Category Archives: Industry News

Dreaming of Roman Empire and Humble Lodging: Leaving a Piece of “Megalopolis” in Georgia

According to some fun Peachtree City, Georgia public documents and public zoning hearings from 2022, a local news story and the wonderment of my own eyes:

“The motel … purchased … by … LLC of Francis Ford Coppola, named the All Movie Motel … began submitting building permits … to renovate and make major changes … to include a ‘green room,’ a screening room, a projection room …. a non-commercial kitchen … rooms/suites for actors and movie production staff.”

Plus Roman columns and a Dustin Hoffman statue, of course!?

With #Megalopolis on the mind this week of Cannes Film Festival, here was a neat surprise chronicled in our local newspaper about a filmmaking and wine-making genius who is even inventive about lodging his staff and housing his screening rooms:

https://thecitizen.com/2023/01/17/what-secrets-lie-beneath-crosstown-road-rezoning/

Also have you seen the stunning trailer? I’ll be first in line at the IMAX!

Credit: American Zoetrope

Georgia Public Broadcasting Interviews Silver Screen Capture on Prospects for “Megalopolis”

The futuristic fall movie “Megalopolis” premiered at Cannes Film Festival with Hollywood stars and Atlanta credits plus our site’s commentary about Francis Ford Coppola’s cinematic universe:

2024 SAG Award Nominees Revealed

The 2024 Screen Actors Guild award nominations have been announced, with Oppenheimer and Barbie leading the nomination tally with four nominations each. I’ve seen everything on the list, so click on any of these hyperlinks for my reviews.

Nominees for this guild’s big award – Best Cast- are American Fiction, Barbie, The Color Purple, Killers of the Flower Moon and Oppenheimer.

Nominees for outstanding performance by a lead actress are Annette Bening in Nyad, Lily Gladstone in Killers of the Flower Moon, Carey Mulligan in Maestro, Margot Robbie in Barbie and Emma Stone in Poor Things.

Nominees for outstanding performance by a lead actor are Bradley Cooper in Maestro, Colman Domingo in Rustin, Paul Giamatti in The Holdovers, Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer and Jeffrey Wright in American Fiction.

Nominated supporting performances are Emily Blunt in Oppenheimer, Danielle Brooks in The Color Purple, Penélope Cruz in Ferrari, Jodie Foster in Nyad and Da’Vine Joy Randolph in The Holdovers and Sterling K. Brown in American Fiction, Willem Dafoe in Poor Things, Robert DeNiro in Killers of the Flower Moon, Robert Downey Jr. in Oppenheimer and Ryan Gosling in Barbie.

SAG also has a stunt ensemble award, with nominations going to Barbie, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, John Wick: Chapter 4 and Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One.

The 30th annual SAG Awards will air live on Netflix on Feb. 24 at 8:00 p.m. ET from L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium.

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Announces 2024 Program

AJFF Closing Night Film “Shari and Lamb Chop”

The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival has announced its 24th edition film lineup, set for an expanded 24-day event Feb. 13-26, 2024, in theaters, and a streaming encore from Feb. 27-March 7. This format includes 14 days of in-theater screenings and 10 days of online streaming, enhancing the festival’s reach and accessibility.

Select films on the AJFF roster

Anticipated films include the Israel-set musical Victory, the documentary Remembering Gene Wilder, the animated Where is Anne Frank, the dramedy Running on Sand and the drama One Life starring Anthony Hopkins and Helena Bonham Carter. Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen’s documentary feature opus Occupied City will also make its Atlanta premiere.

Hosted across five Metro Atlanta venues – the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, the Tara Theatre, the historic Plaza Theatre in Midtown, GTC Merchants Walk in East Cobb, and Springs Cinema & Taphouse in Sandy Springs – the festival promises an immersive cinematic experience. Along with the screenings, audiences will enjoy live and pre-recorded Q&A sessions with international film artists, local community leaders, and expert speakers, complemented by a range of special events.

