The 40th annual Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF) is proud to announce and highlight key film programming that will take place during the 10-day event from April 1 – 10, 2016. In addition to the previously announced lineup of more than 150 feature length and short films, the 2016 festival will present Opening Night and Closing Night gala screenings with talent appearances, as well as eight Marquee screening events.

To kick off the 40th anniversary fest, ATLFF is pleased to welcome an Atlanta-made feature film, THE FUNDAMENTALS OF CARING, as the Opening Night presentation on Friday, April 1, 2016 at the Plaza Theatre. The film stars Paul Rudd, Selena Gomez and Jennifer Ehle and was lensed in Atlanta last year. Director Rob Burnett (WE MADE THIS MOVIE, The Late Show with David Letterman) is expected to return to Atlanta to attend the Opening Night celebration.

Marquee screenings that will take place throughout the festival include a mix of studio and independent films that span a wide assortment of subject matters and styles of filmmaking, highlighted by two events with talent appearances. Cast members Tyler Hoechlin, Ryan Guzman and Blake Jenner are scheduled to appear at the Saturday, April 2, 2016 Marquee screening of EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! from director Richard Linklater (DAZED AND CONFUSED). On Sunday, April 3, 2016, festival goers will get a first-look screening of HBO’s CONFIRMATION, with star Wendell Pierce (The Wire, Treme) scheduled to be in attendance. Pierce co-stars in the made-in-Atlanta feature film alongside Kerry Washington, Greg Kinnear, Eric Stonestreet and Jennifer Hudson.

Additional Marquee screenings include the Jane Austen-period drama LOVE & FRIENDSHIP starring Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny; director, writer and star Don Cheadle’s exploration into the life and music of Miles Davis in MILES AHEAD; a rousing documentary about a star-crossed singer-songwriter, PRESENTING PRINCESS SHAW; an exclusive sneak preview of SIREN, the Georgia-made feature adaptation of a segment from the horror anthology V/H/S; the Pink Peach selection from director Paddy Breathnach, VIVA; and from ATLFF’s New Mavericks track, a presentation of THE FITS.

ATLFF will close with MORRIS FROM AMERICA, a heartwarming and crowd-pleasing coming-of-age comedy with a unique spin starring Craig Robinson (THIS IS THE END, HOT TUB TIME MACHINE). Filmmaker Chad Hartigan (LUKE AND BRIE ARE ON A FIRST DATE, THIS IS MARTIN BRONNER) is expected to attend the Closing Night gala screening on Saturday, April 9, 2016.

“We’re honored and excited to present these highlights of our 40th anniversary Atlanta Film Festival program. This milestone year inspired us to focus on gala screenings and educational offerings as compelling and varied as the community we’re dedicated to serving,” said Executive Director Christopher Escobar.

Also announced is the Morphine Dreams series and Creative Conference full schedule. ATLFF Creative Conference is a five-day program of nearly 40 panels, talks, and demos on hot filmmaking topics such as screenwriting, acting, producing, casting, funding and distribution. Presenting guests include representatives from The People Store, SAG-AFTRA, Seed & Spark, Kickstarter and more. ATLFF’s Morphine Dreams series spotlights three unique and surreal narrative features, anchored by the World Premiere of locally shot “Frankenstein Created Bikers,” directed by festival alum James Bickert.



The Fundamentals of Caring – with scheduled appearance by director Rob Burnett

directed by Rob Burnett

USA, 2016, English, 93 minutes

Friday, April 1, 2016, 7:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

Having suffered a tragedy, Ben’s life is on hold. In need of work, he becomes a caregiver, where he is put through his paces by his first client, Trevor, a hilarious 18-year-old from England with muscular dystrophy. Instead of bowing to Trevor’s irreverent tactics, Ben treats Trevor in a way no caregiver has ever done before: without kid gloves. One paralyzed emotionally, one paralyzed physically, the two bond through humor in a way only broken people can. They hit the open road on a trip that takes them through the majestic pines of the Pacific Northwest, the foothills of Idaho and Montana, and finally through the open plains of the American Southwest. Along the way, they find some other lost souls, including a 21-year-old runaway who is the sexiest girl Trevor has ever seen in person and not on TV.




