The 19th Annual Atlanta Film Festival

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The 19th Annual Film Festival is set to kick off beginning next Wednesday, February 6 through Tuesday Feb 26, 2019. Opening night, film lovers and patrons of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF) will view the Israeli dramedy called “Shoelaces”. This film is a story about the relationship between an aging mechanic and his full-energy special-needs son that he abandoned. The film provides a very realistic depiction of special-needs people, but in a way that is humorous and nature-sensible. Along with this film, the Atlanta Film Festival will present 180 screenings, with “an international collection of 76 films from 24 countries, at various Atlanta venues including Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, Regal Perimeter Pointe, Regal Atlantic Station, UA Tara Cinemas and The Woodruff Arts Center.

Since my first involvement with AJFF many years ago, I have grown to love and respect the overall AJFF experience and the great effort they put into bringing together such a host of gifted filmmakers, actors and creatives of the Jewish community. This is an event not be missed!

For more information and tickets, please visit www.ajff.org.

*Photo Courtesy of Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

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The 2018 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Returns!

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Atlanta welcomes the 18th Annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival! This year's festival kicks off January 24th - February 15th and one not to be missed!  Both patrons and first-timers alike can anticipate a total of 192 screenings with an array of films from 27 countries. These heart-felt screenings will be shown at some of the most popular venues in the city including the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Perimeter Point 10, Atlantic Station Stadium, Hollywood Stadium 24, The Springs Cinema & Taphouse, Tara Cinemas 4 and the Woodruf Arts Center. The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival has something for everyone to enjoy and infuses both Jewish culture and timeless modern themes in a very captivating style. I, personally have had the privilege of participating in the film festival for the past two years and admit that AJFF has been my all time favorite film festival yet! AJFF Executive Director, Kenny Blank, encourages followers of the festival to expect a "universality to the stories told in this year's lineup, with both sweeping and epic stories, personal narratives, unconventional perspectives, and stories that intersect with other communities."

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The opening ceremony this year will commence with a media reception on the evening of January 24th followed by an exclusive documentary screening of Sammy Davis Jr.'s I've Gotta Be Me. This documentary highlights the Harlem-mite's legendary journey as a singer, dancer, artist and entertainer during the time of racial persecutions and the dire need to break through such barriers during his era. This, along with many other amazing screenings will be available throughout the city for on-goers to enjoy up until February, 15th (as the festival concludes).

For more information on AJFF and ticketing, please visit www.ajff.org.

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Bronze Lens Film Fest's VIP Media Reception

Last night at the elegant Davidoff of Geneva Cigar Shop in Atlanta, the Bronze Lens Film Festival staff, its key players and media, all met up for a VIP reception. The event took place at the chic Shops of Buckhead Atlanta in the upscale Davidoff of Geneva store. Local media guests, actors, film producers and the executive staff for Bronze Lens all gathered inside to discuss this year's itinerary for the film festival. Executive Producer Kathleen Bertrand facilitated the discussion by letting the public know that they have been working hard year-round to make sure this year's film festival is an absolute success. She also explained the importance of support from the community to keep projects like this thriving and vibrant.

Both she and Board Director Tirrell Whittley, share with us that we as people of color should be intentional about our support. She mentions that they've never had a problem with getting volunteers from the community and this year, have over 800 + volunteers involved. Kathleen says, "Film festivals like Bronze Lens will not survive if we continue to allow everything to be free" and Tirrell also encourages people to support by sponsoring a college student for just $30 to attend the festival this year. Not only does the film festival provide opportunities for people to be exposed to films by people of color, but more importantly, there is a strong educational piece that happens during the festival and amazing networking for people passionate about filmmaking.

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This year's Bronze Lens has a lot of exciting events to look forward to including a conversation with Actor David Banner, workshops such as "Becoming a Camera Ready Vendor" and "The Status of Production in Georgia", and more! Also this year, Kathleen has announced that Bronze Lens will be showing the premiere episode of OWN TV's "Queen Sugar". And to top the evening off, we had an opportunity to hear from the talented Actress Terry Vaughn about her new comedy film called #DigitalLivesMatter; a comedy about DC Young Fly with his over 3 million followers who finds that all of his followers are suddenly deleted by a hacker at the time of a major audition he has prepared for. She in conjunction with production company Nina Holiday Entertainment have been diligently working on the film which will be showcased at this year's festival and will be also available via streaming next month.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.bronzelens.com.

