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Montclair Film Festival Announces Opening, Closing and Centerpiece Films, Including ‘Miss Sharon Jones!’

Montclair Film Festival Announces Opening, Closing and Centerpiece Films, Including 'Miss Sharon Jones!'

The Montclair Film Festival has today announced their first round of picks for the 2016 edition of the fest, including their Opening and Closing Night films and a pair of very exciting Centerpiece films. Roger Ross Williams’ “Life, Animated” will open the festival on Friday, April 29, and Williams will be joined by subjects Owen, Walt, Cornelia and Ron Suskind, with “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert moderating a
post-screening discussion. The festival will close out with “Miss Sharon Jones!” on Saturday, May 7. That screening will include a post-screening Q&A with director Barbara Kopple and members of Jones’ own band, The Dap Kings.

The festival also boasts a pair of exciting Centerpiece screenings, including TIFF hit “Presenting Princess Shaw” and James Schamus’ Sundance premiere “Indignation.” 

Of these first entries to this year’s slate, MFF Executive Director Tom Hall said, “Each of these wonderful films is a rich
portrait of a life transformed by the urgent need to find one’s true voice and
engage with the world.  These are stories
that are sure to inspire and move audiences, and we are incredibly proud and
honored to feature them at our festival.”

Check out more information about the films below, with all synopses provided by MFF.

OPENING NIGHT FILM

Friday, April 29, 7:30 PM, The Wellmont Theater
“Life, Animated”

Director:
Roger Ross Williams 

Producers: Roger
Ross Williams, Julie Goldman

USA/91
Min

Q&A with Director Roger Ross Williams, subjects Owen, Walt, Cornelia, and Ron Suskind, moderated by Stephen Colbert.

“Life, Animated” is the real-life story of Owen
Suskind, the son of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind and his
wife, Cornelia. An autistic boy who couldn’t speak for years, Owen memorized
dozens of Disney movies, turned them into a language to express love and loss,
kinship, and brotherhood. Directed by Academy Award® winning filmmaker Roger
Ross Williams, “Life, Animated” is the story of a family’s love, struggle and
triumph, revealing how, in darkness, we all literally need stories to survive.
The Montclair Film Festival is proud to present the luminous, inspiring “Life, Animated” as the Opening Night Film of our 2016 festival.

DOCUMENTARY CENTERPIECE FILM 

Friday, May 6, 8:00 PM, The Wellmont Theater
“Presenting Princess Shaw”

Director:
Ido Haar

Producers:
Liran Atzmor, Stephen Apkon 

Israel/80
Min
Q&A with Princess Shaw 

By day, Samantha Montgomery cares for the elderly
in one of New Orleans’ toughest neighborhoods. By night, she writes and sings
her own songs as Princess Shaw on her confessional YouTube channel. Meanwhile,
in Israel, a composer, musician and video artist named Kutiman creates video
mash ups of amateur YouTube performers. When Kutiman discovers Princess Shaw’s
raw, vulnerable vocals online, the pair of artists unwittingly begin a journey
that will bring them together from across the globe, transforming their lives
forever. “Presenting Princess Shaw” is the story of the birth of an unlikely star
who will make you believe in the power of dreams.

READ MORE: Montclair Film Festival to Host Event Honoring Richard Curtis

NARRATIVE CENTERPIECE FILM

Saturday, May 7, 4:30 PM, The Wellmont Theater
“Indignation”

Director:
James Schamus

Producers:
Anthony Bregman, James Schamus, Rodrigo Teixeira

Cast:
Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, Ben Rosenfield, Tracy Letts

USA/110
Min
Q&A with Director James Schamus

Based on the novel by Philip Roth, “Indignation” is
the story of Marcus (Logan Lerman), a working-class Jewish student from Newark,
attending a small liberal arts college in Ohio. It’s 1951, and while the Korean
War rages half a world away, life in America offers its own discontents; Marcus
is infatuated with a fellow student named Olivia Hutton (Sarah Gadon), his
parents don’t approve, and his struggles with the administration at his college
lead him on a collision course with the conservative values of the day. James
Schamus’ “Indignation” is a masterful reminder of the power of fighting for your
ideals.

CLOSING NIGHT FILM

Saturday, May 7, 7:30 PM, The Wellmont Theater
“Miss Sharon Jones!”

Director:
Barbara Kopple

Producers:
Barbara Kopple, David Cassidy 

USA/93
Min
Q&A with Director Barbara Kopple and members of The Dap Kings

Two-time Academy Award® winning filmmaker Barbara
Kopple returns to the MFF with “Miss Sharon Jones!,” a portrait of one of the
most fiery and talented performers working today. In 2014, on the eve of the
band launching a new album, Ms. Jones faces her greatest challenge yet; a
cancer diagnosis that brings her career to a stand still. “Miss Sharon Jones!” documents the singer’s battle to not only heal her body but continue to drive
the Dap Kings toward the musical summit. Filled with incredible performances,
laughs, tears and plenty of inspiration, we are proud to present “Miss Sharon Jones!” as the Closing Night Film of the 2016 Montclair Film Festival.

The full program for the Montclair Film Festival will be announced on Tuesday, April 5. This year’s festival runs from April 29-May 8.

Tickets for MFF members go on sale Tuesday, April 5, with public tickets on sale Friday, April 8, at 11:00 AM. Visit the festival’s official website for details.

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