The Atlanta Film Festival, the indie film extravaganza, has released nearly its full lineup of feature-length and short films for the 2015 festival.
The 39th annual event will be held over 10 days, March 20-29, at the Plaza Theatre and 7 Stages.
From 3,761 submissions, 62 feature-length films and 93 shorts, representing 39 countries, have been selected.
Not on the list revealed Monday are the films that will occupy the prestige opening and closing night slots. Those titles, and details of accompanying galas, are expected this week. Also to be announced: several specilaty programs and Creative Conference workshops.
Festival passes are available for purchase. Individual tickets go on sale later this week. More information: www.atlantafilmfestival.com.
In the meantime, grab a bucket of popcorn and view this epic list (with descriptions provided by the festival) …
- Aerobics: A Love Story — directed by Anders Rune
Sweden, 2014, Swedish, 77 minutes
Maria, a mentally challenged woman who lives with her overprotective sister, falls in love with Janne, an awkward man who struggles to get his show on television. Set in suburban Stockholm, the odd pair fight for their forbidden love despite the obstacles they face. Their passion for each other is both as obvious and endearing as the film is both quirky and distinctively Scandinavian.
- Apartment Troubles — directed by Jennifer Prediger, Jess Weixler
USA, 2014, English, 77 minutes
After their careers as conceptual artists fail to provide a living in Manhattan, Olivia and Nicole flee New York for a new start in Los Angeles. There, the codependent best friends visit Nicole’s wealthy aunt, Kimberley, who convinces them to audition for the TV talent competition that she hosts. With nothing to lose, the girls prepare for the competition but find their friendship—and dependency on one another—tested.
- Breathe (Respire) — directed by Mélanie Laurent
France, 2014, French, 91 minutes
Seventeen-year-old Charlie is bright and beautiful, but not without insecurity. When new girl Sarah arrives, Charlie is captured by her charisma and the two strike up a deep friendship. For a time, it seems as though each is what the other has been waiting for. When Sarah tires of Charlie and begins making new friends, their relationship takes a turn for the worse.
- Christmas, Again — directed by Charles Poekel
USA, 2014, English, 80 minutes
Noel, a lonely Christmas-tree salesman, returns to New York City for the holiday season. Without the help of his now absent girlfriend, Noel begins a downward spiral, distancing himself from both coworkers and customers in the process. That is, until he meets a mysterious woman passed out on a park bench one night. The film’s wispy, melancholy feel provides a stark contrast to the cheery Christmas spirit we are accustomed to.
- Drown — directed by Dean Francis
Australia, 2014, English, 93 minutes
Len is a surfing legend in the community. When the younger, faster, fitter Phil arrives, Len’s status starts to crumble. Then Len sees Phil arriving in the company of another man; a man Phil gives a farewell kiss to. Phil is gay. Over the summer season, Len starts to form unexpected, confusing feelings for Phil. When Phil de-thrones Len at the annual surf competition, Len and his buddy Meat take Phil out on an intoxicated bender through the seedy city.
- Edén — directed by Elise DuRant
Mexico/USA, 2014, Spanish/English, 95 minutes
Alma returns to Mexico to find the man who caused the loss of her childhood home. He is not easily found, but the road to him brings her closer to her elusive American father and the secrets he took with him to his grave.
- The Editor — directed by Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy
Canada, 2014, English, 95 minutes
Rey Ciso was once the greatest editor the world had ever seen. Since a horrific accident left him with four wooden fingers on his right hand, he’s had to resort to cutting pulp films and trash pictures. When the lead actors from the film he’s been editing turn up murdered at the studio, Rey is fingered as the number one suspect. The bodies continue to pile up in this absurdist giallo-thriller as Rey struggles to prove his innocence and learn the sinister truth lurking behind the scenes.
- Eight — directed by Peter Blackburn
Australia, 2014, English, 82 minutes
Sarah Prentice had a life once. She was a mother and a wife. But her severe OCD and agoraphobia have left her isolated and trapped in a repetitive cycle of eights. Every mistake, every triumph, every detail of her battle to regain her life is captured in this meticulously constructed, one-shot narrative film.
- Farewell (A Despedida) — directed by Marcelo Galvão
Brazil, 2014, Portuguese, 90 minutes
Admiral is a 92-year-old man who feels his life coming to an end. He struggles with the simplest of daily tasks, until finally deciding to say goodbye to those important to him. Inspired by the life of the filmmaker’s grandfather, the film follows Admiral in his farewell tour, concluding with a visit to Fatima, his 37-year-old lover.
- Female Pervert — directed by Jiyoung Lee
USA, 2015, English, 63 minutes
Poised but assertive, Phoebe struggles through a series of relationships that escalate nicely until her unusual perversions rise to the surface. She joins a book club, ceremoniously buries her sex toys, and attempts to go on with her life. “Female Pervert” grants us access to a traditionally unexplored social faux pas through the eyes of a charismatic video game designer.
- The Firefly (La Luciernaga) — directed by Ana Maria Hermida
Colombia, 2014, Spanish, 110 minutes
Following the sudden death of her estranged brother, Lucia finds comfort through her brother’s fiancée, Mariana. Though strangers at first, the two women slowly bond over their loss, sharing memories and stories of the man they both loved. Eventually they fall in love and Lucia finds herself at a crossroad. She must choose whether to return to her old life with her husband or embark on a new journey with her new-found love.
- Funny Bunny — directed by Alison Bagnall
USA, 2015, English, 86 minutes
Gene spends his days canvassing about childhood obesity. One day he canvasses Titty, an emotionally-arrested 19-year-old who has successfully sued his own father to win back a large inheritance and gotten himself disowned in the process. Gene discovers that Titty has an ongoing online relationship with the beautiful but reclusive Ginger, who is an animal activist. Gene convinces Titty to make a pilgrimage to meet Ginger where the two men form a close bond despite both of them being drawn to the enigmatic Ginger, who is in need of rescue.
