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

Complete schedule for Atlanta Film Festival, March 28-April 6

The Atlanta Film Festival has announced titles for its 38th edition, taking place March 28-April 6 at the Plaza Theatre and 7 Stages.

Over 10 days, the festival will present 54 Narrative and Documentary Features, 11 Short Program Presentations and 12 Special Presentations.

The festival includes 43 features/shorts shot in Georgia and/or featuring Atlanta natives; these films are part of the Georgia on Our Mind film track.

The fest’s main competition consists of eight Narrative Features, seven Pink Peach (LGBT) Features, and nine Documentary Features going for their category’s Grand Jury Prize.

Look for schedule information at atlantafilmfestival.com.

The 2014 Atlanta Film Festival will feature:

CENTERPIECE & SPOTLIGHT FILMS

Joe

directed by David Gordon Green

USA, 2014, English, 114 minutes

A gripping mix of friendship, violence and redemption erupts in the contemporary South in “Joe,” directed by David Gordon Green. “Joe” brings Academy Award® winner Nicolas Cage back to his indie roots in the title role as the hard-living, hot-tempered, ex-con Joe Ransom, who is just trying to dodge his instincts for trouble—until he meets a hard-luck kid played by Tye Sheridan (“Mud,” “The Tree of Life”), who awakens in him a fierce and tender-hearted protector. With a screenplay by Gary Hawkins, “Joe” is based on the novel by the late Larry Brown (“Big Bad Love,” “Facing the Moon”), the former Mississippi firefighter renowned for his powerful, gothic storytelling and universal themes of honor, desperation and moral rectitude.

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Adriene Mishler, Heather Kafka, Sue Rock

(Opening Night)

The Double

directed by Richard Ayoade

UK, 2013, English, 93 minutes

Simon James is a ghost. Friends, family, and coworkers meet his every action with complete indifference. He grimly goes through the motions, hoping for recognition that never comes. All of this changes when James Simon arrives. Physically, James and Simon are dead ringers. Yet in temperament, James is everything Simon is not: personable, spontaneous, assertive and desirable. When James begins to take over Simon’s life, he is forced to act. Jesse Eisenberg’s fantastic double performance is bolstered by a cast of seasoned character actors who bring Simon James’s gloomy retro world to life. Directed with a deftly comic hand and assured visual technique by Richard Ayoade, “The Double” is a stylish black comedy with acerbic wit to spare.

Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Jesse Eisenberg, Chris O’Dowd, Sally Hawkins, Wallace Shawn

(Closing Night)

(Passport Film Series)

Beside Still Waters

directed by Chris Lowell

USA, 2013, English, 76 minutes

When Daniel Thatcher’s parents died in a car accident, none of his friends came to the funeral. Now he’s losing the family home. The weekend before he has to move out, Daniel hosts a memorial celebration and insists that his friends attend. Daniel also invites his ex-girlfriend, Olivia, to the house, with the hopes of rekindling their old romance.

Cast: Beck Bennett, Will Brill, Brett Dalton, Erin Darke, Ryan Eggold, Jessy Hodges, Britt Lower, Reid Scott

Locke

directed by Steven Knight

UK/USA, 2013, English, 85 minutes

Ivan Locke has worked diligently to craft the life he has envisioned, dedicating himself to the job that he loves and the family he adores. On the eve of the biggest challenge of his career, Ivan receives a phone call that sets in motion a series of events that will unravel his family, job, and soul. Taking place entirely over the course of one absolutely riveting car ride, “Locke” is an exploration of how one decision can lead to the complete collapse of a life.

Cast: Tom Hardy, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels, Tom Holland, Olivia Colman, Bill Milner

Obvious Child

directed by Gillian Robespierre

USA, 2013, English, 83 minutes

Donna Stern is a 27-year-old Brooklyn comedian whose unapologetically lewd, warmhearted wit is pretty irresistible with audiences. When she gets heartlessly ‘dumped up with’ by her two-timing boyfriend, Donna plunges into some light stalking and heavy moping. Hitting a serious low point, she performs a dreary set of break-up vengeance and Holocaust jokes and drunkenly falls into bed with a nice young professional named Max—not remotely her type. A few weeks later, condoms be damned, she’s pregnant. As her date with Planned Parenthood draws near, she must confront her doubts and fears like never before.

