'Marriage Story' to Open, 'Jojo Rabbit' to Close North Carolina's Film Fest 919 (Exclusive)

'The Two Popes' scribe Anthony McCarten will receive the Distinguished Screenwriter Award.
Courtesy of Film Fest 919

Two top-tier Oscar contenders — Noah Baumbach's critically lauded Marriage Story and Taiki Waititi's TIFF audience award winner Jojo Rabbit — will respectively open and close the second annual Film Fest 919 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (which is served by the area code 919, hence the event's name), The Hollywood Reporter can exclusively report.

This year's edition of the fest, which is set to run Oct. 9-13 out of the Silverspot Cinema at University Place, will include screenings of numerous other Oscar hopefuls, as well. Among them: Fernando Meirelles' The Two Popes; James Mangold's Ford v. Ferrari; Scott Z. Burns' The Report; Trey Edward Shultz's Waves; Bong Joon Ho's Parasite; Pedro Almodovar's Pain and Glory; Celine Sciamma's Portrait of a Lady on Fire; Destin Daniel Cretton 's Just Mercy; and Alma Har'el's Honey Boy. Numerous submissions for consideration in the best international feature film Oscar category will also screen at the fest.

Boldfaced names headed to the Tar Heel State include Oscar-winning visual effects artist Joe Letteri of WETA, who will make a presentation on the evolution of special effects; Ray Williams, the man credited with discovering Elton John and introducing him to Bernie Taupin, who will appear after a screening of Dexter Fletcher's Rocket Man; Martha Kelly, an actress who appears in Marriage Story; Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish, who will discuss screen adaptations; and Anthony McCarten, the scribe of The Theory of Everything, Darkest Hour, Bohemian Rhapsody and, most recently, The Two Popes, who will receive the Distinguished Screenwriter Award.

"Our inaugural festival last year embodied the slogan 'Catch the Films Before They Catch On,' Film Fest 919 Founders Randi Emerman and Carol Marshall tell The Hollywood Reporter. "Our audiences were among the first to see Oscar winners Green Book and Roma, as well as other award-winning films such as Shoplifters, Capernaum and The Favourite. We are beyond excited for this year's lineup."

Added program director Claudia Puig: "Programing a film festival is almost an educational mission, in addition to being an artistic endeavor. Festival attendees can savor, embrace and immerse themselves in the world's finest films. And audiences in Chapel Hill are so engaged and discerning, it's a unique pleasure to program for them."

The full festival lineup can be found at FilmFest919.com.