The 47th annual Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF) announced its lineup of Creative Conference panels, workshops, and conversations that will take place from April 25 – April 28, 2023, from 11:30 am to 5:30 pm each day. This will be the 13th year that ATLFF has curated a robust lineup of educational programming, known as the Creative Conference, as part of the annual film festival. This year, the Creative Conference will offer more than 25 in-person panel discussions, as well as 8 virtual panels and in-depth conversations with industry experts from Atlanta to Los Angeles. 

The Creative Conference serves to educate, entertain, engage, and enlighten festival-goers by pulling back the curtain on film and television production, giving audiences a behind-the-scenes look at how projects get made. While covering a wide range of topics, this year’s programming will focus on community, craft, and the future of filmmaking.

Panels will feature revealing conversations with some of the most admired and sought-after artists in their respective fields. Most notably, two-time Emmy® winning, Oscar® nominated producer Lydia Dean Pilcher joins producer Suzanne Satterfield (“Mega Dens”) in an in-person conversation focused on global culture and multicultural storytelling. Pilcher has produced over 40 feature films for auteur directors including “Queen of Katwe,” “Cutie & The Boxer,” and “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.Highlights for the virtual panels include a discussion between Emmy® nominated director, writer, and producer Craig Zobel (“Mare of Easttown,” “The Hunt”) and cinematographer Darran Tiernan (“The Hunt,” “Perry Mason”) on the working relationship between director and cinematographer, how they met and built trust, and their current collaboration on HBO’s “The Penguin,” starring Colin Farrell. Additionally, President and CEO of BobbCat Films and former EVP of Tyler Perry Studios Roger Bobb joins director Rob Hardy for a 1-on-1 conversation about his career in producing and directing that spans nearly two decades. 

As with the lineup of 155 selected works and Marquee screenings, the 2023 Creative Conference programming will highlight underrepresented filmmakers and stories. Panel topics that will explore Development and Pitching, Building an Audience and a Community, Screenwriting, Directing, Cinematography, Producing Using AI, Shooting in Virtual Worlds, Improv for Creatives, The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion, Tips & Resources for Emerging Filmmakers, Post-Production, Crowdfunding, and Roundtable Discussions with Georgia Filmmakers and Screenwriters in Competition. 

TV and Film credits for additional Creative Conference speakers include: “Atlanta,” “A Jazzman’s Blues,” “Naomi,” “The Underground Railroad,” “Pitch Perfect 3,” “The Devil to Pay,” “Archer,” “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” “The Walking Dead,” “Stranger Things,” “Black Lightning,” “Greenleaf,” “Hightown,” “Inside Man,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Father of the Bride,” “Ozark,” “Boss Level,” “Avengers: Endgame and Infinity War,” “Baby Driver,” “Stargirl,” “Doom Patrol,” “Power,” “The Leftovers,” “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “Star Trek: Picard and Discovery,” “Blindspotting,” “Teenage Bounty Hunters,” “For Colored Girls,” “Mythic Quest,” “Why Did I Get Married II,” “The Blacklist,” “Chicago Med,” “Chicago PD,” “Chicago Fire,” “Valor,” “Being Mary Jane,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Queen Sugar,” “MacGyver,” “Solace,” “I,Tonya,” “Coming 2 America,” “Cobra Kai,” “Legacies,” “Halt and Catch Fire,” “The Right Stuff,” “P-Valley,” “Rise,” “Gotham Knights,” and “This is Us,” among others.

All Creative Conference content, other than in-person panels, will be available for streaming worldwide during the entire 10 days of the festival. In-person panels will not be offered virtually. Festival badges are on sale now at Creative Conference individual virtual and in-person event tickets are currently $12-$15 or $85 for unlimited virtual access. Badge prices will increase on April 18, 2023.

The full list of programming for this year’s Creative Conference can be found below.  As previously announced, ATLFF’s 2023 lineup of 155 selected works, presented in person or virtually, can be found on the festival’s website here.

