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Philadelphia Film Festival returns with more than 130 featured movies, including Emmett Till biopic


The long-awaited biopic about the life of Mamie Till following the lynching death of her son Emmett in 1955 is among more than 130 movies that will be featured at this year’s Philadelphia Film Festival. 

“Till,” directed by Temple University alumna Chinonye Chukwu, tells the story of Mamie Till as she seeks justice for her son’s killing. Though the film references the 14-year-old’s lynching by white supremacists in Mississippi, the filmmakers opted not to portray the gruesome incident, instead showing it from his mother’s point of view.

The film premiered at the New York Film Festival on Oct. 1 and is slated to hit theaters on Oct. 14. On Friday, Jazmine Sullivan released, “Stand Up,” the lead single from the official motion picture soundtrack. Variety reported that the song will be submitted for Academy Awards consideration. 

The festival, now in its 31st year, runs from Wednesday, Oct. 19 through Sunday, Oct. 30 with in-person screenings at all Philadelphia Film Society venues. These include the Philadelphia Film Center, the Bourse Theater and the newly-acquired PFS East in Old City. 

“This year’s program is one of our largest to-date which only further solidifies the strength of the state of cinema today,” said Michael Lerman, artistic director and senior director of programming for PFS. “Not only is the quality of the film extremely high, we are thrilled to be able to bring new, bold, diverse, and rebellious stories to Philadelphia.” 

The festival will open with a screening of “The Banshees of Inisherin,” a black comedy directed by Martin McDonagh. The film, starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, explores a longtime friendship that comes to an abrupt end. A journey to repair their broken friendship results in an ultimatum with shocking consequences. 

The festival will close with “All The Beauty And The Bloodshed,” a documentary examining the life of photographer and activist Nan Goldin and her effort to hold Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sackler family, accountable for the opioid epidemic. 

There will be a special spotlight screening of “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,” a biographical parody film with exaggerations about the life and career of comedic singer Weird Al Yankovic. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Evan Rachel Wood and Quinta Brunson, the film made its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and will be released on The Roku Channel on Nov. 4. 

Rian Johnson’s “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” has also been included as one of the festival’s centerpiece films. A standalone sequel to 2019’s critically-acclaimed “Knives Out,” Daniel Craig reprises his role as a detective taking on a new case, this one about a mysterious death on a tech billionaire’s private island. 

The ensemble cast includes Leslie Odom Jr., who grew up in the East Oak Lane section of Philadelphia, as well as Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Katherine Hahn and Kate Hudson. The film will have a short theatrical release on Nov. 23 before premiering on Netflix Dec. 23. 

The “Filmadelphia” category showcases dynamic and talented voices from the region’s film scene. This year, the category includes two world premieres. Brandon Eric Kamin’s “Rittenhouse Square” tells the story of a young man who is struggling with the aftermath of his father’s death and thoughts of suicide as he befriends an older homeless veteran. 

Tim Downlin and Frank Tartaglia’s “Not For Nothing,” focuses on a man searching for answers after his girlfriend dies along with a band of South Philly barflies, only to ignite a street war with a mysterious drug dealer. 

Film lovers can check out the full lineup of programming and individual film listings on the Philadelphia Film Society’s website

Festival badges are on sale now, with deals for students and PFS members. General admission tickets are set to go on sale at 12 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 10. Attendees can purchase tickets online, in-person at the box office, or by phone at (215) 422-4588. 



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