A big thanks to Bob Feinberg (founder and board chairman) and Bob Hall (executive director) of Montclair Film for taking time out of a very busy week to talk to our own Shane Paul Neil yesterday — discussing how the Montclair Festival has become an absolute institution in Montclair's arts community.

For this episode of Shane's "Our Montclair" — which explores the arts, activism and lived experiences of those in Montclair — we decided to forgo the usual advance promo of a "live" watch on Facebook Premiere. Montclair Film is coming up fast and we wanted to get it right to you!

And we have another episode coming up Tuesday, with Montclair resident Evelyn Colbert (whose Late Show-famous husband, Stephen, will be taking part in multiple Montclair Film Festival events this year). Stay tuned.

Meanwhile to get ready for the festival, some highlights:

  • The festival will open on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. with a screening of Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” at the Wellmont Theater. The film stars Benicio Del Toro, Frances McDormand, Adrien Brody, Timothée Chalamet, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Jeffrey Wright and Owen Wilson. It tells the story of a group working to publish “The French Dispatch,” a fictional magazine. The screening is co-presented by Investors Bank.
  • On Friday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. the Wellmont Theater will screen Jeymes Samuel’s “The Harder They Fall,” the festival’s fiction centerpiece. The Netflix release is described as a “new school western,” and stars Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Edi Gathegi, R.J. Cyler, Regina King and LaKeith Stanfield.
  • On Friday, Oct. 22 at 6:30 p.m. will be an outdoor screening of the animated film “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” at Lackawanna Plaza, as the festival’s family centerpiece. The film follows the Mitchell family driving their daughter to college when electronic devices try to take over the world.
  • On Saturday, Oct. 23 at 4 p.m. at the Wellmont, in partnership with Out Montclair, will be “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over,” a documentary about the life of New Jersey native artist Warwick. The documentary, the festival’s nonfiction centerpiece, follows Warwick’s life and career, and her work as an advocate for AIDS research. Warwick and director Dave Wooley will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A, with Stephen Colbert joining.
  • On Sunday, Oct. 24 at 1 p.m., actress, writer and director Maggie Gyllenhaal will appear at this year's Montclair Film Festival alongside the star of her new film, "The Lost Daughter," and join Stephen Colbert in conversation. The Storyteller Series conversation with Gyllenhaal and Colbert (a Montclair resident who has taken part in several previous Montclair Film Festivals and related events) will take place at 1 p.m, at Montclair Kimberly Academy's Upper School. The "Lost Daughter" will follow at 4:30 p.m., where Gyllenhaal present the film alongside star Dagmara Domińczy. Gyllenhaal will also receive the festival’s Breakthrough Director and Writer Award.
  • On Saturday, Oct. 30 at 4:30 p.m. at the Montclair Kimberley Academy Upper School will be Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dogs,” the festival’s closing film. It follows two brothers, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons, as they run their family ranch together in 1925 Montana. The film is also presented in partnership with Out Montclair.
  • And that night, at 9 p.m. at the Clairidge, will be “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” with the live debut of The Ordinary Kids Floor Show, formed in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. The Ordinary Kids and Montclair Film will be launching The Rocky Horror Picture Show as a monthly film event at The Clairidge, according to Montclair Film. Montclair Film signed a long-term agreement with Clairidge building owner Dick Grabowsky to operate the six-screen art house cinema earlier this year. Live performances of Rocky Horror had a longtime presence in Montclair until 2017, previously presented by the group Home of Happiness, until Bow Tie Cinemas closed the Bellevue Theatre (which, too, is slated to reopen under new management).

The full program is at montclairfilm.org/festival/2021. Tickets for individual films and events can be purchased on the site as well.

The festival includes in-person screenings for fully vaccinated and masked audiences, as well as a selection of virtual programming on Montclair Film's Virtual Cinema platform, also at MontclairFilm.org.

— Montclair Local staff, with information provided by Montclair Film