Atlanta film festival unearth treasures
‘Underground’ cinema series ranges from surreal to spooky


or accessAtlanta

Thursday, August 21, 2008

FROM THE SERIOUS to the surreal, sci-fi to sideshow, the Atlanta Underground Film Festival offers short films the likes of which you probably won’t see in a typical multiplex. Celebrating its fifth year, the festival takes place at five venues over the course of five days and includes experimental films by locals as well as those from as far away as Australia, Spain, New Zealand and Germany.

Here are a few things worth grabbing a tub of popcorn for:

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The force on youth of the emerging ‘geek rap’ scene is explored in the film, ‘Nerdcore for Life’, screening Aug. 21 at the Youngblood art studio as part of the Atlanta Underground Festival.

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Animation Attack! The local chapter of the Association International du Film d’Animation returns to AUFF for the second year with the premiere of “John’s Arm: Armageddon,” from Atlanta’s Mike the Pod studio. The feature-length film is about a man whose arm gains super powers after being stuck in a vending machine filled with radioactive soft drinks. It screens 11:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at Lenny’s. Animation Attack! will continue with two programs of short films about zombies, dinosaurs, space travel, war, suicide and other varied topics at the Plaza Theatre at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 22 and 8:30 p.m. Aug. 23.

Comedy Shorts: To most filmgoers, the term comedy evokes thoughts of Will Ferrell or Ben Stiller in situations of humorous absurdity. But the independent spirit of this festival allows for other interpretations during the Aug. 23 comedy program at the Plaza. “Attackazoids!” turns an alien invasion into something laughable while “Honey, I’m Home” sheds a comedic light on infidelity. “The Outhouse” offers toilet humor in the most literal sense and “Panels from the Walls of Hell” is about a film festival projectionist forced to cope with a gruesome setback. 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Plaza Theatre.

DocuFest: This documentary program returns for its third year at AUFF. Taking place each night at Young Blood and the Highland Inn Ballroom, it includes longer films such as “Wiener Takes All: A Dogumentary” (10 p.m. Aug. 21 at Young Blood), about professional dachshund racing, and a feature about the emerging geek rap scene called “Nerdcore for Life” (8:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at Young Blood). “Opposite Land” (7:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at Highland Inn Ballroom) poses a more serious look at the effects of the United States’ use of Latin American resources, while “More Shoes” (8:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at Highland Inn Ballroom) shows one man’s journey across Europe on foot. A program of documentary shorts takes place at the Plaza 5 p.m. Aug. 22.

Freak Show Shorts: A hodge-podge of avant-garde shorts, this Aug. 22 night program pushes the envelope a little more with overtly sexual themes and general weirdness. “Carnival Picaresque” is a drunken acid trip of a journey of delusional degenerates, and “Dog Eat Dog” is about those who derive pleasure from mimicking canine traits. “Vampyros Lesbos” is a Canadian film about a lover scorned by his wife’s lesbian escapades and the drastic actions he takes as a result. 11 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Plaza.

THE 411: Atlanta Underground Film Festival. $7.50; $35 all access. Aug. 20-24. The Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave., Poncey Highland. 404-873-1939, Young Blood Gallery & Boutique, 636 N. Highland Ave., Poncey Highland. 404-254-4127, Highland Inn Ballroom, 644 N. Highland Ave., Poncey Highland. 404-874-5756, Lenny’s Bar, 486 Decatur St. S.E., Cabbagetown. 404-577-7721, The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave., East Atlanta. 404-522-3950,