This year’s lineup features a diverse array of 48 feature films and 15 shorts from 20 countries, including three World Premieres, six North American Premieres, two U.S. Premieres, and 13 Southeast Premieres. With 31 films screening exclusively in theaters and a specially curated selection of 17 features and 15 shorts available for streaming in the Virtual Cinema, the festival caters to both in-person and online audiences.

Special events include an Opening Night screening of Irena’s Vow, a wartime drama about a Catholic housemaid who saves Polish Jews during WWII. Special guests include Sophie Nelisse, Dougray Scott, and Irena’s daughter, Jeannie. This event will be held at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, Reception at 5:30 pm, Program at 7:30 pm.

Young Professionals Night is on Valentine’s Day Feb. 14, at the Tara Theatre, party at 6:30 pm, film at 8 pm The film is Less than Kosher, a musical comedy about a struggling singer who becomes a cantor in Toronto. A Spotlight Screening Feb. 15, Tara Theatre, 7:40 pm is Breaking Home Ties, the world Premiere of a restored 1922 silent classic with a new soundtrack by contemporary artists, featuring live musical performances. A “Late Night at Plazadrome” film Feb. 15, Plaza Theatre, 9:00 pm is The Plot Against Harry, an American cinema treasure humorously exploring a former mobster’s quest for redemption.

And Closing Night & Jury Awards will feature Shari and Lamb Chop, an enchanting journey into the world of a trailblazing artist and her iconic puppet. This event will be held at Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, with the program at 7:00 pm, followed by dessert.

The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival is proud to present its distinguished jury for this year’s festival. The jury will evaluate submissions in several categories, each focusing on different aspects of filmmaking excellence including narrative features, documentary features, short films, emerging filmmakers, “building bridges” and “human rights.”

Noteworthy industry members serving as jurors include Dara Jaffe, associate Curator at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and film historian; Eric Warren Singer, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, Top Gun: Maverick and American Hustle; Alton Brown, TV chef, producer, director and cinema enthusiast; Clayton Landey, actor and former President of SAG-AFTRA Atlanta; Rebecca Shrager, CEO and Founder of People Store Talent Agency; Rain Pryor, writer, actor, director, and daughter of Richard Pryor; and Lyn Goldfarb, Oscar-nominated, award-winning independent filmmaker.

Ticketing for the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival opens with a special pre-sale exclusively for AJFF members, starting on Jan. 17 at noon. The general public will have the opportunity to purchase tickets beginning Jan. 31, also at noon. Ticket prices are set at $18 for evening and weekend shows, and $16 for matinees. For those wishing to enjoy the festival from the comfort of their home, tickets for Virtual Cinema streaming are available at $18 per household. Special event pricing varies, with tickets ranging from $18 to $180. Learn more at AJFF.org/tickets.

Southeastern Film Critics Name Top Ten Best Films of 2023

NOTE: This was the first year Silver Screen Capture joined this voting body.

The Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) has named Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer as the Best Picture of the Year. SEFCA’s eighty-nine members located across nine Southeastern states also recognized Christopher Nolan for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Additionally, the film earned Best Actor for Cillian Murphy, Best Supporting Actor for Robert Downey, Jr. and Best Ensemble for its star-studded cast that includes Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Aldren Ehrenreich, Jason Clarke, Tom Conti, Josh Hartnett, Kenneth Branagh and others. Behind the camera Oppenheimer took the top prizes for Best Cinematography (Hoyte Van Hoytema) and Best Score (Ludwig Goransson).

“This fall featured three big films from three grandmasters of cinema,” said SEFCA President Scott Phillips. “Martin Scorsese released Killers of the Flower Moon. Ridley Scott brought Napoleon to the big screen and Michael Mann hits theaters next week with Ferrari. Despite this bumper crop from heavy-hitting auteurs, Christopher Nolan’s film from six months ago is walking away with eight SEFCA awards. Oppenheimer is a stunning cinematic achievement. Our members recognized that in July, and they are rewarding it in December.”

