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Film Score News

Rick W
/ Categories: Film Score News


ATLANTA, GA (May 17, 2024) — The 48th annual Atlanta Film Festival + Creative Conference (ATLFF) is proud to announce the award winners for the 2024 festival, which took place from Thursday, April 25 - Sunday, May 5, 2024.
Today’s announcement recognizes filmmakers in 15 categories for their achievements and cinematic excellence. Winners of the Narrative Short, Animated Short and Documentary Short Jury Awards not only proudly took home their awards, but now also qualify for the 2024 Academy Awards®. Now in its fifth decade, ATLFF is one of only a handful of film festivals worldwide that is Academy Award-qualifying in all three categories (live-action short, animation short, and documentary short subject). 

Most award winners were chosen by distinguished jurors from all backgrounds across the film industry. The Audience Awards were determined by in-person attendees. 

This year, Michael Showalter, director of “The Idea of You” was presented with the Rebel Award. The Rebel Award honors someone who has shunned the typical industry expectations and paved their own path, in defiance of both norms and naysayers. This award is inspired by Atlantans who haven’t been afraid to break the mold, speak out and create change.

Additionally, Bill Duke, Director of “DEEP COVER” was honored with the Ossie Davis Award for Innovation in Filmmaking. Named in honor of one of Georgia’s most beloved and distinctive film talents, this award recognizes creative excellence and dynamic contributions to the art of cinema while also promoting human dignity and social justice.

With 118 countries represented in the selections, more than 24% of films had ties to Georgia filmmakers.  The 142 total creative works from submissions featured diverse filmmakers who continue to uplift voices and stories from around the world. Of the selections, 49% are directed by filmmakers who identify as female or non-binary, and 59% are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC). Eleven Marquee screenings combined Hollywood star power with the best of independent film. 

Continuing with a hybrid model of in-person screenings and digital screenings, the 2024 event drew in over 20,000 total attendees. Over 16,000 people attended 153 screenings, panels, and events held primarily at The Plaza Theatre and Tara Theatre with select events at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Fox Theatre and Fulton County Airport in addition to a variety of restaurants and bars across the city, during the 11-day festival. An additional nearly 4,000 people streamed screenings from ATLFF’s virtual catalog of 142 films and 13 virtual Creative Conference workshops, panels, or Masterclasses. 

With over a dozen of the in-person screenings selling out, the virtual presentation of the film catalog also proved to be a success. More than three months’ worth of content was streamed during the festival, with viewers in 32 U.S. states, and 10 countries across four inhabited continents. 

A full list of jury members with brief biographies is included below, as well as film information for all award winners and honorable mentions.

The 48th annual Atlanta Film Festival + Creative Conference took place from April 25 - May 5, 2024. ATLFF is currently accepting submissions for the 49th annual festival, which is confirmed to take place April 24 - May 4, 2025.

More information can be found at   



The Rebel Award:

Presented ToWinner: Michael Showalter, Director of “The Idea of You”

Ossie Davis Award for Innovation in Filmmaking:

Presented ToWinner: Bill Duke, Director of “DEEP COVER”


Best Documentary Feature:

Special Mention:  HAPPY CAMPERS, dir. Amy Nicholson

Winner: AMAKKI, dir. Célia Bousebaa

Best Narrative Feature:

Jury Special Mention:  ATIKAMEKW SUNS, dir. Chloe Leriche

Winner: THE BATTLE, dir. Vera Egito

Best Animated Short:

Winner: THE SUN IS BAD, dir. Rachel Mow

Best Documentary Short:

Winner: GOODBYE MORGANZA, dir. Devon Blackwell 

Best Narrative Short:

Jury Special Mentions:

ONE HAPPY CUSTOMER, dir. WATTS (Jenna & Tripp Watt)

MR. BOLD, dir. Aiman Mimiko

Winner:  SHUT UP AND FISH, dir. Raul Sanchez & Pasqual Gutierrez

Best Cinematography (Presented by Panavision and Light Iron):

Jury Special Mention: THE BATTLE, Cinematographer - William Etchebehere, dir. Vera Egito

Winner: ATIKAMEKW SUNS, Cinematographer - Glauco Bermudez, dir. Chloe Leriche

Georgia Feature Film Award:

Winner: FACELESS AFTER DARK, dir. Raymond Wood

Georgia Short Film Award:

Jury Special Mentions:


PRELUDE OF A STORY, dir. Ashley Salman

Winner:  MAKAYLA’S VOICE, dir. Julio Palacio


Feature Audience Award:

Winner: THE SOUTH GOT SOMETHING TO SAY, dir. Tyson Horne, Ryon Horne

Short Audience Award: 

