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Your Complete Guide to the 2019 Philadelphia Film Festival

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Your Complete Guide to the 2019 Philadelphia Film Festival

Your Complete Guide to the 2019 Philadelphia Film Festival

Your Complete Guide to the 2019 Philadelphia Film Festival


The Philadelphia Film Society is proud to announce the full line-up for the 28th Philadelphia Film Festival (PFF), spanning from October 17 – October 27.

This year’s line-up features a multitude of remarkable films from a wide range of genres. Select Festival categories will commence with an opening night film premiere.

The opening night for the Galas category will be Destin Daniel Cretton’s JUST MERCY on October 17. The powerful and inspirational film tells the story of social justice lawyer Bryan Stevenson, played by acclaimed actor Michael B. Jordan of FRUITVALE STATION, CREED, and BLACK PANTHER fame, who stars with Academy Award® winners Jamie Foxx (RAY) and Brie Larson (ROOM). Bryan Stevenson, who authored the book on which the film is based, screenwriter Andrew Lanham, and star Karan Kendrick (THE HUNGER GAMES, HIDDEN FIGURES, THE HATE U GIVE) are scheduled to attend.

Additional Opening Night titles include PARASITE, opening Masters of Cinema; CUNNINGHAM, opening Spotlights; COME AS YOU ARE, opening Made in USA; BIKRAM: YOGI, GURU, opening Non/Fiction; and THE LODGE opening After Hours.

The outlandish mystery film KNIVES OUT will serve as the closing night on October 26. The film, which follows an eccentric family gathering gone horribly awry, features an all-star cast, including Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Michael Shannon, and Jamie Lee Curtis. Director Rian Johnson, best known for the revitalization of the STAR WARS saga, BRICK, THE BROTHERS BLOOM, and LOOPER, is scheduled to attend.

The Festival will showcase 120 feature length and short films. The Festival line-up is curated by the PFF programming committee who carefully selects each film from multiple international festivals throughout the year. This year’s line-up introduces the new category, Visions of China, and welcomes the return of State of the Union. These categories expand upon the Festival’s goal of presenting films that are both timely and thought provoking in their relevance.

The Galas include Martin Scorsese’s THE IRISHMAN, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, which premiered at the New York Film Festival to universal acclaim; Taika Waititi’s JOJO RABBIT, starring Waiti, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, and Rebel Wilson, which won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival; and Trey Edward Shults’ WAVES, starring Sterling K. Brown, Kelvin Harrion Jr., and Lucas Hedges, which served as a breakout film at this year’s Telluride Film Festival.

The opening night film for the Masters of Cinema category, Bong Joon-Ho’s PARASITE, is likely to be South Korea’s first Academy Award® nominee. Other Festival films submitted by their respective countries for consideration for a Foreign Language Academy Award® nomination include ADAM (Morocco), AND THEN WE DANCED (Sweden), ATLANTICS (Senegal), BEANPOLE (Russia), INVISIBLE LIFE (Brazil), IT MUST BE HEAVEN (Palestine), LES MISERABLES (France), PAPICHA (Algeria), QUEEN OF HEARTS (Denmark), SYSTEM CRASHER (Germany), A WHITE WHITE DAY (Iceland), and THE WHISTLERS (Romania).

To emphasize the Philadelphia Film Society’s ongoing commitment to film in Greater Philadelphia, this year’s line-up includes an expanded Filmadelphia category, featuring brilliant films from the region’s most captivating filmmakers. Included is the groundbreaking film CLEMENCY, which made history at this year’s Sundance Film Festival when Director Chinonye Chukwu became the first black women to win the festival’s biggest honor, the Grand Jury Prize.

The category also features the World Premieres of Kyle Thrash’s MAYBE NEXT YEAR, a documentary on the Philadelphia Eagles historic Super Bowl-winning season, and Brandon Eric Kamin’s THE NOMADS, a narrative film inspired by the North Philly Nomads high school rugby team that overcame adversity to take the rugby world by storm.

The full Festival schedule and digital Festival Program Guide are available now on

Screenings for the 28th Philadelphia Film Festival will take place at the below theaters:

  • Ritz East (125 S. 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106)
  • Ritz Five (214 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106)
  • Philadelphia Film Center (1412 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19102)

Tickets may be purchased through the Festival website,, in-person at the main Box Office at the Philadelphia Film Center, or over the phone at 215-422-4588 (Monday – Saturday from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm).


