Atlanta Film Festival New Blog Home
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The Atlanta Business Chronicle is reporting that Creative Loafing THE free alternative weekly, and a publication that cultivates love of culture and art in this market is filing for bankruptcy protection.
They've shown much love to the Atlanta Film Festival--including 2008 Best of honors...it is our hope they make it through these troubled times.
It would be HUGE loss:
Creative Loafing files for bankruptcy protection
Atlanta Business Chronicle
With a $40 million loan default looming, Creative Loafing Inc., the parent company of a local alternative weekly in Atlanta of the same name, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday.
According to the filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s Middle District of Florida, Creative Loafing reported estimated assets of between $10 million and $50 million and liabilities of the same amount.
The bankruptcy filing comes the same day Creative Loafing sued Atalaya Administrative LLC, Atalaya Funding II LP and BIA Digital Partners SBIC II LP asking a judge to stop a default on $40 million loan. In the suit, filed with the same court, Creative Loafing said the lenders failed to act in good faith when they refused to negotiate lowering the financial covenants. Without the injunction, Creative Loafing says it has no other options in stopping the default, as it would be “too late to save the debtors’ businesses, reputation, and close-knit and effective management.”
Read entire story here.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Atl Film Fest Director Dan Krovich, Jason Ritter,
Atl Film Fest Communications Director Charles Judson,
Filmmakers arrive for the iron pour at Sloss.
Atl Film Fest Education Director Elizabeth Ingram,
Michael D Friedman, B-Side Director of Festival Operations Chris Holland
Sidewalk Award Ceremony
View Rest of the Photos
Saturday, September 27, 2008
After the show, I said hello to the annual ATLFF jury wrangler, Arik Sokol, and headed over to watch some shorts. Now, sitting her watching the UGA/Alabama game. Not looking too good for GA. ;( Hopefully they'll turn it around.
Anyway, after the game I'll be heading to the party at the Avon Theatre. Birmingham is a charming little town. Too bad the city itself virtually shuts down on the weekend. Another downfall, not enough Starbucks!
***Update: GA just made a 92 yard TD!***
'Bama Girl was an official 2008 Atlanta Film Festival selection and is the Closing Night film at this year's Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival.
Friday, September 26, 2008
A few things about this weekend's Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Alabama:
#1--I'll be missing the festival for the first time in its ten year history owing to the birth of my son. Trin's water broke at 1:15am, and the baby has decided to arrive two weeks early.
Trin calling the doctor to tell her that her water broke, at 1:15am
#2 This weekend has always been special to me, for reasons I can't fully explain. Sidewalk is a magical place. It was at the iron pour at Sloss Furnaces that I forged my own de facto wedding band for Trin, proposing upon return from Sidewalk...
...and the journey West on I-20 to Birmingham has become an annual ritual for the Atlanta Film Festival staff for the past three years.
#3 This annual trip to Birmingham helped us get our proverbial groove back in the ATL. Two years ago, we forged "IMAGE" logos at the Sloss Pour. Last year, we made original Rapid i Movement prizes...
I can't wait to see what the members of the Atlanta Film Festival staff forge at the furnaces this year!
Stay tuned to this site for updates!
#4 The Atlanta Film Festival staff is rolling against the tide.
This weekend is the HUGE Georgia/Alabama showdown in Athens. Which means the Tide will be rolling East from Birmingham, and all places Alabama in hopes of pulling an Oregon State on the (presumptive) #1 team in the nation.
Because of the scarcity of fuel in the Southeast right now, some are proposing they cancel tomorrow night's game.
Forget that! People will go Road Warrior up in this before they cancel a SEC game.
What do they think this is, a presidential debate?
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
From the Indie Memphis web site:
"Now in its 11th year, Indie Memphis utilizes Memphis' rich cultural history to serve as a connecting point for regional filmmakers from all corners of the country -- and provides a showcase for films celebrating Southern stories and storytelling. The festival builds bridges that inspire filmmakers and film lovers to collaborate and connect within the unique creative landscape that is the home of the Blues and the birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll.
Sign up for Indie Memphis e-newsletter to stay in the indie film loop!"
Check out the fantastic line-up of films.
For sheer variety, quantity and quality of films, the 32-year-old ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL still belongs on the top of the bill of local movie-related events. Parent organization the IMAGE Film & Video Center recently renamed itself Atlanta Film Festival 365 and has shown some welcome stability under executive director Gabe Wardell and festival director Dan Krovich. Plus, its springtime schedule and convenient central location at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema put Atlanta's best, most welcoming face forward in between screening times.
I'd be remiss if I didn't point out something obvious--but which bares repeating: It takes a village!
Dan and I are part of a team that includes Communications Director Charles Judson, Education Director Elizabeth Ingram, and Managing Director Paula Martinez.
The tireless work of this core group of 5(!) makes this baby soar. And look at me, so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open.
Add to this foundation an AMAZING army of volunteers--as well as remarkable support from partners like Turner, Carma Productions, Comcast, Delta, Landmark Theatres, the Georgia Office of Film, Music and Digital Entertainment, the Midtown Hotel, bSide, Max 20, ECG, the Contemporary, Stella Artois, Crawford Communications, Epting Catering, Entertainment Partners, Paste Magazine, Guillotine Post, The Independent, Kodak, SAGIndie, and the Atlanta Link!
We also have a dedicated board--without whom this organization would cease to function.
Thanks to EVERYONE who helps us make this event the best in Atlanta--this honor belongs to everyone!
Thanks for the recognition y'all!
It means the world to us.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
The multimedia mogul is launching 34th Street Films, a production arm of his Atlanta-based Tyler Perry Studios that will focus on recruiting outside filmmakers to work under and expand the Perry brand.
Former Jinks/Cohen executive vp Matt Moore will run the division as executive vp production and development. Perry's new venture also will include former State Street Pictures vp Poppy Hanks, who will join as vp production, and former New Line executive Amber Rasberry, who will be a creative executive. Moore and his team will work out of offices in Los Angeles. - Full Article At Hollywood Reporter
Friday, September 19, 2008
At first, I thought...what is this? Is it some sort of cryptic endorsement by Derek Jeter?
Then it occurred to me--the Contemporary is at it again...
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
ADVENTURES OF POWER
"Adventures is a crazy, hilarious, bizarre, insane movie. And all in the best ways possible."
(Ain't It Cool News)
"Hilarious... Universally entertaining. The film is rife with insta-classic one-liners..."
"I highly recommend seeing Adventures of Power for a feel-good experience."
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I started the day early and had to get to Sutton Place Hotel for a meeting with a young lady who requested to meet with me, and ask questions about submitting films to festivals. She works as a Canadian consultant to filmmakers, helping them to decide which festival might be appropriate for their film, marketing strategies and so forth. These are important questions and points that filmmakers need to ask themselves. Blindly submitting your film to as many festivals as possible isn't smart and it can be a costly venture. You should definitely research festivals and look at the types of films they screen, requirements (ie: premiere status, formats, etc), and lots of other things. A resource filmmakers might want to check out is "Film Festival Secrets" by Christopher Holland, due out October 2008.
The first movie of the day was WENDY AND LUCY, starring Michelle Williams (the late Heath Ledger's ex-wife and his baby momma). This movie was very well done, purposely slow, and Williams' performance was great. It's a story of a young woman and her dog (Lucy), down on her luck, traveling to Alaska in search of a new start at life. Strapped for money, we watch her make a decisions that lead to disproportionate consequences, which are a pretty realistic reflection of current society. Directed by Kelly Reichardt, the film runs 80 minutes long. While it's a nicely done film, I believe it could be cut in half to 40 minutes (without losing its nuance and sentiment) and actually have a nice shot at a nomination for the Academy Award (especially given the nominated narrative shorts last year).
Next was lunch before getting in line for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (which is an excellent name for a rock band). I've eaten pizza numerous times already and today was no different. We found a nice little Italian place with a patio and had some pizza. Mike had visited the Royal Ontario Museum earlier, while I watched my movie. He said the museum was fantastic.
The next movie on the agenda was at 3:00pm at the Ryerson. The Ryerson theater is located on the campus of Ryerson University and holds a massive number of people, close to like 600, which seems to always fill to capacity during the screenings. The screen is also massive, so it actually works. This is also where the midnight madness screenings are held.
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is Danny Boyle's new flick. A couple other films that he's done are TRAINSPOTTING and 28 DAYS LATER. This was probably the most interesting, colorful and unique film that I've seen so far in Toronto. The story is about an Indian (dot not feather) boy from the slums who made it on the game show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." What follows is a colorful account of his life lessons of hard knocks that provides him with some, or all of the, answers to the difficult questions asked during the game show. Had I just read that this movie was about a boy on a game show, I doubt I would've seen it. I'm so glad I didn't know much about it going in. The movie was a huge hit in Telluride and Dan pushed me to see it. So glad I did! (By the way, this was not the screening where Roger Ebert was whacked by a person in front of him.)