- God Bless the Child — directed by Robert Machoian, Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck
USA, 2015, English, 92 minutes
An often overwhelmed teenager (Harper Graham) tends to the needs of her four younger brothers, all of whom spend the day challenging each other in games of strength and burgeoning masculinity. All the while, Hannah is searching and waiting for the parent who is missing in action. Deftly walking the tightrope between documentary and narrative filmmaking, “God Bless the Child” gives us a keenly real sense of the joys, and the burden, of raising a family with little support financially or emotionally.
- Good Grief Suicide Hotline — directed by Sam Carter
USA, 2015, English, 86 minutes
Mark Reynolds, a young, innocent college student, volunteers in a crisis counseling center staffed with ex-cons and oddballs. His encounters with his coworkers and with Lizzie, a wild and unpredictable caller, take him places he’d never expected to be. In this dark comedy, Mark soon realizes that trying to save people isn’t nearly as hard as trying to save himself.
- Helicopter Mom — directed by Salomé Breziner
USA, 2014, English, 81 minutes
Teenager Lloyd Cooper’s mother Maggie (Nia Vardalos) thinks it would be “really cool” to have a gay son. In her enthusiastic, hyper-supportive open-mindedness, she outs him to his entire high school, match-makes him with boys his age, and fills out his application for a gay student scholarship. There’s just one wrench in her grand plan: Lloyd’s not sure he’s gay to begin with.
- Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero — directed by Jonathan Kesselman
USA, 2014, English, 84 minutes
Jamshid Gakhredinpour, AKA Jimmy Vestvood, is an inept and bumbling Iranian immigrant who wins the Green Card lottery and moves to Los Angeles. Jimmy dreams of becoming an American hero, but upon arrival, discovers that the only job he can get is as a security guard at a local Persian grocery store. Unrelenting to give up on his dream, Jimmy finds a job as a private investigator for a corrupt arms dealer only to find himself entangled in a war conspiracy. An outrageous ride from start to finish, “Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero” breaks new ground with its introduction of the first Middle-Eastern hero in an American comedy.
- The Keeping Room — directed by Daniel Barber
USA, 2014, English, 95 minutes
After their father and brother leave to fight in the Civil War, sisters Augusta and Louise and their slave, Mad, are left to tend to their homestead alone. When two rogue, drunken Union soldiers come looking for trouble, the women must defend themselves as General Sherman’s fiery march quickly approaches. “The Keeping Room” rips genre and gender conventions apart in its showcase of three powerful and resilient southern women.
- Krisha — directed by Trey Edward Shults
USA, 2015, English, 82 minutes
After years of absence, Krisha reunites with her family for a holiday gathering. She sees it as an opportunity to fix her past mistakes, cook the family turkey, and prove to her loved ones that she has changed for the better. Only, Krisha’s delirium takes her family on a dizzying holiday that no one will forget.
- Love and Mercy — directed by Bill Pohlad
USA, 2014, English, 120 minutes
The life of reclusive Beach Boys songwriter and musician Brian Wilson, from his successes with highly-influential orchestral pop albums to his nervous breakdown and subsequent encounter with controversial therapist Dr. Eugene Landy.
- Montedoro — directed by Antonello Faretta
Italy, 2015, Italian/English, 88 minutes
A middle aged American woman journeys to Montedoro, a remote town in southern Italy, hoping to discover her true origins. However, upon arrival, she finds the town abandoned. With the help of a few mysterious locals, she undergoes a magical voyage of time and memory, discovering her unknown past in the process.
- Movement and Location — directed by Alexis Boling
USA, 2014, English, 96 minutes
Kim Getty is an immigrant from 400 years in the future, sent back in time to live out an easier life. It’s a one-way trip of difficult isolation, but in the three years since she landed, Kim has built a life that feels almost satisfying. She has a full time job, shares an apartment with a roommate, and is falling in love. But when she stumbles on a teenage girl who is also from the future, Kim’s remade sense of self is tested. After the girl leads Kim to her long-lost husband, now 20 years older than her and maladjusted to this time, Kim’s carefully designed identity begins to unravel.
- Next Year (L’année Prochaine) — directed by Vania Leturcq
France/Belgium, 2014, French, 105 minutes
Clotilde and Aude are 18-year-old best friends who are finishing school and must decide what to do their following year. Eager to leave her small town home, Clotilde decides to move to Paris and drags Aude along with her. However, their Parisian lives are met with varying degrees of success and the girls’ friendship is jeopardized as they both experience the departure differently.
- Possessed (Pos eso) — directed by Sam
Spain, 2014, Spanish, 81 minutes
Trini, a popular Flamenco dancer gives up her career after the sudden death of her beloved husband, Gregorio. After years out of the spotlight, Trini continues to face scrutiny while dealing with her son Damien’s violent rages and eventual demonic possession. The Priest, having left the church due to the Bishop’s extreme demands, becomes discouraged and depressed following the death of his mother. When Trini asks him to heal Damien, the Priest receives one more chance to do what he loves in this Spanish animated feature.
- Results — directed by Andrew Bujalski
USA, 2015, English, 105 minutes
Recently divorced, newly rich, and utterly miserable, Danny (Kevin Corrigan) would seem to be the perfect test subject for a definitive look at the relationship between money and happiness. Danny’s well-funded ennui is interrupted by a momentous trip to the local gym, where he meets self-styled guru/owner Trevor (Guy Pearce) and irresistibly acerbic trainer Kat (Cobie Smulders). Soon, their three lives are inextricably knotted, both professionally and personally.
- Rosehill — directed by Brigitta Wagner
USA, 2015, English, 78 minutes
Despite landing the opportunity to appear on television, Katriona receives potentially devastating news that may end her relationship with her boyfriend, Dominic. Needing to get away, she decides to visit her best friend Alice—a sex researcher at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Both Alice and Katriona find comfort in the denial of the state of their lives—Katriona with her health issues and Alice with her lack of intimate relationships. However, by the conclusion of the trip, the ladies learn to face and accept their true feelings.