‘When asked about the film year that was 2023, SEFCA Vice President Jim Farmer said, “2023 will be remembered by many as the year that featured the commercial, critical and cultural phenomenon known as ‘Barbenheimer.’ But it was also a season that offered a stunning amount of high-quality films, with master filmmakers near the top of their games, fresher faces making strong impressions and performers showing new dimensions. It was a pleasure to take in all that 2023 had to offer.”

Those “fresher faces” include writer/director Celine Song whose debut feature, Past Lives, lands at # 4 on SEFCA’s Top 10 of 2023, and writer/director Cord Jefferson whose debut feature, American Fiction, placed seventh in the SEFCA Top 10. The diverse list also includes an animated film (Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse) and two foreign films (Anatomy of a Fall, The Zone of Interest).

Read SEFCA’s full list of winners below. Visit SEFCA on the web at SEFCA.net to learn more about its members as well as past winners. You can also follow SEFCA on X at @SEFilmCritics.

Top 10 Films of 2023

1. Oppenheimer

2. Killers of the Flower Moon

3. The Holdovers

4. Past Lives

5. Barbie

6. Poor Things

7. American Fiction

8. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

9. Anatomy of a Fall

10. The Zone of Interest

Other wins from the SEFCA:

Best Actor: Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer

Best Actress: Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon

Best Supporting Actor: Robert Downey, Jr., Oppenheimer

Best Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers

Best Ensemble: Oppenheimer

Best Director: Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer

Best Original Screenplay: David Hemingson, The Holdovers

Best Adapted Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer

Best Documentary: Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie

Best Animated Film: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Best Foreign-Language Film: Anatomy of a Fall

Best Cinematography: Hoyte Van Hoytema, Oppenheimer

Best Score: Ludwig Goransson, Oppenheimer

Ten Big-Time Directors Have Buzzy Films This Fall: 2023 Preview

There are many anticipated movies being released in Fall 2023, but these ten stand out because they also feature lauded artists in the director’s seat. Be on the lookout for these feature films by some of the great auteurs, being released in coming months and generating awards season heat:

10. The Holdovers by Alexander Payne (Election, Nebraska) made a splash at the Telluride Film Festival and is expected to release Nov. 10 in theatres everywhere. Set in the early ’70s, this Focus Films dramedy pits a disliked private school teacher (Paul Giamatti, reuniting with his director of Sideways) and a troubled student (Dominic Sessa) against one another over an extended holiday break. Both male leads plus Da’Vine Joy Randolph are being touted for acting awards; and even though Payne didn’t also write the film, his direction is being praised and compared favorably to droll comedies from the ’70s (think Harold & Maude). Many moviegoers are hoping it’s a return to form after Downsizing, which seemingly only I liked!

9. May December by Todd Haynes (Carol, Far from Heaven) is a romantic drama starring Natalie Portman as an actress who travels to the American South to study the life of a woman she is set to portray on film. Julianne Moore plays the subject of a two-decade old tabloid romance that gripped the nation because her character dated someone substantially younger. The talk from the film’s premiere at Cannes Film Festival was that Haynes has once again proven himself one of the best directors of women. It’s the opening night film of the New York Film Festival and is slated for distribution in select theatres Nov. 17 before streaming on Netflix Dec. 1.

8. Priscilla by Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, On the Rocks) is an American biopic starring Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla Presley and Jacob Elordi as Elvis. Expect Coppola, a master at chronicling the lives of women coming of age, to have a singular take on Priscilla’s memoirs as well as a distinctive soundtrack collaboration by Coppola’s husband Thomas Mars and his band Phoenix with music by the band Sons of Raphael (Elvis music is not featured in the film). After premiering at Venice International Film Festival, this A24 feature is slated for Nov. 3 in theatres.

7. Saltburn by Emerald Fennell is the acerbic director’s sophomore directorial follow-up to Promising Young Woman and caused quite a lot of interest at Telluride leading up to its limited theatrical release Nov. 17 before going wide Nov. 22. This psychological thriller/drama stars Barry Keoghan as a young Oxford University student who becomes infatuated with his aristocratic schoolmate, played by the ubiquitous Jacob Elordi, who invites his classmate for a summer he won’t forget at his eccentric family’s sprawling estate (namesake of the movie). Expect devilish details by this visionary director. Rosamund Pike and Richard E. Grant co-star.

