2019 Venice International Film Festival: ‘Joker’ wins the Golden Lion top prize

September 7, 2019

by Carla Hay

Venice Film Festival

“Joker,” director Todd Phillips’ origin story about the DC Comics villain, was awarded the Golden Lion (the top prize) at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival in Venice, Italy. “Joker” stars Joaquin Phoenix in the title role. Warner Bros. Pictures will release “Joker” on October 4, 2019. Movie critics have mostly praised “Joker,” which is a dark and violent film that is a departure for Phillips, who was previously known for directing comedies like “The Hangover” movies and “Old School.” The 76th annual Venice International Film Festival took place from August 28 to September 7, 2019.

The Grand Jury Prize (second place) went to “An Officer and a Spy,” directed by Roman Polanski. The Venice Film Festival got considerable criticism for selecting Polanski’s film to be a part of the festival. Polanski has been a fugitive of the law since 1978, when he fled to France after being convicted of raping an underage girl in the Los Angeles area.

Other winners at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival included Luca Marinelli, “Martin Eden” for Best Actor; Ariane Ascaride of “Gloria Mundi” for Best Actress; and “About Endlessness” helmer Roy Andersson for Best Director.

Here is the complete list of winners for the 2019 Venice International Film Festival:


Golden Lion: “Joker,” directed by Todd Phillips

Grand Jury Prize: “An Officer and a Spy,” directed by Roman Polanski

Silver Lion for Best Director: Roy Andersson, “About Endlessness”

Volpi Cup for Best Actress: Ariane Ascaride, “Gloria Mundi”

Volpi Cup for Best Actor:  Luca Marinelli, “Martin Eden”

Best Screenplay: “No. 7 Cherry Lane,” written by Yonfan

Special Jury Prize: “The Mafia Is No Longer What It Used to Be,” directed by Franco Maresco

Marcello Mastroianni Award for Young Performer:


Best Film: “Atlantis,” directed by Valentyn Vasyanovych

Best Director:  Théo Court, “White on White”

Special Jury Prize: “Verdict,” directed by Raymund Ribas Gutierrez

Best Actress: Marta Nieto, “Madre”

Best Actor: Sami Bouajila, “A Son”

Best Screenplay: “Back Home,” directed by Jessica Palud, Philippe Lioret and Diastème

Best Short Film: “Darling,” directed by Saim Sadiq


Luigi De Laurentiis Award for Best Debut Film: “You Will Die at Twenty,” directed by Amjad Abu Alala


Best Documentary on Cinema: “Babenco – Alguém Tem Que Ouvir O Coração E Dizer: Parou,” directed by Bárbara Paz

Best Restored Film: “Ecstasy,” directed by Gustav Machatý


Best Virtual Reality: 
“The Key,” directed by Céline Tricart

Best Virtual Reality Experience: “A Linha,” directed by Ricardo Laganaro

Best Virtual Reality Story: “Daughters of Chibok,” directed by Joel Kachi Benson

2019 Telluride Film Festival: programming slate announced

August 29, 2019

by Carla Hay

The 46th annual Telluride Film Festival—which takes place August 30 to September 2, 2019 in Telluride, Colorado—has announced its lineup of movie The include the world premieres of “Judy,” starring Renée Zellweger as Judy Garland; “Ford v Ferrari,” starring Christian Bale as a race-car driver and Matt Damon as a Ford auto executive who team up to build a champion race car; “Waves,” an African American family drama, starring Sterling K. Brown; and “Motherless Brooklyn,” a crime drama starring and directed by Edward Norton as a private investigator involved in a murder case.

The Telluride Film Festival, along with the Venice International Film Festival in Italy and the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada, can be considered one of the most important Oscar-contender launching pads from August to September. Unlike other major film festivals, which announce their movies weeks in advance, the Telluride Film Festival keeps its slate of movies a secret until a day or two before the festival begins.

Because the Telluride and Venice film festivals overlap in time frame, they both tend to have a lot of the same films, with Venice (the larger festival) usually having the edge in getting world premieres. For example, in 2018, both festivals had “Roma,” “The Favourite” and “First Man”—three movies that had their world premieres at Venice, and went on to win to win several awards, including Oscars and Golden Globes. In 2018, Telluride had the world premiere of the mountain-climbing documentary “Free Solo” (which won the Oscar) and the true-crime drama “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” which received three Oscar nominations.

The 2019 Telluride Film Festival will also have a tribute to the late Belgian French filmmaker Agnès Varda, who died on March 29. The last film she directed, the documentary “Varda by Agnes,” will screen at the festival.

In addition, the festival’s 2019 Silver Medallion Awards (given to those who’ve had significant achievements in movies) will go to Zellweger; actor Adam Driver (whose movies “Marriage Story” and “The Report” are at the festival); and writer/director Philip Kaufman, who will have two of his  movies screening at the festival “The Right Stuff” (1983) and “The Wanderers” (1979).

Dolby Laboratories will receive the festival’s 2019 Special Medallion Award.

Also at the festival is the Aretha Franklin concert documentary “Amazing Grace,” which was filmed in 1972 but wasn’t officially released in theaters until 2018 for a limited run, followed by a wider release in 2019.

Here is the complete lineup of feature-length movies in the “Show” main program at the 2019 Telluride Film Festival:

“The Aeronauts” (Directed by Tom Harper, U.S./U.K.)
“The Assistant” (Directed by Kitty Green, U.S.)
“The Australian Dream” (Directed by Daniel Gordon, Australia)
“Beanpole” (Directed by Kantemir Balagov, Russia)
“The Climb” (Directed by Michael Angelo Covino)
“Country Music” (Directed by Ken Burns, U.S.)
“Coup 53” (Directed by Taghi Amirani, U.K.)
“Diego Maradona” (Directed by Asif Kapadia, U.K.)
“Family Romance, LLC” (Directed by Werner Herzog, U.S./Japan)
“First Cow” (Directed by Kelly Reichardt, U.S.)
“Ford v Ferrari” (Directed by James Mangold, U.S.)
“A Hidden Life” (Directed by Terrence Malick, U.S.)
“The Human Factor” (Directed by Dror Moreh, U.K.)
“Inside Bill’s Brain” (Directed by Davis Guggenheim)
“Judy” (Directed by Rupert Goold, U.K./U.S.)
“The Kingmaker” (Directed by Lauren Greenfield, U.S.)
“Lyrebird” (Directed by Dan Friedkin, U.S.)
“Marriage Story” (Directed by Noah Bumbach, U.S.)
“Motherless Brooklyn” (Directed by Edward Norton, U.S.)
“Oliver Sacks: His Own Life” (Directed by Ric Burns, U.S.)
“Pain and Glory” (Directed by Pedro Almodóvar, Spain)
“Parasite” (Directed by Bong Joon-Ho, South Korea)
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (Directed by Céline Sciamma, France)
“The Report” (Directed by Scott Z. Burns, U.S.)
“Tell Me Who I Am” (Directed by Ed Perkins)
“Those Who Remained” (Directed by Barnabás Toth, Hungary)
“The Two Popes” (Directed by Fernando Meirelles, U.K.)
“Uncut Gems” (Directed by Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie, U.S.)
“Varda by Agnès” (Directed by Agnès Varda, France)
“Verdict” (Directed by Raymond Ribay Gutierrez, Philippines)
“Waves” (Directed by Trey Edward Shults, U.S.)
“Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema” (Directed by Mark Cousins, U.K.)

Here is the complete list of films for the “Backlot” selection of documentaries at the 2019 Telluride Film Festival:

“63 Up” (Directed by Michael Apted, U.K.)
“Billie” (Directed by James Erskine, U.K.)
“Chulas Fronteras” (Directed by Les Blank, U.S., 1976)
“The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash” (Directed by Thom Zimny, U.S.)
“Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” (Directed by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, U.S.)
“Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin” (Directed by Werner Herzog, U.S.)
“Soros” (Directed by Jesse Dylan, U.S.)
“Uncle Yanco” (Directed by Agnès Varda, France/U.S., 1967) + “Black Panthers” (Directed by Agnès Varda, France-U.S., 1968)

Guest Director Pico Iyer, who serves as a key collaborator in the festival’s program, presents the following revival programs:

“Late Autumn” (Directed by Yasujirō Ozu, Japan, 1960)
“The Makioka Sisters” (Directed by Kon Ichikawa, Japan, 1983)
“Mr. and Mrs. Iyer” (Directed by Aparna Sen, India, 2002)
“The Phantom Carriage” (Directed by Victor Sjöström, Sweden, 1921) — new 35 mm print
“Under the Sun” (Directed by Vitaly Mansky, Czech Republic-Russia-Germany-Latvia-North Korea, 2015)
“When a Woman Ascends the Stairs” (Directed by Mikio Naruse, Japan, 1960)
“The Wind” (Directed by Victor Sjöström, U.S, 1928)

2019 BFI London Festival: programming slate announced

August 29, 2019

The following is a press release from the BFI London Film Festival:

The 63rd BFI London Film Festival (LFF) in partnership with American  Express announces its full programme, presenting 229 feature films from some of the world’s greatest filmmakers and emerging talent.

For 12 days from 2-13 October 2019 the  LFF  will celebrate the diverse landscape of international cinema, showcasing films set to entertain and inspire, provoke debate and tackle the urgent issues of our time.

Amanda Nevill, CEO, BFI said  “At this moment when the UK is adapting and reshaping our place in the world, the BFI London Film Festival really underlines the soft power of the art of film and showcases the dynamism of global exchange and partnership. All the BFI’s cultural programmes, from BFI Southbank to BFI Player, have sought to be an active champion at the heart of the global cinema story and this year’s LFF does this so powerfully with its incredibly rich and diverse programme and the international filmmaking community who love being here.’

Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Director said, “In its 63rd year, BFI London Film Festival is one of the world’s  great public film fests. And that greatness comes from the fact that we serve one of the most vibrant and international cities in the world and welcome voracious, adventurous and cineliterate audiences. While there are many talking points emerging from this year’s programme, a few really leap out: the strong instinct from filmmakers to explore urgent social and political issues through narrative and often through the use of genre; the striking emergence of a a new generation of filmmakers exploding onto the international stage with startlingly bold, original and ambitious debuts; the continuing and welcome trend of increased gender balance in directing talent behind short film, first and second features. And while we so delighted to see work from 78 countries in the Festival, we also love welcoming a particularly exceptional new wave of UK based filmmakers with cracking first and second feature films in LFF. ”

As Britain’s leading cinema event and one of the world’s most important film festivals, the programme offers UK  audiences the chance to see some of the most anticipated new films from around the globe, including a host of new works destined to be major awards contenders. This October, the Festival will present 28 World Premieres, 12 International Premieres and 28 European Premieres, welcoming an impressive line up of first-class filmmakers and acting talent.

The programme presents stories from a broad range of voices, continuing to support both home-grown cinema and international productions. 78 countries are represented across short films and features, with 40% of all films directed
or co-directed by women.  The Festival continues to act as a launch pad for debut filmmakers, often supporting them throughout their career, demonstrated by returning Festival alumni in this year’s programme. The 229 feature films screening include: 41 documentaries, 7 animations, 13 archive restorations and 7 artists’ moving image features. The programme also includes 116 short films.

The Competitive sections serve to recognise remarkable creative achievements from British and international filmmakers. Winners are selected by hand-picked juries across four categories: Official Competition, First Feature, Documentary and Short Film. Last year, audiences were placed at the heart of the awards celebrations  for the first time, when the winning film from each section was presented to the public as a surprise screening, following the on-stage announcement of the winner. Building on last year’s sell-out success, audiences will once again have the chance to buy tickets to these awards screenings and be part of the proceedings.

This year sees the return of Odeon’s iconic flagship cinema, the redesigned ODEON Luxe Leicester Square. Each night of the Festival, a Headline Gala will screen in flawless 4k projection with pitch-perfect Dolby® Atmos sound. Luxe recliners offer space and comfort, ensuring every seat in the 800 seater venue is the best in the house. Films in Official Competition will be presented at the Vue West End and once again the festival’s beautiful 800-seat purpose-built venue Embankment Garden Cinema will be housed in the tranquil surroundings of Victoria Embankment Gardens. First built for the Festival in 2016, this state-of-the-art venue is constructed to the highest technical specifications with raked seating, Christie Digital 4k RGB pure laser illuminated projection and Dolby® 7.1 surround sound, with audiences and filmmakers alike praising its quality of cinema experience.

Alongside the Galas, Special Presentations and films in Competition, the Festival will show a range of new world cinema in sections Love, Debate, Laugh, Dare, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Create, Experimenta and Family – which provide pathways for audiences to navigate the extensive programme.

Cinemagoers across the UK will have the opportunity to be part of the closing night celebrations, with simulcast screenings of Martin Scorsese’s THE IRISHMAN, bringing the excitement of the Leicester Square premiere to cinemas nationwide. Continuing the Festival’s offering to audiences outside of London, screenings of three new films will be brought to young film lovers, with curated screenings across the UK for primary and secondary schools as part of the  LFF Education Programme.

LFF Connects gives audiences the chance to hear from creative leaders working at the intersection of film and other creative industries. The Festival’s acclaimed Screen Talks offer a series of in-depth interviews with leaders in contemporary cinema. Participants confirmed so far include directors Rian Johnson, Kim Longinotto and Lukas Moodysson, with more to be announced nearer the Festival.

The Festival continues to develop its offering of both industry and public events. Audiences will have the chance to join in the film chat and soak up all the atmosphere at the official social hub down at BFI Southbank, where they can take part in free events. Designed to take you behind the scenes and get conversations flowing, events will include talks and debates, book signings, live DJ club nights and free short film screenings.

The Festival will partner with a host of London cinemas, with its films playing on 18 screens at 12 venues across the capital: BFI Southbank, BFI IMAX, Ciné Lumière, Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Soho, Embankment Garden Cinema, Empire Haymarket, the ICA, ODEON Luxe Leicester Square, ODEON Tottenham Court Road, Prince Charles Cinema and Vue West End.


As previously announced,  this year’s Opening Night gala will be THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD, directed by the multi-award-winning writer, filmmaker and broadcaster Armando Iannucci (The Death of Stalin) and starring BAFTA Award winner Dev Patel as David Copperfield. The film will receive its European Premiere on Wednesday 2nd October at ODEON Luxe Leicester Square. This fresh take on Charles Dickens’ classic novel boasts a stellar British cast, led by Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw, Paul Whitehouse and Gwendoline Christie, many of whom are expected on the red carpet in Leicester Square.

The Festival closes with the International Premiere of THE IRISHMAN, directed by one of the true giants of cinema, Martin Scorsese (Silence, The Departed), and starring Academy Award® winners Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. A film that has been many years in the making, THE IRISHMAN is a grand scale epic examining the influence of organised crime in post-war America. The festival is delighted to be bringing the work of this iconic filmmaker to the UK on Sunday 13th October in London, where there will be simultaneous preview screenings of THE IRISHMAN taking place at cinemas across the UK.


HEADLINE GALAS  The American Express Gala is the European Premiere of KNIVES OUT, a fresh take on a classic ‘whodunit’ written and directed by Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper). A stylish tribute to mystery mastermind Agatha Christie, KNIVES OUT is a fun, modern-day murder mystery where everyone is a suspect. When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. A witty delight for film fans, the film features a starstudded cast that includes Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Katherine Langford and Christopher Plummer. The film will premiere on Tuesday, 8th October at the ODEON Luxe Leicester Square.

The Mayor of London’s Gala sees Academy Award® winner Eddie Redmayne and Academy Award® nominee Felicity Jones reunite on screen, as aerial explorers in THE AERONAUTS. This heart-racing adventure story directed by longtime festival favourite Tom Harper (Wild Rose, LFF 2018) and written by Jack Thorne (The Scouting Book for Boys, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child) captures the audacity and romance of the Victorian race into the air, with special effects that will transport you to the skies as we follow Amelia Wren (Jones) and James Glaisher (Redmayne) on mankind’s highest ever balloon voyage.

