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Flicks - Film comings and goings

OK, get your score cards ready: First, Madstone Theatres in Sandy Springs closed June 1. Then, on June 30, the theater reopened as Lefont Sandy Springs Theater. And now the Peachtree Film Society has called it quits. For some film presenters in Atlanta, June was a tumultuous month.

Founded in 1992 and originally called the Metropolitan Film Society, the Peachtree Film Society presented monthly screenings of foreign and art-house films not previously available to film-goers in Atlanta, such as Donnie Darko, Intimacy and an annual program of Oscar-winning short films. It also presented an annual international film festival for several years in the mid-'90s.

The increase of Atlanta screens for alternative films over the last year has squeezed out the monthly screenings of the Peachtree Film Society, which brought its last art-house film, La Vie Promise, to the city June 22.

"With Landmark, and to a lesser extent Madstone, we had to book films that nobody had heard of — good films, but ones that were harder to get people to see," says Stacey Ferdinands, vice president of the nonprofit organization and its programmer. "Even our annual program of Oscar shorts didn't do as well this year."

Meanwhile, the defunct Madstone Theatres has been bought and reopened by long-time Atlanta film exhibitor George Lefont, owner of Lefont Garden Hills Cinema and Lefont Plaza. The theater, renamed Lefont Sandy Springs Theater, will continue to screen a mix of commercial films and more alternative fare. It will also honor discounted ticket prices to movie-goers who bought Madstone membership cards, and will sell beer and wine at the theater as soon as Lefont gets a license.