Cast: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann, David Cross, Richard Kind

The Raid 2

directed by Gareth Evans

Indonesia, 2013, Indonesian, 148 minutes

Immediately following the events of the original, “The Raid 2” tracks Officer Rama as he is pressured to join an anti-corruption task force to guarantee protection for his wife and child. His mission is to get close to a new mob boss, Bangun, by befriending his incarcerated son, Uco. Rama must hunt for information linking Bangun with corruption in the Jakarta Police Department while pursuing a dangerous and personal vendetta that threatens to consume him and bring his mission—and the organized crime syndicate—down around him.

Cast: Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle, Yayan Ruhian, Donny Alamsyah, Oka Antara, Arifin Putra

(Passport Film Series)

NARRATIVE FEATURES

1982

directed by Tommy Oliver

USA, 2013, English, 90 minutes

Set in Philadelphia at the very onset of the crack cocaine epidemic, “1982″ tells the story of a black father dealing with his wife’s addiction and his efforts to shield his 10-year old daughter from the ill effects of having a drug addicted mother. Inspired by true events, “1982″ is about a father who’s willing to do whatever it takes to protect his family.

Cast: Wayne Brady, Sharon Leal, Ruby Dee, La La Anthon, Hill Harper, Quinton Aaron

45RPM

directed by Juli Jackson

USA, 2013, English, 97 minutes

Charlie Clark is a struggling artist who seeks a connection between her artwork and her deceased father’s music. Out of her element in Memphis, Charlie meets Louie Traxler, a record store owner and an obsessive collector who sees a chance to do what he does best. The two of them scour the South in search of an elusive copy of her father’s only 45RPM record.

Cast: Liza Burns, Jason Thompson

A is for Alex

directed by Alex Orr

USA, 2014, English, 74 minutes

“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.

Cast: Alex Orr, John Curran, Mike Donlan

B for Boy

directed by Chika Anadu

Nigeria, 2013, Ibo, 118 minutes

Thirty-nine-year-old Amaka has the best of all worlds in modern Nigeria, with a loving husband, fulfilling job, bright daughter and another child on the way. Her husband’s mother, Mama, is determined that the child will be a boy and carry on the family name. If she doesn’t deliver, Mama is not beyond having her replaced with a second, younger wife. Fate is only about to increase the pressure on Amaka, with tragic developments that change everything. How far is she willing to go to protect her family?

Cast: Uche Nwadili, Ngozi Nwaneto, Nonso Odogwu, Frances Okeke

(Passport Film Series)

Belle

directed by Amma Asante

UK, 2013, English, 105 minutes

Based on the life of historical figure Dido Elizabeth Belle, “Belle” tells the story of the mixed–race daughter of a British Naval officer and an African woman. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield and his wife, Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Dido meets John Davinier, a young lawyer and apprentice of Lord Mansfield. John and Dido’s meeting is the beginning of a love story that catapults Dido onto a path of self-discovery.

Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew Goode, Tom Felton, Sarah Gadon, Alan McKenna

(Passport Film Series)

Bob Birdnow’s Remarkable Tale of Human Survival and the Transcendence of Self

directed by Eric Steele

USA, 2013, English, 74 minutes

Two old friends reunite at a sales conference in Dubuque, Iowa where Bob, a reluctant motivational speaker, shares a personal story with the conference attendees who work for Jerry. The story takes an unexpected path when Bob—a one armed, one legged ex-pilot—reminisces about the event that forever changed him and his relationship with Jerry. Bob Birdnow’s plight reminds us that pain and tragedy light the way to salvation and that the darkest of times are an opportunity for clarity.

