Who's afraid of experimental film? Not Eric Panter, who's directed the Atlanta Underground Film Festival for five years. The annual event devoted to edgy and emerging filmmakers proves that avant-garde and undiscovered needn't be mutually exclusive with fun.
This year, submissions from Atlanta-based emerging filmmakers include the comedy Loaded Guns: The Movie (Aug. 21, 10 p.m.), directed by Eli Banks, Julian Modugno and Jamie Gaar. Atlanta's Twinhead Theatre produced and financed the collection of shorts and compares it to Kentucky Fried Movie and the work of John Waters. The Atlanta underground animation studio Mike the Pod presents the spoof John's Arm: Armageddon (Aug. 21, 11:30 p.m.), in which a security guard's severed arm turns into a superhero costumed in a colorful sleeve. John's Arm kicks off the festival's "Animation Attack" lineup, which includes two programs of animated shorts (Aug. 22, 9:30 p.m., and Aug. 23, 8:30 p.m.).
The nonfiction track DocuFest opens with Greg Kohs' profile of a husband-and-wife Neil Diamond tribute duo in Song Sung Blue (Aug. 20, 9 p.m.). Kristy Guevara-Flanagan's and Dawn Valadez's Going on 13 (Aug. 22, 8 p.m.), focuses on the lives and concerns of four preteen girls of color, and Shane MacDougall's Wiener Takes All (Aug. 21, 10 p.m.) takes a look at the world of weiner dog competitions.
Several slots are devoted to films about immigration and the United States' relations with Latin America. In Calavera Highway (Aug. 23, 10 p.m.), two brothers take their mother's ashes to the Texas borderlands and uncover some dark implications about the region's legacy. Georg Koszulinski presents an exposé of the challenging lives of migrant farm workers in Immokalee, U.S.A. (Aug. 23, 8 p.m.). Opposite Land (Sun., Aug. 24,) considers the economic disparities between the United States and Latin-American nations.
The quirkiest film on the bill may be Sex Galaxy (Aug. 22, 11:59 p.m.), which describes itself as the first ever "green movie," in that it's edited entirely of recycled public-domain and stock footage. Director Mike Davis uses snippets of forgotten educational films and vintage sci-fi epics to recount a tale of futuristic astronauts desperate to find willing women in outer space. In its irreverent way, Sex Galaxy may be the boldest experiment in the Atlanta Underground Film Festival's laboratory this year.
Atlanta Underground Film Festival. Aug. 20-24. $7.50-$35. Venues include the Plaza Theatre, Youngblood Gallery and Boutique, Highland Inn Ballroom, Lenny's, the EARL and MJQ. www.auff.org.
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