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The Key West Film Festival announced today the recipient of its 3rd annual Golden Key Award for Emerging Talent, given to actors and directors who will be destined to grace our screens for years to come: Thomasin McKenzie, for her breakout role in the NEON release of EILEEN, also starring Anne Hathaway and Shea Whigham. EILEEN will screen as the Closing Night film of the festival.

Past recipients of the award include Kodi Smit-McPhee for his Oscar nominated performance in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog and Elegance Bratton for his work behind the camera in The Inspection.

New Zealand actress Thomasin McKenzie drew international acclaim in Debra Granik’s 2018 film, Leave No Trace. A string of projects followed, such as Justin Kelly’s The True History of The Kelly Gang, David Michôd’s The King, portraying the influential Philippa of England, and Gaysorn Thavatt’s The Justice of Bunny King. Prior to this worldwide momentum, Thomasin diligently laid the foundations of her career in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Her first professional screen role was in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit in 2013, followed by the prescient lead in Consent: The Louise Nicholson Story. She memorably played Elsa Korr in Taika Waititi’s Oscar-nominated Jojo Rabbit, and Lola in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog. 2021 saw the culmination of a series of projects: Edgar Wright’s horror, Last Night in Soho, M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller, Old, and the BBC adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, as the central character, Ursula.

Michael Tuckman, Director of Programming of the Key West Film Festival, said, “We are elated to present this award to Thomasin McKenzie, who wowed KWFF audiences two years ago with a formidable role in The Power of the Dog, giving us great joy to see her in a truly starring and star-making role. While the ongoing labor negotiations sadly prevent her from attending, we at the festival felt it was a performance that should not go unheralded regardless of her ability to participate. It’s a performance for the ages and a it would be a crime for it not to be recognized.”

Please explore the entire program information—along with a schedule of events and travel and lodging details.


Honoring creativity, diversity, sustainability and beauty, the Key West Film Festival is an annual celebration of film and filmmakers set to take place November 15-19, 2023.

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 while showing their work to audiences in an historic and artistically vibrant tropical paradise.

Films that have been showcased in the last five years of the festival have amassed over EIGHTY Academy Award nominations – six of which were for Best Picture – and sixteen Oscar wins, including two for Best Picture (Spotlight and The Shape of Water).

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