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FilmColumbia Marks Its 20th Anniversary, October 18-27

FilmColumbia marks its 20th anniversary, October 18-27, with nearly 60 films, including new releases from acclaimed directors Noah Baumbach, Alex Gibney, Ken Loach, Terrence Malick and the late Agnes Varda, and lauded performances from Benedict Cumberbatch, Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Isabelle Huppert, Scarlett Johansson, Clive Owen, Michael Shannon, Marisa Tomei and Alfre Woodard, among many others.

Schedule includes winners of five major awards at Cannes, inluding the Palme d’Or, and major movies screened at the Toronto, New York, Venice, Berlin, Telluride and Sundance Film Festivals.

FilmColumbia 2019 will honor filmmaker James Schamus on October 18-19 with film screenings, a Q&A and a special benefit reception.

Benefit tickets on sale now; festival tickets on sale October 5 for Crandell Theatre members and October 12 for the general public.

FilmColumbia, Columbia County’s premier annual cultural event, will mark its 20th anniversary, October 18-27, with a schedule of more than 60 preeminent films, including this year’s winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes. The 10-day festival in Chatham, NY, will present world-class independent and international features and documentaries, plus post-screening Q&As with artists, and special tributes and events, all presented by The Crandell Theatre. Screenings and events will take place at the Crandell and Morris Memorial venues in Chatham.

For the fourth consecutive year, the festival will present a special tribute to an acclaimed artist with ties to Columbia County. This year’s honoree is producer, distributor, writer and director James Schamus, who has been a key player in the independent filmmaking world for 30 years. An early supporter of FilmColumbia—the festival’s executive director and co-artistic director, Peter Biskind, said, “No Schamus, no FilmColumbia.”—Schamus ran the legendary production company Good Machine and later became the Co-CEO of Focus Features. He has also written, co-written and directed many award-winning films, four of which will be screened at FilmColumbia 2019 at the Crandell: Adam and The Ice Storm on October 18, and Driveways and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on October 19. A Q&A with Schamus moderated by Biskind will follow the latter film.

Later that evening, Crandell Theatre benefactor Jack Shear will host the annual FilmColumbia kick-off benefit at his home in Spencertown, NY, where Schamus will be celebrated to support the festival and the year-round programs of the Crandell. Tickets for the screenings and the party are on sale now. Please note that tickets to the four pre-festival Schamus screenings are not included in FilmColumbia 2019 All Film passes.

The geographic and artistic scope of FilmColumbia 2019 and the signature eclecticism and richness of its offerings will be on display via feature and documentary films hailing from more than 15 countries, as well as the latest releases from award-winning directors Noah Baumbach, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Alex Gibney, Ken Loach, Terrence Malick and the late Agnes Varda. The festival also will feature standout performances by many of the world’s most lauded actors including Sterling K. Brown, Benedict Cumberbatch, Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Brendan Gleason, Isabelle Huppert, Scarlett Johansson, Greg Kinnear, Clive Owen, Tim Roth, Michael Shannon, Audrey Tatou, Marisa Tomei and Alfre Woodard.

The festival is programmed by Biskind and co-artistic director Laurence Kardish. Biskind is an author, film historian, contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Esquire, and past executive editor of Premiere magazine. His latest book, The Sky is Falling: How Vampires, Zombies, Androids, and Superheroes Made America Great for Extremism, was published last year. Kardish is senior curator emeritus for film and media at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Calliope Nicholas is the managing director of the festival.

On Sunday, October 20, the main schedule of FilmColumbia 2019 will kick off with two noteworthy films. In Queen of Hearts, Oscar-winning director Deborah Shaffer tells the story of Audrey Flack, an acclaimed artist of the 1950s and ‘70s who has returned to the canvas for the first time in decades. Shaffer will participate in a Q&A following the screening. At 7 p.m., Isabelle Huppert returns to FilmColumbia as the title character in Frankie, a movie that was nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes.

Among other especially noteworthy festival features are Parasite, this year’s Palme d’Or-winning serio-comic thriller about a dirt-poor Korean family that insinuates itself into an affluent one; Portrait of a Lady on Fire, a story of female attraction in 18th century France that won the best screenplay award at Cannes; Marriage Story, director Noah Baumbach’s latest, a dramatic tale of divorce starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver that is already garnering Oscar buzz; Young Ahmed, the Dardenne brothers’ latest timely feature about a young man’s conversion to Islam and his dream of martyrdom through jihad that earned them the best director award at Cannes; and Les Miserables, which won the Jury Prize at the same festival, about three policemen struggling to keep the peace in contemporary Paris.

As always, FilmColumbia’s annual and highly anticipated Sneak Peek, an unannounced film that traditionally joins the list of Oscar contenders announced four months later, will screen at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 26, at 8:30 p.m. at the Crandell. The complete FilmColumbia 2018 lineup is available now at

Online tickets and All Film passes to FilmColumbia 2019 for Crandell Theater members will begin on Saturday, October 5, at 9 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Online sales for the general public will begin on Saturday, October 12, at 9 a.m. For details of ticket sales procedures and to purchase tickets, please go to

The Crandell Theatre is a volunteer, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote and develop the appreciation of film to enrich the social, cultural and educational experience of the community, and to renovate and revitalize the Crandell Theatre as a cornerstone of culture in Chatham, NY. The theater, founded on the theme “small town, big movies,” is Columbia County’s oldest and largest movie theatre with 534 seats and was built in 1926 by Walter S. Crandell as a vaudeville house. It features mainstream and independent films daily, seven days a week, and hosts the FilmColumbia festival each year in October. We encourage you to become a member today.