Welcome to the 2014 Atlanta DocuFest

The Last One

(80m, U S A)  dir. by Nadine Licostie

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​In the eighties and nineties, as AIDS ravaged the United States gay community, the AIDS Memorial Quilt was born out of a public battle for treatment and understanding. The Last One is a feature-length documentary tracing its history and the role it continues to play today. Through the intensely personal stories of founders, volunteers, and panel-makers, The Last One examines how stigma exacerbated and still fuels a disease that currently infects 65 million men, women and children around the globe – including 50,000 new infections a year in the US alone.
Following the Quilt’s founder, Cleve Jones, and dedicated volunteer Gert McMullen, we trace the Quilt’s beginnings and explosive growth. In 2012, the Quilt goes on the road for a ten-city “Call My Name” tour and we join a core group of volunteers. Their stories illuminate the epidemic’s impact on the African American community, particularly women and youth, along with issues of access, education, and stigma.
Our story culminates at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, where the Quilt returns to the National Mall for the first time in fifteen years, and celebrities and activists pay tribute to a Quilt panel which reads simply, “The Last One.” AIDS still threatens nearly every sector of society, but it is finally realistic to imagine a day when the NAMES Project can sew “The Last One” panel into the Quilt, representing the last new infection, the last AIDS case, the last AIDS death.


Screens:

Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 6:30 pm


Freedom From Choice

(78m, Australia, U S A) dir. by Tim Delmastro

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Life is about choice. What we eat, what we read, who we elect; every day we make choices that determine how we want to live.

But what if these choices are just an illusion?

In an era where regulations and red tape rule every industry, where lobby groups and big business wield more influence than ever before, our daily choices have become increasingly limited. And with all our options so deliberately handpicked, are we really making a choice at all?

Freedom From Choice is a feature-length documentary examining the current state of life and personal choice in America today. Experts from many different fields offer a frank and startling look at the hidden limitations in our daily lives. Focusing on key areas such as food, medicine, finance, and media, Freedom From Choice provides viewers with a glimpse at the myriad of ways their lives are being dictated, and tells us who stands to gain. 

Presented in an entertaining style, Freedom From Choice is a film not about the choices we make, but rather the choices that are being made for us.


Screens:

Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 8:30 pm

Despite the Gods

(85m, Australia) dir. by Penny Vozniak

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Welcome to India, home of the world’s largest movie industry, where mere mortal film stars are worshiped with the same fervor as timeless Indian Gods; and the new buzzword ‘co-production’ looms on the lips of savvy Bollywood financiers keen to form a Bollywood-Hollywood alliance. Yet, co-production of this sort is relatively uncharted territory. It would take immense courage or naivety for a US filmmaker to dive into the chaos that epitomizes film making in India.

In 2008, Jennifer Lynch (daughter of cult director David Lynch), dove headfirst into this very scenario. She had just returned to the Hollywood fold after spending nearly 15 years in exile since being crucified by press and feminist groups for her debut film, Boxing Helena. Wounded by the harsh response of her critics, Lynch retreated from the public eye. Her second film, Surveillance, had just premiered at Cannes and bolstered by this success she felt ready to take on more challenging projects. As fate would have it Jennifer meets maverick Indian producer Govind Menon, who invites her to write and direct Hisss.

Touted to be the first ever creature-feature, Bollywood-Hollywood co-production, Hisss tells the tale of the vengeful snake Goddess, Nagin. Lynch pens a bizarre, modern take on the ancient legend that can best be described as a comedy / horror / action / adventure / musical / creature-feature / love story. 

But things go wrong very quickly. Perhaps there’s a good reason Hollywood and Bollywood have never blended like this before…


Screens:

Friday, December 12, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Art of Darkness

(85m, Canada) dir. by David Parker

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Art of Darkness is a feature documentary intimately profiling controversial painter and performance artist Bryan Lewis Saunders. Bryan is renowned for his commitment to producing a self portrait every day, which, to date, number well over 10,000. A complex individual with admitted psychopathic tendencies, Bryan narrates his dark, complex process and the experiences that have shaped him and how he uses art to help tame his inner demons. Bryan's famed 'drug series' of self portraits while under the influence of a variety of mind-altering substances, has made him an Internet sensation garnering a legion of loyal fans worldwide.


