The Middleburg Film Festival continues to be the gold standard for cinephiles here in the DMV, and that will not change in 2023. The first round of movies and award honorees have been set as the festival prepares to return for the 11th time, running from October 19th-22nd.
Opening Night at Middleburg will be led by George C. Wolfe’s civil rights drama, Rustin, which stars Colman Domingo as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, while also being ostracized by his own community over his homosexuality. The film has Comingo possibly eyed for his first Best Actor Oscar nomination.
Leading the Saturday Centerpiece will be Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers, a reunion with his Sideways star Paul Giamatti. Starring Giamatti, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and Dominic Sessa, the ’70s-set film centers on a grumpy teacher at a New England prep school asked to stay behind over Christmas break to watch over some students. He forges an unlikely bond with one of them, as well as the school cook who has just lost a son in Vietnam.
Another prestigious film on the slate is Emerald Fennell’s follow-up to Promising Young Woman. The Oxford-set Saltburn, led by Oscar nominee Barry Keoghan and Euphoria’s Jacob Elordi, follows Oliver Quick, a normal guy until his world gets turned upside down while at Oxford University. It’s there that he meets Felix Catton, played by Euphoria’s Jacob Elordi, who invites Oliver to his family’s estate in Saltburn.
J.A. Bayona’s survival thriller Society of the Snow will also be part of the upcoming Middleburg slate. The film composed by Oscar winner Michael Giacchino centers on the Uruguayan 1972 Andes flight disaster, carrying a rugby team headed to Chile.
In addition, the directors of all three films will be receiving special awards at the festival. The Impact Award will go to Rustin director George C. Wolfe for his efforts in shedding light on Bayard Rustin’s story, which has largely been overlooked. Alexander Payne will receive the Director Spotlight Award, which has previously been awarded to Wolfe along with Noah Baumbach and Kenneth Branagh. The Agnès Varda Trailblazing Film Artist Award will be awarded to Emerald Fennell, joining prior honorees Gina Prince-Bythewood, Chloe Zhao, and Ann Dowd.
The festival’s popular Distinguished Composer Award will be awarded to Oscar winner Michael Giacchino, joining previous honorees Nicholas Britell, Carter Burwell, Terence Blanchard, Kris Bowers, and Diane Warren.
There will also be a panel of several top Ukrainian filmmakers, discussing their recent works and showcasing the country’s distinct and growing film industry which plays a critical role in expressing their cultural identity. This is accomplished in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State and the United States’ flagship film diplomacy program, the American Film Showcase.
For more information and festival ticket packages, go to www.middleburgfilm.org.