Each year, our Shorts Programmers craft numerous shorts blocks made up of films selected from thousands of submissions. If you're familiar with ATLFF or any other film festival, you may be familiar with more traditional shorts block titles: Narrative. Documentary. Drama 1. Animation 2. While straightforward, these genre-based titles are reductive representations of all the nuance and freedom any film genre holds. For the first time in our forty year history, our Shorts team took a completely original, more daring stab at how we present these short films and their makers.
Each block is named for a classic anniversary gift material, textile, or object. Most commonly recognized by wedding anniversaries, these materials carry both physical and symbolic weight. As the years and union grow, so does the value of the corresponding gift.
"What this concept does is bring these blocks together in cosmic alignment. They revolve together around one unifying theme, the formation held together by the gravity of the films themselves," muses ATLFF Senior Shorts Programmer Christina Humphrey.
The three-word caption beneath each title at once describes the nature of the material and the nature of the films in the block. We took great care in drawing tactile essence from each material in a way that helps the audience see, hear, and feel a cohesion not typically conveyed by a simple genre label.
Says ATLFF Shorts Programmer Alyssa Armand, "We experimented last year with off-genre block titles—Better Left Unsaid, Based on a True Story, Love NC-17—and they became our most memorable screenings. This year we attempt a mindfulness that removes the need for forced labels and expectations. What better year than our 40th anniversary to let the films speak for themselves?"
Explore the following fourteen shorts blocks, their relationships to our titles, and the energy in their descriptions. Click on each title for individual film synopses, screening time, and ticket information.
Short and sweet.
The four animated and two live-action films in this High Museum screening are colorful, energetic, family-friendly, and less than thirteen minutes each. "Crap You!" comes from Theo Taplitz, one of our youngest 2016 filmmakers.
A pliable backbone.
Pure in nature, copper was the first metal purposefully alloyed to create metals anew. The nine experimental films in this block manipulate images, sounds, and even film itself to create cinematic worlds never before seen.
Crucial and vibrant.
Corals create a vast, important ecosystem mined for use in medicine, climate research, and more. The eight documentary shorts in this block are as striking and irreplaceable.
Hardy and tight-knit.
The three local, portrait documentary shorts in this group are as versatile and irreverent as the staple fiber woven into American history for better and worse.
A delicate investment.
A highly coveted standard of currency and wealth, gold is fragile but worth it. All four competition documentaries here present subjects determined to forge ahead no matter the cost.
Displaced and dispersed.
The seven documentaries in this powerful block are thanks to seven teenage girls in Jordan refugee camps sheltering those uprooted and scattered by the Syrian crisis; the block is aptly named for the precious pieces ripped from grand giants for human profit.
Nimble and exact.
A sharp but flexible canvas, paper in the hand of an artist can destroy as quickly as it creates. These eleven shorts in competition showcase the breadth and boundlessness of animation's craft.
Shiny but gritty.
The most treasured pearls are wild; humans comb through hundreds of oysters to find just one, and it's never perfectly smooth. These five narrative shorts reveal teenage characters in throes of depths untold.
*Not intended for all teen audiences.
A costly transformation.
The block title that started it all, silk is an ancient, prized textile woven from fibers produced naturally in silkworm cocoons. The six narrative shorts included here explore the price of one thing becoming another.
Scraping the sky.
A foundational piece of urban development, steel defines skylines and anchors urban sprawl. These eight shorts from Atlanta-based filmmakers span three genres: animation, documentary, and narrative.
Light and loud.
The laughter inspired by these seven comedic narrative shorts will echo like the celebratory collection of cans strewn from the bumper of a matrimonial getaway car.
Some assembly required.
All-purpose and adaptable, wood is exactly what you want it to be—once you figure out what that is. The nine puppetry shorts in this block showcase the strength and utility of a genre largely under the mainstream radar.
Formerly known as Other Worlds, this block of six narrative shorts in sheep's clothing presents surreal spaces spun from stories insulated with impact.