Other AFF highlights range from Dixie to Paris to Westeros 

Plus other noteworthy features

BRO ‘NUFF: L!fe Happens opens the Atlanta Film Festival March 23

Courtesy Stardust Pictures

BRO ‘NUFF: L!fe Happens opens the Atlanta Film Festival March 23

From March 23-April 1, the 36th annual Atlanta Film Festival will screen 125 shorts and feature-length movies — and one long-awaited TV episode — culled from more than 1,500 entries.

The festival opens on March 23 with L!fe Happens, Kat Coiro's comedy about three young, sexually active Los Angelenos, featuring Krysten Ritter, Kate Bosworth, Rachel Bilson, and an irr!tating title. It closes on Saturday night, March 31, with the long-shelved The Cabin in the Woods, a twisty horror film from Cloverfield director Drew Reeves with a screenplay co-written by geek god Joss Whedon. (Fun fact: The Cabin in the Woods opens theatrically on April 13 and stars Chris Hemsworth, who Whedon directs as Thor in The Avengers, opening May 4.)

Other noteworthy features include Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee Monsieur Lazhar, a Canadian drama about an Algerian elementary school teacher with a tragic past; The Woman in the Fifth, a Polish drama starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Ethan Hawke as an American writer trying to reconnect with his wife and daughter in Paris; and God Bless America, Bobcat Goldthwait's black comedy about a terminally ill man who launches a killing rampage against annoying people, from reality TV stars to people who take up two parking spaces. Two films take place from the fractured perspectives of enigmatic protagonists: an amnesiac in Pig, an ominous mystery with echoes of Memento; and a man who inexplicably experiences his life out of order in Shuffle. The festival's final day, April 1, will be reserved for repeat screenings of festival favorites.

This year's Pink Peach (LGBT) Documentary Competition includes South Africa's Glitterboys and Ganglands, about a transsexual pageant; The Grove, about the National AIDS Memorial in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park; and Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads, a mockumentary about a New Orleans drag queen who makes an inappropriate bid to appeal to children. The numerous shorts programs include categories such as animation, comedy, documentary, drama, experimental, and U.K. shorts.

Finally, the Atlanta Film Festival partners with HBO and XFINITY for a special screening of the second season premiere of "Game of Thrones," the hit fantasy epic about regal rivals in the fictional kingdom of Westeros. A lavish, sprawling series with cinematic elements that put most movies to shame, "Game of Thrones" screens at the Rialto Center for the Performing Arts on Wed., March 28, in advance of its HBO premiere on Sunday.

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