20 Must-Sees at Philadelphia Film Festival

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Elmo and Kevin Clash

Andrew Greenblatt, executive director of the Philadelphia Film Festival – and of the Philadelphia Film Society, which presents the 15-day event just under way – was kind enough to send over his list of personal picks from this year’s batch of 145 titles. Here goes:

1) The Artist – “Quite possibly my favorite film in Cannes this year.”

2) Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey – “A doc that takes you on a fantastic journey with a very happy ending.  Plus, we have Kevin Clash (aka Elmo) in attendance for the 10/28 screening!”

3) Butter –“A witty, edgy, sometimes-vulgar, dark political comedy.  Totally my style.”

4) Collaborator – “A complex and interesting American indie and with writer/director/actor Martin Donovan and actor David Morse in attendance for the 10/22 screening."

5) The Descendants - "Alexander Payne's latest…. Fantastic performances from George Clooney and Shailene Woodley.”

6) Friday Night Lights - "A new classic, and paired with a conversation with writer/director Peter Berg and novelist (and fellow PFS Board Member) Buzz Bissinger.  Should be a very special evening.”

7) Goon - "A brilliant, fun and fantastically violent hockey comedy of which we're privileged enough to have the U.S. premiere.”

8) Habemus Papam – “I'm seeing a lot of comedies on my list, but here's another great one.  Spectacular premise with equalled execution.”

9) I'm Caroline Parker: The Good, The Mad and the Beautiful - "Powerful documentary and [we're] excited to have director Jonathan Demme in attendance”

10) Jeff, Who Lives At Home – “Quirky, strange but endearing family story, and co-writer/co-director/actor Mark Duplass is in attendance for the 10/23 screening.”

11) Joe Frazier: When the Smoke Clears - "The world premiere of the life story of not only a Philly icon but a boxing icon, with Joe Frazier and director Mike Todd in attendance for the 10/22 screening.”

12) The Kid with a Bike – “Great film out of Cannes with an interesting, if not strange, premise that builds to a heartwarming ending.”

13) Like Crazy - "I caught this one at Sundance and was floored.  Just incredibly powerful and relatable.  Felicity Jones, who won the grand jury prize for best actress at Sundance, is incredible …”

14) Perfect Sense – “This film kind-of creates a new genre, sci-fi apocalyptic love story, and it does it incredibly well.”

15) The Real Rocky – “Really loved this one, especially being from Philly and buying fully into the Rocky mythos.  Plus, we'll have Chuck Wepner, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, director Jeff Feuerzeig, and producer Mike Tollin in attendance for the 10/21 screening.”

16) Scenes of a Crime – “This film is a mind-blowing look at the criminal justice system and a potentially unjust interrogation.  Fascinating, angering, must-see!”

17) The Swell Season – “This is more personal, as I'm both a fan of the band and a huge music fan, but watching this doc was heartbreaking.”

18) Tyrannosaur – “This one is … punch-you-in-the-gut-from-the-beginning …..  Won every Sundance award that Like Crazy didn't.  Thrilled to have it.”

19) Undefeated – “A fantastic and inspiring underdog football story, with directors Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin in attendance for the 10/21 screening.”

20) You Instead – “A spectacular music film shot over 3 days at T in the Park.  Really loved this one when I saw it at SXSW.”