The Middleburg Film Festival in Northern Virginia kicks off on October 13 for four days. It first took place in 2013, back when founder Sheila Johnson took some advice from the Sundance Kid himself — Robert Redford – who thought the Salamander Resort would be a good place to hold an annual celebration of cinema. This year marks its 10th anniversary.
The black comedy “White Noise” opens the festival. Writer/director Noah Baumbach will be feted with the 10th Anniversary Spotlight Filmmaker Award. He adapted Don DeLillo’s novel of the same name and his film version stars Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig. Baumbach screened his Oscar-winning film “Marriage Story,” which also starred Driver, at the fest in 2019.
On Friday, October 14, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” will be the centerpiece attraction. The first ‘Knives Out’ from 2019 proved to be an audience pleaser, and now Daniel Craig summons a southern drawl once again as Detective Benoit Blanc. Writer/director Rian Johnson will also be honored with the Distinguished Screenwriter Award and his editor Bob Ducsay will be presented with the inaugural Variety Creative Collaborators Award. Ducsay and Johnson will join in a conversation about this film as well as others including “Looper,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and the first “Knives Out.”
Also on Friday is the Spotlight Film “The Whale,” which made quite a splash at Venice in September, earning actor Brendan Fraser a standing ovation for his performance as a 600-pound English teacher who seeks redemption in the eyes of his estranged teen daughter. The film is directed by Darren Aronofsky of “Black Swan” fame and Samuel D. Hunter adapted his play of the same name. Fraser and Hunter will participate in a conversation following the film.
Saturday’s centerpiece is Ray Romano‘s directorial debut “Somewhere in Queens,” which he also wrote and acts in. The ensemble cast includes Laurie Metcalf, Jacob Ward, Tony Lo Bianco, Sadie Stanley and Sebastian Maniscalco. Romano will join in a discussion with producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa (“Nebraska,” “Little Miss Sunshine”).
On Saturday afternoon, the fest will celebrate composers and songwriting nominees backed by a 40-piece orchestra. Participants include Diane Warren, Mark Isham, Kris Bowers and Charles Fox. Fans of filmmaker Jordan Peele’s scare fare will be pleased to hear the creepy music from such films as “Get Out,” “Us” and this year’s “Nope” by Michael Abels who is getting the Distinguished Composer Award.
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