The Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF) kicks off Friday, March 24, and continues through April 2 with a line-up of 163 movies.

Of the record-breaking 6,000+ film submissions for the 2017 festival, the final selections include 47 feature length films, 116 short films and 28 creative media presentations, which consist of music videos, virtual reality and episodic pilots. The diverse slate represents 40 countries, with 53 percent of selected submissions directed by a female and 40 percent from filmmaker(s) of color.

Christopher Escobar, ATLFF Executive Director said, “Coming off a record-setting 40th Anniversary event in 2016, we are entering our fifth decade with programming that represents our long-term commitment to celebrate filmmakers and audiences of all backgrounds. We are especially proud to be a festival that highlights diverse voices, while also emphasizing the important role that our city plays in the film and television community by holding our events at places unique to Atlanta.”

The feature film “Dave Made a Maze” will be the Opening Night Presentation on Friday. Lauded “a cult classic in the making,” the narrative feature-length film combines elements of live action, puppetry and stop-motion video. The film stars comedian Nick Thune and is the directorial debut of writer-director Bill Watterson. Watterson and select cast and crewmembers will attend the Opening Night red carpet screening and celebration.

Other big screenings will include: “The Lost City of Z” (starring Charlie Hunnam, Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson), “The Boss Baby” (starring Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Lisa Kudrow, Jimmy Kimmel, Toby Maguire), and “Dean” (starring Demetri Martin and Kevin Kline).

ATLFF is also partnering with the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival  to co-present three films, including “The Zookeepers’s Wife”  (starring Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Daniel Brühl) and “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Fall of a New York Fixer” starring Richard Gere.

ATLFF will close with “Menashe,” a Yiddish comedic drama that explores New York’s ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jewish community,

Many of the film screenings will be held at the Plaza Theatre in Poncey-Highland, although damage to the theatre during a recent private event has forced some screenings to move across the street to North Druid Hills Presbyterian Church. For For a full lineup of films and venues or to purchase passes, visit AtlantaFilmFestival.com.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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