- Runoff — directed by Kimberly Levin
USA, 2014, English, 86 minutes
The beauty of the land cannot mask the brutality of a farm town. As harvest draws near, Betty confronts a terrifying new reality. She will go to desperate lengths to save her family and must coldly decide whom to sacrifice.
- Sand Dollars (Dólares de arena) — directed by Israel Cárdenas, Laura Amelia Guzmán
Dominican Republic/Argentina/Mexico, 2014, Spanish/English, 80 minutes
An older European woman becomes enchanted with a young Dominican woman who must struggle to make ends meet. Love brings a flow of entanglements in a drama which unfolds like palm trees in an irresistible storm.
- Satanic Panic 2: Battle of the Bands — directed by Eddie Ray
USA, 2014, English, 50 minutes
In the eagerly anticipated sequel to the short film “Satanic Panic: Band Out of Hell,” we continue the electronic dance group’s adventures as they prepare for the upcoming Battle of the Bands—all while maintaining their secret that they are not actual Satan worshippers at all. Meanwhile, their manager, Dick Dano, is still intent on sacrificing the band to Satan himself. Follow Satanic Panic on their new exploits as they balance secret government spy missions, band rivalries, and growing egos.
- Schimbare — directed by Álex Sampayo
Spain/Hungary, 2014, Spanish, 91 minutes
Louis and Elvira, a middle-class Spanish couple, receive a call that causes them to stop in Budapest to make a collection. Everything seems fine until they discover the collection is an eight-year-old girl. From there, the couple is faced with a dark, moral dilemma and time is running out. Whatever they decide, someone will die. The shocking revelation towards the end of this haunting film reveals the couple’s motivations and the moral complexities that have led to their actions.
- The Sideways Light — directed by Jennifer Harlow
USA, 2014, English, 85 minutes
Lily cares for Ruth, her ailing mother, in this eerie, supernatural mystery. As she reluctantly adapts to her responsibilities, she notices strange occurrences in the house her family has owned for generations. Lily struggles to understand her mother’s unraveling mind and soon suspects it holds the key she needs to unravel the mystery.
- The Sisterhood of Night — directed by Caryn Waechter
USA, 2014, English, 102 minutes
When Emily Parris exposes a secret society of teen girls conducted mysteriously in the woods and accuses them of sexual deviancy, the town of Kingston makes national headlines. While the accused Sisterhood upholds a vow of silence, girls across the country respond to Emily’s blog with their own stories of sexual abuse. From the story by Pulitzer Prize-winner Steven Millhauser, “The Sisterhood of Night” chronicles a provocative alternative to adolescent loneliness, revealing the tragedy and humor of teenage years changed forever by the Internet age.
- Somewhere in the Middle — directed by Lanre Olabisi
USA, 2015, English, 89 minutes
Left fragile from the conclusion of her last relationship, Sofia reaches out to a therapist in efforts to rebuild her confidence. She meets Kofi, who has many issues of his own, and begins to dream of a future with him. But Kofi is trying to mend his relationship with his wife, Billie, who finds herself investing more in her co-workers—a woman named Alex in particular—than in her marriage. As each story unravels, the three find themselves a web more tangled than before.
- The Tribe (Plemya) — directed by Miroslav Slaboshpitsky
Ukraine/Netherlands, 2014, Russian Sign Language, 130 minutes
A deaf teenager enters a specialized boarding school where, to survive, he becomes part of a wild organization—the tribe. His love for one of the concubines will unwillingly lead him to break all the unwritten rules within the Tribe’s hierarchy. “The Tribe” is filmed completely in Russian Sign Language.
- Uncertain Terms — directed by Nathan Silver
USA, 2014, English, 75 minutes
Robbie, upon learning of his wife’s unfaithfulness, takes refuge at his Aunt Carla’s house, which doubles as a makeshift home for pregnant teenagers. Taking on handyman jobs around the house, he attracts the attention of some of the girls. He strikes up a friendship with one of them, Nina, and soon finds himself caught in a love triangle between her and her troublesome boyfriend, Chase.
- While We’re Young — directed by Noah Baumbach
USA, 2014, English, 97 minutes
Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts play married fortysomethings in Noah Baumbach’s latest coming-of-middle-age story. After befriending Darby and Jamie (Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver), a young and unpredictable Brooklynite-couple, Josh and Cornelia find their marriage and careers upended as they struggle to evaluate the importance of acting their age.
- WildLike — directed by Frank Hall Green
USA, 2014, English, 104 minutes
Mackenzie, a troubled and daring teenage girl, is sent by her struggling mother to live with her uncle in Juneau, Alaska. When the relationship with her uncle takes a turn for the worse, Mackenzie is forced to try and find her way home, instead winding deeper into the Alaskan interior. Lost and alone, she shadows a loner backpacker, Bartlett, an unlikely father figure with scars of his own. Together, they cross the wilderness and discover sanctuary in the last frontier.
- Before the Last Curtain Falls (Bevor der letzte Vorhang fällt) — directed by Thomas Wallner
Germany/Belgium, 2014, Flemish/French/English/Mandarin, 92 minutes
A group of transsexuals and drag queens in their sixties and seventies summon up the courage to take to the stage one last time. For two years, they have been touring in five continents, basking in the success of a spectacular show called “Gardenia,” directed by Alain Platel and Frank Van Laecke. Now, as the show comes to a close, the glamorous aging performers must leave the limelight and go home to the quiet lives they left behind.
- Big Charity: The Death of America’s Oldest Hospital — directed by Alexander Glustrom
USA, 2014, English, 64 minutes
One of the most devastating casualties of Hurricane Katrina was the abandonment of Charity Hospital, New Orleans’ 300-year-old medical facility that tended to its population regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. Glustrom’s incisive documentary takes us deep into the hospital’s history, including those harrowing days after the hurricane hit and the government failed to act. It also presents us with some harsh conclusions regarding the apparent death of public medicine in America, and the new reality where people without the means to pay are left to fend for themselves.
- Blood, Sweat, and Beer — directed by Chip Hiden, Alexis Irvin
USA, 2014, English, 70 minutes
The American craft beer industry is booming like never before. One-and-a-half craft breweries open each day—but far fewer make it to year two. Follow along with in-depth profiles of passionate founders and brewmasters as they struggle to navigate and maintain their place in the industry and in the communities that surround them.
