The 28th Philadelphia Film Festival Announces Line-up

Fest to screen 120 films from 41 countries to screen during 11-day event, Thursday, October 17 - Sunday, October 27, 2019.
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Press release: The Philadelphia Film Society is proud to announce the full line-up for the 28th Philadelphia Film Festival (PFF), spanning from October 17 - October 27.

This year’s line-up features a multitude of remarkable films from a wide range of genres. Select Festival categories will commence with an opening night film premiere. The opening night for the Galas category will be Destin Daniel Cretton’s JUST MERCY on October 17. This heartrending and inspirational film tells the story of author and social justice activist, Bryan Stevenson, played by acclaimed actor Michael B. Jordan of FRUITVALE STATION, CREED, and BLACK PANTHER fame. Bryan Stevenson, screenwriter Andrew Lanham, and star Karan Kendrick (THE HUNGER GAMES, HIDDEN FIGURES, THE HATE U GIVE) are scheduled to attend.  Additional Opening Night titles include PARASITE, opening Masters of Cinema; CUNNINGHAM, opening Spotlights; COME AS YOU ARE, opening Made in the USA; BIKRAM: YOGI, GURU, opening Non/Fiction; and THE LODGE opening After Hours.

The outlandish mystery film, KNIVES OUT, will serve as the Closing Night selection on October 25. The film, which follows an eccentric family gathering gone horribly awry, features an all-star cast including Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Michael Shannon, and Jamie Lee Curtis. Director Rian Johnson, best known the revitalization of the STAR WARS saga, BRICK, THE BROTHERS BLOOM, and LOOPER - is scheduled to attend.

The Festival will showcase 120 feature length and short films. The Galas features Martin Scorsese’s THE IRISHMAN, which premiered at the New York Film Festival to universal acclaim along with HARRIET, JOJO RABBIT, MARRIAGE STORY, MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN, THE TWO POPES and WAVES.  The festival will also screen several of the films nominated by their countries for the Academy Awards Best International Feature Film including ADAM, AND THEN WE DANCED, ATLANTICS, BEANPOLE, INVISIBLE LIFE, IT MUST BE HEAVEN, LES MISERABLES, PAPICHA, QUEEN OF HEARTS, PARASITE, SYSTEM CRASHER, A WHITE WHITE DAY and THE WHISTLERS.

To emphasize the Philadelphia Film Society’s ongoing commitment to film in Greater Philadelphia, this year’s line-up includes an expanded Filmadelphia category, featuring brilliant films from the region’s most captivating filmmakers. Included is the groundbreaking film, CLEMENCY, which made history at this year’s Sundance Film Festival when Director Chinonye Chukwu became the first black women to win the festival’s biggest honor: the Grand Jury Prize. The category also features the World Premiere of Kyle Thrash’s MAYBE NEXT YEAR, a documentary on the Philadelphia Eagles historic Super Bowl winning season and the world premiere of THE NOMADS, based on a true story, this powerful drama follows a teacher forced to relocate to a North Philly high school, and how she uses rugby as a way to empower her disaffected students.

The Festival line-up is curated by the PFF programming committee who carefully selects each film from multiple international festivals throughout the year. This year’s line-up introduces the new category, Visions of China, and welcomes the return of State of the Union. These categories expand upon the Festival’s goal of presenting films that are both timely and thought provoking in their relevance.

“I couldn’t be more excited with the lineup for this year’s Festival,” said Executive Director, J. Andrew Greenblatt.  “From a mixture of the most highly-anticipated films of the year, including back-to-back screenings of the Palme D’Or winning PARASITE and the powerful and timely JUST MERCY on our Opening Night, to a diverse and exciting 10-day program that includes not only some of the best films from around the world and an expanded Filmadelphia section focusing on films shot in Philly or made by Philadelphians, PFF28 has something for everyone.”

“It certainly is quite a year,” said Artistic Director, Michael Lerman. “Not only is the caliber of film extremely high, but I’m thrilled that we are able to showcase bold visions from a diverse cross section of voices.“

The full Festival schedule and digital Festival Program Guide are available now on

Screenings for the 28th Philadelphia Film Festival will take place at the below theaters:

  • Ritz East (125 S. 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106)
  • Ritz Five (214 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106)
  • Philadelphia Film Center (1412 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19102)

Tickets are currently on-sale for Philadelphia Film Society members and to the general public beginning Monday, October 7th.  

Tickets may be purchased through the Festival website,, in-person at the main Box Office at the Philadelphia Film Center, or over the phone at 215-422-4588 (Monday - Saturday from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm).

28th Philadelphia Film Festival Full Line-up


  • Harriet, Director Kasi Lemmons. 2019, USA.
  • The Irishman, Director Martin Scorsese. 2019, USA.
  • Jojo Rabbit, Director Taika Waititi. 2019, USA.
  • Just Mercy, Director Destin Daniel Cretton. 2019, USA. Opening Night Gala
  • Knives Out, Director Rian Johnson. 2019, USA. Closing Night Gala
  • Marriage Story, Director Noah Baumbach. 2019, USA.
  • Motherless Brooklyn, Director Edward Norton. 2019, USA.
  • The Two Popes, Director Fernando Meirelles. 2019, USA, UK, Italy, Argentina.
  • Waves, Director Trey Edward Shults. 2019, USA.