2023 Creative Conference Lineup 


Building Your Own Industry with the Three C’s: Craft, Community and Conversations – a Discussion with The Heartbeat Film Podcast

What are the 3 C’s to help a community grow and build your industry along with it?  

  1. Craft: Developing your own unique voice through intentional, artistic practice.
  2. Community: The art of cultivating your tribe of collaborators and supporters.
  3. Conversation: Creating your own grassroots platforms for sharing and exhibiting your work while generating meaningful and continuous conversation within your community.

Whether you don’t know where to begin or are trying to decide the next move, the answer always comes back to leaning on your own industry. Sit down with writers, directors, and producers Chris Anthony Hamilton, Janlatae’ Mullins, and Harim Leon as they discuss a topic near and dear to their hearts – building your own table and cultivating a community to do it with. 


Writer, Director, DP Chris Anthony Hamilton 

Writer, Producer, Director Janlatae’ Mullins

Executive Producer Harim Leon – Red Baron Digital LLC

Pilots and Shorts from Georgia in the Screenwriting Competition Finals

Join the Georgia shorts and pilots screenwriting finalists to learn about their projects, what drove them to tell these stories, their process as screenwriters, and what it means to be a finalist in the competition.

Moderator: Screenwriter & Atlanta Film Chat Podcast Producer Chuck Thomas


Screenwriter Faith Dismuke – I See You – Short 

Screenwriter Michael Mau – Left & Leaving – Short 

Screenwriter Jon Carr – Black Nerd – Pilot 

Screenwriter Landon Ashworth – The Space Suits – Pilot 

Sex, Guns, and Kids: How Not to Get Shut Down – Sponsored by and IATSE 479

Indie filmmakers using SAG-AFTRA talent for the first time or for the first time with sex, guns, or kids may not know all the rules, and then get themselves into trouble with the unions. Learn how intimacy coordinators can help your sex scenes stay steamy while keeping everyone safe, the importance of armorers and the rules around gun safety on set, and the hours children of all ages are allowed to work, take breaks, and get an education.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director & PGA Producer Linda Burns


Actress, Intimacy Coordinator Kristina Arjona – SAG-AFTRA

Armorer, Special Effects Coordinator Lisa Reynolds – IATSE 479 & Bob Shelleys’ Special Effects

Susan Moss – SAG-AFTRA Sr. Regional Set Relations Representative

Features from Georgia in the Screenwriting Competition Finals

Join the Georgia feature screenwriting finalists to learn about their projects, what drove them to tell these stories, their process as screenwriters, and what it means to be a finalist in the competition.

Moderator: Writer, Producer, Director Carrie Schrader


Screenwriters Brendan Vogel & Ruth Sabin – The Shimmers

Screenwriter Dmani Williams – Chance by Unfathomable Fate 

Screenwriter Jon Vaude – Freaknik

Screenwriter Nathan Cabaniss – Shooting 

Development, the Pitch, and the Package with Crazy Legs Productions

Executives at Crazy Legs Productions dive into the development process and pitch packages for projects at networks, studios, and streamers. Whether you’re pitching reality TV, docu-series, or feature films, this discussion will educate you on the process of developing your ideas into the perfect pitch, what to expect when pitching your ideas, and how to pivot when your pitch doesn’t land.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director & PGA Producer Linda Burns


CEO & Executive Producer Tom Cappello

VP of Development Alana Goldstein

Director of Feature Development Marie Halliday

Georgia Narrative and Documentary Shorts Roundtable – 1 of 3

First of three short film panels featuring the directors of these Georgia-tied short films playing in the festival. See their trailers, hear their production stories, what led them to tell this story, and their journeys as filmmakers.

