Film Festivals

Telluride 2012

Kris Tapley over at Variety has posted the lineup for the Telluride Film Fest. So far it’s mostly in keeping with what most have been circulating. What I’m wondering is, where is our Best Picture for 2016? The list:

Telluride’s main program slate for 2015:

“Amazing Grace” (d. Sydney Pollack, U.S., 1972/2015)
“Anomalisa” (d. Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson, 2015)
“Beasts of No Nation” (d. Cary Fukunaga, U.S., 2015)
“Bitter Lake” (d. Adam Curtis, U.K., 2015)
“Black Mass” (d. Scott Cooper, U.S., 2015)
“Carol” (d. Todd Haynes, U.S., 2015)
“45 Years” (d. Andrew Haigh, England, 2015)
“He Named Me Malala” (d. Davis Guggenheim, U.S., 2015)
“Heart of a Dog” (d. Laurie Anderson, U.S., 2014)
“Hitchcock/Truffaut” (d. Kent Jones, U.S., 2015)
“Ixcanul” (d. Jayro Bustamante, Guatemala, 2015)
“Marguerite” (d. Xavier Giannoli, France, 2015)
“Mom and Me” (d. Ken Wardrop, Ireland, 2015)
“Only the Dead See the End of War” (d. Michael War, Bill Guttentag, U.S.-Australia, 2015)
“Rams” (d. Grímur Hákonarson, Iceland, 2015)
“Room” (d. Lenny Abrahamson, England, 2015)
“Siti” (d. Eddie Cahyono, Singapore, 2015)
“Son of Saul” (d. Lázló Nemes, Hungary, 2015)
“Spotlight” (d. Tom McCarthy, U.S., 2015)
“Steve Jobs” (d. Danny Boyle, U.S., 2015)
“Suffragette” (d. Sarah Gavron, U.K., 2015)
“Taj Mahal” (d. Nicolas Saada, France-India, 2015)
“Taxi” (d. Jafar Panahi, Iran, 2015)
“Tikkun” (d. Avishai Sivan, Israel, 2015)
“Time to Choose” (d. Charles Ferguson, U.S., 2015)
“Viva” (d. Paddy Breathnach, Ireland, 2015)
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” (d. Evgeny Afineevsky, Russia-Ukraine, 2015)

Actress Rooney Mara who stars in Carol will be honored at the festival along with Adam Curtis (Bitter Lake), and director Danny Boyle (Steve Jobs).

If you look at recent past Best Picture winners, most were seen either at Telluride or at Venice and Cannes prior. All except The Departed, if you go back ten years to 2006.

Birdman – Venice/Telluride
12 Years a Slave – Telluride
Argo – Telluride
The Artist – Cannes/Telluride
The King’s Speech – Telluride
The Hurt Locker (year prior, Toronto)
Slumdog Millionaire (Telluride)
No Country for Old Men (Cannes)
The Departed (October release)
Brokeback Mountain – Telluride
Million Dollar Baby – late release

The closer you are to the way the Oscars used to be — held in March with plenty of time to rally at the end of the year — the later the winners. Now, the winners come earlier. Could this be the game changing year? It’s possible. If not, that really leaves us with any film seen before now — Mad Max: Fury Road, Inside Out…and/or Steve Jobs, Spotlight, Carol, Black Mass, Room, 45 Years, Suffragette and Beasts of No Nation as our potential most likely winners.

keaton_spotlight

Though All the Presidents Men and Zodiac are two of the greatest American films without a doubt, they really only have the newsroom in common. What they are about and how they tell their stories are vastly different. Zodiac, you could say, is All the President’s Men jacked up to 11. And even then that doesn’t cover it. Where they are similar is that they are both about men who were secretive. They are both about a trail of clues. They both take place amid typewriters and news briefs, reporters, ledes and headlines. It stops there because Zodiac is a horror film both because it’s about a violent, vicious sociopathic killer and because it is ultimately about the horror of unending deep diving obsession. All the President’s Men is much less complicated. It is about a story and two reporters who relentlessly uncover that story thus bringing down a president. There is a clear line between good and evil. There isn’t a whole lot of soul-searching to be done because there is only the right side and the story of deception. Think of them like World War II vs. Vietnam. Whenever a film comes out about a newsroom comparisons are made to both films — probably it’s inevitable. Spotlight is the latest such movie.  The thing about these comparisons, though, is they are nearly impossible to surmount; how can any film stand up to being measured against All the President’s Men and Zodiac? Last year’s Nightcrawler suffered the same fate — critics drag out those tired old cliches like they are in a pitch meeting: it’s Network meets Taxi Driver. Okay but how in the hell is any movie ever going to compare to those films? Either way, Spotlight is dividing critics in early reviews — with Variety giving it a thumbs up and calling it McCarthy’s best film, and Peter Bradshaw and Todd McCarthy a little more iffy.

A rave by Variety’s Justin Chang touches on that and notes the obvious differences:

Even without the onscreen presence of Globe deputy managing editor Ben Bradlee Jr. (John Slattery), whose father famously steered the Washington Post through Watergate, “All the President’s Men” would be the obvious touchstone here. Like so many films consumed with the minutiae of daily journalism, “Spotlight” is a magnificently nerdy process movie — a tour de force of filing-cabinet cinema, made with absolute assurance that we’ll be held by scene after scene of people talking, taking notes, following tips, hounding sources, poring over records, filling out spreadsheets, and having one door after another slammed in their faces. When the Spotlight investigation is temporarily halted in the wake of 9/11, we’re reminded that the film is also a period piece, set during a time when print journalism had not yet entered its death throes. Like the American remake of “State of Play” (in which McAdams also played a journalist), McCarthy’s film includes a loving montage of a printing press, busily churning out the next morning’s edition — a valedictory sequence that may move old-school journalists in the audience to tears.

The story’s newsgathering focus ultimately creates a level of distance from its subject that works both for the film and against it. As information-system dramas go, “Spotlight” doesn’t have the haunting thematic layers of “Zodiac,” and it never summons the emotional force of the 1991 miniseries “The Boys of St. Vincent,” still the most devastating docudrama ever made about child abuse within the Catholic Church. Many of the victims depicted here — like Phil Saviano (Neal Huff), head of a local survivors’ group, and Joe Crowley (Michael Cyril Creighton), who movingly recalls his treatment at the hands of a priest named Paul Shanley — function in a mostly expository manner, offering up vital but fleeting insights into the psychology of the abusers and the abused, but without taking pride of place in their own story.

Here is where you see the film depart from those that came before it:

Where the film proves extraordinarily perceptive is in its sense of how inextricably the Church has woven itself into the very fabric of Boston life, and how it concealed its corruption for so long by exerting pressure and influence on the city’s legal, political and journalistic institutions. Given the blurrier-than-usual separation of church and state, and the fact that the newspaper’s own readership includes a high percentage of Irish Catholics, it’s no surprise that it falls to an outsider like Baron — a Florida native and the first Jewish editor to take the helm at the Globe — to play hardball with the Archdiocese. If there’s anything that keeps “Spotlight” from devolving into a simplistic heroic-crusaders movie, it’s the filmmakers’ refusal to let the Globe itself off the hook, pointing out the numerous times the paper’s leaders glossed over reports of abuse that landed on their doorstep.

That’s clearly the real story of Spotlight that illuminates the much bigger problem — still an ongoing problem — the story of how this travesty has been covered up and forgotten.

Spotlight plays in Telluride over the weekend. Can’t wait.

q5wsbeat

Mad Max: Fury Road has been voted best film by the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI). Director George Miller will accept the Grand Prix at the San Sebastian Film Festival Sept 18-26.

The four finalists included László Nemes’ Son Of Saul, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin, Jafar Panahi’s Taxi and Mad Max: Fury Road.

According to ScreenDaily, Miller said:

“You could have knocked me over with a feather! It’s lovely to have this great cohort of critics acknowledge our collective labours in this way.”

The vote for the FIPRESCI Grand Prix 2015 saw the participation of 493 Federation members around the world, who made their choice from among films to have premiered after 1 July 2014.

Last year’s FIPRESCI Grand Prix winner was Richard Linklater’s Boyhood.

thai

London, Tuesday 1 September 2015: – The programme for the 59th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® launched today, with Festival Director Clare Stewart presenting this year’s rich and diverse selection of films and events. BFI London Film Festival is Britain’s leading film event and one of the world’s oldest film festivals. It introduces the finest new British and international films to an expanding London and UK-wide audience. The Festival provides an essential platform for films seeking global success; and promotes the careers of British and international filmmakers through its industry and awards programmes. With this year’s industry programme stronger than ever, offering international filmmakers and leaders a programme of insightful events covering every area of the film industry‎ LFF positions London as the world’s leading creative city.

OFFICIAL COMPETITION

The Official Competition line-up, recognising inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking, includes the following:

  • · Jerzy Skolimowski, 11 MINUTES
  • · Cary Fukunaga, BEASTS OF NO NATION
  • · Apichatpong Weerasethakul, CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR
  • · Athina Rachel Tsangari, CHEVALIER
  • · Simon Stone, THE DAUGHTER
  • · Jonás Cuarón, DESIERTO (European Premiere)
  • · Lucile Hadžihalilović, EVOLUTION
  • · Johnnie To, OFFICE (European Premiere)
  • · Lenny Abrahamson, ROOM
  • · László Nemes, SON OF SAUL
  • · Terence Davies, SUNSET SONG
  • · Sean Baker, TANGERINE
  • · Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya, VERY BIG SHOT (European Premiere)

FIRST FEATURE COMPETITION

Titles in consideration for the Sutherland Award in the First Feature Competition recognising an original and imaginative directorial debut are:

  • · Mai Masri, 3000 NIGHTS (European Premiere)
  • · Eva Husson, BANG GANG (A MODERN LOVE STORY)
  • · Magnus von Horn, THE HERE AFTER
  • · Trey Edward Shults, KRISHA
  • · Yared Zeleke, LAMB
  • · Esther May Campbell, LIGHT YEARS
  • · Ariel Kleiman, PARTISAN
  • · Eugenio Canevari, PAULA
  • · Bentley Dean, Martin Butler, TANNA
  • · Piero Messina, THE WAIT
  • · Nitzan Gilady, WEDDING DOLL (European Premiere)
  • · Robert Eggers, THE WITCH

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

The Grierson Award in the Documentary Competition category recognises cinematic documentaries with integrity, originality, and social or cultural significance. This year the Festival is screening:

  • · João Pedro Plácido, (BE)LONGING
  • · Mor Loushy, CENSORED VOICES
  • · David Sington, THE FEAR OF 13 (World Premiere)
  • · Alexandria Bombach, Mo Scarpelli, FRAME BY FRAME (European Premiere)
  • · Alexander Sokurov, FRANCOFONIA
  • · Frederick Wiseman, IN JACKSON HEIGHTS
  • · Walter Salles, JIA ZHANGKE, A GUY FROM FENYANG
  • · Tomer Heymann, MR. GAGA (International Premiere)
  • · Patricio Guzmán, THE PEARL BUTTON
  • · Sarah Turner, PUBLIC HOUSE (World Premiere)
  • · Jennifer Peedom, SHERPA (European Premiere)
  • · Hanna Polak, SOMETHING BETTER TO COME

SHORT FILM AWARD

In its inaugural year, the Short Film Award recognises short form works with a unique cinematic voice and a confident handling of chosen theme and content. This year the Festival is screening:

  • · João Paulo Miranda Maria, COMMAND ACTION
  • · Till Nowak, DISSONANCE
  • · Nina Gantz, EDMOND
  • · Peter Tscherkassky, THE EXQUISITE CORPUS
  • · Mees Peijnenburg, A HOLE IN MY HEART
  • · An van Dienderen, LILI (International Premiere)
  • · Maïmouna Doucouré, MOTHER(S)
  • · Shai Heredia, Shumona Goel, AN OLD DOG’S DIARY (European Premiere)
  • · Caroline Bartleet, OPERATOR (World Premiere)
  • · Jörn Threlfall, OVER
  • · Vivienne Dick, RED MOON RISING (World Premiere)
  • · Ziya Demirel, TUESDAY

The Festival will screen a total of 238 fiction and documentary features, including 16 World Premieres, 8 International Premieres, 40 European Premieres and 11 Archive films including 5 Restoration World Premieres.[1] There will also be screenings of 182 live action and animated shorts. A stellar line-up of directors, cast and crew are expected to take part in career interviews, ScreenTalks, Q&As and a new programme of Industry Talks: LFF Connects. The 59th BFI London Film Festival will run Wednesday 7 – Sunday 18 October 2015.

Taking place over 12 days, the Festival’s screenings are at venues across the capital, from the West End cinemas – Vue West End and the iconic Odeon Leicester Square; central London venues – BFI Southbank, BFI IMAX, Picturehouse Central, the ICA, Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Soho, Cineworld Haymarket and Ciné Lumière; and local cinemas – Ritzy Brixton, Hackney Picturehouse, Curzon Chelsea, Vue Islington and Rich Mix. Additional screenings and events will take place at Tate Modern. Audiences across the UK can enjoy the Festival via simultaneous screenings in their local cinemas.

GALAS

OPENING & CLOSING NIGHT GALAS

The Festival opens with the European Premiere of SUFFRAGETTE, starring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw and Meryl Streep. Director Sarah Gavron returns to the Festival for a third time with a film that tells the story of the ordinary British women at the turn of the last century who risked everything in the fight for equality and the right to vote.

Audiences around the UK will have the chance to enjoy a live cinecast from the Opening Night red carpet via satellite to cinemas across the UK, followed by an exclusive preview screening of Suffragette. All the red carpet action will also be live-streamed on the BFI’s YouTube channel, thanks to our partners at Pathé and Google.

The European Premiere of STEVE JOBS will close the Festival, directed by Danny Boyle whose films Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and 127 Hours (2010) previously closed the Festival. Based on Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography, the film takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution to create a revealing portrait of the man at its epicentre. The film stars Michael Fassbender in the title role, Academy Award® winner Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg and Katherine Waterston.