28th Philadelphia Film Festival Full Line-up


  • Harriet, Director Kasi Lemmons. 2019, USA.
  • The Irishman, Director Martin Scorsese. 2019, USA.
  • Jojo Rabbit, Director Taika Waititi. 2019, USA.
  • Just Mercy, Director Destin Daniel Cretton. 2019, USA. Opening Night Gala
  • Knives Out, Director Rian Johnson. 2019, USA. Closing Night Gala
  • Marriage Story, Director Noah Baumbach. 2019, USA.
  • Motherless Brooklyn, Director Edward Norton. 2019, USA.
  • The Two Popes, Director Fernando Meirelles. 2019, USA, UK, Italy, Argentina.
  • Waves, Director Trey Edward Shults. 2019, USA.

Masters of Cinema: The latest films by a new generation of acclaimed auteurs and established directors who continue to reshape the cinematic landscape.

  • By the Grace of God, Director Franҫois Ozon. 2019, France.
  • A Hidden Life, Director Terrence Malick. 2019, Germany, USA.
  • It Must Be Heaven, Director Elia Suleiman. 2019, France, Qatar, Germany, Canada, Palestine, Turkey.
  • Oh Mercy!, Director Arnaud Desplechin. 2019, France.
  • Parasite, Director Bong Joon-Ho. 2019, South Korea. Opening Night Masters of Cinema
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Director Céline Sciamma. 2019, France.
  • Sorry We Missed You, Director Ken Loach. 2019, UK.
  • The Truth, Director Hirokazu Kore-Eda. 2019, France, Japan.
  • Varda by Agnès, Director Agnès Varda. 2019, France.
  • The Whistlers, Director Corneliu Porumboiu. 2019, Romania, France, Germany.
  • Young Ahmed, Director Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne. 2019, Belgium, France.

Spotlights: This year’s highly anticipated titles featuring some of the biggest names in front of and behind the camera.

  • The Aeronauts, Director Tom Harper. 2019, UK.
  • Cunningham, Director Alla Kovgan. 2019, Germany, France, USA. Opening Night Spotlights
  • Extra Ordinary, Director Mike Ahern, Enda Loughman. 2019, Ireland, Belgium.
  • Honey Boy, Director Alma Har’el. 2019, USA.
  • Paradise Hills, Director Alice Waddington. 2019, USA.
  • SebergDirector Benedict Andrews. 2019, USA, UK.
  • Swallow, Director Carlo Mirabella-Davis. 2019, USA.

World View: Works that demonstrate the diversity and vitality of contemporary international cinema from some of the globe’s most exciting filmmakers.

  • Adam (Morocco), Maryam Touzani. 2019. Morocco, France.
  • And Then We DancedDirector Levan Akin. 2019, Sweden, Georgia, France.
  • Beanpole, Director Kantemir Balagov. 2019, Russia.
  • Divine Love, Director Gabriel Mascaro. 2018, Brazil, Uruguay, Denmark, Norway.
  • Flatland, Director Jenna Bass. 2019, South Africa.
  • Hearts and Bones, Director Ben Lawrence. 2019, Australia.­
  • Idol, Director Lee Su-Jin. 2019, South Korea.
  • Invisible Life, Director Karim Aïnouz. 2019, Brazil, Germany.
  • JallikattuDirector Lijo Jose Pellissery. 2019, India.
  • LitiganteDirector Franco Lolli. 2019, Colombia, France.
  • Nina Wu, Director Midi Z. 2019, Taiwan, Malaysia, Myanmar.
  • PapichaDirector Mounia Meddour. 2019, Algeria, France, Belgium, Qatar.
  • Queen of Hearts, Director May El-Toukhy. 2019, Denmark.
  • Synonyms, Director Nadav Lapid. 2019, France, Israel, Germany.
  • System Crasher, Director Nora Fingscheidt. 2019, Germany.
  • TembloresDirector Jayro Bustamante. 2019, Guatemala, France.
  • The Unknown Saint, Director Alaa Eddine Aljem. 2019, Morocco, France, Qatar.
  • We Are Little Zombies, Director Makoto Nagahisa. 2019, Japan.
  • A White, White Day, Director Hlynur Pálmason. 2019, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden.