Screens:

Friday, December 12, 2014 at 8:30 pm

Documentary Shorts Program

Screens:

Saturday, December 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm

94 min. TRT



Sugar Coated

(11m, U S A) dir. by Chris Parson

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Sugar Coated is a brief look into the lives of Southern California Lolita aficionados. Lolita, a fashion movement imported from the streets of Harajuku, Tokyo, has a thriving group of followers in Los Angeles. They wear beautiful, modestly cut outfits that frequently involve a puffy skirt that hits right below the knees. They accessorize with a mix of pieces that evoke vintage charm and 21st century whimsy. Their outfits are attention-grabbers, so different from typical L.A. street fashion that you can't help but do a double-take.

Sugar Coated follows four Lolitas and investigates their motivations for taking on the extreme style; from self expression, to the questioning of identity and body image.





Last Stop in Santa Rosa

(5m, U S A) dir. by Elizabeth Lo

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In a world where euthanizing old and disabled pets is the norm, Last Stop in Santa Rosa calls into question the ethics behind pet euthanasia. The film takes place in Bright Haven, a hospice for elderly, disabled, and terminally ill animals. Part of the growing animal hospice movement in California, Bright Haven rejects the use of euthanasia – opting to “hospice” animals through the end of life instead. Nearly 600 animals have lived and died here. Old cats, dogs, and horses that would have otherwise been euthanized are given the chance to experience their twilight years – but they also must endure the trials of aging. Through the struggles of a blind, mentally handicapped shepherding dog, and a wheelchair-bound Chihuahua, difficult questions come to the fore. Would it have been kinder to enable these animals to die? Or does putting them down undermine their will to live? The film suggests that our presumed privilege to end our pets’ lives when we deem fit – however well-intentioned – may not be as sound as we think. Though euthanasia is widely considered the most humane treatment for old and ailing animals, at the end stages of life and death, there are no easy answers.



Inside Ruffus

(4m, Canada) dir. by José Rosales

Inside Ruffus explores the connection between an experienced puppeteer, Robert Mills, and his favourite puppet, Ruffus the dog. Rob, who worked for Jim Henson, describes how he finds a sweet spot in Ruffus the dog.



 



Merlijn en de Rode Appel

(15m, Netherlands) dir. by Susan Koenen

Merlin (11) is a bright and cheerful boy. But he does not go to school because he has autism. A classroom full of children is too busy for him. It makes him feel depressed. At home, he enjoys making inventions and cartoons. Meanwhile, his mother is working hard to get Merlin back to school using a 'Web-chair'. Then he can follow regular school lessons, using a sort of Skype connection from his home. Would that be something for him? Or... is Merlin able to invent his own solution?




Free Art 4U

(8m, U S A) dir. by Nicole Powell

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Art Friday ATL is an ongoing city-wide social art scavenger hunt. Art pieces are hidden around the city and photos are posted on social media using #FAFATL. If you are first to find the art, you get to keep it and take it home with you absolutely free. This not only happens in Atlanta, but in many other cities as well. In my short documentary, I follow the stories of 5 free art makers and a piece of their art from its creation to the hands of its new owners.





Godka Cirka

(10m, Spain, U S A) dir. by Àlex Lora, Antonio Tibaldi

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Beerato is a small, little known area with wide open expanses in wind swept Somaliland. This  mesmerizing observation will bring a new perspective to how we look at the lives of ordinary women living in an extraordinary place.



Wheels: An American Dream

(21m, U S A) dir. by Sara Joe Wolansky

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Wheels: An American Dream' is an underdog story charting the lives of four food trucks trying to make it in an increasingly demanding industry. These entrepreneurs must challenge and reinvent their own notions of success, happiness, and the true meaning of being their own bosses. In 2008, the Kogi BBQ truck opened in Los Angeles to unprecedented success. Suddenly, food trucks became the new, hot trend in LA. Since then, hundreds of entrepreneurs have opened their own food trucks in order to fulfill a long-held American dream of being their own bosses. The mobile food industry, however, is more difficult than it might appear to an outsider.
Aspiring entrepreneurs Briggidy and Charlie balance the difficulties of opening a truck with the demands of parenthood. Taylor finds ways to enjoy the food truck life despite a broken truck and never-ending fees. Dave accepts that there will always be a more popular truck around the corner--and that's okay. Lawrence's truck went out of business and he must learn to recuperate and be happy. What is the meaning of success for each of these people in an industry where there is always a newer, hotter truck around the corner?




Why We Race

(11m, U S A) dir. by Kiley Vorndran ​and Ryan Westra

A survivor of a motorcycle wreck, disabled for life, trains to compete in the Paralympic Games.