HEADLINE GALAS

Among the other highly anticipated Galas are the previously announced American Express Gala of Todd Haynes’ CAROL, a beautiful 1950s romantic drama about a young woman working as a clerk in a department store who meets and falls in love with an alluring woman trapped in a loveless convenient marriage. The film stars Academy Award® winner Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, who won the Best Actress Award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for her role in the film. The Accenture Gala is the European premiere of TRUMBO, directed by Jay Roach and starring Bryan Cranston in a cracking performance as Dalton Trumbo, the Hollywood screenwriter who was blacklisted after refusing to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947. Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Elle Fanning, Louis C.K. and John Goodman round out the cast. We are delighted to welcome back Official Airline Partner to this year’s Festival, Virgin Atlantic who will present Scott Cooper’s chilling crime drama BLACK MASS starring Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch and Joel Edgerton. The May Fair Hotel Gala is the European Premiere of the stirring drama BROOKLYN starring Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson and Emory Cohen, adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby from Colm Tóibin’s best-selling novel about the exquisite pain of choosing between an Irish homeland and the new promise of America. The Centrepiece Gala supported by the Mayor of London is the European Premiere of director Nicholas Hytner’s THE LADY IN THE VAN adapted from writer Alan Bennett’s play and starring Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings, Jim Broadbent, Frances De La Tour and Roger Allam. The Festival Gala is Ben Wheatley’s HIGH-RISE starring Tom Hiddleston as Dr. Robert Laing, a man who has just taken ownership of a luxurious apartment in this brilliant satire based on JG Ballard’s classic novel. The Archive Gala is the World Premiere of the BFI National Archive restoration of SHOOTING STARS, directed by A.V. Bramble and Anthony Asquith (1928).

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

This year, the Festival introduces three Special Presentations, they are: the Experimenta Special Presentation, Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson’s phantasmagoric opus THE FORBIDDEN ROOM which screens at BFI IMAX; the Documentary Special Presentation, Davis Guggenheim’s HE NAMED ME MALALA an inspiring portrait of an incredibly brave and resilient young woman who carries a message of hope for women in the world; and the previously announced Fellowship Special Presentation of James Vanderbilt’s TRUTH starring Cate Blanchett in honour of the actress receiving the BFI Fellowship at this year’s LFF Awards Ceremony.

STRAND GALAS

The nine programme strands are each headlined with a gala, they are: the Love Gala, Luca Guadagnino’s A BIGGER SPLASH; the Debate Gala, Stephen Frears’ THE PROGRAM; the Dare Gala, Yorgos Lanthimos’ THE LOBSTER; the Laugh Gala, Ondi Timoner’s BRAND: A SECOND COMING (European Premiere); the Thrill Gala, Deepa Mehta’s BEEBA BOYS (International Premiere); the Cult Gala, S. Craig Zahler’s BONE TOMAHAWK (International Premiere); the Journey Gala, Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s THE ASSASSIN; the Sonic Gala, Hany Abu-Assad’s THE IDOL (European Premiere) and the Family Gala is Rob Letterman’s GOOSEBUMPS (European Premiere).

AWARDS AND COMPETITIONS

The Best Film Award will again be handed out in Official Competition; the Sutherland Award in the First Feature Competition and the Grierson Award in Documentary Competition. This year there is also the newly introduced Short Film Award, presented to one of a shortlist of 12 films selected from across the programme. Each section is open to international and British films.

FILM GUESTS

Key filmmaking talent due to attend the Festival’s gala and special presentation screenings include: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham-Carter, Meryl Streep, Sarah Gavron, Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Danny Boyle, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Todd Haynes, Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Jay Roach, Benedict Cumberbatch, Scott Cooper, Saoirse Ronan, John Crowley, Nick Hornby, Colm Toíbín, Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings, Nicholas Hytner, Alan Bennett, Tom Hiddleston, Ben Wheatley, Luca Guadagnino, Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Yorgos Lanthimos, Ben Foster, Stephen Frears, Ondi Timoner, Randeep Hooda, Deepa Mehta, S. Craig Zahler, Hany Abu-Assad, Guy Maddin and Davis Guggenheim.

Additional filmmaking talent attending for films in competition include: for Official Competition: Jerzy Skolimowski, Cary Fukunaga, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Jonás Cuarón, Lucile Hadžihalilović, Lenny Abrahamson, Brie Larson, Terence Davies, László Nemes, Sean Baker; First Feature Competition: Mai Masri, Eva Husson, Magnus von Horn, Trey Edward Shults, Yared Zaleke, Esther May Campbell, Nitzan Gilady, Ariel Kleiman, Eugenio Canevari, Robert Eggers, Piero Messina; Documentary Competition: João Pedro Plácido, Mor Loushy, David Sington, Walter Salles , Tomer Haymenn, Patricio Guzmán, Sarah Turner and Hanna Polak.

The Festival will announce its complete guest line-up for all sections in early October.

STRANDS / PATHWAYS

The Festival programme is organised into categories clustered around the themes of Love, Debate, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Sonic, Family and Experimenta – an approach designed to help Festival-goers find the films that appeal the most to them and to open up the Festival for new audiences.

LOVE

Love is a complex and many splendoured thing. The Love Gala is Luca Guadagnino’s feature A BIGGER SPLASH set on the volcanic, windswept Sicilian island of Pantelleria and starring Tilda Swinton as a rock star, Matthias Schoenaerts as her filmmaker lover, Ralph Fiennes as a cocky music producer and Dakota Johnson as his petulant, sexy daughter.

Other titles in this section include: Naomi Kawase’s sweet, light and leisurely AN; Tom Geens’ COUPLE IN A HOLE, about a couple living in an underground forest dwelling to be left alone to deal with their mysterious grief; DEPARTURE, Andrew Steggall’s delicate first feature about longing, loneliness and nostalgia for a sense of family that may have never existed; Jacques Audiard’s Palme d’Or-winner about a makeshift family trying to cement their bonds, DHEEPAN; the World Premiere of Biyi Bandele’s FIFTY, a riveting exploration of love and lust, power and rivalry and seduction and infidelity in Lagos; the European Premiere of Maya Newell’s documentary GAYBY BABY, following the lives of four Australian children whose parents all happen to be gay; Mark Cousins returns to LFF with his metaphysical essay film I AM BELFAST, Stig Björkman’s documentary INGRID BERGMAN – IN HER OWN WORDS, a treasure trove of Bergman’s never-before-seen home movies, personal letters and diary extracts alongside archive footage; Hirokazu Kore-eda’s beautiful OUR LITTLE SISTER, focusing on the lives of four young women related through their late father in provincial Japan; the European Premiere of Mabel Cheung’s sweeping Chinese epic based on the true story of Jackie Chan’s parents A TALE OF THREE CITIES and Guillaume Nicloux’s VALLEY OF LOVE starring Isabelle Huppert and Gérard Depardieu in a tale of love, loss, memory and the mystical.

DEBATE

Debate thrives on conversation, which is never more engaging than when the world outside the cinema is reflected back at us. This year’s Debate Gala is Stephen Frears’s THE PROGRAM starring Ben Foster as cyclist Lance Armstrong, charting his rise to near canonization and his subsequent fall from grace.

Other highlights in this section include: Pablo Larraín’s THE CLUB, a mordant morality tale set in a sleepy Chilean coastal town, which won Berlin’s Grand Jury Prize; CHRONIC, Michel Franco’s uncompromising study of grief and isolation, featuring a revelatory performance by Tim Roth; brothers Tarzan and Arab Nasser’s feature directorial debut, DÉGRADÉ, a smart drama that moves seamlessly between humour and despair, set in a women’s hair salon in Gaza; the European Premiere of George Amponsah’s intimate documentary THE HARD STOP, revealing the story of Mark Duggan’s friends and family following his death after being shot in a ‘Hard Stop’ police procedure in 2011; Jonas Carpignano’s engrossing feature debut, THE MEASURE OF A MAN which won Vincent Lindon Best Actor at Cannes Film Festival, MEDITERRANEA, an ultra-topical tale of two young African men from Burkina Faso who, in search of a better life, make the difficult and dangerous trip across the Sahara desert and Mediterranean Sea to reach Italy; the drama MUCH LOVED, Nabil Ayouch’s searing, no-holds-barred look at the world of prostitution in Morocco; David Evans’ thought-provoking documentary MY NAZI LEGACY, which raises the harrowing question, ‘What if your father was a Nazi?’; the World Premiere of John Dower’s MY SCIENTOLOGY MOVIE which features Louis Theroux as he heads to Los Angeles to explore the Church of Scientology; Sebastián Silva’s beguiling, seductive and confrontational NASTY BABY; PAULINA, Santiago Mitre’s intelligent parable for contemporary Argentina, which won the Critics Week Grand Prize in Cannes; TAKLUB, Brillante Ma Mendoza’s riveting ode to a Filipino city wreaked by a typhoon; and Jafar Panahi’s latest film, TAXI TEHRAN, winner of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale and set and shot from inside a car.

DARE

Here you’ll find films that are in your face, up-front and arresting, taking you out of and beyond your comfort zone. The Dare Gala is Yorgos Lanthimos’ THE LOBSTER which stars Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Olivia Coleman, John C. Reilly, Léa Sedoux and Ben Whishaw in a bleakly hilarious skewering of fundamentalist diktats and rituals that is also a tender plea for genuine intimacy amid society’s self-imposed absurdities.

Other highlights in this strand include: Miguel Gomes’ mixes fantasy, documentary, docu-fiction, Brechtian pantomime and echoes of MGM musical in the epic ARABIAN NIGHTS; the World Premiere of William Fairman and Max Gogarty’s CHEMSEX, an unflinching, powerful documentary about the pleasures and perils associated with the ‘chemsex’ scene that’s far more than a sensationalist exposé; the European Premiere of CLOSET MONSTER, Stephen Dunn’s remarkable debut feature about an artistic, sexually confused teen who has conversations with his pet hamster, voiced by Isabella Rossellini; THE ENDLESS RIVER a devasting new film set in small-town South Africa from Oliver Hermanus, Diep Hoang Nguyen’s beautiful debut, FLAPPING IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, a wry, weird socially probing take on the teen pregnancy scenario that focuses on a girl whose escape from village life to pursue an urban education has her frozen in mid-flight; LUCIFER, Gust Van den Berghe’s thrillingly cinematic tale of Lucifer as an angel who visits a Mexican village, filmed in ‘Tondoscope’ – a circular frame in the centre of the screen; the European premiere of KOTHANODI a compelling, unsettling fairytale from India; veteran Algerian director Merzak Allouache’s gritty and delicate portrait of a drug addicted petty thief in MADAME COURAGE; Radu Muntean’s excellent ONE FLOOR BELOW, which combines taut, low-key realism with incisive psychological and ethical insights in a drama centering on a man, his wife and a neighbor; and QUEEN OF EARTH, Alex Ross Perry’s devilish study of mental breakdown and dysfunctional power dynamics between female best friends, starring Elisabeth Moss.

LAUGH

This year’s Laugh strand encompasses richly diverse geography, subject matter and senses of humour, from gleeful to bittersweet and wickedly satirical. This year’s Laugh Gala is the European Premiere of BRAND: A SECOND COMING, an energetic, complex and frequently hilarious documentary about Russell Brand directed by Ondi Timoner.

Other titles in this strand include: comic visionary Jaco Van Dormael’s scabrously provocative, philosophically asute parable THE BRAND NEW TESTAMENT, which poses the question ‘What if God were Belgian and a cantankerous, vindicative slob who runs the whole show from a dilapidated apartment in Brussels?’; the World Premiere of Chanya Button’s debut feature BURN BURN BURN starring Downton Abbey’s Laura Carmichael, which takes the road trip buddy movie on its own smart, female-centric spin; Ali F. Mostafa’s FROM A TO B, a ‘dramedy’ following three estranged childhood companions who embark on a road trip to commemorate the fifth anniversary of a friend’s death and offers a new perspective on life in the Gulf and Middle East; Paul Weitz’s GRANDMA, a supremely enjoyable ‘road movie’ starring Lily Tomlin as the gloriously profane septuagenarian whose curt words and emotional armour can’t quite mask her broken heart; Bao Nguyen’s Saturday Night Live documentary LIVE FROM NEW YORK!; MEN AND CHICKEN, Anders Thomas Jensen’s dark, twisted and extremely animalistic comedy as black as pitch, but with the sweetest heart, starring Mads Mikkelsen; Fernando León de Aranoa’s black comedy A PERFECT DAY, a freewheeling tale centering on two veteran aid workers starring Benico Del Toro and Tim Robbins; the International Premiere of Brendan Cowell’s debut RUBEN GUTHRIE about an advertising exec trying to quit the booze, which spikes social observations with dark, wounded humour and the European Premiere of Japanese auteur/icon Takeshi Kitano’s latest comedy, RYUZO AND HIS SEVEN HENCHMEN, about a group of elderly, retired Yakuza who reteam to take revenge on a younger rival gang.

THRILL

This year’s Thrill strand features nerve-shredders that’ll get your adrenalin pumping and will keep you on the edge of your seat. The Gala presentation for this strand is the International Premiere of Deepa Mehta’s BEEBA BOYS, an energetic gangster movie that also explores South Asian family values set in Vancouver’s Sikh immigrant badlands and starring Randeep Hooda.

Other highlights in this section include: the European Premiere of Choi Dong-hoon’s colourful period bullet opera, ASSASSINATION; the European Premiere of Daniel Junge’s thrill-a-minute BEING EVEL about the legendary daredevil Robert Craig ‘Evel’ Knievel; the European Premiere of David Farr’s crafty and suspenseful study in paranoia, THE ONES BELOW starring David Morrissey and Clémence Poésy; Atom Egoyan’s latest drama REMEMBER, offering a provocative study of the nature of evil as well as serving as a stark reminder of the atrocities of 20th century history, starring Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau; Gabriel Clarke and John McKenna’s gripping documentary STEVE MCQUEEN: THE MAN & LE MANS, featuring unseen archive footage, contemporary interviews and previously unheard commentary from McQueen himself; Stephen Fingleton’s thrilling, post-apocalyptic debut THE SURVIVALIST; Sebastian Schipper’s exhilarating one-shot sensation, VICTORIA; and THE WAVE, Roar Uthaug’s high-octane and nerve-shredding portrayal of a potential catastrophe.

