The 8th annual Montclair Film Festival (MFF) taking place May 3 to 12, 2019, in Montclair, NJ will feature over 150 films, events, discussions, and parties. The festival will open on Friday, May 3, with Tom Harper’s WILD ROSE, and on Saturday, May 11, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM will screen as the festival’s Closing Film.
Nisha Ganatra’s LATE NIGHT will serve as the Fiction Centerpiece, with Mindy Kaling attending a post-screening Q&A moderated by Stephen Colbert on Saturday, May 4, and the Documentary Centerpiece will be MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL on May 10, with director Stanley Nelson attending for a Q&A. Lily Collins, Nicholas Hoult, and director Dome Karukoski will attend a special screening of TOLKIEN.
The festival’s fiction film highlights include Michael Tyburski’s THE SOUND OF SILENCE starring Peter Sarsgaard and Rashida Jones, Noble Jones’ THE TOMORROW MAN starring John Lithgow and Blythe Danner, Mary Harron’s CHARLIE SAYS, and Alex Thompson’s SXSW Audience Award winner SAINT FRANCES, and Guy Nattiv’s SKIN starring Jamie Bell, Danielle Macdonald, and Vera Farmiga and adapted from Nattiv’s 2019 Oscar® winning short film of the same name. The festival will also feature two classic films, including the World Premiere of the restored THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, directed by George Stevens and restored by Twentieth Century Fox and The Film Foundation. The Montclair Film Festival will also celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the founding of United Artists by presenting a special screening of Brian De Palma’s horror masterpiece CARRIE on Saturday, May 11.
Documentary highlights this year include the return of Roger Ross Williams (LIFE, ANIMATED) to the festival with his new film THE APOLLO, Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce (BELIEVER) returning to the festival with their new film FRAMING JOHN DELOREAN (starring Alec Baldwin, portions of which were shot in Montclair), Montclair’s own Erin Lee Carr bringing her new true crime thriller I LOVE YOU, NOW DIE: THE COMMONWEALTH VS. MICHELLE CARTER to the festival, the World Premiere of Ken Spooner and Mike Mee’s LIFE WITH LAYLA, which examines the opioid epidemic through the experiences of a New Jersey family, and a special partnership between the festival and The United Tastes Of America, who will co-present a special screening of the award-winning MIDNIGHT TRAVELER.
The festival’s family offerings are highlighted by the first Family Centerpiece film, Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone’s stunning THE ELEPHANT QUEEN, which is presented by The Nature Conservancy and which will also mark the festival’s first screening utilizing 4K. The festival’s rich strand of Educational offerings includes the annual EMERGING FILMMAKERS SHOWCASE, highlighting work by students in 6th through 12th grades; as well as our annual Spotlight Series screenings by public and private students in our community; our 2019 Junior Jury, featuring a selection of high school students adjudicating films in the program; the SHORTS FOR ALL AGES program; and more.
This year’s Storyteller Series, presented by Audible, features conversations with the leading voices in film and includes A Conversation with Mindy Kaling, moderated by Stephen Colbert, taking place Saturday May 4; A Conversation with Ben Stiller, moderated by Stephen Colbert, taking place Sunday, May 5; the legendary Olympia Dukakis returns to Montclair for an extended Q&A following the May 5 screening of Harry Mavromichalis’ OLYMPIA; Stephen Colbert will moderate an extended Conversation with Lily Collins, Nicholas Hoult, and Dome Karukoski following the festival’s screening of TOLKIEN, which will be streamed into cinemas around the country courtesy of Fox Searchlight and Fathom Events; and Erin Lee Carr will feature in ALL THAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND: A Conversation with Erin Lee Carr on Saturday, May 11 (admission for this event includes a copy of Carr’s new memoir ALL THAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND, which the author will sign following the conversation).
2019 FILM COMPETITIONS AND JURIES
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
The Documentary Feature Competition features cinematic non-fiction films that examine the diverse possibilities of the form.
- AMERICAN FACTORY, directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
- HONEYLAND, directed by Tamara Kovetska and Ljubomir Stefanov
- THE HOTTEST AUGUST, directed by Brett Story
- MIDNIGHT FAMILY, directed by Luke Lorentzen
- PAHOKEE, directed by Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan
FICTION FEATURE COMPETITION
The Fiction Feature Competition highlights the MFF’s most ambitious, auteur-driven fiction films.
- DIVINE LOVE, directed by Gabriel Mascarano
- A FAMILY SUBMERGED, directed by Maria Alche
- MANTA RAY, directed by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng
- MONOS, directed by Alejandro Landes
- ONE MAN DIES A MILLION TIMES, directed by Jessica Oreck
The Future/Now Competition celebrates American, low-budget independent filmmaking by first or second-time feature film directors who are creating innovative, challenging films.
- JULES OF LIGHT AND DARK, directed by Daniel Laabs
- LIGHT FROM LIGHT, directed by Paul Harrill
- MICKEY AND THE BEAR, directed by Annabelle Attanasio
- PREMATURE, directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green
- THE WORLD IS FULL OF SECRETS, directed by Graham Swon
NEW JERSEY FILMS COMPETITION
The New Jersey Films competition this year focuses on non-fiction films directed, produced by, or featuring New Jersey talent.
- FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO, directed by Daniel Karslake
- THE INFILTRATORS, directed by Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera
- LIFE WITH LAYLA, directed by Ken Spooner and Mike Mee
- MOSSVILLE: WHEN THE GREAT TREES FALL, directed by Alexander Glustrom
- WHAT SHE SAID: THE ART OF PAULINE KAEL, directed by Rob Garver