Bring on the Oscar contenders. Film Fest 919 announces lineup for NC festival

One of the most anticipated films this winter — the sequel to “Knives Out” — will be screened in Chapel Hill two months before hitting Netflix.

Film Fest 919 announced its lineup this week of the 20 movies that will be presented Oct. 19-23 in Chapel Hill. Now in its fifth year, the festival celebrates cinema by showcasing awards-caliber films before they become widely available in theaters.

That includes Rian Johnson’s “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” starring Daniel Craig, who is reprising his role as the enigmatic detective Benoit Blanc. “Glass Onion” will close out the festival on Sunday, Oct. 23. The movie, which also stars Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe and Kathryn Hahn, is scheduled for limited release in theaters in November before arriving on Netflix Dec. 23.

This year’s lineup features documentaries, scripted films based on true stories, international movies and star-studded affairs. Many already have won awards at international film festivals, such as Venice, Toronto and New York, and are generating awards buzz.

The film festival kicks off with an opening night screening of the Korean War drama “Devotion,” starring Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell. It is directed by J.D. Dillard, who will be given the festival’s Horizon Award and will be part of a moderated conversation following the film.

Films will be screened at Silverspot Cinema at University Place and The Lumina Theater in Southern Village. Individual tickets go on sale Oct. 11.

Jonathan Majors, left, and Glen Powell star in “Devotion,” an action-drama set during the Korean War about the U.S. Navy’s first Black aviator and his dedicated wingman.
Jonathan Majors, left, and Glen Powell star in “Devotion,” an action-drama set during the Korean War about the U.S. Navy’s first Black aviator and his dedicated wingman.

Film Fest 919 highlights

Here are some of the highlights:

“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”: A documentary about photographer Nan Goldin and her efforts to hold the Sackler family, owner of Purdue Pharma, accountable for its role in the opioid epidemic.

Armageddon Time”: The coming-of-age tale set in Queens is based on writer-director James Gray’s immigrant family in the 1980s and his friendship with a boy who is Black. Stars Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong and Anthony Hopkins.

Devotion”: Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell star in the true story, based on the bestselling book, about two elite U.S. Navy fighter pilots in the the Korean War. Majors plays Jesse Brown, the first Black aviator in Navy history, while Powell plays his friend.

Empire of Light”: The romantic drama set in the 1980s in an English seaside town stars Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Toby Jones and Colin Firth.

“Women Talking” stars Michelle McLeod, Sheila McCarthy, Liv McNeil, Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy, Kate Hallett, Rooney Mara and Judith Ivey. as Agata in “Women Talking.”
“Women Talking” stars Michelle McLeod, Sheila McCarthy, Liv McNeil, Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy, Kate Hallett, Rooney Mara and Judith Ivey. as Agata in “Women Talking.”

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”: While technically a sequel to the 2019 crowd-pleaser, this film is considered a standalone film with an entirely new cast — with the exception of Craig. In this whodunnit, a tech billionaire invites his friends to a private Greek island. Murder and shenanigans ensue.

Good Night Oppy”: This documentary by Ryan White, a Duke University graduate, tells the story of a Mars rover, Opportunity (nicknamed Oppy), that was supposed to be on the red planet for 90 days but instead was there for 15 years. Along the way, the scientists and engineers on earth form a bond with the rover.

“Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues”: Documentary filmmaker Sacha Jenkins tells the story of the jazz trumpeter and singer through his personal archive of audio recordings of music and conversations.

“She Said”: Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan play real-life New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor whose investigations broke stories on disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, launching the #MeToo movement and a cultural reckoning.

Carey Mulligan, left, and Zoe Kazan play real-life New York Times journalists whose investigation helped launch the #MeToo movement.
Carey Mulligan, left, and Zoe Kazan play real-life New York Times journalists whose investigation helped launch the #MeToo movement.

“The Banshees of Inisherin”: This film represents a reunion for “In Bruges” writer-director Martin McDonaugh and actors Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Farrell and Gleeson play longtime friends who have a falling-out of sorts in what’s described as “a pitch-black comic fable of wounded friendship and the perils of petty grievance.”

“White Noise”: Director Noah Baumbach offers a stylized movie starring Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig and Don Cheadle that spans genres. Based on Don DeLillo’s book by the same name, Driver plays a college professor who uproots his family when there’s a nearby chemical leak.

“Women Talking”: Rooney Mara, Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley star in this Sarah Polley film about a group of Mennonite women who have to figure out how to deal with the patriarchal society, oppression and aftermath of violence they find themselves in.

For information, tickets and screening times, go to filmfest919.com.

Previous festival films at Film Fest 919 have gone on to win Academy Awards and other prizes, including “Spencer,” “King Richard,” “Nomadland” and “Minari.”

Banks Repeta, left, and Anthony Hopkins in the movie “Armageddon Time.”
Banks Repeta, left, and Anthony Hopkins in the movie “Armageddon Time.”