Last year the Academy Award winner for best film, “The Shape Of Water,” headlined the Key West Film Festival, so how many Oscar winners will be shown this year? The seventh annual Key West Film Festival is happening Nov. 14-18, and it promises some of the best big screen entertainment of the year.
“Every year, it just gets better and better,” said festival founder and filmmaker Quincy Perkins. “We have gained some serious attention in the film community nationwide.” Perkins credits the critic-centric nature of the festival, which has drawn big names like Justin Chang of The Los Angeles Times, Joshua Rothkopf of Time Out New York, David Fear of Rolling Stone and Alicia Malone of Turner Classic Movies, who will be in the audience as well as leading panel discussions.
This year’s highlights will be director Alfonso Cuaron’s drama, “Roma,” which is already an entry for “Best Foreign Film” for the Academy Awards. Set in 1970s middle class Mexico, it’s semi-autobiographical, drawing from Cuaron’s childhood, and won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film festival. Also, Barry Jenkins, five-time Oscar winner for “Moonlight,” is back with “If Beale Street Could Talk,” a tragic love story and the critic’s choice for the festival. Lastly, Billy Corben, Florida’s own renegade documentarian, is following up his massive hit “Cocaine Cowboys” with “Screwball,” about the 2013 doping scandal in Major League baseball. Corben, a regular at Keys film festivals, will be available for a Q&A afterward.
And for classic film lovers, the documentary “Brothers in Arms: The Making of Platoon” will have special guest star and Oscar nominee, Tom Berenger, talking afterward. Word is he will be coming to the Keys in his RV … he is that cool. Another big celeb may be appearing to highlight his gripping new movie “The Public” — brat packer Emilio Estevez. There isn’t a movie lover from the ’80s who would want to miss that, and it’s a helluva film.
Perkins regularly attends festivals around the country, and “Bisbee ’17,” is on his “must see” list. The film is about the Arizona mining disaster of the Bisbee deportation in 1917, and it’s already receiving rave reviews. There are also some lighter films: a documentary about Studio 54 and “United Skates,” an interesting look at the resurgence of roller skating in the African American community. The festival will feature a follow-up with Commissioner Clayton Lopez talking about skating’s ties to Key West history.
“The festival is a great community event,” said Mike Marrero, the Tropic Cinema’s new director. “It’s rare for such a small island to have access to big name independent films, and it’s exciting that they come to us.” Having just completed new renovations, the Tropic will be showing “The Laramie Project” for the film’s 20th anniversary, as well as the festival’s many short films.
Key West Film Festival
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