Kathleen Bertrand, a multifaceted recording artist and writer, is a native of Atlanta who grew up in the Old Fourth Ward.
"My greatest influences were my mother, a factory worker whose husband —my dad—died when I was 5 and women at my church who attended Spelman College. They were smart, they were leaders, and they were beautiful and elegant."
Kathleen's performances have ranged from two Olympic Games to performances before two presidents, as well as appearances at jazz festivals worldwide. She toured and recorded as a vocalist with jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers. She co-founded HIP Atlanta, a nonprofit dedicated to the growth of diverse leadership in Atlanta’s hospitality industry.
It was no surprise to many when she began talking in 2009 about a new film festival to attract people of color to Atlanta’s growing film industry. From a discussion with her then-CEO William Pate to talks with film enthusiasts and potential film partners, Kathleen began to assemble the team and resources needed to launch what was to become BronzeLens Film Festival, a nonprofit organization. Under Kathleen’s visionary leadership as executive producer, BronzeLens has grown to receive attention and accolades from across the country and around the world.
"I've always been inspired to reach back, to use whatever position or influence I have had to open doors for others like me," she says. "This is work I did while at the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, inspiring others to look at careers in the great field of hospitality. I saw the same opportunity in the world of film in Georgia. I felt that my task was to use BronzeLens to not only be a platform for aspiring filmmakers of color but also to expose others in the community to a plethora of job opportunities in what was at that time the newest industry in Atlanta: the film business."
Kathleen has received numerous awards for her work with BronzeLens. In 2016, she was given the Georgia Highlight Award as part of the annual Georgia Film Gala. In 2018, she received the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from her alma mater, Spelman College, which honored her careers in both hospitality and the film industry. Additionally, in 2018, she was inducted into the Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame, which also honored her dual career.
Her proudest moment to date was when BronzeLens was named as an Academy Award-qualifying film festival.
"Also, in just this last awards season, our best short film made it to the top 10 list of nominees for the Best Short Film Award."
We know there are many more accolades to come!
BronzeLens 2019 will take place Aug. 21–25 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. For more information, visit BronzeLens.com.