In the 41 year history of the Atlanta Film Society, countless individuals have worked tirelessly to promote independent filmmaking in our community and beyond. In the last half-decade, the ATLFS staff has doubled and tripled in size—a growth that mirrors that of our city's film industry. Although bittersweet, the time has come to see some pivotal programming team members off as they enter into new professional chapters.
Creative Director Kristy Breneman, who joined the organization in 2012, is exiting her role after the 2017 Atlanta Film Festival as she leads the launch and operations in Atlanta for a California-based start-up, ShareGrid, the largest peer-to-peer marketplace for creatives to rent gear and spaces.
Programming Director Christina Humphrey will also leave her post at the ATLFS in February, after nearly six years with the organization. Christina graduated in December with a M.A. in Film, Video & Digital Imaging from Georgia State University.
“I’ve had the privilege of seeing these two grow and flourish as creative leaders both with our organization and in the community,” said ATLFS Executive Director Christopher Escobar. "Kristy has help build and connect our programming and our organization to the rest of the community while demonstrating leadership in organizations like WonderRoot, ASIFA-South and the Plaza Theatre Foundation. She’s helped the organization push the envelope with additions of puppetry and music videos into the festival’s programming. Christina, who started with us as an intern, has worked to raise the standards of our programming and our relationships to our filmmakers, all while getting her graduate degree, occasionally flying around the world to produce works, traveling to serve on juries of other film festivals and present at universities."
As with many film festivals, there are several people that come and go through the staff of ATLFS. Both of these incredible professionals have some of the most longevity in the organization’s 41-year history and have worked together to help lead our organization through some of the best innovations such as bold commitments of diversity and inclusion in our programming to the formation of our New Mavericks program. They’ve also had a major hand in the organization's rapid growth, as we see evidenced with submissions going from just 1,600 submitted for 2011 to over 6,000 submitted for the 2017 festival and attendance crossing an all-time high in 2016 with over 27,000 attendees. Obviously these are group efforts, but these two have had a strong and consistent role in making that happen during their tenures. We appreciate them sticking around as long as they have, and in helping cultivate a great new class of programmers to continue and build on the legacy of the Atlanta Film Festival just as they have.
Though we hate to say goodbye to these two, we are thankful that they are helping to ensure that programming for the 2017 Atlanta Film Festival is completed and left in good hands. Shorts Programmer Alyssa Armand and Programmer & Media Manager Gregory Bishop are stepping into greater roles with increased responsibility and visibility within the organization.
With the 41st ATLFF just over two months away, we are thankful to have a programming team committed to making sure this festival will have the strongest lineup yet.