Moderator: Writer, Director, Actor Robyn Hicks


Director Ivan Rome – TikTok Challenged – Narrative

Director Juanita Umaña – One Yes the Other No – Narrative

Director Hannah Patterson – Late to the Party – Narrative

Director Evelyn Lorena – Gabriela – Narrative

Director Shaun Maclean – Chipper – Narrative

The Virtual Production Pipeline & the Future of Content Production

Virtual production from start to finish. Nick, Joshua, and Justin provide a comprehensive overview of the virtual production pipeline: From creating 3D virtual locations to technical components involved to capturing live-action footage on an LED Volume – in this talk, you’ll learn about the best ways of incorporating this innovative technology into your filmmaking toolkit. 


Co-Founder Nick Rivero – Meptik

Senior Interactive Designer Joshua Eason – Meptik

Technical Director Justin Wylie – Arc Studios

On Screenwriting 

Whether you’re writing shorts, features, or TV shows, on spec as indie filmmakers, paid screenwriters, or in a writer’s rooms, this panel will share their expertise and passion for screenwriting, along with tips for emerging filmmakers.

Moderator: Writer, Producer, Director Carrie Schrader


Screenwriter, Producer, Director Lane Skye

Screenwriter, Producer, Director Ruckus Skye

And more!

Improv Reshapes Your Creativity

Improv is not just about funny shows or jokes in the moment. It can completely reshape your approach to your creative projects. This panel discussion brings together incredible film and television actors to talk about how their improv background has translated to the professional projects they are currently working on. Applying the principles of improv at the beginning of any creative project or using it as the foundation for how your creative team works together will allow you to develop truly unique work that feels like something your entire team has created together. This is the perfect panel for anyone looking to find a new approach to writing, acting, and directing.

Moderator: Jon Carr – Vaguely Specific Productions


Actress, Producer Amber Nash

Actress, Producer, Writer Karen Ceesay

Actor, Producer Atkins Estimond

AI for Producing

The rise of artificial intelligence in the entertainment industry is not just a story about technological progress – it’s a story about power. Artificial Intelligence is the single biggest thing to happen to the entertainment industry since the invention of the camera. No, it will not take your job, but the people who know how to use it will. As AI becomes increasingly integrated into the filmmaking process, those who hold the keys to its operation will have an unparalleled advantage in creating movies that capture audiences’ imaginations. Producer Harim Leon will explore the implications of this power shift – the future of filmmaking – showing how professional and aspiring filmmakers can leverage AI to bring their visions to life and how AI will reshape the way we create and consume movies.


Executive Producer Harim Leon – Red Baron Digital LLC

Streamlining Post: What Indie Filmmakers Need to Know

Join different members of a post production process to learn what indie filmmakers need to know as they move from editing their own projects to needing an editor, sound editor, post sup, music, and more.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director & PGA Producer Linda Burns


Partner & Post Producer Drew Sawyer – Moonshine Post Production

Composer Evan Hodges

And more!

Jumpstarting Your Career: Tips and Resources for Emerging Filmmakers

Join us for an in-depth conversation with RE:IMAGINE, student filmmakers, and industry partners about the many opportunities to jumpstart an early filmmakers’ journey and career and how you can prepare while still in high school or as a recent graduate. We will discuss finding and getting connected to local artist opportunities, preparing for future film production experiences, understanding the industry at large for minors, networking and more.  

RE:IMAGINE trains, equips, and inspires Generation Z (ages 11 – 24) to build careers in the creative and digital media industries. 

Moderator: Coming Soon!

Panelists: Coming Soon!

Georgia Narrative and Documentary Shorts Roundtable – 2 of 3

Second of the three short film panels featuring the directors of these Georgia-tied short films. See their trailers, hear their production stories, what led them to tell this story, and their journeys as filmmakers.

Moderator: Actress & Producer Viviana Chavez


Director Adam Rioux – Roaming Dawn – Narrative

Director David Nixon Jr. – Lumps – Narrative

Director Rozalyn Mattocks – Kid Free Weekend – Narrative

Director Brandi Stevens – Impression – Narrative

Director Kelvin Summerhill – Black Butterfly – Narrative

The Business Side of Filmmaking

The terminology of the business side of filmmaking can be confusing and misleading. Join us for a conversation about the process and definitions involved with debt financing, development and creative services, and post and distribution. Learn what Buffalo 8 and their parent company offer, and why they opened shop in Georgia.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director & PGA Producer Linda Burns


Head of Production & Services – Adam Harris Englehard – Buffalo 8

Georgia Narrative and Documentary Shorts Roundtable – 3 of 3

Third of the three short film panels featuring the directors/producers of these Georgia-tied short films. See their trailers, hear their production stories, what led them to tell this story, and their journeys as filmmakers.