Cast: Barry Nash, Robert Longstreet, Leah Spillman, Steven Walters, Lee Trull

Bobô

directed by Inês Oliveira

Portugal, 2013, Portuguese, 80 minutes

Two Lisbon women, a privileged architectural illustrator and a cheerful housekeeper from the city’s Guinean community, join together to save a young Guinean girl from ritual genital mutilation. “Bobô” is a sensitive and intimate look at both the cultural and personal implications of long-held traditions.

Cast: Ricardo Aibéo, Paula Garcia, Bia Gomes, Aissatu Indjai

(Passport Film Series)

Cheatin’

directed by Bill Plympton

USA, 2013, English, 76 minutes

In a fateful bumper car collision, Jake and Ella meet and become the most loving couple in the long history of romance. But when a scheming ‘other’ woman drives a wedge of jealousy into their perfect courtship, insecurity and hatred spell out an untimely fate. With only the help of a disgraced magician and his forbidden ’soul machine,’ Ella takes the form of Jake’s numerous lovers, desperately fighting through the malfunction and deceit as they try to reclaim their destiny.

The Congress

directed by Ari Folman

France/Israel, 2013, English, 122 minutes

Robin Wright, playing a washed-up future version of herself, receives an unusual offer from Mirramount Studios. They would like to scan her entire being into their computers and purchase ownership of her image for an astronomical fee. Now that her digital image is secure, Wright goes on to be an ageless movie star for years to come. “The Congress” is both bizarre and enchanting, a kaleidoscopic mix of live-action and animation.

Cast: Robin Wright, Jon Hamm, Paul Giamatti, Danny Huston, Kody Smit-McPhee, Harvey Keitel

(Passport Film Series)

Dom Hemingway (UK)

directed by Richard Shepard

UK, 2013, English, 93 minutes

After spending 12 years in prison for keeping his mouth shut, notorious safecracker Dom Hemingway is back on the streets of London looking to collect what he is owed. Traveling with his devoted best friend Dickie, Dom visits his crime boss, Mr. Fontaine, in the south of France to claim his reward. After a near death experience, Dom tries to re-connect with his estranged daughter but is soon drawn back into the only world he knows, looking to settle the ultimate debt.

Cast: Jude Law, Emilia Clarke, Demian Bechir, Richard E. Grant, Kerry Condon, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett

(Passport Film Series)

Forev

directed by Molly Green & James Leffler

USA, 2013, English, 88 minutes

On their road trip to Phoenix, neighbors Pete and Sophie jokingly decide to get married but actually develop unspoken feelings for one another. Things get complicated when Pete’s sister Jess gets a drifter to agree to perform the wedding. Confused and under pressure, Sophie returns home unsure of what the two will become. It is left up to Jess to get her brother to say all the things he has been holding in.

Cast: Noel Wells, Matt Mider, Amanda Bauer, Timmy L’Hereux, Chuck McCarthy, Dominic DeVore

The Foxy Merkins

directed by Madeleine Olnek

USA, 2013, Language, 90 minutes

Margaret is a down-on-her-luck, lesbian hooker in training. She meets Jo—a beautiful, self-assured grifter from a wealthy family and an expert on picking up women—even as she considers herself a card-carrying heterosexual. The duo hits the streets where they encounter bargain-hunting housewives, double-dealing conservative women, husky-voiced seductresses, mumbling erotic accessory salesmen and shopaholic swingers. Navigating the bizarre fetishes and sexual needs of their “dates” brings into focus the hilarious and pathetic disparity between the two hookers, as fellow travelers who will share the road together, but only for a while.

Cast: Lisa Haas, Jackie Monahan, Diane Ciesla, Gian Maria Annovi, Alex Karpovsky

Handy

directed by Vincenzo Cosentino

Italy, 2013, English, 83 minutes

More of a one-HAND-show than a one-MAN-show, “Handy” is the first feature film about the life of a hand. After a lifetime spent as the primary tool for a bad writer, Handy decides to detach from the human body in order to prove that a stand alone hand can be the best writer ever. Unfortunately, Handy’s detachment has ramifications for all other hands worldwide.

