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Film Festival Roundup: Sundance London Announces Full Lineup, Israel Film Center Festival Unveils Annual Slate and More

Plus, PEI and Nantucket unveil new additions and Bentonville lines up panels and special events.

a ghost story

“A Ghost Story”

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

– EXCLUSIVE: JCC Manhattan’s 5th Annual Israel Film Center Festival announced its complete line-up of feature films from acclaimed Israeli filmmakers. The festival, which highlights Israel’s latest groundbreaking cinema and also features conversations among industry creative, runs June 8 – 13, 2017 with two pre-festival previews on May 21, and May 23, at JCC Manhattan334 Amsterdam Avenue at 76th Street.

Highlights of this year’s film line-up include the New York premieres of Meni Yaish’s “Our Father,” Erez Tadmor’s “Home Port,” Roee Florentin’s “Mr. Predictable,” and a special preview of “Aida’s Secrets,” set to open in theaters in the fall. Most films included in this year’s slate are New York premieres.

This year’s festival includes popular films coming out of Israel’s industry. “Most of the selections are completely non-political, which might not be what you expect from Israel’s film industry,” said Isaac Zablocki, founder of the Israel Film Center. “Many are comedies or love stories, and that is a true reflection of life in Israel.”

Tickets for the Israel Film Center Festival are on sale now, and you can get them and additional info at its official site.

“The Big Sick”

– The Nantucket Film Festival has announced today the opening night selection for its 2017 festival, Lionsgate/Amazon Studios’ “The Big Sick,” directed by Michael Showalter and written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. Paramount Pictures’ “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk will close the festival. The 22nd Nantucket Film Festival (NFF) will take place June 21-26, 2017, and celebrates the art of screenwriting and storytelling in cinema and television.

Nick Broomfield (2017 NFF Honoree) and Rudi Dolezal’s “Whitney: Can I Be Me” will screen as the festival’s centerpiece film. The documentary offers a candid look at the life, career, and untimely death of Whitney Houston. For the eighth year in a row, NFF will screen a Disney•Pixar film on opening day. This year the studio will showcase the anticipated animated feature “Cars 3,” the latest installment in the CARS franchise, directed by Brian Fee. Other highlights of the film slate include “Fun Mom Dinner,” “Patti Cake$,” “Landline,” “Wind River” and “Marjorie Prime.”

Passes and ticket packages are on sale now on the festival’s website.

– The Prince Edward Island Film, Food, & Idea Festival, running July 13 – 16, 2017 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, has announced its Opening Night and Centerpiece films.

Fest opener and recent Kino Lorber acquisition “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World” is Catherine Bainbridge & Alfonso Maiorana’s award-winning documentary (Sundance 2017, World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Masterful Storytelling) about the role of Native Americans in popular music history and will open the fest. “Girl Unbound: The War to Be Her” (Toronto International Film Festival 2016) directed by Erin Heidenreich, explores the world of Maria Toorpakai Wazir, a champion female athlete who defies the Taliban to pursue her dream and will serve as the Centerpiece film.

This is the inaugural edition of a unique cultural event featuring films, salon-style dinners, and inspirational talks, taking place in the seaside capital of Prince Edward Island. PEI FEST includes a youth conference that will provide training and tools focusing on social entrepreneurial initiatives.

“We are thrilled to offer this sneak peak into our exciting film and youth conference programs.” said Charlottetown native, event founder and veteran festival producer Colin Stanfield (New York Film Festival, Nantucket Film Festival). “We’ve combed through a lot of current social issues films looking for those gems which will resonate with our audience and whose filmmakers will inspire and drive the highly interactive event.” Find out more information at its official website.

– The Sundance Institute and Picturehouse have announced the program of feature films, short films and panel discussions for the 2017 Sundance Film Festival: London, taking place June 1-4 at Picturehouse Central. Festival passes are on sale now and you can see the complete lineup at its official site.

The festival will present 14 feature films direct from this year’s Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, U.S.A., selected for London by the Sundance Institute programming team in collaboration with Picturehouse. As previously announced, the festival will open with the International premiere of Miguel Arteta’s “Beatriz at Dinner,” and it will close four days later with the UK premiere of David Lowery’s critically acclaimed “A Ghost Story,” starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara.

