Montclair Film Festival Turns 10 With Euphoric Opening Night #MFF21

There was a party-like atmosphere in the new Wellmont Plaza as festival goers got their vaccination cards checked before entering the theater. Photo: Montclair Film/Neil Grabowsky
!0th Annual Montclair Film Festival opened Thursday night to a sold-out crowd at the Wellmont Theater. Photo: Montclair Film/Neil Grabowsky

“Let’s build a home for film and make sure we never lose a theater again in Montclair.”

Montclair Film’s Executive Director Tom Hall said these fitting words to a sold-out crowd at The Wellmont Theater Thursday night at the opening of the 10th annual Montclair Film Festival.

Like so many arts organizations, Montclair Film has had to fight its way back through a pandemic and last year, the festival reinvented itself with virtual and outdoor screenings.

Montclair Film’s Executive Director Tom Hall welcomed the opening night crowd and encouraged them to support The Clairidge. Photo: Montclair Film/Neil Grabowsky

This year, the festival makes a big move for its 10th anniversary — taking over The Clairidge, and opening the newly renovated six-screen cinema in time for the festival. After going dark in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic, screenings at The Clairidge began Friday with films being shown at the venue throughout the festival (if you haven’t already, get your tickets here!). Then starting November 4, audiences can go to The Clairidge to see movies again as their neighborhood theater, curated by Montclair Film Festival.

Hall announced that the first film to be shown at The Clairidge after the Montclair Film Festival will be The French Dispatch, so if you missed Thursday’s opening night screening at the Wellmont, you will get another chance soon to see the writerly and surreal Wes Anderson film, set in a fictional French town of Ennui-sur-Blasé and starring Benicio Del Toro, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Timothée Chalamet, Frances McDormand and Bill Murray.

Montclair Film Founder and Chairman Bob Feinberg and Board President Evie Colbert welcomed an enthusiastic Montclair Film Festival audience back to the movies. Photo: Montclair Film/Neil Grabowsky

“It’s been a wonderful 10 years, but I’m here to tell you that the next 10 years is going to be even better,” Montclair Film’s Board President Evie Colbert said. “Montclair Film is bringing movies back to Montclair. We will be programming The Clairidge with the same independent films you expect from the Clairidge, except now it’s clean, it’s renovated and it’s safe.”

Montclair Film Founder and Chairman Bob Feinberg was also enthusiastic about welcoming the audience back to the movies and declared “The Clairidge is back!”

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