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IMAGE Selects New Festival Director

by Pamela Cole

Atlanta, GA—IMAGE Film & Video has selected Jake Jacobson as the new festival director for the 30th Atlanta Film Festival scheduled to take place June 9-17, 2006.

"I've been in dress rehearsal for this position all my life," said Jacobson, who was the former director of the Rome International Film Festival.

Jacobson reports that the Atlanta Film Festival has received a record 1,800 submissions this year, 70% of which are short narrative films. "That's because we are one of the few festivals where winning submissions automatically go on to the Academy Awards short film category," said Jacobson, who personally previews every submission. "I'm a very tough critic. If I wouldn't want to watch a film twice, back to back, it doesn't get in." Jacobson is a film critic who has reviewed over 23,000 films in his career.

Out of the 1,800 submissions, Jacobson hopes to select approximately 140 for screening at the festival. And he expects that 15-20% of those films will be from Atlanta filmmakers.

"To me, it's an obligation, and one I've come to enjoy, to expose Atlanta filmmakers to the world," he said.

"Atlanta is the second most culturally diverse city in the United States. So I'm also trying to create niche programming that will appeal to that diversity."

He plans to include sidebar screenings of films from the Latino and Indian film communities, as well as films by women directors. He even has a category called "Life After Katrina" that includes documentaries about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast.

Most selections will be announced around April 15th, but several local films have already made the cut including The Last Adam (winner of last year's Southeast Media Award), The Otherside, The Cole Nobody Knows, and Song for Robbie Miller.

For more information, see the Atlanta Film Festival's website.