CULT

In the Cult strand, the dark side is welcomed with outcasts and reprobates taking centre stage in this year’s crop of films. The Cult Gala is the International Premiere of S. Craig Zahler’s gloriously imaginative genre hybrid BONE TOMAHAWK starring Kurt Russell in a film with enough surprises to satisfy even the most jaded horror hounds and western fans.

Other highlights in this strand include: the World Premiere of Thierry Poiraud’s DON’T GROW UP, a stylish and inventive film about a group of teens on an unnamed island who wake up to find their youth facility eerily abandoned; the World Premiere of Jon Spira’s affectionate documentary ELSTREE 1976 about the bit performers who appeared in George Lucas’ box office behemoth Star Wars; GHOST THEATER, the latest film from director Hideo Nakata, the forerunner of J-horror; GREEN ROOM, Jeremy Saulnier’s latest exercise in edge of the seat suspense, starring Patrick Stewart, Imogen Poots and Anton Yelchin; returning for the third year running, Sion Sono screens LOVE AND PEACE, his tale of punk rock and talking turtles; and the fantastically prolific Takashi Miike’s riotous, unruly gangster vampire concoction YAKUZA APOCALYPSE.

JOURNEY

Journey is all about the temporal voyage. This year’s Journey Gala is Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s breathtakingly elegant and mesmerizing first foray into wuxia (martial arts), THE ASSASSIN, which won him the Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Hou Hsiao-Hsien is the subject of retrospective – Also Like Life – at BFI Southbank this month in the lead-up to the Festival and will participate in a career interview on Monday 14 September at BFI Southbank.

Other titles in this section include: Radu Jude’s vivid, Wallachian western AFERIM!, COWBOYS, the directorial debut of Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet and Rust and Bone co-writer Thomas Bidegain; the breathtaking ethnographic Colombian Amazon odyssey EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT; James Ponsoldt’s THE END OF THE TOUR starring Jason Segel as writer David Foster Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as Rolling Stone journalist David Lipsky in this engrossing two-hander; Writer-Director Jayro Bustamante’s IXCANUL VOLCANO, the European Premiere Stevan Riley’s enthralling Marlon Brando documentary LISTEN TO ME MARLON; Jia Zhangke’s ambitious, astute and humane MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART; the European Premiere of Sylvia Chang’s often-ethereal magic-realist drama love story, MURMUR OF THE HEARTS; the European Premiere of THE NEW CLASSMATE about a single mum in India battling to ensure her daughter’s future; SEMBÈNE!, Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman’s incisive documentary on acclaimed African filmmaker Ousmane Sembène; Chloé Zhao’s SONGS MY BROTHERS TAUGHT ME; and Paolo Sorrentino’s deliciously bittersweet drama YOUTH, starring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano and Jane Fonda.

SONIC

‘We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams’, so goes Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s 1873 poem Ode, and so goes this year’s Sonic strand. The Sonic Gala is the European Premiere of two-time Oscar-nominated director Hany Abu-Assad’s new film THE IDOL, based on the incredible true story of Mohammad Assaf, winner of ‘Arab Idol’.

Other highlights in this strand include: the World Premiere of Bernard MacMahon’s documentary THE AMERICAN EPIC SESSIONS, a haunting collision of past and present, presided over by the high priests of the great tradition of American music, Jack White and T Bone Burnett; the World Premiere of James Caddick and James Cronin’s documentary ELEPHANT DAYS, which charts The Maccabees creative process as they record their 4th album Marks To Prove It in an anonymous studio in Elephant and Castle; JANIS: LITTLE GIRL BLUE, Oscar-nominated director Amy Berg’s Janis Joplin documentary drawing on archival footage, contemporary interviews and the singer’s personal correspondences; punk filmmaker Khavn De La Cruz’s RUINED HEART: ANOTHER LOVE STORY BETWEEN A CRIMINAL AND A WHORE, an irreverent orgy of sex and crime with a banging soundtrack at its core; the International Premiere of Bobbito Garcia’s STRETCH AND BOBBITO: RADIO THAT CHANGED LIVES, a documentary about The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show which broadcasted on New York’s WKCP radio in the 1990’s and featured unsigned at the time artists such as Jay Z, Nas and Eminem; and the European Premiere of THEY WILL HAVE TO KILL US FIRST: MALIAN MUSIC IN EXILE, Johanna Schwartz’s debut feature which intelligently captures the complexity and emotion of the life of musicians forced into exile and desperate to keep their music alive.

FAMILY

Showcasing films for the young, as well as the young at heart, this year’s Family section is a truly international affair, kicking off with the Family Gala, the European Premiere of Rob Letterman’s GOOSEBUMPS, featuring Jack Black.

Other highlights are ADAMA a deeply moving animation about the life of a young boy in West Africa in 1914; Mamoru Hosoda’s THE BOY AND THE BEAST, an exquisitely animated fable about a boy who has run away from home and is alone in the human world following the passing of his mother; Jury Feting’s CELESTIAL CAMEL, a fascinating and thrilling tale about a 12 year old herder whose father has sold a young colt who may be the fabled ‘celestial camel’; Academy Award® winner Gabriele Salvatores’ THE INVISIBLE BOY, a charming coming of age tale about a shy boy, picked on by his peers, who gets his wish to hide from the world when he discovers a Halloween outfit that makes him invisible; Alexandre Heboyan and Benoît Philippon’s hugely enjoyable CGI animated adventure MUNE, about a faun who lives in a faraway world; Studio Ghibli’s beautiful drama WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi; and the World Premiere of Tim Clague and Danny Stark’s WHO KILLED NELSON NUTMEG?, featuring Bonnie Wright from the Harry Potter series.

There is a dedicated section for animated shorts for younger audiences which bring together eclectic, exciting and colourful films from all around the globe. English language and subtitled, suitable for all ages. Amongst the highlights of this year’s 14 titles is director Sanjay Patel’s SANJAY’S SUPER TEAM from Pixar.

EXPERIMENTA

Experimenta, the LFF showcase of experimental cinema and artist moving image is programmed in partnership with LUX for a third year and is supported by the Arts Council England. Focused on films and videos by artists, it aims to screen films that use the moving image to change the way we think of film and how it functions. The Experimenta Special Presentation is THE FORBIDDEN ROOM, a gleeful, hypnotic and totally deranged epic directed by Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson.

An extensive selection of work from across the world is presented including the World Premieres of William English’s HEATED GLOVES and THE HOST, in which director Miranda Pennell delves deeper into her past and her late parents’ involvement with the Anglo Iranian Oil Company (BP); Ben Rivers’ THE SKY TREMBLES AND THE EARTH IS AFRAID AND THE TWO EYES ARE NOT BROTHERS, the feature element of Ben’s current Artangel installation at BBC White City; EVENT FOR A STAGE by Tacita Dean, a filmed presentation of her live theatrical happening in collaboration with actor Stephen Dillane at the 2014 Sydney Biennial; the European Premiere of Omer Fast’s REMAINDER, a London-set thriller adapted from Tom McCarthy’s acclaimed novel of the same name; the European Premiere of INVENTION which highlights the possibilities of camera movement and the development of artistic apparatus and Kevin Jerome Everson’s PARK LANES, set in an American bowling alley over the course of a day.

SHORTS

A hugely diverse range of original and exciting short films that will captivate audiences span the festival strands this year.

Films of Love and Devotion explores and attempts to explain the old adage that the course of true love never did run smooth with Rob Savage’s ABSENCE starring Paul McGann as a grieving man and OFFLINE DATING, a documentary about a single man’s search for love without the use of the internet. The Last Man Standing is a Girl programme explores the role of young women in society with GROOVE IS IN THE HEART, a tale of music and memory revealed through a school girl’s mixtape and A GIRL’S DAY from German director Hannah Ziegler. The Family at War shorts attempts to show what families are really like and how we survive them with TAMARA by Sofia Safonova and VIDEO where we see Elaine having trouble balancing life between her teenage daughter and a secret evening job. Funny How? How am I Funny? explores the comedy in cultural misunderstanding with OTHRWISE ENGAGED and black comedy KUNG FURY. The Fight or Flight programme charts the human response to extreme situations and Wild at Heart and Weird on Top presents eleven shorts that explore the history of film. In the Neighborhood is human stories of love, death and life-changing moments and includes Oscar Hudson’s LORD AND LIDL, where God unexpectedly shows up at the supermarket. London Calling is a selection of shorts from some of the capital’s most exciting new filmmakers and is supported by Film London. Sound Mirrors features nine diverse shorts all on a musical theme and Animated Shorts for Younger Audiences bring together a mix of exciting stories from around the world to surprise and delight children and adults alike.

TREASURES

Treasures bring recently restored cinematic riches from archives around the world to the Festival in London. The previously announced Archive Gala is the World Premiere of the BFI National Archive restoration of A.V. Bramble and Anthony Asquith’s silent film SHOOTING STARS (1928), presented with a new live score by John Altman, BAFTA and Emmy award-winning composer whose work includes Titanic and Goldeneye. Asquith’s feature debut not only announced the arrival of a significant new director, it is an exuberant, joyful pastiche of the movie industry and is a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse and searing comment on the shallowness of the star system. The film restoration and new score is supported by a number of generous individuals, trusts and organisations.

A number of other major restorations will have their World Premieres at the Festival: Carol Reed’s atmospheric Graham Greene adaptation of OUR MAN IN HAVANA (1959), set in Cuba at the start of the Cold War, makes timely viewing as US/Cuba relations thaw; Ken Russell’s reworking of D.H. Lawrence scandalous classic WOMEN IN LOVE (1970) stars Oliver Reed, Alan Bates and Glenda Jackson and shows two couple’s contrasting searches for love, and was restored by the BFI National Archive working alongside cinematographer Billy Williams; A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (1966) is directed by Fred Zinnemann from a script by great British screenwriter, Robert Bolt from Bolt’s play about Sir Thomas More, a perfect companion piece to Wolf Hall; Henry Fonda stars in the ripe-for-discovery WARLOCK (1959), a seething study of vengeance and repressed sexuality in a Utah mining outpost; and Bryan Forbes’ THE RAGING MOON (1971) starring Malcolm McDowell and Nanette Newman in a tender story between two young people in wheelchairs which was ahead of its time in its attempts to change attitudes to disability.

From newsreels to comedy sketches, the 21 films that make up MAKE MORE NOISE! SUFFRAGETTES IN FILM (1934) are a historical accompaniment to our Opening Night film and a fascinating representation of women at the time that the battle for universal suffrage was being fought on the streets.

Martin Scorsese said of Ousmane Sembène’s BLACK GIRL (1966): ‘An astonishing movie – so ferocious, so haunting and so unlike anything we’d ever seen. ’Sembène’s first feature, which tells the tragic story of Diouana, a young Senegalese women eager to find a better life, draws from the Nouvelle Vague, but the film’s heart and soul is definitely African. It is the perfect companion to Samba Gadjigo’s documentary SEMBÈNE!

And for a lighter-hearted but no less majestic cinema experience, George Sidney’s breathlessly delightful KISS ME KATE (1953) brings the Cole Porter penned musical to screen, here in magnificent 3D.

Rock and roll hall-of-famer Leon Russell is the heart of an ineffable, joyous collage of mesmerising live performance and vérité realism in A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON (1974), filmed between 1972-1974 by director Les Blank. Previously unavailable theatrically in the four decades since it was made.

Other highlights include Mira Nair’s Oscar-nominated debut feature SALAAM BOMBAY! (1988); the Holy Grail of silent comedy shorts, a previously-thought-lost Laurel and Hardy THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (1927), and Luchino Visconti’s fully restored masterpiece ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS (1960), starring Alain Delon in a grand emotional opus on imploding fraternal tensions.

Screen Talks

We are delighted to announce this year’s programme of events will include Screen Talks with filmmaker Todd Haynes, actor Saoirse Ronan, casting director Laura Rosenthal and filmmakers Jia Zhangke and Walter Salles.

This year, the BFI warmly welcomes Todd Haynes to discuss his inspiring and critically acclaimed directing career. His latest film, the poignant CAROL, is screening as the American Express Gala in this year’s LFF. A pioneer of the Queer Cinema Movement Todd Haynes’ films explore the themes of identity and sexuality beginning with the controversial SUPERSTAR: THE KAREN CARPENTER STORY, the acclaimed FAR FROM HEAVEN and the Bob Dylan biopic I’M NOT THERE in more recent years. – Thursday 15 October

We are thrilled to welcome Casting Director Laura Rosenthal to lead a Screen Talk about the work of a casting director when taking a film from script to screen. Having worked with a number of ground-breaking directors, Laura Rosenthal’s impressive credits include Paolo Sorrentino’s YOUTH, BUFFALO SOLDIERS, starring Joaquin Phoenix, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDIATE and most recently CAROL, continuing her long-standing collaboration with Todd Haynes. – Saturday 10 October

Saoirse Ronan shines in The May Fair Hotel gala Brooklyn in which she delivers a nuanced, mature performance that not only reinforces her acting credentials, it signals a new phase in her already impressive career. She received Academy and BAFTA Award nominations for her performance in Joe Wright’s Atonement (2007), a BAFTA nomination for Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones and has worked subsequently with directors the calibre of Wright, Peter Weir, Neil Jordan, Kevin MacDonald and Wes Anderson. – Sunday 11 October

Internationally-acclaimed Chinese director Jia Zhangke and the Academy and BAFTA award-winning Walter Salles will partner in a Screen Talk dedicated to discussing Salles’ documentary JIA ZHANGKE: A GUY FROM FENYANG and their respective approaches to film making. Both established film makers, the documentary is a tribute from one artist to the other as well as a revealing look at Jia’s life and work offering audiences a rare insight into the creative mind. – Thursday 8 October

LFF Connects

LFF Connects is a brand new series of thought-provoking high-impact talks intended to stimulate new collaborations and ideas by exploring both the future of film itself and how film engages with other creative industries including television, music, art, games and creative technology.