- Café — directed by Hatuey Viveros Lavielle
Mexico, 2014, Spanish, 80 minutes
Jorge lives in a Nahuatl community in the mountains of Puebla This year he will finish studying law and is thinking of leaving to pursue a professional career however he knows that would mean leaving behind his family and the community he has been trying to help.
- Dante’s Down the Hatch — directed by Jef Bredemeier
USA, 2015, English, 91 minutes
For 43 years, Dante’s Down the Hatch gave its customers more than just a place to eat—it gave them an experience. It was the only restaurant where you could dine in an old pirate ship, surrounded by live crocodiles while listening to classic jazz. Follow Dante Stephensen, owner of Atlanta’s landmark fondue restaurant, as he says goodbye to his lasting legacy. See for yourself how this unique restaurant impacted so many lives.
- The Dickumentary — directed by Sofian Khan
USA, 2015, English, 70 minutes
Johnson. Willy. Knob. Whatever you may call it, “The Dickumentary” explores the history and evolution of man’s phallic object—the penis. Through interviews with over 40 experts and across 14 countries, this documentary will reveal everything you have ever wanted to know about the penis, from penile worship to penile enlargement.
- Divided Time — directed by W. Feagins, Jr.
USA, 2014, English, 55 minutes
In the hip-hop world, fatherhood is often seen as a dirty word—if it is even discussed at all. Taking a look at nine different musicians at varying stages of their hip-hop careers, “Divided Time” focuses on these fathers and the sacrifices they have made for their families, while still in pursuit of their dreams. Reversing the picture typically on display, these men seek to prioritize their children over their professional interests.
- Frame by Frame — directed by Alexandria Bombach, Mo Scarpelli
USA/Afghanistan, 2015, English/Dari, 85 minutes
In 1996, the Taliban banned photography in Afghanistan. When the US invaded after 9/11, the regime toppled, the media blackout disappeared, and a promising industry began to emerge. Using cinema verité and secret, never-before-seen archival footage shot under Taliban rule, this documentary follows four Afghan photojournalists fighting to reclaim their nation’s identity by capturing the truth.
- Gabor — directed by Sebastián Alfie
Spain/Bolivia, 2013, Spanish, 69 minutes
Sebas must travel to Bolivia to film a documentary on blindness. While searching for equipment, he meets Gabor, a retired cinematographer who lost his sight ten years prior. Sebas offers to partner with Gabor and complete the film together. But how can Gabor film if he cannot see?
- Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey — directed by Scott Teems
USA, 2014, English, 95 minutes
For nearly two thirds of his life, Hal Holbrook has portrayed famed American writer and satirist Mark Twain in his award-winning one-man show, “Mark Twain Tonight!” Holbrook has performed the show internationally, on Broadway and television, and before 5 U.S. Presidents. Filmed in classic black and white, the documentary takes a behind the scenes look at the celebrated 89-year-old actor responsible for bringing Twain to life, night after night. The film also features interviews with Holbrook’s notable admirers and collaborators such as Sean Penn, Martin Sheen, Cherry Jones, and many more.
- Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother, Damn It (.כבד את אביך ואת אמך, בלאט) — directed by Alexandra Rahmilevich
Israel, 2014, Hebrew/Russian, 51 minutes
As far back as they can remember, Dasha (22) and Natasha (21) have felt unrelated, not belonging to anyone or any place. The difficult relationship between their parents in Ukraine destroyed their family. One day, without any warning, their father decided to take them from Ukraine to Israel. The girls were separated from their mother and her existence was hidden from them since. After 16 years, following their father’s death, the girls yearned to fill the empty space in their hearts, and reunited with their mother in Israel. But it was a strangers’ rendezvous. The film follows the belated relationship between the mother and daughters for three years and raises questions about parenthood and the patterns that parents pass to their children.
- Imba Means Sing — directed by Danielle Bernstein
USA/Uganda, 2015, English, 75 minutes
Follow Moses and Angel, members of the Grammy-nominated African Children’s Choir from Uganda, on their journey to obtaining an education despite extreme poverty. Against the odds, Moses dreams of becoming a pilot and Angel is determined to become the first female President of Uganda. Along with the choir, Moses and Angel travel to different international venues to bring awareness to the importance of education for all children—regardless of the lack of resources—through their love of music.
- In Our Son’s Name — directed by Gayla Jamison
USA, 2015, English, 65 minutes
Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez lost their son, Greg, in the devastating attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The Rodriguez family chose nonviolence over vengeance in dealing with their grief and publicly oppose war in Iraq and Afghanistan, speak out against anti-Muslim actions, and even befriend the mother of 9/11 conspirator, Zacarias Moussaoui. The film pairs intimate interviews with striking archival footage to challenge the conventional ideas of justice and grief.
- In the Turn — directed by Erica Tremblay
USA/Canada, 2014, English, 113 minutes
“In the Turn” follows 10-year-old Crystal, a transgender girl in rural Canada, as she navigates a difficult and complicated environment. Tormented at school by teachers and peers alike, she faces daily insults and physical altercations, and the pain she endures takes a toll on both her self-esteem and the emotional stability of her family. Struggling with prejudice, hatred, and ignorance, Crystal opens up at last when her mother discovers the Vagine Regime, a queer and supportive collective of roller-derby players.
- Janey Makes a Play — directed by Jared Callahan
USA, 2015, English, 79 minutes
Janey is an enchanting 90-year-old woman who has spent her life writing and directing original plays, but her latest community theatre production may be her last as her small town’s local economy erodes. Follow Janey as she rallies together the community of Rio Vista, California to pull off a high-caliber production with a diverse set of characters. In addition to a behind the scenes look at Janey’s creative process, the documentary also features intimate interviews and stories of the local residents detailing their own struggles amid their town’s recession.
