CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Movie lovers across the Triangle will soon get the opportunity to check out some of the fall's most exciting title before they hit theaters.
Film Fest 919, a locally operated film festival in Chapel Hill announced its 2019 lineup this week featuring an array of titles from around the world.
This year's festival kicks off on October 9 and lasts through the 13th at the Silverspot Cinema in Chapel Hill.
Founded by Randi Emerman and Carol Marshall, the festival highlights some of the most talked about pictures from the Cannes, Venice, Telluride, and Toronto film festivals.
Audiences also get the opportunity to engage with some of the artists behind the films featured.
Some of this year's most anticipated titles include:
Dolemite Is My Name
Eddie Murphy makes his eagerly awaited return to the big screen in this biopic about Blaxploitation star Rudy Ray Moore. Making its premier at the Toronto International Film Festival, the movie is already earning strong buzz for Murphy's performance, with many suspecting he may finally get that long overdue Oscar! However, even if that's not the case, it's hard to say no to the opportunity of seeing Murphy at the center of a picture, a sight that's become increasingly rare as he's gotten older. The fact the movie is also written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewki (the team behind "Ed Wood" and "The People vs O.J. Simpson") means "Dolemite" will likely have more personality than your average awards-bait biopic.
Ford v. Ferrari
Sometimes, all you need is simplicity; fast cars, charismatic movie stars, and a lot of energy. That seems to be the vibe for this "based on a true story" flick, chronicling Ford Motor Co.'s push to beat out Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. The movie comes from the steady hand of James Mangold, whose previous films have included everything from star-studded biopics ("Walk the Line") to gritty comic book pictures ("Logan"). However, the real draw looks to be the playful banter and chemistry between the film's stars, Matt Damon and Christian Bale.
Taking home the audience prize at this year's Toronto Film Festival, Taika Waititi's "anti-hate satire" has already set itself up as a major awards contender and one of the hottest titles of the fall season. The New Zealand born filmmaker made a name for himself with his unique brand of sweet, whimsical comedies such as "Boy", "What We Do In the Shadows", and "Hunt for the Wilderpeople". However, Waititi's profile went mainstream back in 2017, bringing his sensibility and humor to the Mavel universe in "Thor: Ragnarok". "Jojo" offers a different challenge though, as Waititi uses his humor as a weapon toward satirizing Nazi Germany, Hitler, and racism as a whole. It's a tight wire act, making this easily one of the festivals most curious entries.
Another true-story picture with its eyes on hopeful Oscars, "Just Mercy" stars Michael B. Jordan as civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson and recounts his experience surrounding the case of a death row prisoner he fought to free. Jamie Foxx plays the titular inmate and Brie Larson, fresh from her role as "Captain Marvel," rounds out the star-studded cast.
Chalamet fever is in the air! The young actor, who won over the hearts of moviegoers in 2017 with "Call Me By Your Name" and "Lady Bird," returns in two high profile projects this fall, one of which will be playing at 919. That film is "The King," a retelling of Shakespeare's "Henry V," that promises plenty of brooding men, epic battles, and Robert Pattinson doing a French accent. From the looks of it, "The King" looks to be the kind of film you need to see on a big screen, making 919 the perfect place the catch it before it drops on Netflix.
Another Netflix title, "Marriage Story" will be the festival's opening night film on Wednesday and is already generating plenty of buzz as one of the years best films. The divorce drama from New York indie darling Noah Baumbach ("Frances Ha", "The Squid and the Whale") stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johanson as the titular couple, who find themselves drifting apart both personally and professionally, eventually becoming locked in an intense legal battle for custody of their son. Expect plenty of Oscar talk for this movie over the next several months, with many early reviews pointing to Driver in particular as being a lock for Best Actor.
Wednesday's opening night screening will also feature special guest Martha Kelly (Baskets, Corporate Animals) in attendance. That screening will be followed by an after-party at City Kitchen.
Based on Jonathan Lethem's playful detective novel, "Motherless Brooklyn" has been a long-gestating passion project for actor Edward Norton. Now, it's finally here, with Norton himself taking the lead role as the Tourette's stricken detective Lionel Essrog. From the looks of it, Norton's adaption has already made several changes from the original novel, most notably placing its setting in the 1950s to add to the gum-shoe noir vibe. Add in a star-studded supporting cast and you have a picture that even fans of the novel are likely to be surprised by, or at least find something new to explore in its New York-setting.
Pain and Glory
The latest from Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar, "Pain and Glory" has become one of the most talked about foreign language films of the year. Much of the buzz around this loosely autobiographical film has been about Antonio Banderas, who's soulful and subtle performance as a middle aged filmmaker earned him a Best Actor prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
Along with "Marriage Story," "Parasite" might be the most-hyped movie heading into 919 this year. The satirical thriller from Bong Joon-Ho became the first South Korean film ever to take home the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival over this past summer. As for the plot? The less said about the movie the better, but audiences eager to check it out will be met with one of the year's most exhilarating movie-going experiences.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Another Cannes stand-out, this time from France. "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" earned the Best Screenplay and Queer Palm awards at the festival. Critics around the globe having been singing the period-romances praise as one of the best movies of the year.
The Two Popes
The centerpiece of a special award being given out at this year's 919, "The Two Popes" offers a two-hander between esteemed actors Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins as Pope Frances and Pope Benedict. The Distinguished Screenwriter Award will be given out to Anthony McCarten, who's penned several Oscar nominated pictures before this one, including for "The Theory of Everything", "Bohemian Rhapsody", and "The Darkest Hour".
Earning rave reviews out of Telluride and Toronto, "Waves" looks on paper to be your standard family drama. However, audiences are likely to get something a little more unique, seeing as the film comes from Trey Edward Shults. The 30-year-old filmmaker has already been on the eyes of movie-goers as one of the most exciting voices of his generation, with his previous films "Krisha" and "It Comes at Night". Could "Waves" be the movie that announces him as one of our great American filmmakers? We'll have to wait and see...
Along with the films listed above, the weekend will also include events such as:
- An after party on opening night at City Kitchen, hosted by Sally Brown, wife of UNC football coach Mack Brown.
- An special screening of the Elton John bopic Rocketman on Thursday night, featuring a special appearance by Ray Williams, the man credited with discovering John as an artist.
- A late-night get-together at 401 Main on Friday night, featuring music by Jasme Kelly Kollective
- A special screenwriting panel on Saturday moderated by Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish.
- A chance to meet Joe Letteri, the award winning effects supervisor for Weta Digital
For the full lineup, ticket information, and more, click here.