Montclair Film Festival: Stephen Colbert Interview, 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' Among Highlights (Exclusive)

Stephen Colbert

The festival announced its opening and closing night and centerpiece films, including 'Hello, My Name is Doris.'

Stephen Colbert will continue to show off his interview skills ahead of taking over for David Letterman at this May's Montclair Film Festival.

Colbert, who has long supported the festival, will conduct a Q&A with Mavis Staples following the festival's documentary centerpiece screening of Mavis! The feature-length portrait of the gospel and soul-music singer and civil rights icon was directed by Jessica Edwards.

Staples had been a guest on The Colbert Report, and in his final episode, Colbert asked Staples to thank his many guests over the years.

The festival also announced its opening and closing night and narrative centerpiece films, which include past festival hits Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Hello, My Name is Doris.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is the narrative centerpiece film. The movie was well-received at its Sundance premiere earlier this year, with Fox Searchlight picking it up for a June release. The movie, directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon was executive produced by Montclair's Nora Skinner.

Michael Showalter's Hello, My Name is Doris, which stars Sally Field and Max Greenfield and won an audience award at SXSW, will serve as the festival's opening-night film.

The closing night film is Kris Swanberg's Unexpected, starring Cobie Smulders and Anders Holm, which, like Earl, also premiered at Sundance.

“We are truly honored to bring these remarkable films to the Montclair Film Festival,” MFF executive director Tom Hall said in a statement. “These are movies that our audiences will love, and we could not be more excited to support these wonderful filmmakers and showcase their work.”

The fourth annual Montclair Film Festival is set to run from May 1-10. The full program will be announced on April 2. More information about the festival's opening and closing night and centerpiece screenings follows.

Director: Michael Showalter
Producers: Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Riva Marker, Daniel Crown, Michael Showalter, Jordana Mollick, Kevin Mann
Cast: Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Stephen Root, Jack Antonoff, Natasha Lyonne, Tyne Daly
USA/ 95 Min
In Michael Showalter’s HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS, Sally Field makes a triumphant return with her leading performance as Doris Miller, an unassuming office worker living in her childhood home despite the recent death of her mother.  But when Doris finds inspiration in the ideas of a self-help guru, the arrival of a handsome new co-worker named John (Max Greenfield) heralds a new obsession. Can Doris catch John’s eye, find happiness and move forward? Or are her dreams destined to remain just beyond her reach? HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS is the rarest of comedies, effortlessly moving between laughs and real feeling to paint a touching portrait of a dreamer.  The Montclair Film Festival is proud to present Michael Showalter’s HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS as the 2015 Opening Night Film.
Friday, May 1, 7:30 PM, The Wellmont Theater

Director: Jessica Edwards
Producers: Jessica Edwards, Rachel Mills
Featuring: Mavis Staples
USA/ 85 Min
Directed by Jessica Edwards, MAVIS! is the first feature-length documentary on gospel/soul music legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples and her family group, the Staple Singers. From the delta-inflected gospel sound she helped pioneer in the 1950s, to the “message songs” of the civil rights era marching beside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to massive hits such as “I’ll Take You There” in the soul-filled Stax era, and her recent Grammy-winning work with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Mavis Staples is one of the most influential and enduring vocalists of our time and a true American icon. MAVIS! follows her unrivaled career through dynamic live performances, archival footage, captivating storytelling and interviews with friends and collaborators. She occupies a singular place in American music: a soldier of love and peace whose fight continues; her message of equality is needed now more than ever.
Director Jessica Edwards and subject Mavis Staples in attendance.
Mavis Staples will join Stephen Colbert in a post-screening discussion of the film.
Friday May 8, 8:00 PM, The Wellmont Theater
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Executive Producer: Nora Skinner
Producers: Jeremy Dawson, Dan Fogelman, Steven M. Rales
Cast: Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Molly Shannon, Connie Britton, Nick Offerman
USA/ 104 Min
Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann) is an awkward, self-deprecating high school student determined to coast through his senior year as anonymously as possible. He spends most of his time remaking bizarre, spirited versions of classic movies with his only friend Earl (RJ Cyler) – and avoiding social interactions like the plague. But Greg’s plans are foiled when his well-meaning mother forces him to befriend Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a classmate who's been diagnosed with leukemia. Bristling with wit from a clever screenplay by Jesse Andrews, director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's second feature is a poignant coming-of-age film with a heart of cinematic gold.
Saturday, May 9, 6:30 PM, Montclair Kimberley Academy Upper School
A Fox Searchlight Release

Director: Kris Swanberg
Producer: Andrea Roa
Starring: Cobie Smulders, Gail Bean, Anders Holm, Elizabeth McGovern
USA/ 85 Min
With the Chicago public high school where she teaches scheduled to close, Samantha (Cobie Smulders) decides it’s time to plan for the future. But when Sam discovers she is pregnant, everything changes, including her relationships with John (Anders Holm), who wants to build a family with Sam, and Jasmine (Gail Bean), one of her brightest students. Despite her personal and professional struggles, Sam remains determined to have a baby on her own terms while supporting Jasmine in her quest to attend college. Kris Swanberg’s UNEXPECTED is a luminous ode to modern maternity, a beautifully crafted story of friendship and motherhood that depicts the experience of pregnancy with a delicate, sophisticated grace.
Sunday, May 10, 7:00 PM, Montclair Kimberley Academy Upper School
A Film Arcade Release