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Film Festival Roundup: Montclair Announces Full Program, New York African Film Festival Returns, Full Frame Opens and More

Plus, Nantucket announces Screenwriters Tribute, Florida reveals its full slate and much more.

Casting JonBenet

“Casting JonBenet”


Keep up with the always-hopping film festival world with our weekly Film Festival Roundup column. Check out last week’s Roundup right here.

Lineup Announcements

– Montclair Film has announced the full program for the 6th annual Montclair Film Festival (MFF), taking place April 28 – May 7, 2017 in Montclair, NJ and featuring over 150 films, events, discussions, and parties, with over 150 filmmakers and industry guests attending. Highlights include “Casting JonBenet,” “Strong Island,” “Lady Macbeth,” “Menashe” and “Beach Rats.”

“This year, we have been fortunate to find filmmakers who are making work that gives depth and shape to the vital conversations of our time,” said Montclair Film Executive Director Tom Hall. “The festival is an opportunity for bringing audiences together with these incredible artists, so that, together, we can enjoy and engage with the images, ideas, and insights that are illuminated in these wonderful films.” Check out the full lineup right here.

“Strong Island”


– The Film Society of Lincoln Center and African Film Festival, Inc. have joined forces once again, to present the 24th New York African Film Festival, May 3 – 9. The festival’s theme, “The Peoples’ Revolution,” taps into the pulse of protest and the calls for change bubbling up throughout the peoples of the world, a reform charge championed by a new wave of artists throughout Africa and its diaspora.

The festival continues throughout May at Lehman College, Maysles Cinema, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinématek. Across these venues, the festival will present a total of 25 feature-length films and 36 short films from 25 countries — celebrated African films from the continent and the diaspora.

Check out more information, including the full lineup and how to purchase tickets, right here.

– The Florida Film Festival has announced the program lineup for the 26th Annual Festival, April 21 – 30, in Maitland and Winter Park, Florida, with Primary Sponsor Full Sail University and Primary Public Partners Orange County Government and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. The Festival will screen 182 films representing 40 countries, along with celebrity guest appearances, forums, and parties. Of the films selected, 139 have premiere status, including 17 world premieres.

The 19 features and 65 short films in the American Independent Competition will be eligible for up to three awards each: a Grand Jury Award for best film in that category, a Special Jury Award given at the jury’s discretion for exceptional achievements, and an Audience Award determined by audience votes for Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, and Best Short Film. International films are also eligible for Audience Awards for Best International Feature and Best International Short, and an Audience Award will be given for the Best Midnight Short as well. Check out the full lineup here.

– Visual Communications (VC), the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, has announced its program of outstanding films and events for the upcoming 33rd edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) running April 27 – May 4. This encompassing annual film celebration is presented across the city of Los Angeles from Hollywood to Little Tokyo to the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles to Koreatown to Westwood to West Hollywood and to Buena Park in Orange County.

This year’s opening night kicking off the Fest is the 15th Anniversary special gala presentation of director/writer Justin Lin’s uncut 35mm Sundance original version of the landmark film “Better Luck Tomorrow.” The Festival Centerpiece Presentation features the 2017 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award-winning film “Gook,” from actor turned filmmaker Justin Chon. Closing out this year’s eight day film celebration is the Los Angeles premiere of the acclaimed 2017 Sundance hit film “Columbus” from director Kogonada, a proud immigrant, born in Seoul and raised in the Midwest. Check out the full lineup right here.



Courtesy of Sundance Institute, photo by Ante Cheng

– The Washington Jewish Film Festival has announced the program for the 27th annual event. The festival, which runs from May 17 – 28 in venues throughout the Washington area, includes 63 feature-length and 18 short films from 25 countries, and showcases the diversity of Jewish life across the world.

The feature, documentary and short films in the slate touch on an array of Jewish perspectives from around the world. This year’s festival includes three thematic strands: Rated LGBTQ which explores sexuality and gender identity; Mechanisms of Extremism, films that examine extremist governments, societies and movements; and Laugh Track, a selection of comedies of all stripes. A full festival schedule can be found at their official site.

– The 25th anniversary edition of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival  (TJFF) is set to open on May 4 with Ferenc Török’s “1945,” fresh off its debut at the Berlin International Film Festival. Ten days later, the Festival will close with the World Premiere of “Mandala Beats,” directed by Canadian filmmaker —and former TJFF Hillel student committee participant— Rebekah Reiko, on May 14.

The Toronto Jewish Film Festival’s 2017 lineup, schedule and ticket pricing information will be available at TJFF.COM starting April 17. Early Bird Special passes are available at TJFF.COM until April 14.

Other Official Announcements

– The 20th Annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival has kicked off in Durham, North Carolina. Individual tickets are still available, and can be purchased right here. As the festival notes, films are never truly “sold out” at Full Frame; even those marked “Last Minute Line Only” will likely have room for some in the first come-first served, $15 (cash-only) Last Minute Line. Check out their full lineup right here.

