$5,000 film grants will be awarded to the directors of ten short films about Black life and culture

Atlanta-based film and TV production studio Swirl Films announced on Monday the launch of the Black Life Film Festival, a new showcase of upcoming Black filmmakers and their short films.

Created in partnership with Mansa Productions, the Black Life Film Festival has opened submissions starting today and continuing through August 22. Swirl Films says that the festival will highlight short films that explore “the beauty and complexities of ‘Black Life’ and what that means to individuals and society.” Documentaries, scripted dramas, comedies, interview compilations, animation and other genres will be accepted.

The festival will be held virtually starting September 5 and will be held on a variety of platforms, including Swirl Films’ Instagram Live page and the MTANow mobile app. The top 10 winners will receive $5,000 grants to continue their film careers and will have the opportunity to meet with executives for potential distribution deals for their project. The top 5 winners will workshop additional projects with Swirl, Mansa and their respective creative teams.

“It is important that we at Swirl Films and Mansa Productions do our part to both support and empower the Black film community here in Atlanta and around the country,” said Eric Tomosunas, Swirl Films’ CEO and founder. “In order to make the contest both impactful and meaningful, we deemed it important to allow young Black filmmakers to explore Black Life in any visual storytelling genre that they see fit.”

“Our mission at Mansa has always been about uplifting the community through filmmaking,” said Kellon Akeem, founder of Mansa Productions. “The Black Life Film Fest enables us to impact and invest in future filmmakers by providing an opportunity for individuals to showcase their art through competition, while providing funding and opportunity through the next phase of their careers.”

Founded in 2001, Swirl Films produces the Bounce TV soap opera “Saints & Sinners” and has also produced over 60 films and TV shows for networks like BET, Lifetime, Hallmark and Netflix. The Black Life Film Festival is executive produced by Tyrell Jemison, Jay Allen and Nikki Byles. More information on submissions can be found here.