We had a few hours before the final screening of the day and decided to walk over and see the CN Tower, the famous one that looks like the Seattle Space Needle. Below are a few photos.
The final screening of the night was Steven Soderbergh's CHE (part 2), starring Benicio Del Toro. This movie is broken into two parts, although should probably be watched together. The problem is that no one wants to sit through a four and a half hour movie. The movie is a biopic about Che Guevara, the revolutionary primarily responsible for Fidel Castro's successful coup d'etat of U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Part two of the movie is well done but somewhat slow - it focuses on Che's revolutionary mission in Bolivia. Part one (which we will be seeing tomorrow) spotlights Che's actions in Cuba - so we're seeing it backwards.
Steven Soderbergh, Benicio Del Toro, and Lou Diamond Phillips were all at the screening. Below are some photos.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I started off the day with SUT. This is a Turkish film about a boy and his mother, both confronting the traditional and contemporary ways to live life. The opening scene of this movie was fantastic! It's one of the most stunning openings I've seen in a long time. It's all v-e-r-y s-l-o-w m-o-v-i-n-g from there. I ended up leaving because life's too short.
I was really looking forward to seeing ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO today at the Elgin Theatre. The movie started at 3:00pm so that meant we needed to be in line no later than 2:00pm to get any kind of a good seat. We got to the theater right at 2:00pm and the line was already wrapped around the block. People in Atlanta think they've seen a line......they haven't seen anything! And, all of the people in line are completely used to it and consider it part of their festival experience. Interesting.
The movie was funny! It stars Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks (neither of whom were able to attend the screening). Also in the cast are Craig Robinson (from The Office), Traci Lords, Jason Mewes, and Katie Morgan [who has a hot little HBO On-Demand Late Night Special series of Sex Toys (which I watched in its entirety - for blogging research purposes only, of course) and Porn 101]. Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, and Katie Morgan were on hand for a Q&A after the screening. Kevin was his usually funny self and provided the audience with a couple great stories. This movie is due to hit theaters October 31st, but recently received the kiss of death - a NC-17 rating from the MPAA. So, here is the red-band trailer.
We finished the evening by watching MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY, a film by Barry Jenkins. This film was good and reminded me a lot of the kind of movie Spike Lee would've done (if he hadn't tried to venture off into wherever he is now). The story is about a couple who wake up and meet after having a one-night-stand. The audience follows them through the next 24 hours and we watch them get to know each other (as do we), in an effort to provide some sort of meaning for the affair instead of making it a cheap, drunken mistake. Jenkins was able to touch on race and relationships here in a very successful and not "in-your-face" sort of way. This film was recently selected to kick off Independent Film Week in NYC on Monday, September 15th. Below is the trailer.
More photos from TIFF '08:
Cheech & Chong! (Zack and Miri screening)
Kevin Smith Introducing Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Kevin and Cast
****Update**** Zack and Miri Make a Porno is rated R. It was originally given an NC17 rating but Kevin Smith and the Weinstein Company appealed and won the dispute. Read more here: http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=63831867&blogID=424468543.
The tax incentive war has been raging for several years as industry and government folks--remember those evil, troll like people--have realized that a proper package can modestly double or triple the size of the local film industry in some places and in others increase it by 200 fold. Imagine going from $2 million in local production to $400 million. (In Georgia, if we were to add another $400 million dollars in production to the state's GDP, that would be an almost 5% increase overall to a $12 billion plus GDP. In economic turns, that's not insubstantial.)
Productions that spend $50,000 or more in Michigan are eligible to receive up to a 40 percent refundable tax credit, or 42 percent if they shoot in one of 103 "core" communities, which includes Flint.
The rebates also apply to video games, TV shows and documentaries.
"It's probably one of the best presentations in the country," said Mike Matthews, a Saginaw native who's filming a TV pilot called "The Flynns" in Flint and other Michigan cities.
Matthews said his family is financing the pilot episode. He's been writing and producing the show with his brother, Craig, of Richmond, Va.
Crews will start filming in Flint at the end of June, said Mike Matthews, who's staying in Flint Township. He said he intends to shoot 13 episodes in Michigan and apply for the state's incentives.
"We've already had investors lining up," he said. "It's an exciting product. It has a real moral story." - Mlive.com
Friday, September 12, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
(To see "before shots", click in the Google Maps link and click "Street View".
Here's how the white wall looks now:
Is this an act of vandalism? Or a subversive art show?
