Last week I had the pleasure of moderating "Eat, Drink and B-Indie" - a gathering of Atlantans interested in film, television and media with topics selected and presented monthly by the Atlanta Film Festival. The purpose of this particular rendezvous was to meet, promote and interact with filmmakers who have work being shown in this year's film festival.
With at least a half dozen filmmakers in person we set out to walk through the Atlanta FF schedule and highlight the local films. Along the way the subtext of the evening boiled to the surface: there is a lot of film and television work being produced in Georgia, but just how much of it originates from residents of this state?
Ok, so maybe I just plain came out and said that at the very beginning, but I'd hoped it might lend some gravity to a gathering that might otherwise become a promotional step and repeat parade. Maybe it did, maybe it didn't.
However, others chimed in. Bret Wood, who is premiering his fourth feature length film, has been directing films in Atlanta for over a decade. His comments raised concern over the growing difficulty in finding crews and locations not already swallowed up by productions with larger budgets. Darrell Hazelrig, representing a short film in the puppetry block, mentioned how pursuing an opportunity to pitch a television show to a major Atlanta based broadcast company would require him to travel to Los Angeles. Raymond Carr, who is premiering a short film at the festival, spoke about how Atlanta is a national leader in the puppetry arts, yet the medium is rarely utilized in the commercial productions being made in the state.
The dialogue was mostly positive with a concern towards fostering mutual support of independent film in Georgia. Whether the hope is to commercialize independent voices in the South or build a larger, more supportive independent film community was not determined. But the two don't have to be exclusive.
In fairness, there is commercial work being made in Georgia that does originate from Georgians. The television shows "Rectify" by Ray McKinnon, and "Archer" by Adam Reed (neither in attendance) were two examples mentioned during the evening. There are likely many more, but the focus presently is on the filmmakers with films and this year's festival.
So without further delay, here is a list, to the best of my knowledge of all the Georgia based films and filmmakers with work in the 38th annual Atlanta Film Festival (please comment if I have missed something and I will update the post):
A is for Alex
"A is for Alex" is the story of unconventional inventor/filmmaker, Alex Orr. Struggling with life's daily challenges, Alex seeks support from his business partner, Daniel. As his once-revolutionary invention crashes and burns—literally—he must also cope with the impending birth of his son, his mother's imprisonment for child pornography, and the complications of shooting a film. When you have a new child coming into the world, A is for ANXIETY.
Directed by Alex Orr - USA, 2014, English, 74 minutes
Saturday, March 29 1:30 PM
When a group of friends hired a limousine to take them to the beach for their annual New Years rite of passage, the last thing they expected was to find themselves kidnapped, stripped, stranded and left for dead on a dirt road 24 hours later, fighting to survive. A true tale told by those who lived it, these ten Southern raconteurs are as practiced in spinning great yarns as they are in hard living. By combining the narration of the actual participants with feature-length re-enactment, "Limo Ride" transforms the greatest bar story ever told into a wild, experimental docu-comedy.
directed by Gideon C. Kennedy & Marcus Rosentrater - USA, 2013, English, 82 minutes
Sunday, March 30 6:30pm
In an expedition deep beneath the waters of Guatemala's Lake Atitlán, "Mayan Blue" chronicles the discovery and investigation of the 2000-year-old city of Samabaj. While carefully studying these ruins, the film also explores the Maya view of the cosmos and their ancient mythologies. The findings reveal a catastrophe the likes of which the Maya could never have imagined, reshaping everything they believed about the earth and the origins of their underworld.
directed by Rafael Garcia - USA, 2013, English/Spanish, 83 minutes
Saturday, March 29 4:00 PM
Carmilla comes to a rural town where her mother mysteriously disappeared years earlier. She is aided in her quest by an emotionally troubled local girl, with whom she becomes romantically involved. Their relationship ignites the wrath of the girl's father, who holds the key to the dreadful truth Carmilla is seeking. Inspired by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's famed Gothic novella.
directed by Bret Wood - USA, 2014, English, 95 minutes
Monday, March 31 9:30 PM
Other Worlds Block
All You Can Eat
Tommy Groth – USA - 3:05
Did you have nightmares about clowns when you were a child? Do you still have nightmares? This short film about a clown and his secret will confirm your fear.
Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse
Jonathan Rej – USA - 40:00
Where will you be when the Zombie Apocalypse begins? Hopefully not stuck in a cheesy Haunted House wishing you could find a better weapon than a plastic machete.
Raymond Carr, Jared Young – USA - 9:57
A desperate father uses his willing young son as bait to rescue his wife from a monster conjuring cult.
Welcome to Dignity Pastures
Brian Lonano – USA - 3:21
Dignity Pastures Funeral Home takes great pride in assisting families to grieve their lost and will give you a respectable and dignified service... no matter what happens.
Sunday, March 30 12:30 PM
Puppetry Shorts Block
Ed is a Portal
Darrell C. Hazelrig + New Puppet Order – USA - 9:22
"Ed is a Portal" is a sci fi comedy by the New Puppet Order about all of life's little headaches: obnoxious coworkers, slovenly roommates, and having an interdimensional gateway growing in the back of one's head.
Saturday, March 29 5:00 PM
Documentary Shorts Block
Cali Berry – USA - 4:35
Troubled by matters of her past, filmmaker Cali Berry reflects on her relationship with her mother as she considers forgiveness and her own intimate relationships.
Nathan Honnold – USA - 9:40
An Intimate portrait of my friend Thomas, who lives on the fringes of society. Every week he gets a check from the state of Georgia for $30, and he spends his allowance buying costume jewelry, war medals, and trophies.
Friday, March 28 5:00 PM
Animated Shorts Block
Joanna Davidovich – USA – 3:45
A bouncy, animated romp set to the rollicking Asylum Street Spankers tune.
Harriet-Lane Ngo – USA – 3:04
Olive finds herself lost in the woods. When she sees a tree in the clearing, she attempts to climb it.
Evan Curtis – USA – 5:36
“Snowdysseus” explores the vulnerability in nostalgia for one's home.
Tuesday, April 1 5:00 PM
Experimental Shorts Block
Joshua Winters – USA - 1:35
The film in which a man is squirted with ketchup and mustard.
Friday, April 4 7:00 PM
WonderRoot's Generally Local, Mostly Independent Filmmakers Night and Atlanta Film Festival Kick-off
Of course you have to mention the all-local filmmaker short films screening hosted by WonderRoot. This is the perfect way to kick-off the Atlanta Film Festival.
See you March 28th - April 6th at the festival.