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5 must-see screenings (and events) at BronzeLens Film Fest

The annual Atlanta fest mixes an ambitious range of critical and commercial film fare this weekend

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With so many events and screenings worth attending at this year's BronzeLens Film Festival, it wouldn't be overkill to throw up a link to the entire schedule and call it a weekend. But with a wide range of critical and commercial picks, a little curating couldn't hurt.

Of course, a few of the biggest events are already history as year four of the annual Atlanta fest got underway Wednesday night with the screening of director Pratibha Parmar's documentary Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth. It featured an in-depth look at the Georgia-born writer's evolution from a shack in rural Eatonton to the top of the nation's celebrated-author heap. Attendees also got a preview of the VH1 rock doc Finding the Funk by culture critic Nelson George. Walker, Parmar, and George were in attendance for talk-backs after their film screenings. And last night, director Kasi Lemmons (Eve's Bayou, Talk To Me) attended the Atlanta premiere and talk-back at Atlantic Station's Regal Theater for her forthcoming Hollywood version of Langston Hughes' musical Black Nativity.

But there's still plenty to do and see this weekend. Here's a short list of highlights:

>> Moms Mabley: I Got Somethin' to Tell You: HBO will host the Atlanta debut screening of the feature documentary about African-American stand-up comic pioneer Jackie "Moms" Mabley, whose edgy humor made her a forerunner of acts like Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor, and Whoopi Goldberg - who produced and directed the film. 7-10 p.m. Fri., Nov. 8. Rich Theater at Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St.

Here's a 1975 interview with Moms Mabley, a year before her death:

>> Monologue Slam hosted by John Singleton: This isn't a screening but one event among many (including panels on the business of filmmaking, screenwriting, pitching, and producing) scheduled this weekend. Fifteen finalists will be judged by established casting directors including Reuben Cannon, who helped launch Oprah Winfrey's acting career. Director John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood) hosts. 9 p.m. Fri., Nov. 8. M. Rich Center, 3rd floor, 115 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

>> Conversation with Mahamet-Salah Haroun: The African filmmaker whose latest film Grigris won the Vulcan Award for technical achievement this year at Cannes Film Fest will discuss his career and the future of filmmaking in his home country of Chad with moderator Tambay A. Obenson, chief editor/writer for Indiewire's Shadow & Act film blog. The talk-back will be preceded by a screening of Grigris. 6-7 p.m. Sat., Nov. 9. Georgia Pacific Auditorium, 133 Peachtree St.

Here's the latest film trailer for Grigris, which has been picked up for U.S. distribution in 2014, followed by a short synopsis:


The film, which received mixed reviews after its Cannes premiere, centers on Grisgris, a 25 year old young man with dreams of becoming a dancer despite his physical disability from the waist down. His dreams are shattered when his uncle falls seriously ill. To save him, he decides to go work for petrol traffickers.

>> Cinema and Social Justice Sunday: A trio of films will focus on the past, present and future of civil and human rights, including Andrew Young presents Walking With Guns; Get in the Way: The Journey of John Lewis; and I Was T(Here) Exchange: Sharing Stories, Inspiring Change. 1-5 p.m. Sun., Nov. 10. Georgia Power, Awkright Auditorium, 241 Ralph McGill Blvd.

>> Best Man Holiday: Sure, it's date-night Hollywood fare, but the long-awaited sequel to Best Man (1999) could be as feel-good as its predecessor, with a return of all the original players, including Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut, and Terrence Howard. Malcolm D. Lee, cousin of Spike Lee, also returns in the director's chair. And he'll be on-hand for a talk-back at the closing night screening of BronzeLens.

In case that shortlist was too short for you, here are five more screenings to consider at this weekend's fest, courtesy the Shadow & Act film blog.

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