First-time director Rachel Saltzman (though possessed of a number of production crew credits) attempts to tackle the adaptation of “the worst book ever written” in ATLANTA NIGHTS: THE MOVIE, creating a hybrid documentary/fiction work with echoes of AIRPLANE.
As recounted here, the origins of ATLANTA NIGHTS were in late 2003, when vanity press PublishAmerica insulted sci-fi and fantasy authors, leading a group of them to hatch a plot to write an unpublishable manuscript in order to demonstrate that PublishAmerica, despite its claims of professionalism, would nevertheless publish just about anything. The intentionally nonsensical, error-ridden result, titled “Atlanta Nights” by “Travis Tea,” was accepted for publication – an offer withdrawn after the hoax was publicly revealed. Saltzman’s film will mix interviews with the various authors responsible for the hoax with an attempt to bring a zany sensibility to the adaptation of the chapters making up the incoherent fictional story.
The filmmakers have launched an ambitious $25,000 Kickstarter campaign for production funding assistance. With about a month and a half to go, they have quite a ways to go, so please consider supporting them with either a direct contribution or by spreading the word about their unique project.
ATLANTA NIGHTS sounds like a really fun project. On her Kickstarter page, Saltzman notes the desire to warn aspiring writers about the kind of questionable practices in which publishers like PublishAmerica engage. While the initial literary hoax is very insider baseball, the film should allow the story to spread beyond that community, and its hybrid format seems especially well-suited to this aim. AIRPLANE style humor is hard to pull off, but it too seems very appropriate for “a bad book written by experts,” as one of its reviewers noted. I do hope, however, that the bulk of the film is devoted to the compelling back story, as it’s my guess that a little zaniness will go a long way. They’ve succeeded in perking my interest about the project, and I’d never heard of the hoax, so I look forward to hearing about their progress in the months to come.