The Key West Film Festival announced today its second annual Critics Focus program, to be curated by David Fear, Senior Film/TV Editor of Rolling Stone and Amy Nicholson, Chief Film Critic of MTV. Attending critics will serve as the jury for the first annual Key West Film Festival Critic’s Prize.
As part of the Critics Focus program, Fear has curated Kenneth Lonergan’s latest film “Manchester by the Sea” and will feature a conversation by David and Nicholson after the film. Nicholson will curate the other Centerpiece film, to be announced next month.
Other participating film critics and journalists attending the festival this year include Eric Kohn, Chief Critic of IndieWire, who serves on the festival’s advisory board; Ann Hornaday, Chief Film Critic of The Washington Post; Steve Dollar, film critic, journalist and freelance contributor to The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Bright Ideas magazine, Filmmaker and other publications; Eugene Hernandez, Deputy Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Co-Publisher of Film Comment; and Brian Brooks co-producer of Special Events of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, journalist at Deadline.com and co-producer of SeriesFest.
This year, the festival will also honor Burt Reynolds with a Career Achievement Award, accompanied by a special screening of Jesse Moss’ documentary “The Bandit,” about the 70s superstar, his best friend and stunt-double Hal Needham, and the making of their unlikely smash-hit “Smokey & The Bandit.”
Finally, the festival will award the second annual Brett Ratner Florida Film Scholarship, with a $5000 scholarship awarded to a Florida student filmmaker, chosen from six participating Florida colleges and universities. Born and raised in Miami Beach, Ratner is one of Florida’s most cherished filmmakers, and personally presented the award last year to the winning student at a special ceremony at the Festival. The scholarship is designed to put a spotlight on aspiring Florida filmmakers, giving their unique local vision and heritage a national stage.
“We couldn’t be more honored to have David and Amy join us this year to continue our Critics’ Focus program, which gave audience last year a whole world of insight into the films they just saw,” says Program Director Michael Tuckman. “Adding the Critics’ Prize was a natural progression and gives true arbiters of cinema a voice in recognizing excellence in film. And words just can’t express our excitement in bestowing an honor to the legendary Burt Reynolds, and the unique mark he has made on American popular culture.”
The festival runs in Key West, Florida from November 16th through the 20th. For full program information, a schedule of events, and travel and lodging details, visit the festival’s official website.