First Wave of Features from 40th Annual Atlanta Film Festival Announced!

Next year will make history. Today’s international climate fosters social, economic, and political revolution, yielding stories of incomparable gravity. Independent filmmakers continue to connect the world with these stories, and the Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF) extends to these voices a platform four decades in the making.

“As the U.S. approaches a pivotal election year, this 40th anniversary lineup builds upon six feature films whose subjects, communities, and conflicts resonate with Atlanta and the world beyond,” said Kristy Breneman, ATLFF Creative Director and Features Programmer. Of this first slate, two are narratives and four are documentaries.

All six were selected from an impressive pool of over 4,750 submissions—an ATLFF all-time record. The films and their makers comprise an international showcase, together representing Bangladesh, Canada, India, Pakistan, Palestine, South Africa, and the United States.

Four of the features mark directorial debuts. Directed by Ted Marcus, “Like Lambs” is a dramatic narrative thriller that illustrates a student revolution. “Romeo is Bleeding,” directed by Jason Zeldes, follows Donté Clark’s quest to restore peace in his Richmond, CA streets. “Sink” is a narrative directed by Brett Michael Innes that adapts his novel about a Mozambican domestic worker, her South African employers, and the tragedy that befalls them. “Speed Sisters” is Amber Fares’ documentary tale about the first all-female race car driving team in the Middle East.

“Driving With Selvi” and “A Journey of A Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers,” documentaries from India and Bangladesh respectively, feature strong female subjects from Georgia’s fastest growing demographic.

ATLFF ‘16 meanwhile marks the first year within the Atlanta Film Society (ATLFS), a fortified organization title birthed in October of 2015. The ATLFS name reflects a year-round mission to lead the community in creative and cultural discovery through the moving image. Connection with a filmmaker dramatically magnifies the impact of his or her moving images, and ATLFF strives to bring our filmmakers to Atlanta no matter where they are in the world. This objective introduces a story’s audience to its storyteller, enriching the audience experience with access to the source of passion, context, and craft.

The 40th annual Atlanta Film Festival takes place April 1-10th, 2016. The festival is currently conducting its third annual and largest ever Kickstarter campaign to bring filmmakers to the festival. ( #40Kin40Days

Driving With Selvi

directed by Elisa Paloschi
Canada/India, 2015, Tamil, 74 minutes

Selvi, like so many girls living in India, is forced to marry at 14, only to find herself in a violent marriage. One day in deep despair, she chooses to escape, going on to become South India’s first female taxi driver. We first meet Selvi at a girls’ shelter in 2004—timid, soft-spoken, a fresh runaway from a difficult life. Over a ten-year journey, we see a remarkable transformation as Selvi finds her voice and defies all expectations—learning to drive, starting her own taxi company, leading educational seminars, and much more. This character-driven story highlights the challenges that millions of devalued women and girls in India face. In a society where women are often considered expendable or worthless, Selvi is exceptional—a charming, strong, and utterly courageous young woman who moves beyond the pain she’s experienced to create a new life.

#Documentary #International #NewMavericks

A Journey of A Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers

directed by Geeta Gandbhir, Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy
USA/Bangladesh/Pakistan, 2015, Bengali/English/Creek, 95 minutes

“A Journey of A Thousand Miles” follows a unit of one hundred and sixty women who, between June 2013 and July 2014, travel far from their families, friends and all that is familiar at home in Bangladesh to join the United Nations Stabilizing Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). They form one of the world’s first all female, predominantly Muslim peacekeeping units; shattering every stereotype the world holds about the capabilities of Muslim women. The women—young and old, married and single, mothers and daughters—come from every corner of Bangladesh. The film focuses on three women in this unit as they grapple with the harsh realities of becoming foot soldiers in a United Nations Peacekeeping Mission.

#Documentary #International #NewMavericks

Like Lambs

directed by Ted Marcus
USA, 2016, English, 83 minutes

When economic apocalypse strikes America, students at an impossibly exclusive boarding school kidnap their most privileged classmates. After they release a video to the media stating that unless trillions of dollars in illegally withheld offshore taxes are brought in to halt the collapse, the wealthy elite must watch as their precious babes are executed on national television.

Starring: Liam Aiken, Connor Paolo, Justin Chon, David Dayan Fisher, Godfrey, Chanelle Peloso, Kale Browne

Romeo is Bleeding

directed by Jason Zeldes
USA, 2015, English, 93 minutes

A fatal turf war between neighborhoods haunts the city of Richmond, CA. Donté Clark transcends the violence in his hometown by writing poetry about his experiences. Using his voice to inspire those around him, he and the like-minded youth of the city mount an urban adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with the hope of starting a real dialogue about violence in the city. Will Richmond force Donté to compromise his idealistic ambitions? Or will Donté end Richmond’s cycle of trauma?



directed by Brett Michael Innes
South Africa, 2015, Afrikaans, 115 minutes

"Sink" tells the story of Rachel, a Mozambican domestic worker living in Johannesburg, is forced to make a life-changing decision after her daughter dies while under the care of her South African employer; return to poverty stricken Mozambique or continue working for the people responsible for the death of her child so that she can keep her home, her visa and continue to support her family. Things become even more complicated when she finds out that her employers are expecting their first child and the story follows the journey of all three as they try to find a way to live with the tragic accident that has brought them together.

Starring: Anel Alexander, James Alexander, Leandie du Randt
#Narrative #International

Speed Sisters

directed by Amber Fares
Palestine/USA, 2015, Arabic/English, 80 minutes

The Speed Sisters are the first all-woman race car driving team in the Middle East. Grabbing headlines and turning heads at improvised tracks across the West Bank, these five women have sped their way into the heart of the gritty, male-dominated Palestinian street car-racing scene. Weaving together their lives on and off the track, “Speed Sisters” takes you on a surprising journey into the drive to go further and faster than anyone thought you could.

#Documentary #International #NewMavericks

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