– The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society has announced its newest, four-day film festival presenting a world perspective on LGBTQ stories, people and issues with a variety of films, guest speakers, discussions, and a special event focused on LGBTQ youth. The SPECTRUM Film Festival will be held at the MV Film Center in Vineyard Haven April 27 – April 30 with nine different programs over the course of the festival.

The first festival of its kind on the Vineyard, The SPECTRUM Film Festival adds to the MV Film Society’s growing outreach to shine light on subject matters not usually covered by major Hollywood motion pictures and expects to draw moviegoers from around the island as well as from the Cape and beyond.

“The Amazing Gayl Pile”

– The Tallgrass Film Association has announced the creation of the DoXX Spotlight Section, which will debut during the 15th edition of the Tallgrass International Film Festival Presented by Consolidated Equities Trust (October 18 – 22) in Wichita, Kansas. TFA also announced the first jury members of the newly created section, which will be comprised of feature-length documentaries directed by women.

The three women that will comprise the jury for the Tallgrass Film Festival’s inaugural DoXX Spotlight competition will be the Seattle International Film Festival’s Interim Artistic Director Beth Barrett, Women Make Movies Executive Director Debra Zimmerman, and award-winning documentary filmmaker Maisie Crow.

Special Events

– SFFILM has announced the full list of speakers who will be featured in a series of in-depth public conversations as part of the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival’s film and technology programs. Produced in partnership with Bay Area-based Pixar Animation Studios and WIRED, the inaugural Creativity Summit is a new suite of programming that will bring together trailblazers at the intersection of film and technology for a day of conversations and networking with leaders in both fields.

To help launch the event, John Knoll, Chief Creative Officer/Senior Visual Effects Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic and Colum Slevin, Head of Experiences at Oculus join an impressive roster of innovators on the vanguard of art, film, and technology — including State of Cinema Address speaker Ed Catmull (President, Pixar and Walt Disney Studios) — for three onstage discussions. As part of this year’s expansion of the popular VR Days program, four conVRsations will offer all VR Days ticketholders the opportunity to meet the artists behind this cutting edge medium. Check out the full lineup right here.


– The 2017 HollyWeb Festival, sponsored by AMC Independent, celebrated the best in digital content at an awards ceremony held at the Fonda Theatre (6126 Hollywood Blvd.) on Sunday, April 2. Top awards went to Justin Harwood’s “High Road” for Best Series, Benoit Lach’s “Fluffy Marky” for Best International Series, Elsie Bollinger and Sally Bollinger’s “Bright Summer Night” for Best Drama, Morgan Waters and Brooks Gray’s “The Amazing Gayl Pile” for Best Comedy, and Sonja O’Hara and Jaspal Binning’s “Doomsday” for Best Pilot.

Acting awards were taken by Mark Mitchinson (“High Road”) for Best Actor in a Drama, Karin Agstam (“Doomsday”) for Best Actress in a Drama, Rob Zazzali (“Right Hand Man”) for Best Actor in a Comedy, and McKenzie Trent (“The Adventures of Delores Briggam”) for Best Actress in A Comedy. Best Ensemble Cast went to “The Room Actors: Where Are They Now?”



Open Road

– The 13th annual Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival announced the 2017 Best of the Festival Award Winners earlier this week. Selected from among the Festival’s divers array of feature films, documentaries, and shorts programs, the Festival awarded top honors to: “The Drowning,” directed by Bette Gordon (Best Dramatic Feature); “Snowflake,” directed by Alana Smithee (Best Dramatic Short); “After Auschwitz: The Story of Six Women,” directed by Jon Kean (Best Documentary Feature); and “Breaking Silence,” directed by Nadya Ali (Best Documentary Short).

Honors and Tributes

– The Nantucket Film Festival has announced the honorees who will be celebrated at this year’s Screenwriters Tribute — including Oscar-winning writer/director Tom McCarthy, legendary documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield, and ground-breaking television creators and Emmy-nominated writing team David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik. The 22nd Nantucket Film Festival (NFF) will take place June 21 – 26, and celebrates the art of screenwriting and storytelling in cinema and television.

For the first time, the Nantucket Film Festival assembled a jury of four esteemed writers to bestow its top award, the Screenwriters Tribute Award. The Screenwriters Tribute Award Jury is comprised of some of the most gifted storytellers, each bringing their own approach to writing and each having made an impact on American Cinema and culture. The jury includes Barry Levinson (2012 NFF Screenwriters Tribute Award Recipient), Ben Stiller (NFF Board Member and Presenter of the All-Star Comedy Roundtable at NFF), Nancy Meyers (2010 NFF Screenwriters Tribute Award Recipient) and Nathaniel Philbrick (recipient of the National Book Award for Nonfiction for “In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex”).

The 2017 Screenwriters Tribute Award will be presented to screenwriter/director Tom McCarthy. Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield will be presented with the Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling Award. The Creative Impact in Television Writing Award will be presented to writing partners Jeffrey Klarik and David Crane. The Screenwriters Tribute will take place on Friday, June 23.

Submissions and Calls for Entry

– The 5th annual Nitehawk Shorts Festival submissions are open. For submission rules and more details, please visit their dedicated Nitehawk Shorts Festival website, right here.

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