Masters of Cinema: The latest films by a new generation of acclaimed auteurs and established directors who continue to reshape the cinematic landscape.

  • By the Grace of God, Director Franҫois Ozon. 2019, France.
  • A Hidden Life, Director Terrence Malick. 2019, Germany, USA.
  • It Must Be Heaven, Director Elia Suleiman. 2019, France, Qatar, Germany, Canada, Palestine, Turkey.
  • Oh Mercy!, Director Arnaud Desplechin. 2019, France.
  • Parasite, Director Bong Joon-Ho. 2019, South Korea. Opening Night Masters of Cinema
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Director Céline Sciamma. 2019, France.
  • Sorry We Missed You, Director Ken Loach. 2019, UK.
  • The Truth, Director Hirokazu Kore-Eda. 2019, France, Japan.
  • Varda by Agnès, Director Agnès Varda. 2019, France.
  • The Whistlers, Director Corneliu Porumboiu. 2019, Romania, France, Germany.
  • Young Ahmed, Director Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne. 2019, Belgium, France.

Spotlights: This year’s highly anticipated titles featuring some of the biggest names in front of and behind the camera.

  • The Aeronauts, Director Tom Harper. 2019, UK.
  • Cunningham, Director Alla Kovgan. 2019, Germany, France, USA. Opening Night Spotlights
  • Extra Ordinary, Director Mike Ahern, Enda Loughman. 2019, Ireland, Belgium.
  • Honey Boy, Director Alma Har’el. 2019, USA.
  • Paradise Hills, Director Alice Waddington. 2019, USA.
  • Seberg, Director Benedict Andrews. 2019, USA, UK.
  • Swallow, Director Carlo Mirabella-Davis. 2019, USA.

World View: Works that demonstrate the diversity and vitality of contemporary international cinema from some of the globe’s most exciting filmmakers.

  • Adam (Morocco), Maryam Touzani. 2019. Morocco, France.
  • And Then We Danced, Director Levan Akin. 2019, Sweden, Georgia, France.
  • Beanpole, Director Kantemir Balagov. 2019, Russia.
  • Divine Love, Director Gabriel Mascaro. 2018, Brazil, Uruguay, Denmark, Norway.
  • Flatland, Director Jenna Bass. 2019, South Africa.
  • Hearts and Bones, Director Ben Lawrence. 2019, Australia.­
  • Idol, Director Lee Su-Jin. 2019, South Korea.
  • Invisible Life, Director Karim Aïnouz. 2019, Brazil, Germany.
  • Jallikattu, Director Lijo Jose Pellissery. 2019, India.
  • Litigante, Director Franco Lolli. 2019, Colombia, France.
  • Nina Wu, Director Midi Z. 2019, Taiwan, Malaysia, Myanmar.
  • Papicha, Director Mounia Meddour. 2019, Algeria, France, Belgium, Qatar.
  • Queen of Hearts, Director May El-Toukhy. 2019, Denmark.
  • Synonyms, Director Nadav Lapid. 2019, France, Israel, Germany.
  • System Crasher, Director Nora Fingscheidt. 2019, Germany.
  • Temblores, Director Jayro Bustamante. 2019, Guatemala, France.
  • The Unknown Saint, Director Alaa Eddine Aljem. 2019, Morocco, France, Qatar.
  • We Are Little Zombies, Director Makoto Nagahisa. 2019, Japan.
  • A White, White Day, Director Hlynur Pálmason. 2019, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden.

Cinema de France: Sharing a language with some of cinema’s most revered classics and legendary auteurs, these new films have that certain je ne sais quoi.

  • Atlantics, Director Mati Diop. 2019, France, Senegal, Belgium.
  • I Lost My Body, Director Jérémy Clapin. 2019, France.
  • Les Misérables, Director Ladj Ly. 2019, France.
  • Sibyl, Director Justine Triet. 2019, France, Belgium.
  • You Deserve a Lover, Director Hafsia Herzi. 2019, France.

Visions of China: These films capture the complexity and dynamism of the world’s fastest growing and most populous country and its citizens.

  • Leftover Women, Director Hilla Medalia, Shosh Shlam. 2019, Israel.
  • So Long, My Son, Director Wang Xiaoshuai. 2019, China.
  • The Wild Goose Lake, Director Diao Yinan. 2019, China, France.

Made in USA (Part of PFS on Us free ticketing program): Lo-fi gems and new indie classics that offer a fresh perspective on today’s America.

  • Adam, Director Rhys Ernst. 2018, USA.
  • Blow the Man Down, Director Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy. 2019, USA.
  • Come As You Are, Director Richard Wong. 2019, USA. Opening Night Made in USA
  • Fourteen, Director Dan Sallitt. 2019, USA.
  • Lucky Grandma, Director Sasie Sealy. 2019, USA.
  • The Vast of Night, Director Andrew Patterson. 2019, USA.