LFF Connects: Film – Friday 9 October

As previously announced, the inaugural LFF Connects will feature British filmmaker Christopher Nolan, internationally acclaimed for some of the most original, compelling and successful films in contemporary cinema (Interstellar, Inception, The Dark Knight, Memento), and Tacita Dean, lauded for her art work in film (and whose grand-scale Tate Modern exhibition FILM transfixed audiences).

feature telluride last day

The Venice Film Festival is in a unique position to capture the first blush of a film that might ultimately do well during Oscar season.  This was true of Gravity and it was true of Birdman. The next stop after Venice is Telluride, which is its own kind of launch pad that doesn’t necessarily need Venice, but once a film is highly praised in Venice the feeling is often contagious. What is it about Venice and Telluride that lends itself to this kind of impact? Timing. It’s all about timing.

As the summer comes to an anti-climactic close, it becomes more and more clear every year that the kinds of films critics are best suited to write about, the ones that keep them employed, the ones the adults will pay to see, are usually only let out of the gate in the fall season. By that point, there are hundreds of fingers waiting to hit the keypad. There is too much coverage for not enough material so being relatively “first” on the scene is crucial. This is as true of Venice and Telluride as it is of the New York Film Critics and the National Board of Review (no, I do not distinguish between them anymore).

Right around now, critics and bloggers are preparing for these two festivals and waiting to be enthralled. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. We have no idea what kind of a year this will be, because so many of the films that are most anticipated aren’t making the festival rounds at all. The pattern has followed the same steps in the last few years — high anticipation builds for the Big Oscar Movies that are shown in October, November and sometimes December, while the movies seen at Telluride hover in the background and are mostly taken for granted (The Artist, The King’s Speech, Argo, Birdman). Last year the Oscar predictors were placing high on their lists films like Unbroken, Into the Woods and two that would make it in — American Sniper and Selma. Little attention is paid to possibilities seen at Telluride because there are so many big movies still waiting to be seen.

And yet, as we keep repeating here at AwardsDaily, the win always comes down to the girl next door — the familiar and reliable underdog that never felt like the frontrunner. The psychology of the voting consensus is as maddening in the Oscar race as it is in political elections. The moment you become a threat, forces work actively to take you down. It’s good but it’s not THAT good. Really, that’s the film that’s supposed to win Best Picture? I can guarantee you that both Birdman and Argo would have suffered that same fate if they were the predicted winners heading into the voting season. A few people (Kris Tapley) disagree with me on this — they think the movie is the movie is the movie. I think it’s a matter of perception; where our expectations lie determines how we perceive a film.  Last year, what really was the “little movie that could” and the “scrappy underdog,” Boyhood, was morphed into the mean ol’ frontrunner because it won so many critics awards. It might not have won Best Picture anyway but its formidable status in the race made it a punching bag.

Of course, none of this makes any difference if you’re holding onto a film like Slumdog Millionaire. It came into Telluride with the lowest possible expectations — rumors of it being released “straight to video” persisted. Once it hit big it never took a tumble, not even when the “poverty porn” accusations blew up, not even when the scandal involving the poor stars of the films took hold. Nothing was going to take that movie down.

Here we are once again facing the Venice Film Fest and the Telluride Film Fest colliding during Labor Day weekend. Jeff Wells at Hollywood-Elsewhere made a short list of movies he expects to see on the list:

Steve Jobs, Suffragette, Black Mass, Spotlight, Son of Saul, Beasts of No Nation, Carol, Amazing Grace, Marguerite, CharlieKaufman‘s Anomalisa (probably), He Named Me Malala (maybe), Room, Hitchcock/Truffaut.

And our good pal Michael Patterson also put in his latest predictions:

15) “Taxi”
14) “Marguerite”
13) “Hitchcock/Truffaut”
12) “Anomalisa”
11) “Amazing Grace”
10) “Room”
9)   “Spotlight”
8)   “45 Years”
7)   “He Named Me Malala”
6)   “Carol”
5)   “Steve Jobs”
4)   “Black Mass”
3)   “Suffragette”
2)   “Beasts of No Nation”
1)   “Son of Saul”

What’s playing Venice that might be that seat-rocking out-of-body experience that sends the critics into a tailspin? In competition there is Cary Fukanaga’s Beasts of No Nation. It could launch big and then hit Telluride shortly thereafter generating that one-two punch we’re looking for. Out of competition Everest and Black Mass. Ditto. Although Everest was screened recently by critics thus it can’t have that first flush of the season when viewers see something no one else has yet seen, which only adds to the intensified landing.

45 Years is currently being hyped by Anne Thompson and others who’ve seen it. Charlotte Rampling has some great early buzz.  Do you see any potential Best Picture winners on this list?

We don’t yet know the Telluride lineup and it might not even include Beasts of No Nation, though Everest and Black Mass both seem likely. It will be a curious thing to see if Netflix can break into the game of Oscar. The Academy is ruled mostly by the five families with the sole recent exception of The Hurt Locker. Best Picture is usually Best Bread and Butter Picture existing within the confines of the Hollywood structure. Either way, as we sit perched on the edge of the free fall we wait with eager anticipation.

AwardsDaily rolls into Telluride on the 3rd of September. Watch for diaries, photos, periscoping, twitter and more.

 

carol-cate-blanchett-600x344

The BFI are set to bestow it’s highest honor on Cate Blanchett at this year’s London Film Festival. Blanchett will be the receipient of the BFI Fellowship Award, the award is given to individuals in recoginition of their contribution to film or TV.

Blanchett will make two appearances at the London Film Festival when Carol and Truth both play. Greg Dyke, BFI Chairman said, “Cate Blanchett is a compelling and brave actress whose mesmerizing screen presence has captivated audiences since her earliest roles. We are absolutely delighted to honor her extraordinary talents with a BFI Fellowship at this year’s LFF awards.”

The 2015 BFI London film festival runs from 7-18 October. The BFI Fellowship will be awarded on Saturday, October 17 at London’s Banqueting House.

Carol opens on November 20.

miss-you-already

The 40th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 10 to 20, 2015. Paco Cabezas’s Mr. Right will be the Closing Night. The rest of the lineup include a few to look foward to, like Catherine Hardwick’s Miss You Already, and two of my favorite filmmakers Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden return with Mississippi Grand.

GALAS
Disorder (Maryland) Alice Winocour, France/Belgium
In this masterfully engineered thriller, a young ex-soldier suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder protects a beautiful woman and her child from a brutal home invasion. Starring Matthias Schoenaerts and Diane Kruger.

Man Down Dito Montiel, USA North American Premiere In a savage post-apocalyptic America, U.S. Marine Gabriel Drummer searches desperately for the whereabouts of his estranged son and wife. Accompanied by his best friend, a hard-nosed Marine whose natural instinct is to shoot first and ask questions later, the two intercept Charles, an apocalyptic survivor carrying vital information about the whereabouts of Gabriel’s family. By revisiting the past, audiences are guided in unravelling the puzzle of Gabriel’s experience, and what will eventually lead to the origin of this war-torn America. Starring Shia LaBeouf, Kate Mara, Gary Oldman and Jai Courtney.

Miss You Already Catherine Hardwicke, United Kingdom World Premiere This honest and powerful story follows two best friends, Milly and Jess, as they navigate life’s highs and lows. Inseparable since they were young girls, they can’t remember a time they didn’t share everything — secrets, clothes, even boyfriends — but nothing prepares them for the day Milly is hit with life-altering news. A story for every modern woman, this film celebrates the bond of true friendship that ultimately can never be broken, even in life’s toughest moments. Starring Toni Collette, Drew Barrymore, Dominic Cooper, Paddy Considine, Tyson Ritter and Jacqueline Bisset

Mississippi Grind Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden, USA Canadian Premiere Gerry is a talented, but struggling poker player about to be swallowed up by his unshakeable gambling habit. But his luck begins to change after he meets the young, charismatic Curtis. Gerry convinces his new lucky charm to hit the road with him, towards a legendary high stakes poker game in New Orleans. The highs and lows unveil the duo’s true characters and motivations, and an undeniable bond forms between them. Starring Ben Mendelsohn, Ryan Reynolds, Sienna Miller, Analeigh Tipton and Alfre Woodard.
North American Premiere

Closing Night Film.
Mr. Right Paco Cabezas, USA World Premiere Martha is unlucky in love, but when she finally meets her Mr. Right it seems like she’s found her match — even if he’s an international hitman on the run from the crime cartels who employ him. On the bright side, as long as Hopper or Shotgun Steve don’t kill them first, these two may actually have a chance at happily ever after. Starring Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick, Tim Roth, James Ransone, Anson Mount, Michael Eklund and RZA.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
45 Years Andrew Haigh, United Kingdom
While preparing for their 45th anniversary, Kate and Geoff’s marriage is shaken with a discovery that calls into question the life they’ve built together, in this emotional tour-de-force. Starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay.

About Ray Gaby Dellal, USA World Premiere The touching story of three generations of a family living under one roof in New York as the life-changing transformation by one ultimately affects them all. Ray is a teenager who realizes that she isn’t meant to be a girl and decides to transition from female to male. His single mother, Maggie, must track down Ray’s biological father to get his legal consent to allow Ray’s transition. Dolly, Ray’s lesbian grandmother, struggles to accept that she now has a grandson. They must each confront their own identities and learn to embrace change and their strength as a family, in order to ultimately find acceptance and understanding. Starring Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning, Susan Sarandon, Tate Donovan, Linda Emond, Sam Trammell and Maria Dizzia.

Angry Indian Goddesses Pan Nalin, India World Premiere A comic drama about a group of Indian women finding their hearts and losing their heads! A wild bunch of girls from all over India descend upon Goa. Their closest friend Frieda has invited them to her family home for a surprise announcement: she’s getting married. Thus begins an impromptu bachelorette. Starring Tannishtha Chatterjee, Sandhya Mridul, Sarah Jane Dias, Pavleen Gujral, Anushka Manchanda, Rajshri Deshpande and Amrit Maghera.

Being Charlie Rob Reiner, USA World Premiere Being Charlie is based on a compilation of real-life experiences written by two friends who lived through being stuck in the cycle of rehab. Eighteen-year-old Charlie Mills is a sharp-mouthed addict fighting to get back home, while his father constantly stiff-arms him to limit the distractions during a big election for governor of California. Charlie’s parents are at odds about their son’s return to rehab. Following a feeble attempt at an intervention, he agrees to work the program at a new adult rehab facility where he meets a handful of misfit personalities; among them is Eva, a beautiful but troubled girl, and Travis, a supportive house manager. Charlie’s internal struggle with his addiction is confronted by the envy for his best friend and his separate addiction with Eva. Starring Nick Robinson, Morgan Saylor, Devon Bostick, Cary Elwes, Susan Misner, Common and Ricardo Chavira.

Body (Body/Cialo) Małgorzata Szumowska, Poland North American Premiere Set in Poland, this absurdist dark comedy follows the intertwined stories of a criminal prosecutor, his anorexic daughter, and her therapist who claims she can communicate with the dead. Starring Janusz Gajos, Maja Ostaszewska and Justyna Suwala.

Equals Drake Doremus, USA North American Premiere In a futuristic, utopian society known as the Collective — where inhabitants have been bred to be peaceful and emotionless — a man and a woman discover that they have feelings for one another. Together, they attempt to understand this connection. Starring Kristen Stewart, Nicholas Hoult, Guy Pearce and Jacki Weaver.

Canadian Premiere

I Saw the Light Marc Abraham, USA World Premiere This film tells the story of legendary country western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his meteoric rise to fame and its ultimately tragic effect on his health and personal life. Based on Colin Escott’s award-winning biography. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, Bradley Whitford, David Krumholtz Cherry Jones and Maddie Hasson.

London Fields Matthew Cullen United Kingdom/USA World Premiere Set in 1999 London, this noir crime thriller based on Martin Amis’ novel of the same name features a star-studded cast, including Johnny Depp, Amber Heard, Cara Delevigne, Theo James, Billy Bob Thorton and Jim Sturgess.

ma ma Julio Medem, Spain/France International Premiere This is the story of Magda. Confronted with tragedy, she reacts with a surge of life that flows inside of her, from the imaginable to the unimaginable. Accompanied by her closest circle, she will live the most unexpected situations filled with humour and delicate happiness. Starring Penélope Cruz, Luis Tosar and Asier Etxeandia.

The Meddler Lorene Scafaria, USA World Premiere Marnie Minervini, recent widow and eternal optimist, moves from New Jersey to Los Angeles to be closer to her daughter. Armed with an iPhone and a full bank account, Marnie sets out to make friends, find her purpose, and possibly open up to someone new. Starring Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne and J.K. Simmons.

Mr. Six (Lao Pao Er) Guan Hu, China North American Premiere With his son captured, Mr. Six and his old pals stand up to the new, younger generation of hooligans, defending their dignity as once respected gangsters in the neighbourhood. Starring Feng Xiaogang.

Mustang Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Turkey/France/Germany North American Premiere It’s the beginning of the summer in a village in the north of Turkey; Lale and her four sisters come home from school, innocently playing with boys. The supposed debauchery of their games causes a scandal with unintended consequences. The family home slowly turns into a prison, classes on housework and cooking replace school, and marriages begin to be arranged. The five sisters, driven by the same desire for freedom, fight back against the limits imposed on them. Starring Gunes Sensoy, Dogba Doguslu, Tugba Sunguroglu, Elit Iscan, Ilayda Akdogan, Ayberk Pekcan and Nihal Koldas.

My Mother (Mia Madre) Nanni Moretti, Italy/France North American Premiere Margherita is a director shooting a film with the famous American actor, Barry Huggins, who is quite a headache on set. Away from the shoot, Margherita tries to hold her life together, despite her mother’s illness and her daughter’s adolescence. Stars Nanni Moretti, Margherita Buy, John Turturro and Giulia Lazzarini.

