In a year when COVID-19 had a significant impact on businesses and non-profits across the world, Out On Film navigated tough waters and had a tremendously productive season. In addition to a mostly virtual film festival, Out On Film held events all throughout the 2020 calendar year.
Thanks in part to a $50,000 CARES Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and continued support from presenting sponsor WarnerMedia, Out On Film was able to transform its live festival into a virtual event in 2020 and offer screenings and Q&As with filmmakers across the world.
“This was a tough year for us all, and I am immensely proud of the work our team did to adapt and provide positive LGBTQ programming throughout Georgia and the country,” said Jim Farmer, Out On Film’s executive director/festival director. “With help from funders, sponsors, filmmakers and patrons, we were able to have a full schedule this year and give back to the community as much as we could. We were very lucky this year and I am relieved and excited that we did not have to scale back because of COVID.”
In all, Out On Film attracted more than 15,500 patrons in 2020.
Highlights of 2020
- Designation as an Oscar® qualifying film festival, meaning that the film that wins Out On Film’s Jury Award for Best Drama Short is now eligible for consideration for the Live Action Short Academy Award®
- A successful 11-day film festival with more than 125 films and more than 30 live and pre-recorded Q&A sessions
- Winner of the Pivot of the Year award from the Out Georgia Business Alliance, given to an organization that that not only navigated COVID-19, but one that did an exceptional job of adapting its business and positively impacting its community
- Film series collaborations with Atlanta Pride, Georgia Equality and Wussy MAG
- A virtual evening with actor/producer Wilson Cruz, featuring a screening of the Apple TV+ documentary series “Visible: Out On Television” and an awarding of the 2020 Trailblazer Award to Cruz
- In Conversation events with filmmakers and performers such as Margaret Cho, Kevin Williamson, Alan Ball, Paul McCrane, and Irene Cara
- Two online arts showcase events as part of the Atlanta Queer Arts Alliance
- Collaborations with the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, the Decatur Book Festival, Out Front Theatre Company and Turner Classic Movies
- An in-person screening of the Apple TV+ documentary series “Visible: Out On Television” with a Q&A with director Ryan White and producer Jessica Hargraves
- Stand-alone screenings of “Lingua Franca” before its Netflix debut, “Pier Kids” as part of Transgender Day of Remembrance (with Wussy MAG) and Alan Ball’s “Uncle Frank” as well as Q&A conversations with each film
- Special presentations of “Song Lang,” “Olympia,” “And Then We Danced” and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.”
- A special weekend of Horror Short Films and a conversation with British filmmakers in collaboration with the British Consulate
- A 40th anniversary drive-in screening of “Fame” in conjunction with Lexus
- A panel discussion on the intersection of art and business as part of Out Georgia Business Alliance’s Business Summit
- Festival director Jim Farmer was named to the Atlanta Magazine Atlanta 500 list of Most Influential City Leaders, the Out Georgia Business Alliance list of the 100 Most Influential LGBTQ Georgians and was awarded the 2020 Community Impact Administrator Award from Emory’s Creativity & Arts Awards
A slate of 2021 programming is already being planned. In addition to the 2021 film festival — tentatively scheduled for September 23 – October 3 — the year will also include monthly In Conversation With events with directors and performers and a Gay Movie Trivia series. “We won’t know our in-person capabilities until sometime next year, but our top priority will continue to be the safety of our patrons. We very much want to return to live events, but the support of our 2020 virtual events means that we will also need to find a way to offer and expand online fare.”
Out On Film kicks off its 2021 schedule in January with a conversation with Oscar-nominated director Heidi Ewing of the new gay-themed film “I Carry You With Me.”