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Sundance, Eat Your Heart Out

Film fanatics and cinephiles unite. Hollywood is coming to Chapel Hill this Oct. 3 through 7, as Silverspot Cinema is hosting the  inaugural Film Fest 919. This is no ordinary, small-time film festival. The Film Fest 919 lineup will feature 36 of this year’s best independent films, representing 17 countries.  

“We decided we were going to do a curated film festival where we were going to curate the best films that we can find,” Randi Emerman, CEO of Film Fest 919 , said. 

Academy Award nominated filmmakers and stars alike are included in the festival's lineup, with films such as "Roma," winner of the Golden Lion Award at Venice Film Festival , and "Green Book," winner of the  Grolsch People’s Choice Award at Toronto International Film Festival.  

“In the time that I’ve been here, this is the biggest, most legitimate film festival that I’ve seen in the Triangle area,” Rick Warner, professor and director of film studies in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at UNC , said.

 Many of the films on the Film Fest lineup have just made their mark on the global film festival circuit, screening in big-name festivals such as Venice  International Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto  International Film Festival and Festival de Cannes .

 Emerman said many of these films are slated to make an impact this award season with many possibilities for nominations. Film Fest 919 is also providing the opportunity for attendants to see films before they are officially released.

 “The films will be great and this will be a rare opportunity to see films before they’re actually in theaters and some of these films won’t even come to theaters around here at all,” Warner said.

 Not only will this be a chance to see films before the award season, but this event will also be a celebration of cultural and global cinema with a sophisticated and diverse selection of films. 

“Our plan was to show the best of films around the world — really global cinema with a focus on independent films, and they are all narrative features except for one documentary,” Claudia Puig, program director of Film Fest 919 and film critic , said. 

Puig said the lineup for Film Fest 919 aims to show representation of different groups. 

“I wanted to make sure we had a lot of women filmmakers and people of color and make this the most diverse slate we could possibly make it,” Puig said.  

Film Fest 919 is also bringing the casts and crews of several films to Chapel Hill, providing an opportunity for those interested in the film industry to build connections. Attendees will be able to discuss the screened films with the filmmakers, writers, producers and casts, at seminars, receptions and Q&A sessions throughout the five-day festival.  S 

ilverspot is also offering the opportunity to celebrate the opening night film, "Roma," at the screening and afterparty with the film’s stars, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira.  In addition, the seminars offered will give local filmmakers or students interested in film the opportunity to learn from technicians and professionals in the industry. Chris Burgoch, producer and co-writer for last year’s Oscar-nominated film "The Florida Project," will be hosting a seminar about “The Art of Screenwriting.”  

  Though Film Fest 919 will not show the works of local filmmakers, the event is still deeply rooted in the community. Not only will the receptions cater from local restaurants , but proceeds from the ticket sales will also go to funding UNC’s Writing for the Screen and Stage and Media Production programs in the Department of Communications.