Starring Academy Award® winner Tom Hanks as beloved television entertainer Fred Rogers, the BFI Patrons’ Gala, A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD, sees director Marielle Heller return to the festival after premiering her second feature Can You Ever Forgive Me? last year. The film is the perfect antidote for uneasy times and will melt the coldest of hearts. Matthew Rhys is excellent as magazine writer Lloyd Vogel (based on journalist Tom Junod) who is commissioned to write an article on the presenter. Regarding Rogers as a monolith of an unfashionable past, he asks: ‘Could anyone really be so good, so kind?’ But on spending more time with Rogers, Vogel begins to question his own misanthropic outlook.

British director Michael Winterbottom (The Trip, The Wedding Guest) brings us a sharp-tongued and timely satire in the Headline Gala European Premiere of GREED. The film stars Steve Coogan as Richard ‘Greedy’ McCreadie, a highstreet retail tycoon who throws a lavish, Rome-themed 60th birthday bash to prove he’s still on top after a recent spate of fraud investigations. As guests start arriving, including McCreadie’s ex-wife (Isla Fisher), his empire starts to fall apart at the seams. Featuring a vast ensemble cast that includes Shirley Henderson and David Mitchell, this entertaining and anarchic farce pits humour against the 1%.

Celebrated screenwriter William Nicholson (Les Miserables, Gladiator, Shadowlands) directs Annette Bening and Bill Nighy in the Headline Gala HOPE GAP, a witty divorce drama that depicts a couple in their 60s as they face the end of their marriage after 29 years. Josh O’Connor plays their son, who discovers, on returning to his parents bohemian coastal home for the weekend, that his father has had enough and his bags are packed. Shot with a ravishing sense of design and colour, making the most of its lush English coastline, this is an emotionally astute portrait of a marriage; of regrets uncovered, decisions made too late and the precariousness of hope.

Taika Waititi’s JOJO RABBIT will receive its European Premiere in this exuberant and satirical Headline Gala. Jojo is a game, if somewhat inept, member of the Hitler Youth; his closest friend, an imaginary Adolf Hitler (Waititi, on hilarious form). When he discovers his mother (Scarlett Johansson) has been hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie,
Leave No Trace) in their house, Jojo must go to war with his own conscience. Tackling the ludicrousness of racism and nationalism, Waititi has also crafted a film of great emotional charge and tenderness. Amongst an illustrious cast of comic greats including Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson and Stephen Merchant, Johansson dazzles on screen with one of her most charismatic performances.

This year’s American Airlines Gala, the UK Premiere of THE KING, stars Timothée Chalamet in David Michôd’s (Animal Kingdom, The Rover) visceral portrait of Henry V. The startling transformation undertaken by Hal in Shakespeare’s Henriad series, from the fun-loving prince into the all-powerful monarch, is one of literature’s most acute character studies. Here, Michôd and co-screenwriter and star Joel Edgerton adapt those texts to explore how a reluctant monarch took the crown and found himself embroiled in the very same wars he despised his father for. The superbly talented supporting cast includes Lily-Rose Depp as Catherine, future Queen of England, Ben Mendelsohn as Henry IV and Robert Pattinson as a particularly spicy Dauphin, heir to the French throne.

Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in the UK Premiere of LE MANS ’66, a study of friendship that shaped 1960s motor racing, brimming with old-school Hollywood charm. Working from an excellent script by Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, director James Mangold (Logan) hooks you from the first scene and never lets go.

The May Fair Hotel Gala is MARRIAGE STORY, directed by Noah Baumbach (While We’re Young, Frances Ha) and starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as an ill-fated couple who are married, have a son and run a theatre company together. Arguably Baumbach’s most personal film to date, MARRIAGE STORY charts the unravelling of their marriage, often with bitter hilarity in even the most desolate of scenes. Baumbach shoots on gorgeous 35mm with a 1.66 aspect ratio that foregrounds performance, often with startling long takes.


Chilean director Pablo Larraín’s (Jackie) EMA is this year’s Festival Gala, starring the superb Gael García Bernal and featuring a spellbinding lead performance from newcomer Mariana Di Girolamo. In this character study of a beguiling woman ruled by heart and impulse, Larraín paints a picture of talented contemporary street/reggaeton dancer and teacher Ema. Larraín’s film intersperses explosive, intoxicating scenes of dance amidst dramatic moments that are fractured in time.

The Family Gala is the UK Premiere of Jill Culton and Todd Wilderman’s ABOMINABLE. This latest animated tale from Dreamworks is a fun, fast-paced action adventure about a little girl and her yeti companion in a race-against-time trip from China to the Himalayas. Boasting a compelling story and breathtaking visuals, ABOMINABLE is as beautiful as it is funny and exciting.

Kleber Mendonça Filho (Neighbouring Sounds) and Juliano Dornelles’ critically acclaimed BACURAU, winner of the Cannes Jury Prize 2019, features as this year’s Thrill Gala. This futuristic, sardonic and complex thriller explores the lives of misfits, mixed-heritage outsiders, whores, hippies and queers. They live in the margins in a dusty little town that has been wiped clean off the map by the middle-class elite from the north, who are busy ingratiating themselves, selling their country and its people to rich European and American interests.

This year’s Laugh Gala, THE DUDE IN ME from director Hyo-jin Kang, is a sassy body-swap comedy from South Korea, which tells the story of a ballsy gangster who accidentally possesses a timid schoolboy. Employing dry humour to undercut macho culture, the film finds fresh twists to a classic premise, resulting in an upbeat, poptastic entertainment that sustains its surprisingly sweet energy and laughs to the last.

Mirrah Foulkes’ JUDY & PUNCH features as the Dare Gala. Prepare for an audaciously brilliant first feature, with Mia Wasikowska splendid in this fairy tale with a feminine twist. Foulkes creates an origin story of sorts, but one that reimagines what might have happened if Judy decided not to take Punch’s incessant battery quite so meekly.

Acclaimed filmmaker Robert Eggers, the Sutherland Award-winning director of The Witch, returns to terrorise audiences with his masterful maritime shocker THE LIGHTHOUSE, which is this year’s Cult Gala. Once seen, never
forgotten, this hypnotic fusion of beauty and brutality is truly the stuff of nightmares, boasting extraordinary performances from Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as a downtrodden lackey and baiting slave driver at the begrimed lighthouse where they’ve been assigned to work together for four weeks.

OFFICIAL SECRETS is filmmaker Gavin Hood’s (Eye in the Sky) sharp political thriller, about a key moment in the history of the Iraq conflict, opening as this year’s Debate Gala. It follows the story of Katharine Gun, an ordinary government contract worker faced with an extraordinary choice: in 2003, on the eve of the UK-US invasion of Iraq, Gun intercepted communications that revealed the UK was being asked to spy on UN Security Council Members to help influence votes sanctioning the Iraq invasion. Keira Knightley gives an excellent performance as Gun, alongside a strong ensemble cast that includes Matt Smith, Ralph Fiennes, Matthew Goode and Rhys Ifans.

The Love Gala, in association with Malta Tourism Authority, is the UK Premiere of Michael Schwartz and Tyler Nilson’s effortlessly charming buddy movie, THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON, about a young man in pursuit of his dreams. Zak, a restless 22-year old with Down’s Syndrome, is frustrated by the slow pace of life at his nursing home. Itching for some excitement, he hatches a plan to meet his idol, a pro wrestler named The Salt Water Redneck. Zak makes a break from his geriatric prison with his worried carer in hot pursuit.

This year’s Journey Gala is the thrillingly cinematic two-hander from Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener), THE TWO POPES, starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce as a pair of men tussling over the future of the Catholic Church. Disullusioned Jorge Bergoglio (Pryce) is a strong contender for the revered position of head of the Church but is relieved when Joseph Ratzinger (Hopkins) gets the top job and becomes Pope Benedict XVI. When the two men are brought together over one summer, their clash of ideologies make for a passionate debate.

The European Premiere of WESTERN STARS sees global music legend Bruce Springsteen perform the entirety of his 19th studio release in this year’s Create Gala, co-directed by Thom Zimny and Bruce Springsteen. Resolved  that he would not be taking the record on tour, Springsteen, collaborating with Zimny, opted instead to produce a feature-length film as a means of bringing the live experience to music lovers across the world. Set in the atmospheric surroundings of a majestic old barn, Springsteen’s elegiac ode to the American West blends lush orchestration with emotional tenderness. Springsteen (joined by wife Patti Scialfa, a small orchestra and a handful of accompanying musicians) reflects on the songs and ruminates on the loves, challenges and regrets he has faced in his own life.


Eleven Special Presentations shine the spotlight on new work from major directors.

The eagerly awaited follow-up to Cory Finley’s explosive debut Thoroughbreds (LFF 2017) is his BAD EDUCATION, which screens as a Special Presentation in association with Empire. Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney star in this school-set political thriller based on the true story of an embezzlement scandal that rocked the New York school system.

One of the UK’s classiest cinematic storytellers, Roger Michell (Enduring Love, Le Week-End, Notting Hill) directs BLACKBIRD, a deeply moving and satisfying drama about the complexity of family love.

A glorious love letter to life and love in Mumbai, BOMBAY ROSE, from feature debut director and screenwriter Gitanjali Rao, is both epic and personal. Rao’s exquisite animation allows characters to move seamlessly between real and imagined worlds, in this delicate and nuanced collection of stories.

Oscar-nominated Feras Fayyad’s (Last Men in Aleppo) essential film THE CAVE tells the harrowing story of an underground Syrian hospital and its extraordinary staff. Fayyad crafts an urgent and poignant testimony of the humanity of the hospital staff, who risk their lives to maintain the health and hopes of the people they treat. But the film is also a call to action – a demand for a response to this intolerable humanitarian crisis.

Prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike proves in FIRST LOVE that he still has much to explore in the yakuza world, even after 2015’s anarchic, bloody vampire flick-crime movie mash-up Yakuza Apocalypse. This time employing a love story as a counterpoint to the intrigues of the Tokyo underworld, the film follows a young boxer on the brink of death as he falls in love with a woman caught in the crossfire between yakuza and triad gangs in a fight over stolen drugs.

Last seen at LFF with 2013’s widely adored girl-punk charmer We Are the Best!, Swedish writer-director Lukas Moodysson returns with his first foray into episodic television in Special Presentation GÖSTA. The focus of this loving satire is on its extremely kind title character, the nicest child psychologist in provincial Sweden. Affectionately lampooning youthful idealism, Moodysson’s empathetic storytelling transfers perfectly to the small screen.

A collaboration between two award-winning directors returning to the Festival, Anocha Suwichakornpong and Ben Rivers, the Experimenta Special Presentation is KRABI, 2562. The two merge their unique cinematic languages across reality and folklore in the eponymous tourist town, to create an absorbing and playful portrait of a people, place and time that makes for a series of haunting vignettes on the legacy of our age.

Featuring Britain’s biggest star of the 1920s, the ‘Queen of Happiness’ Betty Balfour, this year’s Archive Special Presentation is LOVE, LIFE AND LAUGHTER. The discovery of this cinematic treasure, lost for nearly a century, is a major event. Telling the story of a pair of working-class youngsters with big dreams, the film was rediscovered when an incomplete Dutch-language version was identified by archivists at EYE Filmmuseum in the Netherlands. This has been painstakingly pieced together by our restoration team with new English intertitles, bringing back to life a truly vivacious performance from Balfour.

Another Special Presentation is OUR LADIES, a loving adaptation of Alan Warner’s novel The Sopranos by veteran director Michael Caton-Jones (The Jackal, Basic Instinct 2) and a perfect evocation of being young and riotously alive in mid-90s Scotland. Following a rebellious group of six teenage choirgirls on a day trip to a singing competition in Edinburgh, this unvarnished coming-of-age saga features brilliant central performances from young actors Eve Austin, Tallulah Greive, Abigail Lawrie, Sally Messham, Rona Morison and Marli Siu.

The BFI Flare Special Presentation in association with Sight & Sound is PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE; a female portrait painter falls in love with her subject in Céline Sciamma’s perfect new film. Whilst a devastatingly effective story of love set against impossible social and cultural barriers, it is also a film that redefines the construction of the gaze – of the protagonist, the camera, and the viewer – on the female form. It’s Céline Sciamma on fire.

The final Special Presentation is ROCKS, a vibrant and hugely engaging portrait of female friendship and growing up in London, from director Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane, Suffragette). Based on a script from award-winning playwright Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson, the drama was developed through extensive workshops with the female cast, all of whom were discovered through casting sessions at schools. With magnetic performances across the board – particularly from Bukky Bakray, Kosar Ali and Shaneigha-Monik Greyson – ROCKS gives voice to London girls who have something to say.

Key filmmaking talent expected to attend the Festival’s Gala and Special Presentation screenings include:   Armando Iannucci, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Stephen Graham, Rian Johnson, Tom Harper, Marielle Heller, Michael Winterbottom, Steve Coogan, William Nicholson, Taika Waititi, Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Alfie Allen, Archie Yates, David Michôd, Timothée Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn, Sean Harris, Lily-Rose Depp, Tom Glynn-Carney, James Mangold, Noah Baumbach, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, David Heyman, Pablo Larraín, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Juliano Dornelles, Mirrah Foulkes, Robert Eggers, Gavin Hood, Keira Knightley, Katharine Gun, Martin Bright, Michael Schwartz, Tyler Nilson, Zack Gottsagen, Fernando Meirelles, Jonathan Pryce, Thom Zimny, Bruce Springsteen, Cory Finley, Hugh Jackman, Roger Michell, Gitanjali Rao, Feras Fayyad, Jeremy Thomas, Lukas Moodysson, Ben Rivers, Michael Caton-Jones, Céline Sciamma, Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Sarah Gavron.


The BFI London Film Festival Awards celebrate the creative achievements of British and international filmmakers showcased in our Competitive sections, aiming to honour inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking across each of the four categories.

The winners in each competition are selected by festival juries, and, following last year’s reboot of the Awards format, will all be available for the public to book as an additional surprise screening. Preceding each will be the presentation of the award by BFI London Film Festival Director Tricia Tuttle and the Jury Chair to the winning filmmaker.

The Festival is delighted to make audiences a key part of the Awards celebration and increase their chances of seeing the very best new films on offer, all of which is vital to the Festival’s mission of inclusion and accessibility for all.

The Jury for each category will be announced ahead of the opening of the Festival.


As previously announced, the Best Film Award in Official Competition recognises inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking, and includes the following shortlisted titles:

• FANNY LYE DELIVER’D, Thomas Clay’s intoxicating 17th Century drama with Maxine Peake in the title role

• HONEY BOY, Alma Har’el’s artful and soul-baring examination of the lingering effects of emotional abuse, written by Shia LaBeouf, who stars alongside Lucas Hedges

• LINGUA FRANCA, a beautifully performed character study of a Filipino transwoman and undocumented  immigrant in Brooklyn, from writer/director Isabel Sandoval, who also takes on the lead role

• LA LLORONA, Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamante’s taut genre-bending thriller about an elderly general haunted by a spectre of the past during his trial for genocide

• MOFFIE, Oliver Hermanus’ haunting examination of the violent persecution of gay men under Apartheid

• MONOS, a hallucinogenic, intoxicating thriller by Alejandro Landes about child soldiers high in the mountains of South America

• THE OTHER LAMB, Małgorzata Szumowska’s beguiling, genre-tinged English-language debut examining life in an otherworldly cult

• THE PERFECT CANDIDATE, Haifaa Al Mansour’s inspiring drama about a young doctor who becomes an  electoral candidate to challenge Saudi Arabia’s strict social codes

• ROSE PLAYS JULIE, an immersive and gripping drama from directing duo Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor about a young woman seeking her biological mother

• SAINT MAUD, the debut feature from director Rose Glass, in which a mysterious nurse becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient.


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

ATLANTICS (Dir. Mati Diop). A hypnotic, genre-shifting portrait of a girl’s awakening. When Souleiman grows tired of labouring without pay on the gleaming towers of Dakar, he sets out across the sea with friends, leaving Ada to face impending marriage to another man. But as the women gather in the bar where the men used to drink, it seems that something has returned to them.