Photo: A24 Films
Photo: A24 Films

Morris From America – with scheduled appearance by director Chad Hartigan

directed by Chad Hartigan

USA/Germany, 2016, English/German, 91 minutes

Saturday, April 9, 2016, 7:30 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

A heartwarming and crowd-pleasing coming-of-age comedy with a unique spin, “Morris from America” centers on Morris Gentry (Markees Christmas, in an incredible breakout performance), a 13-year-old who has just relocated with his single father, Curtis (Craig Robinson), to Heidelberg, Germany. Morris, who fancies himself the next Notorious B.I.G., is a complete fish-out-of-water—a budding hip-hop star in an EDM world. To complicate matters further, Morris quickly falls hard for his cool, rebellious, 15-year-old classmate Katrin. Morris sets out against all odds to take the hip-hop world by storm and win the girl of his dreams.



Photo: HBO Films
Photo: HBO Films

Confirmation –  with scheduled appearance by actor Wendell Pierce

directed by directed by Rick Famuyima

USA, 2016, English

Sunday, April 3, 2016, 6:00 PM — Rialto Center for the Arts — FREE

Filmed in Atlanta, “Confirmation” takes a look behind the curtain of Washington politics, depicting the explosive 1991 Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearings where Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment. The hearings brought the country to a standstill and became a pivotal moment in American culture forever changing how we perceive and experience workplace equality and gender politics. Kerry Washington, Wendell Pierce, Greg Kinnear, Eric Stonestreet, and Jennifer Hudson star. Written by Susannah Grant.

[Georgia], [Marquee]


Everybody Wants Some!! – with scheduled appearance by actors Tyler Hoechlin, Ryan Guzman and Blake Jenner

directed by Richard Linklater

USA, 2016, English, 116 minutes

Saturday, April 2, 2016, 7:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

A new ‘spiritual sequel’ to “Dazed and Confused” set in the world of 1980 college life, “Everybody Wants Some!!” is a comedy that follows a group of friends as they navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood. Get ready for the best weekend ever.



Love & Friendship

directed by Whit Stillman
Ireland/Netherlands/France/USA, 2016, English, 92 minutes

Sunday, April 10, 2016, 12:50 PM — Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

While waiting for social chatter about a personal indiscretion to pass, the beautiful widow Lady Susan Vernon takes up temporary residence at her in-laws’ estate. While there, the intelligent, flirtatious, and amusingly egotistical Lady Vernon is determined to be a matchmaker for her daughter Frederica—and herself too, naturally. She enlists the assistance of her old friend Alicia, but two particularly handsome suitors complicate her orchestrations.



Miles Ahead

Photo: Sony Pictures Classics
Photo: Sony Pictures Classics

directed by Don Cheadle
USA, 2015, English, 100 minutes

Sunday, April 10, 2016, 2:45 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

In the midst of a dazzling and prolific career at the forefront of modern jazz innovation, Miles Davis virtually disappears from public view for a period of five years in the late 1970s. Alone and holed up in his home, he is beset by chronic pain from a deteriorating hip, his musical voice stifled and numbed by drugs and pain medications, his mind haunted by unsettling ghosts from the past. A wily music reporter forces his way into Davis’ house and the two men unwittingly embark on a wild and sometimes harrowing adventure to recover a stolen tape of the musician’s latest compositions.



Presenting Princess Shaw

directed by Ido Haar

Israel, 2015, English, 80 minutes

Sunday, April 10, 2016, 5:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

A rousing documentary crowd-pleaser about a star-crossed singer-songwriter and her crafty secret admirer, “Presenting Princess Shaw” examines loneliness, anonymity and connectivity in the Internet age, where showbiz dreams remain but a mouse-click away for even the most hardscrabble striver.

[Pink Peach], [Marquee]



directed by Gregg Bishop
USA, 2016, English, 86 minutes

Sunday, April 10, 2016, 7:30 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

A bachelor party becomes a savage fight for survival when the groomsmen unwittingly unleash a fabled predator upon the festivities. A feature adaptation of the segment “Amateur Night” from the horror anthology “V/H/S.”

[Exclusive Sneak Preview], [Georgia], [Marquee]


The Fits

directed by Anna Rose Holmer

USA, 2015, English, 72 minutes

Thursday, April 7, 2016, 9:15 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

Developed and produced through a micro-budget, micro-timeline initiative for first and second-time filmmakers, “The Fits” stars fresh face Royalty Hightower as Toni—an 11-year-old tomboy emboldened by a strong, confident group of young dancers. While the team navigates a sudden, unexplained outbreak of fainting spells, Toni navigates her innocent but furtive desire to fit in.

[New Mavericks], [Marquee]



directed by Paddy Breathnach

Cuba/Ireland, 2015, Spanish, 100 minutes

Tuesday, April 5, 2016, 7:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

Jesus, a young hairdresser working at a Havana nightclub that showcases drag performers, dreams of being a performer himself. Encouraged by his mentor, Mama, Jesus finally gets his chance to take the stage. But when his estranged father abruptly reenters his life, his world is quickly turned upside down. As father and son clash over their opposing expectations of each other, “Viva” becomes a love story as the men struggle to understand one another and reconcile as a family.

[Pink Peach], [Marquee]





What’s the Big Idea? — 12:00 PM-1:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

SCREENWRITING PANEL — Where do ideas come from? How do you know what to do with an idea once you have it, and how do you know if it’s good or bad? Get started on that screenplay with help from experienced screenwriters!

Invading Hollywood — 1:30 PM-2:30 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

SCREENWRITING PANEL — How do you break into the industry and find an agent or manager? Find out what to do with your written, polished script.

90-Second Pitch Fest — 3:00 PM-4:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

SCREENWRITING PANEL — Show up and pitch your idea in only 90 seconds! At the end of the session, audience and participants alike will vote for the best 3 pitches. The winner receives admission for one to Michael Lucker’s Screenwriting School!

Table Read: Best 10 — 4:30 PM-5:30 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

SCREENWRITING PANEL — Professional actors read 10 pages from each of the winning scripts from our screenplay competition.

Dewitt Insurance Presents: Understanding Production Insurance — 10:30 AM-11:30 AM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

FINANCE PANEL — When something goes wrong, production insurance is the first line of defense for producers and financiers. DeWitt Stern’s experienced insurance professionals and Greenberg Traurig’s Andy Velcoff explain important production insurance clauses, why tight contracts are essential, and how to navigate a claim. Learn how production insurance goes further when you ask the right questions.

Do I Need An Agent? — 12:00 PM-1:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

ACTING PANEL — What does an agent do? What do they look for? How do I find the right agent for me? Answers questions a novice actor would have as they begin their professional career. Casting Directors from The People Store will be there to answer these questions and more!

Unions and Guilds — 2:30 PM-3:30 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

UNION PANEL — Producers work with actors and crew from a number of different unions. Learn which unions and guilds cover which crafts.

Resume Building — 4:00 PM-5:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

PRE-PRODUCTION PANEL — Producer and resumé-coach Linda Burns provides tips that ensure your resumé works to get you the job rather than keep you from getting it.



Grip Truck Show & Tell — 10:30 AM-11:30 AM, 7 Stages Theatre

DEMO — Need grip & electric gear for your next indie? Tour Day-1 Production Services’ 3-ton grip truck and learn why every indie should rent one.

Light & Shoot Your Indie — 12:00 PM-1:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

DEMO — Need camera, grip & lighting for your next indie? Production Consultants and Equipment (PC&E) Film Production Rentals has you covered! Survey the latest cameras and get tips for lighting your next project.

Sound Good? — 1:30 PM-2:30 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

DEMO — You may know that bad sound can ruin a great movie, but do you know how to achieve quality sound? This demo features local sound mixers and boom operators who will supply you with tips to help you record professional quality audio on a budget.

The Animation Studio Simulation Workshop — 3:00 PM- 5:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

ANIMATION WORKSHOP — Be a part of an animation simulation! ASIFA-South members present a mock scenario that recreates a basic animation pipeline. Work with others and troubleshoot scenarios such as pushed deadlines and sudden script revisions. Presented by International Animation Society (ASIFA-South) and My Animation Life. (Open to kids age 7+ with supervision. No artistic or animation skill required).

Airport Short Animation: Behind the Scenes — 5:30 PM-6:30 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

ANIMATION PANEL- Come behind the scenes to see how of our five minute Airport Shorts animation was created incorporating the use of basic motion tracking in a month and a half. Learn the breakdowns from the simplifications of the storyboarding process, the challenges of working with a remote team over three time zones/ countries, and adapting a horizontal format animation to vertical while keeping the flow of the story, and music composing for animation.

Analyze This: A Webseries Pilot Case Study — 11:00 AM-12:30 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

PILOTS PANEL — Up-and-coming filmmakers pitch their prospective web series pilots to a panel of seasoned industry professionals. Filmmakers receive invaluable feedback to help them push their pilot to the next level. Audience members get a chance to see the process in action.

The Florida State University College Of Motion Picture Arts Presents: Selected Keylight Films — 1:00 PM-2:30 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

FSU SCREENING + PANEL — The FSU College of Motion Pictures Arts presents a showcase of eight short student films followed by a panel discussion with representatives from the College. Ranked by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the top 25 film schools in the country, FSU College of Motion Picture Arts produces student films that regularly win prestigious awards like the Student Emmys and Oscars. Join us for an afternoon of cinematic entertainment as we showcase this year’s selected Keylight Films.

Direct Me! — 3:00 PM-4:30 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

DIRECTING/ACTING PANEL — Directors and actors discuss the relationship between them. It’s about more than just communication and trust. How do you get or give a good performance? What makes a director effective in the actor’s eye? What can a director do to get a good performance from their cast?



Cast Me! Cast Me! — 10:30 AM-12:30 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

OPEN CASTING CALL — Are you an actor in the Atlanta area? Want an opportunity to get in front of some of the city’s best casting directors? Here’s your chance! Atlanta-based principle and extras casting directors will be on hand to meet new faces. Actors should come prepared with a two-minute monologue or pitch about themselves to present in front of the panel.

A Working Actor: What It Takes — 2:00 PM-3:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

ACTING PANEL — Atlanta-based actors will have the opportunity to ask some of the hardest working casting directors in our market about the business. Learn what it takes to make it as a working actor during this informative question-and-answer panel.

SAGindie: SAG Contracts Made Simple — 3:30 PM-4:30 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

UNION PANEL — Are you a filmmaker about to cast a project? Now is the time to learn about SAG! Are you an actor who wants to know more about the union? Here’s the opportunity! The SAG Indie-Atlanta Outreach Committee reps will be on hand to answer all of your questions.

CSX Presents-Stop and Care: Set Safety — 11:00 AM-12:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

PRODUCING PANEL — From insurance and permitting to safety meetings and common sense, this panel shares ways to keep the set safe. “Stop and care” is more than just a slogan; it’s #setlife.

Produce This — 12:30 PM-1:30 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

PRODUCING PANEL — Producers can spend years on one movie. How do they choose? This panel covers what goes into a “good” project, from story and the director’s vision to budget and marketability.

But What’s The Budget? — 2:00 PM-3:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

PRODUCING PANEL — Budgeting isn’t just about what things cost. How much you can raise? What can the market bear once you sell the movie? Producers discuss how they budget their films.

The Art Of Directing No- & Low-Budget Indies — 3:30 PM-4:30 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

DIRECTING PANEL — Independent filmmakers never have enough money nor time to tell their stories. Short and feature narrative and documentary directors discuss how they “make it work” creatively on no- or low-budget projects.



Through The Lens: A Cinematography Case Study — 10:30 AM-11:30 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

CINEMATOGRAPHY PANEL — Industry cinematographers screen samples of their work to be analyzed, explained and studied by fellow cinematographers and audience members. Learn the personal techniques and different elements that help craft each scene.

SCORE!: How To Compose A Quality Film Score Within Budget — 12:30 PM-1:30 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

COMPOSING PANEL — Licensing songs and creating original music can be expensive. But Georgia is full of amazing musicians, songwriters, composers, and music producers. Review your options for scoring on a budget.

Tips & Tricks From the Cutting Room Floor — 2:00 PM-3:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

EDITING PANEL — Editors, used to fixing things in post-production, are valuable storytellers as well as technicians. Learn tips for production and post-production that can save you time and money while preserving the story.

Visual Effects: Raising The Value Of Indie Production — 3:30 PM-4:30 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

VFX PANEL — This presentation demonstrates that regardless of budget and genre, independent filmmakers can (and should) boost their storytelling ability with visual effects.  Presented by Brendon Murphy and Sean Thigpen from the Emmy Award-winning Stargate Studios (The Walking Dead, Heroes Reborn).

Support for Creative Activists — 10:30 AM-11:30 AM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

CREATIVE VISIONS PRESENTATION — Come hear from local filmmaker Erin Bernhardt on how Creative Visions can help you with networking, fundraising, mentorship, film incubation and impact campaigns, and more. Creative Visions is committed to serving people and stories that use the media, arts and creative industries to create positive social and environmental change locally and globally.

Art of The Pitch — 12:00 PM-1:30 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

SEED & SPARK — Art of the Pitch is about your story and how you tell it. But it’s really about how you enter the room. Build the tools you need for a successful pitch meeting: identify your end game, craft the story, and convey confidence. The panel covers the basics of pitching anything from film and tech to non-profits and branding. Come prepared to pitch your current or next project! You may be selected from the audience for a 3-minute pitch!

Range And Representation: Earn More At The Box Office — 2:00 PM-3:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

DIRECTING/PRODUCING PANEL — Diversity in filmmaking isn’t just about equal representation; it’s about leaving money on the table. Whether behind or in front of the camera, age, race, and gender parity can put butts in seats and money in your pocket.

Filmmaker As Activist — 3:30 PM-4:30 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING PANEL — Documentary filmmakers discuss the inherent activism that happens both on and off screen when shooting their stories.



Pre-Production Law — 11:00 AM-1:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

ENTERTAINMENT LAW PANEL — Experienced entertainment attorneys discuss the legalities of pre-production for narrative, documentary, television, and webcasting projects. Topics include: optioning source materials, copyrights, life-story rights, liability for defamation, publicity rights, contracts and clearances. Panelists will also offer industry insights and review of some of the latest Hollywood legal disputes.

In The Trenches: Communicating With Your Crew — 2:00 PM-3:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre

DIRECTING PANEL — Directors work closely with every department on a film set, answering hundreds of creative and logistical questions each day. Learn how to properly communicate with your crew to ensure your vision shines through while inspiring theirs.

Distribute This — 11:00 AM-12:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

DISTRIBUTION PANEL — While many new, ever-changing platforms exist for distribution today, distribution is still the goal for many indie filmmakers. But where do you find distribution? What are distributors looking for and what’s the best way to approach them?

Crowdfunding to Independence — 12:30 PM- 2:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

SEED & SPARK PRESENTATION — The only proven path to independence as an artist is a direct connection to your audience, and crowdfunding has become a fundamental piece of many independent films. But many filmmakers miss the opportunity to turn their funding campaigns into audience-building opportunities that can last an entire career and provide groundwork for distribution that. Film-related projects will be provided with the crowdfunding action plan most likely to create a lasting, flourishing, direct relationship with your audience.

Kickstarter How To: Audience Building & Engagement — 2:30 PM-3:30 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

CROWDFUNDING PRESENTATION — Over the past six years, Kickstarter has transformed the creative process, proving that when artists and audiences band together, there is no limit on what can be accomplished. Join Film Outreach Lead Dan Schoenbrun for an overview of the past, the present, and the future of film on Kickstarter. We’ll explore the essentials of a great Kickstarter project, discuss best practices and key takeaways from several of our most notable, forward-thinking film campaigns, and discuss how to build and engage audiences on Kickstarter.

Tax Incentive Talk — 4:00 PM-5:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

FINANCE PANEL — Learn about Georgia’s tax incentives: how they work, the paperwork required to apply for them, and how to track your expenses.

From unadulterated surrealism to down-and-dirty grindhouse, this a high-octane, uncompromising trio of films that propels you into the deepest level of your subconscious.


Frankenstein Created Bikers

directed by James Bickert

USA, 2016, English

Saturday, April 2, 2016, 9:30 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main and $12 at door/$10 in advance

An outlaw biker finds himself addicted to a diabolical substance and hunted by a grenade-tossing femme fatale, bounty hunters, law enforcement, a rival motorcycle gang, mutations and a topless stripper hit squad.

[World Premiere], [Georgia]


The Forbidden Room

directed by Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson

Canada, 2015, English, 130 minutes

Sunday, April 3, 2016, 7:15 PM — 7 Stages Theatre and $12 at door/$10 in advance

A never-before-seen woodsman mysteriously appears aboard a submarine that’s been trapped deep under water for months with an unstable cargo. As the terrified crew make their way through the corridors of the doomed vessel, they find themselves on a voyage into the origins of their darkest fears.


Belladonna of Sadness

directed by Eiichi Yamamoto

Japan, 1973, Japanese, 93 minutes

Sunday, April 3, 2016, 9:30 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main and $12 at door/$10 in advance

Based on the book “Satanism and Witchcraft” by French writer Jules Michelet, young and innocent Jeanne is ravaged by the local lord and makes a pact with the Devil himself. The Devil appears in phallic forms and, through Jeanne, incites the village into a sexual frenzy. In a new restoration using the original camera negatives, this erotic and psychedelic trip of a film springs to life. “Belladonna of Sadness” has previously never been released in the USA.

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