19 March, 2012

What to see at the 2012 Atlanta Film Festival

The Atlanta Film Festival starts in just four days! Kicking off Friday, March 23 with opening night film "L!fe Happens," this years festival will be the 36th (can you believe it?) and promises to be the best yet. While I love all of Georgia's festivals, the Atlanta Film Festival has the biggest piece of my heart. I've attended and supported this festival for over half a decade now and I've found that there is an energy present at the ATLFF that can't be found elsewhere.

I am so excited about this year's lineup. Whether it be upcoming commercial releases like "L!fe Happens" and "The Cabin in the Woods," new indie festival slow-burners like "Welcome to Pine Hill," "V/H/S" and "My Last Day Without You," foreign imports "Boy," "Monsieur Lazhar" and "Generation P" or special screenings such as recent French cult hit "OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies;" there is something for everyone.

Check out the films that caught our eye (listed in order of screen date) after the jump!

L!fe Happens

The opening night film stars co-writer Krysten Ritter, which is reason enough for us to see it. Throw in Rachel Bilson and Kate Bosworth and the deal is sealed. Director Kat Coiro will be in attendance and there is an after party with Blair Crimmins and the Hookers.

The Woman in the Fifth

Kristin Scott Thomas and Ethan Hawke star in Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski's Parisian thriller "The Woman in the Fifth." As if Pawlikowski's track record wasn't enough to get us there, Scott Thomas has shown that she can really shine in a French setting.

Generation P

I don't know too much about this film, except that it is an intriguing look at Western advertising in Russia. With striking visuals and a cult following for the book this is based on, "Generation P" is one to see.


"Will" follows a young British orphan as he makes his way to the Champions League Final in Istanbul and looks to be one of the feel-good films of the fest. Director Ellen Perry will be in attendance.

A Little Bit Zombie

I've already heard it called an "instant cult classic," so there must be something about "A Little Bit Zombie." The ATLFF always has good zombie movies, so I have high expectations for this one. Director Casey Walker will be in attendance.


A Chilean homage to the classic spaghetti westerns, "Sal" looks both fun and beautiful.

My Last Day Without You

"My Last Day Without You" features an interesting premise, but we are mostly wanting to see this for the beautiful and talented Nicole Beharie, who will be in attendance with writer/producer Christoph Silber.

Monsieur Lazhar

Recently nominated for Best Foreign Language film at the Oscars, "Monsieur Lazhar" will feature at this year's festival much like "Incendies" did last year.

See Girl Run

A hit out of the SXSW festival, "See Girl Run" features television stars Robin Tunney and Adam Scott. Director Nate Meyer will be in attendance.

John Portman: A Life of Building

No architect has had so wide and profound an impact on a single city's skyline as John Portman has had on Atlanta. A true icon, Portman's designs are beloved the world over, but we can rightfully claim him as our own. Part of the Atlanta Gem series, "John Portman: A Life of Building" will screen at the Woodruff Arts Center.


A found-footage collaboration from some of the best indie horror filmmakers around, "V/H/S" promises plenty of shock and mystery.

Take Me Home

A previous Savannah Film Festival screener, "Take Me Home" is actor-writer-director Sam Jaeger's passion project. As part of the Atlanta Gem series, this one will be screening at Marietta's gorgeous Strand Theatre.


From Paris to Los Angeles to Tijuana, this film's cast is just as international as the story. Honestly, though, the main draw here is Salma Hayek.

Welcome to Pine Hill

Blending fiction with reality, "Welcome to Pine Hill" follows Shannon Harper, portraying himself, as he rebuilds his life following his time as a drug dealer. Director Keith Miller will be in attendance.


"Boy" comes to us courtesy of Kiwi filmmaker Taika Waititi, responsible for other great things such as "Eagle vs Shark" and "The Flight of the Conchords." This film played the Savannah Film Festival back in November and now comes to meet us in Atlanta.

The Cabin in the Woods

Co-written by beloved sci-fi helmer Joss Whedon, "The Cabin in the Woods" is a much-buzzed horror film that promises to be anything but what it appears to be. Chosen as the festival closer, this one has generated lots of heat at other recent festivals and is due in cinemas in just a few weeks.

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies

Hot off five Oscar wins for "The Artist," you can catch an earlier collaboration from filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius with actors Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo. "OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies" was the first of two parody films revolving around the French answer to James Bond. This film is suave, sharp and hilarious. Screening late at night after the closing film, this is surely a festival highlight.

These are just a few of many interesting films, docs and shorts at this year's fest. Check out the full schedule of films, workshops and parties at www.atlantafilmfestival.com. Get your tickets soon. The festival is only days away!

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