History of the Atlanta Film Society

Positioned at the intersection of art, culture and commerce, the Atlanta Film Society brings meaning to the moving image by championing the shared community experience, fostering the free exchange of ideas, and nurturing the development of a thriving industry.  The organization dates back to its founding as IMAGE Film & Video Center in 1976, an outgrowth of the need for equipment access, networking, information dissemination, and support among Georgia media artists and producers. IMAGE was the first media arts center in the state of Georgia and on May 14, 1977, it launched the Atlanta Independent Film & Video Festival at Piedmont Park. 

In 1984, the organization truncated the name to Atlanta Film and Video Festival, and again in 2002, to the Atlanta Film Festival. From its inception as IMAGE and through four decades and several name changes, the same community focus and year-round programming remained the same. In 2015, the organization became the Atlanta Film Society.


To connect, educate, and engage audiences with the creative industry by supporting artists and providing a platform for their work. We champion cultural discovery, foster artistic growth, and advocate for diverse voices in film and media arts, both locally and worldwide.

Now celebrating a 42-year history, the Atlanta Film Society (ATLFS) is one of the oldest and largest organizations dedicated to the promotion and education of film in the United States. ATLFS aims unite the Atlanta community by serving artists in creative growth and inspiring audiences through the power of the moving image. Enriching the community through screenings, classes, workshops and other events year-round, the chief operation of ATLFS is the Atlanta Film Festival.

One of only two dozen Academy Award-qualifying events in the country, the Atlanta Film Festival showcases over 200 films annually to over 28,000 attendees across a ten day event each spring. Each year, the Atlanta Film Festival receives over 7,000 submissions from 120 countries across the globe. It has been distinguished as the 'Best Film Festival' by Creative Loafing, Sunday Paper, 10Best and Atlanta Magazine, as well as one of the '25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World' and one of '50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee' by MovieMaker Magazine. Recently Atlanta Film Festival celebrity guests include James Franco, Josh Brolin, Richard Chamberlain, Margaret Cho, Abigail Spencer, Drivin’ N Cryin’, Jeff Foxworthy, Jasmine Guy, Kara Hayward, Martin Henderson, Georgie Henley, Chris Lowell, Ludacris, Pras Michel, Julianne Nicholson, Tye Sheridan, Chris Tucker, Eddie Vedder and many others.

ATLFS screenings & events often include in-person dialogue with filmmakers, providing audiences, artists and industry professionals with meaningful opportunities to network, interact and engage. Throughout the years, ATLFS has hosted a diverse selection of films from emerging, contemporary and renowned filmmakers including Spike Lee, Craig Brewer, Mario Van Peebles, Morgan Spurlock, Ray McKinnon, Aaron Katz, Lynn Shelton, James Ponsoldt, James Moll, Robert Rodriguez, Tina Mabry, Carlos Cuarón, Marc Webb, Debra Granik, Bill Plympton, Francesca Mirabella, Erin Galey, Chloe Domont, Dehanza Rogers, David Gordon Green, Vladimir de Fontenay and Frances Bodomo. 

The Atlanta Film Society is a membership-based 501(c)(3) arts non-profit.