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Key West Film Festival to Celebrate 10th Anniversary Nov. 17-21

KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Film buffs can celebrate cinema through nearly 120 contemporary cinematic offerings, including about 100 short films and 20 features, during the 10th annual Key West Film Festival set Wednesday through Sunday, Nov. 17-21.

With documentaries taking center stage, director Penny Lane is to appear with her film “Listening to Kenny G” about saxophonist Kenny G.

“The 10th anniversary will not only feature our best Florida lineup yet, but also many of the year's most acclaimed documentaries, LGBTQ selections and feature films,” said Brooke Christian, festival founder and chairman. 

“Focusing on talent homegrown in Florida has been a hallmark throughout the festival's history,” Christian added. 

Other documentaries include “Bernstein’s Wall” about composer Leonard Bernstein. A wine tasting is to follow the screening of “Blind Ambition” about Zimbabwe’s first Wine Tasting Olympics team.

Sean Baker, director of “Red Rocket,” a comedy-drama about a washed-up porn star returning to his small Texas hometown, is to participate in a discussion with Los Angeles Times film critic Carlos Aguilar.

The fest, annually themed “Passion Meets Paradise,” is to host a welcome party Wednesday, Nov. 17, at Audubon House, 205 Whitehead St. The opening night documentary, “Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road,” showcases the life of the Beach Boys co-founder.

A filmmakers’ party is Thursday, Nov. 18, at Sloppy Joe’s Dockside at The Perry Hotel Key West, 7001 Shrimp Road on Stock Island. Also Thursday, the 20th anniversary singalong of “Moulin Rouge,” hosted by local drag celebrity Epiphany, is to be screened. 

“The Power of the Dog,” starring actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Kristen Dunst, is Saturday, Nov. 20, at the San Carlos Institute, 516 Duval St. Director Jane Campion’s work highlights sexuality, repression and cowboy “toxic masculinity.” 

International films are to include Academy Award winner Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Hand of God,” about heartbreak and liberation; and “Final Set,” about an aging tennis prodigy starring Kristin Scott Thomas.

Florida premiere “C’Mon, C’Mon” stars Joaquin Phoenix as a radio journalist embarking on a cross-country trip with his young nephew.

LGBTQ films include “Great Freedom,” winner of the Jury Prize for Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival, about a homosexual in postwar Germany; and “Boulevard! A Hollywood Story,” an exploration of Gloria Swanson’s attempts to adapt “Sunset Boulevard” into a musical.

Venues include Truman Waterfront Park’s Coffee Butler Amphitheater, 35 E. Quay Road, for outdoor screenings; Key West Theater, 512 Eaton St., for Florida focus and feature films; and Williams Hall, 729 Fleming St., for shorts and features.

The Golden Key for Costume Design honors Paul Tazewell for his “West Side Story” designs. New awards to be presented include the New Rising Starfish Award to recognize emerging talent. 

All-day Florida Focus activities are slated for Sunday, Nov. 21, with showings of shorts from Key West High School’s Conch 5 Studios and “Cocaine Cowboys” by director Billy Corben.

Guitarist-singer Eric Clapton’s latest concert film, “Eric Clapton: The Lady in the Balcony,” is to be screened outdoors Sunday in a complimentary showing at The Perry.

Health safety protocols comply with CDC, state and local mandates. A vaccination bracelet is to be offered but not required. Festival organizers strongly encourage attendees to be vaccinated and verify their status to ensure the comfort of others.

Details of all-access and VIP passes and a film lineup are at kwfilmfest.com.

'Red Rocket' is a comedy-drama about a washed-up porn star returning to his small Texas hometown.

'Red Rocket' is a comedy-drama about a washed-up porn star returning to his small Texas hometown.

Director Sean Baker is to participate in a discussion with Los Angeles Times film critic Carlos Aguilar.  Image: Daniel Bergeron

Director Sean Baker is to participate in a discussion with Los Angeles Times film critic Carlos Aguilar. Image: Daniel Bergeron

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Florida premiere 'C’Mon, C’Mon' stars Joaquin Phoenix as a radio journalist embarking on a cross-country trip with his young nephew.

Florida premiere 'C’Mon, C’Mon' stars Joaquin Phoenix as a radio journalist embarking on a cross-country trip with his young nephew.

This article was updated on November 1, 2021 at 9:46 AM
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