Our Brand Is Crisis David Gordon Green, USA World Premiere A Bolivian presidential candidate enlists a management team led by damaged but brilliant strategist “Calamity” Jane Bodine, who seizes the chance to beat her professional nemesis Pat Candy, coaching the opposition. But as Pat zeroes in on every vulnerability, Jane faces a personal crisis as intense as the one her team exploits to boost their numbers, in this drama revealing the machinations of political consultants for whom nothing is sacred and winning is all that matters. Starring Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Joaquim de Almeida, Ann Dowd, Scoot McNairy and Zoe Kazan.
A Tale of Love and Darkness Natalie Portman Israel/USA North American Premiere Based on Amos Oz’s international best-seller, this is the story of his youth at the end of the British Mandate in Palestine and the early years of the state of Israel. The film details young Amos’s relationship with his mother and his birth as a writer, looking at what happens when the stories we tell become the stories we live. Starring Natalie Portman, Gilad Kahana and Amir Tessler.

A Tale of Three Cities (San Cheng Ji) Mabel Cheung, China International Premiere Based on the miraculous true story of Jackie Chan’s parents, this film is about the unbreakable bond of love between an opium- peddling widow and a former spy on the run. Together they witness love and humanity in the face of war, famine, and overwhelming danger. Starring Tang Wei and Sean Lau.

Truth James Vanderbilt, USA World Premiere In the vein of All the President’s Men and The Insider, this is the incredible true story of Mary Mapes, an award-winning CBS News journalist, and Dan Rather’s producer. The film chronicles the story they uncovered of a sitting U.S. president that may have been AWOL from the United States National Guard for over a year during the Vietnam War. When the story blew up in their face, the ensuing scandal ruined Dan Rather’s career, nearly changed a U.S. presidential election, and almost took down all of CBS News in the process. Based on Mapes’s book Truth and Duty. Starring Cate Blanchett, Elisabeth Moss, Robert Redford, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid and Bruce Greenwood.

The Wave Roar Uthaug, Norway International Premiere Experienced geologist Kristian Eikfjord accepts a job offer out of town. As he’s getting ready to move from the city of Geiranger with his family, he and his colleagues measure small geological changes in the underground. Kristian worries that his worst nightmare is about to come true, when the alarm goes off and disaster is inevitable. With less than 10 minutes to react, it becomes a race against time in order to save as many people as possible, including his own family. Starring Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp and Jonas Oftebro.

The Witch Robert Eggers, USA/Canada Canadian Premiere A colonial family leaves plantation life and attempts to reap their harvest on a fledgling farm at the edge of an imposing ancient New England forest. Superstition and dread set in as food grows scarce, a family member goes missing, and the children’s play takes on a frenzied and menacing undercurrent. As they begin to turn on one another, the malevolent machinations of an ethereal presence from within the woods exacerbate the growing corruption of their own nature. Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson.

Steven-Spielberg-and-Tom-Hanks-Bridge-of-Spies

The New York Film Fest looks a lot like the Cannes lineup with several repeats that were well received there, like The Lobster, Carol and The Assassin. Steve Jobs, Bridge of Spies and The Walk are the big movies to land there and I suspect among the most popular screenings. Of the films I’m personally excited about this year I have to say that any time a Steven Spielberg film is in play it’s a pretty good year for me (yes, even including War Horse). Ditto Steve Jobs. I’m also curious to see what Rebecca Miller is doing. And of course, we’re jazzed about seeing Michael Moore confront America’s thirst for war in Where to Invade Next.

Thanks to Paddy for the list and the heads up.

Arabian Nights: Volume 1, The Restless One (Miguel Gomes)
Arabian Nights: Volume 2, The Desolate One (Miguel Gomes)
Arabian Nights: Volume 3, The Enchanted One (Miguel Gomes)
The Assassin (Hou Hsiao Hsien)
Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg)
Brooklyn (Nick Hornby)
Carol (Todd Haynes)
Cemetery of Splendour (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
Les Cowboys (Thomas Bidegain)
Don’t Blink: Robert Frank (Laura Israel)
Experimenter (Michael Almereyda)
The Forbidden Room (Evan Johnson and Guy Maddin)
In the Shadow of Women (Philippe Garrel)
Journey to the Shore (Kurosawa Kiyoshi)
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos)
Maggie’s Plan (Rebecca Miller)
The Measure of a Man (Stephane Brize)
Mia Madre (Nanni Moretti)
Microbe & Gasoline (Michel Gondry)
Miles Ahead (Don Cheadle) – closing night gala
Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhang Ke)
My Golden Days (Arnaud Desplechin)
No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman)
Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sang Soo)
Steve Jobs (Danny Boyle) – centrepiece gala
The Treasure (Corneliu Porumboiu)
The Walk (Robert Zemeckis) – opening night gala
Where to Invade Next (Michael Moore)

green_room-cannes-film-festival

The Toronto International Film Festival has announced more films to be screened in its line up. Je Suis Charlie, a documentary about the attack on the victims of Charlie Hebdo will receive its World Premiere.

Patrick Stewart’s highly anticipated Green Room will open Midnight Madness. The Midnight Madness slate will also include The Girl In The Photographs, The Mind’s Eye and Southbound.

Amazing Grace, a documentary about a recording session Aretha Franklin did in 1972, and He Named Me Malala, a documentary about Malala Yousafzai will also be shown at TIFF.

The Midnight Madness additions are below:

BASKIN
Directed by Can Evrenol
Turkey
A squad of unsuspecting cops go through a trapdoor to Hell when they stumble upon a Black Mass in an abandoned building, in the tour-de-force feature debut from ferociously talented director Can Evrenol.

THE CHICKENING
Directed by Davy Force, Nick DenBoer
Canada
The Shining gets a digital remix in this poultry-infused reworking of Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic.

THE DEVIL’S CANDY
Directed by Sean Byrne
USA
A struggling painter is possessed by satanic forces after he and his young family move into their dream home in rural Texas, in this creepily oppressive haunted-house tale from Australian writer-director Sean Byrne (The Loved Ones).

THE FINAL GIRLS
Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson
USA
A group of young friends is sucked into the onscreen world of a cult 1980s slasher flick, in this clever horror-comedy packed with real heart, goofy gore and plenty of laughs.

THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS
Directed by Nick Simon
USA

GREEN ROOM
Directed by Jeremy Saulnier
USA
A punk band on the road find themselves besieged by neo-Nazi white supremacists in a backwoods Oregon club, in this nail-biting thriller from the director of the cult hit Blue Ruin.

HARDCORE
Directed by Ilya Naishuller
Russia/USA
A cybernetic super-soldier kicks, punches and parkours his way across Russia to save his wife from a psychotic paramilitary psychic bent on world domination, in this non-stop, white-knuckle, crackerjack thrill ride.

THE MIND’S EYE
Directed by Joe Begos
USA
A drifter with psychic powers takes on an evil doctor and his crew of telekinetic assassins.

SOUTHBOUND
Directed by Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath, Radio Silence
USA
From the makers of the horror anthology V/H/S, these five interlocking tales of terror follow the fates of a group of weary travellers who confront their worst nightmares — and darkest secrets — over one long night on a desolate stretch of desert highway.

SPL 2 – A TIME FOR CONSEQUENCES
Directed by Soi Cheang
Hong Kong
Martial-arts greats Tony Jaa (Ong-bak) and Wu Jing team up in this bone-crunching action epic.

YAKUZA APOCALYPSE
Directed by Takashi Miike
Japan
Japanese cinematic extremist Takashi Miike (13 Assassins) returns to his gonzo roots with this mind-melter that finds room for vampires, gangsters, earthquakes, volcanoes, monsters, martial arts, and even a yakuza knitting circle.

The Toronto Film Festival will run from September 10 – September 20.

beasts-of-no-nation-poster

Michael Patterson has been predicting the Telluride lineup for a while now and has compiled what he thinks are the ten most likely titles to land. Why it matters: Telluride has screened the Best Picture winner for the past ten years. Not since The Departed has the eventual winner not screened — or premiered — either at Telluride or somewhere else before Telluride.

2014 – Birdman — Venice/Telluride
2013 – 12 Years a Slave — Telluride
2012 – Argo — Telluride
2011 – The Artist — Cannes/Telluride
2010 – The King’s Speech — Telluride
2009 – The Hurt Locker — (year prior)
2008 – Slumdog Millionaire — Telluride
2007 – No Country for Old Men — Cannes

Why this rule continues to apply has to do, I think, with the Academy’s decision to push their ceremony date back one month, which eventually shifted everything back, which now means the race is decided behind the scenes. It also could be the safe harbor Telluride represents. Unlike other film festivals, critics and bloggers must pay their own way in at $750 a pop. Thus, the attendance is limited to those who are either being sent there by bigger outlets or there because their passion for film compels them to be there. Also, the Telluride people who select the films could have similar tastes to industry voters.

Patterson has chosen ten films he thinks will go. Is the eventual Best Picture winner among them? Or will this be the year the streak is finally broken?

Here are the features he’s predicting
Steve Jobs
Carol
Suffragette
Room
Anomalisa
Beasts of No Nation
Black Mass
Son of Saul

These will represent the underdogs expected to beat the Big Oscar Movies coming out in October or later in the year and those include: Bridge of Spies, The Revenant, Spotlight, etc.  And the ones already seen in Cannes that could have a shot: Sicario, Youth and the already mentioned Carol.

Telluride begins at the end of this month, right on the heels of the Venice Film Festival.

beasts-of-no-nation
La Biennale di Venezia has announced all 7 slates at once.  Here’s the delicious list. (Thanks to Paddy Mulholland at ScreenOnScreen)
Venezia 72
  • 11 Minutes (Jerzy Skolimowski)
  • Anomalisa (Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman)
  • l’Attesa (Piero Messina)
  • Beasts of No Nation (Cary Fukunaga)
  • Behemoth (Zhao Liang)
  • A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino)
  • El Clan (Pablo Trapero)
  • The Danish Girl (Tom Hooper)
  • Desde Alla (Lorenzo Vigas)
  • The Endless River (Oliver Hermanus)
  • Equals (Drake Doremus)
  • Francofonia (Aleksandr Sokurov)
  • Frenzy (Emin Alper)
  • Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson)
  • l’Hermine (Christian Vincent)
  • Looking for Grace (Sue Brooks)
  • Marguerite (Xavier Giannoli)
  • Per Amor Vostro (Giuseppe M. Gaudino)
  • Rabin, The Last Day (Amos Gitai)
  • Remember (Atom Egoyan)
  • Sangue del Mio Sangue (Marco Bellocchio)
Out of Competition
  • Afternoon (Tsai Ming Liang)
  • Black Mass (Scott Cooper)
  • La Calle de la Amargura (Arturo Ripstein)
  • de Palma (Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow)
  • l’Esercito Piu Piccolo del Mondo (Gianfranco Pannone)
  • The Event (Sergei Loznitsa)
  • Everest (Baltasar Kormakur)
  • Gli Uomini di Questa Citta Io Non Li Conosco (Franco Maresco)
  • Go with Me (Daniel Alfredson)
  • Human (Yann Arthus-Bertrand)
  • In Jackson Heights (Frederick Wiseman)
  • Janis (Amy Berg)
  • Life and Nothing But (Bertrand Tavernier)
  • Mr. Six (Hu Guan)
  • Non Essere Cattivo (Claudio Caligari)
  • Spotlight (Thomas McCarthy)
  • Winter on Fire (Evgeny Afineevsky)
Out of Competition Short Films
  • The Audition (Martin Scorsese)
Orizzonti
  • Boi Neon (Gabriel Mascaro)
  • The Childhood of a Leader (Brady Corbet)
  • A Copy of My Mind (Joko Anwar)
  • Free in Deed (Jake Mahaffy)
  • Interrogation (Vetri Maaran)
  • Interruption (Yorgos Zois)
  • Italian Gangster (Renato de Maria)
  • Madame Courage (Merzak Allouache)
  • Man Down (Dito Montiel)
  • Mate-Me Por Favor (Anita Rocha da Silveira)
  • Un Monstruo de Mil Cabezas (Rodrigo Pla)
  • Mountain (Yaelle Kayam)
  • Pecore in Erba (Alberto Caviglia)
  • Taj Mahal (Nicolas Saada)
  • Tempete (Samuel Collardey)
  • A War (Tobias Lindholm)
  • Wednesday, May 9th (Vahid Jalilvand)
  • Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me? (Hadar Morag)
Orizzonti – Short Films
  • 55 Pastillas (Sebastian Muro)
  • Backyards (Ivan Salatic)
  • Belladonna (Dubravka Turic)
  • Champ des Possibles (Cristin Picchi)
  • En Defensa Propia (Mariana Arriaga)
  • E.T.E.R.N.I.T. (Giovanni Aloi)
  • It Seems to Hang On (Kevin Jerome Everson)
  • Monkey (Shen Jie)
  • New Eyes (Hiwot Admasu Getaneh)
  • Oh Gallow Lay (Julian Wayser)
  • Seide (Elnura Osmonalieva)
  • Tarantula (Marja Calafange and Aly Muritiba)
  • Violence en Reunion (Karim Boukercha)
  • The Young Man Who Came from the Chee River (Wichanon Somumjarn)
Orizzonti – Short Films (Out of Competition)
  • Zero (David Victori)
International Critics’ Week
  • The Black Hen (Min Bahadur Bham)
  • The Journey (Adriano Valerio)
  • Light Years (Esther May Campbell)
  • Motherland (Senem Tuzen)
  • Mountain (Joao Salaviza)
  • The Return (Green Zeng)
  • Tanna (Martin Butler and Bentley Dean)
International Critics’ Week (Out of Competition)
  • Bagnoli Jungle (Antonio Capuano)
  • The Family (Liu Shu Min)
  • Orphans (Peter Mullan)
Venice Days – Official Selection
  • Arianna (Carlo Lavagna)
  • As I Open My Eyes (Leyla Bouzid)
  • The Daughter (Simon Stone)
  • Early Winter (Michael Rowe)
  • First Light (Vincenzo Marra)
  • Island City (Ruchika Oberoi)
  • Klezmer (Piotr Chrzan)
  • Long Live the Bride (Ascanio Celestini)
  • The Memory of Water (Matias Bize)
  • Retribution (Dani de la Torre)
  • Underground Fragrance (Song Peng Fei)
Venice Days – Special Events
  • Argentina (Carlos Saura)
  • Harry’s Bar (Carlotta Cerquetti)
  • Innocence of Memories – Orhan Pamuk’s Museum and Istanbul (Grant Gee)
  • Ma (Celia Rowlson Hall)
  • Milano 2015 (Roberto Bolle, Cristiana Capotondi, Giorgio Diritti, Elio, Silvio Soldini and Walter Veltroni)
  • Viva Ingrid! (Alessandro Rossellini)
Venice Days – Special Projects
  • Bangland (Lorenzo Berghella)
  • Il Paese Dove gli Alberi Volano – Eugenio Barba e i Giorni dell’Odin (Davide Barletti and Jacopo Quadri)
  • I Sogni del Lago Salato (Andrea Segre)
Venice Days – Lux Prize
  • Mediterranea (Jonas Carpignano)
  • Mustang (Deniz Gamze Erguven)
  • Urok (Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov)
Venice Days – Miu Miu Women’s Tales
  • De Djess (Alice Rohrwacher)
  • Les 3 Boutons (Agnes Varda)
Venice Classics
  • Aleksander Nevsky (Sergei M. Eisenstein)
  • Amarcord (Federico Fellini)
  • Bitter Reunion (Claude Chabrol)
  • The Boys from Feng Kuei (Hou Hsiao Hsien)
  • Hardly a Criminal (Hugo Fregonese)
  • Heaven Can Wait (Ernst Lubitsch)
  • Hope (Yilmaz Guney)
  • Leon Morin, Priest (Jean-Pierre Melville)
  • A Matter of Life and Death (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger)
  • I Mostri (Dino Risi)
  • The Power and the Glory (William K. Howard)
  • Ray of Sunshine (Pal Fejos)
  • Red Beard (Kurosawa Akira)
  • Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Pier Paolo Pasolini)
  • She Wolf (Alberto Lattuada)
  • The Thirsty One (Guru Dutt)
  • The Trial of Vivienne Ware (William K. Howard)
  • To Sleep with Anger (Charles Burnett)
  • Venise
  • We Want the Colonels (Mario Monicelli)
  • White Paws (Jean Gremillon)
Venice Classics – Documentaries
  • The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Maddin (Yves Montmayeur)
  • Alfredo Bini, The Unexpected Guest (Simone Isola)
  • Dietro gli Occhiali Bianchi (Valerio Ruiz)
  • A Flickering Truth (Pietra Brettkelly)
  • For the Love of a Man (Rinku Kalsy)
  • Helmut Berger, Actor (Andreas Horvath)
  • Jacques Tourneur Le Medium (Filmer l’Invisible) (Alain Mazars)
  • Mifune: The Last Samurai (Steven Okazaki)
Biennale College – Cinema
  • Baby Bump (Kuba Czekaj)
  • Blanka (Hasei Kohki)
  • The Fits (Anna Rose Holmer)

