This year’s BronzeLens Film Festival marked a milestone year for the event. Not only was Queen Latifah given the first ever “Icon Superstar” Award, but this year the festival was also designated as an Academy Award Qualifying festival for the short film category.
Shows produced, written and starring people of color are dominating television ratings and social media trending topics. There is no better time than now to be a person of color vying to get into the film and entertainment industry. And what better place than Atlanta to do so.
The homegrown BronzeLens Festival is betting on that. It seeks to educate, encourage and empower the next generation of filmmakers. For eight years, it has provided attendees with panel experts, screenings, workshops and masterclasses. It prides itself in being one of the only festivals where you can get up close and personal with celebrities and experts to get advice. This year’s turnout brought in some of the biggest names working in the Southeast including Omar Dorsey, Keith David, Lamman Rucker, Neema Barnette and Roger Bobb, just to name a few.
The second mission of the festival is to promote Atlanta as a premiere destination for film production. At the Wednesday night short film screenings, Morehouse alum Avery O. Williams the director for “Plenty” expressed the desire to turn his project into an actual show and produce it in Atlanta. If this was to happen, he would join a group of high ranking Georgia produced shows like “Atlanta,” “The Walking Dead” and “Stranger Things.”
Other official selections in the Academy Award qualifying short film category included “Macho,” “Man of the House,” “Uncle Chuck,” “The Bill” and “New Neighbors” as well as many others. But “Burning Angel Dust” was the project that ended up taking home the category win at the Saturday night Awards Show.
The locally filmed the, “Haves and the Haves Not” star Crystal Fox, who was honored with the “Visionary Superstar” Award at their signature event the Women’s Superstar Luncheon said from the stage that she was proud to come back to Atlanta to film. She said that there was nothing like shooting here, compared to Los Angeles or New York City.
Also recognized at the luncheon was media mogul Dana Owens, professionally known as Queen Latifah. Queen Latifah was the first to make an impact in the industry by taking a chance and doing things her own way. “I had to create roles for myself. They weren’t giving out leading roles to women who looked like me,” she said in her acceptance speech. Even today, she is still making history, as part of the top rated “Girls Trip” which is the most successful live action comedy film produced, directed and starring black people to date to gross over $100 million dollars.
“I thought of it specifically to honor her because she is an icon,” said Kathleen Betrand, Executive Producer of BronzeLens. “Just say her name and that covers all bases of music, film, television, theater, business and cosmetics.”