Winner: MAKAYLA’S VOICE, dir. Julio Palacio


Feature Screenplay: 

Feature Screenplay Winners: “Belonging” by Liz Fields, “HEARTRACE” by Will Bermender, and “Lo & Em” by Claire Audrey Aguayo

Pilot Screenplay: 

Pilot Screenplay Winner: “Gallatin” by Ryan Skinner

Short Screenplay: 

Short Screenplay Winner: “Handle With Care” by Allison Orr Block


Narrative Feature Jury:

Jessica Chriesman, Director of Education - Sidewalk Film Festival

Jessica Chriesman is an award-winning filmmaker based in Birmingham, Alabama. She has worked as a director, producer, researcher, and/or cinematographer on projects for Twin Cities Public TV, Southern Foodways Alliance, Vox Creative, Alabama Public Television, Dirty Robber and more. She is the Director of Education and Outreach at Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema where she plans learning opportunities through the lens of film and media. In 2021, Jessica was named a Morgridge Acceleration Program Fellow working with the Jane Goodall Institute on their storytelling strategies. She has served as a grants panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Alabama State Council on the Arts and as a juror and programmer for film festivals across the South. Most recently, she programmed the Mississippi Made films for the 2024 Oxford Film Festival. She has led storytelling and filmmaking classes and workshops at UAB, Georgetown, and the University of Florida, and for the Jane Goodall Institute Africa Programs staff in Kigoma, Tanzania. Her films have screened across the United States and internationally.

Ryan Prows, Director, Writer

Ryan is a filmmaker, a gentleman, and a bon vivant par excellence. Or as Jason Bailey of The New York Times puts it: “Prows has a singular, gonzo energy and delirious sense of cinematic style.”

He won a Student Academy Award for NARCOCORRIDO, his thesis film at the American Film Institute, and his cult debut feature film LOWLIFE was hailed by audiences and critics alike. “The lean, brutal, surprisingly affecting package of Ryan Prows' feature debut LOWLIFE is a seriously nasty treat.” - The Hollywood Reporter.

LOWLIFE was released through IFC Midnight, and made several Best of the Year and Top Ten lists, drawing favorable comparisons to PULP FICTION and the early work of Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino himself called the film “a real stroke of genius” and praised its writing and originality. Seriously.

V/H/S/94, a recent entry in the wildly popular horror franchise, was a New York Times Critic's Pick, named on Variety's list for Best Horror Movies of 2021, and was a blockbuster hit for Shudder as the service's biggest premiere ever. TERROR, Ryan’s segment, was named the #1 V/H/S segment across the entire franchise's six film history by Dread Central. “TERROR is a playful, lo-fi lark directed with humor and visual invention by Ryan Prows.” - New York Times

Ryan resides in Inglewood, CA with his lovely wife Megan and his absolutely perfect baby Marvel.

Jermaine Johnson, Manager / Academy Award Nominated Producer - 3 Arts Entertainment

Jermaine Johnson is a manager and Academy Award-nominated producer at the Beverly Hills-based 3 Arts Entertainment. Originally from New Jersey, he graduated from Rutgers and has spent over ten years building an impressive client roster in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago (and is currently spearheading 3 Art’s expansion into Atlanta). He was featured in The Hollywood Reporter’s 35 Under 35 Next Gen 2020. Jermaine was an Executive Producer on the Image Award-nominated series FROM SCRATCH, currently streaming on Netflix, and is a Producer on Cord Jefferson's TIFF Audience Award winner and Academy Award-nominated film AMERICAN FICTION starring Jeffrey Wright.

Jermaine represents a wide variety of writers, directors, journalists, and comedians from many different backgrounds. Amongst these clients are Attica Locke (FROM SCRATCH, LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE, award-winning author of BLUEBIRD, BLUEBIRD), Azie Dungey (UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT, SWEETBITTER, TWENTIES), Cord Jefferson (Academy Award Winner for AMERICAN FICTION, Emmy award winner for WATCHMEN, SUCCESSION, THE GOOD PLACE), Julia Bicknell (YELLOWJACKETS, THE HAUNTING, 13 REASONS WHY), Justin Hillian (THE CHI, SNOWFALL), Jia Tolentino (TRICK MIRROR), Leann Bowen (WGA and Emmy winner for TED LASSO) and more. He prides himself on finding fresh voices in places where others don’t often look and giving them a platform to share their unique points of view and opinions.

