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Film Fest 919 to show a variety of movies for its fifth installment

The Lumina Theater, pictured on Sunday, September 4, 2022, is one of the local movie theaters participating in Film Fest 919.

Popcorn machines are popping and movie projectors are raring for battle – Film Fest 919 will welcome people back to the Silverspot and Lumina theaters for its fifth installment.

Kicking off this year’s festival is a private screening of director J.D. Dillard’s “Devotion," which is based on Adam Makos’ bestselling book of the same name. 

“Devotion” will be shown on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m., just over a month before its official premiere date on Nov. 23. 

The film, which is about U.S. Navy aviators serving in the Korean War, stars Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell as Navy fighter pilots. 

“It is certainly a movie that rings a lot of bells right now for me,” Dominick Ferrara, a former intern returning as a volunteer this year, said. “You have J.D. Dillard, who is going to be attending the screening on opening night and is receiving the Horizon Award, (and who) is a really exciting young filmmaker."

The Horizon Award, according to Film Fest 919 co-founders Randi Emerman and Carol Marshall, is given to directors who have demonstrated excellence in their craft or personal breakthrough in their individual body of work. 

In addition to Dillard’s acceptance of this honor, he plans to join the audience for a moderated discussion at the Silverspot Cinema in University Place. Screenings will also be held at the Lumina Theater. 

Before starting the project in Chapel Hill, co-founders Marshall and Emerman had worked together on the Palm Beach International Film Festival, Marshall said. 

After Emerman moved to the area and opened the Silverspot Cinema in Chapel Hill, the two had the idea to introduce their own film festival to the area. 

“We wanted to preserve the in-theater experience. You know, none of these films play quite the same as they do on the big screen. And that's what we are trying to help support,” Marshall said.

Closing out the fest is Rian Johnson’s film “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” a sequel to the tongue-in-cheek 2019 mystery film “Knives Out," on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. The film fest includes foreign films, major features and independent films. This will also be the first year the Film Fest is holding screenings for documentaries as well, Ferrara added. 

Overall, this year’s line-up represents films from 13 different countries, according to the Film Fest 919’s website. 

Film Fest 919 has a history of showing movies that go on to be considered for award nominations, according to Ferrara.

From 2018 to 2020, Film Fest 919 shows the Academy Awards’ best picture winner each year prior to award season, Ferrara said. 

He said he thinks a few titles in this year’s festival have the chance to be considered for a Best Picture nomination this year, including “Women Talking,” “Empire of Light" and “The Banshees of Inisherin.”  

“It's just shocking that basically I would have to go to Cannes or Telluride or, you know, some of these major metropolitan (areas) to get the same lineup that I'm getting here in the Triangle,” Jennifer Patterson, longtime sponsor and attendee of Film Fest 919, said.

Patterson said she discovered the Film Fest through her family working in cinematography and has been a sponsor for the past four years. 

Tickets went on sale on Tuesday, Oct. 11, and options include individual tickets for each film as well as different package deals for the entire festival.

@DTHCityState | 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled Dominick Ferrara's name. 

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