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Benefactor, The

The feature debut from Philadelphia-born screenwriter and director Andrew Renzi, The Benefactor is an engaging yet heartbreaking character study of a Philadelphia philanthropist (Richard Gere) whose eccentricities and desire to help a young couple both mask and manifest his dark side.

After losing his two best friends in a tragic car accident that he may have caused, well-known philanthropist Francis “Franny” L. Watts retreats into his own world. In the throws of morphine addiction, Franny suddenly finds a reason to re-engage with everyday life when his late best friends’ adult daughter Olivia and her husband Luke reach out and reveal their intention to return to Philadelphia after five years away. Franny lavishes the couple with expensive gifts and seemingly innocent but endless attention. But these displays of generosity grow increasingly intrusive as Franny appears to have his own desires and expectations for Olivia and Luke’s future. Gere delivers a powerhouse performance, supported by a strong cast, particularly with Dakota Fanning and Theo James.

DIRECTOR: Andrew Renzi
CAST: Richard Gere, Dakota Fanning, Theo James
YEAR: 2015
LENGTH: 92 min

IN COMPETITION: Pinkenson Award
Saturday, October 31

2:35pm EDT