- The Long Start to the Journey — directed by Chris Gallaway
USA, 2015, English, 70 minutes
From Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Mountains have a deep-rooted and well-appreciated relationship with hikers and nature-lovers alike. Take a journey with Frost (Chris Gallaway) as he engages in a challenging and breathtaking ‘thru-hike’ up the Appalachian Trail. Friendships are made, relationships blossom and unforeseen circumstances occur—but in the end, Frost learns more about the strength that lies within himself.
- Madina’s Dream — directed by Andrew Berends
USA/Sudan, 2015, Sudanese Arabic, 80 minutes
An unflinching and poetic glimpse into a forgotten war, “Madina’s Dream” tells the story of rebels and refugees fighting to survive in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains. After decades of civil war, South Sudan achieved its independence from Sudan in 2011. But inside Sudan, the conflict continues. Sudan’s government employs aerial bombings and starvation warfare against the inhabitants of the Nuba Mountains. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled to refugee camps in South Sudan or remain trapped in the war zone. Eleven-year-old Madina and countless others dream of a brighter future for the Nuban people.
- Masculinity/Femininity — directed by Russell Sheaffer
USA, 2014,English, 88 minutes
Experimental filmmaker Russell Sheaffer’s feature documentary picks up where “Masculinity & Me,” his short film starring James Franco, left off. Presented as a series of monologues, stories, and performance pieces by artists, academics, or gender theorists, this collaboration is so raw and diverse that the filmmakers themselves question the constructs of their script much like each participant questions the constructs of today’s gender-normative society.
- Old South — directed by Danielle Beverly
USA, 2015, English, 54 minutes
In a historically black neighborhood in Athens, Georgia, a college fraternity traditionally known to fly the confederate flag moves in and establishes their presence by staging an antebellum style parade. “Old South” follows the neighborhood struggle over three years, while both communities fight to preserve their historical legacies against an evolving cultural backdrop in the South—and the nation as a whole.
- A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake — directed by Michael Lessac
South Africa, 2014, English, 99 minutes
Following apartheid’s end in South Africa, Nelson Mandela asked the nation, “Can we forgive the past to survive the future?” This inspired a three-year-long social experiment in which victims and perpetrators faced each other in a series of hearings eventually disseminated in all 11 national languages. With this film, Michael Lessac chronicles his production and international tour of “Truth in Translation”—a reenactment of the hearings designed to exhibit the power of forgiveness to countries afflicted by civil unrest.
- Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story — directed by N.C. Heikin
USA, 2014, English, 84 minutes
Frank Morgan began as jazz royalty, impressing the likes of Charlie Parker and Billie Holliday with his soulful alto sax. But when heroin took hold, he became a master of larceny as well, and his frequent residencies at San Quentin State Prison add a stark, stony dimension to his tale. “Sound of Redemption” strikes a beautifully delicate balance between generous footage of Morgan’s passionate playing and a lively, San Quentin-set tribute gig featuring saxophonists Mark Gross and Grace Kelly, bassist Ron Carter, pianist George Cables, drummer Marvin Smith, and trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis, each of whom hold profound gratitude for the man and his sound.
- Stray Dog — directed by Debra Granik
USA, 2014, English, 98 minutes
Debra Granik first met Ron “Stray Dog” Hall when she cast him as the skeevy villain of her film “Winter’s Bone” (ATLFF ‘10 Official Selection). Once she got to know this imposing character—this massive, bearded biker covered in tattoos and leather—she began to admire his truly loving nature. Hall is big-hearted, understanding, and particularly devoted to fellow veterans facing troubles with PTSD. This resolutely non-partisan film is a portrait of a tenacious advocate for those whose needs are often forgotten once their duty is done.
- Sweet Micky for President — directed by Ben Patterson
Haiti/USA/Canada, 2015, English, 89 minutes
Pras Michel of the hip hop group, the Fugees, returns to Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake. He arrives at his homeland only to find a corrupt government and civil unrest. Determined to effect positive change, Michel manages a presidential campaign for Michel Martelly, AKA Sweet Micky, a controversial Haitian musician. Follow Michel and Sweet Micky as they set out to change the course of Haiti’s future for the better.
- Tomorrow We Disappear — directed by Jim Goldblum, Adam M. Weber
India/USA, 2014, Hindi/English, 85 minutes
Despite its bleak slum conditions, the Kathputli Colony was home to 2,800 families of artists, magicians, acrobats, and puppeteers until the Delhi government sold Kathputli to skyscraper developers in 2010. This film follows two of Kathputli’s most talented performers, Rahman and Puran, as they wrestle to further their arts and remain hopeful amid the erosion of their traditions, community, and homes.
- Trans: A Documentary About Transboys — directed by Nathalie Cools
Belgium, 2014, Dutch, 42 minutes
Filmed primarily at the University Hospital in Ghent, “Trans” follows various transgender men as they undergo medical treatment to complete their transition from female to male. The documentary pairs a profound interview with a trans man with informative discussions from medical professionals. Educational, personal, and revealing, the film highlights a community and its struggles few may know.
- You Have His Eyes — directed by Christopher Wilson
USA, 2014, English, 90 minutes
Christopher Thomas Wilson was adopted by a loving family during the very early stages of his childhood. Despite growing up with the security of two parents in a stable home, Chris is determined to track down his birth parents by any means necessary. Finding his mother goes off without a hitch—but it is the search for his father, the man that shares his remarkable, piercing green eyes, that makes this story such an incredible journey.
- Bar — directed by Jon Hartman, USA, 1:44
A thirsty traveler stumbles upon a bar in the woods, but nobody wants to let him in.
- The Bigger Picture — directed by Daisy Jacobs, United Kingdom, 7:05
Two brothers struggle to take care of their elderly mother.
- The Fog of Courage — directed by John R. Dilworth, China (Hong Kong)/Spain/USA, 7:30
A cowardly dog named Courage must rescue his lovely owner, Muriel, from a vengeful supernatural fog. Eustace, Muriel’s greedy husband, refuses to return the gold necklace belonging to the Fog’s long lost love.