BABYTEETH (Dir. Shannon Murphy). A feverish Australian drama featuring a superb performance by breakout star Eliza Scanlen as Milla, a seriously ill teenage girl who falls madly in love with a young drug dealer. Milla’s infatuation with the dodgy-but-charming Toby leaves her parents, Henry (Ben Mendelsohn) and Anna (Essie Davis) faced with a tricky dilemma.

CALM WITH HORSES (Dir. Nick Rowland). Cosmo Jarvis gives a visceral performance in Rowland’s gripping feature debut as Douglas, the hired muscle for a crime family in rural Ireland. As he becomes embroiled in a violent pageant of retribution, the time soon comes for Douglas to choose sides.

HOUSE OF HUMMINGBIRD (Dir. Bora Kim). Announcing a bright new voice in South Korean cinema, Kim brings both humour and elegance to her autobiographical debut in this absorbing coming-of-age drama about teenager Eunhee and her dysfunctional Seoul family circa 1994.

INSTINCT (Dir. Halina Reijn). Carice van Houten plays respected clinical psychologist Nicoline, who after starting a new job at a penal institution finds herself flirting with danger in her sessions with inmate Idris. Soon, the boundaries between doctor and patient begin to blur as tensions escalate.

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO (Dir. Joe Talbot). Jimmie dreams of reclaiming the beautiful late 19th-century home his grandfather built, before hard times and changing demographics forced his family out. He and best friend Mont scheme to make the dream a reality, in Talbot and writer-performer Jimmie Fails’s gorgeous, inventive meditation on art, architecture, black culture and gentrification in California’s Bay Area.

MAKE UP (Dir. Claire Oakley). A riveting psycho-sexual drama in which teenager Ruth travels to a seaside holiday park to stay with her boyfriend Tom, and one day finds evidence he might be cheating on her. As her desire to uncover the truth turns into an obsession, she begins to realise she might be looking for something else entirely.

RELATIVITY (Dir. Mariko Minoguchi). It is love at first sight when Nora and Aaron first meet on a rainy day in an underground station, but Aaron’s fate takes a dramatic turn and changes Nora’s life in an instant. Minoguchi’s debut is a romantic narrative of ambitious proportions, effortlessly looping between the present and past while making clever use of cinema as an unfurling emotional landscape.

SCALES (Dir. Shahad Ameen). A visually resplendent tale set in a small Gulf fishing village, where the population live in thrall to the otherworldly creatures of the sea. The inhabitants traditionally sacrifice female children to them until one of those girls, Hayat (meaning ‘life’ in Arabic), rejects her fate and fights against the patriarchal hegemony.


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:

COLD CASE HAMMARSKJÖLD (Dir. Mads Brügger). This wild, stranger-than-fiction documentary depicts the most disturbing true-crime investigation to have been seen in recent years, in which Brügger attempts to solve the mysterious death in 1961 of second Secretary General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjöld.

COUP 53 (Dir. Taghi Amirani). The latest from award-winning documentarian Amirani is a decade-long investigation into the CIA/MI6-led coup of 1953 that removed Iran’s democratic Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh. What begins as an interrogation of the mystery still surrounding the affair develops into a taut thriller, exposing rigorous secrecy and underlining the ongoing ramifications of this pivotal political episode.

CUNNINGHAM (Dir. Alla Kovgan). This eye-popping 3D portrait of great American choreographer Merce Cunningham celebrates the centenary of his birth. An exquisitely crafted and artistically ambitious documentary, the film explores his creative process in the period between 1942 and 1972 when he rose from struggling dancer to become one of the most influential choreographers of the 20th century.

I AM (NOT) A MONSTER (Dir. Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian). Starting with the thoughts of political theorist Hannah Arendt, this thought-provoking and playful documentary sees Hayoun-Stépanian travel the world to ponder the means by which freedom of learning and innovative education can exist in contemporary times.

THE KINGMAKER (Dir. Lauren Greenfield). Imelda Marcos, matriarch of the Marcos dynasty, still hopes to see her maternal delusions validated and political power restored while Philippine activists fight for transparency and democracy. Her former peers, including the widows of governmental figures, tell the story of a woman scarred by an
emotional blow that transformed her into a bulletproof-bra-wearing megalomaniac, who now mythologises her mothering instincts.

MYSTIFY: MICHAEL HUTCHENCE (Dir. Richard Lowenstein). Capturing INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence’s rise to super-stardom and subsequent tragic fall, MYSTIFY gives remarkable insight into his life and a truth he took to the grave. A tapestry of voices and home movies animate Hutchence’s personality, kicking tabloid speculation into oblivion and letting his story emerge with emotional and revelatory depth.

OVERSEAS (Dir. Sung-A Yoon). Each year, hundreds of thousands of Filipino women train to become domestic workers abroad. Yoon reveals the personal stories, dreams and heartaches of these trainees, exposing at the same time the economic and familial pressures pushing Filipino women to accept jobs abroad, which can sometimes resemble modern-day slavery.

A PLEASURE, COMRADES! (Dir. José Filipe Costa). The patriarchal power relations and sexual taboos of post-dictatorship Portugal are laid bare in this humorous and sex-positive docudrama with a feminist soul, as an older generation travels in time to bravely and joyfully re-enact  the testimonies of those who lived through it.

WHITE RIOT (Dir. Rubika Shah.) This vital documentary blends fresh interviews with archive footage to profile punky reggae protest movement Rock Against Racism, from the movement’s grassroots beginnings in 1976 through to 1978’s huge antifascist carnival in Victoria Park featuring X-Ray Spex, Steel Pulse and The Clash, whose rockstar charisma and gale-force conviction took RAR’s message to the masses.


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:
• IF YOU KNEW – Dir. Stroma Cairns


• WHITE GIRL – Dir. Nadia Latif

• FAULT LINE (GOSAL) – Dir. Soheil Amirsharifi • GUO4 – Dir. Peter Strickland

• IN VITRO – Dir. Larissa Sansour, Søren Lind

• ALGO-RHYTHM – Dir. Manu Luksch

• BETWEEN (ENTRE) – Dir. Ana Carolina Marinho, Bárbara Santos

• IN BETWEEN (NË MES) –Dir. Samir Karahoda

• CHILD – Dir. Talia Zucker



Additional filmmaking talent expected to attend for films in competition include:   Thomas Clay, Charles Dance, Freddie Fox, Tanya Reynolds, Zorana Piggott, Rob Cannan, Alma Har’el, Isabel Sandoval, Jhett Tolentino, Jayro Bustamante, Oliver Hermanus, Alejandro Landes, Małgorzata Szumowska, Raffey Cassidy, Denise Gough, Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor, Ann Skelly, Orla Brady, David Collins, Rose Glass, Mati Diop, Shannon Murphy, Alex White, Rita Kalnejais, Andrew Commis, Nick Rowland, Bora Kim, Halina Reijn, Carice van Houten, Claire Oakley, Mariko Minoguchi, Julius Feldmeier, Shahad Ameen, Mads Brügger, Taghi Amirani, Alla Kovgan, Nelly Ben HayounStépanian, Lauren Greenfield, Richard Lowenstein, Sung-A Yoon, José Filipe Costa, Rubika Shah, Nadia Latif, Larissa Sansour, Søren Lind, Gunman Xuman, Mukul Patel, Ana Carolina Marinho, Bárbara Santos, Timothy Smith.

The Festival will announce its complete guest line-up for all sections in late September.


The Festival programme is organised in sections to encourage discovery and to open up the Festival to new  audiences. The strands are: Love, Debate, Laugh, Dare, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Create, Experimenta, Family and Treasures.

Here are some of the highlights to be found in these strands. Full details of all the films found in the strands, including late additions will be found on the Festival website.


Sweet, passionate, tough – Love is a complex and many-splendoured thing and this selection charts the highs and lows of many kinds of love from around the globe. The Love Gala, in association with Malta Tourism Authority, is the UK Premiere of Michael Schwartz and Tyler Nilson’s effortlessly charming buddy movie, THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON.

Family relations unravel to wonderfully excruciating comic and dramatic effect in HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Cédric Kahn’s ensemble drama starring Catherine Deneuve, Emmanuelle Bercot and Vincent Macaigne. Director Shonali Bose (Margarita with a Straw, LFF 2014) returns to the Festival with THE SKY IS PINK, a compelling and emotionally devastating true story about a young couple (Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Farhan Akhtar) who will stop at nothing to save their sick daughter. Aki Omoshaybi’s earnest debut REAL explores the love between two people who work hard to keep their romance on track while struggling to manage personal hardship. Starring Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville, ORDINARY LOVE is an intimate and sensitively-handled drama about a couple dealing with breast cancer; directors Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn capture both the extremity and the everydayness, in this warm and thought-provoking drama. British actor-turned-director Tom Cullen’s feature debut PINK WALL covers six years in six scenes: from first sparks to the dying embers of a love affair, it’s an intense and deeply affecting relationship study. Anthony Chen returns following his Sutherland win for Ilo Ilo (LFF 2013), with WET SEASON, a hugely satisfying Singapore-set portrait of a woman on a journey to rediscover herself. And one of the most buzzed-about films from Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, AND THEN WE DANCED is set to delight fans of Call Me by Your Name as well as lovers of traditional Georgian dance.


Representing films that amplify, scrutinize and surprise, 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 Gavin Hood’s  politically charged fable, OFFICIAL SECRETS.

THE AUSTRALIAN DREAM, Daniel Gordon’s thought-provoking drama about the Australian Rules football star, raises crucial questions about casual racism, drawing upon Australia’s colonial past and its treatment of the Aboriginal population. Celebrated director Terrence Malick returns to the festival with A HIDDEN LIFE, a Second World War-set true story that calls for grace as it explores the importance of unsung resistance. Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Tim Roth and Kevin Harrison Jr. lead the cast in Julius Onah’s LUCE, a gripping psychological thriller about subjectivity and codeswitching in modern America. THE REPORT by Scott Z Burns, starring Adam Driver, Annette Bening and Jon Hamm, is a politically urgent drama in which the American government take a hard look at itself. Acclaimed director Ciro Guerra follows Birds of Passage with WAITING FOR THE BARBARIANS, an allegorical epic penned by JM Coetzee in an adaptation of his own literary masterpiece; starring Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp and Robert Pattinson. Benedict Andrew’s stylish drama, SEBERG, sees Kristen Stewart shine as the idealistic yet fragile ‘It’ girl Jean Seberg, who finds herself a target of J Edgar Hoover’s FBI when she becomes romantically involved with a Black Panther and flaunts her disregard for America’s misogynistic and racist institutions. James Norton stars as Welsh journalist Gareth Jones in Agnieszka Holland’s MR JONES, which traces Jones’ 1930s visit to Soviet Ukraine where he uncovered the truth of Stalin’s statesponsored famine, a visit that reputedly inspired George Orwell’s Animal Farm.


From laugh-out-loud comedy to dry and understated, Laugh celebrates humour in all its forms. This year’s Laugh Gala, THE DUDE IN ME from director Hyo-jin Kang, is a sassy body-swap comedy from South Korea.

The Festival will also present Manele Labidi Labbé’s debut feature ARAB BLUES, a provocative culture clash comedy, starring Golshifteh Farahani (About Elly, Paterson) as a Parisian psychoanalyst attempting to set up a practice in a postArab Spring Tunis. In bittersweet comedy AXONE, director Nicholas Kharkongor tells the story of immigrants in Delhi who are attempting to organise a wedding party, but soon find everything going wrong! The vertiginous ups and downs in two men’s friendship spans several years and outrageous events in the award-winning US indie comedy THE CLIMB, from director Michael Angelo Covino. The Inbetweeners star Simon Bird’s directorial debut DAYS OF THE BAGNOLD SUMMER is a funny, charming and wince-inducingly accurate adaptation of Joff Winterhart’s graphic novel about a single librarian trying to reconnect with her introverted, metalhead teenage son. Acclaimed Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman returns with another deadpan take on life in exile with the typically assured and moving IT MUST BE HEAVEN. Billie Piper stars in her own directorial debut RARE BEASTS, a no-holds-barred anti-romcom about a modern woman’s struggles in work and love. The European Premiere of THE LOST OKOROSHI, directed by Abba Makama, follows a man who wakes up to discover he has undergone a transformation and takes a revelatory journey to see if ancestral tradition has a place in modern life.


In-your-face, up-front and arresting films in Dare take you out of your comfort zone. The Dare Gala is Mirrah Foulkes’ audacious and brilliant first feature, JUDY & PUNCH.

Winner of the top prize at the Tribeca Film Festival, contemporary Southern gothic BURNING CANE heralds 19-year-old director Phillip Youmans as a serious new talent. DOGS DON’T WEAR PANTS is J-P Valkeapää’s playful dark comedy about a dominatrix offering an emotionally-paralysed widower an unexpected chance for sexual and psychological release. Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau return with DON’T LOOK DOWN, an elegant and intimate drama about love and revenge: in a high-rise apartment, a woman and five men gather to share their experiences of a man they have all been involved with, to their cost. Legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog is on thought-provoking form with his latest offering FAMILY ROMANCE, LLC, dramatising the work of a ‘rent-a-relative’ service in this Tokyo-set meditation on contemporary alienation. FIRE WILL COME, Olivier Laxe’s raw yet ravishing sensory experience telling the story of a pyromaniac who returns to his mother’s farm, is a visually jaw-dropping study of the Galician landscape, which the Festival is delighted to be screening in the BFI IMAX. Jérémy Clapin’s I LOST MY BODY, winner of the Grand Prize at the Cannes Critics’ Week, is a striking animation that follows a severed hand searching for its owner. Jessica Hausner’s first English-language feature, LITTLE JOE, is a pleasingly cool, witty and unsettling story of the pitfalls of placing too much trust in everyday science. ZOMBI CHILD is the latest provocation from Bertrand Bonello (Nocturama (LFF 2016)), splicing Haitian history and folklore with contemporary life at an elite girls’ boarding school in Paris.


The Thrill strand, in association with EMPIRE, features nerve-shredders that’ll get your adrenalin pumping and will keep you on the edge of your seat. This year’s Thrill Gala is Kleber Mendonca̧ Filho and Juliano Dornelles’ spellbinding BACURAU.

The Festival will present the World Premiere of Wash Westmoreland’s EARTHQUAKE BIRD; Alicia Vikander is astonishing in this dark thriller set in 1989 Tokyo, in which she plays a murder suspect at the centre of a tumultuous love triangle. Bangkok-born, Thai-Irish writer-director Tom Waller’s THE CAVE is the first film to dramatise 2018’s astonishing rescue of the Wild Boars football team from Tham Luang cave. David Thewlis excels in GUEST OF HONOUR, another typically complex and mischievous offering from Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan, about a punctilious food inspector dedicated to uncovering the secrets of restaurants high and low. Yaron Zilberman’s INCITEMENT is a chilling and urgent account of twisted ideology and religious obsession that carries a universal message and tries to fathom what drove a young law student to assassinate Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Lijo Jose Pellissery’s JALLIKATTU is a thrilling, nightmarish ride into the depths of human bloodlust, finding a rampaging buffalo hunted by a violent mob; slickly shot, paced and acted, this rollercoaster of a film compellingly explores the dark heart of human nature. A directionless call centre salesman gets more than he bargained for when he joins a local gym in MUSCLE, directed by Gerard Johnson; this testosterone-fuelled thriller is a meaty exploration (and critique) of amplified machismo, propelled by two extraordinary central performances from Cavan Clerkin and Craig Fairbrass. Nima Javidi nimbly reflects on notions of freedom and the fragile nature of authority in THE WARDEN, an ambitious follow-up to his awardwinning Melbourne. Javidi’s thrilling second feature is as astutely crafted as it is suave and seductive.


From the mind-altering and unclassifiable to fantasy, sci-fi and horror, in the Cult strand, the dark side is welcomed. This year’s Cult Gala is Robert Eggers’ masterful and terrifying maritime shocker, THE LIGHTHOUSE.

