Festival League Returns, Designates August Independent Film Month

Atlanta's Festival League is back for another round, again bringing their coalition of film events and niche festivals to various venues around the city this August. Eric Panter and crew, to tie into Atlanta's revitalized and growing film scene, have also designated the dog days of Summer as Independent Film Month here in the A. The League has grown quite a bit from the first Atlanta Underground Film Festival in 2004. Of all the Atlanta groups and film events that sprouted up in the 2000's, it's arguably the only one, outside of Urban Mediamakers, that has stuck to it's original vision and will likely reach the magic 10 year mark. They've also done a great job of partnering with groups like ASIFA-Atlanta.

My only knock against the League is the number of venues they use each year. When the Atlanta Film Festival (which I started working for in August of 2007) was spread out across the city prior to the April 2007 fest, I wasn't a fan of  their use of multiple venues either. It's not the venues themselves I have problems with. As it was with a pre-2007 ATLFF, my issues have to do with creating a true festival vibe and the convenience of getting around the A.

After years of covering  film events around the South with CinemATL and attending them as an ATLFF staff member, I've come to only love multi-venue events when one, I can easily walk from one to another, and two, the venues are being used simultaneously. Remove those elements and its hard to really give people that "wholly crap there's a lot going on" feeling that makes festivals so dynamic. Being spread out also doesn't lend itself to fostering the most idyllic atmosphere for networking and mingling, leaving it up to parties to do the heavy lifting.

Still, as I have done since at least the 2005 AUFF, I'll be planning to catch a flick or two, and schedule permitting may get my party on--where's the booze son. Oh, and I hope Atlanta's film community realizes attending events like Independent Film Month and making it a success does nothing but raise the city's profile, making the A even more attractive to the nation's film community at large. So I better see some of, if not all, your asses there.

More at FestivalLeague.com Festival Highlights from the Festival League Below:

Independent Film Month:

The most ambitious project to date by Atlanta's Festival League, Independent Film Month runs the entire month of August 2010 and presents over 300 films at a series of film festivals and related events designed to unify Atlanta's top film organizations, independent filmmakers and film fans from across the world.

IFM events include: Atlanta Shortsfest, Atlanta Horror Film Festival, The Best of CinErotic Film Festival, the Film Series at the Center for Puppetry Arts, the Peachtree Village International Film Festival, DocuFest Atlanta, Animation Attack!, and Atlanta Underground Film Festival.

The first year of IFM will serve as a smaller-scale test run for next year's event. As IFM grows, a series of panels, lectures, galas and other events will be added to the schedule. Our goal is to become the largest film event in history, serving as a month-long meeting ground for everyone involved in the film industry.

Director of Events, Eric Panter, urges everyone to attend at least one event during the month of August. "Georgia is very close to becoming a center of activity for the production of large and small budget films. IFM will help solidify Georgia's reputation as the place to shoot, promote, and screen your film. It's time for everyone in the industry to join together to prove our enthusiastic spirit for the art of filmmaking."

Venues for IFM are stretched far across the city, and include: Plaza Theatre Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge Spring4th Center Hyatt Regency Center for Puppetry Arts Eyedrum Wonderroot Carter Center Goat Farm Art Space Five Spot Studio Bar at the Artmore Hotel Woodruff Arts Center. (unconfirmed)

Attendees can attend all film screenings during the entire month with an Independent Film Month All Access Pass for $99, or purchase separate passes to each event at: festivalleague.com/tickets

Screenings are $5 - $10 per program. One-Day passes are available to most events.

Contact: Eric Panter office: 404-347-3564 cell: 678-428-5968

Atlanta Shortsfest August 6 - 8, 2010 Director: Lisa Highfill http://AtlantaShortsFest.com The First Annual Atlanta Shortsfest showcases the best short films in the world at the Plaza Theatre and the Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge.

Friday, August 6 highlights include the Darker Side of Comedy Shorts and the first installment of Animation Attack! at the Plaza Theatre.

Saturday, August 7 highlights include the Lights, Camera, ACTION! Shorts , Matters of Life or Death: Horror Shorts , the Lighter Side of Comedy Shorts  and the second program of Animation Attack! at the Plaza Theatre.

Sunday, August 8 presents the closing at the Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge, and features Family Histories Shorts  and Some of the Best of Atlanta Shortsfest

Atlanta Horror Film Festival August 13 - 15, 2010 Director: Beth Cunningham http://AtlantaHorrorFilmFest.com The Fourth Annual Atlanta Horror Film Festival is held at Spring4th Center, and presents short and feature horror films that tend to break the mold of  the typical, shallow horror films that saturate the market.

Highlights include a Zombie trifecta on Friday, August 13 with the double feature program screening Kiss the Abyss with one of the nominee's for Best Feature, AHFF 2010,  Zombie Dearest, followed by the late-night Something Smells Dead: Zombie Shorts Program

Saturday, August 14 highlights include a fanatical double-feature featuring the throw-back to Christian "scare" Cinema, Satan Hates You and the thought-provoking comedy, God Thinks You're A Loser with a variety of short films and more features all day and night.

