Montclair Film Festival To Open with Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch

An opening night featuring Wes Anderson’s THE FRENCH DISPATCH with an all star cast is just one of many reasons to get excited for the 10th annual Montclair Film Festival! Another is the return of the Rocky Horror Picture Show to Montclair.

Montclair Film announced its initial slate of screenings Friday for the festival which takes place October 21-30, 2021. The Opening, Closing, Centerpiece Films and Special Screenings will screen in-person at the Montclair Film Festival for a fully vaccinated, masked audience at venues throughout Montclair.

(From L-R): Elisabeth Moss, Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, Fisher Stevens and Griffin Dunne in the film THE FRENCH DISPATCH. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

The festival opens Thursday, October 21, at 7:30 PM with a screening of Wes Anderson’s THE FRENCH DISPATCH at The Wellmont Theater. In his new film THE FRENCH DISPATCH, Wes Anderson has assembled an all-star cast (including Benicio Del Toro, Frances McDormand, Adrien Brody, Timothée Chalamet, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Jeffrey Wright, Owen Wilson and many more) created a love letter to journalists, following the exploits of a band of writers, editors, and essayists working to publish The French Dispatch, a fictional twentieth century magazine, published in a fictional French city. THE FRENCH DISPATCH is a Searchlight Pictures release, and the screening is co-presented by Investors Bank.


On Friday, October 22, at 7:30 PM, at The Wellmont Theater, Jeymes Samuel’s THE HARDER THEY FALL will screen as the festival’s Fiction Centerpiece. When outlaw Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) discovers that his enemy Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) is being released from prison, he rounds up his gang to track Rufus down and seek revenge. Those riding with him in this assured, righteously new school Western, include his former love Stagecoach Mary (Zazie Beetz), his right- and left-hand men — hot-tempered Bill Pickett (Edi Gathegi) and fast drawing Jim Beckwourth (R.J. Cyler)—and a surprising adversary-turned-ally. Rufus Buck has his own fearsome crew, including “Treacherous” Trudy Smith (Regina King) and Cherokee Bill (LaKeith Stanfield), and they are not a group that knows how to lose. THE HARDER THEY FALL is a Netflix release.

On Saturday, October 23 at 4:00 PM, at the Wellmont Theater, The Montclair Film Festival will welcome legendary artist Dionne Warwick to Montclair for a screening of the festival’s Non-Fiction Centerpiece, DIONNE WARWICK: DON’T MAKE ME OVER, directed by Dave Wooley and David Heilbroner. Born and raised in the Oranges in New Jersey, Dionne Warwick found singing through her family, who were members of the legendary gospel group the Drinkard Singers. Singing in church and with her family inspired her to study music in college, where she started singing backup vocals on recordings. But after a fateful meeting with the composer Burt Bacharach and the lyricist Hal David, Warwick’s career took off, with songs like Walk On By, Alfie, and I Say A Little Prayer establishing her as one of pop music’s most beautiful interpreters of contemporary music. And that’s just the beginning of a story and career that spans decades. DIONNE WARWICK: DON’T MAKE ME OVER is a celebration of Warwick’s amazing life and work, spanning her incredible singing career to her pioneering advocacy for AIDS research to her recent arrival on Twitter and beyond. Dionne Warwick and director Dave Wooley in attendance for a post-screening Q&A. Presented in Partnership with Out Montclair.


On Saturday, October 30 at 4:30 PM, at The Montclair Kimberly Academy Upper School, Jane Campion’s THE POWER OF THE DOG will be presented as the festival’s Closing Film. Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch) inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother (Jesse Plemons) brings home a new wife (Kirsten Dunst) and her son (Kodi Smit McPhee), Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love. THE POWER OF THE DOG is a Netflix release. Presented in Partnership with Out Montclair.

THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES – (L-R) Abbi Jacobson as “Katie Mitchell”, Maya Rudolph as “Linda Mitchell”, Danny McBride as “Rick Mitchell”, Doug the Pug as “Monchi”, Mike Rianda as “Aaron Mitchell”, Fred Armisen as “Deborahbot 5000” and Beck Bennett as “Eric”. Cr: ©2021 SPAI. All Rights Reserved.

This year’s festival will also feature a free outdoor screening of THE MITCHELLS VS THE MACHINES on Friday, October 22 at 6:30 PM at Lackawanna Plaza as the festival’s Family Centerpiece. When Katie Mitchell, a creative outsider, is accepted into the film school of her dreams, her plans to meet “her people” at college are upended when her nature-loving dad Rick determines the whole family, including Katie’s wildly positive mom Linda, her quirky little brother Aaron, and the family’s delightfully chubby pug Monchi, should drive Katie to school together and bond as a family one last time. Suddenly, the Mitchells’ plans are interrupted by a tech uprising: all around the world, the electronic devices people love – from phones, to appliances, to an innovative new line of personal robots – decide it’s time to take over AND the Mitchells will have to get past their problems and work together to save each other and the world! From the humans who brought you the Academy Award-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The LEGO Movie, THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES is an instant family classic. Note: This screening is geared toward younger audiences and, because it is outdoors in a large area, vaccines will not be required for this screening only, but masks and responsible social distancing are encouraged.

And in celebration of the launch of The Clairidge, Montclair Film’s six-screen art house cinema, the Montclair Film Festival will be hosting the return of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW on Saturday, October 30 at 9:00 PM at The Clairidge. Just in time for Halloween, the MFF is proud to present the 1975 classic, #1 cult-film of all time, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, featuring the live debut of The Ordinary Kids Floor Show! The Ordinary Kids were formed in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, as a virtual Rocky Horror experience and have made the transition to a live performing troupe made up of diehard fans. The classic camp musical that launched a million midnight movies returns, and together, The Ordinary Kids and Montclair Film will be launching ROCKY HORROR as a monthly film event at The Clairidge. Get ready to dust off your high heels and slip on your fishnets! Let’s do the Time Warp again!

“We are thrilled to welcome audiences back to the movies in Montclair for our 10th anniversary,” said Montclair Film Executive Director Tom Hall. “Our organization has experienced and learned so much during the past year, and we cannot wait to bring the work of these wonderful filmmakers and artists to our community in a safe screening environment that puts the health and safety of our audiences, guests, volunteers, and staff front and center.”

The full 2021 Montclair Film Festival line-up, and full COVID-19 protocols for the festival, will be announced on September 24, 2021. Tickets for Montclair Film members go on sale on September 27, with public tickets on sale October 1. To become a member or purchase tickets, please visit

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