieldpoint Private

Hang out with a panel of experts to explore the challenging world of film finance. Learn terminology, different ways to fund projects, what is needed for funding, and successful best practices. Panelists also discuss small business loans for anyone looking to purchase gear, vehicles or warehouse space.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director Linda Burns
Panelists: Film Finance Segment – Russell Holland – President & Chief Executive Office (Fieldpoint Private), Charles Andros – Founding Partner, President & Chief Investment Officer, Producer (Bay Point Advisors), Andrew Kotliar – Partner, Producer (MEP Capital), Deborah Moore – Freelance Film Production Executive, Producer

Personal and Small Business Bootcamp Segment – Russell Holland – President & Chief Executive Office (Fieldpoint Private), Neill Kelly – Consumer Lending Manager (Fieldpoint Private), Amanda Price – Chief Risk Manager (Fieldpoint Private), Derek Grayson – Managing Director, Banking Advisor (Fieldpoint Private)

The Rej (Upstairs) – 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Improv: Learning to Pivot while Producing

Producers constantly have to shift their plans and mindset while putting out fires and solving problems. The only sure thing on set is that something will go wrong. Improv is all about turning problems and mistakes into something wonderful if you’re willing to roll with whatever is thrown at you. Members of Dad’s Garage teach you how to use improv skills to seamlessly pivot while producing.

Moderator: Jon Carr – Executive Producer, Dad’s Garage
Panelists: Kevin Gillese (How to Ruin The Holidays), Ron Emile – former Dad’s Garage Artistic Director (My Spirit Told Me), Megan Dahl (Lily’s Mirror, The Arbalest)

The Mike (Upstairs) – 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Comics to Film: How Graphic Fiction Is Shaping Hollywood

Comics have taken Hollywood by storm. Panelists discuss seeing their work adapted for the screen, making the jump from the comics to the world of film and TV, the differences between the two mediums, and the challenges the writers have faced when writing a film and TV script as opposed to a comic book.

Moderator: Nathan Cabaniss – Writer and Filmmaker
Panelists: Writer Van Jensen (DC Comics + various other publishers; his debut novel Godfall was recently acquired by Ron Howard and Imagine TV); Writer / Director / Actor Paul Jenkins (comics veteran with a near forty-year career working for every major publisher, in addition to shepherding various film, TV, video game and new media initiatives); Writer Robert Venditti (longtime DC Comics writer; his indie comic The Surrogates was adapted into a Bruce Willis movie in 2009)

The Lefont (Downstairs) – 3:00pm – 4:30pm

Crowdfunding to Build Independence

Seed&Spark has the highest crowdfunding campaign success rate of any funding platform in the world. They share 100% of the information you need to build a successful campaign, as well as a career-long action plan most likely to create a lasting, flourishing, direct relationship with your audience. You’ll learn how to find and activate your audience, structure your crowdfunding campaign and pitch video, pick the right goal and incentives, and much more beyond marketing the campaign itself. Because after all, it isn’t just about crowdfunding: it’s about career building. 

Moderator: Emily Best – Founder and CEO of Seed&Spark

The Rej (Upstairs) – 3:30pm – 5:00pm

Short Filmmaker Roundtable (2 of 3)

Festival Filmmakers discuss writing and directing shorts, and how they got their projects made.

Moderator: Seth Adam Wilder
Panelists: Moon Lee Ferguson (Skettel), Paras Chaudhari (the girl with the om tattoo), Jenna D’Angelo (I Didn’t Mean To Say I Love You), Carlos Aviles (Rainbow Sun), Brea Angelo (DEFINITELY NOT A MONSTER), Giovanni Tortorici (Buster’s Onion)

The Mike (Upstairs) – 3:30pm – 5:00pm

CineCampATL: Meet the 2023 Class of Youth Filmmakers

ATLFS CineCampATL program breaks students into small groups, and with guided instruction and collaboration, they complete a 1-5 minute film. Former students talk about the program and what they learned from the process of creating their film “Squeaky Clean”.