(Passport Film Series)

I Believe in Unicorns

directed by Leah Meyerhoff

USA, 2014, English, 80 minutes

Davina is an imaginative and strong-willed teenage girl who escapes often into a beautifully twisted fantasy life. Having grown up quickly as the sole caretaker of her disabled mother, she looks for salvation in a new relationship with an older boy. She is swept into a whirlwind of romance and adventure, until the volatile side of his personality begins to emerge. “I Believe in Unicorns” takes us on a road trip through the stunning and complex landscape of troubled young love.

Cast: Amy Seimetz, Natalie Dyer, Peter Vack, Julia Garner, Joshua Leonard, Toni Meyerhoff

Metalhead

directed by Ragnar Bragason

Iceland, 2013, Icelandic, 97 minutes

Hera Karlsdottir is born on the cowshed floor at her parents farm in rural Iceland in 1970, right as Black Sabbath record their first album and signal the start of heavy metal. Years later, Hera finds solace in the music after her older brother’s tragic death. Rebellious and dreaming of a rock-star future, she is forced to grow up and make some tough choices when her childhood friend returns intent on marrying her and a young priest moves into the quiet farming community.

Cast: Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson, Thora Bjorg Helga, Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson

(Passport Film Series)

(Music Film Series)

Nothing Bad Can Happen

directed by Katrin Gebbe

Germany, 2013, German, 110 minutes

Young Tore belongs to the Jesus Freaks, a Christian punk movement rebelling against established religion while simultaneously following Jesus’ precepts of love. One day, in what appears to be a miracle, Tore manages to repair a car which has broken down and gets to know the driver, Benno. Before long, Tore moves into a tent in Benno’s garden and gradually becomes part of his family. But Benno can’t resist playing cruel game, designed to test Tore’s faith. As the violence becomes more and more extreme, Tore’s capacity for love is pushed to its limits.

Cast: Julius Feldmeier, Sascha Alexander Gersak, Annika Kuhl, Swantje Kohlhof

(Passport Film Series)

The Right Juice

Directed by Kristjan Knigge

Portugal, 2014, English, 93 minutes

When a young English banker leaves everything behind to start an orange plantation, his plans change when he ends up striking oil. Oliver Fellows is pursuing fulfillment on an old farm in Southern Portugal. When Oliver discovers the land is barren for reasons that are more sinister than appear at first glance, he and his neighbor Manel face unprincipled enemies in an amusing quest to save the valley from exploitation.

Cast: Mark Killeen, Lúcia Moniz, Ellie Chidzey

(Passport Film Series)

The Sacrament

directed by Ti West

USA, 2013, English, 95 minutes

From acclaimed writer/director Ti West, “The Sacrament” follows two Vice media correspondents as they set out to document their friend’s search to find his missing sister. They travel outside of the United States to an undisclosed location where they are welcomed into the world of ‘Eden Parish,’ a self-sustained rural utopia comprised of nearly 200 members. At the center of this small, religious, socialist community is a mysterious leader known only as ‘Father.’ As their friend reunites with his sister, it becomes apparent to the newcomers that this paradise may not be as it seems. What started as just another documentary shoot soon becomes a race to escape with their lives.

Cast: Amy Seimetz, AJ Bowen, Kate Lyn Sheil, Joe Swanberg, Gene Jones, Kentucker Audley

Speak Now

directed by Noah Harald

USA, 2013, English, 76 minutes

Setting aside ancient history and tense relationships, a group of friends reunite for the wedding of Tommy and Anna. As the night unfolds, old offenses and fresh scandals plunge the group back into a pool of high-school drama. Filmed in just three days, the dialogue of “Speak Now” was completely improvised by the actors.

