Atlanta Film Festival Goes ‘Pink’

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Fans of LGBT cinema looking for a fix before Out on Film returns this fall have an outlet at the Atlanta Film Festival, which returns to Atlanta March 15–24. The six films that make up the Pink Peach Feature Competition take on love, relationships, politics, religion, and some good old S&M.

That last theme features prominently in the highest-profile film in competition: Interior. Leather Bar., the latest gay-themed project from James Franco. The film takes its inspiration from a rumor surrounding the 1980 film Cruising, which starred Al Pacino as an undercover police officer investigating the murders of gay men. According to the film’s director, William Friedkin, roughly 40 minutes of S&M footage was cut in order for the film to avoid an X rating.

Franco, along with co-director Travis Mathews, use Interior. Leather Bar. as an attempt to recreate this lost footage. In doing so, the film—and the characters involved—largely explore the process of making such a film, delving into areas including the representation of LGBT issues since Crusing’s original release.

Playing alongside Interior. Leather Bar. is the film Pit Stop. The film examines the lives of gay men in small-town America through the stories of two men. Gabe is getting over an affair with a married man, while Ernesto is avoiding life at home with his live-in ex-boyfriend. Both Gabe and Ernesto long for romance, even in their small town.

Relationships also come into play in Mosquita y Mari, a tender coming-of-age story between two young girls, Yolanda and Mari. An incident at school draws the two girls into a friendship that eventually leads into what the filmmakers term “unknown territory.” I’ll leave the composition of the territory to your imaginations.

Different relationship ideas are explored in Concussion, a fictional film based on a real-life incident that happened to writer/director Stacie Passon. In the film, following an incident involving a baseball hit to the head, Abby finds herself bored with her suburban life with her wife and kids. Instead, she wants to start a new life—and a new career—in Manhattan.

The Pink Peach Feature Competition also includes a pair of documentaries. The first, God Loves Uganda, is a provocative examination of the influence of evangelical leaders in Uganda, particularly in regards to homosexuality. Think of Uganda’s infamous “Kill the Gays” bill from last year.

The second documentary in competition is Breaking Through, a look at out LGBT elected officials through their own stories. Each politician featured had a unique set of barriers to overcome, but all of them shared similar concerns when coming out and running for office. They use Breaking Through to describe how they overcame their obstacles in order to live life openly.

The Atlanta Film Festival runs March 15-24, and features the Atlanta debuts of 125 films. For more information on the Atlanta Film Festival and the Pink Peach Feature Competition, including film reviews and full schedules, visit atlantafilmfestival.com or davidatlanta.com.

Pink Peach Feature Competition

Breaking Through
March 20 • 9:30 p.m. (101 min.)
Plaza Theatre, Main Screen

Concussion
March 18 • 7 p.m. (96 min.)
7 Stages Theatre

God Loves Uganda
March 17 • 6:30 p.m. (90 min.)
Plaza Theatre, Main Screen

Interior. Leather Bar.
March 21 • 9:15 p.m. (82 min.)
Plaza Theatre, Upstairs Theatre

Mosquita y Mari
March 22 • 7 p.m. (85 min.)
Plaza Theatre, Upstairs Theatre

Pit Stop
March 21 • 7 p.m. (80 min.)
Plaza Theatre, Upstairs Theatre

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