Non/Fiction (Part of PFS on Us free ticketing program): Compelling and provocative, these contemporary docs encourage viewers to see the world through a different lens.

  • Advocate, Director Philippe Bellaïche, Rachel Leah Jones. 2019, Israel, Canada, Switzerland.
  • Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator, Director Eva Orner. 2019, USA. Opening Night Non/Fiction
  • Citizen K, Director Alex Gibney. 2019, USA, UK.
  • Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy, Director Elizabeth Carroll. 2019, Mexico, USA.
  • Plucked, Director Joel Van Haren. 2019, USA.
  • Red Penguins, Director Gabe Polsky. 2019, USA.
  • Sunset Over Mulholland Drive, Director Uli Gaulke. 2018, Germany.

Filmadelphia: Showcasing the most dynamic and talented voices from the greater Philadelphia area.

  • Clemency, Director Chinonye Chukwu. 2019, USA.
  • Colewell, Director Tom Quinn. 2019, USA.
  • Maybe Next Year, Director Kyle Thrash. 2019, USA.
  • The Nomads, Director Brandon Eric Kamin. 2019, USA.
  • The Place of No Words, Director Mark Webber. 2019, UK, USA.
  • Waldo on Weed, Director Tommy Avallone. 2019, USA.

State of the Union: Stories of some of the most significant figures and events in American politics and diplomacy, which continue to shape the future of the nation’s democracy.

  • The Human Factor, Director Dror Moreh. 2019, UK, Israel.
  • The Report, Director Scott Z. Burns. 2019, USA.
  • Slay the Dragon, Director Chris Durrance, Barak Goodman. 2019, USA.
  • The War Room, Director Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker. 1993, USA.

After Hours: Bringing together the odd, eerie, thrilling, and downright weird, this is the home of cult classics in the making.

  • Bacurau, Director Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonҫa Filho. 2019, Brazil, France.
  • Deerskin, Director Quentin Dupieux. 2019, France.
  • Dogs Don’t Wear Pants, Director Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää. 2019, Finland, Latvia.
  • The Lodge, Director Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz. 2018, USA, UK. Opening Night After Hours
  • Porno, Director Keola Racela. 2019, USA.
  • The Twentieth Century, Director Matthew Rankin. 2019, Canada.
  • Wounds, Director Babak Anvari. 2019, USA, UK.

From the Vaults: Film classics come alive as they were meant to be seen - on the big screen!

  • Audition, Director Takashi Miike. 1999, Japan.
  • Blue Velvet, Director David Lynch. 1986, USA.
  • Defending Your Life, Director Albert Brooks. 1991, USA.
  • Magnolia, Director Paul Thomas Anderson. 1999, USA.
  • Romeo and Juliet, Director Franco Zeffirelli. 1968, UK, Italy.

Special Event

  • The Australian Dream, Director Daniel Gordon. 2019, Australia, UK.
  • Stallone: Frank, That Is, Director Derek Wayne Johnson. 2020, USA

Shorts: This year’s most enjoyable, surprising, and memorable short films from around the world.

  • Abortion Helpline: This is Lisa, Director Barbara Attie, Mike Attie, Janet Goldwater.
  • All Cats Are Grey in the Dark, Director Lasse Linder.
  • And Then the Bear, Director Agnès Patron.
  • Aziza, Director Soudade Kaadan.
  • Betty Feeds the Animals, Director James P. Gannon.
  • Broken Orchestra, Director Charlie Tyrell.
  • Ceremony Night, Director Behnam Abedi.
  • The Coin, Director Siqi Song.
  • Count Your Curses, Director Lorène Yavo
  • Daughter, Director Daria Kashcheeva.
  • The Distance Between Us and the Sky, Director Vasilis Kekatos.
  • Docking, Director Trevor Anderson.
  • Don’t You Forget About Me, Director Lydia Ricci.
  • Entropia, Director Keir Politz.
  • Everything You Wanted to Know About Sudden Birth* (*but were afraid to ask), Director Scott Calonico.
  • Flesh, Director Camila Kater.
  • Human Nature, Director Sverre Fredriksen.
  • Knockstrike, Director Pau Anglada, Genis Rigol, Marc Torices.
  • Little Miss Sumo, Director Matt Kay.
  • Lockdown, Director Logan George, Celine Held.
  • The Manila Lover, Director Johanna Pyykkö.
  • Milton, Director Tim Wilkime.
  • Miss Barton’s Famous Cakes, Director Jared Hirschdirector, Nelson Vicens.
  • The Physics of Sorrow, Director Theodore Ushev.
  • She Runs, Director Qiu Yang.
  • Stay Close, Director Luther Clement, Shuhan Fan.
  • Throat Singing in Kangirsuk, Director Manon Chamberland, Eva Kaukai.
  • To Be Queen, Director Jeff Reichert, Farihah Zaman.
  • The Water Song, Director Dave Jannetta.

Please see individual film listings on for screening schedule and guests anticipated to attend. Guest schedules may change. For the most updated list of screenings with guests scheduled to attend, visit

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