25 October, 2014

22 Films to See at the 2014 Savannah Film Festival


Did you know that in the now 17-year history of the Savannah Film Festival, it has never rained? Autumn in Savannah is an incredible thing. Warm days, cool nights and although the live oaks don't carry the same bright colors as the trees up north, this city is colorful enough. But the amazing fall feelings and beautiful weather are just a couple of reasons why we love attending this festival. A diverse and exceptional group of films is the main draw.

The usual Oscar players are in the mix this year, with films like "Foxcatcher," "The Imitation Game" and "Whiplash" dotting the lineup. Foreign fare like "Two Days, One Night" and "Parisian" add some cultural flavor while the slate of indie features seems like it might make for SAVFF's strongest competition lineups yet. Documentaries are plentiful, seeing as a 'Docs to Watch' series adds eight of the most highly buzzed non-fiction works of the year to an already healthy group of films. Georgia-based and produced documentary "Paradise Garden: Howard Finster's Legacy" has played at various places across the state in recent months and is competing for a jury prize here.

It is refreshing to see lesser-known—but still promising—titles like "5 to 7" and "Escobar: Paradise Lost" in opening and closing night slots, rather than some of the bigger titles playing mid-week.

We've highlighted 22—yes, twenty-two—films for you to check out at this year's festival. It's going to be a great one. You've got eight days, so get started!

24 October, 2014

Gena Rowlands, Matt Bomer, Analeigh Tipton among honorees at 2014 Savannah Film Festival

The 2014 Savannah Film Festival honorees clockwise from top left:
Gena Rowlands, Matt Bomer, Analeigh Tipton, 
Asa Butterfield

Out of all of Georgia's film festivals—and there are now more than ever—the Savannah Film Festival is the most star-studded. Every year, a bevy of Hollywood's biggest and brightest names come to Georgia's first city to showcase their work and be honored by the now 17-year-old film festival. Last year, Jeremy Irons, Alexander Payne, Natalie Dormer and Abigail Breslin were honorees. Gena Rowlands, Matt Bomer, Analeigh Tipton and Asa Butterfield are this year's special award winners.

20 October, 2014

2014 Savannah Film Festival competition films


The lineup for this year's 17th annual Savannah Film Festival was released earlier this month. While plenty of big Hollywood and international films are featured that will go on to garner awards attention in the coming months, SAVFF also sheds a light on independent film. Below, we've gathered all of the features and short films in competition this year.

Look for more information on the special guests and gala presentations later this week, but in the meantime, check out www.savannahfilmfestival.com for the complete schedule and more information. The festival takes place from October 25th through November 1st.

Narrative Features

Amira and Sam
An army veteran struggles to assimilate back into a country he barely recognizes while trying to win the heart of an Iraqi immigrant who is teetering on the brink of deportation.

Parisian
When published Japanese author Kyoko Murakai travels to Paris, France, in search of the perfect character to inspire her next novel, she encounters carefree Parisian women and an enigmatic Spaniard across the hall who force her to rethink her own life and marriage.

The Sound and the Shadow
When the 6-year-old girl next door goes missing, Harold realizes that his secret audio recordings of the neighborhood may provide clues to the case. But when his overzealous new roommate Ally pushes him into a dangerous investigation, Harold’s world is turned upside down. “The Sound and the Shadow” examines the perceptions and stories we create from the sounds of our neighbors — and the secrets we hide behind our own walls.

Warren
After giving up on his dream of making it in the Chicago improv scene, a young comedian reconnects with the former love of his life while working at a coffee shop in his hometown. Afraid of growing old alone like his recently divorced father, Warren must choose between winning Emma back or finding the courage to go after his dreams a second time.

Wild-like
An unlikely friendship forms in the spectacular Alaskan wilderness, giving a runaway girl hope and sanctuary in America's last frontier.

19 October, 2014

Atlanta production "The Quantified Self" seeks funds through Kickstarter campaign


Ukraine-born, Brooklyn-based filmmaker Gleb Osatinski has played the world over with his rapturously beautiful and thoughtful films "Pisces of an Unconscious Mind" and "The House at the Edge of the Galaxy." We profiled the latter film in 2013, as it played the 37th annual Atlanta Film Festival.

At that festival, Gleb met Atlanta-based producer Imoto Harney (also well-known for her work at Doobious.org). When it came time to begin working on his next film, co-written with Danielle Ellen (who also has a degree in Neuroscience), Gleb and Imoto begin planning an Atlanta production for "The Quantified Self."
"The Quantified Self" tells the story of a family of self-trackers who devote themselves to ultimate health and success. But submitting to technology drastically alters the family's relationships, forcing them to put more faith in data than in themselves.

04 September, 2014

16 Films to see at the 2014 Rome International Film Festival


This will be my third Rome International Film Festival, but this year it is a little extra special. I've been brought on to help out with the production of the festival. In doing so, I've gotten a first hand look at this year's 61-film lineup. This is the 11th incarnation of RIFF.