V4

The first of the Toronto Film Festival announcements just in.  If it says World or North American premiere I assume that means it’s not going to Telluride. If it says Canadian Premiere, it is.

Opening Night Film
Demolition Jean-Marc Vallée, USA World Premiere In Demolition, a successful investment banker, Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal), struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. Despite pressure from his father-in-law (Chris Cooper) to pull it together, Davis continues to unravel. What starts as a complaint letter to a vending machine company turns into a series of letters revealing startling personal admissions. Davis’ letters catch the attention of customer service rep Karen (Naomi Watts) and, amidst emotional and financial burdens of her own, the two strangers form an unlikely connection. With the help of Karen and her son (Judah Lewis), Davis starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.

Beeba Boys Deepa Mehta, Canada
An adrenaline-charged violent Indo-Canadian gang war mixes guns, bhangra beats, bespoke suits, cocaine, and betrayal. Gang boss Jeet Johar and his loyal, young crew are audaciously taking over the Vancouver drug and arms scene from an old-style crime syndicate. Hearts are broken and family bonds shattered when the Beeba Boys (known as the “nice boys”) do anything “to be seen and to be feared” — in a white world.

The Dressmaker Jocelyn Moorhouse, Australia World Premiere Based on the best-selling novel by Rosalie Ham, The Dressmaker is a bittersweet, comedy-drama set in early 1950s Australia. After many years working as a dressmaker in exclusive Parisian fashion houses, Tilly Dunnage, a beautiful and talented misfit, returns home to the tiny middle-of-nowhere town of Dungatar to right the wrongs of the past. Not only does she reconcile with her ailing, eccentric mother Molly, and unexpectedly falls in love with the pure-hearted Teddy, but armed with her sewing machine and incredible sense of style, Tilly sets out to right the wrongs of the past and transforms the women of the town but encounters unexpected romance along the way. Starring Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Judy Davis and Hugo Weaving.

Eye in the Sky Gavin Hood, United Kingdom World Premiere
Forsaken Jon Cassar, Canada World Premiere Tormented by a dark secret, an aging gunfighter abandons a life of killing and returns home, only to discover his mother has died. He’s forced to confront his estranged father and the life he left behind. Starring Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland and Demi Moore.

Freeheld Peter Sollett, USA World Premiere Based on the Oscar-winning documentary and adapted by the writer of Philadelphia, Freeheld is the true love story of Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree and their fight for justice. A decorated New Jersey police detective, Laurel is diagnosed with cancer and wants to leave her hard-earned pension to her domestic partner, Stacie. However the county officials — the Freeholders — conspire to prevent Laurel from doing so. Hard-nosed detective Dane Wells and activist Steven Goldstein come together in Laurel and Stacie’s defense, rallying police officers and ordinary citizens to support their struggle for equality. Starring Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael
Shannon and Steve Carell.

Hyena Road (Hyena Road: Le Chemin du Combat) Paul Gross, Canada World Premiere A sniper who has never allowed himself to think of his targets as humans becomes implicated in the life of one such target. An intelligence officer who has never contemplated killing becomes the engine of a plot to kill. And a legendary Mujahideen warrior who had put war behind him is now the centre of the battle zone. Three men, three worlds, three conflicts — all stand at the intersection of modern warfare, a murky world of fluid morality in which all is not as it seems.

LEGEND Brian Helgeland, United Kingdom International Premiere The true story of the rise and fall of London’s most notorious gangsters, brothers Reggie and Ron Kray, both portrayed by Tom Hardy in an amazing double performance. LEGEND is a classic crime thriller that takes audiences into the secret history of the 1960s and
the extraordinary events that secured the infamy of the Kray twins.

Lolo Julie Delpy, France North American Premiere
London-based military intelligence officer Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) is remotely commanding a top secret drone operation to capture a group of dangerous terrorists at their safe-house in Nairobi, Kenya. The mission suddenly escalates from a capture to a kill operation, when Powell realizes that the terrorists are about to embark on a deadly suicide mission. American drone pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is poised to destroy the safe-house when a nine-year-old-girl enters the kill zone just outside the walls of the house. With unforeseen collateral damage now entering the equation, the impossible decision of when to strike gets passed up the kill chain of politicians and lawyers as the seconds tick down. Also stars Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi and Iain Glen. While on holiday in the south of France, Parisian sophisticate Violette falls in love with carefree geek Jean-René. As their relationship blossoms, Jean-René heads to Paris to spend more time with Violette but finds himself up against her possessive teenage son Lolo who is determined to sabotage their relationship by any means necessary. A razor-sharp comedy from Julie Delpy.

The Man Who Knew Infinity Matthew Brown, United Kingdom World Premiere A true story of friendship that forever changed mathematics. In 1913, Ramanujan, a self-taught mathematics genius from India, travelled to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he forged a bond with his mentor, the eccentric professor GH Hardy, and fought to
show the world the magic of his mind. Starring Dev Patel and Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons.

The Martian Ridley Scott, USA World Premiere During a manned mission to Mars, astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. Based on a best-selling novel, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, The Martian features a star-studded cast that includes Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald
Glover.

The Program Stephen Frears, United Kingdom World Premiere From Academy Award-nominated director Stephen Frears (The Queen, Philomena) and producers Working Title (The Theory of Everything), comes the true story of the meteoric rise and fall of one of the most celebrated and controversial men in recent history, Lance Armstrong. Starring Ben Foster, Dustin Hoffman, Chris O’Dowd and Guillaume Canet.

Remember Atom Egoyan, Canada North American Premiere Remember is the contemporary story of Zev, who discovers that the Nazi guard who murdered his family some 70 years ago is living in America under an assumed identity. Despite the obvious challenges, Zev sets out on a mission to deliver long-delayed justice with his own trembling hand. What follows is a remarkable cross-continent road-trip with surprising consequences. Starring Academy Award winners Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau.

Septembers of Shiraz Wayne Blair, USA World Premiere A thriller based on the New York Times bestseller, this is the true story of a secular Jewish family caught in the 1979 Iranian revolution and their heroic journey to overcome and ultimately escape from the deadly tyranny that swept their country and threatened to extinguish their lives at every turn. Starring Salma Hayek and Adrien Brody.

Stonewall Roland Emmerich, USA World Premiere This fictional drama inspired by true events follows a young man caught up during the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Danny Winters (Jeremy Irvine) finds himself alone in Greenwich Village, homeless and destitute, until he befriends a group of street kids who introduce him to the local watering hole, The Stonewall Inn — however, this shady, mafia-run club is far from a safe haven. As Danny and his friends experience discrimination, endure atrocities and are repeatedly harassed by the police, the entire community of young gays, lesbians and drag queens who populate Stonewall erupts in a storm of anger. With the toss of a single brick, a riot ensues and a crusade for equality is born. Starring Jeremy Irvine, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Ron Perlman and Joey King.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
Anomalisa Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, USA Canadian Premiere A man struggles with his inability to connect with other people. Starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan and David Thewlis.

Beasts of No Nation Cary Fukunaga, USA/Ghana Canadian Premiere — NETFLIX
Based on the highly acclaimed novel, director Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation brings to life the gripping tale of Agu (newcomer Abraham Attah), a child soldier torn from his family to fight in the civil war of an African country. Idris Elba dominates the screen in the role of Commandant, a warlord who takes in Agu and instructs him in the ways of war.

Black Mass Scott Cooper, USA Canadian Premiere In 1970s South Boston, FBI Agent John Connolly persuades Irish-American gangster Jimmy Bulger to act as an informant for the FBI in order to eliminate their common enemy: the Italian mob. The drama tells the story of this unholy alliance, which spiraled out of control, allowing Whitey to evade law enforcement while becoming one of the most ruthless and dangerous gangsters in Boston history. Starring Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rory Cochrane, Jesse Plemons, Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson, Julianne Nicholson, Corey Stoll and Peter Sarsgaard.

Brooklyn John Crowley, United Kingdom/Ireland/Canada Canadian Premiere Set on opposite sides of the Atlantic, this drama tells the profoundly moving story of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant navigating her way through 1950s Brooklyn. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland and the comfort of her mother’s home for the shores of New York City. The initial shackles of homesickness quickly diminish as a fresh romance sweeps Eilis into the intoxicating charm of love. But soon, her new vivacity is disrupted by her past, and Eilis must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters.

The Club Pablo Larraín, Chile North American Premiere Four men live in a secluded house in a seaside town. Sent to purge sins of the past, they live under a strict regime and the watchful eye of a caretaker. Their fragile stability is disrupted by the arrival of a fifth man who brings with him their darkest secrets.

Colonia Florian Gallenberger, Germany/Luxembourg/France World Premiere Colonia tells the story of Lena and Daniel, a young couple who become entangled in the Chilean military coup of 1973. Daniel is abducted by Pinochet’s secret police and Lena tracks him to a sealed off area in the south of the country called Colonia Dignidad. The Colonia presents itself as a charitable mission run by lay preacher Paul Schäfer but, in fact, is a place nobody ever escapes from. Lena decides to join the cult in order to find Daniel. Starring Emma Watson, Daniel Brühl and Michael Nyqvist.

The Danish Girl Tom Hooper, United Kingdom North American Premiere The Danish Girl is the remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener (portrayed by Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander), directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables). Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.

The Daughter Simon Stone, Australia North American Premiere A man returns to his hometown and unearths a long-buried family secret. As he tries to right the wrongs of the past, his actions threaten to shatter the lives of those he left behind years before. Starring Geoffrey Rush, Paul Schneider, Miranda Otto and Sam Neill.

Desierto Jonás Cuarón, Mexico World Premiere Moises is traveling by foot with a group of undocumented workers across a desolate strip of the border between Mexico and the United States, seeking a new life in the north. They are discovered by a lone American vigilante, Sam, and a frantic chase begins. Set against the stunningly brutal landscape, Moises and Sam engage in a lethal match of wits, each desperate to survive and escape the desert that threatens to consume them. Starring Gael García Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

Dheepan Jacques Audiard, France North American Premiere To escape the civil war in Sri Lanka, a former Tamil Tiger soldier, a young woman and a little girl pose as a family. These strangers try to build a life together in a Parisian suburb.

Families (Belles Familles) Jean-Paul Rappeneau, France World Premiere When Shanghai-based businessman Jérome Varenne learns that his childhood home in the village of Ambray is at the centre of a local conflict, he heads there to straighten things out and finds himself at the centre of familial and romantic complications. Starring Mathieu Amalric.

The Family Fang Jason Bateman, USA World Premiere Annie and Baxter Fang have spent most of their adult lives trying to distance themselves from their famous artist parents. But when both siblings find themselves stalled in life, they return home for the first time in a decade where they become entangled in a dark mystery surrounding their parents’ disappearance. Jason Bateman directs and stars, along with co-stars Nicole Kidman and Christopher Walken, in this film based on the New York Times bestseller.

Guilty (Talvar) Meghna Gulzar, India World Premiere Based on true events that set off a media frenzy all over the world, Guilty follows the 2008 Noida Double Murder Case of an investigation into the deaths of 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar and 45-year-old Hemraj Banjade, a domestic employed by Aarushi’s family, in Noida, India. The controversial case lives on in the mind of the public, despite a guilty verdict that sentenced the parents of the murdered girl to life in prison. Starring Irrfan Khan.