Cast: Rosie Mattia, Jason Drumwright, Jayme Lynn Evans, Rane Jameson

The Sublime and Beautiful

directed by Blake Robbins

USA, 2014, English, 86 minutes

The superficially perfect life that David Conrad had taken for granted collides with unexpected tragedy on a Midwestern winter’s night. His foundations shaken apart, David descends into depression, guilt, and an obsession with the stranger he holds responsible. Can David pull himself out of this spiral before he pushes away everything he has left? Writer/director Blake Robbins explores the emotional impact of shattering loss, and the struggle of the survivors left in its wake.

Cast: Blake Robbins, Laura Kirk, Matthew Del Negro

The Unwanted

directed by Bret Wood

USA, 2014, English, 95 minutes

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.

Cast: William Katt, Hannah Fierman, Lynn Talley, Chris Burns

We Gotta Get Out of This Place

directed by Simon Hawkins & Zeke Hawkins

USA, 2013, English, 91 minutes

With only three weeks left until his two best friends leave for college, Billy Joe robs his cotton farmer boss, Giff, in order to pay for one last blow-out weekend in Corpus Christi, Texas. Arriving home from the weekend, the teens find the consequences of Billy Joe’s actions brutal. Now Billy Joe, Bobby and Sue will be taken on a ride that will test love, heartbreak, trust and crossing that permanent line from adolescence into adulthood.

Cast: Ashley Adams, Mackenzie Davis, William Devane, Jon Gries, Logan Huffman, Mark Pellegrin, Jeremy Allen White

Workers

directed by José Luis Valle

Mexico, 2013, Spanish, 120 minutes

After a whole life of work in Tijuana, Rafael and Lidia are victims of injustice against their rights and dignity. Although Rafael has been a diligent and reliable worker, as an illegal immigrant to Tijuana from El Salvador, he has no right to expect a retirement pension due to a paperwork mistake. Lidia is one of seven workers keeping house for a rich Mexican woman in a wheelchair who has dedicated her life to her dog. When Lidia finds out that her employer’s will leaves the entire estate to the dog, she begins to think about what it means to have a dog as an employer. The film paints an affecting picture of the division of labor in today’s seemingly egalitarian society.

Cast: Jesus Padilla, Susana Salazar, Barbara Perrin Rivemar, Sergio Limon, Vera Talaia, Adolfo Madera, Giancarlo Ruiz

(Passport Film Series)

(Reel Law)

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

2 Men and a Wedding

directed by Sara Blecher

South Africa, 2012, English, 51 minutes

Across Africa, attitudes have recently hardened towards gay people, encouraged largely by US-based Christian evangelical groups. In countries such as Burundi, Sudan, Nigeria and Uganda, homosexuality is a criminal offense—even punishable by death in some countries. “Two Men and a Wedding” focuses on Steven and Tiwonge, two gay lovers whose public engagement ceremony in Blantyre, Malawi at the end of 2009 resulted in them being sentenced to 14 years in prison. This is a story that examines the implications of being gay in Africa and two men’s fight for their human rights and dignity.

(Passport Film Series)

(Reel Law)

15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story

directed by Nadine Pequeneza

Canada, 2014, English, 83 minutes

Kenneth Young, the product of a drug-infested community, is seeking a second chance at life in one of the most punitive states in the country. Until 2010, Kenneth believed he would die in a Florida prison. The U.S. Supreme Court’s banning of mandatory life sentences for juveniles has impacted more than 2,300 inmates who were sentenced as children. Kenneth now has a chance to prove his rehabilitation through a powerful testament of a child’s remarkable capacity for change.

(Passport Film Series)

(Reel Law)

120 Days

directed by Ted Roach

USA, 2013, English/Spanish, 80 minutes

Family man Miguel Cortes could be forced to leave the country in four months as a result of his immigration status. In exchange for Miguel agreeing to leave the country voluntarily—and paying a $5,000 bond—the judge offers him 120 days to get his affairs in order before leaving his wife and two daughters in the United States to continue their education. Miguel has 120 days to work hard, save money and weigh his options about returning to Mexico alone, or risk changing his name and disappearing back into another U.S. city illegally with his family.

