By Khylen Steward

By now, we all know that our great city of Atlanta is home to an increasing number of film and television productions. Additionally, as I am learning in my first year of covering it, Atlanta is also home to a pretty spectacular film festival as well – the Atlanta Film Festival.

In short: with events, workshops and screenings being held in different parts of the city, the festival started yesterday, March 19th and wraps up on the 29th. If you’re a film enthusiast like me, you’ll find that there is no shortage of interesting options.

My coverage of the Atlanta Film Festival over the next week or so will include photos, podcasts and brief reviews. Don’t worry – the reviews will be spoiler-free. My main goal is to tell you a bit about the films before they screen so that you can make it out to see them.

To get things rolling, let’s take a brief look at the first film I was able to screen: WILDLIKE.

Let’s view the trailer before I give you the brief synopsis and feedback:

Directed by Frank Hall Green and not to be confused with the recent Reese Witherspoon-produced WildWILDLIKE is the story of Mackenzie, a teenage girl who, while dealing with the absence of her struggling mother and the fairly recent loss of her father, is sent to Juneau, Alaska to live with her uncle. Mackenzie soon finds that her uncle is not the guardian she needs or wants, so when the opportunity presents itself, she flees. With the goal of reaching her mother, she wanders through Alaska alone. Through chance and her own resourcefulness, she meets Rene “Bart” Bartlett, a widower who soon becomes her friend, protector and salvation in their journey through the wilderness.

Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Alaskan terrain, WILDLIKE is told with quiet, poignant care. While Mackenzie is still quite young, the talented Ella Purnell (Maleficent, Kick-Ass 2) brings the teen’s desperation and pain to full life with a combination of youthful dependence and a quiet strength that her character has had to develop. Bruce Greenwood (I, Robot, Flight, Star Trek Into Darkness) as Bart also delivers a strong performance that is completely complimentary to that of Purnell’s. However, it may be Brian Geraghty (Chicago Fire, Ray Donovan) whose performance as the uncle you should look out for.

Without giving anything away, I will say that if and when you head out to the Atlanta Film Festival, you should put Wildlike on your must-see list. As far as dialogue, story and visuals are concerned, the film excels. Furthermore, as I am told by the film’s team, “WILDLIKE has received 14 Best Film and Audience Awards as well as 3 Best Director, 3 Best Actor and many others. It has been invited to over 70 film festivals since its World Premiere at the Hamptons Int’l Film Festival to great reception and amazing reviews.”

You can catch WILDLIKE on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 5:00 pm at the Plaza Theatre, For more information and to purchase your ticket, you can jump here: SEE WILDLIKE.

As I mentioned before, WILDLIKE is directed by Mr. Frank Hall Green, who, it turns out, is an Atlanta native! We are proud to announce that we will be speaking with him for a special film festival podcast next week. Please stay tuned!


To talk more film and/or to keep up with Khylen’s coverage of the ATLFF, you can follow + tweet her on Twitter RIGHT CHEA or on V-103’s account.

– Khylen Steward, CBS Local



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