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Montclair Film Festival Sets ‘Dream Scenario’ and ‘Eileen’ as Opening and Closing Night Films (Exclusive)

The lineup for Montclair Film’s 2023 festival is set to feature screenings of Dream Scenario, Eileen and Stamped From the Beginning, as well as discussions with director Todd Haynes and award-winning musician Jon Batiste.

The 12th annual edition of the New Jersey-based event will kick off with an opening night screening and Q&A for Kristoffer Borgli’s Dream Scenario, a comedy starring Nicolas Cage as a listless family man and professor who becomes an overnight celebrity after becoming a central figure of others’ dreams. It will close with William Oldroyd’s period psychological thriller Eileen, starring Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie.

This year, the Alexander Payne-directed and Paul Giamatti-starring The Holdovers has been named the Fiction Centerpiece selection and Pablo Berger’s Robot Dreams, based on Sara Varonas’ popular graphic novel, is the Family Centerpiece. As the 2023 Documentary Centerpiece, Roger Ross Williams’ adaptation of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s New York Times bestseller Stamped From the Beginning will screen followed by a Q&A with the director.

On Wednesday, the festival also announced additional 2023 honorees, which follows the previous reveal of its 2023 Filmmaker Tribute honoree Martin Scorsese. Among those being celebrated at this year’s event are director Matthew Heineman, who will receive the Documentary Filmmaker Award alongside a screening of his recently acquired film American Symphony and a Q&A with the film’s subjects, Batiste and wife Suleika Jaouad.

Director Todd Haynes will also receive a special honor, the 2023 Director Award, which he will accept after a screening of his new film May December, starring Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman and Charles Melton. The screening will also feature a special Q&A moderated by longtime Montclair Film Festival supporter Stephen Colbert

Writer-director Raven Jackson’s film visually-driven All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt, which is executive produced by Oscar-winner Berry Jenkins, will be honored with the festival’s 2023 Breakthrough Writer Director Award, while Christian Friedel will receive the Breakthrough Performer Award alongside a Q&A and screening of Holocaust drama The Zone of Interest.

Breaking the News directors Heather Courtney, Princess A. Hairston and Chelsea Hernandez are the recipients of this year’s David Carr Award for Truth in Filmmaking honor, for their doc on the efforts of The 19th, a digital news start-up that focuses on national news, politics and policy from the lens of marginalized communities historically ignored by legacy newsrooms and those omitted in the initial passing of the amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“We are thrilled to be able to share these incredible films with our audiences,” said Tom Hall, Montclair Film co-head and artistic director, in a statement. “Our commitment to programming great cinema at the festival remains the unwavering focus of our entire team, and we are profoundly grateful to these artists for bringing their outstanding work to our community.”

The full 2023 Montclair Film Festival program, which will include competition films, is slated to be announced on Sept. 29. Tickets for the festival — which runs from Oct. 20-29 across venues like The Wellmont Theater, The Montclair Kimberley Academy Upper School and The Clairidge — go on sale to the public on Oct. 6.



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