From opening night film "No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie" to closing night selection "B.F.E.," there are a host of short films and features worth checking out. Films represent the entire globe—Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand—with many American productions and a handful of films both produced in Georgia or coming from Georgia filmmakers.

After the jump, I've highlighted 12 feature films and 4 short films. But trust me, the entire festival is of tremendous quality. The festival kicks off tonight, Thursday, September 4th and runs through Sunday, September 7th at Rome's beautiful DeSoto Theatre.

19 August, 2014

Get free tickets to "A Will for the Woods" at Atlanta's Plaza Theatre!


Telluride's Mountainfilm festival has become a spectacular event, even going as far to franchise out across the country with various Mountainfilm On Tour segments. Last September, the Atlanta Film Festival hosted Mountainfilm On Tour ATL at The Plaza Theatre. This weekend, it returns to Atlanta's 75-year-old movie house. The festival officially kicks off Friday night and runs through Saturday, but Thursday night, ATLFF presents a Best of Fest screening of "A Will for the Woods."


The documentary, directed by Amy Browne, Jeremy Kaplan, Tony Hale and Brian Wilson played at ATLFF back in April. 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.

25 July, 2014

Review: "Last Stop, Flamingo" (****½)

A scene from Georg Koszulinski's "Last Stop, Flamingo"

Few American states produce as distinctive an image in the world's collective mind as Florida. Texas, yes. Hawaii, yes. California, yes—but perhaps a few different images correlating to the different regions. Florida, definitely—the sunshine state, palm trees, white sands, beach bodies, South Beach, and so on. It's these exact images that filmmaker Georg Koszulinski steers clear of in "Last Stop, Flamingo"—without making the audience feel as if he has actively avoided them. Of course, plenty of archival footage of decades-old Florida ad campaigns and sweet diary-like vignettes from Koszulinski offer glimpses of the white sands, skylines and beach fun that you expect from anything Florida. Thankfully, though, the film offers a much more unique vantage point—acting as a View-Master to the reel of Florida's most forgotten, most eccentric and most personal histories.

22 July, 2014

Win free passes to see "Boyhood" in Atlanta!

Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane star in "Boyhood"

Already one of the biggest critical hits of the year, Richard Linklater's latest film, "Boyhood," took him twelve years to film. Essentially following a single boy as he comes of age on screen, the same principle actors are featured aging and progressing in such a way that the film blurs the lines between fiction and non-fiction. This film could be a very big awards player, come Oscar time.

The film opened in limited release on July 11th and has been doing very well. It is scheduled to open in Atlanta on Friday, August 1st, but we have six pairs of tickets to give away for an advance screening held at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema on Tuesday, July 29th at 7:00 PM.

It is easy to enter! Just Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter, then Share and Tweet and you've been entered to win! The contest comes to a close on Friday, July 25th at 12:00 PM. These are physical, paper passes, so if you are selected as one of the winners, we will notify you by email and request a mailing address. Your passes should arrive no later than Monday, July 28th. 

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17 July, 2014

Happy 75th birthday to Atlanta's Plaza Theatre!

With many ups-and-downs, The Plaza has had an interesting 75 years.

Atlanta's oldest continually operating movie theater, The Plaza, is now synonymous with quality programing, the local indie film scene and the Atlanta Film Festival. However, three-quarters-of-a-century ago, it was one of many movie houses in a city full of beautiful marquees. Having outlasted all the others—going through many different transformations in the process—The Plaza turns 75 years-old this coming week and we couldn't be more excited to celebrate!

Recently named one of the 20 best movie theaters in the world by Men's Journal, The Plaza is celebrating in style with a 10-day film series. Kicking off the festivities is an extremely rare presentation of "Star Wars" on Friday, July 18th at 8:00 PM. Other classic films playing throughout the week include "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Ninotchka," "Stagecoach" and more.

Don't miss your chance to celebrate! Check out the full schedule after the jump.

Atlanta's Homespun Series— Striking local docs to screen at The Plaza tonight


Back in November, Atlanta filmmakers Jon Watts and Brantly Watts launched Homespun Series—a curated local documentary collection that focuses on the most interesting individuals in Metro Atlanta. The first crop of films highlighted a local artist, a local father-son clockmaking duo and a local female boxer.

In March, Lucy had a conversation with co-founder Brantly Watts, breaking down the basics about Homespun—from its conception, to the first response and their future goals. Homespun aims to be not only of artistic value to the city, but also a resource for local filmmaking talent.

Tonight, the series returns to The Plaza with three new films from local filmmakers. One of the films, Nathan Honnold's "Thomas Bennett," won the Documentary Short Jury Prize at this year's Atlanta Film Festival. The other two films, "Adrian" and "Tommy," were directed by John Merizalde and focus on people on the outskirts of Atlanta's mainstream society.