(Reel Law)

Above All Else

directed by John Fiege

USA, 2013, English, 94 minutes

One man will risk it all to stop the tar sands of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from crossing his land. Shot in the forests, pastures and living rooms of rural East Texas, “Above All Else” follows David Daniel as he rallies neighbors and environmental activists to join him in a final act of brinkmanship—a tree-top blockade of the controversial pipeline. What begins as a stand against corporate bullying becomes a rallying cry for climate protesters nationwide.

Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker

directed by Lily Keber

USA, 2013, English, 90 minutes

Dr. John described James Booker as ‘the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.’ Booker was an unparalleled musician whose eccentricities and showmanship belied a life of struggle and isolation. Triply-marginalized by his race, sexuality and physical disability, he still managed to excel as a musician in New Orleans and Europe in the turbulent 1960-70s, fusing secular, sacred, pop and classical traditions in breathtaking new ways. A brilliant stylist of soaring imagination, Booker personified the agony of genius in a time of paradigmatic change.

(Music Film Series)

Brothers Hypnotic

directed by Reuben Atlas

USA, 2013, English, 87 minutes

For the eight young men in the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, ‘brotherhood’ is literal. They are all sons of anti-establishment Chicago jazz musician, Phil Cohran. Their parents raised them on a strict diet of jazz, funk and Black Consciousness. Now grown, as they raise eight brass bells to the sky—whether playing in the streets of New York City, collaborating with Mos Def or Prince, or wowing Atlantic records—they find the values their father bred into them constantly tested. They must decide whether their fathers’ principles really are their own.

(Music Film Series)

Cyber-Seniors

directed by Saffron Cassaday

Canada, 2013, English, 75 minutes

Proving that you’re never too old to learn something new, “Cyber-Seniors” is a comedic documentary that follows a group of initially reluctant seniors as they discover the wonders of the world-wide-web with the help of their teenage mentors. Their exploration of cyber-space is catapulted to a whole new level when 89 year-old Shura decides to create a YouTube tutorial. This inspires a lively competition where hidden talents and competitive spirits are revealed.

(Passport Film Series)

Dog Days

directed by Laura Waters Hinson & Kasey Kirby

USA, 2013, English, 75 minutes

After losing his job in 2009, Coite Manuel sets off to build his dream business with the help of two unlikely women—Deane, his harp-playing aunt, and Siyone, an East African hotdog vendor and single mother of four. Staking his meager life savings on a vision to revive Washington, D.C.’s dwindling hotdog vending community, Coite faces bewildering challenges—from hostile city regulations and an entrenched local monopoly to the sudden popularity of food trucks. Filmed over the course of four years, “Dog Days” journeys to a world where the top dogs of big business meet the underdogs of street food in a comically serious caper about the promise and struggle of the American dream.

(Film to Table)

Exposed

directed by Beth B

USA, 2013, English, 77 minutes

Profiling eight women and men who use their nakedness to transport us beyond the last sexual and social taboos that our society holds dear, “Exposed” allows us to look down on our myriad inhibitions. These cutting edge performers—operating on the far edge of burlesque—combine politics, satire and physical comedy to question the very concept of ‘normal.’ From a unique perspective, “Exposed” takes the audience into the clubs and other hidden spaces where ‘new burlesque’ is challenging traditional notions of body, gender and sexuality.

Farmland

directed by James Moll

USA, 2014, English, 70 minutes

Most Americans have never stepped foot on a farm or ranch or even talked to the people who grow and raise the food we eat. “Farmland” takes an intimate look at the lives of farmers and ranchers in their twenties, all of whom are now responsible for running their farming business. Learn about their high-risk/high reward jobs and passion for a way of life that has been passed down from generation to generation, yet continues to evolve.

(Film to Table)

A Fragile Trust

directed by Samantha Grant

USA, 2013, English, 77 minutes

Jayson Blair is the most infamous serial plagiarist of our time. In 2003, he unleashed a massive scandal that rocked the New York Times and the entire world of journalism. “A Fragile Trust” is the first film to tell the whole sordid story of the scandal while exploring the deeper themes of power, ethics, representation, race and accountability in the mainstream media.