Quentin Dupieux presents DEERSKIN, which sees one man’s love for his designer jacket escalate to dangerous heights in what might just be the strangest serial killer film ever made. Johannes Nyholm returns to the festival with KOKO-DI KOKO-DA, the follow up to his extraordinary Sutherland-nominated film The Giant (LFF 2016): a phantasmagorical horror, pitch black comedy and searing psychodrama following a couple at breaking point who head to the great outdoors for a camping trip in the hopes of salvaging their fractured relationship – but unbeknownst to these unhappy campers, they are not alone in the forest. LITTLE MONSTERS by Abe Forsythe sees Lupita Nyong’o shine in a delirious zom-com that guarantees you’ll never listen to Taylor Swift in the same way again. Lorcan Finnegan presents VIVARIUM, in which Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg play a pair of first-time buyers who get more than they bargained for in this twisted fable about the horrors of suburban living. Adapted from Nathan Ballingrud’s novella ‘The Visible Filth’, Babak Anvari’s WOUNDS sees Armie Hammer and Dakota Johnson drawn into a bizarre nightmare, as they attempt to return an abandoned cell phone to its rightful owner. Richard Stanley, visionary director of horror classics Hardware and Dust Devil, makes a triumphant return with COLOR OUT OF SPACE, a dazzling adaptation of HP Lovecraft’s otherworldly tale, starring Nicolas Cage and Joely Richardson; in this thrilling combination of absorbing family drama and outré sci-fi madness, the Gardners are looking forward to a new, happier chapter in life – but their plans are abruptly interrupted when a meteor crash lands on their property.


Whether it’s the journey or the destination, these films will transport you and shift your perspective. This year’s Journey Gala is THE TWO POPES, the thrillingly cinematic two-hander from Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener).

In director Hikari’s debut feature 37 SECONDS, a young woman with cerebral palsy strikes out for independence with the help of a sex worker; this sensational Japanese debut is a warm-hearted and clear-eyed exploration of the sexual experience of a person with disabilities. In THE CORDILLERA OF DREAMS, veteran documentarist Patricio Guzmán completes his trilogy about Chile’s troubled past, meditating on how the Andes shaped its sense of identity. After her 1930s-set Planetarium (LFF 2016), writer-director Rebecca Zlotowski returns to the present with the coming-of-age drama AN EASY GIRL, which investigates desire, the lure of the high life and the imagery of modern female sexuality, set in a sun-baked Cannes. Director Ga-eun Yoon’s rich and joyous THE HOUSE OF US proves her one of the world’s finest filmmakers at capturing contemporary childhood onscreen; performing the cinematic magic trick of immersing us in children’s perspective while allowing us to bring adult understanding to their experience. In Karim Aın̈ouz’s THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF EURIDICE GUSMAO, winner of Cannes’ Un Certain Regard prize, a sumptuous tale of two sisters cruelly separated by family and fate makes for deeply moving drama. In MONSOON, Hong Khaou follows Lilting (BFI Flare 2014) with this gorgeous drama that evokes the disorientation of returning to an unrecognisable homeland; Londoner Kit (Henry Golding, Crazy Rich Asians) travels to Vietnam to scatter his mother’s ashes and to connect with the place he departed from as a child, and finds that everything he knew has changed.


The Create strand channels the electricity of the creative process, celebrating artistic expression in all its forms.  This year’s Create Gala, WESTERN STARS, sees music legend Bruce Springsteen present his 19th studio album in this spectacular visual treat for music fans the world over.

Faders on stun: Hollywood sound editor Midge Costin’s directorial debut, MAKING WAVES: THE ART OF CINEMATIC SOUND, is an immersive, educational and hugely enjoyable documentary exploring the power of sound in cinema. Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Kim Longinotto’s SHOOTING THE MAFIA sketches a captivating portrait of defiant Sicilian photographer Letizia Battaglia, whose extraordinary work recorded the Mafia’s violent crimes. Stephen Kijak’s SID & JUDY documents Judy Garland’s life beyond the Yellow Brick Road, her post-MGM triumphs and tragedies vividly recalled in a revelatory documentary that utilises her impresario husband Sidney Luft’s memoirs. TALKING ABOUT TREES, a beautifully shot documentary by Suhaib Gasmelbari, follows four veteran members of the Sudanese Film Club as they aim to return cinema-going culture back to the country. Olivier Meyrou’s YVES SAINT LAURENT: THE LAST COLLECTIONS, withheld from release for nearly 20 years, is an exquisitely crafted and moving documentary observing the last few years in the company of style icon Yves Saint Laurent. Stanley Nelson’s MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL sees 20th century music’s trumpet-playing prince of darkness receive the candid documentary his controversial genius deserves. Starring Tim Roth and Clive Owen, François Girard’s THE SONG OF NAMES is a riveting musical odyssey and historical detective story set against the backdrop of the Holocaust. Mike Figgis’ enthralling documentary SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME follows the turbulent life and career of Ronnie Wood, legendary rock guitarist and long-time member of The Rolling Stones.


Experimenta features films and videos by artists that revolutionise and reshape our vision of cinema. The Experimenta Special Presentation is KRABI, 2562 by Ben Rivers and Anocha Suwichakornpong.

Nina Danino’s I DIE OF SADNESS CRYING FOR YOU, a meditation on Spanish popular copla songs and their mighty female singers, is an evocative and passionate film essay. Brad Butler and Noorafshan Mirza present RUPTURES, set in Turkey, in which an MP, a former Police Commissioner, a right-wing assassin wanted by Interpol and a woman named Yenge are all involved in a car crash. Roz Mortimer’s THE DEATHLESS WOMAN is an elegiac account of the Nazi genocide of the Roma community expressed through the supernatural myth of the ‘deathless woman’. Louis Henderson and Olivier Marboeuf’s OUVERTURES reflects on the legacy of Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L’Ouverture, and follows a collective’s process of translating Édouard Glissant’s play Monsieur Toussaint from French  to Creole. Los Angeles-based artist Mariah Garnett presents TROUBLE, a personal account of an estranged father set against the Northern Ireland conflict; this heart-breaking story interwines interviews and investigations which reveal the traumatic effects of political upheavals on Belfast communities then and now, as well as added queer playfulness featuring trans actress Robyn Reihill. Jeffrey Perkins’ GEORGE: THE STORY OF GEORGE MACIUNAS AND FLUXUS, executive produced by Jonas Mekas, traces the history of the Fluxus movement through rare footage, recreation of happenings and interviews with key figures in this portrait of artist George Maciunas.


Showcasing films for the young, as well as the young at heart, this year’s Family strand is, as always, an international affair. The Family Gala is the UK premiere of Jill Culton and Todd Wilderman’s ABOMINABLE.

Bears and humans just don’t get on! In this adaptation of Dino Buzzati’s classic story THE BEARS’ FAMOUS INVASION, we find out why; this children’s classic is joyously depicted by Lorenzo Mattotti, who presents a compelling story that works on different levels depending on the viewer’s age. In Edmunds Jansons’ JACOB, MIMMI AND THE TALKING DOGS, a sassy group of talking dogs give plenty of attitude to Jacob and his cousin Mimmi, but they also help out when a local park is threatened. This section also includes a programme of animated shorts for younger audiences which bring together eclectic, exciting and colourful films from all around the globe. In Pawo Choyning Dorji’s live-action drama LUNANA: A YAK IN THE CLASSROOM a teacher in Bhutan, struggling for inspiration, travels to the most remote school in the world, where it takes being so far away to understand the importance of his work…and to appreciate the value of yak dung! Fresh from its success in China, we will be presenting the visually ravishing animation WHITE SNAKE at the

BFI IMAX. Directors Amp Wong and Ji Zhao tells the story of a girl with magical gifts who embodies the Chinese legend of the White Snake in a jaw-dropping landscape of demons, serpents and delight!


The Treasures strand brings recently revived and restored cinematic classics and discoveries from archives around the world to the Festival in London.

John Hurt is exceptional in David Lynch’s THE ELEPHANT MAN; this compassionate immersion into the vicious world experienced by ‘freaks’ in 19th century London has undergone an exclusive 4K restoration process supervised by Lynch. THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH is an uncanny tale from the pen of Poe, directed by Roger Corman, shot by Nicolas Roeg, and starring Vincent Price – a match made in Heaven. Or Hell! Cameroonian feature MUNA MOTO is a welcome restoration of a classic social realist African masterpiece that champions the ideals of Third Cinema aesthetics. Budd Boetticher’s magisterial western, RIDE LONESOME, stars Randolph Scott as a haunted loner seeking vengeance in a bleak, elemental world full of dangerous strangers. SAY AMEN, SOMEBODY is an exuberant, joyous and deeply moving, critically acclaimed documentary that celebrates American gospel music, spotlighting giants of the business Willie Mae Ford Smith and Thomas A Dorsey. SWEET CHARITY sees Shirley MacLaine star as unlucky-in-love taxi dancer Charity Hope Valentine in Bob Fosse’s joyous adaptation of the hit Broadway musical. Nina Menkes’ critically acclaimed underground classic, QUEEN OF DIAMONDS, is one of the most subversive and originally independent films of the 1990s, set in a hallucinatory Las Vegas landscape. Following the story of disaffected Firdaus, a struggling Blackjack dealer, set between glittering casino lights and a deteriorating desert oasis, this is a remarkable and provocative masterpiece of American independent filmmaking, ripe for critical evaluation.



We’re delighted to welcome Rian Johnson to the BFI London Film Festival, to talk about his career and the making of his fifth feature KNIVES OUT: a wickedly witty and stylish murder mystery, which the Maryland-born filmmaker has described as “an attempt to capture the twisty fun of an Agatha Christie whodunit.” A graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Johnson debuted with 2005’s Brick, which ingeniously transposed the stylized tropes of Dashiell Hammett’s hardboiled detective fiction to a Californian high school setting. Made for just $500,000 and boasting a memorable lead performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this fresh take on neo-noir won the Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at Sundance Film Festival. Three years later, Johnson showed his comedic verve with globe-trotting conman caper The Brothers Bloom, before reuniting with Gordon-Levitt (starring alongside Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt) for 2012’s time-travelling sci-fi thriller Looper. A critical and commercial hit which further displayed his dazzling command of genre, it enjoyed success which led this most inventive of Hollywood auteurs to both write and direct Star Wars: The Last Jedi. A fearlessly bold continuation of the beloved space opera saga, the latter became the highest grossing film of 2017 and one of the most successful movies of all time.


We’re delighted to welcome back Kim Longinotto to the BFI London Film Festival, to talk about her storied career and her new documentary Shooting the Mafia, an eye-opening profile of Sicilian organised crime photographer Letizia Battaglia. Longinotto has been blazing a trail for British nonfiction filmmaking for more than four decades. She debuted at LFF with 1976’s Pride of Place, an unvarnished look at her old boarding school which prompted Longinotto’s former headmistress to brand the young filmmaker ‘a class traitor’ (the school closed the following year). Frequently focusing on marginalized people and extraordinary women from around the world fighting oppression, her filmography includes such ground-breaking factual pieces as Shinjuku Boys (1995), which spotlighted Tokyo’s transgender club scene, and Divorce Iranian Style (1998), an arresting chronicle of Iran’s patriarchal court system. She won the 2008 World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival for the South Africa carers portrait Rough Aunties, and was the recipient of Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Inspiration Award in 2010. Longinotto explored 20th-century cinema’s depictions of sex and desire with 2014’s archival tapestry Love Is All, while continuing her avowedly feminist, globe-spanning work with the following year’s Dreamcatcher, about a Chicago charity which helps women leave the sex industry.


We’re delighted to welcome back writer-director Lukas Moodysson to the BFI London Film Festival, to talk about his career and the making of his first TV series Gösta. Set in rustic Småland, this loving satire about a kindly child psychologist (played by rising Midsommar star Vilhelm Blomgren) has been described by its creator as ‘a mix of comedy and Dostoevsky – as funny as possible and as serious as possible.’ Raised in provincial Sweden, Moodysson made an immediate mark on global cinema with 1998’s Show Me Love: a hugely acclaimed coming-of-age drama depicting the awkward romance between two teenage girls in a boring small town. His seemingly effortless blend of empathy and insight continued two years later with Together, a humorous portrait of an idealistic commune in 1970s Stockholm. The filmmaker took a darker turn with third feature Lilya 4-ever (2002), a drawn-from-real-life tale of sexual slavery, and the experimental porn exploration A Hole in My Heart (2004). He made his English-language debut with 2009’s Mammoth, starring Michelle Williams and Gael García Bernal, followed by a triumphant return to Swedish storytelling with 2013’s We Are the Best!, an exuberant adaptation of his wife Coco’s girl-punk graphic novel.


This year’s industry events programme will accent the Festival’s focus on the issues and debate that are urgent for industry and filmmakers, maximise opportunities for Industry delegates to access international delegates and filmmakers attending the Festival, augmenting the full benefits package available for Industry delegates.

The industry programme, supported by the Mayor of London, via Film London, includes access to the LFF CONNECTS strand which celebrates artists working at the intersection of film and other creative industries; the talent development programme BFI NETWORK@LFF; and a host of new format discussions, panels and networking events.

This year’s Festival marks the fourth year of the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI. At £50,000, the Bursary is the most significant of its kind in the UK, supporting exceptional new filmmaking talent.  The Bursary is eligible for emerging writers, directors and writer/directors resident in the UK, and premiering their first or second feature in the Festival. Last year’s winner was Richard Billingham (Ray & Liz) with Harry Wootliff (writer/director, Only You) and Nicole Taylor (writer, Wild Rose) shortlisted nominees. Previous recipients of the Bursary were writer/directors, Daniel Kokotajlo (Apostasy) in 2017 and Hope Dickson Leach (The Levelling) in 2016.

The Festival will host Press and Industry screenings at Vue West End, provide a Digital Viewing Library, delegate hubs, discounts at partner venues and at LFF Connects and Screen Talks, and numerous networking opportunities with delegates and filmmakers.

Details of the full industry programme will be announced in September. Industry delegate accreditation is open now and closes on Wednesday 11 September. Visit www.bfi.org.uk/lff/professional-delegates for further details

BFI LFF Education returns to this year’s Festival with a new offer for young people of all ages keen to engage with the wealth of film on offer throughout the BFI LFF programme. BFI LFF Education sets its sights to increase primary and secondary students’ access to the Festival and attending BFI LFF special guests, in partnership with Into Film. Additionally the Festival host a day dedicated to young aspiring filmmakers aged 16-25, offering transformational opportunities and exclusive access to filmmaking talent. The BFI LFF Critics Mentorship Programme returns for a second time, following a successful inaugural year in 2018. 16-25 year olds can also apply for Future Film Accreditation and take advantage of our 25 and Under £5 rush ticket offers.

The BFI London Film Festival Education programme is supported by funding contributors LaCie and The Sir John Cass’s Foundation and event delivery partners Into Film Festival

For further information visit bfi.org.uk/lffeducation url


The BFI London Film Festival experience can be enjoyed UK-wide on BFI Player, the BFI’s VOD service, featuring Festival collections showcasing films from previous years. BFI London Film Festival content will be a key attraction in the range of services on BFI Player – at player.bfi.org.uk/


We are delighted to welcome back American Express, our Principal Partner and Preferred Payment Partner. This is a very special year as we celebrate ten years of this extraordinary partnership.

We are thrilled to see the return of American Airlines as Main Sponsor and Official Airline. We’re delighted to have IWC Schaffhausen return as the Festival’s Official Time Partner and Headline Partner of our fundraising Gala LUMINOUS, where we will announce this year’s winner of the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI.

We give heartfelt thanks to The May Fair Hotel, who return as the Festival’s Official Hotel Partner.

We extend a very warm Festival welcome to our returning partners: LaCie who support our Future Film Day for young filmmakers and The Malta Tourism Authority who are partnering on our Love Gala and Love Strand.

We are delighted to welcome new sponsors who join us this year: Heart of London Business Alliance, Facebook and Nyetimber – our official sparkling wine partner.

The BFI London Film Festival is made possible thanks to support from DCMS and The National Lottery and many other cultural institutions and organisations. We are also delighted to be supported directly by the Mayor of London through Film London as a funding contributor.

The remastering and new score of the BFI Archive Gala film is supported by the Eric Anker-Petersen Charity. With additional support from the Michael Marks Charitable Trust and the John S Cohen Foundation. Films by the British Mutoscope and Biograph Company, Prestwich and Gaumont all restored in 2018 by the BFI National Archive in collaboration with EYE Filmmuseum and Haghefilm.