6. All of Us Strangers by Andrew Haigh (45 Years, Weekend) is a romantic fantasy that premiered at Telluride starring Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Jamie Bell and Claire Foy. This Searchlight Pictures film is getting an Oscar-qualifying run late this year, with a Dec. 22 release. A chance encounter between those who are living and those who died three decades before provides an unlikely premise for Haigh’s latest journey into the human psyche.

5. Origin by Ava DuVernay (Selma, 13th) is an ambitious biographical drama about a writer played by Aunjanue Ellis grappling with personal tragedy, who embarks on a global exploration of discovery. This Neon film premiered at the Venice festival and is slated for late 2023. It co-stars Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Blair Underwood and Broadway belter Audra McDonald. Expect multiple story lines across various dimensions of life on earth in this intriguing entry.

4. Boy and the Heron by Hayao Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle) is rumored to be the final film by the animation master behind Studio Ghibli. This Japanese fantasy follows a boy who discovers an abandoned tower in his new town and enters a fantastical world with the talking bird of the title. The director draws heavily from his own childhood and explores conflict and loss in this hand-drawn epic slated for theatres Dec. 8 following special preview engagements Nov. 22.

3. The Killer by David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network) is a neo-noir action thriller based on a graphic novel series starring a deadpan Michael Fassbender as the titular assassin who gets embroiled in a global manhunt after a hit goes wrong. This too premiered in Venice and has been lauded for its acting and style. It co-stars Arliss Howard and Charles Parness with a small part played by Tilda Swinton. Music by The Smiths is featured prominently. Expect a limited theatrical run Oct. 27 before the film streams Nov. 10 on Netflix.

2. Poor Things by Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Favourite) is a steampunk black comedy fantasy film and all the rage in Venice, capturing that festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion. Emma Stone plays “Bella,” an initially naive woman brought back to life by a scientist, Willem Dafoe. Bella’s desire to learn more about the world takes her across continents in search of equality and liberation. Mark Ruffalo plays her debauched lawyer companion. Expect wry comic highs and imaginative visuals. Stone is said to give her best performance yet. This Searchlight Pictures film also played Telluride and screens at the New York Film Festival among other prestigious competitions before coming to a screen near you Dec. 8.

1. Killers of the Flower Moon by Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street, Goodfellas) is the sixth feature film collaboration between the director and Leonardo DiCaprio and the tenth between the filmmaker and Robert De Niro. Based on the novel of the same name, the story depicts members of the Osage tribe in northeastern Oklahoma murdered under mysterious circumstances in the 1920s, sparking an investigation. DiCaprio plays the nephew of De Niro’s character and courts a Native American woman played by Lily Gladstone, who is said to be the film’s spiritual center. This epic saga premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and has garnered momentum all year. This Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures production is slated for wide release Oct. 20. Like most of Marty’s works, this promises to be dark and demanding with a three-and-a-half-hour running time. It also features a propulsive score by the late Robbie Robertson and supporting turns by Jesse Plemons and Brendan Fraser. Expect powerhouse acting and a compelling story line that shows the cynical underbelly of America as it pertains to indigenous people.

Will “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” Be The Next Interactive Cinematic Phenomenon? A Preview and Primer

[Update: Here’s the film review.]

Not since perpetual screenings of 1975’s cult musical indie The Rocky Horror Picture Show, for which costumed moviegoers with ritualistic call-backs literally bring rice, newspapers, frankfurters, squirt guns and more and break out into “Time Warp” choreography in unison, has a movie theatre event been so poised to prompt audiences into a frenzy of interactivity. I am hereby dubbing Taylor Swift The Eras Tour, the indie concert movie coming October 13, 2023, The Taylor Swiftie Picture Show and bring you some perspective and tips to prepare for the full bejeweled majesty of the interactive experience (and you know I love musicals!)

As most of us were about to let the proverbial month of August slip away like a bottle of wine, it was announced on the last day of that fateful month that footage captured during pop princess and prolific songwriter Taylor Swift’s Los Angeles leg of her record-breaking concert tour was actually a secret movie made outside the Hollywood studio system and would soon screen across the U.S. via AMC Theatres and other multiplexes as a near-three-hour concert movie. Here’s the trailer. What a treat for all those who couldn’t afford the live concert or get the in-demand tickets! But is the singer ready for her close-up? Swift is no stranger to the screen, all the way back to the 2009 Hannah Montana: The Movie days with fellow child star Miley Cyrus. Swift has starred in a documentary about her political awakening and has had small parts in pedigreed movies:  I am one of the few cheerleaders of the guilty-pleasure Cats but not of the smarmy drama Amsterdam, although the getaway car sequence toward the beginning will turn some heads. This new Eras concert movie will undoubtedly be the ingenue breakthrough for a woman who has already broken live concert records globally. Based on pre-sales alone, Taylor Swift, already a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will now be one of the biggest movie stars of the year, and her movie was actually lensed in L.A., it turns out, so maybe it was kinda made in Hollywood. Normally it wouldn’t be good karma to spoil the ending, but many have already followed along and know the set list, but here are ten tips to “Make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it” and enhance your in-theatre experience:

  1. Costumes are a big part of the experience as fans (self-proclaimed “Swifties!”) sport clothing and accoutrements based on the various “eras” of the country crossover artist’s legendary young career, so whether it’s a glittery heart around the eye as a nod to the Lover album or an homage to the cottage-core of her mid-pandemic works, determine what you’ll wear to the affair.
  2. Some longtime fans paint a blue “13” on their hands in honor of Taylor’s favorite number (the film even premieres on this “lucky” day!) During the “Fearless” era, Swift scribed the blue 13 on her guitar-strumming hand.
  3. Friendship bracelet sharing is a thing to add to the communal experience. I found some fun ones on Etsy that I have ready to trade. My favorite has little letters spelling “Starbucks” in honor of a sometimes misunderstood lyric in the song “Blank Spaces.”
  4. There will be merch, so plan for long lines to snag those commemorative popcorn tubs and tumblers. One to use and one to collect?
  5. Plan to flash a light to honor the legacy of Taylor Swift’s opera singing grandmother during the emotional song “Marjorie” with lessons from her titular relative.
  6. There will be more call-backs than there were in Polyester by John Waters (movie with a famous Odorama scratch and sniff card). Plan on chants at the bridge of “Cruel Summer,” a double-clap during “You Belong with Me,” a triple-clap on the beat before “My ex-man brought his new girlfriend” during “Shake It Off,” the audience refrain “1,2,3, Let’s Go, B*tch!” during “Delicate” (right after “You can make me a drink…”) and much more chronicled on sites such as Bustle. There’s even a moment during “Anti-Hero,” when the audience may re-assure the songstress “Taylor, You’ll Be Fine.”
  7. It’s been a year of female empowerment, with the success of Barbie and all, so expect a loud unison of “F*** the patriarchy!” during the 10-minute song “All Too Well.” As that song is largely believed to be about a relationship with a certain Oscar nominated actor named Jake, you may also see some not-so-flattering homemade t-shirts about the thespian or even the scarf he allegedly never gave back to Taylor after their brief relationship.
  8. During the song “Bejeweled,” when Taylor sings the word “shimmer,” fans flutter their fingers. You kinda have to study TikTok for some of these!
  9. There’s a part of the live concert with secret songs surprising nightly audiences, so there are several tunes from the multi-day L.A. stint to choose from – although it doesn’t appear this will be like the movie Clue with different variations of film prints to stimulate multiple trips to the theatre. Those multiple viewings will likely happen for fans anyway!
  10. Most of all, have fun! There’s a long tradition of movie gimmickry designed to lure fans into movie houses, from 3-D and Cinerama to “The Tingler.” In this case, consider the fans already lured. This is your chance to make the next in-person sensation akin to the sing-along version of The Sound of Music or taking a page out of the customs invented by those Rocky Horror fans who have sung and danced in the aisles for nearly 50 years.

