Atlanta Film Festival Premiere – “Night of the Cooters” with George R.R. Martin and Vincent D’Onofrio

By: Robert Prentice

After the Rialto Centers “Reel Reveal” event showing off the new digital projector and screen that was recently installed, they welcomed a red carpet event at the Atlanta Film Festival last night.

“Night of the Cooters” tells the tale of the townsfolk in Pachuco, Texas, in the 1800s rallying around one cause, survival against the unwelcome visitors from “up there.” Join the townsfolk on their journey to figure out what the hell is going on in the big hole at the edge of town. With a screenplay by the one and only Joe Lansdale and music by the prolific Ramin Djwadi, get ready for a ride like no other through the mind of the sci-fi master Howard Waldrop.

As part of the red carpet premiere, awards were handed out to both George R.R. Martin and Vincent D’Onofrio, along with a cast and crew Q&A talking about the filming process, and inspiration for the story.


George R.R. Martin and Vincent D’Onofrio at Atlanta Film Festival 2023 Red Carpet. Photographer Robert W. Prentice. Copyright 2023

The Phoenix Award honors someone bringing new life to or beginning a new chapter in their career. This honor is inspired by the city of Atlanta, which has risen and reinvented itself throughout history. The inaugural Phoenix Award was presented to actor Kiersey Clemons (HEARTS BEAT LOUD) in 2018 and most recently presented to painter and documentary subject George Anthony Morton (MASTER OF LIGHT) in 2022. This year, we recognize Vincent D’Onofrio, who has emerged in a new role after a 40-year, 100-plus-credit acting career with his directorial debut, NIGHT OF THE COOTERS – proving that it is always possible to stretch one’s wings.

The Originator Award honors someone who is a true one-of-a-kind talent, creating new ways of seeing and experiencing art. Originators are often imitated, never duplicated, and eternally responsible for setting new industry standards. This award is inspired by Atlantans, who were trailblazers. People who charted paths for generations behind them such as Producer Jermaine Dupri, Businessman and Philanthropist Robert Woodruff, the Prolific Filmmaker Tyler Perry, Writer Margaret Mitchell, Architect/Developer John Portman, Producer Dallas Austin, and Actor Burt Reynolds. The Originator Award was first presented in 2018 to True-Crime Director Joe Berlinger (EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL AND VILE) and most recently to acclaimed Director Spike Lee (DO THE RIGHT THING, MALCOLM X, BLACKKKLANSMAN) in 2019. This year, we recognize George R.R. Martin, who, through his series of books and producing the television series, has created some of the largest and most decorated shows in television history (GAME OF THRONES and HOUSE OF THE DRAGON). Martin demonstrates a commitment to cinema and storytelling, as displayed by his re-opening and preservation of the historic Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  All while writing and producing this innovative new anthology series using Trioscope, with the debut episode, NIGHT OF THE COOTERS, premiering at the Atlanta Film Festival.

Courtesy of Atlanta Film Festival.

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