Two filmmakers spotlighted at the 'Atlanta on Film' series premiere

"City Lights" host Lois Reitzes speaks with filmmaker Patrick Seda (left) and Out on Film director Jim Farmer (right). (Michael Eaton/For WABE)

On Jan. 8, WABE held an event in front of a live audience at the Plaza Theater to celebrate the launch of the new WABE TV series, “Atlanta on Film.” In this first season of the show, the WABE Studios original highlights two of Atlanta’s prominent film festivals: Out on Film and the Morehouse College Human Rights Film Festival.

During the live event at the Plaza, “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes spoke with both festival’s directors—Jim Farmer, director of Out on Film, and Kara Walker of Morehouse College Human Rights Film Festival. Reitzes also spoke with two of the filmmakers who are included in the festival—Patrick Seda of “Reverend Falls” and Roderick Red of “The Defenders.”

Interview Highlights:

“Reverend Falls” is a short film about a celebrity reverend who is struggling with his orientation. The Reverend seeks advice from a gay couple to sort through his feelings and find his truth.

Why “Reverend Falls” was selected for Out on Film Festival:

“I remember when I saw it for the first time in 2021…and as I was watching it, I kinda thought I knew where it was going, but I then I realized that I didn’t. I love when that happens. I love when I can discover new voices or things I have not seen before. And everybody who has seen this film loves to talk about it afterward,” said Farmer.

What inspired Seda to create the film:

“I was watching a debate between a religious man and an atheist. And I was forming opinions about who was kind of winning the debate. I thought that would be a very interesting thing to put into this ‘double pass’ story, but also in the context of the LGBTQ community,” said Seda.

“City Lights” host Lois Reitzes speaking with Morehouse Film Festival director Kara Walker (left) and filmmaker Roderick Red (right). (Michael Eaton/For WABE)

“The Defenders”:

By the end of the 1950s, there were only four Black lawyers in Mississippi—three of whom took on Civil Rights cases. A new documentary, “The Defenders,” focuses on the lawyers who represented African Americans before and during the Civil Rights Movement.

Lois Reitzes x Roderick Red and Kara Walker

Why Walker wanted to include “The Defenders” in the Morehouse Human Rights Film Festival:

“This film was not only selected to be a part of the festival but it was also nominated in the category in which it was submitted. We selected this film because it was a new story from a new voice and a story you don’t often hear about. We often hear about the big Civil Rights leaders, but we don’t hear about the attorneys who represented them and helped them get out of jail and make bail when they were arrested,” said Walker.

On the hostility that the attorneys were met with, in a Mississippi courtroom in the 1950s/60s:

“We got to speak with some great people who told some stories, such as Marian Wright Edelman. And for those who don’t know who Marian Wright Eldeman is, she founded the Children’s Defense Fund, a large non-profit that focuses on children’s wellbeing. Before that, she was a lawyer, a Civil Rights lawyer in Mississippi. Marian Wright Eldeman is an inspiration to a lot of different people–Martin Luther King Jr. wrote about her, she gave Hillary Clinton her first job in Washington D.C., her son is a documentary-winning filmmaker,” said Red. He continued, “But if you could imagine, 1959, a young Marian Wright Eldeman coming to Mississippi defending these people in front of an all-white jury, in front of a white judge…that was such a crazy thing at the time. She would tell stories of how people would just look at her with their mouths wide open…this was the craziest thing they had ever seen before.”

“Reverend Falls” airs on Jan. 16, and “The Defenders” airs on Feb. 6, on WABE TV.