Quiet indies. Big film honchos. Dazzling superstars. From all-access VIP passes to exclusive movie sneak peeks, the “Camera-Ready” city of Atlanta, Georgia has it all as it kicks off the 2014 ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL (ATLFF). This March 28th to April 6th, the ATLFF commemorates its fourth decade of being an Academy Award-qualifying festival in the States. The 10-day celebration of cinema attracts over 25,000 film enthusiasts who come together from all over the world to witness this annual homage to film. Held at the historic Plaza Theatre, it’s an enchanted event where gripping dramas, live puppetry, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show collide-how could you possibly miss this?
The Atlanta Film Festival has everything any motion picture fanatic has ever dreamed of. For aficionados of the silver screen, there are advance screenings and creative conferences where the brilliant teams behind the films answer questions on screenplays and anything new media. Social butterflies can chat up executives at the Highland Ballroom during Happy Hour mixers, while up-and-comers can attend the 6-month program of the ATLFF talent workshop. Even with the numerous events that are happening in the festival, there are a few key highlights that make it one for the books:
Game of Thrones Season 4 Premiere.
If you’re wondering what Georgia and dragons have in common, it’s that HBO is partnering with the ATLFF for the 4th season premiere of the Emmy-winning fantasy series, Game of Thrones. Experience the air grow thick with the medley of emotions stirring up in the audience as this never-before-seen footage chronicles a legendary story of might and power struggle. On March 30th from 4PM to 8PM, fans of George R.R. Martin’s acclaimed book series get to watch the first episode of the 4th season a week before it premieres on HBO. Then, there is a Westeros-themed feast of epic proportions during the after party at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center on Briarcliff Road.
Touch the Puppet Head.
It might seem weird to have a puppet show in a film festival, but that’s what makes this even more interesting. The quirky “Touch the Puppet Head” show on March 29th at 10PM combines live performances and curated short films all centered on puppets. The hosts of the highly entertaining program are special guest Elizabeth Leary and famed puppeteer Beau Brown-director of Atlanta’s Puppet Slam, The Puckin Fuppet Show.
Food on Film.
Of course, all the film screenings can make any viewer’s tummy go hungry. Food on Film promises to let your stomach growl away with mouthwatering shorts such as “Sumo Roll”, “The Cake Lady”, and “Sausage”. There is even an in-depth documentary on the culinary favorite “Sriracha”, and if you don’t have any idea what that is, then you need to come down to the Chipotle Auditorium on March 29th at 2PM right away. This foodie fiesta is followed by film-inspired culinary delights at the Highland Ballroom for some treats.
The local scene is buzzing with excitement with all the aforementioned events-and that’s just for the first 3 days! There is so much more to experience for the rest of the week as directorial debuts and flick fests abound. Ticket passes range from the basic $50 MovieHopper Card to the coveted $325 All-Access Card with admission to all screenings, panels, and happy hours. The MovieHopper Card, on the other hand, lets you watch as many films as you can, including a yearlong ATLFF membership.
When it all comes down to it, the Atlanta Film Festival is a profound celebration of the beauty and magic of cinema. Groundbreaking blockbuster hits and arresting indies aside, it is a chance for individuals to come together and have fun, no matter where you’re from.
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