Film festival preview
Atlanta International Documentary Film Festival
Atlanta Underground Film Festival
Aug. 26-30 (times and locations vary). $8 individual tickets are available at the box office of each venue. All-access passes to either event ($25 and $40) are available online: www.docufest.com, www.auff.org.
By Bert Osborne
For the AJC
What better way to start the Atlanta International Documentary Film Festival (aka Docufest Atlanta) than with one about the trials and tribulations of indie filmmakers on the festival circuit?
Set for Aug. 26-Aug. 30 at various venues, Docufest will showcase some 30 films over five days, beginning with a double bill on Wednesday: “Official Rejection,” and “Zombie Girl,” which documents a 12-year-old who writes and directs her own fright flick. Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge, 644 N. Highland Ave.; 404-874-5756.
The festival’s subsequent screenings will alternate between the Carter Center (453 Freedom Parkway; 404-420-5100) and Young Blood Gallery (636 N. Highland Ave.; 404-254-4127) with a series of post-show talks with the filmmakers at Studio Bar in the Artmore Hotel (1302 W. Peachtree St.; 404-876-6100).
On Thursday, “Salute” interviews the black athletes who famously raised their fists in solidarity at the Mexico City Olympics. “Living Is Winning” chronicles former pro cyclist and Ironman Drew Johnston’s fight with cancer.
The Aug. 28 lineup goes global, exposing the inhumane living conditions of Panama (“Beauty of the Fight”), El Salvador (“Down the Road”) and Ghana (“The Human Experience”). And “Beyond the Call,” described as “Indiana Jones meets Mother Teresa,” tracks three friends who travel the world with humanitarian aid, at their own expense — and peril.
On Aug. 29, “Mississippi Queen” details the social and familial conflicts that ensue when a rural Southern Baptist woman comes out as a lesbian. “Quest for Honor” investigates “honor killing” in the Middle East.
The festival ends Aug. 30 with an environmental triple-feature: “Blybarnen,” about Swedish toxic waste in Chile; “Addicted to Plastic,” about pollution and recycling; and “Blue Gold,” about corporate greed and the privatization of water in developing countries.
The Atlanta Underground Film Festival is also slated for Wednesday through Aug. 30. The first four days will focus primarily on short subjects. Programmed in groups — animated, narrative, local, foreign, experimental, sexual — all screenings are scheduled either at Eyedrum (290 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Suite 8; 404-522-0655) or at Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema (931 Monroe Drive; 678-495-1424).
Throughout the week, audience members will be able to vote on their favorite shorts. The series culminates on Aug. 29 with the Best of the AUFF Shorts, with replays of the most popular entries.
On Wednesday, controversy swirls around a street artist and his amalgamated image of presidents Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama in “Abraham Obama.” And in the campy “Barbariana: Queen of the Savages” is billed as “the first neo-realist barbarian movie.” (Also screens Aug. 28.)
Two documentaries are planned Aug. 29 at Lake Claire Community Land Trust (312 Arizona Ave.; 404-370-1300): “We Fun” covers the current Atlanta music scene; “Vicktory to the Underdog” follows local tattoo artist Brandon Bond on a mission to rescue Michael Vick’s pitbulls.
The festival ends with 12 films on Aug. 30 — a half-dozen apiece between Eyedrum and the Five Spot (1123 Euclid Ave.; 404-223-1100).
“Dead Buffalo” involves a terminally ill father and his estranged son on a soul-searching trip across the Great Plains. “Between Floors” intercuts among five stalled elevators to observe the characters trapped inside.
Problems develop for a young boy and his sitter, an illegal immigrant, in “Myna Has Gone.” “Sita Sings the Blues” is an animated film that draws modern parallels with the story of the Hindu goddess Sita.