Leading up to the 42nd annual Atlanta Film Festival & Creative Conference (ATLFF), taking place April 13-22, 2018, the Atlanta FIlm Society is pleased to announce the first wave of film programming. This selection comprises 15 works in both feature length and short form across narrative, documentary, pilot episode, music video, animation, puppetry, experimental and virtual reality categories.
“One of the most beautiful things about independent film is that it allows creators who may be shut out of the Hollywood machine to tell their own stories and make their voices heard,” said ATLFF Programming Director Alyssa Armand. “As we approach our 42nd year, we look forward to continuing to provide a platform for the alternative by showcasing films that you rarely get to see on the big screen, but that absolutely deserve to be there.”
This group of fifteen films comes from a new ATLFF record of 6,650 film submissions. Hailing from Canada, Iran, Pakistan, South Africa, Suriname, Swaziland, Turkey, UK and USA, these films represent the inclusive and far-reaching breadth of the forthcoming complete lineup. Last year, more than 50% of ATLFF’s film program was directed by women and nearly 40% was directed by filmmakers of color.
Of the 15 films, six are directed by ATLFF alumni. Two Georgia-lensed films are included in the first wave, narrative feature “Still,” directed by Takashi Doscher, and Virtual Reality short film “Lá Camila,” directed by Jak Wilmot. Shot in Swaziland and directed by Aaron Kopp and Amanda Kopp, “Liyana” blends a rich animated tale told by five orphans with observational scenes of their reality. Documentary short film “Nuuca,” directed by Michelle Latimer, is a powerful look at the correlation between land exploitation and violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
These films will be joined by nearly 200 others for the 2018 Atlanta Film Festival, taking place April 13 – 22, 2018.
Disappearance — directed by Ali Asgari
Iran, 2017, Persian, 88 minutes
In the course of one cold night in Tehran, two young lovers go from hospital to hospital in search of help. Soon they will have to face the tragic consequences of their youthful naivety.
Never Steady, Never Still — directed by Kathleen Hepburn
Canada, 2017, English, 111 minutes
Having lived with Parkinson’s disease for almost two decades, Judy (Shirley Henderson) is faced with the heightened challenges of daily life when her husband and caregiver dies of a sudden heart attack on their isolated property on the shores of Stuart Lake. Meanwhile, her teenage son Jamie (Théodore Pellerin), pushed by his father to get a job on the oil fields, is terrified by the idea of filling his shoes at too young an age, and grappling with the daunting task of becoming a man in world that has no apparent room for weakness.
Still — directed by Takashi Doscher
USA, 2018, English, 88 minutes
Sick, dehydrated, and lost, Lily (Madeline Brewer) quite literally falls on the doorstep of Ella (Lydia Wilson) and Adam (Nick Blood) who own and operate a secret distillery in the middle of the Appalachian mountains. However, as Lily begins to recover she starts to notice stranger and stranger things about the couple: Despite their youthful appearance, everything they own appears to be decades old. Although they live on a beautiful farm, there are no livestock and no crops. She notices how they secretly slip away into the woods, carrying glass jugs of water with them. Most alarming, however, is that there seems to be a great rift, a deep emotional strain, between them—as if they are an old married couple who gradually fell out of love as time went on. As Lily delves deeper and deeper into the lives of this mysterious yet beautiful couple, she is soon caught in the middle of their conflict—a heartbreaking power struggle literally a century in the making. Lily will soon learn how the couple came upon this property and the deep and powerful secret they have been protecting all of these years.
Armed with Faith — directed by Geeta Gandbhir and Asad Faruqi
USA/Pakistan, 2017, Pashto//Urdu, 74 minutes
“Armed with Faith” follows the men of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bomb Disposal Unit (KPK BDU) to the front lines of the war against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan. The border province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa—considered the gateway for terrorists from neighboring Afghanistan and adjacent tribal areas—is the backdrop of our film. The battle for control of this porous border area remains critical to the stability of Pakistan and global security. Should Pakistan, a nuclear power, fall into the hands of terrorists, the entire world is at risk. We witness firsthand the dangerous struggle undertaken by the men of the KPK BDU to protect their country against the Taliban threat in the land they both call home.
Liyana — directed by Aaron Kopp and Amanda Kopp
USA/Swaziland, 2017, English/siSwati, 77 minutes
A Swazi girl embarks on a dangerous quest to rescue her young twin brothers. This animated African tale is born in the imaginations of five orphaned children in Swaziland who collaborate to tell a story of perseverance drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. Their fictional character’s journey is interwoven with poetic and observational documentary scenes to create a genre-defying celebration of the transformative power of storytelling.
Arlo Alone — directed by Nicole Dorsey
Canada, 2017, English, 16:19
“Arlo Alone” is a futuristic drama that follows Arlo, a young woman, as she comes to terms with her own loneliness in a world where in-person contact has become a rarity.
Laws of the Game — directed by Aegina Brahim
Suriname/UK, 2017, Dutch, 17:54
Zeola is a single mother whose life alternates between her job as a prison guard and her career as a football referee in the men’s league. In her attempt to obtain the international FIFA Badge in an official referee test, Zeola is confronted not only with her own insecurities, but also with the unfairness of the world around her.
Carry My Voice — directed by Hasan Demirtaş
Turkey, 2017, Kurdish, 19:00
Carry My Voice is about the division of Kurdish lands after World War I. The documentary focuses on Syria and Turkey borders and how these new borders have affected the lives of Kurdish people.
Nuuca — directed by Michelle Latimer
USA/Canada, 2017, English/Hidatsa, 12:00
An evocative meditation on Indigenous women’s integral connection to land and the ways in which the extractive industry’s exploitation of the earth is linked to the violence perpetrated against Indigenous women and girls.
Nevada — directed by Emily Ann Hoffman
USA, 2017, English, 12:00
A young couple’s romantic weekend getaway is interrupted by a birth control mishap in this stop motion animated comedy.
Virtual Reality Short
Lá Camila — directed by Jak Wilmot
USA, 2017, English, 20:00
When the storms of nature threaten her very existence, the viewer must help a young shepherd girl fill the shoes of her deceased papá.
You Can’t Play With Us — directed by Jason Rhein, created by Serene Bacigalupi and Jacques Duffourc
USA, 2018, English, 15:00
Rapping unicorns? A dinosaur inventor? A marshmallow avalanche? Experience a new fairy tale from the imaginative world of Leroy’s Place. Built entirely from cardboard and other recycled materials, this endearing short film in puppetry tells a story of overcoming bullying. In a world where dinosaurs eat unicorns for every meal, Delux the dino refuses to eat the magical creatures and sets out to befriend them instead. When the inquisitive dinosaur happens upon some musical unicorns in Marshmallow Mountain, they aren’t as friendly as he expects. It’s not always easy to make new friends, especially when they think you are going to eat them, but Delux uses his unique skills to make the sassy unicorns take a second look. This film is intended for all ages.
Royal Jelly — directed by Stephanie Burbano
Canada, 2017, English, 9:52
The film begins in abstraction—we meet a drag queen who invites us down the rabbit hole to meet a menagerie of people that make up her community.
Manic — directed by Kate Marks
USA, 2016, English, 17:00
Aurora, an overachieving teen with Ivy League dreams, finds herself locked in with a crazy band of misfits when she’s sent to Greener Pastures Therapeutic School. Convinced it’s all a mistake, she fights the system and makes a break for freedom—only to be faced with the truth about why she was committed there in the first place.
Biggest Curse (performed by Original Swimming Party feat. Moonchild Sanelly) — directed by Amy Allais
South Africa, 2017, English, 4:27
Fundamentally it’s about who gets to eat the cake, and who doesn’t. About the back rooms in many South African houses. And busting through those. But it’s also about childhood, and how easy it is to make friends.