Moderator: Melissa Simpson – Education Director, ATLFS
Panelists: Jaira Wingfield-Green 12th grade at Druid Hills High School, Keatin Monaghan – 11th Grade at North Atlanta High School, Micah J. Gary – 12th Grade at School of the Arts at Central Gwinnett HS, Madison Hatfield – Pre-production Instructor


The Rej (Upstairs) – 11:30am – 1:00pm

ATLFS Filmmaker-in-Residence Program

Learn about the Atlanta Film Society’s Filmmaker in Residence Program and meet this year’s filmmakers. Learn about the projects they hope to accomplish and how the program hopes to help them succeed.

Moderator: Melissa Simpson – Education Director, ATLFS
Panelists: Crystal Jin Kim and Jonathan Banks

The Mike (Upstairs) – 11:30am – 1:00pm

Documentary Filmmaker Roundtable (1 of 2) 

Documentary Directors discuss their projects, their process for documenting their stories, and the challenges and joys of shooting documentaries.

Moderator: Jazmine Hudson – Media Industries Scholar, GSU
Panelists: Caroline Josey K (Seven Acres and a Church), Demetrius Lewis (Map to the Sirens), Lev Omelchenko (Olive)

The Lefont (Downstairs) – 12:00pm – 1:30pm

The Directing Challenge

Using the same actors, but different props, wardrobe, and back stories, see how uniquely each director in the challenge can offer you completely dissimilar versions of the same screenplay.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director Linda Burns
Panelists: Directors Janlatae’ Mullins, Lou Simon, and Carrie Schrader, Actresses Rose Bianco and Suehyla El-Attar

Screenwriter: Nick Tecosky

The Rej (Upstairs) – 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Content Creation & Filmmaking: Blurring Lines, Shaping Futures 

Content creators and filmmakers, who either specialize in one field or straddle both, focus on the evolving landscape of content creation, its impact on the traditional film and television industry, and what this shift means for actors, directors, and filmmakers. They address the changing perceptions around content creation and its role in shaping the future of entertainment and storytelling.

Moderator: Jazelle Foster – Actor, Acting Coach & Media and Marketing Specialist
Panelists: Tony Talks – Content Creator, Elisee Junior St Preux – Filmmaker & Community Artist (Sour Peaches, Before We Had Insomnia, Lorikeet), Shayla Racquel – Director / Writer (Keke Palmer’s KeyTV Series Heaux & Tell, The Cuzzin M Show, The Off-Brands) Raquel M R Thomas – Creator / Director / Producer /Writer (TRANSworld Atlanta, Below the Rim), Kristina Arjona – Director / Producer (Christmas with Jerks, Mi Casa, Rumspringa)

The Mike (Upstairs) – 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Documentary Filmmaker Roundtable (2 of 2) 

Documentary Directors discuss their projects, their process for documenting their stories, and the challenges and joys of shooting documentaries.

Moderator: Robyn Hicks – Assistant Professor of Film & Digital Media at University of North Georgia
Panelists: Majiye Uchibeke (I Am More Dangerous Dead), Kasey L. Martin (A Synonym for Art: Rodgric J.), Ashley Salman (Prelude of a Story), Conner Hall – Editor (Citizen Sleuth)

The Lefont (Downstairs) – 3:00pm – 4:30pm

Developing Features and TV Shows in Georgia

Panelists explore how to develop, pitch, raise funds and sell original stories that will shoot in Georgia. They’ll showcase projects they have in development as well as the features and TV shows they’ve successfully produced.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director Linda Burns
Panelists: Nikka Duarte (Netflix’s The Liberator, Jeb Stuart’s Takeover, George RR Martin’s Night of the Cooters), Glen Owen (Signing Day – State Line Films)

The Rej (Upstairs) – 3:30pm – 5:00pm

Latinas in Media ATL: Keeping the Conversation Moving Forward in Film & TV

Journalists, Actors, and Executives discuss how to expand representation and inclusion in the media, film and television landscape, the importance of cultural storytelling, and how to overcome typecasting.