Documentary Feature Jury:

Alexandra Fredricks, Non-Theatrical Distribution & International Sales

Enthusiastic about functioning as a bridge between creators, industry, and audiences — Alexandra Fredricks handles Non-Theatrical Distribution and International Sales at Oscilloscope Laboratories, a Brooklyn-based independent film distribution company founded in 2008 by Adam Yauch. Previously, she held the positions of Programming and Operations Senior Manager at Metrograph and Film Screening Operations Manager at the Doha Film Institute (DFI). She has over 15 years of international experience in film exhibition organizations and festivals in New York, Qatar, Canada, Australia and The Netherlands, and has served over the years on a number of Jury and Screening Committees, and as a talent liaison for New York Film Festival (NYFF).

Darcy McKinnon, Documentary Producer

Darcy McKinnon is a documentary filmmaker based in New Orleans, whose work focuses on the American South and the Caribbean. Recently released projects include  A King Like Me and Roleplay, premiering at SXSW 2024, Commuted (PBS, 2024), Algiers, America (Hulu, 2023), Under G-d (Sundance 2023), Look at Me! XXXTENTACION (SXSW, Hulu, 2022) and The Neutral Ground (Tribeca, POV, 2021), recipient of LEH Documentary of the Year 2022. Current projects in production include Jason Fitzroy Jeffers’ The First Plantation, A King Like Me, Abe Felix’s Turnaround, CJ Hunt’s Unlearned and Suzannah Herbert’s Natchez.  Her work has been on POV, Reel South, LPB, Cinemax and Hulu, and has screened at Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, CPH:DOX and more.  Darcy is an alum of the Impact Partners Producing Fellowship and the Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellowship, and a recipient of American Documentary’s Creative Visionary Award in 2023.

Larisa Apan, Programming Director

Larisa Apan is the Director of Programming for Montclair Film + The Clairidge. Originally from Romania, she currently resides in New York where she has been involved in the film industry for over a decade, including positions as a Senior Programmer for Hamptons International Film Festival and Sarasota Film Festival. Prior to that she worked on several award-winning shorts that screened internationally at festivals, including: Tribeca, TIFF, Austin, and SXSW. For several years she worked with Academy Award®-winning documentarian Murray Lerner, helping to manage his production company as well as overseeing the digitization of his archive for the Library of Congress. She has also collaborated with both Hamptons International Film Festival and I.F.P. (now Gotham) to select the screenplays for the HIFF Screenwriters’ Lab and I.F.P.’s Emerging Storytellers Lab.

Narrative Short Jury:

Adesola Thomas, Filmmaker, Festival Programmer, East Coast Producer at Letterboxd

Summer of 2023, Adesola wrote and directed Ola Ola (9 min), a comedy short about a surprise reunion between two queer Nigerian cousins that’s been distributed by indie-streamer, No Budge and screened by Millenium Film, Southern Fried Queer Pride, and Deeper Than Movies in London. Adesola is a 2024 Bleecker Street BIPOC Mentorship Fellow, a 2024 Sundance Press Inclusion Initiative Fellow, and a proud member of the New York Script Supervisors network. She enjoys 1st AD’ing music videos, dancing at parties, and swimming with friends.

Jen Lynch, Director/Writer

Jen Lynch has been writing and directing film and television for more than two decades. Features, Boxing Helena, Surveillance and Chained, garnered attention and awards both in the States ans Europe. Jen has directed television for 15 years and is thrilled by it. From multiple episodes of the Walking Dead to four episodes of MONSTER: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, Jen plays with dark notes. In multiple other shows, 911, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, American Horror Story, (seasons 6-12) she has been able to explore comedy and drama, while enjoying the world of stunts and visual effects. Jen authored a novel, The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, for the series Twin Peaks, and In the documentary DESPITE THE GODS Jen’s struggle to make and ultimately lose a film in India is chronicled. Jen is 56 this April, and considers her daughter, Sydney Lynch, to be her finest production to date.

Documentary Short Jury:

Adam Harris Engelhard, Head of Production, Buffalo 8 | Producer

Adam Harris Engelhard is a film producer & former literary manager with over 10 years of industry experience. Starting his career at ICM Partners, Adam worked in the MP Talent department where he cut his teeth in film packaging. From there he worked for Academy Award winning producer Dan Jinks at CBS Studios. In 2016 Adam founded Mailroom Entertainment where he managed a roster of 15 budding writers and directors. He graduated from The University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Business Administration. Currently he serves as the Head of Production for Buffalo 8.

Alexandra Kern, Filmmaker

She has produced commercial and independent acclaimed projects for artists such as Dua Lipa, Lil Nas X, and Kendrick Lamar. Her directorial debut, the short documentary Wild Magnolias, is currently on its festival circuit having screened at Oscar-qualifying festivals. The short was honored by a special screening at the New Orleans Jazz Museum where it was offered a permanent stay in their historical archive. The film premiered online on Short of the Week and is also available on Aeon Magazine.