- Garbanzos — directed by Ammar Nassri, USA, 3:16
A farmer wakes up early to harvest the last garbanzos in the universe. He is faced with several obstacles on his way home to his little daughter.
- IOA — directed by Gabriel Mohring, Switzerland, 2:12
A vowel-reciting speaking machine describes in a soliloquy its miserable existence as a despotic teacher’s tool.
- Kamakura — directed by Yoriko Mizushiri, Japan, 5:20
A snow hut in the middle of the rice paddy waits patiently for Spring, unaware of the dangers it poses.
- Meanwhile — directed by Stephen McNally, United Kingdom, 5:00
Five minutes in the lives of four strangers whose troubling lives intertwine in the final scene.
- Never Stop Cycling — directed by Colin Lepper, Canada, 3:31
In order to continue his comfortable, routine life, a creature must make the journey into a strange living world.
- Nude and Crude — directed by Mario Addis, Italy, 3:31
Fantastical hallucinatory moments of passion, cruelty, loneliness, disconnection and love unfold humorously in a simple and innocent form with deep and dark meanings.
- One Night in Hell — directed by Jason James, James Hall, United Kingdom, 7:06
The devilish story of a skeleton’s journey into a stereoscopic hell.
- Starlight — directed by Marisa Tontaveetong, Tamarind King, Yu Ueda, Shir Wen Sun, USA 3:53
A feral cat explores the bizarre landscape of the last drive-in theater in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Tatuape Mahal Tower — directed by Carolina Markowicz, Fernanda Salloum, Brazil, 9:35
Argentinian scale modeler Javier Juarez Garcia decides to change his life and travel around the world, never forgetting his real goal: to return and take revenge on those who betrayed him.
- Two Films About Loneliness — directed by Will Bishop-Stephens, Christopher Eales, United Kingdom/Germany, 5:26
Two neighbors turn to technology in a quest for companionship and acceptance.
Based on a True Story – These documentary shorts all contain slivers of the truth glued together.
- Broken Branches (ענפים שבורים) — directed by Ayala Sharot, Israel, 25:00
An animated documentary about the life of Michal Rechter, who was only 14-years-old when she left her home in Poland and travelled to Israel by herself on the eve of World War II.
- Chop My Money — directed by Theo Anthony, Democratic Republic of Congo, 12:50
A day in the life of three street kids in the Eastern Congo. Featuring music by Dirty Beaches.
- Crooked Candy — directed by Andrew Rodgers, USA, 6:00
Kinder Surprise eggs are hugely popular all around the world but (oddly) illegal in the United States, thanks to a quirk in FDA regulations. “Crooked Candy” profiles someone who smuggles the eggs across the Canadian border.
- The Murder Ballad of James Jones — directed by Jesse Kreitzer, USA, 3:54
In 1993, Chicago bluesman and Howlin’ Wolf protégé James “Tail Dragger” Jones murdered fellow musician Boston Blackie during an on-stage performance. Two decades later, James shared his story.
- One Year Lease — directed by Brian Bolster, USA, 11:00
Told almost entirely through voice-mail messages, “One Year Lease” documents the travails of Brian, Thomas, and Casper as they endure a year-long sentence with Rita the cat-loving landlady.
- Unmappable — directed by Diane Hodson, Jasmine Luoma, USA, 22:47
This portrait of iconoclastic psycho-geographer and convicted sex offender Denis Wood unveils the inner workings of a man whose work is lauded as poetic, artful and innovative – a man who unapologetically pushes boundaries both personally and professionally.
- What’s in a Name — directed by Daniel Robin, USA, 12:00
Daniel Robin is mistakenly booked for a flight under the name Robinowitz (which was actually his grandfather’s name). This coincidence leads him to examine his Jewish identity.
Better Left Unsaid
- Actresses — directed by Jeremy Hersh, USA, 11:36
Follows the romantic relationship between a 23-year-old aspiring actress and an off-Broadway star.
- Charming — directed by John Brandon Delaney, USA, 13:20
A former child actor arranges a meeting with a stranger in a sleazy motel room. The two form a connection that will change her life forever.
- Pigs — directed by Laura Mohai, Singapore/Malaysia/USA, 7:45
A young boy’s piglet and his grieving mother’s child share a deathbed, and the intrusion’s effect on her grief creates a quiet conflict.
- Pink Grapefruit — directed by Michael Mohan, USA,11:00
A young married couple travels to Palm Springs with two single friends for a long weekend that yields unexpected results.
- Rosa — directed by Francisco Neffe, UK/Portugal, 14:00
Single mother Rosa receives help from a young neighbor after a public fight with her ex.
- Stay Awake — directed by Jamie Sisley, USA, 13:50
Brothers, a mother, songs from the seventies, Xanax, and a woman named Vicki. “Stay Awake” explores addiction and making sacrifices for people you love.
- Stop — directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, USA, 8:51
A police confrontation forces a young black man to consider how racial profiling might antagonize the consequences of his actions and put his future at risk.
Experiments in Cinema
- Broken Jaw — directed by Russell Sheaffer, USA, 5:13
A self portrait locked on repeat, BROKEN JAW is a mediation on physical and psychological trauma.
- Confluence — directed by Noah Shulman, USA, 5:33
In this new film by director Noah Shulman, viewers look beyond what the human eye is capable of seeing, presenting a new way to experience the imperceptible changes that happen all around us.
- cyberGenesis — directed by André Silva, USA, 13:00
A fantastical, animated journey (segments of which have been creatively crowd-sourced) that imagines a future creation myth crafted by humanity’s online legacy.
- Death Songs & Car Bombs — directed by The Smyth Brothers, Indonesia, 6:24
A place study on Bali’s tourism district—the site of a terrorist attack one year after 9/11.
- Egghead — directed by Patrick Longstreth, USA, 1:00
Egghead is a short experimental film about gender roles, reproduction, and the cycle of human life.
- Frame Walk — directed by Hayoung Jeon, South Korea, 6:22
The kingdom of man and the kingdom of shapes converge in this exploration of a world of mirrors.