A huge thank you goes to the Festival’s generous in-kind Sponsors: returning photography sponsor Getty Images and cinema advertising partner Digital Cinema Media. Additionally, we would like to welcome back DDA and thank Audemus Spirits: Pink Pepper Gin, CPC London, Dalston’s Soda, Viña Pomal, Global, Harkness Screens, Impact Marketing, Picture Production Company and Newman Displays for their continued support.

Cinema partners returning this year are Ciné Lumière, Curzon, Empire, ICA, ODEON Luxe Leicester Square, ODEON Tottenham Court Road, Prince Charles Cinema and Vue.

We are delighted to welcome back returning Media Partners Evening Standard, Empire, Time Out, Sight & Sound, Screen International, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and Little White Lies as well as valued Broadcast Partner BBC Radio London for continuing to provide invaluable media support.

The Festival would also like to give a huge thanks to returning sponsor Christie Digital.

Finally, the Festival would like to thank the many embassies and cultural institutes who support the Festival by helping to bring in filmmakers to present their work.

2019 New York Film Festival: Spotlight on Documentary lineup announced

August 21, 2019

“Cunningham 3D” (Photo courtesy of Film at Lincoln Center)

The following is a press release from Film at Lincoln Center:

Film at Lincoln Center announces the complete lineup for the Spotlight on Documentary section of the 57th New York Film Festival (September 27–October 13). This year’s series of dispatches from the front lines of nonfiction cinema features incisive portraits of iconic figures, intimate reports from inside the American prison system, New York stories both personal and political, and much more.

Selections include three documentaries spotlighting larger-than-life subjects, including legendary dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham in Alla Kovgan’s visceral and immersive documentary Cunningham 3DBully. Coward. Victim, in which director Ivy Meeropol unflinchingly examines the life and death of conservative power broker Roy Cohn, who began his career prosecuting her own grandparents, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg; and Ric Burns’s Oliver Sacks: His Own Life, which offers a glimpse into the private life of Sacks in a moving tribute to the endlessly curious writer and neurologist. The lineup also features family stories from returning filmmaker Nick Broomfield, crafting his most personal film to date with My Father and Me, a portrait of his relationship with his factory worker-turned-photographer father Maurice Broomfield; Nicholas Ma, whose short documentary Suite No. 1, Prelude captures the perfectionist tendencies of his father, the world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma; and Michael Apted, showcasing a different kind of family in 63 Up, the ninth entry in the long-running film series that returns to the lives of its thirteen subjects as they come to terms with illness, death, Brexit, and more.

Two films in Spotlight on Documentary go inside the American prison system, depicting human stories with intimacy, candor, and humor. In College Behind Bars, veteran documentarian Lynn Novick has crafted a four-part chronicle of several ambitious incarcerated students in New York state correctional facilities, witnessing their debates and discussions of philosophy, science, and Shakespeare as they navigate  the daily cruelties of prison life. On the opposite coast, director Tim Robbins captures an extraordinary acting workshop for inmates inside the Calipatria State maximum-security facility in 45 Seconds of Laughter, culminating in a performance inspired by the Commedia dell’arte tradition.

Additional highlights of the lineup include the New York stories of Free Time, which features meticulously restored 16mm black-and-white footage of city life shot by Walter Hess and director Manfred Kirchheimer between 1958 and 1960, and D.W. Young’s The Booksellers, a lively tour of New York’s book world past and present with insights from Fran Lebowitz, Susan Orlean, Gay Talese, and a community of dedicated book dealers. Other standout titles are Tania Cypriano’s Born to Be, a film of astonishing access that goes behind the scenes at Mount Sinai Hospital to capture the emotional and physical processes of transgender patients in the midst of surgical transition; Abbas Fahdel’s Bitter Bread, which finds the director also acting as producer, cinematographer, and editor in his portrait of a community of Syrian refugees living in a Lebanese tent camp; and two films that offer new insights into historic political events: Nanni Moretti’s Santiago, Italia, which tells the little known story of the Italian Embassy’s efforts to save and relocate citizens targeted by the fascist regime of Augusto Pinochet after a U.S.-backed military coup, and Sergei Loznitsa’s found-footage documentary State Funeral, which features previously unseen archival images from the days following the death of Joseph Stalin.

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the 17-day New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema, featuring works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. The selection committee, chaired by Jones, also includes Dennis Lim, FLC Director of Programming, and Florence Almozini, FLC Associate Director of Programming.

HBO® is the presenting sponsor of Spotlight on Documentary.

As previously announced, the NYFF57 Opening Selection is Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story is Centerpiece Selection, and Edward Norton’s Motherless Brooklyn is the Closing Selection. The complete lineup for the Main Slate, Projections, and Convergence can be found here.

NYFF Retrospectives, Revivals, Special Events, Talks, and Shorts sections, as well as filmmaker conversations and panels, will be announced in the coming weeks.

Spotlight on Documentary tickets are $30 for General Public and $25 for Members & Students. Some exceptions may apply.

Tickets for the 57th New York Film Festival will go on sale to the general public on September 8. Festival and VIP passes are on sale through Friday, August 23rd and offer one of the earliest opportunities to purchase tickets and secure seats at some of the festival’s biggest events, including Opening and Closing Night.


45 Seconds of Laughter
Dir. Tim Robbins, USA, 95m
U.S. Premiere

A selected group of inmates at the Calipatria State maximum-security facility have convened for a highly unlikely workshop. In prison they normally segregate themselves by gang or by race, but here they are all mixed together, sitting in a circle. Over the course of several recurring meetings, the men, many of whom have been incarcerated for serious crimes, will take part in a series of acting exercises that enhance bonding and emotional connection, each session closing with the participants bursting into 45 seconds of unbridled, cleansing laughter. The entire endeavor—part of The Prison Project, a remarkable program conducted by the L.A. theater troupe The Actors’ Gang that has proven to cut down recidivism rates—will climax in a final performance inspired by the Commedia dell’arte tradition. In his contemplative, pared down, and wildly engaging documentary, Dead Man Walking director Tim Robbins—who also appears in the film­­, taking part in the workshop—captures these extraordinary sessions, and introduces us to the individuals fearlessly investigating their own performative natures and the masculine social roles they play.

63 Up
Dir. Michael Apted, UK, 138m
U.S. Premiere

Those of us who have devotedly followed Michael Apted’s one-of-a-kind British film series for the past several decades anticipate with great warmth—and more than a little poignant anxiety—returning every seven years to the lives of Tony; Nicholas; Suzy; Symon and Paul; Jackie, Sue, and Lynn; Andrew and John; Neil and Peter; and Bruce. Charting their growth has constituted one of the most rewarding documentary projects of all time, an ongoing inquiry into economic determination and the elusive search for happiness. In the rich, searching, and entertaining latest installment, they are more introspective than ever at age 63, coming to terms with death and illness, the disappointments of a fractured England, and uneasy prospects for their children and grandchildren’s futures. But they also remain, to a person, witty, optimistic, and delightful company.

Bitter Bread
Dir. Abbas Fahdel, Lebanon/Iraq/France, 87m
World Premiere

Among the countless Syrian citizens who have fled their country, about one-and-a-half-million have relocated to neighboring Lebanon. In this patient, heart-rending portrait, Iraqi-born filmmaker Abbas Fahdel, director of the epic Homeland (Iraq Year Zero), settles in with a community of refugees living in a tent camp in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley, most of them children. Hopeful to earn a meager wage as they work under the supervision of a Lebanese shawish, who owns the plot of land they’re essentially renting, the adults try to keep their families together amidst flooding and destructive seasonal weather, all the while listening to the radio for news from back home. Fahdel burrows in with his subjects in close quarters, alighting on the various human dramas that occur throughout the camp, including the frustrations of a young man waiting to bring in his fiancée from back home. Most importantly, Fahdel, working as director, producer, cinematographer, and editor, simply lets these desperate yet resilient people—so often treated as statistics—speak for themselves.

The Booksellers
Dir. D.W. Young, USA, 99m
World Premiere

What once seemed like an esoteric world now seems essential to our culture: the community of rare book dealers and collectors who, in their love of the delicacy and tactility of books, are helping to keep the printed word alive. D.W. Young’s elegant and entertaining documentary, executive produced by Parker Posey, is a lively tour of New York’s book world, past and present, from the Park Avenue Armory’s annual Antiquarian Book Fair, where original editions can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars; to the Strand and Argosy book stores, still standing against all odds; to the beautifully crammed apartments of collectors and buyers. The film features a litany of special guests, including Fran Lebowitz, Susan Orlean, Gay Talese, and a community of dedicated book dealers who strongly believe in the wonder of the object and the everlasting importance of what’s inside.

Born to Be
Dir. Tania Cypriano, USA, 92m
World Premiere

Soon after New York state passed a 2015 law that health insurance should cover transgender-related care and services, director Tania Cypriano and producer Michelle Hayashi began bringing their cameras behind the scenes at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, where this remarkable documentary captures the emotional and physical journey of surgical transitioning. Lending equal narrative weight to the experiences of the center’s groundbreaking surgeon Dr. Jess Ting and those of his diverse group of patients, Born to Be perfectly balances compassionate personal storytelling and fly-on-the-wall vérité. It’s a film of astonishing access—most importantly into the lives, joys, and fears of the people at its center.

Bully. Coward. Victim. 
The Story of Roy Cohn  
Dir. Ivy Meeropol, USA, 94m
World Premiere

This thorough and mesmerizing documentary takes an appropriately unflinching look at the life and death of Roy Cohn, the closeted, conservative American lawyer whose first job out of law school was prosecuting filmmaker Ivy Meeropol’s grandparents, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Moving from the fifties—when he was also chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy—to the crooked deals and shady power brokering of the eighties that led Cohn to becoming the right-hand man and mentor of Donald J. Trump, this film is not merely a depiction of a brutal, ideologically diseased man—it’s an interrogatory work in search of the true character behind an icon of the political right in a deeply troubled America. Featuring interviews with such figures as Cindy Adams, Alan Dershowitz, Tony Kushner, Nathan Lane, John Waters, and a trove of fascinating, recently unearthed archive video and audio material. An HBO Documentary Films release.

College Behind Bars
Dir. Lynn Novick, USA, 222m
World Premiere

Out of the more than 50,000 men and 2500 women incarcerated in New York State, only a tiny fraction have access to higher education. The Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) enrolls incarcerated men and women earning Associate and Bachelor’s degrees; it’s a program with wide-ranging benefits, including lower rates of recidivism, and it challenges our prioritization of punishment over education. Veteran filmmaker Lynn Novick, whose producing and directing credits include epochal miniseries Baseball, Jazz, Prohibition, and The Vietnam War, in collaboration with longtime producer Sarah Botstein, have created an intimate documentary event: a four-part chronicle filmed in correctional facilities in Napanoch and Bedford Hills. The film follows a handful of ambitious and inspiring incarcerated students—most of them serving time for serious crimes—as they debate and discuss American history and mathematics, philosophy and science, Moby Dick and King Lear, DuBois and Arendt, and simultaneously navigate the difficulties and cruelties of prison life and attempt to come to terms with their pasts. A PBS release.

Cunningham 3D
Dir. Alla Kovgan, Germany/France/USA, 93m
U.S. Premiere

One of the most visionary choreographers of the 20th century, Merce Cunningham could also be counted among its great modern artists, part of a coterie of important experimenters across media that included Robert Rauschenberg, Brian Eno, Jasper Johns, and his long-term romantic partner John Cage. This painstakingly constructed new documentary both charts his artistic evolution over the course of three decades and immerses the viewer in the precise rhythms and dynamic movements of his choreography through a 3D process that allows us to step inside the dance. Director Alla Kovgan has created a visceral experience that both reimagines and pays tribute to Cunningham’s groundbreaking technique. A Magnolia Pictures release.

Free Time
Dir. Manfred Kirchheimer, USA, 61m
World Premiere
Manny Kirchheimer is one of the great masters of the American city symphony, as is clear from films like Stations of the Elevated (1981) and Dream of a City, which showed at last year’s NYFF. In his latest work, the 88-year-old Kirchheimer has meticulously restored and constructed 16mm black-and-white footage that he and Walter Hess shot in New York between 1958 and 1960. This lustrous evocation of a different rhythm of life captures the in-between moments—kids playing stickball, window washers, folks reading newspapers on their stoops—and the architectural beauty of urban spaces, set to the stirring sounds of Ravel, Bach, Eisler, and Count Basie. The breathtaking footage was shot in several distinct New York neighborhoods, including Washington Heights, the Upper West Side, and Hell’s Kitchen, and features impressionistic stops throughout the city, making time for an auto junkyard in Inwood, a cemetery in Queens, and the elegant buildings of the financial district.

Preceded by
Suite No. 1, Prelude
Dir. Nicholas Ma, USA, 15m
Nicholas Ma—producer of the winning Mister Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?—has made a short, loving portrait of his legendary father, Yo-Yo Ma. Avoiding idolatry, the film uses its casual intimacy to focus on the nuances of craft and the drive for perfection, detailing the world-renowned cellist’s endeavor, at age 61, to record Bach’s Cello Suites for the third and, he says, last time. Filmed in the splendid Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts.

My Father and Me
Dir. Nick Broomfield, UK, 97m
North American Premiere

For decades among the foremost names in documentary, Nick Broomfield (Tales of the Grim Sleeper, NYFF52) has often implicated himself in the filmmaking process, with honesty and candor. Yet never has he made a movie more distinctly personal than this complex and moving film about his relationship with his humanist-pacifist father, Maurice Broomfield, a factory worker turned photographer of vivid, often lustrous images of industrial post-WWII England. These images inspired Nick’s own filmmaking career, but also spoke to a difference in outlook between Maurice and Nick, whose less romantic, more left-wing political identity stemmed from his Jewish mother’s side. My Father and Me is both memoir and tribute, and in its intimate story of one family takes an expansive, philosophical look at the twentieth century itself.

Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Dir. Ric Burns, USA, 110m
U.S. Premiere

In the early seventies, the world was watching as Chile democratically elected Socialist leader Salvador Allende. His political ideals and aspirations—among them providing education for all children and distributing land to the nation’s workers—terrified the country’s right-wing, as well as the U.S., who helped orchestrate a military coup that replaced him with dictator Augusto Pinochet. This tragic history has been well documented, but Italian director Nanni Moretti (Caro Diario, Ecce Bombo) adds an angle many viewers may not know about: the efforts of the Italian Embassy to save and relocate citizens targeted by the fascist regime. Told through the testimonies of those who were there, Santiago, Italia is a chilling depiction of living under junta rule and an ultimately inspiring expression of hope amidst dire circumstances.

State Funeral
Dir. Sergei Loznitsa, Netherlands/Lithuania, 132m
U.S. Premiere

As proven in his recent documentaries Maidan, The Event, and The Trial, versatile Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa has become one of the contemporary masters of the found-footage documentary, using the form to study the nature of the Soviet regime and uncover its darkest legacies for contemporary and future generations. In State Funeral, he has uncovered a wealth of astonishing, mostly unseen archival footage of the “Great Farewell” in the days following the death of Joseph Stalin in March 1953: the teeming mass of mourners clogging Moscow’s Red Square, the speech announcing the hasty appointment of Malenkov, and finally Stalin’s burial in Lenin’s Tomb. While speeches about the Soviet Union’s unyielding fortitude and unity in the face of tragedy blare endlessly on speakers, and the pomp and ostentation grows increasingly surreal, the brilliantly edited and sound-designed State Funeral becomes an ever-relevant meditation on not just the horrors but also the absurdity of totalitarianism and the cult of personality.

2019 Fantastic Fest: second wave of films announced

August 20, 2019

Knives Out
Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, K. Callan, Ana de Armas, Christopher Plummer, Michael Shannon, Jaeden Martell, Riki Lindhome, Toni Collette and Katherine Langford in “Knives Out” (Photo by Claire Folger/Lionsgate)

The following is a press release from Fantastic Fest:

Fantastic Fest is proud to announce its second wave of programming, led by a closing night screening of writer-director Rian Johnson’s hotly anticipated new Lionsgate and MRC mystery KNIVES OUT. A tribute to the work of Agatha Christie, KNIVES OUT stars Daniel Craig as debonair Detective Benoit Blanc, sent to investigate the death of a renowned crime novelist played by Christopher Plummer. KNIVES OUT will be Fantastic Fest 2019’s closing night film with Johnson in attendance for a special presentation at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin, TX on Thursday, September 26th.

