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Film Fest 919 reveals 2022 lineup, led by ‘Devotion,’ ‘Glass Onion’

North Carolina’s biggest film festival is back for its fifth anniversary edition, as Film Fest 919 announced on Monday the lineup for this year’s program.

The festival, running Oct. 19 through Oct. 23, will be highlighted by an opening night showing of Korean War drama “Devotion” with director JD Dillard in attendance, and will close with Rian Johnson’s murder mystery sequel, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.” Other must-see films highlighting the slate include “The Banshees of Inisheren,” “White Noise,” “Armageddon Time” and “Women Talking.”

“We are so proud of the program we’ve put together for our fifth year,” Film Fest 919 founders Randi Emerman and Carol Marshall said in a press release. “We have films from all around the world representing 13 countries; some tremendous thought-provoking documentaries, official Academy submissions for Best International Film and many unique and memorable stories that will touch the heart and soul. We look forward to celebrating the theatrical experience together!”

Jonathan Majors and Glenn Powell star in “Devotion,” which will open Film Fest 919 this year. (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

This year’s festival is changing things up a bit, reverting back to a Wednesday through Sunday schedule, after last year’s festival began Monday and unfolded over a whole week. While the festival will still be based out of Silverspot Cinema in Chapel Hill, the secondary venue is shifting to The Lumina Theater, an indoor movie theater also located in Chapel Hill. This marks a change from last year’s showings at the Drive In at Carraway Village.

This year’s slate is poised to continue the tradition of prestige, by screening awards season frontrunners before their wide release – a reputation Film Fest 919 has quickly developed. Last year marked the first time in festival history that the eventual Best Picture winner was not a part of the program, after screening “Green Book” in 2018, “Parasite” in 2019 and “Nomadland” in 2020. Still, the 2021 festival had plenty of awards season highlights, like “King Richard,” “Spencer” and more.

Daniel Craig returns as Detective Benoit Blanc in “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” the follow-up murder mystery to 2019’s hit. The film will close this year’s festival. (Netflix)

Film Fest 919 goes beyond just screening films each year, but also honors the talent behind what audiences witness on the big screen. The festival has presented awards over the years to the likes of Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao, 12-time Oscar nominated songwriter Diane Warren, screenwriters Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch, and more.

A new award is debuting this year, as “Devotion” director JD Dillard will receive the first-ever Horizon Award. Dillard will also participate in a moderated discussion following the screening of his film.

“The Horizon Award is presented to an outstanding filmmaker whose work not only demonstrates excellence in their craft, but perhaps more importantly, signals a stunning breakthrough in their own artistry and body of work,” Emerman and Marshall said. “This award recognizes Mr. Dillard’s incredible filmmaking achievement.”

Check out the full festival slate below!

ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED, USA – Documentary
Directed by Laura Poitras

This documentary feature follows the life of artist Nan Goldin and the downfall of the Sackler family, the pharmaceutical dynasty who was greatly responsible for the opioid epidemic’s unfathomable death toll.

Winner of Golden Lion for Best Film & Smithers Foundation Award, Venice Film Festival; Toronto International Film Festival

ARMAGEDDON TIME, US/Brazil
Directed by James Gray

Paul (Banks Repeta), a dreamy middle-class kid, has an urge to be an artist. His loving but conventional and insecure parents (Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong) don’t understand. As he wrestles with self-expression, Paul finds inspiration from Johnny (Jaylin Webb), a rebellious schoolmate, and his Jewish immigrant grandfather (Anthony Hopkins), who, since escaping Ukraine during World War II, has lived the best and the worst of the American Dream. Writer-director James Gray (THE IMMIGRANT, AD ASTRA) builds an intimate cinematic world of moral turmoil and difficult decisions, of the rise of Ronald Reagan, the challenges of race relations and the confusion of class differences fueling the damaged soul of a nation. Gray has created a work of fierce but delicate beauty, in which coming of age means awakening to the painful realities of an imperfect world.