Sunday, August 15, explores the terrifying scenario of being held against your will with the double feature, Shellter and Curio or choose the A Captive Audience Shorts Program followed by the Closing Night Feature, Cyrus - Mind Of A Serial Killer

DocuFest Atlanta August 20 - 22, 2010 Director: Matthew Newman http://docufest.com A celebration of the best documentary films in the world, the Fifth Annual DocuFest Atlanta features a unique program of important documentary films from every continent. Events are held at The Carter Center and the Woodruff Arts Center. (unconfirmed).

Full schedule coming soon!

Highlights include:

The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls Directed by: Leanne Pooley http://topptwins.com/ 'The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls' is the first time that the irrepressible Kiwi entertainment double act, Jools and Lynda Topp's extraordinary personal story has been told. The film offers a revealing look into the lives of the World's only comedic, country singing, dancing, and yodeling lesbian twin sisters. With fans ranging from hard core political activists, to sheep farmers and 'Ladies who Lunch' the twins have the ability to relate to all kinds of people, and their natural gift for humour, has helped them cross from the fringes to the mainstream. It has often been said that if the story of the Twins was fictional nobody would believe it. From rural backwaters and busking on the streets of Auckland, to headlining on the stages of London’s West End, their appeal is infectious. The twins have morphed from radical activists into Kiwi 'national treasures', and 'cultural ambassadors. According to 'Variety' this documentary will have you 'falling in love with two of the crazier people you've never met'.

Being the Diablo Directed by: Rod Murphy http://www.beingthediablo.com/ Micky's Daughter Stephanie has spent most of her life defending and justifying her father's choices. His quest for a deeper, yet more simple, spiritual life was constantly at odds with what Stephanie's family and friends expected from a father. But Mickey Mahaffey's search for himself could not be derailed by what people thought of him. The path went from preacher to living homeless, to being committed to a mental institution, to finally dancing with Tarahumara Indians at the bottom of a remote canyon in Mexico's Sierra Madre.

A Film About Races Directed by: Jonathan Marc Baker http://www.afilmaboutraces.com/ The most revealing, honest and laugh-out-loud funny documentary about race you will ever see. Follow Welshman Paul Duddridge as, with the help of some of the world's greatest writers, thinkers and professors, he attempts to push aside society's taboos and find out what 'race' really is. Along the way he attempts to solve the middle east peace crisis, buys hundreds of twinkies and desperately tries to find contestants to join him for a mini-Olympics staged in Los Angeles where teams are split by race rather than nationality. There is a serious point to the seemingly irreverent approach: if we can't easily define race, why can it sometimes seem so easy to define racism?

Animation Attack! August 6 -7 and August 27 - 29, 2010 Director: Brett W. Thompson http://AnimationAttack.com The Fourth Annual Animation Attack! will present a dazzling display of animated goodies at the Plaza Theatre on August 6 and 7. The Best of Animation Attack! will be screened at the Atlanta Underground Film Festival, August 27. A special screening of The Secret of Kells will be presented on Saturday, August 28. The controversial feature,  Gangs of LA 1991, will screen Sunday, August 29. Animation Attack! is a collaboration between Festival League and ASIFA Atlanta.

Atlanta Underground Film Festival August 27 - 29, 2010 Director:  Mark DiNatale http://auff.org A festival for filmmakers, by filmmakers, the Seventh Annual AUFF goes back to its roots, screening shorts and features at Eyedrum, The Goat Farm Art Space, and the Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge. AUFF is a laid-back festival serious about promoting talented, up and coming filmmakers from Georgia and beyond.

Friday, August 27, 2010 highlights at Eyedrum include the Comedy Double Feature with local gem, Disney Shot Kennedy and the hilarious Americatown Meanwhile, at the Goat Farm Art Space, outdoor screenings include the Local Shorts program and the ultra-creepy documentary,  Sell it to the Devil, which follows a a struggling heavy metal musician who attempts to sell his soul to the Devil.

Saturday, August 28, 2010 highlights include the North American Horror Shorts and the one of the nominees for Best Feature AUFF 2010, I Heart Doomsday At the Goat Farm, the AUFF, Push It (push it real good) - Erotic Shorts promises to be as outrageous as ever, followed by the disturbingly awesome Serbian feature, The Life and Death of a Porno Gang

Sunday, August 29 at Eyedrum, join us for an action-filled day of features with Mad World followed by the wacky, Dynamite Swine At the Goat Farm, enjoy more outdoor screenings with the German thriller, Blindlings and the AUFF Closing Night Film, Endings Over at the Highland Inn, there will be a special re-screening of the Best Feature, followed by a collection of the best shorts at Independent Film Month.