“In the Cold Dark Night,” a documentary feature about the 1983 murder of Timothy Coggins in Griffin, Georgia, has been selected for the Atlanta Film Festival which begins Thursday.
Directed by Stephen Robert Morse and Nick Hampson, the film examines the 1983 and 2018 investigations into the racially-motivated murder of Coggins, an African American man. The film highlights how one era enabled the crime to go without punishment and how the other attempts to bring justice decades later, according to a press release from ATLFF.
“Featuring a 360-degree view of all people involved within the case, ‘In the Cold Dark Night’ asks audiences to become the juries themselves, questioning their presumptions of guilt, innocence and authority,” the press release states.
Maggie Hickman of Newnan helped produce the re-creations for the film. She said she also helped select locations for the re-creations since most of the crew was based in England.
She said some of the re-creations in the film were shot in Newnan, including houses on East Broad Street that were used as the Coggins’ family home.
“I’m very excited to be in the festival and very honored,” Hickman said.
A shorter version of the film aired on ABC’s “20/20” in July. Morse said they would have liked to have been able to screen the film in theaters, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they haven’t been able to.
“In the Cold Dark Night” will be screened in its entirety this Friday as part of the ATLFF. It will play at Dad’s Garage Drive-In, 569 Ezzard St. SE, Atlanta, at 7:55 p.m.
Although much of the crew that is based in England won’t be able to travel for the festival, Hickman and others involved with the film will be able to see it.
“We always wanted a hometown premiere, so it will be special to give the participants in the film the opportunity to see it on the big screen,” Morse said.
This year marks the 44th annual Atlanta Film Festival, presented by WarnerMedia. The festival will run from Sept. 17-27.
Out of more than 8,500 submissions, 148 works were selected, according to the release. There are 15 narrative and 10 documentary features, and 12 short film and creative media blocks that will screen at drive-in events.
The screenings will feature works from ATLFF’s New Mavericks, ¡CineMás!, Noire and Pink Peach specialty programming tracks — celebrating women, Latinx, Black and LGBTQ filmmakers and stories respectively. Approximately half of all of ATLFF’s selected works were directed by people of color and 20 percent of selected works have ties to Georgia.
The 2020 festival previously announced the shift to exclusively drive-in and virtual screenings and events to enable audiences in Atlanta and beyond to safely enjoy works from a diverse slate of more than 140 filmmakers. In addition to the 36 drive-in screenings, 127 selected works will also play at the 2020 festival virtually, according to the release.
The Atlanta Film Festival is the annual centerpiece of educational and enriching film programming that is provided year-round by its parent organization, the Atlanta Film Society. The festival was originally scheduled to take place in the spring but was postponed due to precautions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.