Nominated for Palm d’Or, Cannes; Telluride Film Festival

BAD AXE, USA – Documentary
Directed by David Siev

“Bad Axe” captures a closely-knit Asian-American family living in a rural Michigan community as they now fight to keep their American dream alive. As owners of a local prominent restaurant, they reckon with a global pandemic, racial tensions and generational scars from Cambodia’s “killing fields.”

Winner Best Documentary, SXSW Film Festival

CLOSE, Belgium/Netherlands/France
Directed by Lukas Dhont

The intense friendship between two 13-year-old boys Rémi (Gustav De Waele) and Léo (Eden Dambrine). The images of the boys, supplied by Frank van den Eeden’s fluid cinematography, streaking along on their bikes through fields of flowers will stun and delight you. Once school starts, the prison walls of social convention start to close, with devastating effects on their friendship which suddenly gets disrupted.

Official Academy Submission for Belgium; Winner, Grand Prize of Festival, Cannes; Telluride Film Festival

CORSAGE, Austria/Luxembourg/Germany/France
Directed by Marie Kreutzer

Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Vicky Krieps) is idolized for her beauty and renowned for inspiring fashion trends. But in 1877, ‘Sisi’ celebrates her 40th birthday and must fight to maintain her public image by lacing her corset tighter and tighter. While Elisabeth’s role has been reduced against her wishes to purely performative, her hunger for knowledge and zest for life makes her more and more restless in Vienna. She travels to England and Bavaria, visiting former lovers and old friends, seeking the excitement and purpose of her youth. With a future of strictly ceremonial duties laid out in front of her, Elisabeth rebels against the hyperbolized image of herself and comes up with a plan to protect her legacy.

Official Academy Submission for Austria; Winner, Un Certain Regard for Best Performance – Vicky Krieps, Cannes Film Festival

DEVOTION, USA – OPENING NIGHT / HORIZON AWARD PRESENTATION
Directed by JD Dillard

“Devotion,” an aerial war epic based on the bestselling book of the same name, tells the inspirational true story of two elite US Navy fighter pilots who helped turn the tide in the most brutal battle in the Korean War: Jesse Brown, the first Black aviator in Navy history and his fellow fighter pilot and friend, Tom Hudner. Their heroic sacrifices and enduring friendship would ultimately make them the Navy’s most celebrated wingmen.

Toronto International Film Festival. Director JD Dillard will attend.

EMPIRE OF LIGHT, UK/US
Directed by Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes fills his superbly cast, deeply personal drama with surprises, all emerging from a cinema in a working-class town in 1980s England. Hilary (Olivia Colman, in another knockout performance) is a single woman who runs the ticket booth, where she meets Steven (played with stirring confidence by relative newcomer Micheal Ward). Though on its surface a love story, EMPIRE OF LIGHT is not what you might expect, as Mendes sidesteps the expected nostalgia to instead follow the credo written on the cinema’s walls: “Find in light where darkness lies.” The film (which also features Colin Firth and Toby Jones) leads us through the characters’ profound struggles, both internally and with a society encountering massive cultural and economic shifts. Working again with the Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins, Mendes has created a rich, complex celebration that, at its core, reminds us how music and cinema can bring us together, even as the world drives us apart.

Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival

GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY, US – CLOSING NIGHT
Written and directed by Rian Johnson

Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Rian Johnson assembles another all-star cast, returning to the franchise he began. Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) returns to peel back the layers in this new whodunit. This fresh adventure finds the intrepid detective at a lavish private estate on a Greek island, but how and why he comes to be there is only the first of many puzzles. Blanc soon meets a distinctly disparate group of friends gathering at the invitation of billionaire Miles Bron for their yearly reunion. Among those on the guest list are Miles’ former business partner Andi Brand, current Connecticut governor Claire Debella, cutting edge scientist Lionel Toussaint, fashion designer and former model Birdie Jay and her conscientious assistant Peg, and influencer Duke Cody and his sidekick girlfriend Whiskey. As in all the best murder mysteries, each character harbors their own secrets, lies and motivations. When someone turns up dead, everyone is a suspect.

Toronto International Film Festival

GOOD NIGHT OPPY, US – Documentary
Directed by Ryan White

Ryan White’s movie embodies a common childhood dream for those born at the dawn of the space age: to reach out for the stars, to travel to space, to add to our knowledge and our understanding of who we are and, perhaps, to discover whether we’re alone in this expanse. The film follows a team from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory—brilliant scientists all, but also with an infectious child-like enthusiasm—as they create, launch and guide Opportunity, a dazzlingly innovative and surprisingly personable Mars robotic explorer. What was to be a 90-day foray becomes an unprecedented 15-year adventure as Oppy continues traversing the wild terrain of Mars, sending home to Earth pictures and data that inform our understanding of the universe. Combining those images with exclusive footage and animations (created with the help of Industrial Light & Magic), White weaves a thrilling tale that will inspire any explorer.

Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival

IF THESE WALLS COULD SING, UK – Documentary
Directed by Mary McCartney

“If These Walls Could Sing,” from Disney Original Documentary, gives exclusive access to the most famous and longest-running studio in the world, Abbey Road Studios. In this personal film of memory and discovery, director Mary McCartney guides us through nine decades to tell the stories of some of the studio’s most iconic recordings — and the people who made them happen.

Telluride Film Festival

LOUIS ARMSTRONG’S BLACK & BLUES, US – Documentary
Directed by Sascha Jenkins

Musician and documentary filmmaker Sacha Jenkins accessed the personal archive of legendary jazz trumpeter and singer Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. Tapping into Louis’ own audio recordings, representing a meticulous account of his personal life, Jenkins offers insights into the man behind the music-his private conversations juxtaposed with his public persona as one of the most famous musicians and performers in the world. Archival footage and a soundtrack containing some of Satchmo’s best-known songs and performances bring Louis to life and show him as a barrier-breaking Black entertainer who navigated the times he lived in to keep at his craft over a 50+-year career.

Toronto International Film Festival

SAINT OMÉR, France
Directed by Alice Diop

“Saint Omér” follows Rama, a novelist who attends the trial of Laurence Coly at the Saint-Omer Criminal Court to use her story to write a modern-day adaptation of the ancient myth of Medea, but things don’t go as expected.

Official Academy submission for France; Winner Edipo Re Award; Luigi De Laurentiis Award and Silver Lion Award, Venice Film Festival

SHE SAID, US
Directed by Maria Schrader

Two-time Academy Award nominee Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) and Zoe Kazan (“The Plot Against America”) star as New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, who together broke one of the most important stories in a generation— a story that shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood and altered American culture forever. A testament to the power of investigative journalism, “She Said” details the journey of reporters and editors engaged in the unrelenting pursuit of the truth and highlights the courage of survivors and witnesses who chose to come forward to stop a serial predator in his tracks. Together, their commitment and fortitude sparked a national conversation, helped propel the #MeToo movement, and fueled a reckoning of the system that had enabled him.

THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN, Ireland/UK/US
Written and Directed by Martin McDonaugh

“In Bruges” stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson re-team for this fable about two lifelong friends who reach an impasse, with alarming consequences for both. From the vibrant imagination of Oscar-winning writer- director Martin McDonagh (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) comes this pitch-black comic fable of wounded friendship and the perils of petty grievance. Reuniting McDonagh with his ingenious “In Bruges” stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, “The Banshees of Inisherin” is enchanting, poignant, and relentlessly entertaining.

Winner Volpi Cup for Film and Golden Osella for screenplay at Venice Film Festival; Toronto International Film Festival

THE INSPECTION, US
Directed by Elegance Bratton

Inspired by the filmmaker’s own life story, Ellis French (Jeremy Pope) is a sensitive young Black man who enlists in the Marine Corps to pull himself out of homelessness and gain the love of his dogged and combatant mother (played by the scene-stealing Gabrielle Union). While the film takes place in the age of America’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” policy, which directed applicants to the military not be asked about sexual orientation, homophobia is deeply entrenched in all aspects of service, from bootcamp to battle. Once enlisted, French struggles to conceal his sexual identity — as well as his invading attraction to his drill instructor (Raúl Castillo) — while under the watchful eye of the belligerent and hard-lining unit commander (Bokeem Woodbine).

Toronto International Film Festival

THE LOST KING, UK
Directed by Stephen Frears

In the archaeological find of a century, the remains of King Richard III — presumed scattered over 500 years ago — were discovered under a parking lot in Leicester in 2012. The search was spearheaded by amateur historian Philippa Langley, whose passion and unrelenting research were met with skepticism by the academic establishment. Directed by two-time Oscar® nominee Stephen Frears (“The Queen,” “A Very English Scandal”) and starring two-time Oscar® nominee Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water,” “Spencer”) as Langley, “The Lost King” is the inspiring true story of a woman who refused to be ignored and took on Britain’s most eminent historians, forcing them to rethink the legacy of one of the most controversial rulers in English history. A tale of discovery, obsession, and stolen glory (both then and now), “The Lost King” is a magical adventure illuminated by one woman’s awakened sense of purpose.

Toronto International Film Festival

THE QUIET GIRL, Ireland
Directed by Colm Bairéad

Set in 1981, this film tells the story of a young girl, Cáit, who is sent away for the summer from her dysfunctional family to live with “her mother’s people”. These are Seán and Eibhlín Cinnsealach; a middle- aged couple she has never met. Slowly, in the care of this couple, Cáit blossoms and discovers a new way of living, but in this house where affection grows and there are meant to be no secrets, she discovers one.

Winner, Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus International Jury and Children’s Jury Special Mention – Berlin International Film Festival

THE VOICE OF DUST AND ASH, Iran – Documentary
Directed by Mandana Biscotti

The incredible true-life story of monumental singer and humanitarian Maestro Mohammed Reza Sharjarian, who NPR declared as “one of the 50 greatest voices of all time.” When Iran’s ayatollah banned music and performances in the entire country, instruments and records were criminalized, and being caught with any resulted in lashings, imprisonment, exile or execution. Mohammed Reza Sharjarian risked everything to confronttheregime, singing truth to powerandunitingthecountry as hisvoicegrew to chorus of 80 million people strong. His life-long humanitarian efforts, pursuit of equality and freedom of speech are immortalized for generations to come, through his majestic, soaring vocals and lyrics.

WHITE NOISE, US
Directed and written by Noah Baumbach

At once hilarious and horrifying, lyrical and absurd, ordinary and apocalyptic, “White Noise” dramatizes a contemporary American family’s attempts to deal with the mundane conflicts of everyday life while grappling with the universal mysteries of love, death, and the possibility of happiness in an uncertain world.

Winner, Green Drop Award – Venice Film Festival

WOMEN TALKING, US
Directed by Sarah Polley

In a hayloft on a prairie far away some Mennonite women gather to conspire. They have choices—just like us: they could do nothing; they could stay and fight; or they can leave. The metaphor is as clear as the light, for they need to outlast the abuse they endure from men. We never see these men, but we read their power in the women’s eyes. This adaptation of Miriam Toews’ novel has a gravity that may remind us of Carl Dreyer, but the epic description of a female imagination in a rural landscape is pure Sarah Polley. Lit up by radiant, fierce performances (Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Sheila McCarthy and Judith Ivey, plus Ben Whishaw and Frances McDormand), this is another Polley masterpiece, and unequivocally the film for now.

Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival

Festival passes are no longer available, but individual tickets will go on sale October 11, available at www.FilmFest919.com

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Zach Goins View All

Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Raleigh, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.

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