The 44th Annual Atlanta Film Festival Starts Today!

Atlanta Film Festival

While it’s not quite the way we imagined it, we’re just glad it’s happening! Tonight marks the official start to the 44th annual Atlanta Film Festival, which is happening both virtually and a couple of drive-in locations across Atlanta – including Plaza Theatre, Plaza @ Dad’s Garage, and the Pratt-Pullman Yard.

The 2020 festival previously announced its shift to exclusively drive-in and virtual screenings/events to enable audiences in Atlanta and beyond to safely enjoy works from a diverse slate of more than 140 filmmakers. Tomorrow night, Friday, September 18, 2020, the festival will host the Opening Night Presentation of Blast Beat from Sony Pictures. Representing both the CineMás and Georgia film specialty tracks, which highlight Latinx and Georgia filmmakers and stories respectively, Blast Beat stars Moises Arias and his brother Mateo Arias as siblings from Colombia struggling to fit into their new lives in America. The film was primarily lensed in Georgia and co-stars Wilmer Valderrama, Diane Guerrero, and Daniel Dae Kim. Blast Beat will screen at The Plaza Theatre Drive-In at 7:40PM.

Must-See Films Of the Festival

Narrative Features

Curtis

Suffering from schizophrenia, a former basketball star is triggered down a dark path when he discovers his championship ring is missing. With the help of a young boy in the neighborhood, he scours the streets of Detroit for it, only to find himself stuck in a time warp and unable to come to grips with life as it is now.

This film is on the Noire specialty track, which celebrates African-American filmmakers and stories.

Milkwater

Seeking direction and purpose, Milo rashly decides to become a surrogate and egg donor for Roger, an older gay man she meets in a bar. However, as Milo becomes increasingly attached to Roger, she starts leveraging the pregnancy as a means of staying embedded in his life, gradually alienating herself from her friends when they try to address her erratic behavior. As Roger draws lines in the sand, Milo must figure out how to navigate the intensity of entering into surrogacy with a stranger.

This film is on the Pink Peach and New Mavericks specialty track, which celebrates LGBTQ filmmakers/stories and female filmmakers/stories respectively.

Documentary Features

Fandango at the Wall

Fandango at the Wall follows Multi-Grammy winning collaborators Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra founder/conductor Arturo O’Farrill and Music Producer Kabir Sehgal to the remotest regions of Veracruz, Mexico, where they meet and jam with the masters of son jarocho. Son jarocho is 300-year-old folk music rooted in the land that combines Indigenous, Spanish and African traditions. After their inspiring journey to a place where time seems to stands still, Arturo and his orchestra join the masters of son jarocho at the music and dance festival Fandango Fronterizo which takes place simultaneously on both sides of the United States-Mexico border, transforming an object that divides into one that unites. FANDANGO AT THE WALL reveals a Mexico seldom depicted and shows how art and culture can bring our countries and people together.

This one is a Georgia-made film!

Once Upon A Time in Venezuela

Once upon a time, the Venezuelan village of Congo Mirador, floating on stilts just inches above the deep Lake Maracaibo, was prosperous, alive with fishermen and poets. In recent years, it has decayed and disintegrated, rotting beneath pollution and neglect—a small but prophetic reflection of Venezuela itself. Director Anabel Rodríguez Ríos’s striking and mournful ode to her country bears first-hand witness to the irreversible consequences of government corruption, while simultaneously capturing the resilient spirit of those most directly affected by Venezuela’s profound economic and political crises.

This film is on the CineMás and New Mavericks specialty track, which celebrates Hispanic filmmakers/stories and female filmmakers/stories respectively.

Short Blocks

Stomping Ground

This combined documentary and music video shows the bringing together of 27 trans actors to tell the story of one trans woman and what it means to love and be loved.

This film is a collection of Georgia-made short films.

Creative Conference

Damon Lindelof Masterclass

A livestream in-depth conversation with award-winning writer-producer Damon Lindelof on September 24 at 6 PM. Still searching for answers to Lost? You’re not alone – I am too. I’m sure it will come up. But joking aside, this will be an amazing livestream to watch!

FanBolt Editor’s Pick

15 Things You Didn’t Know About Bigfoot: Number 1 Will Blow Your Mind

A paranormal comedy that follows a hopelessly millennial reporter on the most important assignment of his career: Bigfoot. But after following a prominent cryptozoologist into the Appalachian foothills, he’s forced to answer the question “is a good story worth dying for?”

I’ve already watched this one ahead of the festival, and honestly, I can’t imagine loving another festival film as much as I loved this one. It’s brilliant. It’s Parks and Rec meets Ozark meets Tiger King. If you’re a fan of mockumentaries – this is a must-see.

You can view the full virtual catalog of films available for viewing here.

The festival runs through the Sunday, September 27th, and gives movie lovers a prime opportunity to indulge in a much-needed distraction from 2020! Will you be attending? What films are you looking forward to? Sound off in our comment section below!

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  1. So excited about so many things in ATLFF20!! 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Bigfoot is definitely high on the list as is Fandango at the Wall, both being #GeorgiaFilm :)!

    1. I still need to watch Fandango at the Wall – it’s on my list! Watched a few shorts last night – including Coffee Shop Names – which is also fantastic! Add that one to your list too! 🙂

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