An entire month’s passed since the 43rd annual Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF) brought together nearly 30,000 passionate filmmakers and cinephiles for 11 days of cultural discovery, artistic growth and opportunity. We gathered everywhere from the beautiful, sunlit fields of the BeltLine to the familiar comfort of the historic Plaza Theatre and enjoyed everything from creative films and shorts to groundbreaking experimental media, music videos and insightful discussions led by filmmakers from all over the world. The sheer number of things happening at any given moment forced attendees to pick and choose which events to attend at the cost of missing others.
Georgia’s tax incentive may bring big-name, big-budget productions to our burgeoning Peach State, but our indigenous filmmaking community continues to create films worthy of acclaim. Of the record-setting 8,000+ films and screenplays submitted to this year’s festival, works created by Georgia filmmakers ranked among the finest. We were thrilled to showcase them during ‘It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,’ a block comprised entirely of short films created by Georgian filmmakers.
Filled with narrative, documentary, and animated films that left the entire Plaza Theatre enraptured, engaged, and inspired, the shorts were so great we watched them twice!
If local filmmakers kicked off the festival, then writer/director Lulu Wang shifted the event into high gear. Anticipation for the opening night screening of THE FAREWELL built steadily as both Wang and lead actress Awkwafina made red carpet appearances.
After the iconic duo excitingly introduced the movie, THE FAREWELL immediately grasped the entire audience with its beautiful cinematography. However, the narrative was what truly kept us engrossed in the film throughout its 98 minute runtime. By juggling relatable themes of identity and cultural heritage with humor and wit, the film provided an authentic glimpse into a Chinese family’s unique struggle to cope with the impending loss of a beloved family member.
Wang and Awkwafina returned to the stage after the film’s conclusion for an insightful Q&A; Wang divulged how her family inspired the film, and Awkwafina shared her on set experience with the crowd.