Moderator: Director, Writer, Producer Jen West


Co-Directors Jonathan Banks & Dr. Arshley Emile – Young Kings – Documentary

Writer/Producer Alex – Would You Still Love Me – Narrative (Director Ramsey Telhami not in attendance)

Tri-Directors Sean Famoso, Dennis Williams & Gladimir Gelin – RACE – Narrative 

Co-Directors Linnea Frye & Adam Pinney – Lily’s Mirror – Narrative

Director Brian Lonano CONTENT: The Lo-Fi Man – Narrative (Co-Director Blake Myers not in attendance)

On Directing – Sponsored by the MPAA

Directors from three different career paths share their experiences directing indies, documentary and narrative features, and television shows, and how the experiences differ. They’ll share their knowledge and expertise working in the different mediums, providing tips for surviving working with studios, networks, and streamers.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director and PGA Producer Linda Burns


Director, Writer, Producer Angela Barnes

Director, Writer, Producer Takashi Doscher

Director, Writer, Producer Carrie Schrader

Making It and Keepin’ It Real with Ideas United

An in-depth conversation with filmmakers who have “made it”, and the foundational lessons they’ve learned along the way through pivotal career-changing decisions. From learning to take advantage of opportunities when they come, making authentic connections, and staying humble as you grow. Audience members will be tasked with making their own “next big decision”: share that script, increase your rates, call that person. Whatever that next big move is in their career, attendees will leave this session invigorated. 

Moderator: Community Lead at Ideas United, Vi Andrews


Writer, Director, Set Dresser Sedrick Lakpa

Editor Kristina Kromer – Moonshine Post-Production

Director & CEO Valerie Hinkle – Prominence Films

VP of Production Abe Mohammadione – Ideas United

Film Impact Georgia’s Filmmaker Grant Winners

Recipients talk about their projects, winning the filmmaker grant, and how that propelled their projects forward. ​​Since 2019, Film Impact Georgia has awarded $35,000 in grants across 7 cycles. Working with partners and board members, FIG has connected the winning filmmakers with mentors that could assist with film festival strategy, marketing, post-production, securing locations and more.

Moderator: Melissa Simpson


Ines Michelena – ANGIE – Fall 2019

Lev Omelchenko – A Song for Echo – Spring 2020

Andrew J. Lee – A Sparrow Cries At Night – Fall 2020 

Jeremy Thao – Woman – Spring 2021

Shandrea Evans – Bloom – Fall 2021

Hannah Patterson – Late to the Party – Spring 2022

Erika Miranda – Trailer Trash Magic – Fall 2022

Development, the Pitch and the Package with Pictures Window Productions and Doghouse Pictures

Executives at Picture Window Productions and Doghouse Pictures dive into the development process and pitch packages for projects at networks, studios, and podcasting companies. From environmental docuseries and podcasts to feature films and television shows, this discussion will educate you on the process of developing your ideas into the perfect pitch, and how to think outside the box when your IP falls into development hell.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director and PGA Producer Linda Burns


Producer, Director, Writer Suzan Satterfield

Producer, Writer Jeff Keating

Creating Opportunities for Creators in Georgia – Sponsored by People Store

For years, the only representation you could get in Georgia was for actors. But things are finally starting to change…meet literary and crew talent agency reps who will break down what they look for, how to find representation, what you need to bring to the table, what you can expect, and what agents do for you.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director and PGA Producer Linda Burns


Coming Soon!

