Discovering new art is reviving… it’s simply good for the soul. And there’s nothing quite like finding a film that truly inspires you. Scanning Netflix or browsing trending videos on YouTube can certainly lead to occasional discovery, but seeing up-and-coming indie films in a filled theatre filled with other art buffs is priceless. Luckily for Atlantans, the Atlanta Film Festival (April 28-May 7) boasts a wonderfully broad scope of buzzworthy productions.
Here are my favorite 10 picks of the festival, when and where they are airing:
Terri – Opening night! April 28 7:30pm @ Landmark MidtownOne of the most buzzed about movies from Sundance, John C. Reilly stars in “Terri,” an uplifting and funny movie about teenager who is mercilessly teased by his pears and living with his ailing, aging uncle, but who finds companionship with an eccentric vice principal (Reilly).
POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold – April 29, 7:30pm @ Landmark Midtown Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me) is up to his old comic tricks, trying to get corporate sponsors to entirely finance his movie. This documentary shows how corporate advertising shapes our society, and the revelations are hilarious and horrific, as Spurlock reveals what it means to sell out – literally.
Things Fall Apart – April 30, 10pm @Landmark Midtown
Co-written, co-produced and starred by 50 Cent, this feature film is about a promising Michigan running back who has his sites set on the Heisman Trophy and a spot in the NFL. He collapses in the locker room after a game and finds out he has cancer, leading to an astonishing physical transformation. Based on a true story of a close friend, 50 Cent also provides much of the soundtrack of this moving film.
Pigskin & Magnolias: 12 Days of Fandom – April 30, 1:30pm @ Landmark Midtown
A documentary on college football in the south… this is a love letter to SEC football, and is equal parts a fan’s journey and cultural anthropology.
PressPausePlay – May 1, 4:15pm and May 3, 10:15pm @Landmark Midtown
In the past you have most people who consume art, and a few people that make it. Now everyone is an artist, a writer, a musician. This look at the digital revolution in the arts that asks the question: does democratized culture mean better art, film music and literature?
Page One: Inside the New York Times – May 5, 7pm @Landmark Midtown
Page One chronicles the media industry’s transformation and assesses the high stakes for democracy if in-depth investigative reporting becomes extinct. The film deftly makes a beeline for the eye of the storm or, depending on how you look at it, the inner sanctum of the media, gaining unprecedented access to the New York Times newsroom for a year.
Shorts: BBC America Comedy – May 5, 2:45pm (also April 29, 9:45pm) @Landmark Midtown
Mysterious car-park ticket machines. Family portraits that go awry. An overly persistent neighbor who just wants to come over for tea. It’s an all-star lineup of UK Comedy.
Starting at the Finish Line: The Coach Buehler Story – May 6, 8pm @Landmark Midtown
Produced by Grant Hill, Starting at the Finish Line is the story about Duke track coach Al Buehler. A man who has touched and enriched the lives of countless numbers of athletes, including Olympians Jackie Joyner Kersee and Carl Lewis, as well as Duke icons Coach K, Shane Battier and Grant Hill, Buehler now faces a new challenge: a benign but inoperable brain tumor.
Cleanfix – May 7, 12:00pm @Landmark Midtown
Mormons can be movie lovers too. The problem is that their religious leaders strongly discourage R-rated content. In order to better serve their Mormon clientele, enterprising video stores in Utah started to offer “clean” versions of popular titles like The Matrix and Titanic. Hollywood figures such as Steven Soderbergh, Curtis Hanson and Michael Mann became vocal opponents of having their work re-edited. Cleanfix chronicles the rise and fall of the clean movement.
Africa United – Closing Night!! May 7, 7:45pm @Landmark Midtown
When Fabrice misses his opportunity to be on the youth exhibition team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, he and his pint sized manager Dudu, and Dudu’s sister Beatrice, conspire to travel across 3000 miles to make the young football star’s dreams come true. With no money and only a World Cup wall chart for a map, the three negotiate their way across seven countries filled with new friends, dangerous criminals and adventure.
To see all the shows, check out http://www.atlantafilmfestival.com/. See you at the movies…