Key West Film Festival Announces First Annual “Costume Design Focus” Honoring Oscar®-nominated Floridian Mary Zophres

“La La Land” and “Hail, Ceasar!” to screen at festival to showcase Zophres’ 2016 work

Award to be presented by Deborah Nadoolman Landis of AMPAS Board of Governors and Costume Designers Branch

October 14, New York, NY — The Key West Film Festival announced today its first annual Costume Design Focus program, honoring Academy Award®-nominated costume designer Mary Zophres. Widely known for her indelible work with Joel and Ethan Coen and beyond, Zophres has contributed to shaping the worlds and characters of some of the great films of our time, including The Big Lebowski, Fargo, No Country for Old Men, True Grit, La La Land, Hail, Caesar!, Catch Me If You Can and Interstellar with her artistry in the field of costume design. The Festival will present Zophres with a career achievement award to be accompanied by special screenings of director Damien Chazelle’s La La Land and the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar! to showcase Zophres’ work in 2016. The award will be presented by Dr. Deborah Nadoolman Landis, a Costume Design Governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Her distinguished costume career includes, National Lampoon’s Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Three Amigos, Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Coming to America, for which she received an Academy Award® nomination.

Michael Tuckman, Director of Programming of the Key West Film Festival, says, “We are so proud to be putting a focus on costume design, an often overlooked art form that truly creates the artistry and magic of movies. It’s a natural extension of the community of Key West in keeping with the creative handmade spirit that thrives here, from Fantasy Fest to the island’s rich historic tradition of cultivating local artists and writers. And what better way to begin this annual showcase than with Mary Zophres, who is not only among the most accomplished costume designers to ever work in the movies, but also a native Floridian to boot, hailing from Fort Lauderdale. The Costume Design Focus adds another important layer to the Key West Film Festival’s focus on artists and film criticism, with our already highly successful Critics Focus program now in its second year.”

The Festival’s Critics Focus program, now enhanced with the juried Critics’ Prize, together with the new Costume Design Focus, marks the Key West Film Festival as a vital stop on the awards season fall festival circuit, with programs designed to support film criticism and craft while giving audiences greater context and perspective of films through public conversations guided by expert voices.

This year’s Critics Focus program features attending film critics and journalists David Fear, Senior Film/TV Editor of Rolling Stone, Amy Nicholson, Chief Film Critic of MTV, Eric Kohn, Chief Film Critic of Indiewire, who serves on the festival’s advisory board, Steve Dollar, film critic, journalist and freelance contributor to The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Bright Ideas magazine, Filmmaker and other publications, John Anderson, contributor to The Wall Street Journal and America magazine, Shirrel Rhoades, local film critic for The Key West Citizen, Eugene Hernandez, Deputy Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Co-Publisher of Film Comment, Brian Brooks, co-producer of Special Events of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, journalist at and co-producer of SeriesFest.

The Key West Film Festival aspires to highlight the work of accomplished Floridian artists such as Mary Zophres, of Ft. Lauderdale, Brett Ratner, a Miami Beach native, and Burt Reynolds, who is a resident of Jupiter.

Festival venues include the historic San Carlos Institute, where the campaign for Cuba’s independence from colonial powers was planned in 1892.  The Key West Film Festival has equipped the San Carlos with DCP technology, and it will host gala screenings. Other screening venues include the Key West Theater, the Studios of Key West and additional venues to be named later. Host venues for social events include the Truman House, the Waldorf Astoria Casa Marina and the Southernmost Mansion.

Visit for full program information, a schedule of events and travel and lodging details.

About the Key West Film Festival

Creativity, diversity, sustainability and beauty. The Key West Film Festival is an annual celebration of film and filmmakers, set to take place November 16-20, 2016.

A diverse, entertaining and artistically rigorous selection of films will be represented through a broad array of categories that offer opportunities for filmmakers, both aspiring and established, to commune and exchange ideas with each other while showing their work to audiences in an historic and artistically vibrant tropical paradise.

Mary Zophres

Mary Zophres is an American costume designer who has worked in the film industry since 1989. Born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Zophres attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and graduated with degrees in art history and studio art. Zophres then moved to Los Angeles where she was Assistant Costume Designer to Richard Hornung on three films, including The Hudsucker Proxy. She began working for the Coen brothers on Fargo. She was nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Costume Design for the Coen brothers’ film True Grit, and was also nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design for True Grit and Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can. She has been married to Murray Valeriano since 2006.

Deborah Nadoolman Landis, PhD

Deborah Nadoolman Landis, costume designer and historian, received an MFA in Costume Design from UCLA and a PhD in the History of Design from the Royal College of Art, London. Her distinguished career includes the horror/comedy Burke & Hare (2010), the classic Animal House (1978), An American Werewolf in London (1981), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Coming to America (1988), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award, and the costumes for the groundbreaking music video Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1983).

Professor Landis is the author of six books including the award winning 2012 catalogue for the landmark exhibition, Hollywood Costume, which she curated at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. She is a Governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and is the Founding Director of the David C. Copley Center for Costume Design at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television.


Media Contacts:

Julia Pacetti, JMP Verdant,, (718) 399-0400

Jeff Winter, JMP Verdant,, (718) 399-0400