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WAVES directed by Trey Edward Shults; and starring Sterling K. Brown, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Lucas Hedges, Taylor Russell, and Alexa Demie

Martin Scorcese’s critically acclaimed “The Irishman” (Netflix) will open the 2019 Key West Film Festival, and the festival will close with Trey Edward Shults “Waves” (A24). Orlando-based director Stults will appear for a Q&A.

As part of its ongoing tradition – now in its 5th year – of having Opening and Closing Night films curated by top critics, the films were selected by K. Austin Collins of Vanity Fair and Jen Yamato of The Los Angeles Times. Collins will be joined by Yamato for a pre-screening discussion about “The Irishman” on Wednesday, November 20, and both critics will conduct a Q&A with Mr. Stults following the screening of “Waves” on Saturday night, November 23.

KWFF began its Critic’s Choice program in 2015, in which two of the nations top critics curate the opening and closing night films. Past curating critics have included Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times,  Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post,  Eric Kohn of indiewire,  Emily Yoshida of New York Magazine, David Fear of Rolling Stone,  Joshua Rothkopf of Time Out New York and Amy Nicholson of MTV News. 

The eight films that have been showcased in the first four years of the program have amassed a total of forty seven Academy Award nominations – four of which were for Best Picture – and 13 Oscar wins, including two for Best Picture (Spotlight and Shape of Water), for an average of nearly six nominations per film included in this series

Michael Tuckman, Director of Programming of the Key West Film Festival, commented “It is a great honor to be able to showcase these two extraordinary pieces of cinema, made even more incredible by having Mr. Collins and Ms. Yamato share their keen insight on what makes these films so special with our audiences. Patrons of the festival are sure to have a one-of-a-kind experience in being able to interact with these extremely intelligent and creative thinkers after seeing these masterpieces on screen.” 


Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci star in Martin Scorsese’s THE IRISHMAN, an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century. Spanning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history, the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and offers a monumental journey through the hidden corridors of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries and connections to mainstream politics.



Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, and featuring an astonishing ensemble of award-winning actors and breakouts alike, Waves traces the epic emotional journey of a suburban African-American family—led by a well-intentioned but domineering father—as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the aftermath of a loss. From acclaimed director Trey Edward Shults, Waves is a heartrending story about the universal capacity for compassion and growth even in the darkest of times.

WAVES Trailer
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