“Rian Johnson is a consistently thrilling and brilliant director whose work has enthralled Fantastic Fest audiences for the past 15 years,” said Fantastic Fest Creative Director Evrim Ersoy. “The chance to close out the festival with his unique and ingenious murder mystery was too good an offer to pass up!”

Cannes Palme d’Or winner PARASITE will also play this year’s Fantastic Fest with director Bong Joon-ho (SNOWPIERCER, OKJA) in attendance. Reaping near-universal acclaim around the world, PARASITE is a darkly comic tale of two very different families who find their lives inexplicably intertwined.

A celebration of Mexican genre film

This year, Fantastic Fest celebrates the rich and varied history of Mexican genre film with a trio of rarely seen repertory titles, programmed in association with Mexico City’s Mórbido Film Fest. In THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M (MISTERIOS DE ULTRATUMBA), two doctors make an unholy bet to discover just what’s in the afterlife; in THE SHIP OF MONSTERS (LA NAVE DE LOS MONSTRUOS), two extraterrestrials traverse the universe collecting sample species to repopulate their planet resulting in the wildest spaceship ever with a wide array of characters from singing cowboys to Martian princes and other otherworldly beings starring none other than the brilliant Lorena Velázquez; and finally, TRAMPA INFERNAL (a.k.a. HELL’S TRAP) sees a group of young people go after a bear, only to find themselves terrorized by a crazed Vietnam vet in a mannequin mask and Freddy Krueger glove, combining the best of slasher traditions with an incredible visual style and ‘80s fashions galore! A dedicated shorts program exploring up and coming young Mexican filmmakers will be presented as part of the program, as well, which will be announced at a later date.

Mórbido Film Fest’s head of programming Abraham Castillo Flores will give a lecture titled “The Mórbido Crypt’s Guide to Mexican Fantasy and Horror Cinema,” a co-presentation with The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, founded by film writer/programmer/producer Kier-La Janisse. The sidebar is also supported by Cine Las Americas, the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE), the Consulate General of Mexico in Austin, Fundación Televisa, Alameda Films, and Grupo Galindo.

Flores says: “As Mórbido continues its primal mission to promote Mexican fantasy and horror cinema throughout the world, we are proud to collaborate with Fantastic Fest to highlight three unique films that represent peculiar moments in our complex national film history.”

LGBTQ+ programming

Fantastic Fest shows its full (rainbow) colors with a sidebar dedicated to LGBTQ+ representation in genre cinema, including the US Premiere of SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, a documentary focusing on the journey Mark Patton’s life took from actor to activist after starring in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE, as well as a rep screening of that seminal title with the cast in attendance. There will be a very special presentation of Norman J. Warren’s PREY (1977), which focuses on the disintegration of a relationship amidst a very real alien threat. The sidebar wraps up with a screening of LYLE with director Stewart Thorndike in attendance, where the grief of a mother turns to abject paranoia when she suspects her neighbors of being part of a satanic cult.

“The two most unwavering pieces of my identity – my queerness and my love of horror – come together in some fascinating and unexpected ways over the course of film history,” says Fantastic Fest programmer Brian Kelley. “I can’t think of a better group of people to explore and celebrate some of the crazy, frequently daring and often challenging films that make up the universe of queer horror with than my Fantastic Fest family.”

Fantastic Fest’s LGBTQ+ sidebar is proudly sponsored by Shudder and co-presented by community partners aGLIFF and OUTsider, the Horror Queers podcast, and drag horror titans Peaches Christ and Louisianna Purchase, who along with Die Felicia will slay at an epic BYOW (Bring Your Own Wig) party in The Highball.

The witching hour arriveth at Fantastic Fest and with it brings titles that promise the audience all those forbidden sights that the daytime can’t handle. In the World Premiere of Joe Begos’ VFW, a group of veterans find themselves in a deadly showdown against a gang of punk mutants dead-set on killing them. Also from Begos is BLISS, where a creative mental block threatens to tip an artist into uncontrollable bloodbath in a very special 35mm screening. Seth Ickerman expands the unique vision of a neon sci-fi universe first presented within his astounding short TURBO KILLER and teams up once again with synth master Carpenter Brut in the North American premiere of BLOOD MACHINES. And Richard Stanley recruits the help of Nicolas Cage to explore just what mysteries THE COLOR OUT OF SPACE holds in an adaptation of the seminal Lovecraft story in the US premiere of the highly-anticipated title.

Science fiction and visions of the future are represented at the festival with a trio of titles that run the gamut of all fears. Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson return to the festival for the US Premiere of their newest fever-dream SYNCHRONIC starring Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan as a pair of paramedics in the throes of a losing battle against a brand new designer drug. Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots are a couple who find themselves moving into their dream house, only to discover a trap in Lorcan Finnegan’s Cannes hit VIVARIUM. And in a small town in 1950s New Mexico, a mysterious radio signal sends a pair of teenagers on an exciting journey to discover its source in the masterful debut THE VAST OF NIGHT from director Andrew Patterson.

Cinema itself is explored at Fantastic Fest with a duo of documentaries that focus on wildly varied subjects. Gilles Penso & Alexandre Poncet’s PHIL TIPPETT – MAD DREAMS AND MONSTERS takes an extensive look at the great genius behind the visual effects of films such as ROBOCOP, STAR WARS and JURASSIC PARK while IRON FISTS AND KUNG FU KICKS explores the history of kung fu cinema from 1960s Hong Kong through ‘70s 42nd Street and beyond with the help of experts, historians, kung fu stars and more! Prior to the festival, Alamo Drafthouse will be running a series to prep for the screening titled Fists of Iron, Wheels of Steel where Texas DJs will be live-scoring some of the most beloved Kung Fu classics, including MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE with DJ Jester the Filipino Fist, POLICE STORY with DJ Catwalk, and more!

The world at large is explored through a genre lens with films that take aim at topical subjects. In the US Premiere of Karl Markovics’ NOBADI, the unlikely friendship between an old German man and a migrant worker will show them the true horror of their existence, while the US Premiere of THE PLATFORM sees society use a very new and unique punishment for criminals and those in need. In ABOU LEILA, two men hunt for a vicious terrorist leader while trying to hide from the bloodstains in their soul, and in the US Premiere of Orçun Behram’s THE ANTENNA, a sinister government broadcast in Turkey corrupts the very nature of everything it touches.

Worldwide, weird and wonderful genre films return with a selection of titles that refuse to be categorized. In Martin Krejčí’s THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF WOLFBOY, an unusual young man goes on a journey of discovery with a roster of eccentric characters in a film that mixes the best of fairy-tales and Czech magical realism. In VHYES, the discovery of a video camcorder leads a 12-year-old boy to create a unique time capsule. In PATRICK, a young man goes to extreme lengths to find his lost hammer in his father’s nudist colony. Finally, in BUTT BOY, a man discovers he has a fetish of the most extraordinary kind during a routine prostate examination.

More FF alumni return to the festival with new and exciting titles. Mickey Reece uses the cold backdrop of a New England winter to explore a homecoming of a very weird kind in the astounding CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER. In Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s THE LODGE, the relationship between two children and their stepmother gets strained to its murderous limit when the trio are trapped in a cabin. And Mattie Do explores the power of mistakes, choices, and consequences in the stunning and unique Laotian science-fiction exploration THE LONG WALK.


Algeria, France, Qatar, 2019
North American Premiere, 139 min
Director – Amin Sidi-Boumédiène

In the midst of the Algerian Civil War, Lotfi ventures into the desert with his lifelong friend S., who hopes to find and kill the elusive, dangerous terrorist Abou Leila.

Turkey, 2019
US Premiere, 115 min
Director – Orçun Behram

Somewhere within an unnamed city in Turkey, the residents of an apartment block await the installation of their new antenna as ordered by the central government. No one can prepare them for the evil that will be unleashed.

Mexico, 1959
Repertory Screening, 82 min
Director – Fernando Méndez

Two doctors make a pact on behalf of science: Whichever one dies first will return to share the secrets of the afterlife. This pact will not end well.

USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 80 min
Director – Joe Begos

While trying to complete her latest painting, a starving artist facing a lack of inspiration spirals out of control in a blaze of blood-soaked, drug-fueled glory.

France, USA, 2019
North American Premiere, 50 min
Director – Seth Ickerman

The wild sequel to the Carpenter Brut music video, “Turbo Killer,” shoots you into a turbulent psychedelic adventure of galactic hunters tracking down the soul of a spaceship set to a killer synthwave soundtrack.

USA, 2019
World Premiere, 100 min
Director – Tyler Cornack

In attendance – Director Tyler Cornack

Writer/director/comedian Tyler Cornack’s BUTT BOY introduces us to Chip, a middle-aged man whose first prostate exam stirs feelings deep inside leading to an addiction that can only be shown to Fantastic Fest audiences.

USA, 2019
World Premiere, 90 min
Director – Mickey Reec

The “Soderbergh of the Sticks,” Mickey Reece, returns to Fantastic Fest with his 27th feature. Two beautiful sisters vie for the affections of a man who may or may not be a vampire.

USA, 2019
US Premiere, 111 min
Director – Richard Stanley

Unimaginable terrors befall the Gardner family after a meteorite lands on their front lawn in Richard Stanley’s entrancing, horrific adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story.

Australia, 2019
North American Premiere, 107 min
Director – Serge Ou

From the Shaw Brothers to THE MATRIX, this wild documentary tells the story of how kung fu films conquered the world from the 1960s to now.

USA, 2019
Special Presentation, 130 min
Director – Rian Johnson

In attendance – Director Rian Johnson

From acclaimed writer, director Rian Johnson comes KNIVES OUT, a fresh and modern take on the classic “whodunnit” mystery genre.

USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 108 min
Directors – Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala

Five years after GOODNIGHT MOMMY stunned Fantastic Fest audiences, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala are back with another disturbing psychological twister about a brother and sister spending Christmas with their shadowy soon-to-be stepmother.

Laos, Spain, Singapore, 2019
US Premiere, 115 min
Director – Mattie Do

In attendance – Director Mattie Do

An old Laotian hermit discovers that the ghost of a road accident victim can transport him back in time fifty years to the moment of his mother’s painful death..

2014, USA
Repertory Screening, 65 min
Director – Stewart Thorndike

In attendance – Director Stewart Thorndike

After the loss of her child, a young woman begins to suspect that her neighbors might be part of a satanic cult and that she might be their next target.

USA, 1985
Repertory Screening, 87 min
Director – Jack Sholder

In attendance – Actors Mark Patton and Kim Myers

Jesse (Mark Patton) is the new kid on Elm Street and Freddy Krueger might not be the only monster in the closet in this much discussed but under-appreciated queer horror classic.

Austria, 2019
US Premiere, 90 min
Director – Karl Markovics

In a retirement allotment in Vienna, a crabby 91-year-old finds both himself and his humanity when he hires an Afghani refugee to help him in Karl Markovics’ remarkable and poignant third feature.

South Korea, 2019
Texas Premiere, 131 min
Director – Bong Joon-ho

In attendance – Director Bong Joon-ho

Bong Joon-ho’s seventh feature — about an unemployed Korean family conning their way out of their basement apartment — is a roller coaster ride of laughs, gasps, horror, tears, and perfection.

Belgium, 2019
North American Premiere, 97 min
Director – Tim Mielant

Patrick is not having an easy time. First his domineering father passed away and now his favorite hammer is missing. Before the day is out, Patrick’s search will lead him to discover answers to the questions he didn’t even know existed.

France, 2019
International Premiere, 80 min
Directors – Gilles Penso & Alexandre Poncet

After their documentary CREATURE DESIGNERS – THE FRANKENSTEIN COMPLEX, French journalist Alexandre Poncet and filmmaker Gilles Penso deliver an in-depth, sad, and beautiful documentary about the stop motion and VFX artist Phil Tippett, a man who changed the landscape of visual effects in film.

Spain, 2019
US Premiere, 90 min
Director – Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia

In attendance – Director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia

Somewhere in the future exists THE PLATFORM, a vertically tiered prison where the upper levels have access to exquisite food and the lower levels fight for survival. Level assignments are random, but how long can a prisoner’s luck hold? One man is about to find out.

1977, United Kingdom
Repertory Screening, 78 min
Director – Norman J. Warren

Jessica and Josephine find more than their relationship at stake when they’re chosen by a shape-shifting alien as his target for an observational study.

USA, 2019
US Premiere, 100 min
Directors – Roman Chimienti & Tyler Jensen

In attendance – Directors Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen

More than thirty years after its release and his departure from Hollywood, Mark Patton (star of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE), sets the record straight on the famously queer horror sequel in this fabulous, surprising, and eye-opening documentary.

Mexico, 1960
Repertory Screening, 81 min
Director – Rogelio A. González

Two Venusian women and their robot servant are on a mission to find suitable candidates to repopulate their planet. Soon their ship is filled with bizarre specimens from across the universe, leading to an adventure like no other!

USA, 2019
US Premiere, 96 min
Directors – Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead

In attendance – Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead

Two paramedics find their world ripped apart when they start encountering deaths linked to the otherworldly effects of a new designer drug called Synchronic.

Mexico, 1989
Repertory Screening, 77 min
Director – Pedro Galindo III

In Mexico’s most notorious unseen video-era masterblast, a crew of toxically masculine bear murderers runs afoul of a forest-dwelling war veteran wearing a mannequin mask and Freddy Krueger glove. Entertainment ensues!!

USA, 2019
North American Premiere, 88 min
Director – Martin Krejčí

Suffering from hypertrichosis — which covers him with animal-like fur — Paul knows he’s not like other kids. But a seemingly random package from his estranged mother will send him on a journey of self-discovery alongside extraordinary characters.

USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 90 min
Director – Andrew Patterson

A rural 1950s radio DJ and a telephone operator uncover a strange signal that could change everything in this stunning science fiction debut feature.

USA, 2019
World Premiere, 92 min
Director – Joe Begos

In attendance – Director Joe Begos

In the near future, a new drug called Hype has turned America into a war zone. The addicted are more mutant than human, and they’ve set their sights on assaulting a VFW post in Joe Begos’ star-studded latest.

USA, 2019
World Premiere, 71 min
Director – Jack Henry Robbins

In attendance – Director Jack Henry Robbins

This bizarre retro comedy, shot entirely on VHS and Beta, takes us back to when 12-year-old Ralph, over one formative week, mistakenly records home videos and his favorite late night shows over his parents’ wedding tape.

Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, 2019
US Premiere, 98 min
Director – Lorcan Finnegan

When young couple Gemma (Imogen Poots) and Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) drive out to a maze of temptingly affordable houses in the suburbs, they find themselves unable to leave.


FAN Badges, 2ND HALF Badges, and MIDNIGHT Badges for Fantastic Fest 2019 are available for purchase here.

For the latest developments, visit the Fantastic Fest official site www.fantasticfest.com and follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

2019 Toronto International Film Festival: ‘In Conversation With’ celebrities announced

August 20, 2019

TIFF logo

The following is a press release from the Toronto International Film Festival:

The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival​​ unveiled its In Conversation With… slate.  Honoring five remarkable, multi-talented industry heavyweights, this year’s lineup stands out for the richness  and diversity of the experiences that these accomplished artists will share with Festival goers. TIFF audiences  will have the opportunity to hear about the fascinating careers — both in front of and behind the camera — of  Michael B. Jordan & Jamie Foxx, Antonio Banderas, Allison Janney, and Kerry Washington during intimate  onstage conversations at TIFF Bell Lightbox.    “Through our In Conversation With… series, TIFF is proud to give fans and film lovers an opportunity to connect  with and learn from the most talented artists working in film and television today,” said Christoph Straub, Lead  Programmer, In Conversation With… and Senior Manager, Adult Learning, TIFF. “This year’s lineup includes  award-winning creators who have helped shape the discourse in the entertainment industry, moving it forward  and charting new territory on the big and small screens. We are incredibly honoured to have these leaders join  us for a series of empowering and exciting conversations.”    This year’s series will also be more accessible to all audiences, as open-captioning will be offered onscreen in  real time.

