The honorees for the Middleburg Film Festival have been announced for its upcoming four-day festival. They include writer and director Kenneth Branagh (“Belfast”), writer and director Paolo Sorrentino (“The Hand of God”), actors Ann Dowd (“Mass”), Dakota Johnson (“The Lost Daughter”), the ensemble cast of A24’s “Red Rocket,” cinematographer Ari Wegner (“The Power of the Dog”) and legendary composer and songwriter Charles Fox.
Additionally, the festival will feature a panel discussion with women film composers and songwriters, including Kathryn Bostic (“Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America”), Amie Doherty (“Spirit Untamed”) Lesley Barber (“Manchester by the Sea”) and Diane Warren (“Four Good Days”), along with a conversation with hair and makeup artist Donald Mowat (“Dune”).
MFF will present the Director Spotlight Award to five-time Academy Award nominee Branagh, whose film is screening in the Centerpiece slot, and will participate in a post-screening Q&A and a separate career-spanning conversation focusing on his work in front and behind the camera. The film is hot off winning the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, following an acclaimed bow at Telluride. As well, many of its actors receive critical acclaim, including Jamie Dornan, Judi Dench. Caitriona Balfe and Ciaran Hinds.
Sorrentino, whose film “The Great Beauty” won the Oscar for the international feature for Italy, will receive the International Spotlight Award by the Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Mariangela Zappia.
Emmy-winner Dowd (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) will receive Agnès Varda Trailblazing Film Artist Award for her impressive body of work and her outstanding performance in Fran Kranz’s “Mass” from Bleecker Street.
Johnson, who delivers a fierce performance in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut opposite Olivia Colman, will be presented with the Actor Spotlight Award. The Netflix film brings awards buzz for her performance alongside her co-star Jessie Buckley.
The cast of Sean Baker’s dark comedy “Red Rocket” will be recognized with the Ensemble Cast Spotlight Award, including awards hopeful Simon Rex, Bree Elrod, Suzanna Son and Brittney Rodriguez. All actors, including Baker, will be in attendance.
Wegner crafts an exceptional cinematic palette with “The Power of the Dog” with the Distinguished Cinematographer Award. She also showcased impressive work on this year’s earlier dark comedy “Zola.”
Legendary Oscar-nominated, Emmy and Grammy-winning composer and songwriter Charles Fox has been chosen for this year’s The Legacy Composer Award for his decades-long career spanning film, television, recorded music and theater. MFF will present a Tribute Concert and Conversation with Fox, who will perform many of his notable scores and songs.
The popular panel discussions on the film awards season and film criticism, “Coffee & Contenders” and “Talk Back to the Critics,” are returning this year. It was also previously announced that Reinaldo Marcus Green’s “King Richard,” starring Will Smith, will open the 9th edition of the Festival.
With health and safety being a top priority, MFF 2021 will require festival-goers to be fully vaccinated and present proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of arriving at the Festival. Additionally, masks will be required for all indoor screenings and events.
The festival runs from Oct. 14-17.