Moderator: Daniela Cintron – Journalist, Editor, and Producer highlighting underrepresented communities
Panelists: Rose Bianco – Actress (Cobra Kai, Minx, The Sandman), Lina Ramirez Mills – Head of Commercial Department at People Store, Erik Francisco Medina – Moxie Collective, Operations and Marketing Lead, Roger Payano – Actor (Manhunt, Celia, P-Valley), Richard Perez – Director and Screenwriter (It Stays With Us)

The Mike (Upstairs) – 3:30pm – 5:00pm

Key Elements of Impact Campaigns 

This interactive workshop will glean from 25 years of learning and innovation from Working Films, one of the very first organizations created to connect documentaries and social change. The session will cover key elements of impact campaigns.

Moderator: Hannah Hearn – Impact Coordinator and Fellowships Lead, Anna Lee – Director of Learning and Development


The Rej (Upstairs) – 11:30am – 1:00pm

Meet the ATLFF Programmers

Come meet the ATLFF film and screenplay competition programmers to learn a little about them as fellow humans, what they love about their jobs, common mistakes filmmakers make when submitting, and what they look for when screening films and reading screenplays.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director Linda Burns
Panelists: Jon Kieran, Jennica Carmona, Astin Rocks and Melissa Simpson

The Mike (Upstairs) – 11:30am – 1:00pm

Writing Character Driven Films

Writers / Directors Lane and Ruckus Skye discuss how they develop and write story through character.

Moderators: Lane and Ruckus Skye (The Devil to Pay, Becky, Rattle the Cage)

The Lefont (Downstairs) – 12:00pm – 1:30pm

Acting for a Living

Actors with over 2 decades of experience with starring, recurring, and special guest credits will discuss where they started, how they developed their craft, and how to build relationships with directors, producers, and casting directors.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director Linda Burns
Panelists: Nelson Bonilla (Sacrifice, Ozark, Buried in Barstow), Mike Pniewski (Hightown, The Good Fight, Madam Secretary), Sharon Conley (Perimeter, NCIS: New Orleans, Rectify), Christina Kari (Law & Order: Organized Crime, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, Queen Sugar), Kurt Yue (Will Trent, Haunted Mansion, General Hospital), Donielle Hansley (Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter is Dead, BMF, Terror Lake Drive)

The Rej (Upstairs) – 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Film Festival Strategy

Film festival strategy is integral to your success on the festival circuit. From choosing which larger, local, and smaller festivals to apply to, to researching what those festivals have played before, from marketing your screening when not traveling to the festival to how to make boots on the ground matter, this conversation will cover all this and more. 

Moderator: Melissa Simpson – Education Director, ATLFS

The Mike (Upstairs) – 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Curating Classics

There’s never been a better time for repertory programming and Atlanta’s film audiences are enjoying a wealth of opportunities to enjoy the communal experience of watching films together. Join local experts who are part of the growth of classic programming happening locally to hear about the resurgence and importance of classic and niche programming.

Moderator: Greg Bishop – Creative Manager, The Plaza Theater
Panelists: Rocco Shapiro and Sean Valdivieso – Wax & Wane, Matthew Booth & John Robinson – Videodrome, Richard Martin – Programming Manager, The Plaza Theater

The Lefont (Downstairs) – 3:00pm – 4:30pm

Write Club: Festival Edition

High Octane Brain Boxing at its Finest. WRITE CLUB is the world’s greatest combative philanthropic literary bloodsport, featuring only the most audacious and fearsome of writers and performers. Started in 2010 at the Hideout in Chicago by Our Illustrious Overlord Ian Belknap, WRITE CLUB has been operating in Atlanta since 2011. WRITE CLUB is: 3 bouts of 2 opposing writers arguing 2 opposing ideas for 7 minutes apiece. Audience picks a winner. 

Viceroy: Nick Tecosky

The Rej (Upstairs) – 3:30pm – 5:00pm

Narrative Feature and TV Pilot Festival Filmmaker Roundtable

Festival Filmmakers discuss their projects, how they were able to get them made, their experience while making them, and their hopes for the future.