- Light Study — directed by Josephine Massarella, Canada, 12:20
Light Study documents the wetlands and forests of the Canadian Niagara Escarpment. Here, nature presides over an ephemeral human element, its primordial essence both medium and agent of light’s eternal change.
- New Radiant — directed by Anna Spence, USA, 7:06
New Radiant is an experimental moving image piece that combines movement, composition, and sound to elicit an experience that rediscovers the ghost of technologies past.
- Performance for Perfection 1200 — directed by Ariana Gerstein, USA, 13:26
An actor struggles to maintain poses in near silence for the Perfection 1200—a scanner that requires up to 20 seconds to capture each image—in this reflection on art and deconstruction.
- SoundPrint — directed by Monteith McCollum, USA, 7:36
An exploration of the marks left by sonic frequencies on various materials and landscapes, both natural and artificial.
- Swallowed Whole — directed by Heidi Kumao, USA, 4:06
A somber, animated, autobiographical film about surviving a traumatic injury and the extreme isolation and physical limitations that follow.
Love NC-17 – An exploration through malleable love.
- Chandelier — directed by Alexander Yan, USA, 18:46
A fragmented study of a young woman who murdered her boyfriend. Based on personal photographs and phone calls recorded by Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander.
- Happy Endings — directed by Hannes Thor Arason, Canada/Iceland, 16:34
After falling in love with an erotic masseuse, a lonely parking booth attendant must step out of his comfort zone to liberate her from her oppressive boss.
- Hole — directed by Martin Edralin, Canada, 15:00
A daring portrait of a disabled man yearning for intimacy in a world that would rather ignore him.
- I Love You So Much — directed by Leah Shore, USA, 3:40
Two people love each other very much.
- Persefone — directed by Grazia Tricarico, Italy, 18:00
The helpless body. The torment of an ancestral need. The uncontrollable passion that corrodes he who desires. Nicandro, seduced by the goddess Persefone, can’t control his nature.
- Turtle (Wu Gui) — directed by Jordan Schiele, China, 14:59
Rush hour in Beijing. A construction worker selling a turtle on the road winds up at the country studio of a potential customer who has another offer in mind.
New Mavericks – Female filmmakers with a strong female lead.
- Charlotte — directed by Angel Kristi Williams, USA, 11:00
Excited to have befriended the popular girl at school, Alex will do anything to stay in her good graces. When her new friend wants to play house, Alex innocently plays along and develops feelings she doesn’t understand.
- Eye & Memaid (Houreya wa ain) — directed by Shahad Ameen, Qatar, 14:19
A fisherman’s daughter saves a mermaid from her father’s nets and sets out years later to find her.
- The Grey Area — directed by Ebony Blanding, Amber L. N. Bournett, USA, 17:20
Three She-Warriors spend a night together convincing their erratic friend not to crash a wedding.
- Jennah — directed by Meryem Benm’Barek, Belgium, 18:00
Troubles with her mother dot 13-year-old Jenna’s path to maturity.
- Knightsville — directed by Aly Migliori, USA, 12:50
In returning home to celebrate a Catholic feast, a young woman faces a family that now feels foreign and a culture she no longer understands.
- Skunk — directed by Annie Silverstein, USA, 16:00
When her pit bull is stolen by an amateur dog fighter, 14-year-old Leila is forced to stand up for herself, at the cost of her own innocence.
- Spring (Primavera) — directed by Tania Castillo, Mexico, 18:41
Elba, an introverted and lonely fourteen-year-old teenager, lives with her sister Fernanda and their absent mother. Fernanda’s decision to run away causes Elba to rethink their relationship.
- American Hell — directed by Robert Bryce Milburn, USA, 7:30
A family’s worst fears are realized when their apartment is invaded in the middle of the night.
- Artemis Falls — directed by Eliza McNitt, USA, 6:30
Commanding the world’s most ambitious space launch to date, Aiden Collins has eight-and-a-half minutes to successfully maneuver the shuttle Artemis into orbit on man’s first ever solo mission to the moon.
- Burnt Grass — directed by Ray Wong, Canada, 11:24
Sally and Jack, a young couple in the city, discover a strange phenomenon in their backyard that duplicates organic life. Sally quickly envisions its wild possibilities, while Jack suffers its consequences.
- CROW HAND!!! — directed by Brian Lonano, USA, 2:32
A Husband gets more than he bargains for when he picks up a mysterious crow totem off the ground, much to his wife’s chagrin.
- Myrna the Monster — directed by Ian Samuels, USA, 14:18
A heart-broken alien dreamer from the moon transitions into adult life in Los Angeles like any other 20-something-year-old.
- Polaroid — directed by Lars Kievberg, Norway, 16:00
Sarah and Linda discover an old Polaroid camera in the clearing of Sarah’s house. In their own selfishness they exploit the camera, only to discover what horrible past it hides.
- Resting Place — directed by Kristjian Knigge, Netherlands, 9:59
A terrible accident leaves former dancer Julia paralysed and confined to a wheelchair. What could be nicer than being taken for a gentle walk in the woods?
- Slut — directed by Chloe Okuno, USA, 20:48
A naive young girl becomes the target of a murderous sociopath when she attempts to reinvent herself to impress the boys in her small Texas town.
Saturday Morning Cartoons
- Ain’t No Fish — directed by Tom Gasek, Miki Cash, USA/United Kingdom, 3:30
A stop motion musical about protecting our oceans from the perspective of Arctic seals. Set to music by Hoagy Carmichael.
- Bear Story — directed by Gabriel Osorio, Chile, 10:14
An old bear tells us his life story using a tin marionette theater he created.
- The Fog of Courage — directed by John R. Dilworth, China (Hong Kong)/Spain/USA, 7:30
A cowardly dog named Courage must rescue his lovely owner, Muriel, from a vengeful supernatural fog. Eustace, Muriel’s greedy husband, refuses to return the gold necklace belonging to the Fog’s long lost love.
- Frog’s Legs — directed by Katie Tamboer, USA, 2:52
A dopey frog must escape from a crazy, one-eyed witch who wants to cut off his legs for a beauty potion.
