Key West Film Festival to Celebrate Stellar Cinema and Strong Women
KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Film buffs can savor cinema in a breezy, subtropical setting as nearly 75 contemporary films are screened Wednesday through Sunday, Nov. 15-19, during the 12th annual Key West Film Festival.
The 2023 fest’s emphasis on powerful women is evident in Wednesday’s opening-night screening of “Priscilla,” a rock-and-roll tale about Priscilla Presley, former wife of Elvis, directed by filmmaker Sofia Coppola.
Cinematic personalities slated to attend include Oscar-winning costume designer Jacqueline Durran, to be presented the festival’s Golden Key Award for Excellence in Costume Design for her work in “Barbie.”
"After twelve years of putting on the film festival, I have never been more excited. This year's lineup is more jam-packed that I can remember,” said Brooke Christian, festival founder and chairman. “It's a year not to miss!"
Highlights are to include an appearance by nationally renowned author Thomas McGuane, who penned “92 in the Shade” and is a brother-in-law of the late Jimmy Buffett. McGuane is to be honored with the Golden Key Award for Artistic Excellence as part of the Florida premiere of “All That is Sacred,” a short film celebrating Key West’s free-spirited writers and artists of the mid-1970s.
Oscar nominee and actor David Straithairn stars in the spotlight film “A Little Prayer,” a drama about father, son and family bonds directed by Academy Award nominee playwright and screenwriter Angus MacLachlan, who is scheduled to appear with the film.
The Golden Key Award for Documentary Excellence is to be awarded to Oscar winner and television producer Sheila Nevins, co-head of MTV Documentary Films. Her documentary, “The ABCs of Book Banning,” about efforts of Florida school districts to ban books, screens after a discussion about this year’s film industry challenges.
Two documentaries about music include “Maestra,” about the world’s only competition for women conductors; and “Música!” celebrating efforts of the U.S.-based nonprofit Horns to Havana. Another, “La Huella,” is about a world-class beachfront restaurant in a small Uruguayan town. A wine-tasting is scheduled prior to the film.
Documentary “The Lionheart” features mom Susie Wheldon raising two young boys to be racecar drivers 20 years after their father, Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon, died in a racing crash. Susie Wheldon is scheduled to appear with the film.
The 40th-anniversary showing of director Marin Scorcese’s “The King of Comedy,” starring Robert DeNiro and Jerry Lewis, is to include a pre-film conversation with critics David Fear of Rolling Stone and Sam Adams of Slate.com.
A screening of the film “Eileen,” starring actress Anne Hathaway, showcases Hathaway’s stunning performance as Rebecca, catalyst for dark circumstances during a Massachusetts winter in 1964.
International films include Japan’s “Perfect Days” directed by Wim Wenders, and France’s “The Taste of Things” starring Academy Award winner Juliette Binoche.
Among the festival’s Florida Focus offerings are “200 Years of Key West History,” by local director Michael J. Kirk; and “Big Easy Queens,” shot in Miami and featuring drag performers who are regulars at Key West clubs.
LGBTQ films include “Queendom,” a portrait of a young Russian transgender street performer and activist; “Studio One Forever,” about the Los Angeles nightclub and young men’s coming of age experiences; and “Clocked,” produced in Miami about an 18-year-old undefeated boxer seeking self-acceptance through his transition as a woman.
Screening venues include The Perry Hotel and Marina, 7001 Shrimp Road on Stock Island; San Carlos Institute, 516 Duval St.; Key West Theater, 512 Eaton St.; Williams Hall, 729 Fleming St.; and The Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton St.
The fest was named ninth among “The 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World 2022, presented by FilmFreeway” in MovieMaker magazine.
Official fest headquarters is Hank’s Hair of the Dog Saloon, 409 Caroline St., where film lovers can purchase all-access passes priced from $399; buy merchandise and attend critics and awards panels and the after-party for the 2023 Golden Key Awards.
Details of all-access and VIP passes and a film lineup are at keywestff.com
Event information, schedule and ticketing: keywestff.com
Event images can be downloaded here.