Seed&Spark – Crowdfunding to Build Independence

Seed&Spark has the highest crowdfunding campaign success rate of any funding platform in the world, and they will share 100% of the information you need to build a successful campaign, as well as a career-long action plan most likely to create a lasting, flourishing, direct relationship with your audience. You’ll learn how to find and activate your audience, structure your crowdfunding campaign and pitch video, pick the right goal and incentives, and much more beyond marketing the campaign itself. Because after all, it isn’t just about crowdfunding: it’s about career building. Your career starts here!


Founder & CEO – Emily Best – Seed&Spark

Feature Filmmakers from Georgia-tied Films in the ATLFF – Sponsored by Popflicks

Lead Programmer Jon Kieran sits down with the directors of the Georgia-tied feature films playing in the festival to discuss their process, their stories, and their journey to directing.

Moderator: Programming Director Jon Kieran 


Director Kayla Johnson – Fenom

Director Lev Omelchenko – Twenty

Director Bryan Tan – She Watches Blindly

Co-Directors Jordan Bellamy & Josh Gilligan – Ship Happens

Director Matthew Hashiguchi – The Only Doctor

Director Geoff Marslett – Quantum Cowboys

Changing the Climate: How to Weave Cultural, Social, and Environmental Narratives into Your Storytelling: A Conversation with Lydia Dean Pilcher

Lydia is a two time Emmy®  winning, Oscar® nominated producer and founder of NYC production company Cine Mosaic. Focusing on global culture and multicultural storytelling, Pilcher has produced over 40 feature films for auteur directors including “Queen of Katwe,” “Cutie & The Boxer,” and “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Her director credits include WWII spy thriller, A CALL TO SPY, and the climate narratives RADIUM GIRLS and science fiction film, HOMING INSTINCT. As Co-founder of Producers Guild of America’s, PGA Green, she has been an ambassador for sustainability in entertainment for more than 15 years. She co-leads the WGA/PGA Interguild Climate Storytelling Initiative and Co-Chairs the Directors Guild of America Sustainable Future Committee.

Moderator: Producer, Director, Writer – Suzan Satterfield


Producer, Director, Writer – Lydia Dean Pilcher

Meet the Atlanta Film Festival Programmers – Sponsored by Popflicks

Meet our Programming Director Jon Kieran, Programmers Astin Rocks and Jennica Carmona, and Senior Programmer for the Screenplay Competition Brian Grady. They’ll share the process for entry, their process for choosing films, what they love about their jobs, and tips for filmmakers looking to submit next year.

Moderator: Creative Conference Director and PGA Producer Linda Burns


Programming Director Jon Kieran

Programmers Astin Rocks and Jennica Carmona

Senior Programmer for the Screenplay Competition Brian Grady

Building a Thriving Georgia Film Community

Artists and activists discuss how we can work together across disciplines to build sustainable and lasting careers individually and collectively. 

Moderator: Founder & CEO Emily Best – Seed&Spark 


Culture Curator & Co-Founder Bem Joiner – Atlanta Influences Everything

Actress Bethany Ann Lind – SAG-AFTRA

Executive Director Charles Judson – Film Impact Georgia

Producer Terrence Battle


On Producing & Directing – A Conversation with Roger Bobb

Roger Bobb is the President and CEO of BobbCat Films, a film and television production company based in Atlanta. Prior to that, he served as Executive Vice President of Tyler Perry Studios for 8 years. He’s a former DGA trainee, was the youngest African-American 1st AD in New York, has won 8 NAACP Image Awards, and is the only 2-time Best Picture winner at the ABFF (American Black Film Festival). His producing credits include “For Colored Girls” and “Why Did I Get Married II”.

“Madea’s Big Happy Family” and seven other Tyler Perry films for a combined gross of over half a billion dollars. His television films include “Same Time Next Christmas” (ABC), “Life Size-2” (Freeform), “Bad Dad Rehab (TV One)”, and “Let The Church Say Amen” (BET) to name a few. Bobb also works as a director, with over 15 television movie credits in the last 3 years.

