Film Fest 919 awards Rian Johnson the Distinguished Screenwriter Award at 2022 Closing Night Film

In it's fifth iteration, Film Fest 919 has been a jam-packed week of film screenings, with bursts of activity in between. Festival attendees were able to select from 21 feature films, including documentaries, international films, and hotly anticipated award contenders. 

Rian Johnson will be awarded the Distinguished Screenwriter Award at Film Fest 919

As the festival draws to a conclusion, the crowd anticipates the closing night film, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, written and directed by Academy Award-nominated Rian Johnson. Johnson will receive  the Distinguished Screenwriter Award during the closing night festivities on Sunday, October 23. While Johnson is currently traveling abroad with the film and not able to be in Chapel Hill, the festival will play a special recorded message accepting this esteemed award.

Says Film Fest 919 founders Randi Emerman and Carol Marshall, “When deciding who to honor this year with this award, we both felt that Rian Johnson's script stood out in such a significant way that we just couldn't let his not being able to attend affect that decision.” Johnson is in good company, with previous recipients being Anthony McCarten (Two Popes), Chloe Zhao (Nomadland), and Sean Baker & Chris Bergoch (Red Rocket).

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as BRENDAN in BRICK

Johnson grabbed cinephiles early in his career with his 2005 neo-noir Brick. Inspired by hardboiled detective novels of Dashiell Hammett, Johnson transports the archetypes of the noir genre into the modern day high school. Seems like a horrible idea on paper but on-screen the sheer gall of it works. Brick had every likelihood of coming out looking like some drama club has-been's narcissistic attempt at greatness but in Johnson's skilled hand it all pulls together. Johnson has since broken into mainstream and franchise film, his determination and clear vision has been there from the beginning. In many way, the Knives Out series is a return to Johnson's first love, mystery and detective stories. 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as BRENDAN in BRICK

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, starring Daniel Craig alongside Edward Norton, Janelle MonĂ¡e, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, with Kate Hudson and Dave Bautista, marks a return to the franchise Johnson began. Benoit Blanc (Craig) returns to peel back the layers in this new whodunit.


This fresh adventure finds the intrepid detective at a lavish private estate on a Greek island, but how and why he comes to be there is only the first of many puzzles. Blanc soon meets a distinctly disparate group of friends gathering at the invitation of billionaire Miles Bron for their yearly reunion. As in all the best murder mysteries, each character harbors their own secrets, lies and motivations. When someone turns up dead, everyone is a suspect.

Film Fest 919 continues through Sunday, October 23 with a specially curated selection of the season's most anticipated films. Films are presented here before their theatrical release, giving film lovers the privilege of telling their friends that they saw some of the best new films before anyone else in the state. Films are presented at two venues: Silverspot Cinema and The Lumina Theater. 

Tickets are still available at the festival website, the Silverspot website, or the Lumina website. Come Catch the Films Before They Catch On!!