With a huge federal grant and another sizable sum in pocket, Atlanta’s LGBTQ film festival on Wednesday committed to its fall event with a call for feedback on how it will manifest in the age of COVID-19.
As part of the CARES Act, National Endowment for the Arts awarded Out on Film $50,000 to support personnel and facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival won another $10,000 as one of 148 organizations receiving a Georgia Council of the Arts grant.
"These grants come at a time when we are determining how best to move forward with an event that normally takes place over 11 days at three venues," Jim Farmer, festival director of Out On Film, tells Q. "These gifts will allow us to maintain salaries and utilize the manpower and infrastructure needed to make it all work and we are extraordinarily grateful."
The funds make the festival possible this year, but it doesn’t come without major adjustments as the pandemic rages on. Out on Film hosted online Stonewall Month screenings and is one of several major LGBTQ fall events trying to make decisions amid constant coronavirus-driven changes. Just last week, Atlanta Pride canceled its festival and parade in favor of virtual events.
What to do has been top-of-mind for organizers, Farmer wrote in the official announcement.
While we are committed to our annual festival this year from Sept 24 - Oct 4, we are still trying to determine how it will look. While we would love to stage our traditional multi-venue festival, we must be cognizant of what is going on. The safety and comfort of our patrons is the most important factor in our planning.”
Our best guess/hope right now is that Out On Film 2020 will include a small/limited number of live screenings, maybe some drive-in screenings or pop-up events, and the rest will be virtual/online.
To that end, the festival committee has put together a quick and easy survey for potential festival attendees. The poll tests the waters on willingness to come out of self-isolation, comfort level in a physical cinema, and enthusiasm for drive-ins and other outdoor options.
Photo from Out on Film 2019 by Russ Bowen-Youngblood for Project Q Atlanta.