The impressive line-up for this year's 24th annual Out on Film festival opening Thursday night at Landmark Midtown Cinema and running though Oct. 6 only underscores why the Atlanta LGBT cinema festival is one of the oldest and most attended in the country (Out on Film even earned a place on Atlanta magazine's "The Good, the Bad, and the Indie" history of film in Georgia in our September issue). As an honored Out on Film juror, we've already previewed 15 of this year's film in advance. Based on what we've seen, here's our completely unofficial "to do" list for this year's offerings:
— Blow off that late afternoon meeting Thursday in order to catch the British charmer "The Sleeping Beauty of East Finchley" starring Josie Walker and inspired by the real-life "Friends of Dusty" women's choir, directed by Seamus Rea (it screens Thursday at 6 p.m. at Landmark).
— Filmed in Atlanta at the Tabernacle late last year, "Cho Dependent" is the latest concert film by part-time Atlantan and "Drop Dead Diva" actress Margaret Cho where she dishes on her experiences on "Dancing With the Stars" and meeting Sarah Palin with a completely unforgettable (and unprintable) musical finale featuring the Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus (Friday at 9 p.m. at Landmark followed by a Q&A with director Lorene Machado).
— Puncturing perhaps every stereotype about the transgendered, club kid culture, drag queen and African American gay community, director Sheldon Larry's "Leave It on the Floor" is a wildly entertaining musical that also encourages you to think (Saturday at 7:25 p.m. at Landmark).
— The French film "Tomboy," directed by Celine Sciamma, bravely tackles gender roles and what happens when a rough and tumble, sports loving 10-year-old girl named Laure allows the friends she's making in her new neighborhood to believe she's a boy (Monday, Oct. 2 at 5:20 p.m.).
— Director and actor Stephen Cone sets his gay coming of age film in an unlikely place: a Charleston, South Carolina Baptist church. The thought-provoking film about faith and friendship will resonate long after the credits roll. (Monday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at Landmark, followed by a Q&A with Cone). For more information and to check out the festival's complete line-up, go to the official Out on Film festival website.
Collective Soul front man Ed Roland belting out a tune for delighted diners at JCT restaurant and bar. The ever-busy Grammy winner currently has a fun new musical side project, suitably named Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project and is readying his upcoming Southern Gentlemen Fall tour with Better Than Ezra singer Kevin Griffin.
WE HEAR THAT. . .
Oscar winner Martin Scorsese will be contributing an exclusive monthly film column to Turner Classic Movies' monthly Now Playing magazine and viewer guide. The original pieces will also run on the Atlanta-based cable channel's website each month. Among the first subjects the director tackles? A piece honoring "Rebel Without a Cause" director Nicholas Ray on his 100th birthday and a column dedicated to acclaimed cinematographer John Alton.
"WELCOME TO AMERICA" AND HERE'S A TICKET
For English singer-songwriter Kevin Rowe, getting accustomed to American customs has been an ongoing challenge over the past year since he and his wife moved to Atlanta. Luckily for us, Rowe has chronicled his often hilarious learning curve via his new song, "Welcome to America." Rowe will introduce the song in his set at Smith's Olde Bar Thursday at 9 p.m. "It's a kind of Travelling Wilburys meets bewildered Englishman sound," cracks Rowe. "Having stepped off a one way ticket to Atlanta from home, America was bewilderingly different from what I saw in the movies!" Among the oddities Rowe encountered? The notion of free drink refills in restaurants and the complexities of the interstate highway system here where the singer was promptly pulled over by a less than amused police officer. Says Rowe: "The cops around Atlanta are not the cool, 'buddy-next-door' guys I thought I understood from U.S. movies. I was surprised that they didn't appreciate my jokes when they pulled me over for driving in an HOV lane." In November, Rowe will offer the single free to fans signed up to his website email list and Facebook fans.