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*All photos are courtesy of TKO Photographic.

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'Can You Dig This' The Documentary at AFF 2016

Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour held a special screening of the documentary 'Can You Dig This?' at this week's 40th Atlanta Film Festival. The documentary follows the stories of 4 urban gardeners in South Los Angeles who create gardens in some of the heaviest crime-stricken areas of the city. Each character in the film tells the story of their hardships as recovering gangstas as viewers are able to witness first-hand how hopelessness is somehow dissolved through taking responsibility to nurture community gardens throughout South LA. They say, "In the garden you learn that you have a purpose. The way the plants need to be nurtured, tended and cultivated in order to grow and produce other seed that will bring new life... Just like us, it requires patience, persistence and care." And as the film unfolds, we find a message of hope and restoration springing forth out of these shattered lives whereby they demonstrate that it's never to late to turn your life around.

These stories are not only inspiring but more importantly, they have a way of helping others understand and sympathize with people who may have gone through similar things in life. And when it's all said and done, you realize that together, we all can work toward a common goal to rebuild our communities at whatever the cost. 

For more, please visit www.canyoudigthisfilm.com

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The Fundamentals of Caring: Opening Night of The 40th Atlanta Film Festival

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Director Rob Burnett of the film The Fundamentals of Caring shares with us on the red carpet that this film is "an emotional story told in a funny way." His hope is that people enjoy the film and are engaged in the content from start to finish. So far, the film has gotten raving reviews from its viewers and yielded big laughs.

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The Fundamentals of Caring is based on the novel (same name) written by Jonathan Evison. The story centers around Ben (played by Paul Rudd) and an 18-year old young man named Trevor who suffers from muscular dystrophy (played by Craig Roberts). Both Ben and Trevor share a commonality in the level of tragedies they've encountered as one is paralyzed physically and the other (Ben) emotionally due to the sudden tragic death of his son. Needing a job, Ben gets certified to become a caretaker and takes on an assignment as Trevor's caretaker. Although the onset of their relationship proves to be a shaky one, Ben pushes Trevor beyond his limitations and the twobuild a real bond out of their brokenness and despair.

This film was definitely a great opener to commemorate The Atlanta Film Festival's 40th Anniversary.

For tickets and more info, please visit www.atlantafilmfestival.com

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It's Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong - #AJFF2016

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The annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival hosted one of several screenings of the 2015 film "Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong" at Atlantic Station Regal Cinemas. Written and directed by Emily Ting, this romance comedy tells the story of two complete strangers who meet randomly at an outdoor birthday party in Hong Kong. The one, a Chinese American girl (Ruby) played by Jamie Chun and the other, an American guy (Josh) played by Brian Greenberg  who now resides in the city for work. The two build a mutual attraction over the course of two encounters as Josh helps Ruby get more acclimated with the city. The both share similar interests and spark one another's deepest ambition. The conflict is the fact that the both are in relationships and have to come to terms with the fact that the direction of their pre-existing relationship becomes questionable due to their growing infatuation with one another.

Check out the trailer below:

For more on the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, please visit www.ajff.org.

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Début to the 16th Annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

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Tonight marks the kick off to this phenomenal film fest at the Cobb Energy Centre in Atlanta, Georgia. Celebrating 16 years, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF) opens with a stellar gala held in Ballrooms A, B & C of the Cobb Energy Centre. The room was comfortably adorned with both draped café round and high tables topped with hot pink plumes seated in tall vases. The gala began around 5PM EST to segway into the premiere film "Remember" at 7:30PM. The film is a thriller that centers around a dementia-stricken Holocaust survivor played by actor Christopher Plummer (See Movie Trailer Below). Prior to the film premiere, fans of AJFF made their rounds around the ballroom floor to taste a slew of foods and delicacies prepared by close to 20 local top notch dining sponsors for the event.

This event is the largest Jewish film Festival in the world and the largest film festival to be held annually in the city of Atlanta. Scheduled from January 26 - February 17th, there will be a wide range of films shown all around Atlanta. This is definitely one that you don't want to miss!

For more and to purchase film tickets, please visit www.ajff.org.

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