BDFF-emailGeorgia State University’s Rialto Center for the Arts, the Atlanta Film Society and Central Atlanta Progress are hosting the inaugural Be Downtown Film Festival on July 22 and 23.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Rialto opening as a movie theater in 1916. Built as the largest cinema in the Southeast, the Rialto closed its doors to the public in 1989 before being acquired by Georgia State University years later. In addition to the centennial anniversary, the Rialto is also celebrating 20 years as GSU’s signature Center for the Arts as well as the Atlanta Film Society celebrating 40 years since its founding in 1976. The Be Downtown Film Festival will pay homage to the Rialto’s roots with a two-day festival celebrating films from the 1960s, 1970s and 1990s.

The festival kicks off with a #FlashbackFriday on July 22, showcasing two 35mm presentations of movies that once screened at the Rialto during their original releases – Gordon Park’s classic “Shaft” and  Robert Clouse’s “Enter the Dragon,” starring Bruce Lee.

Tickets for each film are $9 for adults, $5 for children and are on sale now. Get tickets online at the Rialto Box Office or by calling (404) 413-9849.

For more information on the Be Downtown Film Festival, visit

The complete schedule of films:

Friday, July 22

7:30 p.m. – SHAFT – directed by Gordon Parks
Rare 35mm Print. Starring Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cijoffi.

10 p.m. – ENTER THE DRAGON – directed by Robert Clouse
In Wide-Screen Cinemascope. Starring Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Jim Kelly.

Saturday – July 23

12:30 p.m. – Walt Disney’s ALADDIN – directed by Ron Clements and John Musker
Audience Sing-along. Starring Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin.

3 p.m. – SPACE JAM – directed by Joe Pytka.
20th anniversary. In 35mm. Starring Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny, Wayne Knight.

5:30 p.m. – THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY – directed by Sergio Leone
50th anniversary. Original Widescreen Director’s Cut, Remastered 5.1 Surround Stereo. Starring Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef.

10 p.m.  – NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD – directed by George A. Romero
Extremely rare original 35mm print at Widescreen 1.66:1. Starring Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman.
Pre-show festivities begin at 8:30 p.m. on Forsyth Street (a block featured in Season 1 of “The Walking Dead”), with professional makeup artists and photo-ops. A special event will take place on Poplar Street following the film, wrapping up the festival.



Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.