In some cases, tickets are still available for Taylor Swift The Eras Tour, the movie. Good luck to the multiplex ushers and cleaning crews, and pick up after yourself so nobody will say “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

Faith-Based Movie Festival Accepting Indie Short Film Entries for 2023 Event  

Organizers of the 20th Annual 168 Film Project are celebrating a new home and a new collaboration with Angel Studios for this year’s faith-based film production competition, with a September 4 deadline for entry. Artists can learn more at www.168film.com and enter at 168film.com/project.

Named for the number of hours in a one-week production, the 168 Film Project last year relocated from California to Georgia, teeing up the 2023 festival to take place near Trilith Studios for the second time. This year the 168 Film Project is collaborating with film distributor Angel Studios.

Members of the 100,000 voter “Angel Guild” will review up to 10 of the 168 Film Project short film entries for potential development, funding and distribution as feature films or TV series.

168 Film Project is a scripture-focused community and proving ground for filmmakers, writers and actors of all levels of experience. 168 Film Project was launched in 2003 in Los Angeles, and the competition has produced more than 1,200 short films at locations all around the world including the feature Final Frequency

Angel Studios is a leading producer of faith-based content including the recent grassroots hit Sound of Freedom.

Atlanta’s Historic Tara Theatre to Re-Open May 25, 2023 with New Films and Classics 

Three months after announcing its return, the Tara Theatre team today it has secured its operating permits and has set its grand re-opening for May 25, 2023.

Reopening as a sister cinema to The Plaza Theatre in the Poncey-Highland neighborhood, the Tara will present art house and independent films daily starting Thursday. The grand re-opening evening will include a brief afternoon ceremony followed by ticketed screenings of four films with nods to the venue’s history including:

  • Stanley Kramer’s It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) featuring Milton Berle and Spencer Tracy
  • George Lucas’ Star Wars (1977) featuring Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill, first introduced to Atlanta by the Tara … long, long ago in a galaxy far, far and away
  • Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future Part II (1989) starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd
  • Todd Field’s Tár (2022) starring Best Actress nominee Cate Blanchett, which was the last film presented at Tara Theatre when it closed in November. 

Exact ceremony, film showtimes and ticketing details will be announced via the theatre website TheTaraAtlanta.com later this week. Anyone who supported the venue with advance ticket or gift card purchases may use their credits to secure tickets to the opening weekend films or hold for future use. 

“We selected these historic films for our grand re-opening night to celebrate multiple decades of cinema fans who enjoyed Tara Theatre since its opening in the summer of 1968,” said Chris Escobar, owner of The Plaza Theatre and Tara Theatre, and executive director of Atlanta Film Society.

In addition to the special films selected for May 25, the Memorial Day weekend roster of films includes four recently released independent films:

  • Nicole Holofcener’s You Hurt My Feelings (2023) starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tobias Menzies
  • Paul Schrader’s Master Gardener (2022) featuring Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver
  • Laurel Parmet’s The Starling Girl (2023) featuring Eliza Scanlan and Lewis Pullman
  • Emanuele Crialese’s L’immensità (2023) starring Penélope Cruz

Escobar—who earlier this year negotiated an agreement with Halpern Enterprises, owners of the Cheshire Square shopping center where the Tara Theatre is located at 2345 Cheshire Bridge Road NE — first announced the return of Tara Theatre, as well as a new nonprofit fundraising campaign in support of the theatre’s long-term viability, during the closing event for the 2023 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival held Feb. 21. Since its inception on Feb. 22, the fundraising campaign achieved its original goal of $50,000, earning $50,637.25 by April 11. At that time, the theatre sold $29,972.25 in advance gift cards and tickets, and raised $20,665 in donations. Since mid-April, the team has continued toward a stretch goal of $75,000 intended to help restore or celebrate the original Mid-Century look for the ‘now playing’ and ‘coming attractions’ sign facing the intersection of LaVista Road at Cheshire Bridge. Donations are still accepted via TheTaraAtlanta.com

“For almost 55 years Atlanta’s Tara Theatre created cherished memories and entertainment for countless moviegoers,” said Escobar. “It is an honor and privilege for our team to create a sustainable future for this valuable landmark that will enable new generations of Atlantans to celebrate films of the past, present and future.”