Matthew Hashiguchi, Documentary Filmmaker and Associate Professor

Matthew Hashiguchi is a documentary filmmaker and Associate Professor in Multimedia & Film Production at Georgia Southern University. His most recent documentary, THE ONLY DOCTOR, had its world premiere at the 2023 Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival and was broadcast nationally on PBS Reel South. His previous documentary feature, GOOD LUCK SOUP, had a national broadcast on PBS World’s America ReFramed, and received a 2016 Documentary Fund Award from the Center for Asian American Media and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He is a recipient of a 2019 Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund Award, a 2021 American Stories Documentary Fund from Points North Institute and CNN Films, and successfully installed an irrigation system in his backyard.

Animated Short Jury:

Lisa Ferrell, Filmmaker/Educator

Lisa Ferrell is a seasoned production professional whose background encompasses television series and film development and production/post production for television, film and digital content.

Lisa began her career as a Development Assistant in an Atlanta-based studio with a First Look Deal with a major network. She has gone on to has serve as Executive Producer for several of Atlanta’s foremost post production, motion capture and VFX facilities, including the Toronto-based SPIN VFX, and has helped create creative for some of the foremost advertising agencies and brands in the world. Most recently, Lisa worked with animation firm SLOTHIQUE as a Producer for the animated film MINE, which premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival.

She has also worked in series and tele-film development for such companies as CBS, Lifetime Television/Hearst Entertainment, NBC and TBS. While at motion capture studio Giant Studios/Profile, she was involved in the post production of films that include New Line Cinema’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and Sony Imageworks animated holiday feature “Polar Express” directed by Robert Zemekis and starring Tom Hanks. She was also instrumental in creating the pilot episode for the long-running “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” series for TBS.

Lisa is a former President of the Georgia Production Partnership, serves on the Board of Directors for Film Impact Georgia and reimagineATL, is the Director of Education for the Milledgeville Eatonton Film Festival and serves on the Advisory Board of ASIFA South. 

She is currently a Professor of Practice for Georgia State University’s Creative Media Industries Institute focusing on emerging technology.

Tiffany Kowalewicz, Production Manager

I have always loved art and animation and knew I wanted to be apart of that industry. I have worked in Production Management on film and television for the past decade or so. I studied at Savannah College of Art and Design where I received my BFA in Animation. Since then I have worked on multiple animation projects, working at multiples studios over the years including Laika, Blue Sky Studios and 9 Story Media Group. It’s always a wonderful experience to be apart of an animation project especially when you have such a passion for the artistry.

Marcus Rosentrater, Producer

Marcus Rosentrater is a two-time Emmy award nominated producer, director, editor, and animator with two decades of experience working in the film and television industries. For Floyd County Productions he has produced four seasons of “Archer” (FX Networks), two seasons of “Marvel’s Hit-Monkey” (Hulu), along with a number of pilots. 

As an independent filmmaker he has produced and directed a feature film and directed, edited or produced over a dozen short films. Marcus’s versatility as a producer extends from development, to delivery, to launch. He is involved in the early stages of production, working with writers and writers’ rooms to dial in character, story, and make suggestions that will help production. Whether it be on set, in a studio setting, or in the voiceover booth, he has directed performances of the principal cast. 

With experience producing live action and animation, Marcus has overseen projects with a variety of scope from those with multi-year schedules, international teams, crews in the 100s, and budgets in the millions; down to zero budget films based completely off found footage, and just about everything in between. These projects have brought a wide range of post-production experience from delivering to network television, streaming services, VOD, major festivals, and direct distribution online. 

Through all this he is no stranger to navigating the terrain between the ambitions of various directors, show runners, and writers and the realities posed by production, network requirements, talent availability, etc. This hard work has earned Marcus numerous awards, including an Emmy win as the Animation Director of “Archer”, as well as an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Animated Program” as a producer. 

Georgia Shorts Jury:

Benjamin Wiessner, Producer, Vanishing Angle

Benjamin Wiessner is a producer and VP of Sales & Distribution at Vanishing Angle. He was named to Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Indie Film in 2012 as part of ornana films, where he began producing and distributing shorts and features with partners across the world. He has produced short films in both hand-drawn animation and live action, with awards at festivals including SxSw and Sundance. He has also worked on numerous features with premieres at Sundance, Berlinale, SXSW, Cannes, and Tribeca, including producing and self-distributing THUNDER ROAD (SxSw 2018 Grand Jury Prize). He consults, mentors, and consoles numerous early career filmmakers. Raised by educators, he frequently speaks about filmmaking, distribution, and film marketing at film schools, festivals, and..

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