The Montclair Film Festival has unveiled its opening, closing and centerpiece films.
Amanda Lipitz's Step will open and Zoe Lister-Jones' Band Aid will close the the annual New Jersey event. Geremy Jasper's Patti Cake$ and Stanley Nelson's Tell Them We Are Rising: America's Black Colleges and Universities will serve as the fiction and documentary centerpiece films, respectively.
The fest will also screen restorations of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead and Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker.
"Today's announcement highlights the diversity of programs and ideas that we'll be bringing to the 2017 Montclair Film Festival," MFF executive director Tom Hall said Monday in a statement. "We are incredibly excited to welcome these incredible artists and partners to our festival, and look forward to unveiling the full program next week."
MFF also announced Monday that it is partnering with the American Black Film Festival on an Emerging Black Voices fellowship for filmmakers and producers. The inaugural class of fellows includes For Akheem producer Iyabo Boyd, Whose Streets? director Sabaah Folayan and Strong Island helmer Yance Ford. They will meet with industry advisors Jeff Friday, founder and CEO of ABFF Ventures; Patrick Harrison, director of New York programs and membership for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; and Julie La'Bassiere, CEO of Tall Bird Marketing & Strategy.
"We are excited to partner with the 2017 Montclair Film Festival. Their new Emerging Black Voices fellowship program aligns with the work we have championed for the past 21 years at the American Black Film Festival," ABFF Ventures CEO Jeff Friday said in a statement. "I believe these types of collaborative partnerships ensure that stories with distinct voices, varied points of view and diverse casts are highlighted and celebrated."
The festival also has partnered with Retro Report for a program on the state of the news media featuring curated films, including their latest one, Zapruder, which examines how media stories can shape the public conversation. There also will be a panel discussion with journalists titled "True or False? Reporting in the Age of 'Fake News.'"
"We look forward to discussing the importance of truth in journalism at a time when 'alternative facts,' 'fake news' and conspiracy theories are vying for attention with facts - often on the losing side," Retro Report executive producer Kyra Darnton said in a statement.
The sixth annual Montclair Film Festival is set to run April 28-May 7. The full program will be announced on April 3.