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BURNAWAY’s Random and Biased Guide to the ATL Film Festival

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Georgia Museum of Art

The Atlanta Film Festival has begun! BURNAWAY is here to help you navigate the offerings. In addition to the biggies already getting tons of press, there are a number of notable films and series worth checking out. We handpicked the films below for their art or geographical interest, plus a handful just for kicks.

If you’re not one of the lucky ticket-holders for the sold-out “Game of Thrones” sneak preview at the Fox Theatre on March 29, tickets are available for a season two preview that same night of the Georgia-filmed series “The Red Road,” which returns to SundanceTV on April 2.

The Filmmaker-to-Watch Award, established last year by contributors to the ATLFF’s Kickstarter campaign, has been given to Ian Samuels, director of Myrna the Monster, one of 10 Official Selections. It’s about “a heart-broken alien dreamer from the moon [who] transitions into adult life in Los Angeles like any other 20-something-year-old.” It screens as part of the Other Worlds shorts block on Sunday, March 22, 4:30 at the Plaza Theatre.

Visit the Atlanta Film Festival’s website for more information and to order tickets.

[Film synopses from atlantafilmfestival.com.]

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THE ART ANGLE

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POSSESSED (POS ESO) (Sam, Spain, 81m)

Trini, a popular Flamenco dancer gives up her career after the sudden death of her beloved husband, Gregorio. After years out of the spotlight, Trini continues to face scrutiny while dealing with her son Damien’s violent rages and eventual demonic possession. The Priest, having left the church due to the Bishop’s extreme demands, becomes discouraged and depressed following the death of his mother. When Trini asks him to heal Damien, the Priest receives one more chance to do what he loves in this Spanish animated feature. —Jordan Young

“Though this is definitely not a film for kids, with its nudity and shocking plasticine gore, Possessed smartly navigates the rarely tread line between the animation and horror genres.”

Friday, March 20, 9:45pm — The Plaza Theatre

 

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FRAME BY FRAME (Alexandra Bombach, Mo Scarpelli, 2015, 85 minutes)

In 1996, the Taliban banned photography in Afghanistan. When the US invaded after 9/11, the regime toppled, the media blackout disappeared, and a promising industry began to emerge. Using cinema verité and secret, never-before-seen archival footage shot under Taliban rule, this documentary follows four Afghan photojournalists fighting to reclaim their nation’s identity by capturing the truth. —Lucy Doughty

Monday, March 23, 9:00pm — The Plaza Theatre

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TOMORROW WE DISAPPEAR (Jim Goldblum & Adam M. Weber, 2014, 85 minutes)

Despite its bleak slum conditions, the Kathputli Colony was home to 2,800 families of artists, magicians, acrobats, and puppeteers until the Delhi government sold Kathputli to skyscraper developers in 2010. This film follows two of Kathputli’s most talented performers, Rahman and Puran, as they wrestle to further their arts and remain hopeful amidst the erosion of their traditions, community, and homes. —Lucy Doughty

Saturday, March 28, 12:15pm — 7 Stages Theatre

 

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APARTMENT TROUBLES (Jess Weixler and Jennifer Prediger, 77 minutes)
After their careers as conceptual artists fail to provide a living in Manhattan, Olivia and Nicole flee New York for a new start in Los Angeles. There, the codependent best friends visit Nicole’s wealthy aunt, Kimberley, who convinces them to audition for the TV talent competition that she hosts. With nothing to lose, the girls prepare for the competition but find their friendship—and dependency on one another—tested. —Cameron McAllister

Sunday, March 29, 2:15pm — The Plaza Theatre

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HANDMADE PUPPET DREAMS

A collection of short puppet films by independent artists exploring their handmade craft specifically for the camera. Artists include Jess Garrison, Matty Sidle, Kevin McTurk, Kirk Hendry, Paul Andrejco, Thomas Guerigen, Mauricio Baiocchi, Alexandre Vignaud, Ronald Binon, Jonathan Langager, Oh Yeah Wow.

Tuesday, March 24, 7:00pm — 7 Stages Theatre

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Saturday Morning Cartoons

A screening of 11 short cartoons takes place, you guessed it, on:

Saturday, March 21, 2015, 11:00 AM at the Plaza Theatre.

Animation Short Film Block

Thirteen international animated shorts in a variety of styles.

Tuesday, March 24, 9:00pm — 7 Stages Theatre

Puppetry

Ten films with puppet stars.

