(PCM) From a sixteen-year-old film buff and an entertainment blogger from Bombay, to dozens of eclectic films, the 25th Philadelphia Film Festival truly has something for everyone. Now taking place through October 30, the milestone festival offers premieres of some of the most talked about and highly-anticipated new films and it is taking place right in our back yard in downtown Philadelphia.
Film lovers of all ages are encouraged to attend this event that is sure to spark a city-wide appreciation of dozens of films; featuring highly-anticipated screenings, exclusive parties, special events and special guests, including noted movie directors.
With more than 120 films from around the world, there is something for everyone, and film lovers do not want to miss out on seeing many of the most buzzed about films before the upcoming awards season, including the Golden Globes, People’s Choice and Oscars.
The festival is not just about watching films, it is about experiencing them. So film buffs are encouraged to check out the filmmakers, producers, industry professionals, and special guests who will be attending the festival, and taking part in post-screening Q&A’s and exciting panels.
Everyone involved with the festival and the Philadelphia Film Society is extremely proud of the festival’s 25th year. “The festival has always been an important and exciting part of Philadelphia’s arts and culture scene,” said Artistic Director Michael Lerman.
“This is our strongest program ever. Kicking off with the Opening night stunner, “La La Land,” alongside foreign and domestic selections that are bold, unique and challenging,” explained Festival Executive Director J. Andrew Greenblatt.
During the past few years, the Philadelphia Film Festival has presented some of the most recognized, celebrated and award-winning films including; “Spotlight,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and “The Artist.”
The current film festival will continue that tradition this year lineup including, “Moonlight,” “Arrival,” “Manchester By the Sea” “Jackie” and “La La Land.”
The Festival draws special guests ranging from Oscar-award winning actors and directors, to many of the major names in the film industry.
“La La Land,” was the opening night film a nostalgic and romantic musical, which is already making a big splash. Directed by Damien Chazelle, (“Whiplash”), is a charming new musical stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling; as lovers, who sing, and tap dance their way into our hearts. It is a fusion of class and modern film making, and a bold tale of love, loss and the pursuit of dreams, set in contemporary Los Angeles.
Gosling’s character, Sebastian, is a struggling jazz musician, and Stone’s character, Mia, is an aspiring actress. They meet and fall in love amid the back drop of Hollywood. “When I was first writing the role I thought about Ryan Gosling in the leading role, but I never thought I would get him,” Chazelle recently explained. “It took six years to get this movie made, it is a long process. Ryan sort of stepped in and saved the project.”
As a lover of the musical genre, along with Gosling and Stone, the director said being able to revive the genre is a major feat.
“It’s really a dream. I had wanted to do this movie for a really long time, and had been told that musicals were dead, and no one wanted to see an original musical that wasn’t based on a Broadway hit,” said Chazelle. “ So just to get to make this was truly a dream come true, if it helps inspire other original musicals to get made that would be gratifying. I’m extremely happy with the outcome.”
The film, the third movie in which these close friends play lovers after “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “Gangster Squad,” which officially opens on Dec. 9, is clever, sweet, and unique – everything you would want in a movie and much more.
“Arrival,” the closing night film on Friday, Oct. 28, directed by Denis Villeneuve, is a powerful, original Sci-Fi drama examining the effects of human resolve and spirit following the arrival of mysterious spacecrafts in various locations around the world. The movie stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker. The movie officially opens on Nov. 11.
The movie “Moonlight,” showing at the festival on Monday, October 24, from director Barry Jenkins (“Medicine for Melancholy”) is an intimate epic showing three impactful segments of a young gay black man’s life. It has been called one of the most extraordinary movies of the year.
Another movie that is getting attention this season is “Jackie,” a powerful and innovative biopic starring Natalie Portman in the title role of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The action takes place the events leading up to and following the assassination of President Kennedy, through the eyes of his wife.
“It was wonderful to get to consider Jackie as a human being and not just as a thing,” says Portman of playing such an iconic woman in American history. “I think we’ve seen her so long as this facade, and as this icon. It was great to get to consider her humanity.”
The movie, directed by Pablo Larrain, also stars Peter Scargsgard, Billy Crudup, John Hurt and Greta Gerwig. The movie officially opens on Dec. 2.
Some of the films in the festival’s spotlight are: Christine, King Cobra, Paterson, Personal Shopper, and Zoology.
As part of the festivities, Oscar-nominated director M. Night Shyamalan was presented with the festival’s first Lumiere Award. A notable Philadelphia filmmaker, he is a great friend to the Philadelphia Film Society and it was a milestone occasion.
Several other films on the festival list include:
“Lion,” showing on Wednesday, Oct. 26, directed by Garth Davis (“Top of the Lake”), is an Australian movie starring Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel. This is the true story of a young man searching for his long-lost family and his own sense of identify in this moving drama.
“Bleed for This,” directed by Ben Younger and starring Miles Teller (Whiplash). He stars in this edge-of-your-seat biopic of Rhode Island boxer Vinny Pazienza, who made one of the most courageous and unlikely comebacks from being nearly paralyzed to World Jr. Middleweight Champion.
“The Edge of Seventeen,” directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, and starring Hailee Steinfeld in this coming-of-age comedy about a rebellious teenager whose fragile existence begins to crumble when her best friend starts dating her older brother. The film is produced by James L. Brooks.
“I am Not Madame Bovary,” directed by Feng Xiaogang, and starring legendary actress Fan Bingbing in a searing comic drama from China’s comparison to Steven Spielberg, Feng Xiaogang, that is centered around a cafe owner’s epic battle with bureaucracy when she petitions the government to right the wrongs imposed upon her by her swindling ex-husband.
For additional information go to: Filmadelphia.org
To see the festival schedule go to: http://filmadelphia.org/festival/
For tickets go to: http://filmadelphia.org/ticket-info/ or call the Festival Call Center at: 215-422-4570, Mon–Sat noon to 5 p.m.