A Journey of a Thousand Mile Peacekeepers

The Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF) is proud to announce Atlanta-based SPANX and The Sara Blakely Foundation’s sponsorship of the Atlanta Film Society’s New Mavericks program. This key sponsorship funds the New Mavericks Award that will be presented at the 40th annual event next month, and also provides support for year-round programming aiming to encourage women involved in various aspects of Atlanta’s film community.

“Spanx is celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit of women in film, especially those behind the lens who shine a light on strong female characters,” said Sara Blakely, the company’s founder and owner. “The inspiring work created by the New Mavericks is a perfect example of what happens when women fulfill their potential and we are super excited to be a part of it.”

We personally at The Peach Review® agree with the importance of highlighting women in film. Kering did a marvelous job with this last year at the Cannes Film Festival with their “Kering: Women in Motion” talks.

ATLFS’s New Mavericks program was launched as a short film block in 2013, celebrating female-directed films featuring strong female leads. At ATLFF 2015, New Mavericks grew to include feature films that met the same criteria. Last year, the program grew beyond festival boundaries to include monthly networking events and the first-ever New Mavericks Film Series, which is expected to return in summer 2016.

SPANX and The Sara Blakely Foundation will present a New Mavericks Award to a female feature filmmaker at the 2016 festival. This award will come with a $5,000 cash prize.

As a nonprofit organization, the Atlanta Film Festival and its parent organization, the Atlanta Film Society, rely heavily on the support of corporate sponsors, private foundations and government agencies in order to showcase the best of independent films to the Atlanta community.  The 2016 festival will take place from April 1 – 10, 2016, and will feature an eclectic mix of more than 150 narrative and documentary feature and short films, 37 educational conferences and more than a dozen special events and presentations.

Feature-length films showcased in the 2016 ATLFF New Mavericks track that are eligible for the SPANX and The Sara Blakely Foundation New Mavericks Award are included below. Additionally, 25 short films that represent 13 different countries in this year’s New Mavericks program are listed below.

For more information about the Atlanta Film Festival and full schedule of film screenings and events, visit www.atlantafilmfestival.com.  Passes for the festival and individual screening tickets are available for purchase now on the website.

From the film Jean of the Joneses
From the film Jean of the Joneses




Feature Films


directed by Lily Baldwin, Frances Bodomo, Daniel Patrick Carbone, Josephine Decker, Lauren Wolkstein

USA, 2016, English, 81 minutes

Saturday, April 9, 2016, 3:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

When independent filmmakers adapt each other’s dreams for the screen, the result is a collective unconscious indeed: A man and his grandmother hide out from an ominous broadcast. The Grim Reaper hosts a TV show. The formerly incarcerated recount and reinterpret their first days of freedom. A suburban mom’s life is upturned by the beast growing inside of her. And a high school gym teacher runs drills from inside a volcano. Five new works explore the space between sleep and lucidity. Welcome to their dream state.

Driving With Selvi

directed by Elisa Paloschi

India/Canada, 2015, Kannada/English, 74 minutes

Friday, April 8, 2016, 7:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

This is the story of a young Indian girl’s struggle to survive. Forced to marry years ago at the age of 14, Selvi finds herself determined to leave an increasingly destructive situation. Selvi starts a new life for herself by becoming South India’s first female taxi driver. Ride along as we observe through ten years in Selvi’s eyes the challenges many women living in India face.


directed by Claire Carré

USA/Poland, 2015, English/Spanish, 86 minutes

Sunday, April 3, 2016, 12:20 PM — Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

What do you do when you lose all your memories? In a world reeling from a neurological epidemic and its aftermath, five stories weave through time, space, love, and struggle to reconcile a future with no past.

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.

The Founders

directed by Charlene Fisk & Carrie Schrader

USA, 2016, English, 85 minutes

Monday, April 4, 2016, 9:15 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

Battling the sexism and stereotypes made sturdy in the 1950s, thirteen women founded the Ladies Pro Golf Association (LPGA). Rare archival footage, historical re-enactments and current-day interviews with surviving founders and leading players present an underdog story never before seen. Despite competing against one another on the greens, these pioneers worked together to keep their dreams of professional golf careers alive. From child prodigy fame to Olympian status, each member left a sports world legacy that lives on today.