Moderator: Crystal Jin Kim – Filmmaker in Residence, ATLFS
Panelists: Don-Dimitri Joseph (Last Option), Christian Meier (The Murder On Cape Melancholy), Win Marks (Do You Say What You Mean?), Jenna Kanell (Faceless After Dark)

The Mike (Upstairs) – 3:30pm – 5:00pm

Short Filmmaker Roundtable (3 of 3)

Festival Filmmakers discuss writing and directing shorts, and how they got their projects made.

Moderator: Vivi Chavez – Producer and Actress
Panelists: Sam Hahn (Billy & Mac), Melissa Bayer (The G-Spot), Samuel Laine (Free Lunch), Alice Barros (A Forgotten Place), Matthew S. Alaniz (Ten To One)


Available for viewing May 6th-12th

Animation and African Filmmaking 

Join us for an exceptional conversation with the Annie award-winning filmmakers of Kazazi Moto: Generation Fire, a Disney+ animated shorts anthology. This action-packed sci-fi anthology presents 10 futuristic visions from Africa inspired by the continent’s diverse histories and cultures.

Moderator: Sue-Ellen Chitunya, Producer 
Panelists: Tendayi Nyeke – Executive Producer, Ng’endo Mukii – Writer / Director (Enkai), Shofela Coker – Writer / Director (Moremi)

The Art of the Assistant Director

DGA Assistant Directors discuss how they got their start, how they transitioned upward, the demands and joys of the job, what makes a great assistant director, and all the fun that comes with being an AD for film and television.

Moderator: JD Taylor, DGA 1st AD (Candy Cane Lane, American Underdog, Teen Wolf)|
Panelists: Matt Rawls – 1st & 2nd AD (Abbott Elementary, Westworld, The Morning Show), Christophe Le Chanu – 2nd AD (Candy Cane Lane, Hawkeye, Coming 2 America), John Bonaccorse – 2nd AD (Flaming Hot, Tulsa King, Stranger Things), Ben White – 2nd AD (Blue Beetle, The Staircase, Red Notice), Jessie Sasser White – 2nd AD (They/Them, Safety, Watchmen), Steve Windle – 2nd 2nd AD (Barbie, Teen Wolf: The Movie, Rise), Nate Patterson – 2nd 2nd AD (The Color Purple, Doom Patrol, Swagger), Nate Galesic – 2nd 2nd AD (Pain Hustlers, Blue Beetle, Ghosted)

The Art of Casting (CSA)

Casting can make or break your production. Join members of the Casting Society to learn about the fascinating Art of Casting and how you can make choices that are the best fit for your next production.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director Linda Burns
Panelists: Erica A. Hart (We Strangers, A Black Lady Sketch Show, That Damn Michael Che), Kate Geller (Bob Trevino Likes It, Molly and Max, Shiva Baby), Rori Bergman (Powerbook III: Raising Kanan, Rabbit Hole, Retribution)

Production Design with Christopher Glass

Molly Coffee interviews Production Designer Christopher Glass about his career, where he got his start, his process, and how he gets the look that defines his movies, TV shows, and commercials.

Moderator: Molly Coffee
Panelist: Christopher Glass (Ms Marvel, Amazing Stories, The Jungle Book)

The Journey of Making ‘Color Book’ – Our First Feature – Sponsored by MPA

The Atlanta Hometown team of writer/director David Fortune and producer Kiah Clingman competed amongst four other finalists to win the highly competitive 2023 AT&T Untold Stories Award worth $1 million dollars and year-round mentorship to produce their feature film. They share their production journey and the story of a devoted father learning to raise his son — who has Down Syndrome — following the passing of the family matriarch. The Atlanta-set picture is like Fortune’s prior films in that it finds power in normalizing the themes of compassion and intimacy set in inner-city communities.

Moderator: Sue-Ellen Chatuyna, Producer
Panelists: Director David Fortune, Producer Kiah Clingman

Exploring the Intersection of AI and Cinema: Innovations, Ethics, and the Future

Join us for a groundbreaking panel discussion that delves into the dynamic intersection of generative AI and the cinematic world. This panel will explore how emerging AI technologies are reshaping filmmaking, from scriptwriting to post-production, and will address the profound ethical questions they raise. We will start with a look at historical milestones of AI in cinema, such as the early days of CGI in films like ‘Tron’ and ‘Jurassic Park,’ and progress to current innovations like deepfake technology and real-time CGI generation.

