Montclair Film Festival announces opening, closing and ‘centerpiece’ films

2020 montclair film festival

Films to be shown at the Montclair Film Festival include (clockwise from top left) “Nomadland,” “One Night in Miami …,” “Minari,” “In & Of Itself” and “Ammonite.”

The ninth annual Montclair Film Festival, postponed from the spring, is scheduled for Oct. 16-25 and will feature a combination of drive-in and virtual events. The drive-in events will take place at the Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex in West Orange.

There will be at least four drive-in screenings:

The festival will open Oct. 16 at 9 p.m. with “Nomadland,” written and directed by Chloé Zhao and starring Frances McDormand as a woman who travels around the American West, like a nomad, after losing her job. The film won the top award at this year’s Venice Film Festival (the Golden Lion) and the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. It is scheduled to be released theatrically on Dec. 4.

The festival’s Fiction Centerpiece, Oct. 17 at 9:30 p.m., will be “Ammonite,” directed by Francis Lee and featuring Kate Winslet as a paleontologist in 1840s England, and Saoirse Ronan as an upper class woman she falls in love with.

The festival’s Non-Fiction Centerpiece, “In & Of Itself,” will screen Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m. Directed by Frank Oz, the film documents Derek DelGaudio’s one-of-a-kind stage show — combining elements of magic, theater and storytelling — which had a successful off-Broadway run in 2017 and 2018. A live, socially distanced Q&A session with DelGaudio, Oz and the film’s executive producers, Stephen Colbert and his wife Evelyn, will follow. Evelyn Colbert is president of Montclair Film’s board of trustees and Stephen serves on its advisory board.

Oct. 24 at 9:30 p.m., “One Night in Miami …” will be the the festival’s closing film. Directed by Regina King, this is a fictional film based on a real event: The 1964 night that Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), who was soon to change his name to Muhammad Ali, spent with Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom, Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), celebrating Clay’s recent boxing victory over heavyweight champion Sonny Liston.

Also, the festival has announced that “Minari,” about a Korean American family that moves to Arkansas, will be its Virtual Centerpiece, streaming Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m.

The festival’s full lineup will be announced on Oct. 2. Tickets will go on sale for Montclair Film members on Oct. 5, and to the general public on Oct. 8. Visit

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