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Showing posts from February, 2014

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival: 2014 Audience Prize winners

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Despite two winter storms forcing the festival to cancel, delay or reschedule several film screenings, the 2014 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival still managed to boast 31,000 attendees. This basically matches the number from last year’s festival, maintaining its title as the largest film festival in the Southeastern United States and the second largest Jewish film festival in the world (although, I frequently and unofficially declare it to be larger than the current perceived #1, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, which has only boasted 30,000 attendees for two years running). Weather havoc aside, this year’s festival was most definitely a success—artistically, commercially and socially. The AJFF continues to run like a well-oiled machine—a shining example for other festivals in terms of their ticketing, volunteer staff and venue preparedness. The Creative Loafing Art Party was a blast—an interactive celebration of Hollywood’s foremost Jewish film directors. This year’s Audience Award

"Free to Yowl" Casting Call

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An independent short film preparing for a spring shoot in Atlanta is looking for its lead actors! Set in World War II Nazi-occupied Paris, “Free to Yowl” is written and directed by John Pruner, with Jessica Hinckle serving as script supervisor. Both Pruner and Hinckle are familiar faces in the Atlanta independent film community. Check out the casting call below and if you fit the bill, send in your information! Casting call for a short film set in Nazi-occupied Paris, France (1943) Shoot dates: April – May 2014   Character Breakdowns: DJANGO REINHARDT: Caucasian male, 33 years old. A gypsy jazz guitarist whose carefree spirit and upbeat rhythms threaten the ideals and tastes of the Nazi regime. HOFFMAN: Caucasian male, 30’s-40’s. A bookish Komandant in Hitler’s wehrmacht. He has a secret affinity for jazz music. MUELLER: Caucasian male, 20’s-30’s. A large brute of a soldier who enjoys kicking a man when he’s down. Please send inquiries and/or resumes and headshots to  DjangoFilmCasting

The V.H.S. Film Festival is open for submissions!

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Short for “Videographer’s Hella-Big Short,” the V.H.S. Film Festival has been giving amateur, aspiring and professional filmmakers a chance to showcase their original work on the big screen in Athens for several years. Submissions are now open! You must submit your film by 11:59 PM on Friday, March 14th to be eligible . The next festival will be held March 27th at Ciné Athens. 

AJFF Review: "Ida" (***½)

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Agata Trzebuchowska stars as Ida in “Ida” The 2014 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival  has drawn to a close, but the films it featured press on. Enter “Ida,” director Pawel Pawlikowski’s career’s first foray into his native Poland. Filmed in a black-and-white square aspect ratio, Pawlikowski’s screenplay is nearly upstaged by Lukasz Zal’s and Ryszard Lenczewski’s striking visual direction, which is beautifully upstaged by newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska. At first she plays Anna—a young soon-to-be nun encouraged by the Mother to become acquainted with her only living relative, Aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza). Wanda wastes no time imparting life-changing truth: Anna is not Anna at all. Her name is Ida. And Ida is not Catholic, but Jewish. Her parents were murdered during WWII. Ida has questions, but Wanda doesn’t have all the answers. The two take a trip across Poland on a search for the rest. What they find pulls not only Ida’s but Wanda’s identity into question, and the results threaten to be more t

What to see at the 2014 Macon Film Festival

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Middle Georgia’s premiere film event gets ready to kick off its ninth year of festivities with film screenings, workshops, celebrity guests, after parties—and of course, its signature drink, the Magatini. The 9th Annual Macon Film Festival happens this week, kicking off Thursday, February 27th and running through Sunday, March 2nd! I’m excited to say this will be my third year in attendance; Macon having become one of my year’s biggest highlights. The Macon Film Festival is an excellent display of community—both in terms of local arts fans and filmmakers alike. This year’s events look to be their most high profile yet. Not only are several filmmakers scheduled to attend, but Matthew Modine—award-winning actor of film, television and stage—will be honored Saturday, March 1st with a 30th anniversary screening of “Birdy.” Music documentaries have a bright spotlight at this year’s festival, with “Muscle Shoals” opening the fest and a handful of other selections dotting the lineup. Georgia

Christo's Best Films of 2013

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10 “Frances Ha” Directed by Noah Baumbach Reminiscent of some of Woody Allen’s early work, “Frances Ha” is a charming and endlessly surprising little film with amusing dialogue and one fantastic lead performance. Greta Gerwig, star and co-writer, is perfect in the role of Frances, an impulsive 20-something struggling to find her place in a world where rent isn’t cheap and all of her friends seem to have everything together. Directed by Noah Baumbach and shot in crisp black and white, “Frances Ha” is playful, smart and potent.   9 “Don Jon” Directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt Joseph Gordon-Levitt wrote, directed and starred in this fast-paced dramedy about a porn-addicted, self absorbed   juice head. JGL’s film influences are heavily apparent here, but never take away from this spectacularly funny, original little gem. The script is witty and fast and offers up some really interesting commentary on how our society views relationships, love and one another. ( Review )   8 “The Conjuring” Di

The Best Films of 2013

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Sure, we are already into February now. But with years like 2013, it’s never too late to celebrate such high quality cinema. Perhaps the best year since 2007 (“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” “Atonement,” “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” “I’m Not There,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Ratatouille,” “There Will Be Blood,” “La Vie en Rose”), 2013 showcases strength across the board—in foreign and American films, in documentaries and narratives, in dramas and comedies—and perhaps most of all—in films that blurred the lines. This past year’s films showcased stories and craftsmanship as complex as the filmmakers themselves. From auteur-driven work like “American Hustle,” “Gravity,” “Her” and “Upstream Color” to a tremendous showing for American indies like “Hank and Asha,” “Hide Your Smiling Faces” and “Short Term 12″—this list is probably the toughest I’ve ever put together.  Several of these films played our local film festivals. “7 Boxes,” “euphonia,” “The Ex

Signs and Sets: "Cell"

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The set of “The Cell,” just outside Olivia Morgan Antiques. “Cell,” a thriller adapted from the Stephen King novel, started filming in East Cobb today near the corner of Lower Roswell Road and Davidson Road. Thanks to stars John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson, who worked together on another King adaptation, “1408,” the set has already provoked notable buzz and a few sightings. Cusack has been seen this week eating at Ritter’s and at Sam’s BBQ1. The novel presents Clayton Riddell, possibly cast as Cusack, as he tries to defeat The Pulse–a dangerous virus that attacks the world via the global cell network, turning its victims into mindless predators. He bands together with Tom McCourt, cast as Jackson, and Alice Maxwell, cast as Isabelle Fuhrman (“Orphan,” 2009). Fuhrman is a veteran of Sope Creek Elementary, which is right down the street from this set. I walked the perimeter of the parking lot and saw no one but truck and trailer drivers. There are nine to twelve trailers altogether, and