I Smile Back Adam Salky, USA Canadian Premiere Adapted from the acclaimed novel by Amy Koppelman, I Smile Back explores the life of Laney (Sarah Silverman), a devoted wife and mother who seems to have it all — a perfect husband, pristine house and shiny SUV. However, beneath the façade lies depression and disillusionment that catapult her into a secret world of reckless compulsion. Only very real danger will force her to face the painful root of her destructiveness and its effect on those she loves.

The Idol (Ya Tayr El Tayer) Hany Abu-Assad, United Kingdom/Palestine/Qatar World Premiere A young boy in Gaza, Mohammad Assaf, dreams of one day singing in the Cairo Opera House with his sister and best friend, Nour. One day, Nour collapses and is rushed to the hospital where it is discovered that she needs a kidney transplant. Nour leaves Mohammad with a dying wish that someday, he will become a famous singer in Cairo. Escaping from Gaza to Egypt against unbelievable odds, Mohammad makes the journey of a lifetime. From two-time Academy Award nominee Hany Abu-Assad comes this inspirational drama inspired by the incredibly true story of Mohammed Assaf, winner of Arab Idol 2013.

The Lady in the Van Nicholas Hytner, USA/United Kingdom World Premiere Based on the true story of Miss Shepherd, a woman of uncertain origins who “temporarily” parked her van in writer Alan Bennett’s London driveway and proceeded to live there for 15 years. What begins as a begrudged favour becomes a relationship that will change both their lives. Filmed on the street and in the house where Bennett and Miss Shepherd lived all those years, acclaimed director Nicholas Hytner reunites with iconic writer Alan Bennett (The Madness of King George, The History Boys) to bring this rare and touching portrait to the screen. Starring Maggie Smith, Dominic Cooper and James Corden.

Len and Company Tim Godsall, USA A successful music producer shattered when both his estranged son North American Premiere quits the industry and exiles himself in upstate New York, but the solitude he seeks is and the pop-star (Juno Temple) he’s created come looking for answers. (Rhys Ifans) (Jack Kilmer)

The Lobster Yorgos Lanthimos, Ireland/United Kingdom/Greece/France/Netherlands North American Premiere In a dystopian near future, single people are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days or are transformed into animals and released into the woods. Starring Colin Farrell, Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux and Ben Whishaw.

Louder than Bombs Joachim Trier, Norway/France/Denmark North American Premiere An upcoming exhibition celebrating photographer Isabelle Reed three years after her untimely death brings her eldest son Jonah back to the family house, forcing him to spend more time with his father Gene and withdrawn younger brother Conrad than he has in years. With the three men under the same roof, Gene tries desperately to connect with his two sons, but they struggle to reconcile their feelings about the woman they remember so differently. Starring Isabelle Huppert, Gabriel Byrne and Jesse Eisenberg.

Maggie’s Plan Rebecca Miller, USA World Premiere Maggie’s plan to have a baby on her own is derailed when she falls in love with John, a married man, destroying his volatile marriage to the brilliant Georgette. But one daughter and three years later, Maggie is out of love and in a quandary: what do you do when you suspect your man and his ex-wife are actually perfect for each other? Starring Julianne Moore, Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph.

Mountains May Depart (Shan He Gu Ren) Jia Zhang-ke, China/France/Japan North American Premiere
Office Johnnie To, China/Hong Kong International Premiere Billion-dollar company Jones & Sunn is going public. Chairman Ho Chung-ping has promised CEO Chang, who has been his mistress for more than 20 years, to become a major shareholder of the company. As the IPO team enters the company to audit its accounts, a series of inside stories start to be revealed. Starring Chow Yun Fat, Sylvia Chang, Tang Wei and Wang Ziyi.

Parched Leena Yadav, India/USA World Premiere Three ordinary women dare to break free from the century old patriarchal ways of their village in the desert heartland of rural India. Starring Tannishtha Chaterjee, Radhika Apte and Surveen Chawla, this unforgettable tale of friendship and triumph is called Parched.

Room Lenny Abrahamson, Ireland/Canada Canadian Premiere Told through the eyes of five-year-old-Jack, Room is a thrilling and emotional tale that celebrates the resilience and power of the human spirit. To Jack, the Room is the world… it’s where he was born, where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. But while it’s home to Jack, to Ma it’s a prison. Through her fierce love for her son, Ma has managed to create a childhood for him in their 10-by-10-foot space. But as Jack’s curiosity is building alongside Ma’s own desperation — she knows that Room cannot contain either indefinitely. Starring Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers and William H. Macy.

Sicario Denis Villeneuve, USA North American Premiere In the lawless border area stretching between the U.S. and Mexico, an idealistic FBI agent (Emily Blunt) is enlisted by an elite government task force official (Josh Brolin) to aid in the escalating war against drugs. Led by an enigmatic consultant with a questionable past (Benicio Del Toro), the team sets out on a clandestine journey that forces Kate to question everything that she believes.

Son of Saul (Saul Fia) László Nemes, Hungary Canadian Premiere October 1944, Auschwitz-Birkenau. Saul Ausländer is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the body of a boy he takes for his son. As the Sonderkommando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child’s body from the flames, find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish and offer the boy a proper burial.

Spotlight Tom McCarthy, USA International Premiere Spotlight tells the true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city and cause a crisis in one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. When the newspaper’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world. Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, Brian d’Arcy James and Billy Crudup.

The new film from master filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke (A Touch of Sin) jumps from the recent past to the speculative near-future as it examines how China’s economic boom has affected the bonds of family, tradition, and love.

Summertime (La Belle Saison) Catherine Corsini, France North American Premiere Delphine, the daughter of farmers, moves to Paris in 1971 to break free from the shackles of her family and to gain her financial independence. Carole is a Parisian, living with Manuel, actively involved in the stirrings of the feminist movement. The meeting of the two women changes their lives forever. Starring Cécile De France, Izia Higelin, Noémie Lvovsky and Kévin Azaïs.

Sunset Song Terence Davies, United Kingdom/Luxembourg World Premiere Terence Davies’ epic of hope, tragedy and love at the dawning of the Great War follows a young woman’s tale of endurance against the hardships of rural Scottish life. Based on the novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon and told with gritty poetic realism by Britain’s greatest living auteur, Sunset Song stars Peter Mullan and Agyness Deyn.

Trumbo Jay Roach, USA World Premiere The successful career of 1940s screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) comes to a crushing end when he and other Hollywood figures are blacklisted for their political beliefs. Trumbo tells the story of his fight against the U.S. government and studio bosses in a war over words and freedom, which entangled everyone in Hollywood from Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) and John Wayne to Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger.

Un plus une Claude Lelouch, France World Premiere Charming, successful, Antoine (Jean Dujardin) could be the hero of one of those films he composes the music for. When he leaves for a job in India, he meets Anna (Elsa Zylberstein), a woman who isn’t like him at all, but who attracts him more than anything. Together, they are going to experience an incredible journey.
Victoria Sebastian Schipper, Germany Canadian Premiere

Where to Invade Next Michael Moore, USA World Premiere Oscar-winning director Michael Moore returns with what may be his most provocative and hilarious movie yet. Moore tells the Pentagon to “stand down”— he will do the invading for America from now on. Discretely shot in several countries and under the radar of the global media, Moore has made a searing cinematic work that is both up-to-the-minute and timeless.

Youth Paolo Sorrentino, Italy/France/United Kingdom/Switzerland North American Premiere
Youth explores the lifelong bond between two friends vacationing in a luxury Swiss Alps lodge as they ponder retirement. While Fred (Michael Caine) has no plans to resume his musical career despite the urging of his daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz), Mick (Harvey Keitel) is intent on finishing the screenplay for what may be his last film for his muse Brenda (Jane Fonda). And where will inspiration lead their younger friend Jimmy (Paul Dano), an actor grasping to make sense of his next performance? From Italy’s Oscar-winning foreign language film writer and director Paolo Sorrentino, Youth asks if our most important and life-changing experiences can come at any time — even late — in life.

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Documentarian filmmaker Michael Moore announced via Twitter that his new film, Where to Invade Next, will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this September. He made the announcement via Twitter.

More Tiff announcements coming later today.

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The New York Times just announced that the Danny Boyle film, “Steve Jobs,” starring Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet will be the centerpiece gala for the New York Film Fest. With a crackling script by Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs will be poised to take the Oscars by storm, or certainly get invited into the room.

In a statement, the event’s director, Kent Jones, described the film as “extremely sharp,” adding, “It’s wildly entertaining, and the actors just soar — you can feel their joy as they bite into their material.”

The fest kicks off September 25th, after Telluride and Toronto, leaving me to wonder whether Steve Jobs will be headed to Telluride…

The NYFF can have a major Oscar impact and then sometimes it can do more harm than good if the critics turn on the movie. It is then in the hands of the left coast to turn that boat around, as happened with Life of Pi.

Tomorrow, we get our first taste of the Toronto Film Fest lineup. Telluride will not announce until the day before Labor Day weekend, at the end of August. Supposedly if Toronto says “international premiere” that means it could theoretically play at Telluride first.

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The Venice Film Festival launched last year’s Best Picture winner into the Oscar race, and very nearly launched the previous year’s winner, Gravity. It comes on just moments before Telluride and the one-two punch of it hitting big and receiving raves in Venice, coupled with an enthusiastic, hyped up response in Telluride usually drives the momentum through to the end of the year. Of course, no one really thought Birdman could or would win last year, not until the Producers Guild picked it and the rest is Oscar his-story. By putting Everest in there they’re going for a big move, like Gravity I would guess, rather than a smaller move like Birdman. Gravity was big on visual effects – dizzying even — and high on emotions. Anyone who knows the TRUE story of what happened on Everest in 1996 knows that this will also be high on emotions.

Everest is the story of the disastrous journey to the top of Everest when a big storm came in. Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Thin Air is required reading of the event, if you have not yet read it. It is the story of rich people throwing money at the sherpas to get them to the top of the mountain. It is a story of why getting back down off the mountain is far more dangerous than going up. It’s about oxygen tanks, the need for them and the lack of them. It is about teamwork and looking out for your fellow climber and it’s about those who break the codes, clog up the lines and leave lots of dead bodies in their wake. It was a cautionary tale in 1997 when the Krakauer book was released. The earthquake in Nepal this year now holds the record for single day deaths on Everest and can’t be laid at the feet of human error, as the 1996 tragedy could.

I’m very much looking forward to Everest but all must go in not expecting a happy ending. Still, I’m sure it will be thrilling to watch.

Pic is directed by Baltasar Kormákur.

Here is a featurette:

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SIFF celebrates its films and filmmakers with the Golden Space Needle Audience Awards. Selected by Festival audiences, awards are given in five categories: Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Short Film. This year, nearly 90,000 ballots were submitted.

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST FILM
The Dark Horse, directed by James Napier Robertson (New Zealand 2014)

First runner-up: Inside Out, directed by Pete Docter (USA 2015)
Second runner-up: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (USA 2015)
Third runner-up: Shaun the Sheep, directed by Richard Starzak, Mark Burton (UK 2015)
Fourth runner-up: Good Ol’ Boy, directed by Frank Lotito (USA 2015)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST DOCUMENTARY
Romeo is Bleeding, directed by Jason Zeldes (USA 2015)

First runner-up: Paper Tigers, directed by James Redford (USA 2015)
Second runner-up: The Glamour & The Squalor, directed by Marq Evans (USA 2015)
Third runner-up: The Great Alone, directed by Greg Kohs (USA 2015)
Fourth runner-up: Frame by Frame, directed by Mo Scarpelli, Alexandria Bombach (Afghanistan 2014)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST DIRECTOR
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (USA 2015)

First runner-up: George Ovashvili, Corn Island (Georgia 2014)
Second runner-up: Peter Greenaway, Eisenstein in Guanajuato (Netherlands 2015)
Third runner-up: Susanne Bier, A Second Chance (Denmark 2014)
Fourth runner-up: Ross Partridge, Lamb (USA 2015)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST ACTOR
Cliff Curtis, The Dark Horse (New Zealand 2014)

First runner-up: Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes (UK 2015)
Second runner-up: Jason Segel, End of the Tour (USA 2014)
Third runner-up: Victor Andrés Trelles Turgeon, Henri Henri (Canada (Québec) 2014)
Fourth runner-up: Jacir Eid, Theeb (Jordan 2014)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST ACTRESS
Nina Hoss, Phoenix (Germany 2014)

First runner-up: Kalki Koechlin, Margarita, with a Straw (India 2014)
Second runner-up: Rebecka Josephson, My Skinny Sister (Sweden 2015)
Third runner-up: Regina Case, The Second Mother (Brazil 2015)
Fourth runner-up: Ghita Nørby, Key House Mirror (Denmark 2015)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST SHORT FILM
Even the Walls, directed by Sarah Kuck, Saman Maydáni (USA 2015)

First runner-up: Submarine Sandwich, directed by PES (USA 2014)
Second runner-up: Stealth, directed by Bennett Lasseter (USA 2014)
Third runner-up: Personal Development, directed by Tom Sullivan (Ireland 2015)
Fourth runner-up: Bihttoš, directed by Elie-Máijá Tailfeathers (Canada 2014)

LENA SHARPE AWARD FOR PERSISTENCE OF VISION
Frame by Frame, directed by Mo Scarpelli, Alexandria Bombach (Afghanistan 2014)

This award is given to the female director’s film that receives the most votes in public balloting at the Festival. Lena Sharpe was co-founder and managing director of Seattle’s Festival of Films by Women Directors and a KCTS-TV associate who died in a plane crash while on assignment. As a tribute to her efforts in bringing the work of women filmmakers to prominence, SIFF created this special award and asked Women in Film Seattle to bestow it.

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An – a film about sweet red bean paste and the simplicity of happiness

Naomi Kawese’s film An, which translates to Sweet Red Bean Paste, is one of the surprises, at least for me, at the festival so far. The film examines the relationship of three unlikely people coming together over the cooking and eating and appreciating of Dorayaki. The quest for the perfect red bean paste eventually brings the chef and his elderly teacher to form a close bond, as both of them discover how they’ve been trapped for too long in places that confine them.

