8th Annual Key West Film Festival Announces Official Lineup

KeyjFest Logo

Noah Baumbach’s “MARRIAGE STORY” and Destin Daniel Cretton’s “JUST MERCY” to serve as Centerpiece Presentations

Previously announced Opening and Closing Night Films – “THE IRISHMAN” and Florida festival Premiere of “WAVES” - Curated by K. Austin Collins of Vanity Fair and Jen Yamato of the Los Angeles Times as part of 5th Annual Critics Focus Program 

October 30, 2019, New York, NY – The 8th Annual Key West Film Festival announces its official 2019 lineup including major fall films from Noah Baumbach and Destin Daniel Cretton. More than 115 films and V/R pieces will be shown during the 5-day festival, which runs November 20-24. Nearly half of the feature films at the festival will be Florida festival premieres.

Baumbach’s MARRIAGE STORY (Netflix), starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, and Cretton’s JUST MERCY (Warner Bros. Pictures), starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx serve as the marquee Centerpiece films, joining the previously announced Opening and Closing Night Films, Martin Scorsese’s THE IRISHMAN (Netflix) and Trey Edward Shults’s Hollywood, FL-based WAVES (A24). The latter two films play as part of the festival’s 5th Annual Critics Focus program, in which two of the nation’s top critics curate the slots and have a pre-screening discussion. Shults will appear for a Q&A moderated by Collins and Yamato.

Director of Programming Michael Tuckman says, “We are once again elated to be showcasing some of the major contenders for the Oscars this year and giving audiences in Key West a first look at these films, which are sure to be talked about for decades to come. And we are equally proud of the spotlight we are placing on Florida-based stories, not just through our extensive local programming, but as seen through so many films in our main slate program that take place in or are connected to Florida.” 

Other Spotlight films include the Florida premieres of Emily Taguchi and Jake Lefferman’s AFTER PARKLAND, who will both attend the festival, and Bert & Bertie’s TROOP ZERO, starring Viola Davis and Allison Janney and written by Florida native Lucy Alibar (Beasts of the Southern Wild). Another Florida native, acclaimed filmmaker Ondi Timoner,  returns to KWFF with a special director’s cut of her film MAPPLETHORPE, which took home the award for Best LGBTQ Film at KWFF 2018.

Film critics in attendance at this year’s festival will include Collins, Yamato, and Eric Kohn, Executive Editor & Chief Critic of IndieWireDavid Fear, Senior Editor and critic at Rolling Stone; Eugene Hernandez, Co-Publisher of Film CommentMonica Castillo of RogerEbert.com; Tomris Laffly of Variety; Shirrel Rhoades of Adams Publishing Group, and Hans Morgenstern of the Miami New Times. These critics will participate in the 5th Annual Critics Panel, moderated by Eric Kohn, and collaborate to decide the winner of KWFF’s fourth annual Critics Prize. Unique in its nature, the Critics Prize, voted on by the critics in attendance, is presented to one film from the entire program.

Special events this year include previously announced appearances by Florida native Kimberly Peirce and legendary actor Tom Skerritt, who will be honored with the prestigious Golden Key Awards on the 20th Anniversary of BOYS DON’T CRY and the 40th Anniversary of ALIEN, respectively.

The fourth annual Golden Key for Costume Design will also take place, this time with an award honoring Arianne Phillips, whose recent work was showcased in Quentin Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.  Deborah Nadoolman Landis, a past president of the Costume Designers Guild and former Governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, will helm a video presentation of the award.

New to the program this year is the Kibbitz with Critics series, in which the curating critics share two of their favorite films from the last year over brunch. Collins will present Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar’s AMERICAN FACTORY and Yamato will present Florida-raised Lulu Wang’s THE FAREWELL.

Additional films in the main slate with ties to Florida include PAHOKEE, A WOMAN’S WORK: THE NFL’S CHEERLEADER PROBLEM, and THE INFILTRATORS. Special guests from each of these films will appear at the festival.

The festival will take place in Key West from November 20-24, and includes special event screenings and a curated selection of over 30 feature films and shorts programs encompassing narrative features, documentaries, foreign language cinema, LGBTQ cinema, VR, and works by Florida filmmakers. The shorts programs were curated from hundreds of submissions from Florida, the United States, and a dozen other Latin American, Caribbean, European, and Asian countries.

The complete line-up is as follows. Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks assisted in the curation of the LGBTQ programming and the Virtual Reality programming was curated by Matthew Bolish. Filmmaker Ruth Reitan, a graduate of the University of Miami MFA program and KWFF alumnus, directed the program.


THE IRISHMAN,Martin Scorsese

JUST MERCY,Destin Daniel Cretton

World Comedy I

World Comedy II

World Student Docs/Drama

Animation + FL Student Docs/Drama

FL Docs

World Drama/Thriller

FL Psych/Thriller

Florida and World Student Comedy

FL Student Comedy

Environmental Docs & Animation

Havana Shorts

Virtual Reality


The Key West Film Festival — where passion meets paradise — is an annual celebration of contemporary cinema in a historically rich, artistically vibrant, and culturally diverse island community.

KWFF strives to showcase the best of Florida filmmaking talent, while highlighting visiting filmmakers and industry leaders through discussions and workshops, with access to some of the biggest names in the film business. The festival also looks to support the next generation of local student filmmakers with scholarships and other key awards.

The Festival’s Critics Focus program, enhanced with the juried Critics’ Prize, together with the Costume Design Focus, marks the Key West Film Festival as a vital stop on the awards season’s fall festival circuit, with programs designed to support film criticism and craft while giving audiences greater context and perspective through public conversations guided by expert voices. Key publications represented in KWFF Critic’s Focus program and Critic’s Prize at the festival include: Los Angeles Times, Vulture.com, Rolling Stone, Indiewire, Vanity Fair, Washington Post, TimeOut NY, RogerEbert.comand more.

Past guests have included: Burt Reynolds, John Waters, Mariel Hemingway, Harmony Korine, Marisa Tomei, Paul Haggis, Alan Cumming, Sebastian Junger, Tom Berenger, Paul Verhoeven, Billy Corben, Terry George, Corey Glover, Steven Bauer, Anson Mount, Celia Weston, Angus MacLachlan, Judy Blume, Ondi Timoner, Bob Wisdom, Val Lauren, Anne O’Shea, Lois Smith, Mark Bridges and many more.

For more information, visit our website: https://kwfilmfest.com

Twitter - @keywestfilmfest
Instagram - @keywestfilmfestival
Facebook - Key West Film Festival

#kwff #kwff2019 #tropiccinema