For the first time, the program will include a “Surprise Film” screening which promises festivalgoers an exclusive chance to catch an audience hit from this year’s festival in Park City. Additionally, the Sundance Film Festival: London will introduce an Audience Favourite award for 2017, giving festivalgoers the chance to vote for their favourite features, with the winner announced at the close of the festival.

“Beatriz at Dinner”

– The Maryland Film Festival (MdFF) announced the complete guide for the opening night short films and closing night film for the 19th annual Maryland Film Festival, taking place May 3 – 7 in Baltimore, Maryland. The complete festival program, schedule and tickets for all screenings are now available online right here and is also available for download as a PDF from that page.

The festival will kick-off with the Opening Night Shorts program, the Grand Opening and first public event in the festival’s new home, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway, the stunning newly-renovated three-screen theater in the heart of the city’s Station North Arts and Entertainment District. The evening is hosted by MdFF alums Kris Swanberg and Josephine Decker.

– The 2017 Harlem International Film Festival (Hi) today announced the official selections for the 12th edition of the film festival taking place on May 4-7 at MIST Harlem (41 West 116th Street). Opening with the world premiere of Daniel Peddle’s inspirational documentary, “Garden of the Peaceful Dragon” and closing with Angela Robinson Witherspoon’s tale of survival on the streets of New York City, “Curtsy, Mister,” the four-day film festival will showcase 90 films from more than 30 countries, on subjects ranging from immigration, sex, race, romance, music, art, fashion, combating HIV/AIDS, surviving breast cancer, homelessness, gentrification, celebrating dance, and much more – including 6 world premieres, 2 North American Premieres, and 2 U.S. premieres.

“This year’s lineup is typically diverse, both in content and the filmmakers responsible for the films, bookended by personal profiles that hit close to home both because of their redemptive themes and because they get to the heart of what is the best in humanity,” said Harlem International Film Festival Program Director Nasri Zacharia, “In our 12th year, the festival will once again provide a forum for wonderful storytelling and exciting moments on the big screen created by talent all around the world.”

You can check out the full lineup and more information at its official site.

– Ivy Film Festival brings its 2017 Official Selection of student films from around the world to New York with a screening at the School of Visual Arts’ (SVA) Beatrice Theatre on Friday, May 12 at 7:00 p.m., followed by a reception. This event will be ticketed, but free and open to the public. As one of the largest student-run film festivals in the world, this screening provides an important opportunity to show a curated selection of IFF’s best student films to reach a wider audience. The festival’s mission is to showcase student filmmakers from around the world and build a network between today’s pioneers and the next generation of creative talent.

Ivy Film Festival’s 2017 Official Selection included 26 of the top undergraduate and graduate student films, curated from over 300 submissions representing 40 countries including Iran, South Korea, France, Sri Lanka, Israel and Russia. For more information on Ivy Film Festival and to see the complete lineup, visit its official site.


– FilmOut San Diego’s 19th Annual LGBT Film Festival will take place from June 9 – 11, 2017. Thirty-seven films will be screened during the three-day film festival at the historic Observatory North Park Theatre in San Diego. The festival will open with Del Shores’ “A Very Sordid Wedding” and close with Jennifer M. Kroot’s “The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin.” You can find out more about the festival at its official website.

– The New York Polish Film Festival presents its 13th annual showcase of Poland’s most riveting cinema, and honors the memory of world cinema legend, Andrzej Wajda. He was the NY Polish Film Festival Honorary Patron for many years, and passed away on October 9, 2016, just a few days after the premiere of his latest film “Afterimage (Powidoki)” In addition to many awards for his films, Wajda received both an honorary Oscar and an honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement.

The festival will present “Afterimage (Powidoki)” as part of the Opening Night Gala at the Directors Guild of America, with Martin Scorsese in person to introduce the feature, as well as a screening of his classic “Ashes and Diamonds.” In cooperation with the Wajda Film School in Warsaw (which Wajda founded) celebrating its 15th anniversary, the NYPFF will present a selection of its students’ short, documentary, and first feature projects.