(Reel Law)

Getting to The Nutcracker

directed by Serene Meshel-Dillman

USA, 2013, English, 98 minutes

Every Christmas season, The Nutcracker Ballet is performed in cities all over the world. What does it really take to produce this ballet each year? “Getting to The Nutcracker” takes you inside the Herculean effort involved in gathering the resources, assembling the volunteers, casting the dancers, rehearsing and staging the performances of this classic ballet. Los Angeles’ Marat Daukayev School of Ballet takes you behind the curtains to witness countless hours of auditions and the rigorous hours of rehearsals. The film follows dancers from ages three to eighteen, shining a light on the incredible sacrifices of time and money they make just so that they may dance.

Hank: Five Years From the Brink

directed by Joe Berlinger

USA, 2013, English, 85 minutes

As Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson was tasked with preventing a collapse of the global economy during the financial crisis of 2008. In “Hank: Five Years from the Brink,” he tells Academy Award- nominated director Joe Berlinger a riveting story of leadership under unimaginable pressure, explaining how he strategized and improvised to persuade banks, Congress and Presidential candidates to sign off on nearly $1 trillion in bailouts—a move even he found morally reprehensible.

(Reel Law)

Limo Ride

directed by Gideon C. Kennedy & Marcus Rosentrater

USA, 2013, English, 74 minutes

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.

Little Ballers

directed by Crystal McCrary Anthony

USA, 2013, English, 78 minutes

Exploring the bonds created through basketball, “Little Ballers” follows four 11-year-old boys and their legendary basketball coach as they set out to win an AAU National Championship. For these young men, basketball is a positive outlet to their harsh reality of poverty and gang violence. Their influential coach becomes a father figure, offering them the hope of getting an education and living the American dream. NBA players such as Steve Nash, Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah and Amar’e Stoudemire share their stories of playing youth basketball that mirror the lives of the Little Ballers.

(Scoreboard Series)

Lucky

directed by Laura Checkoway

USA, 2013, English, 70 minutes

Lucky Torres grew up as an orphan in a system that made her feel like a nobody, but she has big dreams of becoming somebody. Masked in tattoos, we find her in her twenties, moving from shelter to shelter, struggling to provide for herself and her young son. With her sister Fantasy as her biggest ally, Lucky survives in a merciless city. We follow her daily grind, meeting various friends and girlfriends along the way. We learn about Lucky’s contradictions and how she teeters on a tightrope between dreams and despair.

Mayan Blue

directed by Rafael Garcia

USA, 2013, English/Spanish, 83 minutes

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.

Misfire: The Rise and Fall of The Shooting Gallery

directed by Whitney Ransick

USA, 2013, English, 79 minutes

In 1991, a group of young filmmakers banded together to make films and found great success producing Billy Bob Thornton’s Academy Award winning “Sling Blade.” But the company’s success came at a cost and it eventually collapsed under massive debt and questionable business practices. “Misfire” is a story of passion, hubris and missed opportunity, where the question of ‘what happened’ is asked not just of the company, but independent film itself.

One: A Story of Love and Equality

directed by Becca Roth

USA, 2014, English, 102 minutes

In the wake of the legalization of gay marriage in her home state of New York, Becca—a young lesbian filmmaker—is plagued by the fact that the majority of the states in America currently have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage, including every single state in The South—except one. When she finds out that residents in North Carolina are gearing up to vote for one of the most restrictive marriage amendments in the country—Amendment One—she and her girlfriend, Melina, travel to North Carolina in the two months leading up to the vote, to try to understand people’s stories and attempt to build bridges.

(Reel Law)

Queens & Cowboys: A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo

directed by Matt Livadary

USA, 2014, English, 92 minutes

Roping and riding across North America for the past 30 years, the IGRA’s courageous cowboys and cowgirls brave challenges both in and out of the arena on their quest to qualify for the World Finals at the end of the season. Along the way, they’ll bust every stereotype in the book. More than just cowboys and rodeos—the film exposes the world to the unsung LGBT community of both the old and new west. Examining where our country currently stands on the issue of gay rights, this uniquely American subject will explore how far we’ve come, and what challenges we still have ahead.

