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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Array of indies give Atlanta Film Festival lineup its edge

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

With the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival having just concluded, the younger-skewing Atlanta Film Festival is grabbing the spotlight, today announcing a slate of 125 films for the 10-day screening extravaganza running March 23 through April 1.

Snagging the prestigious opening night slot is “Life Happens,” an indie comedy about Los Angeles girlfriends/roommates (Kate Bosworth, Rachel Bilson and Krysten Ritter) whose lives go in different directions when one has a baby.

The fest’s closing night feature will be “The Cabin in the Woods,” a much-buzzed-about horror flick starring Chris Hemsworth (”Thor”) about five friends for whom things go terribly wrong at a remote cabin in the, well, you know. It’s directed by Drew Goddard (the “Lost” and “Alias” writer-producer), who penned the script with Joss Whedon.

More than 50 features and shorts this year have ties to Georgia, suggesting the growth in film production here as well as the state’s growing role as a producer of filmmaking talent. Among those titles will be “That’s What She Said,” a gal-pals-go-wild-in-Manhattan comedy starring Anne Heche and directed by “True Blood” actress Carrie Preston, a Macon native.

While the 36th annual festival will continue to be headquartered at Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema, it will present scattered showings at other sites around the city, such as the Goat Farm. These “Atlanta Gem” screenings –  such as “Hurry Up and Wait,” a documentary about the Atlanta band Gringo Star on its 2009 European tour, showing at the Plaza Theatre — attempt to pair a film and site in a way that highlights the location’s place within the city’s cultural scene.

As in the past, the Atlanta Film Festival will present competitions. Seven narrative features, three “Pink Peach” (LGBT) features and eight documentaries will vie for the grand jury prize in their respective categories.

Lineup highlights include …

  • “A Little Bit Zombie,” a Canadian film that has been described as a “zombie rom-com” about a newly infected victim, an obsessed zombie hunter and a bridezilla.
  • “OK, Good,” a drama about an oft-rejected actor on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
  • “Welcome to Pine Hill,” a largely improvised drama about a reformed Brooklyn drug dealer on a road to redemption that takes him to a Catskill Mountains refuge.
  • “Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads,” a “mockumentary” in which a slumping New Orleans cabaret chanteuse becomes consumed with the ill-conceived idea to create a children’s TV show.
  • “Coal Rush,” a West Virginia-set documentary in which locals take on a major coal company over contaminated water that they charge is the cause of widespread sickness.
  • “Her Master’s Voice,” a British documentary about ventriloquist Nina Conti on a journey of bereavement with puppets after the death of her mentor/ lover.
  • “Girls in the Band,” a documentary about women who survived, and sometimes prevailed, in the sexist world of jazz, with appearances by Marian McPartland, Esperanza Spalding and Patrice Rushen.
  • “Roadmap to Apartheid,” a documentary on the apartheid comparison often used to describe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, narrated by Alice Walker.
  • “In the Hive,” Robert Townsend’s drama about a hard-shelled 16-year-old given a last chance at an unorthodox alternative school full of other discarded boys.
  • “AKA Blondie,” an intimate portrait of the infamous exotic dancer at Atlanta’s Clermont Lounge.
  • “V/H/S,” a horror anthology by six rising directors, partly filmed in Georgia, that recently played the Sundance Film Festival.

More details: 404-352-4225, www.atlantafilmfestival.com.

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