Morris Chestnut, Regina Hall and Issa Rae among stars at 2013 BronzeLens Film Festival

theGRIO REPORT - Founded in 2009 by three African-American women it’s grown from strength to strength, drawing a host of celebrities and experts from across the country...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

ATLANTA – This year’s BronzeLens was bigger and better. In just four years, the festival has fast become one of the most highly anticipated film events in America.

Founded in 2009 by three African-American women, it’s grown from strength to strength, drawing a host of celebrities and experts from across the country.

Headquartered at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, the 2013 BronzeLens Film Festival (BLFF13) took place November 6-10 at various venues across the city.

Highlights include the signature BronzeLens Women Superstar Luncheon, the BronzeLens Awards Show, the opening night Atlanta debut of Black Nativity and the closing night screening of The Best Man Holiday.

The festival, which took place at multiple venues in the Atlanta area, also included panel experts, 44 screenings, workshops and master classes, as well as talkbacks with sought-after names in film direction and production.

Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Alice Walker, actor Morris Chestnut, actress Regina Hall, director Malcolm D. Lee, actress and filmmaker Kasi Lemmons and honorees LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Issa Rae were among the stars who attended the festival.

Organizers say they are dedicated to bringing attention to Atlanta as a burgeoning Mecca for people of color. They also want to showcase work and provide networking opportunities to develop the next generation of filmmakers.

“The BronzeLens Film Festival was created to bring attention to Atlanta as this outstanding place for film production by people of color, both for film production and television production,” says Kathleen Bertrand, the founding executive director of the festival.

“But it was also set up to create the kind of programming and workshops and networking opportunities that will help set the stage for the next generation of great filmmakers.”

In recent years Atlanta has been dubbed the film capital of the Southeast. Georgia is home to Tyler Perry Studios, Rainforest Films and countless other production facilities.

Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter at @Kunbiti