Philadelphia Film Festival October 16-26

Fall in Philadelphia means it’s time for the Film Festival. This year it runs from Thursday, October 16 to Sunday, October 26.

The Festival kicks off with a special presentation of St. Vincent, a rousing comedy starring Bill Murray. Director Ted Melfi and young actor and Philadelphia native, Jaeden Lieberher will be in attendance for Q&A afterward. Also on Opening night will be Birdman, starring Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Emma Stone.

Closing night is Wild, the critical hit out of the 2014 Toronto Film Festival starring Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern and Gabby Hoffman.

What’s really fun about film festivals is you see films before they are distributed worldwide, and you see films that may never be distributed.

One of the films I saw at Sundance in January that will play at the PFF is Listen Up Philip directed by Alex Ross Perry who grew up in
Bryn Mawr. His father, Roy Perry, works with us here at Greater Media.

This third feature of his has the biggest names yet – Elisabeth Moss (Peggy from Mad Men) and Jason Schwartman (HBO’s Bored to Death, Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom, Saving Mr. Banks).

Perry will be present at the PFF to field questions after the screening on Sunday, October 19 at the Ritz East – Showtime is 7:10 pm. The movie is also showing on Sunday, October 26 at 12:15 pm at the Ritz East.

Happy Valley is another film that has a local edge. It’s a documentary described by the PFF this way:

“…Happy Valley is a comprehensive look at the horrifying story of what might have been an open secret of corruption and pedophilia, and a thoughtful meditation on the nature of fandom.”

This doc will show twice – Tuesday, October 21 at the Prince Theater, and Sunday, October 26 at the Ritz East. Director Amir Bar-Lev will be in attendance at both.

I recommend seeing The Good Lie that stars Reese Witherspoon.

The Good Lie was inspired by a true story of child refugees from the 1983 war in Sudan who trekked some 785 miles to find safety in a refugee camp in Kenya. After 13 years living there in very modest conditions, some were chosen to move to America.

The film focuses on three men and a woman, part of what became known as the Lost Boys and Girls about which many books, films and plays have been made. Reese Witherspoon works for an employment agency responsible for finding them work. I found this movie to be very moving and inspiring.  It screens on Sunday, Oct 19 at 8 pm at the Prince Music Theater. 

The 23rd Philadelphia Film Festival
October 16 – 26, 2014

Participating venues:

Perelman Theater  300 S Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
PFS Roxy Theater  2023 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Prince Music Theater  1412 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Bourse  400 Ranstead St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Ritz East  125 S. 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

The full Festival schedule and digital Festival Program Guide is available online: www.filmadelphia.org/festival or in person at the PFS Roxy Theater

Tickets online: www.filmadelphia.org/festival, or in-person at the Main Box Office in the PFS Roxy Theater.