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October 06, 2023

Philadelphia Film Festival to highlight movies from Bradley Cooper, Allen Iverson and John Legend

The 10-day cinematic smorgasbord also includes a documentary about 'Rocky' star Sylvester Stallone. Tickets to individual shows cost $12-17

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Bradley Cooper stars as legendary music composer Leonard Bernstein in 'Maestro.' The film, which Cooper also directed, is one of the centerpieces of the 32nd Philadelphia Film Festival, which runs Oct. 19-29.

The Philadelphia Film Festival returns for its 32nd year with an extensive lineup that includes several widely-acclaimed movies and plenty of cinematic nods to the city itself –  including a brief cameo from Rocky. 

From Oct. 19-29, the festival is screening more than 60 movies at the Philadelphia Film Center at Broad and Chestnut streets, and the PFS Bourse and PFS East theaters in Old City.

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One of the most anticipated showings is Bradley Cooper's "Maestro," a biopic about the legendary composer Leonard Bernstein. Before Bernstein became a world famous for composing "West Side Story" and conducting major orchestras, he studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia in the early 1940s. To make true-to-life replicas of Bernstein's mallets and other music-making implements, Cooper and the film's creative team consulted Ambler-based craftsman Mark Horowitz, whose father made many of the originals for Bernstein.

Other festival centerpieces include "The Holdovers" by director Alexander Payne,  "Rustin" by George C. Wolfe and Thom Zimny's "Sly," a documentary about "Rocky" star Sylvester Stallone. 

The festival also is hosting the world premiere of "Stand Up & Shout: Songs From A Philly High School,"  an HBO documentary co-produced by John Legend about Mount Airy's music-centric high school Hill-Freedman World Academy. The movie debuts Oct. 20, and is followed by a special Q&A with Legend and filmmakers Amy Schatz and Mike Jackson.

The festival lineup also includes a showcase of work by Philly filmmakers, like an Allen Iverson-backed documentary about Philadelphia's gun violence problem, "Bad Things Happen In Philadelphia." The documentary, directed by up-and-coming filmmaker Kyra Knox in partnership with Grammy Award-nominated producer Mark Mims, explores Philadelphia's gun violence epidemic through the eyes of three teenagers and highlights the efforts of Shoot Basketballs Not People, a nonprofit organization that aims to support youth and deter violent crime through basketball. 

The so-called "Filmadephia" segment of programming from local filmmakers also includes "Chestnut" by director Jac Cron, "I Think I'm Sick" by director Danny Gervitz and "This Closeness" by director Kit Zauhar. 

The complete lineup can be found on the PFS website

Tickets go on sale on Monday, Oct. 9 for PFS members. The general public can purchase them starting Tuesday, Oct. 10. Regular movie screenings are $17 for the public and $12 for PFS members. Weekday matinee showings are $5 cheaper. 

Philadelphia Film Festival

Oct. 19-29
Show times vary | $12-17
Multiple Theaters