I have just returned home after spending a bunch of wonderful days in Philadelphia as a juror for the Philadelphia Film Festival, and I wish I could have stayed longer. The Philadelphia Film Festival is incredibly well programmed, and even if you missed the opening weekend you have a lot of days of a lot of great films ahead of you. This is straight up a world-class fest.
Basically it's one of those "Best of" fests, where many of the year's festival favorites come and play together, making the Philadelphia Film Festival an invaluable service to local cineastes who don't get to Cannes or Toronto. From Man From Reno to The Mule to The Tribe to Imperial Dreams to Kumiko the Treasure Hunter to '71 to Duke of Burgundy to Wild to Faults to Goodbye to Language, the line-up for the fest is one knock out after another. These are the films that have had critics and fest regulars buzzing all year.
I was lucky enough to serve on the Narrative jury, and we had a killer line-up of seven films to consider:
In Order of Disappearance
Duke of Burgundy
Cracks in Concrete
Some of them had already won major awards before coming to Philly, some were premiering. Simon Barrett (writer of The Guest) and the New York Film Festival's Marian Masone were my co-jurors, and deliberating with them was such a great and exhilirating experience I wish it had been recorded. We really dug deep into the films, into what we liked and didn't like about each of them, and the incredible conversation truly crystalized a lot of my thoughts on these movies in new ways. I can't tell you what awards we gave out until Friday, but I can say I'm absolutely proud of our choices.
The winner of our section will play again next weekend, but in the meantime - Philadelphians, get your asses to this festival! Most of the screenings are at the Ritz East, with some at the Roxy. This is a great opportunity, and I'd hate to think of you guys passing it up.