The 2015 Atlanta Film Festival opened its 39th annual event with one of the most buzzed about indie films of the year, I Am Michael. Although the film’s star James Franco was not in attendance as scheduled, his producing partner Vince Jolivette participated in a Q&A following the screening and Franco friend, actress Abigail Spencer introduced the movie before a sold-out house at The Plaza Theatre.
I Am Michael tells the complicated true story of Michael Glatze, an outspoken homosexual, gay rights advocate who ultimately renounces that identity to become a heterosexual married, Christian pastor. Franco tackles the complex role of Glatze in one of his most layered yet understated performances to date. Zachary Quinto and Emma Roberts play his two partners throughout the different stages of Glatze’s journey; Quinto as his supportive, kind-hearted lover and Roberts as his naïve, optimistic wife. The performances throughout the film are impressive, engaging, and carry the weight of the movie.
Glatze’s real-life identity crisis casts a split personality within Michael that teeters between flat and fascinating. One of the film’s many strengths is that it lets the events of Glatze’s life unfold without an overly forced agenda; however, it’s the same lack of a motive that drains energy from potentially high-charged moments. Although it is nice that first-time director Justin Kelly allows scenes to breathe and not rush, there is not enough material or context to really build upon for a more intense impact.
Jolivette confirmed that Michael’s message is open to interruption, which is also an issue in trying to find an audience target especially due to the final scene. The ending is chilling or affirming depending on one’s personal convictions and will spark many conversations; it’s those post-viewing discussions which might be the film’s greatest impact.
March 20-29 marks the return of the annual Atlanta Film Festival. This year's festival is comprised with some of the most diverse, exciting, edgy, and hyped films during the ten day festival run.
Friday night, the Atlanta Film Festival will officially kick off at The Plaza Theatre with a special presentation screening of I Am Michael. Starring James Franco and Zachary Quinto, the film follows the true story of a man in a committed gay relationship who ultimately renounces his homosexuality to become a Christian pastor and marry a woman. The film's star James Franco and producer Vince Jolivette are scheduled to attend.
Although one can't go wrong in supporting the various independent film selections showcased at AFF this year, below are some of our top picks.
Come out and support Atlanta artist Tony D. Price. Not only is Tony a fixture in the Atlanta art scene, but he is everyone's biggest fan. You can always see him out at events and music shows supporting his friends and now it's our chance to cheer for him.
Tony was recently hospitalized due to a staph infection on his spine which resulted in an evasive back operation temporarily leaving him without motor skills from the waist down. Always a fighter, Tony is in aggressive rehab to regain his skills and learn to walk again.
Join us on February 7 at Smith's Olde Bar as we raise funds and spirits for Tony's speedy (but pricey) recovery. We will have Tony's artwork for sale, raffle prizes, and all money from the night goes directly to help one of our favorite people. So come out for a night of fun, art, and to toast the one and only Tony D. Price. Suggested cover price is $5.
Mixtape Atlanta's annual X-Mix benefiting Songs for Kids Foundation was held on Saturday, December 6 at Vinyl. This year's theme took a break from previous holiday movies themes to make the holidays a little more neon and bright focusing on the best of 1980s music and original pop acts.
Local rockers Goldwing got the night started with a set featuring their own tunes as well as an impressive cover of Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time." Whynatte co-founder Jesse Altman was also in attendance for his annual X-Mix toast complete with delicious Santa Little's Helper shoots for the audience.
Aerobics Cube performed two short sets to keep the audience warmed-up throughout the night, including the first live performance of their "Wrecking Ball" parody "Kettlebell" and closing with a Shake Weight choreographed version of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off."
Nashville's The Love Willows had everyone on the dance floor with their new songs as well as throwbacks like "Falling Faster" and "Strut My Stuff." The duo also dazzled on a cover to "Video Killed the Radio Star" and a sultry "Santa Baby."
James Hall returned to the X-Mix stage to perform with a super group of Atlanta talent. He showcased some new material off his recently released solo album and ended his set with his original holiday song "Last of the Year."
The night's headliners Electric Avenue not only rocked the casbah, but the entire room. The outrageously talented gents had everyone footloose and energized.
On Saturday, December 13, Yacht Rock Revue rocked a sold-out crowd at Variety Playhouse for their sixth annual holiday special concert. The crowd really stepped up when it came to festive wear with tacky sweaters, costumes, lights, and more. Check out some of the night's most merry outfits below. Download your Mixtape Atlanta photo booth photos here.
Mixtape Atlanta presents their sixth annual X-Mix concert party benefiting Songs for Kids Foundation. This year's theme is taking it to the dance floor with a lineup full of 80s and original pop bands. Atlanta's Best 80s Synth Pop band, Electric Avenue, is headlining the night with support from The Love Willows, an infectious pop band from Nashville, and Goldwing, local original rockers with a pop swing. Atlanta 80s aerobics act, Aerobics Cube, will also be keeping the crowd warmed up and footloose between sets. Music icon James Hall is going to be in attendance too for the sixth straight year with a very special performance.
Doors open at 8pm and Whynatte is starting the night off right with their annual toast and free shots to first 100 people at 8:30pm sharp! Mixtape Atlanta will also have an 80s theme photo booth snapping from 8-10pm.
Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. All proceeds benefit Songs for Kids Foundation. Get tickets here!
21 Years charts the origins and impact of esteemed filmmaker Richard Linklater through interviews by some of Linklater's most notable stars and friends, including Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, Billy Bob Thornton, Keanu Reeves, and more. From his resourceful indie roots to storytelling innovation, Linklater has entertained and intrigued movie fans for years and this documentary offers an interesting new chapter.
Check out 21 Years: Richard Linklater in theaters and On Demand starting November 7. For Atlantans, don't miss the opportunity to attend the Atlanta premiere and red carpet screening on Saturday, November 8 at The Plaza Theatre; tickets are available at Plaza's box office. Admission to film screening also includes access to the after-party at Wild Haven Brewery.