(Scoreboard Series)

The Road to Fame

directed by Hao Wu

China, 2013, Chinese, 80 minutes

Spotlighting China’s first official collaboration with Broadway, “The Road to Fame” chronicles the staging of the American musical ‘Fame’ by the graduating class at China’s top drama academy. Five students of diverse personalities and family backgrounds compete for roles, all while struggling to prepare to graduate into China’s reality of income inequality and rampant corruption. As part of China’s single-child generation, the students are compelled to carry on the failed dreams of their parents. Often confused by the conflicting cultural values shaping China today, they must confront their anxieties about an uncertain future and find their own paths to success.

(Passport Film Series)

(Music Film Series)

The Road to Livingston

directed by Erik Mauck

USA, 2013, English, 86 minutes

Thrust into circumstances she did not choose, Delia Perez Meyer is introduced to a vast community surrounding the prison system in Texas. Her brother, Louis, was convicted of triple murder in 1999 and is currently on death row in Livingston. Since his incarceration, Delia has fought for his innocence, while also taking up the larger issue of the death penalty. Her story is one of sacrifice, endurance and loyalty as she continues to support her brother, and the many others she meets along the road to Livingston.

(Reel Law)

Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People

directed by Thomas Allen Harris

USA, 2013, English, 90 minutes

Poetically moving between the past and the present, “Through a Lens Darkly” explores ideas around family, community, race and culture through African American representation and how contemporary Black artists use this material as inspiration in their visual storytelling. The film begins with the filmmaker’s consideration of conflicting legacies regarding his humanity and self-worth as an African American. He assembles a community of leading photographers and artists—including Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Anthony Barboza, Hank Willis Thomas, Lyle Ashton Harris and Glenn Ligon, among others—who together shake up the familiar foundations of the images that have shaped the popular culture’s view of what ‘Blackness’ is and who ‘Black people’ are.

Web

directed by Michael Kleiman

USA, 2013, English/Spanish, 85 minutes

For 10 months, Michael Kleiman lived with families in small villages in Peru’s Andes Mountains and the Amazon Jungle as children there experienced the internet for the first time. “Web” documents how the children and their families used the new technologies, as well as the inevitable complications that arise from digital connections. “Web” considers the incredible potential born out of technological connection—including new possibilities for dialogue, cultural exchange and collaboration while also considering what is lost in the process.

A Will for the Woods

directed by Amy Browne, Jeremy Kaplan, Tony Hale, Brian Wilson

USA, 2013, English, 93 minutes

Musician, folk dancer and psychiatrist Clark Wang battles lymphoma while facing a potentially imminent need for funeral plans. Determined that his last act will not harm the environment—and, hopefully, help protect it—Clark has discovered the movement to further sustainable funerals that conserve natural areas. “A Will for the Woods” is an immersive, life-affirming depiction of people coming to terms with mortality by embracing their connection to timeless natural cycles.

(Music Film Series)

The Winding Stream

directed by Beth Harrington

USA, 2014, English, 90 minutes

A music history documentary-in-progress, “The Winding Stream” tells the story of the American roots music dynasty at the very heart of country music. Starting with the original Carter Family—A.P., Sara and Maybelle—the film traces the ebb and flow of their influence as three of the earliest stars of country music. No one has yet pulled together all the elements of this rich history in one documentary. Honoring this multi-generational family, from the early days, on through the rise of Johnny and June Carter Cash and to where it stands now—“The Winding Stream” starts at the headwaters of American roots music.

(Music Film Series)

SHORTS PROGRAM

Known for its Short Film Programs, ATLFF has divided this year’s best into twelve distinct programs:

Animation

Chema García Ibarra Retrospective

Comedy

Documentary

Drama 1 & 2

Experimental

New Mavericks: Female Directors

Other Worlds

Puppetry

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Attached to Features

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