"The Farewell," featuring Awkwafina, is the opening film for the Atlanta Film Festival, which takes place April 4-14. CONTRIBUTED: ATL FILM FEST/BIG BEACH

ATL Film Fest reveals opening night movie, marquee events

Snake handlers, a serial killer and a dying grandmother will be the focus of the opening and closing moments of the Atlanta Film Festival, which takes place April 4-14.

The festival’s recently-announced “marquee” events will include the April 5 opening night film, “The Farewell,” about a Chinese family’s decision to avoid telling their grandmother about her terminal diagnosis.

Instead, the family organizes a wedding as a way to gather and say goodbye. The movie stars Awkwafina, from “Crazy Rich Asians.” Writer-director Lulu Wang will attend the opening night celebrations.

The April 13 closing night film is called “Them That Follow,” which looks at a Pentecostal family in the Appalachians, who demonstrate their faith by handling poisonous snakes.

Co-director Dan Madison Savage is scheduled to attend that screening.

"Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" tells the story of serial killer Ted Bundy. The film will be part of the 43rd annual Atlanta Film Festival. CONTRIBUTED:ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL/BRIAN DOUGLAS
Photo: Brian Douglas

The Netflix feature film “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” about serial killer Ted Bundy is also among the highlighted moments of the 11-day festival.  Academy Award-nominated director Joe Berlinger is to attend that screening on Sunday, April 7.

Other films of note to be presented at the festival include: “Little Woods,” starring Tessa Thompson and Lily James, “Teen Spirit,” starring Elle Fanning, “In Fabric,”  starring Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and “The Tomorrow Man,” starring John Lithgow and Blythe Danner. 

Among the documentaries to be presented at the festival is “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool,” a portrait of the iconic trumpeter and bandleader.

During the course of the festival audiences will see 98 short films, 43 feature length movies and 36 events described as “creative media,” which include music videos, video installations and other experimental work.

This year the festival will bring back an old tradition, the Image Awards, which will take place April 3, the day before the festival begins, at the Fox Theatre’s Egyptian Ballroom.

During that evening the festival will recognize leaders who have contributed to building the state's film industry, and to the community.

For information about tickets, venues and a full schedule go to the Atlanta Film Festival website.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.