Atlanta Film Festival Opening Night

Photo courtesy of Mike McKinney

Friday night was the big opening night of the 39th Annual Atlanta Film Festival. On the Red Carpet, I interview actress Abigail Spencer and executive director of the film festival, Christopher Escobar.

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Hi, Abigail, good to see you back at the Atlanta Film Festival.

Abigail: Yeah, it’s so interesting because two years ago we premiered season one of “Rectify” here at the festival. And Raymond McKinnon, the creator of the series, won the Atlanta Film Festival with his short film “The Accountant” that went on to win the Academy Award. So it was really special for him to come to his hometown and premiere “Rectify.” I just loved the festival and Chris Escobar. There is just so much going on in Atlanta and this festival. It’s doing great things for independent film, and it’s filmmakers. This year I get to bring a film to the festival, a film I produced called “Winter Light.”

Atlanta Film Festival Opening Night

Photo courtesy of Matt Rodriguez

Talk about your film, “Winter Light”:

Abigail: Well, the Atlanta Film Festival is known for being a very prestigious festival for short films because it’s an Oscar qualifier. So, I am not acting in this film; I just produced it. It stars Raymond J. Berry, and it was directed by an incredible young filmmaker named Julian Higgins. We made the movie in Montana, raising all the money ourselves. It’s based on a short story by James Lee Burke. And the movie we are opening for, “Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey” was directed by Scott Teems, who tried to turn “Winter Light” into a feature film. He suggested to us that it would make a great short. We got the rights to make the short film, and now we get to open for his film. Scott writes and directs on “Rectify” also.

Atlanta Film Festival Opening Night

Photo courtesy of Mike McKinney

So, talk about Rectify:

Abigail: Well, we are shooting season three right now. We just wrapped episode three of season three.  I love being on “Rectify.”

So, how’s your Thrifty Town?

Abigail: Thrifty Town is at it again. My character can’t get enough of Thrifty Town. I love shooting here. I from the South and I love how so much of filming is happening in the Atlanta area. It’s become such a hotbed for not only films and TV but also filmmakers and the industry. I think because of that, the prestige of the Atlanta Film Festival is only going to grow over time. We shoot “Rectify” in Griffin, Georgia, which is just an hour south of here, so I just drove on up to come to the Festival.

Alright, well it was great seeing you again.

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Abigail: Thank you so much.

Atlanta Film Festival Opening Night

Photo courtesy of Mike McKinney

Hi Chris, talk about the opening night film:

Chris: This festival is 39 years in the making, and we are really excited to be showing “I Am Michael,” a film that not only James Franco stars in, he also produced it. The film premiered at Sundance, and we are very excited to having the Southeastern premier here.

So talk about some of the other films you are showing during the festival:

Chris: We have some incredible works from both film and television. We have Indie films and major releases, so it’s a good mix of short films, feature films and some really good documentaries.

Atlanta Film Festival Opening Night

Photo courtesy of Mike McKinney

You have a lot of Georgia based films also:

Chris: Yeah, we sure do. We have over 30 works that are connected and tied to Georgia. We have a number of lead actors, writers, directors and producers that are from Georgia. So Georgia is very well represented at the Atlanta Film Festival.

Thank you, Chris and much success with the film festival.

Chris: Thank you so much.

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The Atlanta Film Festival runs through Sunday, March 29th. Venues include the Plaza Theatre, 7 Stages, the Fox Theatre and the Rialto Theatre. For more information go to