Film Festival 365
April 10-19, 2008
by Jay C. Blodgett
Atlanta Film Festival came to a close on April 19 with the feature
film, THE VISITOR. Executive Director of IMAGE
Film and Video (now rechristened as Atlanta Film Festival 365),
Gabriel Wardell, gave the obligatory thanks to the volunteers (an
army of people, who did do a remarkable job this year!), the various
sponsors and, of course, the staff of only four other people: Festival
Director, Dan Krovich; Managing Director, Paula Martinez; Communications
Director, Charles Judson; and Education Director, Elizabeth Hamilton.
Wardell then introduced Thomas McCarthy, the director and writer
of the closing night film, THE VISITOR, which opens
in Atlanta on April 25, at the Tara.
After the successful opening
night event at the Atlantic Station Regal Cinemas 16, the festival
screened over 150 films at the Landmark
Midtown Art Cinema, to more than 13,800 attendees.
See exclusive photos
from the red carpet opening night here.
The logistics of the festival went off with barely
a hitch! There were no house management snafus or crowd control
chaos, even with last minute screening room substitutions. There
was always a volunteer who was able to at least escalate to a volunteer
manager any questions or concerns. Projection quality had improved
by leaps and bounds from 2007! The kinks of adapting to the Landmark
Midtown's newly installed digital system were completely resolved,
even during any of the technically treacherous short subject programs.
The were only a couple issues with the sound system. However, that
could have been due to the media that the films were transferred
on, as much as compatibility with the available systems.
Parties and Swag
Several screenings came packaged with after parties
held at the Atlanta
Contemporary Art Center, Paste, Soapbox
Studios and Guillotine
Post. And, as an extra bonus during the festival, The
Independent, a pub above the Landmark Midtown, was opened exclusively
for festival pass holders and filmmakers, where sponsors Stella
Artois and Starbucks served beverages, gratis. This was an exceptionally
nice touch for those who are "working the fest," since The Independent
has complementary wi-fi access and work could be done during the
hour between most screenings.
As for other perks or swag, what was lacking in the
"gift bags" for Opening and Closing nights was made up for with
promotional merchandise at The Independent. (Maybe the AFF-365 might
consider hitting up gift bag sponsors in the future? Though not
really having anything to do with "cinema," it does set off a celebratory
feel to those paying premium prices for those events.)
The Atlanta Film Festival 365 is a competitive and
juried festival. It is one of the festivals which short subjects
are able to qualify for Academy Award screenings and nomination.
The 2008 Jury Awards went to the following films:
- Narrative Feature: MAKE OUT WITH VIOLENCE (dir.
The Deagol Brothers, US, 2007, 108 mins.)
- Documentary Feature: AT THE DEATH HOUSE DOOR (dirs.
Peter Gilbert, Steven James, US, 2008, 96 mins.) Gilbert and James
were also honorees at this years AFF-365 Gala Awards Celebration.
- Narrative Short: AQUARIUM (dir. Rob Meyer, US,
2007, 17 mins.)
- Animated Short: BUT SOME ARE BRAVE (dir. Grace
Channer, Canada, 6 mins.)
- Documentary Short: AFRICA'S DAUGHTERS (dir. Natalie
Halpern, US, 2007, 25 mins.)
- Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Direction: MY
EFFORTLESS BRILLIANCE (dir. Lynn Shelton, US, 2007, 79 mins.)
- Special Jury Prize for First Documentary: LAND
OF CONFUSION (dir. Jeremy Zerechak, US, 2007, 91 mins.)
- Special Jury Prize Pure Documentary Entertainment: SPINE
TINGLER: THE WILLIAM CASTLE STORY (dir. Jeffrey Schwarz, US,
2007, 82 mins.)
- Audience Awards: went to YOUNG @ HEART (dir. Stephen
Walker, US, 2007, 110 mins.) for feature, and the short subject
was MEXICAN IN THE CLOSET (dir. Chuck Moore, US, 2008, 25 mins.).
[The Audience Favorite for Animated Short was to be announced
at press time.]
Peach Award: AFF-365, with the sponsorship of Turner
Broadcasting, also premiered an award for films with a GLBT
focus, called the Pink Peach Award. Awards went to: XXY
(dir. Lucia Puenzo, Argentina/Spain/France, 2007, 91 mins.); a
Special Jury Prize went to THE ELEVATOR (dir. Ben
Hakim, Israel, 2007, 23 mins.).
- Rapid i Movement Competition: The AFF-365's Rapid
i Movement is a competition in which groups create a short
in 48 hours. The Grand Prize went to DONE IN ONE, by Mavin
For capsule reviews of the above films and more,
go to editor Jay C. Blodgett's blog: "Life
with Movies and Maxxxxx."