The theater reopens with nine team members—including three part-time executive team members, one full-time staff member and three part-time team members. Several of the team members are returning from their previous position at Tara Theatre during its prior operations. Additional part-time team members are being recruited, with resumes being accepted via work@thetaraatlanta.com

The Tara Theatre LLC team for the reopening and management of the venue also includes cinema booker/operator Michael Spaeth and his wife, Kris Spaeth, as well as Steve & Midge Krams of Magna-Tech Electronic as equity partners with Escobar. Also, since the Tara announcement, Matthew Rowles, Zina Sponiarova, Jonny & Gayle Rej and Michael Furlinger joined The Tara ownership group. 

Magna-Tech Electronic provided the equipment and installation of Tara’s new projection technology which will include new digital formats as well as upcoming installation of historic 35mm and 70mm film projectors, making The Plaza and Tara the city’s only theatres with both types of older film projection units. 

“For the first time in more than a decade, The Tara will be a cinema regularly presenting films in their original formats,” said Escobar, who added the first reel-to-reel films will debut at Tara during the summer. 

Escobar also said the Tara will create a robust schedule of events featuring classic film, art house releases and independent films. This format brings back some of the traditions established during the first few decades of operation after Loews opened Tara Theatre in 1968 or “the Lefont years” starting in 1980 through their transition to United Artists. 

The Tara Theater is on social media @TheTaraAtlanta via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Anyone interested in more information, joining or supporting Friends of Tara Foundation may donate or contact the theatre team via the website TheTaraAtlanta.com

Local Theatre Saved! Atlanta’s Historic Tara Theatre to Reopen Spring 2023

Atlanta’s historic Tara Theatre will return in spring 2023 through an agreement forged by leaders of another historic cinema. A team led by Chris Escobar, owner of The Plaza Theatre and executive director of Atlanta Film Society, negotiated an agreement with Halpern Enterprises, owners of the Cheshire Square shopping center where the Tara Theatre is located at 2354 Cheshire Bridge Road NE. Escobar announced the return of Tara Theatre, as well as a new nonprofit fundraising campaign in support of the theatre’s long-term viability, during the closing event for the 2023 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival held Tuesday evening.

“For almost 55 years Atlanta’s Tara Theatre entertained and created cherished memories for countless moviegoers,” said Escobar. “It is an honor and privilege for our team to create a sustainable future for this important landmark that will enable new generations of Atlantans and movie fans celebrate films of the past, present and future.”

Escobar’s team also announced creation of Tara Theatre LLC to be structured like Plaza Theatre LLC, the for-profit business created to preserve and operate the Midtown venue since 2017. Escobar’s team also announced creation of Friends of Tara Foundation, a nonprofit organization modeled after the nonprofit Plaza Theatre Foundation as a fundraising division. “The foundations help preserve and share these historic venues with future generations,” added Escobar.

Friends of Tara Foundation’s initial stated goal is to raise more than $50,000 before Tara Theatre reopens on a to-be-announced spring date. Donations will be accepted through the theatre’s new website TheTaraAtlanta.com which will launch in the days ahead. The public may also support the theatre via advance ticket or gift card purchases available through the website.

“The foundations enable anyone to contribute to the financial security and sustainable future of both historic cinemas in that all funds raised supplement the unpredictable ebb and flow of ticket, snack and merchandise purchases at the venues,” said Escobar. “More importantly, the foundations support long-term physical improvements and accessibility at the theatres, also enabling independent artists, film festivals or other nonprofits to engage the community with improved event spaces.”

