Brendan Fraser’s ‘The Whale’ and Ray Romano’s ‘Somewhere In Queens’ Announced for Middleburg Film Festival, Actress Stephanie Hsu and Writer Rian Johnson Among Honorees

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Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story,” “White Noise” and “The Whale” are among the first films announced for this year’s Middleburg Film Festival in Virginia, celebrating its tenth anniversary.

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” breakout star Stephanie Hsu will be given the Rising Star Award, for her incredible performance in The Daniels’ critically-acclaimed dramedy, which has generated awards buzz. The fest will also hold a special screening of the movie after its huge success, becoming A24’s first film to surpass $100 million.

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The entire festival will be held in person with screenings, conversations and events from Oct. 13-16. Opening the fest on Thursday is Netflix’s “White Noise” starring Adam Driver. Writer and director Noah Baumbach will return after bringing “Marriage Story” (2019), to accept the 10th Anniversary Spotlight Filmmaker Award.

Netflix’s “Knives Out” sequel “Glass Onion” from writer, director and producer Rian Johnson will screen as the Friday Centerpiece Film where Johnson will be awarded the Distinguished Screenwriter Award. In addition, Johnson and editor Bob Ducsay will be bestowed with the inaugural Variety Creative Collaborators Award and participate in a conversation with senior artisans editor Jazz Tangcay. The duo will discuss their long collaborations on films such as “Looper” (2012) and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (2017).

Also playing on Friday in the spotlight spot is A24’s “The Whale” from director Darren Aronofsky and starring Hollywood’s favorite “comeback kid” Brendan Fraser. The Oscar hopeful, along with writer Samuel D. Hunter, who adapted his acclaimed stage play for the screen, will be on hand for a post-screening conversation.

Emmy-winning TV icon Ray Romano is bringing his directorial debut “Somewhere In Queens,” a love letter to his beloved New York borough, which he also co-wrote with Mark Stegemann. Produced by Oscar nominees Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, the comedy also stars recently crowned Emmy winner Laurie Metcalf (HBO’s “Hacks”) Romano, along with the filmmakers, will participate in a conversation following the screening.

“We’re honored to be joined by so many artists and filmmakers, both new and returning, who are coming to Middleburg to share their work with us as we celebrate our 10th year,” said Susan Koch, Middleburg executive director.

“Nope” composer Michael Abels will be the recipient of the Distinguished Composer Award on Saturday afternoon, where the festival will hold a 10th Anniversary Concert celebration by a 40-piece orchestra. Joining the celebrations is a 13-time Oscar-nominated songwriter and soon-to-be Honorary Oscar recipient Diane Warren, along with famed composers Mark Isham, Marco Beltrami, Kris Bowers and Charles Fox.

“Showcasing film music has been a signature event of our festival from the beginning,” says Sheila Johnson, Middleburg Film Festival founder and board chair. “We’re thrilled to celebrate our festival’s 10th year by bringing so many world-renowned composers back for an anniversary concert — and to also welcome this year’s talented composer honoree, Michael Abels.”

More honorees, events and films screening will be announced at a later date.

Festival ticket packages and passes are currently for sale at, and individual tickets will go on sale in early October.

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