Your guide to the 32nd Annual Philadelphia Film Festival

Philadelphia Film Festival
Philadelphia Film Center
Philadelphia Film Society

Another fall season brings another opportunity to check out the Philadelphia Film Festival and everything this annual entertainment activation has to hold—and 2023 is bigger than ever.

Now in its 32nd year, the PFF is offering in-person screenings at all PFS venues, including the Philadelphia Film Center, PFS Bourse Theater, and PFS East. The films encompass a wide variety of genres, including some world premieres, with a spotlight on some local talent as well, including ‘Stand Up & Shout: Songs From A Philly High School.’

The HBO documentary features Hill-Freedman World Academy (HFWA), a local public high school, and as the film’s description states, it shines a light on their program that encourages students to channel their thoughts, feelings, and dreams into an album of electrifying original songs. This particular feature comes from director and Emmy winner Amy Schatz and is executive produced by Get Lifted Film Co.’s Emmy and Tony Award-winning producer Mike Jackson, EGOT recipient John Legend, and Emmy Award-winning producer and CEO of management/ social-impact company, Friends at Work, Ty Stiklorius.

Philadelphia Film Festival
‘Stand Up & Shout: Songs From A Philly High School.’Provided

The film will also have a hosted event with an exclusive Q&A post-premiere this Friday, Oct. 20.

“As our audience continues to evolve in a post-lockdown world, so does our programming and I’m excited that our team is able to present one of the most diverse, thoughtful, and exhilarating lineups we’ve ever had,” shared Michael Lerman, Artistic Director and Senior Director of Programming of the Philadelphia Film Society in a statement. “We are thrilled to share a repertoire of remarkable storytelling that transcends borders and prompts conversation.”

Opening night (Oct. 19) for the 32nd Philadelphia Film Festival, however, will be Cord Jefferson’s directorial debut, ‘American Fiction’, while closing night (Oct. 27) will feature ‘Saltburn’, which stars Barry Keoghan. The former film is described as a hilarious confrontation of our culture’s obsession with reducing people to outrageous stereotypes, while the latter tells “a beautifully wicked tale of privilege and desire.”

As usual, the festival will also highlight a few centerpiece films, including Bradley Cooper’s widely anticipated ‘Maestro‘, and another feature with a local tie, ‘Rustin‘ starring Philadelphia-native and Academy Award nominee Colman Domingo and directed by DGA Award and five-time Tony Award winner, George C. Wolfen. ‘The Holdovers‘ also brings in some Philly flair (aka local actors) with director Alexander Payne’s New England prep school comedy, reuniting Payne and film star Paul Giamatti.

“We are incredibly excited and eagerly looking forward to the 32nd Annual Philadelphia Film Festival. It’s not only a vibrant platform for showcasing a wide diversity of global and local cinema but also acts as a convergence for film enthusiasts to share, learn and indulge in the magic of storytelling,” said J. Andrew Greenblatt, CEO and Executive Director of the Philadelphia Film Society in a statement. “We believe that every film has the power to affect and inspire, and we can’t wait to share this year’s selection with our devoted audience.”

Philadelphia Film Festival
Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein in ‘Maestro’.Jason McDonald / Netflix

Other highlights hitting the screen this year include the North American premiere of Takeshi Kitano’s ‘Kubi’, a few options in the “From the Vault” category including films like Jacques Tati’s ‘Playtime’ (1967), presented in 35MM and Chen Kaige’s ‘Farewell My Concubine’ (1992), presented in an uncut 4K restoration, and more.

The Philadelphia Film Festival will also be highlighting The Filmadelphia Category and Filmadelphia Shorts Program to emphasize the Philadelphia Film Society’s ongoing commitment to film made in the Greater Philadelphia by featuring showcases from the region’s most captivating filmmakers, a release finishes. Other categories peppered throughout the occasion span “This Animated Life,” “Made in USA”, “Green Screen”, “Sight & Soundtrack”, “After Hours”, “Shorts”, “Cinema de France” and more.

The Holdovers
This image released by Focus Features Dominic Sessa stars as Angus Tully, Paul Giamatti as Paul Hunham and Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Mary Lamb in a scene from “The Holdovers.”Seacia Pavao/Focus Features via AP

There will also be some special events taking place after certain films, the first mentioned before as ‘Stand Up & Shout: Songs From A Philly High School,’ and the second will be ‘Art Dealers’ from director Roy Power and Adam Weiner.

The full festival schedule and digital Festival Program Guide are available online. During the festival, tickets will be available for purchase in-person at the Box Offices at the Philadelphia Film Center, PFS Bourse Theater, or PFS East. To find out more about the 32nd Annual Philadelphia Film Festival, visit