Started on the basis of “creating more culture in general within the LGBT community”, the Atlanta LGBT Film and Music Festival (ALFF) has been going strong for two years. While a majority of the events are film screenings, there are other events, such as the Open Mic hosted by comedian Julie Osborne and 3 Hour Directing Actors Class, that create a slight difference compared to other festivals. As Ashley Stephens, Program Director of ALFF, states, "we [ALFF] will be an event interactor, so, you know, being able to come to the festival and while you’re there... we’ll be having one where it’s a comedy show, an open mic, we’re gonna have an acting panel.”
As for the film submissions, she described it as “going with the flow.”
“We usually do about a couple of months, right? Well, a couple months after, the film festival rules got drafted and we started selecting submissions... Cause we’re still new, we still have so many different ideas, like how we can change things, and make them better…so we don’t really have a standard way that we do things.”
Being that this is both a film and music festival, there's obviously a merge between these two art forms. When asked about how this merged, Stephens replied, “What I wanted to do was…kind of focus on the brand, and what we’re trying to do and, slowly but surely bring that concept back in, so that’s why we have the open mic this year. Well, you know, we can start from the bottom up and kind of help these artists build from there. We also created the Creative Monster Inc. Foundation which, within that foundation, we are trying to get more opportunities for LGBTQ artists…influence, guidance, you know, work placement. So, whatever they need, for a creative career, that’s what we, the foundation is all for...we've also brought in the music videos."
Already there's quite a hefty lineup, one film being this year's short animated sweetheart: In a Heartbeat. But, taking from Stephen's perspective, the open mic seems to be the place to go for looking for local LGBTQ talent.
The festival will be taking place from the 19th-21st of this week. Check out the full schedule on their website here. The festival is $25, with the Open mic being $15 and the Directing Actors class $40.