Part 1 of 2
Lights! Camera! Action! Usually this mantra is reserved for New York or Los Angeles where the film industry lays claim to this industry. However, named the fastest-rising city to feature a film and television industry that is proud to be called home to this annual film fest, the Sheraton Downtown Atlanta welcomed a slew of industry professionals and fans. Peachtree Village International Film Festival (also known as PVIFF) founded by James “JB” Brown and Len Gibson, presented the weekend-long event featuring new films from aspiring and established filmmakers (local, national and international). From August 23 – 25, the films, workshops, seminars, vendors and nighttime activities overall was well attended. The final night was the much anticipated awards ceremonies that celebrated the movers and shakers in the industry.
Since 2006, the Peachtree Village International Film Festival has successfully served as a platform for up and coming filmmakers, producers, and entertainers, by directly connecting them to some of the world’s most influential filmmakers, producers, and distribution companies such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Amazon.com, iTunes.com, NetFlix, RedBox and more. Not only does this extraordinary film festival serves as a launching pad for fresh talent, it also promotes education for the arts by hosting innovative workshops and panel discussions. The PVIFF provides leadership in entertainment, multicultural, diversity and experiential initiatives to help leading brands and media companies grow their businesses, market share and brand awareness.
This year the PVIFF guest list includes industry professionals and executives from Bravo, TV One, BET, ABC, A&E and more. Some of PVIFF’s highlights includes a writing workshop featuring writer/producers, Bentley Kyle Evans and Stacey Morgan Evans (“Martin,” “Moesha,” “The Jamie Fox Show,” “Love That Girl”), a Legendary Award to be presented to acclaimed actor, Ernest Thomas (“What’s Happening,” “Everybody Hates Chris”) and the presentation of PVIFF’s Center Piece Film: “Home” featuring acclaimed actors Joe Morton (“The Inkwell,” “The Good Wife” etc.), Gbenga Akinnagbe (“The Wire,” “Nurse Jackie” etc.). The festival will also host several other daily and nightly film viewings, events, and parties throughout the weekend.
Always a popular subject, there were a number of films, shorts and trailers that dealt with relationships, but still there were a variety of subjects to consider. Of note to watch for was YTF from Domingo Guyton (Ohio), His Virtues from Edward Dorsey, Jr (Atlanta), Jail Dogs from Shante Price (Atlanta), The Occasional Husband from Nakia Caesh (Atlanta), Losing Everything from Mykel Coleman (Atlanta), The Guest from Henrik Malmgren (Denmark), All That Matters from Thomas Scott, Jr of North Carolina, Houdini’s Hand from Brandon Thaxton (Atlanta), Four of Hearts by Eric Haywood, Go, Mickey, Go from Pat Burke, The Hotel by Darren Dewitt Henson, Solace by Vandon Gibbs (Atlanta) , Search For A Black Knight by Tamarat Makonnen (Ethiopian-American), and Slice 3 by Pierre (Atlanta). There were separate screenings for full length films such as Home, First Impression and Laughing 2 The Bank. I’ll post my reviews in a separate article.
Vendor stands and sponsor presence
As with any conference, seminar or event, there will be vendors ready to offer information and services unique and essential to an attendee’s needs. Strategically placed professionals offered beauty & wellness, jewelry, barter, lifestyle, media and apparel services.
SIMERY, America’s newest Credit Reporting Agency one of the sponsors, is a unique but much needed service for media and the general public. It seemed out of place for a media event but considering film is more about business, it made sense. I got a chance to speak briefly to Mark Bertrand and asked how the company got involved in the film festival:
“Representatives of PVIFF talked to SIMERY about what they were doing with the film festival and how they’re helping young people who are starting out in the industry; get their films out in front of the right people. We thought it was a good ides because we’re working with so many young people, teaching them the importance of good credit – that a fresh start and beginning in film – was a good combination. We decided to run with this and it’s been a good ride ever since.”
It was a 3-month run in the process of SIMERY’s involvement with the festival, which shows their commitment to this event. The mission of the company was evident in their presence in all aspects of the festival.
“People are always looking for finance but lack the knowledge (on how to obtain it) since there’s no education in the credit industry,” Mark stated. “ If they only knew they could use their own credit in a positive way to finance their own films . The idea is to give them a fresh start to know they have a choice with SIMERY.”
A few feet away were BREAKDOWN SERVICES. This mostly background services was just what this film festival needed. Representatives Tom Goff and Jason Teresi were more than helpful and willing to advise how they can help the aspiring and established filmmakers. As Tom explains it,
“Breakdown Services. Ltd is the communications network and casting system that provides the most professional means to reach talent agents as well as actors when casting a project. Breakdown Services has offices in Los Angeles, New York and Vancouver and maintains affiliate relationships with sister companies in Toronto, London and Sydney. With clients in most regions of the USA and Provinces of Canada our reach extends throughout North America.”
Friday night PVIFF hosted the VH1 Save The Music concert. It was hosted by music icons Bow Legged Lou of Full Force and Daddy-O of Stetsasonic and featuring performances by Dondria, Toccara Hamilton and RK4L (Rich Kids For Life). This was an event to promote a very important cause about saving the music, something this writer can relate to. Schools are phasing out the importance of music in their curriculum and this events proceeds was to keep the awareness present and help prevent this.
Saturday night was party time at Harlem Nights. A well attended event, it seemed to be the perfect venue to let off steam from attending or working at the festival.
Sunday night was the awards ceremony recognizing film industry professionals and honoring those icons we know to love and respect. Both up-and-coming and established individuals included a special tributes to Danielle Spencer- Fields (Dee: “What’s Happenin’”), Ernest Thomas (“What’s Happening”, “Everybody Hates Chris”), Camille Winbush (“Bernie Mac Show”, “Seventh Heaven”), Anthony Anderson (“Hustle and Flow”, “The Departed”, “Me Myself and Irene”), Matty Rich (“The Inkwell”), and many others. It was a night filled with laughter, tears and unexpected surprises.
So, as Atlanta prepares for festival number 9, make sure you plan on attending. I’ll be there because this is the new Hollywood of the South.
Friday gallery photos
Saturday gallery photos