In the wake of the Graffiti brouhaha in Cabbagetown:
"Bowman "got involved" after some neighbors decided, unbeknownst to some others, to clean up the graffiti gracing a long brick wall at the north end of the neighborhood. The wall flanks the opening to the graffiti-saturated Krog Street tunnel, a dank expanse that's widely known as a "free space" for taggers to express themselves.
The same free-for-all attitude, however, does not translate to the wall, where tagging has been alternately tolerated and excoriated. Tensions over the wall peaked when graffiti-styled tags – and straight-up vandalism – began cropping up on Cabbagetown's sidewalks, trash cans and a local church.
As a result, a few exasperated members of the neighborhood association, who call themselves the Wallkeepers Initiative, decided to paint over the wall with the blessing of its owner, CSX railroad. In the process, they covered a mural by renowned Atlanta graffiti artist Totem – a mural that originally had been commissioned by the neighborhood, and later defaced by a tagger who sprayed it with the word "overproduced.
Not all neighbors supported the Wallkeepers' decision."
Inside: My new Atlanta Film Festival member card, and a welcome letter, from me! (It all felt very Charlie Kaufman.)
I love the new card!
The day started with the four and a half hour version of Steven Soderbergh's Che. The film will apparently be released as two movies theatrically and was shown as one film with an intermission at this screening. Part one concerns Ernesto Che Guevera's time as part of the successful revolution in Cuba, while part two covers his less successful attempt to export revolution to Bolivia. It's less of a biopic and more of a meditation on revolution. The Cuba section is certainly the more accessible stand alone section, but the Bolivia portion works as a contrasting companion piece that adds to the film's themes. On a different note was JT Petty's Western/horror film, The Burrowers. When a family disappears in the Dakota plains in the 19th century, the local Indian tribes are suspected so a posse sets out for the rescue or to exact revenge. In this horror reworking of The Searchers, hostile Indians are among the least of their worries. Making it a perfect four for four day was A Year Ago in Winter, the latest film from Academy Award winning director Caroline Link (Nowhere in Africa). The story of a family coping with the death of the youngest child, 19-year-old Alexander, isn't an original story, but the movie is powered by a captivating performance by Karoline Herfurth as his older sister.
I saw my favorite TIFF movie today (so far) - Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's, SUGAR. Miguel "Sugar" Santos is a baseball player living in the Dominican Republic trying to get scouted by a major league team in the states. He gets his wish when he's asked to report to spring training camp and then lands a starting pitching position with The Swing, a minor league team in Bridgewater, Iowa. The film does an excellent job showing the difficulties of being a fish out of water - Sugar was plucked (albeit voluntarily) from his small shanty, where he lived with his family, friends and girlfriend, and placed in an all-white, Christian farm community. Even though the old couple who take him in are kind and sincere, they're no replacement for Sugar's family and friends. What follows is Sugar's struggle with his current situation, his hopes and dreams of the future and the decisions he makes as a result.
The compelling story drives the movie from the onset. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE STORY! Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck are the creative team behind HALF NELSON, one of my other all-time favorite movies. While Sugar isn't as fragile of a film as Half Nelson, Boden and Fleck are successful with character development, story structure, editing and cinematography. Boden was the editor on Sugar and Half Nelson and she is wonderful at it. The duo also teamed up with the same shooter they used in Half Nelson. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Well, it definitely ain't broke for Boden and Fleck. Sugar will have a theatrical release sometime this year.
I started the day off with YOUSSOU NDOR: I BRING WHAT I LOVE. This was a wonderful documentary about the very politically controversial, African, Muslim, Grammy winning musician Youssou Ndor. While the film is a tad too long, it is very inspirational and captivating. There's also something very evocative about African music and drumming - although this one is more Muslim centered. Youssou played at Amnesty International Live 8 concert and has some collaborations with Peter Gabriel, shown in the film.
The middle movie of the day was Larry Charles' RELIGULOUS, with Bill Maher. This is Bill's and Larry's attempt at a fair, but skeptical, look at the three main religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism). Naturally, cynicism and sarcasm are the main attractions to this film and there's a lot of it. The film feels a little Michael Moorish at times, but it seems to recover nicely. Don't go into this movie thinking you are going to be enlightened on the ways of religion. Only go see this movie if you are a skeptic, like sarcasm, are familiar with and like Bill Maher, and aren't easily offended (when it comes to mocking/questioning the logic religion).
Random photos from Toronto:
A four-seat stroller (with babies in them!)
Condom Shack (I should've shown this to lady above)