Saturday, March 28, 5:00pm — 7 Stages Theatre

 

SOUND AND VISION

The Goat Farm Arts Center is holding its fourth iteration of this popular event featuring music, video, music videos, film, food, and animation.

Thursday, March 26, 7:00pm — Goat Farm Arts Center

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A TASTE OF THE SOUTH

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OLD SOUTH (Danielle Beverly, 2015, 54 minutes)

In a historically black neighborhood in Athens, Georgia, a college fraternity traditionally known to fly the confederate flag moves in and establishes their presence by staging an antebellum style parade. “Old South” follows the neighborhood struggle over three years, while both communities fight to preserve their historical legacies against an evolving cultural backdrop in the South—and the nation as a whole. —Cameron McAllister

Screens with: Pen Up the Pigs (Kelly Gallagher, 12 minutes), a handcrafted collage animation that explores connections between slavery and present day institutionalized racism and mass incarceration.

Saturday, March 21, 12:45 PM — The Plaza Theatre

 

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THE KEEPING ROOM (Daniel Barber, USA, 95 minutes)

After their father and brother leave to fight in the Civil War, sisters Augusta and Louise and their slave, Mad, are left to tend to their homestead alone. When two rogue, drunken Union soldiers come looking for trouble, the women must defend themselves as General Sherman’s fiery march quickly approaches. “The Keeping Room” rips genre and gender conventions apart in its showcase of three powerful and resilient Southern women. —Cameron McAllister

Thursday, March 26, 9:30pm — The Plaza Theatre

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THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY (Chris Gallaway, 2015, 70 minutes)

From Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Mountains have a deep-rooted and well-appreciated relationship with hikers and nature-lovers alike. Take a journey with Frost (Chris Gallaway) as he engages in a challenging and breathtaking ‘thru-hike’ up the Appalachian Trail. Friendships are made, relationships blossom and unforeseen circumstances occur—but in the end, Frost learns more about the strength that lies within himself. —Jordan YoungMonday, March 23, 2015, 7:15 PM — The Plaza Theatre, Main Theatre

Afterparty: Join us at Sweet Auburn BBQ after the screening (free and open to the public) for a special Mountainfilm Monday party.

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RUNOFF (Kimberly Levin, 2014, 86 minutes)

Deep in the rolling hills of Kentucky’s verdant farmland, Betty struggles to keep her world from falling apart. Her business is dwindling, her husband’s health is deteriorating and they are behind on their mortgage payments. As another year’s harvest draws closer, Betty must take desperate measures for the sake of her family.—Cameron McAllister

Saturday, March 21, 2015, 2:45 PM — The Plaza Theatre

 

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DANTE’S DOWN THE HATCH (Jef Bredemeier, 2015, 91 minutes)

For 43 years, Dante’s Down the Hatch gave its customers more than just a place to eat—it gave them an experience. It was the only restaurant where you could dine in an old pirate ship, surrounded by live crocodiles while listening to classic jazz. Follow Dante Stephensen, owner of Atlanta’s landmark fondue restaurant, as he says goodbye to his lasting legacy. See for yourself how this unique restaurant impacted so many lives. —Calvin Su

Monday, March 23, 7:15 PM — The Plaza Theatre

 

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BLOOD, SWEAT & BEER (Chip Hide, Alexis Irvin, 2014, 70 minutes)

The American craft beer industry is booming like never before. One-and-a-half craft breweries open each day—but far fewer make it to year two. Follow along with in-depth profiles of passionate founders and brewmasters as they struggle to navigate and maintain their place in the industry and in the communities that surround them.—Lucy Doughty

Sunday, March 22, 2015, 12:00 PM — The Plaza Theatre, Main Theatre

   FOOD ON FILM PARTY: at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center (980 Briarcliff Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30306) following the film (1:30PM) Wristband required for entry. All the beer-related goodness you can handle! Beer-themed recipes from local Atlanta restaurants, coupled with actual brews from our city’s finest breweries.

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IMPORTANT ISSUES

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TRACEABLE (Jennifer K. Sharp, 2014, 68 minutes)

A documentary set against the backdrop of the fast-fashion industry and our increasing disconnect of where and how clothing is made, and the hands that create a garment.