The NYPFF will include screenings of some of the best new films from Poland, including “The Last Family” by Jan P. Matuszyński, “United States of Love” by Tomasz Wasilewski, and the Polish blockbuster comedy “Singles Planet” by Mitja Okorn, among many others including six New York Premieres.

Panels and Events

– The Bentonville Film Festival enters its third year with a panel lineup that builds upon the mission-oriented foundation set in the previous years, while boldly expanding into progressive conversations surrounding comedy, music, toys, tech, and STEAM.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Al Go

“An Inconvenient Sequel”

Courtesy of Sundance

The festival is bringing back favorites like the Samsung Create Student Short Film Competition and the star-studded “Geena and Friends” panel featuring Meg Ryan and “Brooklyn 99’s Melissa Fumero and Stephanie Beatriz, which invites some of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces to participate in a live script-reading of iconic scenes from popular films with one catch: all major roles are gender-swapped to prove to the audience, in a fun way, that women characters can do anything male characters can do.

You can see the full lineup of panels and special events at the festival’s official site.

Jury Announcements

– The Greenwich International Film Festival has announced that Sophia Bush will lead the Social Impact Jury at the 3rd annual festival. Actress, activist and humanitarian, Bush will present the Best Social Impact Film Award at Opening Night Party on Thursday, June 1, 2017. This prize will be awarded to one film across all categories that promotes social change and awareness. The films in competition for The Social Impact Prize will be determined by the GIFF team, awarded by the Jury and the prize will have a cash value of $10,000.00 USD.

“The Best Social Impact Film Award is the most prestigious of the Festival. We are thrilled to announce that for the third year in a row, over half of our program line-up are films that deal with important issues facing all of us on a global level.  A very important part of our Festival mission is to use the power of film to serve the greater good and we are thrilled to highlight the filmmakers who share that vision–to affect change in the world and to inspire activism” said Colleen deVeer, Greenwich International Film Festival Founder and Director of Programming.

The Social Impact Jury is comprised of actors, activists, philanthropists, and entertainment professionals.  The award will be presented to the winning director, during an awards ceremony, where he or she will be presented with a trophy and receive a check.

Submissions and Calls for Entry

– Call for Entries open May 1, 2017, for the 2018 Oxford Film Festival, taking place in Oxford, Mississippi, February 7-11, 2018. The 15th edition of the festival includes a new film and screenplay competition with cash prizes, as well as a reduced submission fee incentive for female filmmakers.

“Whitney: Can I Be Me”


Led by Executive Director Melanie Addington, the Oxford FF will screen films, television, and virtual reality projects in all genres, as well as promoting and celebrating Mississippi filmmakers culminating in the presentation of the film festival’s award ceremony. Through year-round programming, the festival works to encourage filmmaking in Oxford and North Mississippi while growing understanding of cinema through screenings, workshops and educational programs, during the five-day event.

When submitting their films to Film Freeway for consideration by the festival, women should use the following submission code to receive their 50% discount: BlacheOXFF. Submissions can be made at FilmFreeway right here, and more information is here.

Honors and Tributes

– The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) will honor Anjelica Huston during this year’s 43rd edition and include the world premiere of her newest film, “Trouble,” written and directed by Theresa Rebeck. Taking place on Wednesday, June 7 at the historic SIFF Cinema Egyptian, the event will begin with an on-stage interview with Huston, followed by a screening of her new film which she both stars in and executive produced.

Anjelica Huston is a powerhouse of a woman whose career has spanned over 50 years: through modeling, film, television, and on the page. Born into the family of renowned film director John Huston, and legendary grandfather Walter Huston, Anjelica was sure to make a splash in the industry with both her unique beauty and strong presence. Sarah Wilke, SIFF’s Executive Director says, “It is an honor to welcome such a talented, exquisite, and tenacious actress to this year’s festival. Anjelica Huston has graced the theater screen for many years and we at SIFF are elated to celebrate her success as an artist with our Career Achievement in Acting Award.”

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