04 May, 2015

The Short Circuit: 2015 GSU Student Film Festival Jury Selections Screen at the High Museum of Art

GSUFF sign outside the Hill Auditorium.
Last Thursday, twelve jury selected student films screened at the annual GSU Student Film Festival (GSUFF) at the renowned High Museum of Art. These films were selected from over sixty submitted works produced in Georgia State University media production courses during the past academic year. Yours truly was in attendance to give you a look into a night of exciting student films.

A wide variety of works were represented throughout the night, with films ranging from documentaries on music and dance to stop motion animation and experimental films. Parents seem to be an inspiration among this year's filmmakers with films such as "Dad," "Mom," and "Emilio" portraying the struggles and lives of caregivers. While some films stood out through breathtaking cinematography and film editing, others got lost in the crowd. But as a whole, I was thoroughly impressed with the programming of the night.

27 April, 2015

Get Passes to a Free Screening of "Far From the Madding Crowd" in Atlanta!

On Tuesday, April 28th in Atlanta, the Atlanta Film Festival is hosting a free advanced screening of Thomas Vinterberg's "Far From the Madding Crowd," starring Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen and Tom Sturridge.

Get your free passes below!

24 April, 2015

Savannah Film Festival '14 Opener "5 to 7" Now Playing in Atlanta

Although it is one of the weakest films to ever open up the Savannah Film Festival, we are definitely excited when any indie film featured on the Georgia film festival circuit gets distribution and hits cinema screens here!

Victor Levin's "5 to 7"—starring Anton Yelchin, Bérénice Marlohe, Olivia Thirlby, Lambert Wilson, Frank Langella and Glenn Close—is far from your typical romantic comedy, but lacks enough grit and grounding to even out its high sugar content. It is worth seeing, however, if only for the few scenes containing Frank Langella and Glenn Close.

"5 to 7" opens at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema in Atlanta today.

07 April, 2015

Celebrate Earth Month at Eyedrum with Contraband Cinema!

Love local film even more than you love the planet? Not even a contest? Come out Saturday to Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery for a special program of nine films that dance with various aspects of what it means to live on this humble globe. It's certified organic!

ATLFF Review: "Old South" (***)

"Old South" screened at the 39th annual Atlanta Film Festival

Set against the backdrop of a divided Athens community, "Old South" explores the neighborhood struggle between two communities and their desire to preserve their historical legacies. On one side, there is Kappa Alpha (KA), a white fraternity known to fly the Confederate flag and stage antebellum-style parades. They move into a predominantly black neighborhood, whose citizens are still very much aware of the treatment their ancestors endured from the Civil War era. Through candid interviews with its residents, the documentary does an appropriate job of providing perspectives from two racially different communities. However, the documentary itself is decent at best and I would not consider it a "must-see" from the Atlanta Film Festival.

25 March, 2015

A Conversation With Lanre Olabisi, Director of ATLFF World Premiere “Somewhere in the Middle” (****)

Cassandra Freeman and Charle Miller star in "Somewhere In The Middle"

I had the good fortune of working with Lanre Olabisi, writer/director/creator of “Somewhere in the Middle,” at this year’s Atlanta Film Festival Writer’s Retreat. With him was his new wife, Tiffany Smile, whom he married on Saturday. Yes, this past Saturday… be sure to ask to see their wedding video. It’s beautiful.

Lanre won the ATLFF Screenplay Competition in 2009 and has returned this year as a mentor for this year’s winners. He’s thoughtful and kind and just as excited to show you his film as you should be to see it. In between workshopping scripts, we had a chance to sit down and talk about his newest feature.

ATLFF Review & Interview: "Janey Makes A Play" (****)

To know Janey is to love Janey. A dancing, chuckling, playwriting 90-year-old great-grandmother, Janey Callahan-Chin is the essence of youth. Her unwavering positivity and bulletproof work ethic have shaped an indispensable role in the small town community of Rio Vista, California: she's been writing, directing, and producing local stage plays for thirteen years. "Janey Makes A Play" documents Janey's non-profit troop No Small Thing Productions as they prepare for their eighteenth play—an original story about a mortgage banker, his daughter, and the quest to save their town from The Great Depression. Director Jared Callahan (AD on "I Am Not A Hipster" and the short that inspired "Short Term 12") delivers his feature-length debut with graceful command and charming purpose. This Atlanta Film Festival World Premiere is a tender, joyous must-see.

24 March, 2015

ATLFF Reviews: "Christmas, Again" (****) & "Funny Bunny" (***)

Kentucker Audley stars in "Christmas, Again." 

“Christmas, Again,” written and directed by Charles Poekel, is so subtle a film that it runs the risk of being periphery. It’s a piece so quiet and observational that it doesn’t require (nor does it want) a spotlight; it’s not flashy or loud or jokey. It doesn’t demand the viewers attention by being conventional and melodramatic and lurid. “Christmas, Again,” does just the opposite, in fact… it elevates honesty and character and successfully captures what it means to be lonely. 

Despite the quiet and hushed tenor of “Christmas, Again,” Kentucker Audley, who plays the film’s central character, Noel, won’t let you look away. He’s the steady, unrelenting heartbeat of this film, and his performance is so small and toned and thoughtful. He looks like a more handsome version of Martin Freeman and performs and acts in a way that, to me, really resonates with an extremely versatile actor like Ryan Gosling… but, like, Ryan Gosling when he’s doing his best kind of work- quirky, character-driven independent dramas. 

23 March, 2015

ATLFF Review: "Good Grief Suicide Hotline" (***½)

Directed and Co-written by Sam Carter, "Good Grief Suicide Hotline" is a brutally dark comedy that focuses on a group of hustlers, scammers, and scumbags "working" at a Suicide Hotline. The film was shot in Atlanta and includes a handful of local indie talent. Atlanta director Sam Carter and screen writing partner Evan Fowler have gathered a really stellar ensemble cast, filling this raunchy ridiculous comedy with the life it needs.

The film's nonchalant and unwaveringly detached view of the usually delicate subject matter is a bit jarring at first. The plot is set in motion after our lead character, Mark (Dane Davenport) feels guilty after being somewhat involved in the suicide of another young man. Davenport has an innocence and a heart that give the film some much needed warmth. Despicable characters run rampant throughout, but somehow the script and the performances allow them to be somewhat likable. The cast of colorful characters and their back-and-forth constantly make for an enjoyable and unpredictable time. The film's ridiculousness and kooky tone make the characters forgivable and the suicide jokes palatable.

22 March, 2015

ATLFF Review: "Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi" (****)

"Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi" has its world premiere at the
39th annual Atlanta Film Festival

I have to admit, I have always preferred narratives to documentaries. For me, narratives provided an opportunity to escape, to enter a world with thrilling fictional stories and characters that everyday life simply could not provide. “Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi” proved me wrong. This documentary by Neal Broffman, an ex-CNN journalist, is as engaging as it is meaningful. Sunil’s story absolutely demands to be shared with the world, and the fact that these events actually occurred make this film that much more engrossing.