Moderator: Director, Producer Rob Hardy

Panelist: Producer, Director Roger Bobb

The Director – Cinematographer Relationship

Writer, Producer, and Director Craig Zobel discusses the relationship between the Director and Director of Photography with his long-time collaborator Cinematographer Darran Tiernan. They’re currently in pre-production for The Penguin starring Colin Farrell for HBO, but worked together on The Hunt, One Dollar, and Westworld, after meeting on American Gods.

Moderator: Writer, Producer, Director Craig Zobel

Panelist: Director of Photography Darran Tiernan

Directing for Television

This panel features directors with credits on Atlanta, Blindspotting, Teenage Bounty Hunters, Loot, Killing It, Mythic Quest, So Help Me Todd, The Blacklist, The Watchful Eye, Big Shot, Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, Gray’s Anatomy, Queen Sugar, Solace, Cherish the Day, The Recruit, The Midnight Club, In the Dark, and This is Us. That’s a lot of experience and knowledge to share. Don’t miss out on this engaging conversation on all things directing for television.

Moderator: Director, Writer, Producer Angela Barnes


Director, Writer, Producer Daniel Willis 

Director, Producer Tchaiko Omawale

Director, Writer, Producer Kay Oyegun

Director, Writer, Editor Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour 

Creating Character Driven Stories – A Conversation with Screenwriter Scott Myers

A member of the Writers’ Guild of America West since 1987, Scott Myers has written over 30 movie and TV projects at every major Hollywood studio and broadcast network. He was an executive producer at Trailblazer Studios, overseeing the company’s original content development for TV including the Scripps and Discovery networks. He has taught in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, receiving its Outstanding Instructor Award in 2005, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and since 2008 has hosted, the official screenwriting blog of the Black List. He joined the faculty at DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts in the fall 2016. Scott graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts degree (with Honors) in Religious Studies and Yale University, where he received a Masters of Divinity degree cum laude.

Moderators: Co-Writers Lane Skye and Ruckus Skye


Screenwriter and Assistant Professor of Screenwriting Scott Myers

Cinematography and Zeiss Lenses

Join Zeiss rep Tony Wisniewski as he discussed all things lenses with working professionals in the camera department from Photographers to Steadicam Ops to Directors of Photography for commercials, television, and film.

Moderator: Tony Wisniewski – Zeiss 


Photographer Tracy Page

Cinematographer Cliff Charles 

Cinematographer Hilda Mercado 

Cinematographer, Steadi-Cam Op Alfeo Dixon 

Cinematographer Jose Alejandro Acosta 

Representation in the Latinx Community

Join Latinas in Media Atlanta for a panel discussion on the importance of representation in media – where inclusion stands now, what we can do to improve it, and what the future holds.

Moderator: Producer, Actress Denise Santos


Producer, Actress Mahalia Latortue-Pridgett

Producer, Actress  Erika Miranda

Writer, Director, Producer Erik Francisco Medina

Producer, Director, Actress Caitlin Hargraves 

Screenwriting, The Writers Room, and the Script Doctor

From the writers room to crafting a feature to working with a script doctor, this conversation will cover a range of topics to help aspiring screenwriters understand the process as well as the collaborative nature of writing a screenplay.


CEO & Head Consultant Shannon E Johnson – The Professional Pen

Producer, Actor, Writer Mavro Diamonti 

Producer, Director, Actor, Writer Harrison Chandler

Prepping Your Project

Tune into this powerhouse panel to learn how much work is involved to get a job as a department head. And once you get the job, what each department does in prep and why, along with how proper preparation translates to better production. And yes, it’s really 2.5 hours long. There was a lot to discuss!

Moderator: Creative Conference Director & Producer Linda Burns


1st AD Jerry Pece – DGA

Location Manager David Luse – IATSE  

Cinematographer, Camera Operator Angelica Perez-Castro – IATSE 600

Production Designer Ina Mayhew – Production Designers Guild

Director Lauren Petzke – DGA

Leave a Reply