Montclair Film Festival to present three new films at Basie Center Cinemas

Two of New Jersey’s leading arts nonprofits join forces to showcase the importance and impact of independent film


Montclair Film Festival at Basie Center Cinemas(RED BANK – OCTOBER 6, 2023) For the first time ever, the Montclair Film Festival will extend its reach into central New Jersey with the presentation of three new films at Red Bank’s Basie Center Cinemas.

Tickets for the screenings, taking place on October 25 and 26 – are on sale now through Single tickets are priced at $12.50, with a limited number of $30 combo passes also available.

“Non-profit film institutions need support more than ever, and we are proud to collaborate with the Count Basie Center for the Arts and its independent cinema to celebrate our mutual passion for building community through film and storytelling,” said Montclair Film Artistic Director and Co-Head Tom Hall. “As the Montclair Film Festival continues to grow, we are thrilled to be able to share these exciting films with the Count Basie community. We look forward to continuing our partnership as we work together to bring the best in cinema to film lovers throughout New Jersey.”

“This is a partnership that resonates on every level,” said Adam Philipson, President and CEO, Count Basie Center for the Arts, which programs and operates Basie Center Cinemas. “Our organizations share in the belief that film is an important and vital art form, and that the promotion and preservation of cinema is crucial.”

The featured films – A Little Prayer, directed by celebrated Junebug screenwriter and playwright Angus MacLachlan; the animated They Shot The Piano Player from 2012’s ‘Best Animated Feature’ Oscar nominees Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal; andThe Teachers’ Lounge, Germany’s 2023 entry into the Academy’s ‘Best International Feature Film’ category – each come from Sony Pictures Classics, the celebrated Hollywood studio co-founded and led by Tom Bernard, an outspoken advocate for filmmaking and promotion in New Jersey, and longtime Count Basie Center board member.

“I am proud to have three Sony Pictures Classics films presented in the Montclair Film Festival—a valuable institution and a beacon for film lovers—at a time when it is reaching new communities,” Bernard said. “Giving more people the chance to watch independent film is crucial to nurturing love of the art form. This is exactly how I discovered cinema as a kid growing up in New Jersey: in a theater, surrounded by other moviegoers.”


A Little PrayerA LITTLE PRAYER (Wednesday October 25 | 6:30PM)
Director: Angus MacLachlan
Producers: Angus MacLachlan, Lauren Vilchik, Max A. Butler
Cast: David Strathairn, Jane Levy, Celia Weston, Will Pullen, Anna Camp, Dascha Polanco
USA, 91 min

Bill (David Strathairn), a Vietnam veteran from suburban Winston-Salem, North Carolina, confronts the limits of patriarchal power while parenting his adult children, both of whom are experiencing personal difficulties. Bill’s every thought becomes consumed by worries about his children, and he continues to struggle with the heartbreak from which he so desperately wants to spare them. As Bill attempts to maintain his composure in the face of chaos, he learns how to best support them in their challenges. A LITTLE PRAYER is a moving portrait of the unexpected changes that family can inspire within us.


They Shot The Piano PlayerTHEY SHOT THE PIANO PLAYER (Thursday, October 26 | 6PM)
Director: Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal
Producers: Cristina Huete, Serge Lalou, Sophie Cabon
Cast: Jeff Goldblum
Spain/France, 103 min

In THEY SHOT THE PIANO PLAYER, an animated hybrid of fiction and non-fiction storytelling, Jeff Goldblum plays a New York music journalist who embarks on a quest to uncover the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of a young Brazilian piano virtuoso named Tenorio Jr. A celebratory origin story of the world-renowned Latino musical movement Bossa Nova, THEY SHOT THE PIANO PLAYER captures a fleeting time bursting with creative freedom at a turning point in Latin American history in the 60s and 70s, in the critical moment before the continent was engulfed by totalitarian regimes. 

The Teacher's LoungeTHE TEACHER’S LOUNGE (Thursday, October 26 | 8PM)
Director: Ilker Çatak
Producer: Ingo Fliess
Cast: Eva Löbau, Leonie Benesch, Leonard Stettnisch, Michael Klammer, Kathriin Wehlisch
Germany, 98 min

THE TEACHERS’ LOUNGE is director İlker Çatak riveting work about school as a microcosm of society. Carla Nowak (Leonie Benesch) is a dedicated, idealistic young teacher in her first job at a German middle school. Her relaxed rapport with her seventh-grade students is put under stress when a series of thefts occur at the school, and a staff investigation leads to accusations and mistrust among outraged parents, opinionated colleagues, and angry students. Caught in the middle of these complex dynamics, Carla tries to mediate—but the more she tries, the more desperate her position becomes.

For more information showtimes, live events and more coming to Basie Center Cinemas, visit Basie Center Cinemas is programmed and operated by the nonprofit Count Basie Center for the Arts.