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Quendrith Johnson

Quendrith Johnson is Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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Film Fest 919 lines up awards contenders Feb. 8 thru March

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

‘Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina’ is actually a line from the 1947 Al Jolson song, but it’s also applicable to the uncanny Award Season picks of Randi Emerman and Carol Marshall, co-founders of Film Fest 919 in North Carolina.

Their running joke is: “FF919 is founded and run by two old broads,” and oddly, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The wealth of movie history and experience between these two merits at least a shelf at the Margaret Herrick Library

While Award Season 2021 will be like no other, Film Fest 919 founded in 2018 has a schedule coming up that even can be enjoyed virtually in many instances. 

Catch a film before it catches on: MAURITANIA, Jodie Foster, Shailene Woodley


CHAPEL HILL, NC: Film Fest 919, founded by industry veterans Randi Emerman and Carol Marshall, is offering up a series at the Drive In at Carraway Village throughout February and March: Film Fest 919 Presents The Contenders, coinciding with the extended award season and ringing true to their mantra - Catch the Films Before They Catch On!

DRIVE IN AT CARRAWAY VILLAGE was launched by Film Fest 919 and introduced to the Triangle community in October and continues to offer a fun and safe way to watch first-run features.  As you know, many studios have had to shift their film release dates due to COVID-19.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll continue to feature Throwback Movies and invite everyone to experience a series of classic favorites on the big screen.

FF919 embodies the true spirit of a film festival, presenting a diverse breadth of compelling features to the area’s enthusiastic, film-loving audience.  Showcasing the season’s most talked-about films selected by Cannes, Sundance, Berlin, Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals, audiences will have an opportunity to see awards-worthy films early on.

The founders of the festival are excited to bring more of the extended Award Season’s most talked about films to Chapel Hill before the fourth edition of Film Fest 919 returns in the fall.


Mon., Feb. 8 THE MAURITANIAN, followed by a Q&A

7:00 pm       Directed by Kevin Macdonald

Starring Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Zachary Levi, Shailene Woodley, Benedict Cumberbatch

The Mauritanian is inspired by the true story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s fight for freedom after being detained and imprisoned without charge by the U.S. Government for years, based on his NY Times best-selling memoir “Guantanamo Diary.” Alone and afraid, Slahi (Tahar Rahim) finds allies in defense attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley) who battle the U.S. government in a fight for justice that tests their commitment to the law and their client at every turn. Their controversial advocacy, along with evidence uncovered by a formidable military prosecutor, Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), uncovers shocking truths and ultimately proves that the human spirit cannot be locked up.

Following the film will be a pre-recorded Conversation with Slahi and Hollander, along with director Kevin Macdonald and cast members Tahar Rahim and Jodie Foster.

Wed., Feb. 10 EMPEROR, followed by a Q&A

7:00 pm Directed by Mark Amin

Starring Dayo Okeniyi, James Cromwell, Bruce Dern, Mykelti Williamson

Inspired by the true legend of Shields Green (Dayo Okeniyi) who, in 1859, escaped from a plantation and made a daring journey north where he met Frederick Douglass (Henry Lenix) and John Brown (James Cromwell).  With the opportunity to continue to freedom in Canada, Green instead chose to fight to end slavery in the raid at Harper’s Ferry.

Following the film will be a pre-recorded Conversation with Dayo Okeniyi and James Cromwell, moderated by Scott Mantz

Sun., Feb. 14 GUNDA, followed by a Q&A


Directed by Victor Kossakovsky

Experiential cinema in its purest form, GUNDA chronicles the unfiltered lives of a mother pig, a flock of chickens, and a herd of cows with masterful intimacy. Using stark, transcendent black and white cinematography and the farm's ambient soundtrack, director Victor Kossakovsky invites the audience to slow down and experience life as his subjects do, taking in their world with a magical patience and an other-worldly perspective. GUNDA asks us to meditate on the mystery of animal consciousness and reckon with the role humanity plays in it. Executive produced by Joaquin Phoenix.

Following the film will be a pre-recorded Conversation with director Victor Kossakovsky and executive producer Joaquin Phoenix

Gangster Vegan Food Truck will be on site for the evening.

Sun., Feb. 21 SOUND OF METAL, followed by a Q&A

6:30 pm Directed by Darius Marder

Starring Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci

During a series of adrenaline-fueled one-night gigs, itinerant punk-metal drummer Ruben (Riz Ahmed) begins to experience intermittent hearing loss. When a specialist tells him his condition will rapidly worsen, he thinks his music career — and with it his life — is over. His bandmate and girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) checks the recovering heroin addict into a secluded sober house for the deaf in hopes it will prevent a relapse and help him learn to adapt to his new situation. But after being welcomed into a community that accepts him just as he is, Ruben has to choose between his equilibrium and the drive to reclaim the life he once knew. Utilizing startling, innovative sound design techniques, director Darius Marder takes audiences inside Ruben’s experience to vividly recreate his journey into a rarely examined world.

Following the film will be a pre-recorded Conversation with Darius Marder and Riz Ahmed

Sun., Feb. 28 ON THE ROCKS

6:30 pm Written and Directed by Sofia Coppola

Starring Bill Murray, Rashida Jones, Marlon Wayans

Laura (Rashida Jones) thinks she’s happily hitched, but when her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) starts logging late hours at the office with a new co-worker, Laura begins to fear the worst. She turns to the one man she suspects may have insight: her charming, impulsive father Felix (Bill Murray), who insists they investigate the situation. As the two begin prowling New York at night, careening from uptown parties to downtown hotspots, they discover at the heart of their journey lies their own relationship.

Sun., Mar. 7 WOLFWALKERS, followed by a Q&A

6:30 pm Directed by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart

Starring Honor Kneafsey, Eva Whitaker, Sean Bean, Simon McBurney

In a time of superstition and magic, a young apprentice hunter journeys to Ireland with her father to wipe out the last wolf pack.  While exploring the forbidden lands outside the city walls, Robyn befriends a free-spirited girl, Mebh, a member of a mysterious tribe rumored to have the ability to transform into wolves by night. As they search for Mebh’s missing mother, Robyn uncovers a secret that draws her further into the enchanted world of the “Wolfwalkers” and risks turning into the very thing her father is tasked to destroy.

Followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.

More Contenders to be announced.


Wednesdays Black History Month

2/3 Dreamgirls

2/10 Emperor

2/17 Hidden Figures

2/24 TBD

Thursdays Hitchcock Revival

2/4 Psycho

2/11 The Man Who Knew Too Much

2/18 The Birds

2/25 Stage Fright

Fridays Love on the Screen

2/5 Prince of Tides

2/12 Casablanca

2/19 Ghost

2/26 Sleepless in Seattle

Saturdays Family Night at the Movies

2/6 School of Rock

2/13 Shrek

2/20 Gremlins

2/27 TBD

Tickets are now on sale for each show at  Tickets are $12.90/person for General Ad mission; $10.75/person for kids 4-10 (incl. tax).


Your Film Fest 919:

FF919 is founded and run by two old broads: Randi Emerman, VP of Programming for Silverspot Cinemas and co-founder/former CEO of the Palm Beach International Film Festival whose multi-faceted career spans production, marketing, theatrical exhibition and distribution, and Carol Marshall, veteran publicist for a wide variety of entertainment clients including such previous film festivals as Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Sonoma and Bermuda international film fests. FF919 is a thoughtfully curated, inclusive festival with a commitment to bold, director-driven programming and is especially supportive of female and diverse filmmakers.

# # #


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About Quendrith Johnson

Johnson Quendrith

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