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Kathleen Bertrand: BronzeLens Film Festival to screen this fall’s most popular black films

Kathleen Bertrand PhotoThe BronzeLens Film Festival sets the bar for excellence in film for people of color behind and in front of the lens. Founded in Atlanta in 2009 by executive producer Kathleen Bertrand, it offers expert panels, workshops, master classes, and domestic and international film screenings.

Taking place Nov. 6-10, 2013, at various venues across the city, including the Atlanta Marriott Marquis (which is the festival headquarters) Georgia Pacific Center Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center, Ferst Center for the Performing Arts, Georgia Power Auditorium and Hyatt Regency Atlanta, this year’s festival has expanded to five days and is set to be an interactive experience designed to empower, entertain and educate.

Read what Bertrand has to say about her brainchild.

What can festivalgoers expect at this year’s BronzeLens Festival?
A wide range of films and workshops that will be of interest to both the filmmaker and the film lover. We will screen 44 films representing the United States, Africa, Canada and South America. Other BronzeLens highlights include a talk back with Alice Walker after screening Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth; a talk back with director Nelson George after screening Finding the Funk. We are extremely excited to host the Atlanta debut of Black Nativity with a talk back with director Kasi Lemmon and actors Tyrese Gibson and Jacob Latimore. Our closing film on Sunday is The Best Man Holiday which will be followed by a talk back with film director, Malcolm D. Lee, and actors Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall. Finally, legendary casting director and producer Reuben Cannon is bringing back his Producer’s Roundtable. This is roundtable discussion on film among highly successful producers, including: David Talbert, Lyn Talbert, Jeff Clanagan and Paul Hall.

What are some of the biggest changes since the inaugural event?
We’ve grown, and we’re attracting the attention of Hollywood studios. Our films are more diverse and our film submissions are coming from around the world.

What or who is the biggest success story?
Ava DuVernay is certainly a story we love to talk about. Recognized as Emerging SuperStar Winner at the BronzeLens Women SuperStars in our inaugural year 2010, Ava went on to create AFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement, as a distribution network for indie films by people of color, earlier this year she won the Director’s Award at Sundance, and just directed an episode of “Scandal.”

Why is Atlanta ripe for this type of event?
Atlanta is ripe for this type of event because it has a growing community of people connected to film and television, because — thanks to the tax incentive — the number of films and shows being shot here grows each year. The economic impact of such activity in this area is $3.1 billion.