Moderators: Laila Harrison – Experimental Filmmaker and Harim Leon – Producer

Mental Health and Parenting while Filmmaking

Being a parent is hard enough, but being a parent and a filmmaker is a huge challenge. Panelists discuss how they strive for a work life balance, share resources for support, and explore ways to keep their mental health in check as filmmaking parents.

Moderator: Erin Bernhardt – Director of Common Pictures, The Edward E. Haddock Jr. Family Foundation
Panelists: Keoni TeTawa Bowthorpe – Director / DP, Aloha Cinema, Tchaiko Omawale – Tchaiko of House Omawale, Second of Her Name, Mother of Flame, Seeker of Truth, Breaker of Chains, Nomadic Fairy Inc., Amanda Edwards – Mental Health Coordinator and Intimacy Coordinator

Documentary Funding and Production – In Conversation with Royd Chung from ITVS

Do you love documentaries? Have a great idea for one? Join us for an engaging conversation to learn about how documentaries are funded and produced for public media. Royd Chung, Vice President of Production of ITVS, the largest co-producer of independent documentaries in the United States, shares open calls for funding, the types of projects they support, best practices for applying to their programs, and their distribution platforms, as well as the disruptions ITVS has seen in the distribution landscape.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director Linda Burns
Panelists: Royd Chung – Vice President of Production of ITVS

Cutting Edge Creativity: Voices from the Black & Queer Community

This panel showcases the diverse and innovative perspectives of Black and Queer artists across different mediums. It emphasizes the richness and originality within the Black and Queer community, often the unsung inspirations in mainstream culture. Panelists will discuss their unique paths in the industry, the challenges of intersectionality, and their vision for a more inclusive and evolving creative landscape.

Moderator:  Jazelle Foster – Actor, Acting Coach & Media and Marketing, Specialist
Panelists: Raquel M R Thomas – Creator / Director / Producer / Writer (TRANSworld Atlanta, Below the Rim), Tony Talks – Content Creator, Adrianna Cherelle – Screenwriter, Reality TV Producer (10 Years in 40 Seconds, Black Ink Crew), Tery Wilson – DP / Editor (Push, New Gotham)

Southern Film Festival Roundtable

Senior film festival representatives as well as southern funders will converse on nurturing Southern filmmaking talent. They’ll discuss the spectrum of opportunities and challenges in the SE and speak on fostering creative environments where artists can excel and go to the next level.

Moderator: Jen West

Panelists: Chris Escobar – ED, Atlanta Film Society, Dan Brawley – ED, Cucalorus Film Festival, Jessica Chriesman – Education Director for Sidewalk Film Festival, Kimel Fryer – ED, Indie Memphis Film Festival, Clint Bowie – Artistic Director, New Orleans Film Society, Patricia Ferguson – ED, A Pecan Pickling Short Film Festival, Molly Coffee – Production Designer and Co-Founder / Past Creative Director, Film Impact Georgia, Christopher Everett – Artistic Director, Southern Documentary Fund

Black Women Forging Their Own Paths 

Join a group of emerging and mid-career black women filmmakers for a candid conversation sharing their respective journeys in an industry that often isn’t easily welcoming to them. They’ll share their experiences of how they have fiercely navigated the industry to champion stories that are dear to them while also maintaining their integrity. 

Moderator: Sue-Ellen Chatuyna, Producer
Panelists: B. Monét – Director, Producer, Writer (Black Girls, Ballet After Dark, Phases of the Moon), Idil Ibrahim – Producer, Director, Writer (The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, In Her Element, Little America), Jamila Jordan-Theus – Producer (Fantasy Football, Turning the Tables with Robin Roberts, Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street)

How to Start Work as an Extra in Film and Television

Working as an Extra is a great way to start your acting career, learn about how a film set works while getting paid, or to make a little extra money as a retiree. Learn about what makes a great extra, how to find work, what is expected of you, and how to get hired back.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director Linda Burns
Panelists: Patrick Ingram – Extras Casting Atlanta 

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