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Atlanta Film Festival Draws Closer – a Look Ahead

April 10, 2009


Beginning with a star-studded opening night, Atlanta Film Festival is kicking off their 30th anniversary on April 16-25, with a strong lineup of 166 films.

Opening the fest is “The People Speak,” based on Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.” Directed by Tony Sacco, the film explores America’s ongoing struggle with class, race and women’s rights. Numerous stars, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Eddie Vedder, Danny Glover, Viggo Mortenson and countless more are interviewed in the film. Many will be at the festival including Howard Zinn.

Closing night is “Rudo Y Cursi,” the newest from Carlos Cuaran who wrote “Y, Tu Mama Tambien.” This time as director, Cuaran takes stars Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal into the world of professional soccer. Peter Debruge of Spout reviewed the film when it played at Sundance and said, “Carlos Cuarón has a beautiful gift for boiling a vivid and complex world down to the life experience of a couple characters.”

Another big highlight of the festival is the 70th anniversary screening of Gone With the Wind. Screening twice, both have already sold out, but those lucky enough to get a ticket will get a chance to hear from Turner Classic Movie’s Robert Osborne, Baltimore Sun’s Michael Sragow and author Molly Haskell, one of the experts on the film.

If you didn’t get a ticket (yours truly is among those included in this list) then, don’t fret – you have the opportunity to at least hear from Sragow and Haskell on April 18 @4 p.m. for a discussion on the current state of film criticism at the Starbucks on Monroe.

Also, a discussion with the three will be held that evening @8p.m. at the Literary Center at the Margaret Mitchell House.

Osborne will lead a discussion with Sragow and Haskell about the legacy of Gone With the Wind.

Doors open at7:00 pm; program begins at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $5 for members of the Atlanta History Center and Margaret Mitchell House; $10 for nonmembers.Reservations required at 404.814.4150. For more information, visit

In between opening and closing night are 164 other films that are worth checking out. Over the next few days, I will be highlighting the various categories with some Q&A’s from filmmakers. Then stay tuned for some news and reviews at the festival next weekend.

The festival kicks off on Thursday, for more information check out the Atlanta Film Fest web site.

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