in ,

Cinema Down in Chapel Hill: Movies to Look Out For at Film Fest 919


You may not initially think of North Carolina as a hub for prestige cinema, but a festival is working hard to change that. Specifically, Film Fest 919 in Chapel Hill (where I’ll be this week). This fourth installment of the fest has a diverse lineup of 2021’s most eclectic fare, ranging from major Oscar hopefuls to some prior festival hits. Two years ago, I attended 919 in person and was blown away by the intimate feel of it all, even as things ranging from Ford v Ferrari and Marriage story, to Parasite and Waves, with plenty in between, screened. This year, I’m back, and that again is the case, though I’m here for a very specific reason, which I’ll talk a bit about below. Alongside the screenings, there’s also a Spotlight event tonight celebrating Diane Warren, with the legend in attendance.

In terms of what’s screening, there’s no shortage of terrific movies. I’ve seen most of them prior to the festival, but will be taking in, at the very least, King Richard (the Opening Night selection) and The Lost Daughter, alongside whatever else time allows for. As for things I’ve already seen, they include C’mon C’mon (the Centerpiece selection), The French Dispatch, The Hand of God, A Hero, Mass, The Novice, Passing, Red Rocket, Spencer (the Closing Night selection), The Worst Person in the World, and more. It’s as if the fest hand picked the best of what’s screened this year, presenting it to the fine folks of Chapel Hill (that’s pretty much exactly what they did, in fact).

The other big event at Film Fest 919, which I’m taking part in, concerns Red Rocket. Specifically, writer/director Sean Baker and writer Chris Bergoch will be celebrated for their work. They’ll be receiving the Distinguished Screenwriter Award, with Baker appearing virtually and Bergoch showing up in person. Furthermore, a presentation will be taking place after the screening, followed by a conversation with Bergoch, moderated by yours truly, which is a huge honor. That’s one of the reasons I’m here, but it’s also just a joy to be down south enjoying this sort of cinematic environment.


Here now are twenty movies to look out for at this year’s Film Fest 919:

20. Koati

19. See For Me

18. A Chiara

17. The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

16. Oleg: The Oleg Vidov Story

15. Petite Maman

14. Catch the Fair One

13. The French Dispatch

12. The Hand of God

11. A Hero

10. Passing

9. Flee

8. The Novice

7. The Lost Daughter

6. Mass

5. C’mon C’mon

4. The Worst Person in the World

3. King Richard

2. Spencer

1. Red Rocket

Warner Bros.

As you can see, Film Fest 919 is going to be a blast for all who attend. If you’re in the area, definitely check it out. If not, sit tight for some coverage. It may not have the notoriety of other festivals, but top to bottom, it’s as good as any other going on right now. Trust me, they’re only going to become more and more prestigious as the years progress…

Stay tuned for more coverage of Film Fest 919!


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

[…] Prusakowski. We kept things pretty low-key this week, since I’m down in North Carolina at Film Fest 919. Today brings a discussion about Bond girls and Bond villains, what’s playing at the festival […]


[…] ago, the fourth annual edition of Film Fest 919 announce their prestigious Audience Award winner. For the first time, the festival saw a tie. Yes, […]


[…] This year, it marked a return to theatrical screenings, as opposed to just at a Drive-In. It felt more intimate than two years ago, by design, but it also felt normal. That was among the biggest successes that founders Randi Emerman and Carol Marshall can point to, as they never made it feel like a pandemic festival. Even as larger fests struggled with that, they found the right balance and made the fourth edition of their passion project as good as any that’s come before. Let me be the first (or just the next) one to say, bring on year five! […]


[…] two of the year’s best performances. Shouldn’t that be enough? For example, while at Film Fest 919, the movie played like gangbusters. That film festival is down in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, […]



Written by Joey Magidson

Box Office Report for the Week of October 17th

Film Review: ‘Bergman Island’ Expertly Blurs the Line Between Reality and Fiction