The Pink Helmet Posse

(9m, U S A) dir. by Kristelle Laroche

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Young girls are rarely encouraged to step of away from the societal norms of femininity, but Bella, Relz, and Sierra see things differently. Step into the world of 'The Pink Helmet Posse' as these three little girls fearlessly take on the world of skateboarding in their pink tutus and perfectly pink nails, giving the boys a run for their money.







American Bear: An Adventure in the Kindness of Strangers

(93m, U S A) dir. by Sarah Sellman, Greg Grano

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'American Bear: An Adventure In The Kindness Of Strangers' is an inspiring exploration of the United States through trust, fear, and hospitality -- across America and between Americans. 

Armed with only curiosity and a camera, dynamic couple Sarah and Greg test the compassion of Americans by relying on the kindness of strangers for a home each night. They spend every day in a new town, each time hoping that someone will be generous enough to open their home to two young strangers. 

Following a route conceived when Greg spoke out in his sleep, the couple is literally chasing a dream through the five towns in the country called Bear - spanning between Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Arkansas, and Delaware.

Led by Sarah and Greg through a vast landscape of geography and character, the film expands to paint a portrait of Americans as a community, and to answer questions we all have about the people who aren’t us and the places that aren’t our homes. From the daughter of the last warrior woman of the Cheyenne mountain tribe in Montana; to a mother in Idaho dealing with the recent death of her youngest daughter; to friends in Mississippi trying to understand the “country” stereotype, maybe even reclaim it – each character is eager to share their own story. Ultimately, the film presents a cross-section of Americans yearning for connection, and able to find it in the kindness of strangers.


Screens:

Saturday, December 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm

GreasePaint

(84m, U S A) dir. by Daniel Espeut

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GreasePaint is a documentary that follows Joey Thurmond and his family as they take their American circus clown act on the road. Having started the clowning full time, Joey has put his life savings and police pension into his ultimate passion. He overhauls the new show completely with a new background, traveling set, and living quarters. The family starts the year not knowing whether they will have enough money to make it back home from the road. His wife, Jamie, manages a lot of the day to day affairs and keeps the peace in the family. Joey’s son, Tyler, weighs his options of staying with the business or pursuing his own dreams. Hernan Colonia, a late-comer to the show works on adjusting to his new surroundings and unfortunate immigration situation. The movie is a glimpse into a year of traveling in the most significant and dynamic year in the business’ history while examining the clowning world as a whole. The audience sees the backstories of quite a few of the characters including Joey’s rise from professional wrestler, to police officer, to clown. It is about the love of a family and how they manage to live and work together 24 hours a day while following their circus dreams.



screens with opening film:


I Live in Life

(16m, U S A) dir. by Lars Fuchs

When Alzheimer's upends the relationship between Anna-Riitta and her youngest son Lars, he grasps at a last chance to understand a little-discussed chapter of his mother's life. He asks her about a provocative collection of WWII snapshots that show her socializing with officers of the German Luftwaffe, during the Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union, but gets no satisfying answers. When Lars' elder sister Anneli arrives to get Anna-Riitta's signature on a 'life-certificate' for her Danish pension, the impact of her disease is plain. In documenting Lars' efforts to keep a connection with his mother alive, i live In Life ponders the question, who are we if we don't remember who we are?



Screens:

Saturday, December 13, 2014 at 6:30 pm


Perfect Strangers

(69m, U S A) dir. by Jan Krawitz

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Perfect Strangers tells the story of two unique and engaging characters. One is Ellie, who embarks on an unpredictable journey of twists and turns, determined to give away one of her kidneys. Five hundred miles away, Kathy endures nightly dialysis and loses hope of receiving a transplant until Ellie reads her profile on an online website. Both women face unexpected challenges as their parallel stories unfold over the course of four years. The film explores the ineffable magnitude of Ellie’s gift and the burden of responsibility that accompanies it, for both donor and recipient. Intimate scenes with Ellie, Kathy, and their families reveal the complicated physical and emotional terrain of organ donation. Perfect Strangers raises questions about what motivates an individual towards an extreme act of compassion. Why are we unnerved by the idea of such an extreme gift?
The film provokes the viewer to confront his/her place on the continuum between selfishness and altruism, inevitably asking, “Could I do this, and if so, for whom?” 


Screens:

Saturday, December 13, 2014 at 8:30 pm


You are invited to the 2014 Atlanta International Documentary Film Festival held December 11 - 13, 2014 at the dooGallery in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Find out more about the upcoming festival, including info about the venue and ticketing 

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