Thursday, March 26, 9:15pm — The Plaza Theatre

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CHICAGO LOVE (Sean Diddy Combs)

On the heels of recent protests and violence in the Midwest, more specifically Ferguson, this documentary aims to answer the question on many minds: what is happening in Chicago

Saturday, March 28, 7:30pm — The Plaza Theatre

 

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DIVIDED TIME (W. Feagins, Jr., 2014, 55 minutes)

In the hip-hop world, fatherhood is often seen as a dirty word—if it is even discussed at all. Taking a look at nine different musicians at varying stages of their hip-hop careers, “Divided Time” focuses on these fathers and the sacrifices they have made for their families, while still in pursuit of their dreams. Reversing the picture typically on display, these men seek to prioritize their children over their professional interests. —Cameron McAllister

Thursday, March 26, 5:00pm — The Plaza Theatre

 

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GOD BLESS THE CHILD (Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, USA, 92m)

Deftly walking the tightrope between documentary and narrative filmmaking, this challenging work very simply chronicles one day in the life of the Graham family. In it, we follow an often overwhelmed teenager (Harper Graham) as she tends to the needs of her four younger brothers, all of whom spend the day challenging each other in games of strength and burgeoning masculinity. All the while, Harper is searching and waiting impatiently for the parent who is missing in action.

“Superbly shot in low light and long takes that keenly place us in this poverty-stricken world, God Bless the Child gives us an often uncomfortably real sense of the joys, and the burdens, of raising a family with little support financially or emotionally.”

Georgia Museum of Art

Wednesday, March 25, 7:15 pm — The Plaza Theatre

 

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BEFORE THE LAST CURTAIN FALLS (Bevor der letzte Vorhang fällt) (Thomas Wallner, multilingual, 92 minutes)

A profile of great love, bitter disappointments, and self-doubts, this film relays the journey of elderly transsexuals and drag queens who summon the courage to grace the stage one last time. After basking in the success of a whirlwind two-year tour, the tenured performers must leave the limelight and go home to the quiet lives they left behind. —Lucy Doughty

Tuesday, March 24, 9:00pm — The Plaza Theatre

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NEW MAVERICKS 

Seven narrative shorts that feature a strong female lead seen through the lens of a female filmmaker.

Saturday, March 28, 12:00pm — The Plaza Theatre

 

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BFFs—NOT SO MUCH

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L’ANNEE PROCHAINE (NEXT YEAR) (Vania Leturcq, Belgium/France, 103 minutes)

Clotilde and Aude are high school best friends who make plans to enroll at the Sorbonne in Paris the following year … Along the way, the women find their search for knowledge is uncovering an ever-widening rift in their relationship—one that may be irreparable. Anchored surely by precocious lead performances from Constance Rousseau and Jenna Thiam, NEXT YEAR, while chronicling a friendship undone by competition and suspicion, confidently portrays those tentative steps taken when first venturing out into adulthood. In French with subtitles. L’annee Prochaine (Next Year) plays at the Plaza Theater‘s upstairs auditorium on Saturday, March 28 at 2:15 pm; tickets can be purchased online here.

Saturday, March 28, 2:15pm — The Plaza Theatre

 

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BREATHE (RESPIRE)

Seventeen-year-old Charlie is bright and beautiful, but not without insecurity. When new girl Sarah arrives, Charlie is captured by her charisma and the two strike up a deep friendship. For a time, it seems as though each is what the other has been waiting for. When Sarah tires of Charlie and begins making new friends, their relationship takes a turn for the worse. —Cameron McAllister

Friday, March 27, 9:30pm — The Plaza Theatre

 

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MOVEMENT AND LOCATION (Alexis Boling, 2014, 96 minutes)

Kim Getty is settling into her life in Brooklyn. She enjoys her job, she’s met a nice guy and she gets along with her roommate. Kim migrated here from 400 years in the future. It was a one-way ticket to a better life and while it has been an adjustment, Kim is managing. But when she stumbles upon a girl who is also from the future, cracks begin to appear in Kim’s carefully crafted new identity. —Cameron McAllister

Sunday, March 22, 2:00pm — The Plaza Theatre

 

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ROSEHILL (Brigitta Wagner, 2015, 78 minutes) Despite landing the opportunity to appear on television, Katriona receives potentially devastating news that may end her relationship with her boyfriend, Dominic. Needing to get away, she decides to visit her best friend Alice—a sex researcher at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Both Alice and Katriona find comfort in the denial of the state of their lives—Katriona with her health issues and Alice with her lack of intimate relationships. However, by the conclusion of the trip, the ladies learn to face and accept their true feelings. —Jordan Young

Screens with: Little Cabbage (Jen West, 10:22 minutes) An eccentric composer in the 1950’s is given a magical instrument that distorts her relationships.

Saturday, March 28, 4:30pm — The Plaza Theatre