The Tara Theatre LLC team for the reopening and management of the venue also includes cinema booker/operator Michael Spaeth and his wife, Kris Spaeth, as well as Steve Krams of Magna-Tech Electronic as equity partners with Escobar. Magna-Tech will provide the equipment and installation of Tara’s new projection technology which will include new digital formats as well as historic 33mm and 70mm film projectors, making The Plaza and Tara the city’s only theatres with both types of older film projection units.

“For the first time in more than a decade, The Tara will be a cinema regularly presenting films in their original formats,” said Escobar. He added the Tara will create a robust schedule of events featuring classic film, art house releases and independent films. This format brings back some of the traditions established during the first few decades of operation after Loews opened Tara Theatre in 1968 or “the Lefont years” starting in 1980 through their transition to United Artists.

“Magna-Tech’s investment as a partner for Tara creates drastic cost savings for the project,” said Escobar.

With the creation of Tara Theatre LLC, three employees of Plaza Theatre LLC will be promoted to work with both venues, with C.J. Swank continuing as operations director, Richard Martin as programming director and Kristin Anderson as marketing and events manager.

Escobar said negotiations for the return of Tara Theatre began as soon as he learned of the venue’s closing announced last fall by its previous tenants.

“We owe tremendous gratitude to Kenny Blank, who went to bat for our team to establish and encourage ongoing conversations with Halpern Enterprises,” said Escobar. “Halpern Enterprises clearly valued the input that local management brings to the table in terms of contemporary cinema operations, and we greatly appreciate their willingness to collaborate.”

Kenny Blank, Atlanta Jewish Film Festival executive and artistic director, also commented on the news: “The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival is proud to have worked behind the scenes to champion this exciting initiative to reopen Atlanta’s historic Tara Theatre. We understand the importance of preserving Atlanta’s cultural landscape and Tara’s place as a beloved landmark and beacon of the cinematic arts. AJFF salutes Chris Escobar for his passion and vision, and join him in celebrating this thrilling news, as we welcome festivalgoers and all audiences back to the Tara in the near future and for years to come.”

John Brazovic, regional director of leasing, managed the negotiation for Halpern Enterprises. “We are gratified by the positive response this announcement has elicited from the community and proud to have recruited Chris Escobar and his team to launch this next chapter in the life of the Tara Theatre,” said Jack Halpern, Halpern Enterprises Chairman & CEO.

 More information about Tara Theatre will be posted in the days ahead via TheTaraAtlanta.com and elsewhere online with social media handles @TheTaraAtlanta via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Anyone interested in more information, joining or supporting Friends of Tara Foundation may donate or contact the theatre team via the website. 

Halpern Enterprises is a privately held commercial real estate firm specializing in retail leasing, management, acquisitions and development. For more than 60 years, our collaborative, hands-on approach has created value for hundreds of tenants and resulted in the long-term success of our shopping centers. Headquartered in Atlanta, Halpern owns and operates more than 50 properties totaling more than 3.7 million square feet in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Nominees for Best Picture at the 95th Academy Awards (2023)

The Oscars show is March 12, 2023.

The nominations were announced this morning, and the winners will be revealed live during the March 12, 2023 telecast on ABC-TV. Some surprises included a nomination for Andrea Riseborough as best actress in the little-seen alcohol recovery drama To Leslie (now available for rent on Amazon Prime) and Brian Tyree Henry in supporting actor opposite Jennifer Lawrence in the Apple TV+ drama Causeway.

Here are the ten nominations for Best Picture, with links to my reviews:

“All Quiet on the Western Front” (Netflix)

“Avatar: The Way of Water” (20th Century Studios, now in theatres) 


“The Banshees of Inisherin” (Searchlight Pictures, now on HBO Max and on demand) 


“Elvis” (Warner Bros., now on HBO Max and on demand) 


“Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24, now on Showtime and on demand) 


“The Fabelmans” (Universal Pictures, now on demand) 

“Tár” (Focus Features, now on demand)


“Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount Pictures, now on Paramount Plus) 

“Triangle of Sadness” (NEON, now on demand)

“Women Talking” (Orion, now on demand)

Top Ten 2022 Films from the PGA

Here are my reviews of the 2023 Producers Guild of America Award nominations for the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures: