Join us at the 52nd International Film Festival FEST 2024, opening on February 23rd, 2024, at the MTS Hall with the premiere of “Barton’s Academy,” (The Holdovers) directed by two-time Oscar winner Alexander Payne.

“Barton’s Academy” (The Holdovers) by Alexander Payne is this year’s Oscar contender in several categories, including Best Picture, Leading Actor, Supporting Actress, and Original Screenplay.

In this film, penned by David Hemingson, a humble professor at a prestigious American school is forced to stay on campus during the Christmas break, looking after a few students who have nowhere else to go for the holiday. Over time, he develops an unexpected connection with one of them, an emotionally scarred, intelligent, troubled student, as well as the school’s cook who lost her son in Vietnam.

The cast of Payne’s film, described as a “charming, delicately written, and exquisitely acted comedy,” includes Paul Giamatti, Dominic West, DeWanda Wise, Carrie Preston, Brady Heppner, Ian Doli, Jim Kaplan, Andrew Garman, Michael Provost, Jillian Vigman, and others.

“Barton’s Academy” has already been awarded the 2023 Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical (won by Paul Giamatti) and Best Supporting Actress (awarded to DeWanda Wise). It has also been showcased at festivals in Toronto, London, Busan, Tallinn, Thessaloniki, Turin, and Marrakesh.

As emphasized in the US, the director, screenwriter, and Greek-origin producer Alexander Payne is one of the few in Hollywood who enjoys absolute artistic freedom and final-cut privilege for his films. Many actors in his films, including Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, George Clooney, and Bruce Dern, have won awards or been nominated for them, showcasing Payne’s knack for crafting compelling narratives.

Payne, hailed as an “indie film icon,” has also directed acclaimed films such as “About Schmidt” from 2002 (premiered at Cannes), “Nebraska” from 2013, and “Downsizing” from 2017, which opened the Venice Film Festival.

The entire program is available here: