Montclair Film Festival Announces 2019
Special Event Films

 Montclair Film has announced its initial slate of Special Event films for the 8th annual Montclair Film Festival (MFF), presented by Investors Bank, taking place May 3 – May 12, 2019, in Montclair, NJ.

The festival will open on Friday, May 3, with a screening of Tom Harper’s WILD ROSE, with star Jessie Buckley attending for a post-screening Q&A. WILD ROSE is the electrifying story of Rose-Lynn (Buckley), an ex-con reunited with her family but wholly unprepared to accept responsibility as a mother. Rose-Lynn dreams of leaving Scotland and moving to Nashville to become a country music star, but her plans are put on hold as she looks to find work and provide for her kids. When her chance finally arrives, can she realize her dreams, or will her real-life circumstances keep them from coming true? Buckley will also receive the festival’s 2019 Breakthrough Performer Award at the screening. WILD ROSE is a NEON release, and the screening is co-presented by BAFTANY.

On Saturday, May 11, director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders will attend our Closing  screening of  TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM, the festival’s Closing Film, with the director in attendance for a post-screening Q&A. The film is stunning and evocative portrait of the American Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, one of our greatest novelists. Following Morrison from her childhood to her work as a leading literary editor and through her influential career as a novelist, the film gives voice to Morrison herself, allowing her words and experience to provide a form of autobiography. TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM is a Magnolia Pictures release.

Writer and star Mindy Kaling will attend the festival’s screening of LATE NIGHT, starring Kaling and Emma Thompson. Kaling will participate in a post-screening Q&A, moderated by Stephen Colbert. A legendary late-night talk show host’s world is turned upside down when she hires her only female staff writer. Originally intended to smooth over diversity concerns, her decision has unexpectedly hilarious consequences as two women separated by culture and generation are united by their love of a biting punchline. The festival’s Narrative Centerpiece, LATE NIGHT is an Amazon Studios release.

The festival’s Documentary Centerpiece, MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL, will feature a pre-screening performance by students from Montclair Film’s partners Jazz House Kids, and a post-screening Q&A with director Stanley Nelson. Using words from Davis’ autobiography, MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL offers an incisive insight into our understanding of the legendary musician. Newly released archival material and brilliant performance footage illustrate a man of intensity and devotion to his craft. Despite the indignities of America during the time of segregation, nothing was going to stop Davis from realizing his dream: to create a new form of musical expression.

Fox Searchlight and Montclair Film are partnering to present the premiere of TOLKIEN, which explores the formative years of the renowned author’s life as he finds friendship, courage and inspiration among a fellow group of writers and artists at school. Their brotherhood strengthens as they grow up and weather love and loss together, including Tolkien’s tumultuous courtship of his beloved Edith Bratt, until the outbreak of the First World War which threatens to tear their fellowship apart. All of these experiences would later inspire Tolkien to write his famous Middle-earth novels. Directed by Dome Karukoski (TOM OF FINLAND), TOLKIEN stars Nicholas Hoult as J.R.R. Tolkien with Lily Collins as his future wife and muse Edith. 

The screening will be followed by an extended Q&A with stars Lily Collins and Nicholas Hoult, and director Dome Karukoski, moderated by Stephen Colbert. In a first for the festival, the Q&A will be simulcast live from the Montclair Film Festival into theaters across the country in conjunction with simultaneous advance screenings of TOLKIEN. 

“This year’s festival is going to be special,” said Montclair Film Executive Director Tom Hall. “We are incredibly proud to be able to bring these amazing artists and their films to our audiences, and we look forward to fostering the conversations, ideas, and connections that I know these wonderful films will inspire.”

The full 2019 Montclair Film Festival line-up will be announced on April 5, 2019. Tickets for Montclair Film members go on sale on April 8, with public tickets onsite April 12.