Cinema de France: Sharing a language with some of cinema’s most revered classics and legendary auteurs, these new films have that certain je ne sais quoi.

  • Atlantics, Director Mati Diop. 2019, France, Senegal, Belgium.
  • I Lost My BodyDirector Jérémy Clapin. 2019, France.
  • Les Misérables, Director Ladj Ly. 2019, France.
  • Sibyl, Director Justine Triet. 2019, France, Belgium.
  • You Deserve a Lover, Director Hafsia Herzi. 2019, France.

Visions of China: These films capture the complexity and dynamism of the world’s fastest growing and most populous country and its citizens.

  • Leftover Women, Director Hilla Medalia, Shosh Shlam. 2019, Israel.
  • So Long, My Son, Director Wang Xiaoshuai. 2019, China.
  • The Wild Goose Lake, Director Diao Yinan. 2019, China, France.

Made in USA (Part of PFS on Us free ticketing program): Lo-fi gems and new indie classics that offer a fresh perspective on today’s America.

  • Adam, Director Rhys Ernst. 2018, USA.
  • Blow the Man Down, Director Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy. 2019, USA.
  • Come As You Are, Director Richard Wong. 2019, USA. Opening Night Made in USA
  • Fourteen, Director Dan Sallitt. 2019, USA.
  • Lucky Grandma, Director Sasie Sealy. 2019, USA.
  • The Vast of Night, Director Andrew Patterson. 2019, USA.


Non/Fiction (Part of PFS on Us free ticketing program): Compelling and provocative, these contemporary docs encourage viewers to see the world through a different lens.

  • Advocate, Director Philippe Bellaïche, Rachel Leah Jones. 2019, Israel, Canada, Switzerland.
  • Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator, Director Eva Orner. 2019, USA. Opening Night Non/Fiction
  • Citizen K, Director Alex Gibney. 2019, USA, UK.
  • Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy, Director Elizabeth Carroll. 2019, Mexico, USA.
  • Plucked, Director Joel Van Haren. 2019, USA.
  • Red Penguins, Director Gabe Polsky. 2019, USA.
  • Sunset Over Mulholland Drive, Director Uli Gaulke. 2018, Germany.


Filmadelphia: Showcasing the most dynamic and talented voices from the greater Philadelphia area.

  • Clemency, Director Chinonye Chukwu. 2019, USA.
  • ColewellDirector Tom Quinn. 2019, USA.
  • Maybe Next Year, Director Kyle Thrash. 2019, USA.
  • The Nomads, Director Brandon Eric Kamin. 2019, USA.
  • The Place of No Words, Director Mark Webber. 2019, UK, USA.
  • Waldo on Weed, Director Tommy Avallone. 2019, USA.

State of the Union: Stories of some of the most significant figures and events in American politics and diplomacy, which continue to shape the future of the nation’s democracy.

  • The Human Factor, Director Dror Moreh. 2019, UK, Israel.
  • The ReportDirector Scott Z. Burns. 2019, USA.
  • Slay the Dragon, Director Chris Durrance, Barak Goodman. 2019, USA.
  • The War RoomDirector Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker. 1993, USA.

After Hours: Bringing together the odd, eerie, thrilling, and downright weird, this is the home of cult classics in the making.

  • BacurauDirector Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonҫa Filho. 2019, Brazil, France.
  • Deerskin, Director Quentin Dupieux. 2019, France.
  • Dogs Don’t Wear Pants, Director Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää. 2019, Finland, Latvia.
  • The Lodge, Director Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz. 2018, USA, UK. Opening Night After Hours
  • Porno, Director Keola Racela. 2019, USA.
  • The Twentieth Century, Director Matthew Rankin. 2019, Canada.
  • Wounds, Director Babak Anvari. 2019, USA, UK.


From the Vaults: Film classics come alive as they were meant to be seen – on the big screen!

  • Audition, Director Takashi Miike. 1999, Japan.
  • Blue Velvet, Director David Lynch. 1986, USA.
  • Defending Your LifeDirector Albert Brooks. 1991, USA.
  • Magnolia, Director Paul Thomas Anderson. 1999, USA.
  • Romeo and JulietDirector Franco Zeffirelli. 1968, UK, Italy.

Special Event

  • The Australian DreamDirector Daniel Gordon. 2019, Australia, UK.
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