The Left Coast too far away for you to get to the Atheist Film Festival in San Francisco (the world’s first and oldest and best, incidentally) this summer? Well, if you can manage a trip through the Bible Belt to get to Skepticon this weekend, rejoice! One of the many features of this year’s Skepticon is a whole day of I-can’t-believe-it’s-not the Atheist Film Festival, just for you and your fellow heretics, and absolutely free, too!
AFF Co-Founder and Festival Director Dave Fitzgerald, known to Skepticon audiences as the Author of Nailed and The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons (not to mention his nude calendar shoot last year) is returning to the nation’s biggest student-run secular event with a whole program of favorite films. Here’s a sneak peak at the brilliant dramas, comedies, documentaries and shorts coming your way:
Kicking off the day’s fest is the winner of this year’s AFF Best Short Film award, PARROT – This wonderful and honest Australian gem focuses on a young atheist with a hard choice to make. When a terrible tragedy befalls a devout Catholic family, the closeted atheist son and his parents are forced to confront their differences at the worst possible time.
Next up is another award-winner: THE LORD IS NOT ON TRIAL HERE TODAY, a Peabody & Emmy Award-winning documentary that tells the compelling personal story of the late Vashti McCollum, one courageous woman who stood up against all odds and changed American society forever and for the better in one of the most important and landmark First Amendment cases in U.S. Supreme Court history – the separation of church and state in public schools.
Who says atheists don’t got no songs? Well, Steve Martin does, in THE FIRST ATHEIST MUSICAL. Tap your toes and sing along with your fellow heretics in this fun collection of musical atheist shorts.
The afternoon program picks up again with the mondo bizarro GOD’S CARTOONIST. You’ve seen Chick tracts; they are those freaky little Christian comic books filled with evil Catholics, Evolutionists, Bikers, Rock Stars, Satanists, gays, the Illuminati, Witches – pretty much everybody. This documentary takes us inside the secretive world of Jack T. Chick, the world’s most successful underground comics publisher.
Truth is never stranger than fiction, as we learn from MARJOE, a film that won the Oscar for best documentary in 1972 – but was never shown in the South for fear it would cause riots. Former child evangelist Marjoe Gortner grows up, gets disillusioned, and decides to make one last revival tour – with a camera crew of undercover atheists - to blow the lid off the evangelical revival biz. And he does.
The festival ends not with a whimper, but with EVOLUTION – THE MUSICAL! – If Monty Python’s Life of Brian and The Rocky Horror Picture Show had a baby with Charles Darwin, their spawn might be something like the Killing My Lobster Comedy Troupe’s Evolution – the Musical! As Morpheus would say, no one can be told what it is – it must be experienced…
See you there, heretics!
This is a guest post by David Fitzgerald. He has been a supporter of Skepticon as well as a speaker for many years now. If you’d like to make a donation to the largest free skeptic conference in the nation held in Springfield, Missouri, you can do so here. We appreciate your support!