The Ground Beneath Their Feet

directed by Nausheen Dadabhoy

Pakistan, 2015, Urdu, 75 minutes

Sunday, April 3, 2016, 5:20 PM — Plaza Theatre, Upstairs
After a devastating earthquake north of Pakistan paralyzes Ruquiya and Khalida, the young women fight to fulfill their culture role of becoming wives and mothers. Women make up just twenty percent of the Pakistani workforce, a hindrance that bears a weight that other cultures may never understand. Viewers experience the profound effects of this physically and emotionally-jarring event through the eyes of the courageous women who faced it.

It Had to Be You

directed by Sasha Gordon

USA, 2015, English, 85 minutes

Saturday, April 2, 2016, 7:00 PM — Serenbe

Sonia is a musician approaching her thirties who’s terrified upon discovering her laidback boyfriend’s intention to propose. Though most of her friends are married parents, she fears she isn’t where she dreamed she’d be by now. When forced to comply with now embarrassed Chris’s ultimatum, Sonia’s anxiety and uncertainty fuel a three-day crash course in self-realization.


Jean of the Joneses
directed by Stella Meghie
Canada/USA, 2016, English, 82 minutes

Saturday, April 9, 2016, 5:15 PM — Plaza Theatre, Upstairs
Writer-director Stella Meghie’s feature revolves around the troubled Jones family, one of whom dies at the start of the movie. When the paramedic who answers their 911 call falls for rambunctious Jean, the courtship goes south during a calamitous Jones funeral. This screenplay won the 2011 ATLFF Screenplay Competition.

A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers

directed by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy & Geeta Gandbhir

USA/Bangladesh/Pakistan, 2015, Bengali/English/Creek, 95 minutes

Saturday, April 9, 2016, 3:30 PM — Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

The world’s first all-female, predominantly Muslim peacekeeping unit accepts a Bangladeshi mission to join the United Nations Stabilizing Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Leaving home for Haiti, the women leave behind families and the traditional lives of women in Bangladesh. Although centered around a 160-woman unit, the lives of three foot soldiers and the harsh realities and responsibilities that accompany the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission become the focus of this brave and beautiful profile.



directed by Karina Garcia Casanova

Canada/Mexico, 2015, Spanish/English/French, 78 minutes

Saturday, April 9, 2016, 1:30 PM — Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

When Karina Garcia Casanova set out to film her brother, Juan, upon his return from their Mexican birthplace, she knew she wanted a feature debut anchored in more than home footage—but the paranoia and depression into which Juan falls casts a shadow she can’t control. “Juanicas” is a transparent, autobiographical portrait of mental health, familial introspection, and the futility of taking one without the other.

A Light Beneath Their Feet

directed by Valerie Weiss
USA, 2015, English, 90 minutes

Sunday, April 3, 2016, 2:50 PM — Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

High school senior Beth spends every spare moment caring for her sick mother. Burdened by an early onset role of the ‘responsible adult,’ she yearns for the freedom to be a normal teenager. When presented with an opportunity to attend her dream college, she is torn between her own sanity and her mother’s.

Speed Sisters

directed by Amber Fares

Palestine/USA, 2015, Arabic/English, 80 minutes

Thursday, April 7, 2016, 7:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

The first all-woman race car driving team in the Middle East coined themselves The Speed Sisters. These female professionals are no strangers to headlines, drama, or trophies, but crossing the finish line in a male-dominated industry takes more than experience. Amplified by larger-than-life personalities, this race to become the best while working together wins the hearts of both sport and documentary spectators.

The Wrong Light

directed by Dave Adams & Josie Swantek

USA/Thailand, 2015, English, 80 minutes

Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 9:15 PM — 7 Stages Theatre

Thousands of desperate families have abandoned and sold their daughters into Thailand’s rampant sex trafficking industry. ‘Activist’ Mickey Choothesa founded a shelter to rescue these young girls from their misfortune. He provides food, education, and family…or at least that’s the story he sells. Upon further investigation, Mickey’s story doesn’t quite add up. Is he manipulating these vulnerable girls for his own profit? “The Wrong Light” exposes Choothesa and the dark side of misrepresented global aid.

Short Films

Affections | directed by Bridey Elliott, USA, 16:00
A comedy about isolation and loneliness, “Affections” follows a young woman adrift and seeking intimacy in the most unlikely places.
Sunday, April 3, 2016, 2:45 PM — 7 Stages Theatre (Tin block)

Another Kind of Girl | Directed by Khaldiya Jibawi, Jordan/Syria, 9:29
17-year-old Khaldiya meditates on how the refugee camp has opened up new horizons and given her a sense of courage that she lacked in Syria.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 1:45 PM — High Museum, Hill Auditorium (Ivory block)

Asunder | directed by Nathalie Álvarez Mesén, Sweden, 17:11
During a family party in the countryside, we follow Nia and her cousin Teo, whose relationship balances on the edge of what is considered normative. A film about power, sexuality, love and the urge to explore.
Thursday, April 7, 2016, 9:35 PM — Plaza Theatre, Upstairs (Pearl block)

Barriers of Separation | Directed by Raghad Al Khatib, Jordan/Syria, 4:25
With a heavy heart, 18-year-old Raghad expresses her desire to reconnect with her father and family in this personal postcard from her new home in Jordan.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 1:45 PM — High Museum, Hill Auditorium (Ivory block)

Battalion To My Beat | directed by Eimi Imanishi, Western Sahara/Algeria/USA, 13:44
“Battalion To My Beat” is set in the Western Saharan refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, and follows the story of Mariam, a rebellious 13 year old girl who naively envisions herself a Jeanne D’Arc that will free her people from the occupation.
Saturday, April 9, 2016, 12:15 PM — 7 Stages Theatre (Ruby block)

Carnal Orient directed by Mila Zuo, USA, 8:34
A dark and strangely surreal snapshot of sexual desire aimed at the exotic.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 12:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main (Wool block)

Children |  Directed by Marah Al Hassan, Jordan/Syria, 5:01
15-year-old Marah captures in this verite essay the resilience and creativity of the Syrian children living in Za’atari Refugee Camp.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 1:45 PM — High Museum, Hill Auditorium (Ivory block)

Dreams Without Borders | Directed by Muna Al Hariri, Jordan/Syria, 4:46
Muna, a romantic 16-year-old girl whose family fled from Syria to Jordan, tries to reconcile her need to express herself and be a normal teenager within the new confines of her family’s situation.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 1:45 PM — High Museum, Hill Auditorium (Ivory block)

El Adiós | directed by Clara Roquet, Spain, 14:55
A Bolivian maid attempts to honor the last wishes of her late mistress.
Saturday, April 9, 2016, 12:15 PM — 7 Stages Theatre (Ruby block)

The Girl, Whose Shadow Reflects the Moon | Directed by Walaa Al Alawi, Jordan/Syria, 5:01
Walaa recounts her terrifying journey as a 14-year-old girl from Syria to Jordan, and how filmmaking has given her hope through the chance to voice her story and reach out to other girls with similar experiences.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 1:45 PM — High Museum, Hill Auditorium (Ivory block)

Jinju | directed by Crystal Jin Kim, USA, 10:19
A Korean American mother endures a day of her daughter’s sulking until it escalates to the breaking of something deeply precious.
Thursday, March 31, 2016, 8:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main (Steel block/WonderRoot)

Join the Club | directed by Eva Vives, USA, 05:05
A writer’s dilemma of whether or not to join a professional networking club takes many interesting turns as it unfolds entirely during one therapy session.
Sunday, April 3, 2016, 2:45 PM — 7 Stages Theatre (Tin block)

Land Tides (Marea de Tierra) | directed by Manuela Martelli and Amirah Tajdin, Chile/France, 13:00
Laura, a heartbroken teenager from Santiago, is on holiday in the southern Chilean archipelago, Chiloé, with her friends. As she wanders the lonely island seascapes, she encounters a group of women who are seaweed collectors and shares stories with them.
Saturday, April 9, 2016, 12:15 PM — 7 Stages Theatre (Ruby block)

The Long Road | Directed by Rafif Al Fadi, Jordan/Syria, 3:57
16-year-old Rafif creates a journey through the landscape and textures of her new life in a foreign place, and her desire to return to and rebuild her country.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 1:45 PM — High Museum, Hill Auditorium (Ivory block)

Maman(s) | directed by Maïmouna Doucouré, France, 21:03
Life is disrupted for eight-year-old Aida when her father returns with a young Senegalese woman, Rama, whom he introduces as his second wife. Sensitive to her mother’s distress, Aida decides to get rid of the new visitor.
Saturday, April 9, 2016, 12:15 PM — 7 Stages Theatre (Ruby block)

The Man of My Life | directed by Mélanie Delloye, France, 25:33
When Alice sees Eric kissing another girl, she is devastated. To make matters worse, her rival runs with her in the same relay team. Alice might only be 13 years old, but she is not ready to give up her place so easily.
Thursday, April 7, 2016, 9:35 PM — Plaza Theatre, Upstairs (Pearl block)

Ookie Cookie | directed by Francesca Mirabella, USA, 13:35
Five teenagers play truth or dare in the basement of a funeral reception.
Thursday, April 7, 2016, 9:35 PM — Plaza Theatre, Upstairs (Pearl block)

Que Sera | directed by Robyn Hicks, USA, 6:27
The story of a young couple navigating a cancer diagnosis. Inspired by the writer and director’s personal life, the film is an observation of how such devastating circumstances can pull people apart and bring them together.
Saturday, April 9, 2016, 12:15 PM — 7 Stages Theatre (Ruby block)

The Real American | directed by Darya Zhuk, USA/Belarus/Russia, 13:09
How a Russian exchange student stopped fearing American culture and started shaving her legs.
Saturday, April 9, 2016, 12:15 PM — 7 Stages Theatre (Ruby block)

Seide | directed by Elnura Osmonalieva, Kyrgyzstan, 14:40
Seide lives in a snowy mountain village with her humble family and her beloved horse. When she’s forced into an arranged marriage with a man from a wealthy family, she fights to save her horse from being slaughtered for food for the wedding.
Saturday, April 9, 2016, 12:15 PM — 7 Stages Theatre (Ruby block)

The Silence of Nature | Directed by Bushra Al Masri, Jordan, 3:05
18-year-old Bushra remembers her brother, who she lost in the war, and his gentle, humorous ways through observing nature and her new urban setting in this visual haiku.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 1:45 PM — High Museum, Hill Auditorium (Ivory block)

Treeples | directed by Sarah Nolen, USA, 20:00
“Treeples” follows the adventures of everyday girls joining forces with a group of lively forest creatures to rid the woods of monsters.
Thursday, April 7, 2016, 7:00 PM — Center for Puppetry Arts (Wood block)

Violet directed by Brit Wigintton, USA, 10:39
When Violet finds herself living in a refuge for runaway girls in the Georgia backwoods, she soon realizes that nothing is as perfect as it seems. In order to save her ‘sisters,’ she must make a decision that could change their lives forever.
Thursday, March 31, 2016, 8:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main (Steel block/WonderRoot)

What Doesn’t Kill You | directed by Darya Zhuk, Israel/USA, 8:01
After a rare diagnosis, Lily’s attempts to flee from war torn Israel are thwarted when the airport shuts down and her zany cousin forces her to party.
Sunday, April 3, 2016, 2:45 PM — 7 Stages Theatre (Tin block)

Zelos | directed by Thoranna Sigurdardottir, USA, 14:58
A competitive mother orders a clone to outshine her flawless friend, but soon realizes she purchased an unbeatable rival.
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 12:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main (Wool block)

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