- Humble Pie — directed by Cynthia Hogan, USA, 3:27
A fly learns a lesson about pride.
- My Big Brother — directed by Jayson Rayner, USA, 2:23
The reflections of a boy sharing a room and a childhood with his twenty-foot tall brother.
- The Present — directed by Jacob Frey, Germany, 4:15
Jake spends most of his time playing video games indoors until his mom gives him an intriguing present.
- Starlight — directed by Tamarind King, Shir Wen Sun, Marisa Tontaveetong, Yu Ueda, USA, 3:51
A feral cat explores the bizarre landscape of the last drive-in theater in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Thundercluck: Chicken of Thor — directed by Paul Tillery IV, USA, 3:14
This is the story of Thundercluck, the viking chicken with the power of thunder. The short film tells of his birth, his conquests, and his legacy.
- Treasure Nest — directed by Meng-Chwen (Joy) Tien, Allison Botkin, Michael Bourbeau, USA, 5:09
A 3D animated short following Blue and Peanut’s journey across the land in search of hidden treasure.
- The Underpants Lamb — directed by Katie Tamboer, USA, 4:39
Mary had a little lamb, whose fleece grew hand-made, preshrunk, pink polka dotted underpants!
Ways of Seeing: Latin America
- Broken Ceilings (Techos Rotos) — directed by Yanillys Perez, Dominican Republic/USA, 17:00
12-year-old Anna dreams of making a white dress to wear to her first communion in this tale of an endangered spiritual quest.
- Contrapelo — directed by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, Mexico, 19:20
A proud Mexican barber is forced to shave a cartel leader. Presented with the opportunity to kill a man who’s killed so many, he discovers his foe is not so different from him after all.
- Gloom — directed by David Figueroa Garcia, Mexico, 25:10
When Lazaro’s boss dies, he’s caught amid Lucia’s attempts to exorcise the demons from the relationship with her late father while his attraction to her slowly turns into an obsession.
- Leidi — directed by Simon Mesa Soto, Colombia/United Kingdom, 16:01
Leidi, a new mother, hasn’t heard from her boyfriend in days. When a neighbor says he’s seen Alexis with another girl, Leidi sets out to find him.
- La Noche Buena — directed by Alex Mallis, Cuba, 16:50
A second-generation Cuban-American travels to Cuba for the first time to reconnect with his past, but only alienates himself further.
- The Adventures of Liverwurst Girl — directed by Martin P. Robinson, 3:15
Bullies are taking over Gorgonzola Hill, and only Louisa May Kelly can stop them. Transformed by her favorite liverwurst sandwiches, and unstopped by her boisterous clumsiness, she becomes the superhero Liverwurst Girl, sworn protector of bullied kids.
- Animated Life: Seeing the Invisible — directed by Flora Lichtman, Sharon Shattuck, 6:21
What we can see with our eyes is just the smallest sliver of life on this Earth.
- Hitori — directed by Raymond Carr, USA, 11:48
In a universe made entirely of puppeteers, the puppet is always alone. “Hitori” is the story of a boy who is just trying to get back to where he came from.
- In the Coat’s Pocket — directed by Marco Di Gerlando, 12:01
Luke is an introverted child whose only friends are King Benjamin and the squire Spartacus, two puppets with whom he must defend his small kingdom from the arrival of cruel Princesses.
- Lessons Learned — directed by Toby Froud, 15:41
When curiosity gets the best of a young boy on his birthday, he falls into an adventure of other-worldly experiences not intended for him.
- The Mill at Calder’s End — directed by Kevin McTurk, 13:46
Nicholas Grimshaw returns to a haunted windmill in Calder’s End, intent on breaking an ancient family curse.
- The Never Bell — directed by Emily Lobsenz, 13:56
Inspired by Appalachian folklore, The Never Bell uses live puppetry and mixed media animations to explore the naive wonders and crooked chimeras of an innocent imagination awakening.
- Sir Dancealot — directed by Lana Schwarcz, 6:05
See Sir Dancealot save the day, not with his sword but with classical ballet.
- Table Manners — directed by Rebecca Manley, 3:00
Three creatures go in search of food in the woods and discover there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.
- Under the Sand — directed by Alex U. Griffin, 6:45
A woman encounters a mysterious coyote in the desert as she searches for something from her past.
Attached to Features
- Bad at Dancing (with “Female Pervert”) — directed by Joanna Arnow, USA, 10:40
A perpetual third wheel and awkward outsider, Joanna consistently inserts herself into the relationship of her more charismatic roommate Isabel, resulting in a surreal and jealous rivalry.
- Haze (with “Uncertain Terms”) — directed by Chloe Domont, USA, 11:56
A young man struggles to explain what happened the night before.
- Ir/Reconcilable (with WonderRoot) — directed by Gabrielle Fulton, USA, 18:01
Lifelong drug abuser, Robye Porter, has stared down her demons. But now she must face a much scarier challenge: her family. As a repeat offender of emotional injury, Robye’s homecoming leads us to wonder if there is space for the sobriety of forgiveness.
- Little Cabbage (with “Rosehill”) — directed by Jen West, USA, 10:22
An eccentric composer in the 1950’s is given a magical instrument that distorts her relationships.
- My Dear Americans (with “In Our Son’s Name”) — directed by Arpita Kumar, USA, 6:00
A story about 4th of July, Costco, and home.
- Pen Up the Pigs (with “Old South”) — directed by Kelly Gallagher, USA, 12:00
“Pen Up the Pigs” is a handcrafted collage animation that explores connections between slavery and present day institutionalized racism and mass incarceration.
- Public Enemy #1 (with “Good Grief Suicide Hotline”) — directed by Anthony McHie , USA, 9:09
When two bumbling cops take off in pursuit of their vaguely described suspect, they uncover a conspiracy that points all the way to the white house.
- Winter Light (with “Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey”) — directed by Julian Higgins, USA, 29:00
An aging college professor confronts two hunters trespassing on his property and begins an escalating battle of wills that will test his faith in everything he holds dear.