An begins with a man (Masatoshi Nagase) in a small cafe cooking red bean paste inside pancakes, otherwise known as Dorayaki. One day an elderly woman asks him for a job. He reluctantly accepts, thinking she is too old and too tired to do the work. She teaches him the fundamental art of cooking red bean paste and eventually his dorayaki become so legendary his cafe is making a tidy profit. That is until it is found out that the old woman Tokue (Kirin Kiki) once had leprosy.

The teacher and student relationship becomes somewhat of a maternal one, while a third person, a high schooler becomes curious about Tokue. The young girl, the old woman and the grown man discover together Tokue’s backstory, being confined and exiled at a young age, never given a chance at a real life, while her only truly happy moment was helping to cook the dorayaki. It is really that simple, that beautiful. If swaying cherry blossoms are something you could look at for many silent minutes in awed appreciation, you might be enlightened enough to take on this film.

Kiki is delightful as Tokue, someone who has every reason to be a bitter and angry person yet chooses instead to tread lightly, smile often, and give of herself whenever possible. That is how she draws two introverts to her, by seeing them as they are and teaching them who they might become.

Because the film is about being trapped inside, much of Kawese’s imagery involves the beauty of outside, even the quiet mostly unacknowledged beauty of something so simple as the wind spinning a plastic bottle or water trickling down a stream. Kiki’s light works well with Nagase’s dark. Though he has no stigma of disease separating him from society he has nonetheless shut himself off, doing nothing but cooking all day and passing out at night after drinking too much.

With Mad Max this morning and An in the evening, I was treated to two films here in Cannes that depict older women in important roles. Not just older as in 40 something, but older as in 70 something. Do they ever appear in American film except to play grandmothers? What a missed opportunity to pretend they don’t exist. Kawase’s film finds the story in this invisible woman. It is a story that matters, one that is rarely told if at all.

How great to see old age treated as what it really should be — experience and knowledge is passed down through stories. Here in America we think of old age as care facilities, Depends, Alzheimer’s and dementia. We don’t think of the value of someone who has lived so long and learned so much passing on to us what we know.

Kawase’s film depicts a world where we are surrounded by so much beauty even if we choose the cage over freedom. It’s there if you know where to look, if you know how to listen, if you’re willing to see it.

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Director Alfonso Cuarón will chair the jury at this year’s jury of the 72nd Venice International Film Festival which takes place this September. Cuarón will head the international competition jury which awards the Golden Lion for Best Film and other official prizes.

Cuarón is not stranger to the Venice Film Festival, Gravity was the opening film in 2013, Y Tu Mamà También won Best Screenplay in 2001, and the 2006 film, Children of Men” won the Best Cinematography the Osella Award.

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Looks like yet another great performance from Joaquin Phoenix, not to mention Parker Posey and Emma Stone.

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The Cannes Classic sidebar lineup was revealed earlier today. The sidebar showcasing classic films and documentaries about cinema will include Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bette and Musical Opium by Arielle Dombasle. Actress Kim Novak will present two Alfred Hitchcock films, Vertigo and The Birds.

1988’s Best Picture winner, Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor will screen in 3D, while Costa Gavras and Ingrid Bergman are among those to be honored.

The full line up can be found on the Cannes Website and is:

• Documentaries about cinema:

• Hitchcock / Truffaut by Kent Jones (2015, 1h28)
Co-written by Kent Jones and Serge Toubiana. Produced by Artline Films, Cohen Media Group and Arte France.

• Depardieu grandeur nature by Richard Melloul (2014, 1h)
Produced by Richard Melloul Productions and Productions Tony Comiti.

• Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans by Gabriel Clarke and John McKenna (2015, 1h52)
Produced by John McKenna.

• By Sidney Lumet by Nancy Buirski (2015, 1h43)
Produced by Augusta Films, co-produced by American Masters. Presented by RatPac Documentary Films.

• Harold and Lilian : a Hollywood Love Story de Daniel Raim (2015, 1h41)
Produced by Adama Films.


The tribute to Ingrid Bergman

• Jag Är Ingrid (Ingrid Bergman, in Her Own Words) by Stig Björkman (2015, 1h54)
Produced by Stina Gardell/Mantaray Film.

Celebrating the anniversary of the sixty years of the creation of the Palme d’or:

• The Golden Palm’s Legend (La Légende de la Palme d’or) by Alexis Veller (2015, 1h10)
Produced by AV Productions.

• Centennial Orson Welles

Citizen Kane by Orson Welles (1941, 1h59)
A Warner Bros. presentation. The 4k restoration of Citizen Kane was completed at Warner Brothers Motion Picture Imagery by colorist Janet Wilson, with supervision by Ned Price. The image was reconstructed from three nitrate fine grain master positives as the original camera negative no longer survives. Optical soundtrack “RCA squeeze duplex format.”

The Third Man (Le Troisième homme) by Carol Reed (1949, 1h44)
A Studiocanal presentation. Intermediate film print, 2nd generation of nitrate film (non-existent original negative), scanned in 4K and restored frame by frame in 4K by Deluxe in England. Restoration supervised by STUDIOCANAL.

The Lady from Shanghai (La Dame de Shanghai) by Orson Welles (1948, 1h27)
Presented by Park Circus. Restoration in 4K at Colorworks at Sony Pictures. The nitrate original negative was scanned in 4K at Deluxe in Hollywood before digital restoration, part of the work completed at MTI Film in Los Angeles. Sound restoration sonore at Chase Audio at Deluxe, color grading and DCP prepared by Colorworks.

Two documentaries about Orson Welles:

Orson Welles, Autopsie d’une légende by Elisabeth Kapnist (2015, 56mn)
Produced by Phares et balises and Arte France.

This Is Orson Welles by Clara and Julia Kuperberg (2015, 53mn)
Produced by TCM Cinéma and Wichita Films.

• An evening with Barbet Schroeder

More by Barbet Schroeder (1969, 1h57)
Restoration made by Digimage Classics in 2K. The laboratory worked with the original film and sound negatives. Color grading under the supervision of Barbet Schroeder.
The film will be screened after Amnesia (2015, 1h36) selected in Séance spéciale.


• Tribute to Manoel de Oliveira

Thanks to Manoel de Oliveira’s daughter, Adelaide Trepa, and his grandson Manuel Casimiro, whom allowed with the help of Director José Manuel Costa and Subdirector Jui Machado, of the Cinemateca Portuguesa, the Festival de Cannes will screen his posthumous film Visita ou Memórias e Confissões (1982, 1h08). Previously unseen, it would have been only screened at the Cinemateca Portuguesa in Lisboa and Porto, Manoel de Oliveira’s city of birth.

Lumière !

After Georges Méliès in the Grande Salle, to celebrate the 120 years of the birth of the Cinématographe Lumière, screening of a selection of Lumière films in the Grand Théâtre… Lumière.
A presentation of the Institut Lumière, of the Centre National du Cinéma and the Cinémathèque française. Screening in 4K DCP. 4K restoration carried out by Eclair Group, in collaboration with l’Immagine Ritrovata.

Restored Prints

• Rocco e i suoi fratelli (Rocco and His Brothers/Rocco et ses frères) by Luchino Visconti (1960, 2h57)
A presentation of The Film Foundation. 4K restoration carried out by Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory, in association with Titanus, TF1 Droits Audiovisuels and The Film Foundation. Restoration with funding provided by Gucci and The Film Foundation.

• Les Yeux brûlés by Laurent Roth (1986, 58mn)
A presentation by the CNC and the ECPAD with Laurent Roth in attendance. Digital restoration made from 2K scanning of the 35mm négatives and the scanning of original elements if they were still existent from archive images. Restoration made by the laboratory of the CNC at Bois d’Arcy.

• Ascenseur pour l’échafaud by Louis Malle (1958, 1h33)
2K restoration presented by Gaumont. Work on the image done by Eclair, sound restored by Diapason in parternship with Eclair.

• La Noire de… (Black Girl) by Ousmane Sembène (1966, 1h05)
Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project in collaboration with the Sembène Estate, Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, INA, Eclair Laboratories and the Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée, CNC.
Restoration carried out at Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory.

Preceded by the documentary:

SEMBENE! by Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman (2015, 1h22)
Produced by Galle Ceddo Projects, Impact Partners, New Mexico Media Partners, SNE Partners.

• Insiang by Lino Brocka (1976, 1h35)
Insiang was the first Filipino feature film to be presented at Cannes.
Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project.
Restored by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata. Restoration funding provided by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

• Sur (The South / Le Sud) by Fernando Solanas (1988, 2h03)
Presented by Cinesur and Blaq Out in partnership with UniversCiné and the INCAA. HD restoration made by Cinecolor laboratory-Industrias Audiovisuales S.A, headed by Roberto Zambrino and supervised by Fernando Solanas upon the occasion of the restoration of all his films which will be released as a DVD boxset (Blaq Out editions).

• Zangiku Monogatari (The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum / Le Conte du chrysanthème tardif) by Kenji Mizoguchi (1939, 2h23)
A presentation of Shochiku studio. The digital restoration is from a 4K film transfer (2K projection) by Shochiku Co., Ltd.

• Jingi Naki Tatakai (Battles without Honor and Humanity aka Yakusa Paper / Combat sans code d’honneur) by Kinji Fukasaku (1973, 1h39)
A presentation of TOEI COMPANY, LTD. The film has been restored from 4K 35mm print original negative into 2K digital by TOEI LABO TECH. The film will be distributed in France by Wild Side Films.

• Szegénylegények (The Round-Up / Les Sans espoir) by Miklós Jancsó (1965, 1h28)
A presentation of the Hungarian National Film Fund and of the Hungarian National Digital Film Archive and Film Institute (MaNDA). In competition at the Festival de Cannes in 1966. 2K film and sound restoration by the Hungarian Filmlab from the 35mm negative.

• Les Ordres (Orderers) by Michel Brault (1974, 1h48)
A présentation of « Éléphant, mémoire du cinéma québécois. » HD scanning from three sources: original negative 35 mm A and B colors, 35 mm intermediate film print and internegative. Restored sound from a 35 mm three-track magnetic mix. Restorations lead by Marie-José Raymond, and the color grading lead by Claude Fournier with director Michel Brault at Technicolor Montréal.

• Panique by Julien Duvivier (1946, 1h31)
Presented by TF1 DA. As the original negative has disappeared, a 2K restoration from the nitrate intermediate film print done at Digimage.

• Xia Nu (俠女 / A Touch of Zen) by King Hu (1973, 3h)
A presentation of the Taiwan Film Institute. The first Taiwanese film and the first film in Mandarin presented at the Festival de Cannes. 40th anniversary of the Grand Prix de la Commission Supérieure Technique in 1975. Digital restoration made in 4K by the Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna from the negative. The director of photography supervised the color grading.

• Dobro Pozhalovat, Ili Postoronnim Vkhod Vospreshchen (Welcome or No Trespassing) by Elem Klimov (1964, 1h14)
A presentation of the Open World Foundation and Mosfilm. A 2K scanning, sound and film restoration by Mosfilm and Krupny Plan.

• La Historia Oficial (The Official Story / L’Histoire officielle) by Luis Puenzo (1984, 1h50)
A presentation of Historias Cinematográficas. Award for Best Actress Ex-aequo at the Festival de Cannes 1985 for Norma Aleandro and Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1986. A 4K Restoration from the original négative. New color grading done by the director and the director of photography. Digitization of the sound from a restoration of the magnetic tapes the remixed in 5.1 with new effects and additional orchestrations. Funding provided by the Argentinian National Film Institute (INCAA) and work done at Cinecolor Lab under the supervision of director/producer Luis Puenzo.

• Marius by Alexander Korda (1931, 2h), script and dialogues by Marcel Pagnol
Restoration by the Compagnie méditerranéenne de film – MPC and La Cinémathèque française, with the support of the CNC, the Fonds Culturel Franco-Américain DGA-MPA-SACEM- WGAW, the help of ARTE France Unité Cinéma and the Archives Audiovisuelles de Monaco, with SOGEDA Monaco. 4K restoration supervised by Nicolas Pagnol and Hervé Pichard (La Cinémathèque française). Works done by DIGIMAGE laboratory. Color grading carried out by Guillaume Schiffman.

Cannes Classics at the Cinéma de la Plage!

• Ran by Akira Kurosawa (1985, 2h42)
Original negative scanned in 4K and restored frame by frame in 4k by Éclair. Image and sound restoration under STUDIOCANAL supervision with Kadokawa (Japanese co-producer). Color grading approved by Mr. Ueda (cinematographer), Akira Kurosawa’s close associate on the film.

• Hibernatus by Edouard Molinaro (1969, 1h40)
2K restoration presented by Gaumont. Image works done by Eclair, sound restored by Diapason with Eclair.

• Le Grand blond avec une chaussure noire by Yves Robert (1972, 1h30)
2K restoration presented by Gaumont. Image works done by Eclair, sound restored by Diapason with Eclair.

• Jurassic Park 3D by Steven Spielberg (1993, 2h01)

• Ivan the Terrible 1 and 2 by Sergueï Eisenstein (1944, 1h40 et 1945, 1h26)
Digital restoration of image and sound by MOSFILM Cinema Concern. Producer of restoration Karen Shakhnazarov.

• The Terminator by James Cameron (1984, 1h48)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios’ presents the feature ahead of Park Circus’ worldwide reissue of the film in over 20 territories this June.

• The Usual Suspects by Brian Singer (1995, 1h46)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios will be presenting the film on DCP (in digital format) for the first time, 20 years after it made its premiere at the Festival de Cannes.

• Hôtel du Nord by Marcel Carné (1938, 1h35)
Restoration presented by MK2 with the support of the CNC. 2K image restoration (from a 4K scan of the image nitrate negative) done by Digimage Classics.

• Joe Hill de Bo Widerberg (1971, 1h50)
2K restoration presented by Malavida Films and the Swedish Film Institute which carried out the works from the original negative.

Besides, the Cinéma de la Plage will screen as a world premiere Rabid Dogs by Eric Hannezo (2015, 1h40) starring Lambert Wilson, Guillaume Gouix et Virginie Ledoyen.
Produced by Black Dynamite and JD Prod.

Cannes 2015 runs from May 13 to May 24.

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