The 44th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 5–15, 2019.    The In Conversation With… programme includes:

In Conversation With… Michael B. Jordan & Jamie Foxx 

Michael B. Jordan Jamie Foxx (Photo by Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup)

Hollywood megastars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx are both at the top of their game. They first gained  fame for roles on television: Foxx with ​”In Living Color”​ in 1991 and later ​”The Jamie Foxx Show​,” and Jordan with  his heartbreaking turn as Wallace in HBO’s ​”The Wire​.” In 2013, Jordan made his major feature-film breakthrough  in Ryan Coogler’s acclaimed ​”Fruitvale Station​.” He has collaborated with Coogler on two more game-changers:  “Creed​,” their acclaimed expansion of the ​Rocky​ saga; and the mega-hit ​”Black Panther​.” In 2016 Jordan founded  his production company, Outlier Society, in order to focus on more eclectic and diverse stories and voices.  Outlier Society recently co-produced HBO Films’ Emmy-nominated adaptation of ​”Fahrenheit 451​,” which netted Jordan a Producers Guild Award. Foxx is renowned for powerful lead performances in ​”Ray​,” for which he won an  Academy Award, Michael Mann’s neo-noir ​”Collateral​,” and Quentin Tarantino’s “​Django Unchained​.” TIFF proudly  presents this conversation with two iconic artists and producers about their creative process, their desire to tell  inclusive stories, and ​”Just Mercy​,​” their highly anticipated new film premiering at the Festival.

In Conversation With… Antonio Banderas 

Antonio Banderas in “Pain and Glory” (Photo courtesy of El Deseo)

Antonio Banderas is a superstar of international and Hollywood cinema. An alumnus of the famed Cervantes  Theatre in Málaga, Spain, Banderas burst onto the film scene with performances in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Labyrinth of Passion”​ and ​”Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown​,” paving his way to a series of acclaimed  roles in Hollywood films directed by the likes of Jonathan Demme (​”Philadelphia”​), Neil Jordan (“​Interview with the  Vampire”​), and Robert Rodriguez (​”Desperado”​). Deftly moving between blockbuster (“The Mask of Zorro”​; the ​”Shrek” franchise) and independent films (Julie Taymor’s ​”Frida”​), and with his recent portrayal of Picasso in the National Geographic miniseries “​Genius​,” Banderas has cemented his iconic status as one of the most versatile  performers in film and television. TIFF is proud to welcome this award-winning actor, producer, director, and  humanitarian for an inspiring conversation about his career in front of and behind the camera, his numerous  philanthropic efforts, as well as his highly anticipated films at this year’s Festival: Almodóvar’s ​”Pain and Glory​,” for which he won Best Actor at Cannes, and Steven Soderbergh’s ​”The Laundromat​.”

In Conversation With… Allison Janney 

Allison Janney (Photo by Kelsey McNeal/ABC)

Allison Janney swept the 2018 Awards season with an Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe Award, Critic’s  Choice Award and SAG Award for her acclaimed portrayal of Tonya Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden in “​I, Tonya​.” Janney will next be seen opposite Hugh Jackman in director Cory Finley’s upcoming film, ​”Bad Education​,” written by Mike Makowsky about the true, twist-filled conspiracy that occurred during his middle  school years in Long Island in the early 2000’s. The film will have its world premiere at this year’s Toronto  International Film Festival. Additionally, Janney stars alongside Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and Charlize Theron in Lionsgate’s “Bombshell” film directed by Jay Roach and written by Charles Randolph about the fall of  Roger Ailes at Fox News.  Janney lent her voice to MGM’s animated feature film ​The Addams Family​ with  Charlize Theron and Oscar Isaac.  She recently wrapped production for Tate Taylor’s ​”Breaking News in Yuba  County,”​ opposite Mila Kunis, Awkwafina, and Regina Hall. She has previously starred in ​”The Help,”​ based on the  best-selling novel of the same name, where the cast won ensemble awards from the Hollywood Film Awards,  SAG, National Board of Review and Broadcast Film Critics and the film was nominated for an Academy Award  for Best Picture.  She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress by the Independent Spirit Awards in Todd  Solondz’s film, ​”Life During Wartime​.” Janney also delivered outstanding performances in the Oscar nominated  “Juno​,” the movie version of the Tony Award winning play ​”Hairspray​,” “Girl on The Train,​” Tim Burton’s ​”Miss  Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children​,””The Hours​”and ​”American Beauty​.” On television, Janney has won seven  Emmy Awards for her work on CBS’ “​Mom​,” Showtime’s groundbreaking drama ​”Masters of Sex​,” and for her  indelible portrayal of CJ Cregg in Aaron Sorkin’s acclaimed series ​”The West Wing​.”

In Conversation With… Kerry Washington 

Kerry Washington (Photo courtesy of BFA)

Award-winning actor, producer, director, and activist Kerry Washington is always charting new territory. Following a number of guest-starring roles in network television and a breakout role in ​”Save the Last Dance​,”  Washington starred opposite Jamie Foxx in ​”Ray”​ (2004), and quickly added a string of notable roles in such  acclaimed features as ​”The Last King of Scotland​,”​”Miracle of St. Anna​,” and 2012’s ​”Django Unchained​.” That same  year, she landed the lead role of Olivia Pope in Shonda Rhimes’ series ​”Scandal​,” on which Washington also went  on to work as a producer and director. When ​”Scandal”​ premiered, Washington became the first Black woman in  nearly four decades to headline a network television drama. A fearless and outspoken advocate for civil rights and liberties, she served on President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and is leading by  example, producing diverse and inclusive content for various platforms through her production company Simpson Street. In this in-depth conversation, Washington will speak about her remarkable career, the Festival  premiere of “​American​ ​Son”​ — in which she reprises her lauded role from the Broadway production — and her  highly anticipated adaptation of Celeste Ng’s ​”Little Fires Everywhere​.”

For synopses, images, and more information, see ​tiff.net/icw

Festival tickets go on sale September 2 at 10am (TIFF Member pre-sale August 31, 10am–4pm). Buy tickets  online at tiff.net, by phone at 416.599.2033 or 1.888.258.8433, or in person at a box office. See box office  locations and hours at ​tiff.net/tickets​.

TIFF prefers Visa.

Social Media:   @TIFF_NET   #TIFF19  Facebook.com/TIFF

About TIFF 

TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world  through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film  Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and  entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates  an annual economic impact of $189 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors  including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the  Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation and RBC. For more  information, visit tiff.net.    TIFF is generously supported by Lead Sponsor Bell, Major Sponsors RBC, L’Oréal Paris, and Visa, and Major  Supporters the Government of Ontario, Telefilm Canada, and the City of Toronto.

2019 New York Film Festival: Convergence lineup announced

August 15, 2019

Holy Night
“Holy Night” (Photo courtesy of Film at Lincoln Center)

The following is a press release from Film at Lincoln Center:

Film at Lincoln Center announces the complete lineup for the Convergence section of the 57th New York Film Festival, October 10-13, 2019. The eighth edition of the annual program delves into innovative modes of storytelling via interactive experiences, featuring Virtual Reality, Immersive Cinema, game play, and more.

On this year’s Convergence lineup, programmer Matt Bolish explains, “The work in this year’s edition of Convergence really confronts some of the most pressing issues of the day: humanity’s impact on the environment, how we care for the most vulnerable among us, the terrors of homelessness and the opioid epidemic, with equal measures of pathos and humor.”

This year’s Convergence features three VR programs as well as special events to showcase today’s wide-ranging landscape of immersive storytelling, featuring virtual reality and 360-degree filmmaking from around the globe. The lineup includes the World Premiere of The Raven, a wholly original approach to storytelling combining state-of-the art augmented audio, interactive theater, and elements of game play. In honor of the 170th anniversary of the death of Edgar Allan Poe, the innovative experience guides attendees through a completely transformed historical 5th Avenue mansion where they will uncover details about Poe’s life, legacy, and the mysterious circumstances of his death. The lineup also features the World Premiere of Holy Night, a Rashomon-esque interactive iPad examination of the United States opioid crisis through the lens of three characters affected by addiction in small town America.

Program One features the Anthropocene Project, an ambitious three-film Virtual Reality documentary exploring the ways in which humans have permanently altered our environment, from the Apuan Alps to the Nairobi National Park. Programs Two and Three feature a mix of narrative and documentary VR films, many of which use the medium to present human rights issues facing our world today, including Ghost Fleet, a cinema vérité documentary that exposes human trafficking on a fishing vessel off the coast of Vietnam; Send Me Home, a powerful documentary centered on a man wrongfully imprisoned for murder for four decades; and the World Premiere of Homeless: A Los Angeles Story, a multifaceted exploration of the homeless epidemic in L.A. Other highlights from Programs Two and Three include the World Premiere of inventive experimental film EyelydianYour Spiritual Temple Sucks, a playfully bizarre portrait of a man in crisis; as well as SXSW Virtual Cinema competition selections: the moving Metro Viente,which follows the sexual awakening of a disabled woman in Argentina; and Last Whispers, a beautiful meditation on what we lose when native languages disappear.

Convergence is programmed by Matt Bolish with assistance/support from Rachel Kastner. The NYFF selection committee, chaired by Kent Jones, also includes Dennis Lim, FLC Director of Programming; and Florence Almozini, FLC Associate Director of Programming.

Convergence tickets for Programs One, Two, and Three are $7 for Members & Students; $10 for General Public. Holy Night is free and open to the public. Premium pricing will apply to performances of the immersive theatrical experience, The Raven.

Tickets for the 57th New York Film Festival will go on sale to the general public on September 8. Festival and VIP passes are on sale now and offer one of the earliest opportunities to purchase tickets and secure seats at some of the festival’s biggest events, including Opening and Closing Night.

All Convergence experiences will take place at  the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center (144 W. 65th St.), unless otherwise noted.

Virtual Cinema: Program One

The Anthropocene Project
Nicholas de Pencier, Jennifer Baichwal, and Edward Burtynsky, Canada, 2019
TRT: 21m 

For millennia, people have been enamored of the beautiful marble that comes from the mountains in Carrara, Italy. That pursuit has forever changed the geological region, creating vast manmade canyons and permanently changing the face of the Apuan Alps. This compelling piece follows a block of the precious stone from quarry to craftsman’s workshop, allowing viewers to grasp the qualities that make this marble so valued before it graces showrooms, galleries, and ornamental architecture.

Ivory Burn
In April 2016, over 100 million dollars worth of confiscated elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns were burned by authorities in Nairobi National Park to send an important message to the local and global community: the illegal ivory trade must come to an end. The fire served as a call to arms for local communities and officials to defend the hunted animals. Ivory Burn allows viewers to witness this historic moment first-hand.

The vast scale of manmade waste is made comprehensible in this experience that immerses viewers in Kenya’s largest landfill. Dandora exposes the amount of waste produced by the medical, commercial, and agricultural industries, and explores how this affects the surrounding population: both for its hazardous environmental effects and, more positively, the opportunities it provides the local population to sell what they salvage from the trash.

Virtual Cinema: Program Two 
TRT: 43m

Metro Viente
Dir. Maria Belen Poncio, Argentina, 2018, 19m
Juana uses a social app to arrange a date with Felipe, without mentioning the fact that she uses a wheelchair. Together they will navigate a typically awkward first date and along the way help each other discover something about themselves in Poncio’s elegant 360-degree experience.

World Premiere
Dir. Ryan Schmal Murray, USA, 2019, 3m
This evocative, wholly original 360-degree experience begins by presenting the audience with abstract images, colors, and sounds meant to replicate sunlight against closed eyelids before evolving into a meditative, dreamlike state.

Ghost Fleet
Dir. Lucas Gath and Shannon Service, USA, 2019, 8m
Modern-day slavery is explored through the eyes of Tun Lin, who at the age of 14 was kidnapped and forced into labor aboard a fishing vessel before escaping. In this VR experience, his gripping story opens a window onto a dark world where countless men and women still suffer at sea.

Send Me Home
Dir. Lonelyleap, USA, 2018, 13m
Rickey Jackson spent 40 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and was only released after a key witness recanted testimony. Now, Jackson has thrown himself into making the most of his life, asking the rest of us to reflect on our own lives as well, in this deeply personal, 360-degree film about time lost and time regained.

Virtual Cinema: Program Three
TRT: 39m

Your Spiritual Temple Sucks
Dir. John Hsu, Taiwan, 2017, 10m
Plagued by problems at home with his wife, his finances, and his . . . everything, a desperate Mr. Chang wills himself into his “Spiritual Temple,” where he seeks the help of his personal guardian to put his life back on track in this surreal and hilarious VR experience.

Last Whispers
Dir. Lena Herzog, USA, 2018, 8m
Language shapes us, defining individuals and cultures. Yet the world’s linguistic diversity is in danger of collapsing; an entire language is lost every two weeks. Herzog’s strikingly immersive VR piece is equal parts lament for disappearing languages and celebration of those on the brink of extinction.

World Premiere
Homeless: A Los Angeles Story
Dir. Jonathan Glancy, USA, 2019, 17m
This heartbreaking and revelatory immersive documentary shines a light on the Los Angeles homeless crisis and those individuals trying to make a change. The film explores multiple aspects of this crisis: how people find themselves without homes, how their belongings are treated as trash by government officials, and how the larger city community often values personal income and business interests above their dignity.
Note: Virtual Cinema: Program Three also includes EYELYDIAN; see Program Two.

Special Events

World Premiere
Holy Night
Created by: Casey Stein & Bernard Zeiger, USA, 2019, 11m

A small-town pastor, a grandmother, and a teenage girl are caught between the conflicting forces of home, family, and community as they deal with their complex relationships to prescription drugs. Both an intimate character study and a broad exploration of America’s opioid epidemic, this interactive experience allows the audience to pivot between the three unique perspectives of its key characters. Each of these storylines evolves independently and in real time, allowing the viewer to capture fleeting moments and subtle parallels between narratives that make every play-through as much a journey for the viewer as the protagonist.

World Premiere
The Raven
Created by: Lance Weiler, Ava Lee Scott, Nick Fortugno, Nick Childs, USA, 2019, 60m
“Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died in Baltimore the day before yesterday. This announcement will startle many but few will be grieved by it.” So begins the infamous Rufus Griswold obituary of Poe, who died penniless and unhappy days after being discovered delirious in the gutter on a cold fall morning. The author’s legacy, his ghosts, and even the mysterious circumstances of his death are examined in this immersive theater experience that blends, elements of game play, cutting-edge audio technology, and first-rate storytelling.
*This event will take place at The American Irish Historical Society (991 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028)

Film at Lincoln Center is dedicated to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema and enriching film culture.

Film at Lincoln Center fulfills its mission through the programming of festivals, series, retrospectives, and new releases; the publication of Film Comment; the presentation of podcasts, talks, and special events; the creation and implementation of Artist Initiatives; and our Film in Education curriculum and screenings. Since its founding in 1969, this nonprofit organization has brought the celebration of American and international film to the world-renowned arts complex Lincoln Center, making the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broad audience, and ensuring that it remains an essential art form for years to come.

Support for the New York Film Festival is generously provided by Official Partners HBO, Campari, and The New York Times, Benefactor Partners Netflix, illy caffè, and Dolby, Supporting Partners Warby Parker and MUBI, and Contributing Partners Hudson New York-an SBE Hotel and IMDbPro. JCDecaux, Variety, Deadline Hollywood, WNET New York Public Media and Shutterstock serve as Media Sponsors. American Airlines is the Official Airline of Film at Lincoln Center.Film at Lincoln Center receives generous, year-round support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. For more information, visit www.filmlinc.org and follow @filmlinc on Twitter and Instagram.


2019 Toronto International Film Festival: TIFF Tribute Gala honorees include Meryl Streep, Joaquin Phoenix, Taika Waititi, Roger Deakins

August 14, 2019

TIFF logo

Meryl Streep (Photo by Rick Rowell/ABC)

The following are press releases from the Toronto International Film Festival:

Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey, Co-Heads of TIFF, announced that three-time Academy Award winner ​Meryl Streep​ will be honored with the ​TIFF Tribute Actor  Award​, Sponsored by RBC at this year’s new TIFF Tribute Gala awards event. Taking place on Monday, September 9 at Fairmont Royal York, during the 44th Toronto International Film  Festival, the Gala is an annual fundraiser to support TIFF’s year-round programmes and core  mission to transform the way people see the world through film, and to celebrate the film  industry’s outstanding contributors.

With an extensive film, television, and stage career spanning over 40 years, Streep has won  three Academy Awards — for her roles in ​”Kramer vs. Kramer​,” ​”Sophie’s Choice​,” and ​”The Iron Lady”  — and, in 2018, she set an unsurpassed record with her 21st Oscar nomination for her role in “The Post​.” She has been nominated for 31 Golden Globes, winning eight times, and in 2017 she  was the recipient of the Cecil B. deMille Award. Streep currently stars in the Emmy  Award–winning series ​”Big Little Lies​” and will star with Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas in  Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming film ​”The Laundromat​,” which will have its North American  Premiere at TIFF this September.

“Meryl Streep is undoubtedly one of the most talented and versatile actors of her generation,”  said Vicente. “Her tremendous contribution to cinema, television, and the stage spans five  decades; from her early roles in ‘​The Deer Hunter​,’ ​’Kramer vs. Kramer​,​’ ​and ​’Sophie’s Choice’​ to later  films including ​’The Devil Wears Prada​,​’ ‘The Iron Lady​,​’ ​and ​’The Post​,’ she has portrayed characters  that are as compelling as they are timeless. TIFF could not be more thrilled to honor such a  skilled and exemplary artist.”

Joaquin Phoenix (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Grey Goose Vodka)

Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey, Co-Heads of TIFF, announced that three-time Academy  Award–nominated actor ​Joaquin Phoenix​ will be honored with one of two ​TIFF Tribute Actor Awards​ at this  year’s TIFF Tribute Gala awards event. Taking place on Monday, September 9 at Fairmont Royal York, during  the 44th Toronto International Film Festival, the Gala is an annual fundraiser to support TIFF’s year-round  programmes and core mission to transform the way people see the world through film, and to celebrate the  film industry’s outstanding contributors.

With a wide-ranging career spanning over 35 years, Phoenix has starred in such films as​ “The Master​,” “Inherent  Vice​,​” “Walk the Line​,” ​”Gladiator​,” “To Die For​,” and “​Her.” ​He has been nominated for three Academy Awards for his  roles as Commodus​ ​in ​”Gladiator​,” Freddie Quell in ​”The Master”​ and Johnny Cash in​ “Walk the Line​,” for which he  won a Golden Globe.​​ This fall, Phoenix portrays the title character in Todd Phillips’ ​”Joker​,” ​a standalone origin  story ​that will have its North American Premiere at TIFF.

“Displaying both raw instinct and consummate technical skill, Joaquin Phoenix is the complete actor, and one  of the finest in contemporary cinema,” said Bailey. “Over three decades, he has brought a piercing truth to each  groundbreaking role. TIFF is thrilled to be celebrating an artist of his caliber with this inaugural award. We can’t  wait for Festival audiences to experience his electric turn in ​Joker​.”

“We’re thrilled that the extraordinarily talented Joaquin Phoenix will be honored at the TIFF Tribute Gala this  September,” said Vicente. “His outstanding contribution to cinema acts as a testament to TIFF’s core mission  to transform the way people see the world through film.”

Director Todd Phillips’ “J​oker​” centers on the iconic arch-nemesis and is an original, fictional story not seen  before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Phoenix, is of a man  struggling to find his way in Gotham’s fractured society.

Taika Waititi (Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios/Disney)

Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey, Co-Heads of TIFF, announced that  Academy Award–nominated New Zealand filmmaker ​Taika Waititi​ will be honored with the  TIFF Ebert Director Award​ at this year’s new TIFF Tribute Gala awards event. The award  recognizes and honors a distinguished filmmaker for their outstanding contribution to cinema. Taking place on Monday, September 9 at Fairmont Royal York, during the 44th Toronto  International Film Festival, the Gala is an annual fundraiser to support TIFF’s year-round  programmes and core mission to transform the way people see the world through film, and to  celebrate the film industry’s outstanding contributors.

“Taika Waititi is one of the most innovative, bold, and exciting filmmakers working in the  industry right now,” said Vicente. “TIFF is thrilled to honor his extraordinary talent with the  inaugural TIFF Ebert Director Award.”

“Taika Waititi is the rock star cinema needs right now,” said Bailey. “His films are full of  razor-sharp humor, faultless style, and boundless generosity. Somehow he manages to stuff  both indie hits and massive crowd-pleasers with big, radical ideas. We’re thrilled to be  premiering his latest, “​Jojo Rabbit​,” at the Festival and to hand over the inaugural TIFF Tribute  Award for direction to this 21st-century master.”

Waititi directed the superhero film ​”Thor: Ragnarok,​” which made over $850 million at the box  office worldwide, and will write and direct the upcoming ​”Thor: Love and Thunder.​” His films as  writer-director also include ​”Boy​” and ​”Hunt for the Wilderpeople​,” and he co-wrote, co-directed, and  co-starred in ​”What We Do in the Shadows​” with Jemaine Clement. He was nominated for an  Academy Award for his short ​”Two Cars, One Night​.” Waititi’s upcoming anti-hate satire “Jojo  Rabbit​,” starring Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie  Allen, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, and Waititi himself, will have its world premiere at TIFF  and will be released by Fox Searchlight on October 18, 2019.

The ​TIFF Ebert Director Award ​is an evolution of the organization’s former Roger Ebert Golden  Thumb Award, which celebrated a remarkable filmmaker who reflected renowned film critic  Roger Ebert’s passion for cinema. Past recipients include Claire Denis, Martin Scorsese, Ava  DuVernay, Agnès Varda, and Wim Wenders.

Roger Deakins (Photo by Rick Rowell/ABC)

Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey, Co-Heads of TIFF, announced that Academy  Award-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins will be honored with the ​Variety​ Artisan Award​ at this year’s  TIFF Tribute Gala awards event. The award recognizes a distinguished filmmaker who has excelled at their  craft and made an outstanding contribution to cinema. Taking place on Monday, September 9, at the Fairmont  Royal York, during the 44th Toronto International Film Festival, the Gala is an annual fundraiser to support  TIFF’s year-round programmes and core mission to transform the way people see the world through film, and  to celebrate the film industry’s outstanding contributors. ​Variety​ is proud to be the exclusive trade media  partner on the event.

Deakins won an Academy Award for ​Blade Runner 2049​, and was nominated for an additional 13 Oscars for his  work on films including ​”The Shawshank Redemption”; “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”; “No Country for Old Men”; “Skyfall​” and ​”Sicario​.” His illustrious career, spanning more than 40 years, also includes four ASC Award wins for  Outstanding Cinematography, four BAFTA Awards, and collaborations with directors such as the Coen  brothers, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Angelina Jolie, Sam Mendes and Denis Villeneuve, making him one of  the most sought-after cinematographers in the industry. Deakins’ latest work will be featured in the upcoming  film ​”The Goldfinch.” Directed by John Crowley and starring Ansel Elgort, Oakes Fegley, Aneurin Barnard, Finn  Wolfhard, Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson, Jeffrey Wright and Nicole Kidman, ​”The Goldfinch”​ will have its World  Premiere at TIFF and will be released by Warner Bros. Pictures on September 13, 2019.

“For nearly half a century, the name Roger Deakins has exemplified both breathtaking cinematic beauty and  fearless cinematic risk-taking,” said Steven Gaydos, EVP of Content at ​Variety​. “From his early-career work on  music docs and small British features through his decades of stellar work for the world’s greatest filmmakers,  Deakins has carved out a unique place in the history of cinematography. Capable of exquisite painterly  flourishes as well as groundbreaking technological advances in the cinematographic arts, his Oscar win for ‘Blade Runner 2049​’ capped a run of nominations that included everything from blockbusters like ​’Skyfall​’ to Best  Picture winners like ​’No Country for Old Men​.’This year, with both ​’The​ ​Goldfinch’​ and ​’1917′ on the horizon,  Deakins continues to dazzle and inspire as he pushes the boundaries of his craft and helps make masterpieces  with equally fearless auteurs.”

TIFF previously announced that ​Participant  Media​ will receive the ​TIFF Impact Award​, accepted by Founder and Chairman Jeff Skoll and CEO David Linde.  The recipient of the inaugural ​Mary Pickford Award​ supported by MGM, honoring a female emerging talent in  the industry in celebration of United Artists’ 100th anniversary, will be announced in the coming days.*

Mati Diop (Photo by Huma Rosentalski)

*August 20, 2019 UPDATE:  Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey, Co-Heads of TIFF, today announced director ​Mati Diop​ as the  inaugural recipient of the ​Mary Pickford Award​ supported by MGM, to be presented at the TIFF Tribute Gala on  Monday, September 9. The award, named in honor of Toronto native Mary Pickford, recognizes an emerging  female talent who is making groundbreaking strides in the industry. Pickford was the pioneering actor,  producer, and Co-Founder of United Artists, and the award is being launched in conjunction with United Artists’  centennial this year. The creation of the award follows TIFF’s continued commitment to championing women  and diverse voices in front of and behind the camera.

“We’re thrilled to honor the incredible Mati Diop as our inaugural Mary Pickford Award recipient, as United  Artists marks its centennial year,” said Vicente, Executive Director and Co-Head of TIFF. “She is a vibrant and  important new voice within the industry and one to watch closely.”
“Mati Diop’s film ‘Atlantics’ is a profound and unsettling work of art,” said Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head  of TIFF. “We know this is just the start for such an original and authentic voice, and we’re delighted to celebrate  her success at this year’s TIFF Tribute Gala.”
“Like Mary Pickford, Mati Diop has demonstrated her trial-blazing influence both in front of and behind the  camera, making her the ideal inaugural awardee.  We look forward to partnering with TIFF to honor Pickford’s  legacy and United Artists in celebration of their 100th year,” said Jonathan Glickman, President of MGM  Studios’ Motion Picture Group.
She has directed the short films ​”Atlantiques​,” “Big in Vietnam​,” and the documentary ​”A Thousand Suns”​ — all of  which played the Festival — as well as ​Snow Canon​ and ​Liberian Boy​. ​”A Thousand Suns”​ was presented by Claire  Denis in 2013 as part of TIFF’s year-round Cinematheque programme. In 2019, Diop became the first Black  female director to screen a film in competition at the Cannes Film Festival with her debut feature ​”Atlantics​,” which was based on the short ​”Atlantiques​” and went on to win the prestigious Grand Prix at the festival. The  film, written by Diop and Olivier Demangel, stars Mama Sané, Amadou Mbow, Ibrahima Traoré, Nicole Sougou,  Amina Kane, Mariama Gassama, Coumba Dieng, Ibrahima Mbaye, and Diankou Sembene. ​”Atlantic”s​ will have its  North American Premiere at TIFF and will be released by Netflix later this year. The film is produced by Les  Films du Bal, Cinekap and FraKas.
Of all Festival titles in this year’s lineup, 36% are directed, co-directed, or created by women, and women  comprise half the Festival’s programming team. Following the organization’s signing of the 50/50×2020 pledge  at last year’s Festival, TIFF has steadfastly worked to integrate responsible data management and practices to  understand the diversity and inclusion of its film programming. TIFF gave filmmakers the opportunity to  self-identify to inform gender representation in the Official Selection. As part of TIFF’s Share Her Journey  campaign, the organization will continue to provide over 120 female creators free access to TIFF’s Industry  Conference and year-round programming. The overall number of speakers at this year’s Conference represents  a 50/50 gender split, as do TIFF Talent Development initiatives such as TIFF Studio, Filmmaker Lab, and TIFF  Rising Stars.
Mary Pickford was the highest-paid actor — male or female — during the late 1910s and was a savvy  businesswoman who helped shape the industry as we know it today. In 1919, she revolutionized film  distribution by partnering with Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith to form United Artists.  Pickford, who also went on to co-found what is today the Motion Picture & Television Fund and the Academy of  Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, continued to be a part of United Artists through the early 1950s. The award  will be supported by MGM Studios, whose retains the United Artist library as part of its global film and  television library of content.

The 44th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 5–15, 2019.

For information on purchasing a table for the TIFF Tribute Gala, please contact ​development@tiff.net​.

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About TIFF 

TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world  through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film  Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and  entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates  an annual economic impact of $189 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors  including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the  Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation and RBC. For more  information, visit tiff.net.    About ​Variety  Variety​ has been the seminal voice of the entertainment industry for 114 years and counting. Featuring  award-winning breaking-news reporting, insightful award-season coverage, must-read feature spotlights, and  intelligent analysis of the industry’s most prominent players, ​Variety​ is the trusted source for the business of  global entertainment. Read by a highly engaged audience of industry insiders, ​Variety’s​ multi-platform content  coverage expands across digital, mobile, social, print and branded content, events, and summits.    Follow Variety on Facebook at facebook.com/variety, Twitter @variety, and Instagram @Variety. The Variety  Group — Variety, Variety.com, Variety Insight, and Indiewire — is owned by Variety Media, LLC, a division of  Penske Media Corporation.

2019 Toronto International Film Festival: Masters, Contemporary World Cinema, Discovery, TIFF Docs programming lineups announced

August 13, 2019

TIFF logo

The following is a combination of press releases from the Toronto International Film Festival:

The 44th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 5–15, 2019.

TIFF Co-Heads Cameron Bailey and Joana Vicente today announced the second set of selections  in the Gala and Special Presentations programmes screening this September at the 44th edition of the Toronto  International Film Festival.

“We’re thrilled to announce this second wave of Galas and Special Presentations, which I believe are some of  the most compelling in the lineup,” said Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head of TIFF. “Audiences will be  delighted by the artistry present in this year’s splashiest sections.”

“Our TIFF programmers have given us a lot to look forward to this year,” said Vicente, Executive Director and  Co-Head of TIFF. “These final films add even more emotional resonance and gravitas to this year’s already  stellar lineup.”

These films round out the Gala and Special Presentations programmes for a total of 20 and 55 films,  respectively.


The Aeronauts
​Directed by Tom Harper | United Kingdom
Canadian Premiere

The Burnt Orange Heresy
​​Directed by Giuseppe Capotondi | USA/United Kingdom
North American Premiere


American Son ​
​Directed by Kenny Leon | USA
World Premiere

Deerskin​ ​(​Le Daim​)​
​​Directed by Quentin Dupieux | France
International Premiere

Dirt Music ​
​Directed by Gregor Jordan | United Kingdom/Australia
World Premiere

The Elder One ​(​Moothon​)​ ​
​Directed by Geetu Mohandas | India
World Premiere

Guns Akimbo
​​Directed by Jason Lei Howden | Germany/New Zealand
World Premiere

Human Capital​
​Directed by ​Marc Meyers | USA
World Premiere

​Directed by ​Max Winkler | USA
World Premiere

Lucy in the Sky ​
​Directed by Noah Hawley | USA
World Premiere

​​Directed by Dan Friedkin | USA
International Premiere

​Directed by Matthew Michael Carnahan | USA
North American Premiere

Seberg ​
​Directed by Benedict Andrews | USA/United Kingdom
North American Premiere

​Directed by ​Justine Triet | France/Belgium
North American Premiere

​Directed by Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson | USA
World Premiere

The Truth ​(​La vérité​)​
​​Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda | France/Japan
North American Premiere

Wasp Network ​
​Directed by Olivier Assayas | France, Brazil, Spain, Belgium
North American Premiere

Waves ​
​Directed by Trey Edward Shults | USA
International Premiere

Albert Shin’s ​Clifton Hill ​was previously announced as part of the Special Presentations programme.

For film synopses, cast lists, images, and more information, see ​tiff.net/galas and  tiff.net/specialpresentations​.


The Toronto International Film Festival​®​ has revealed the 11 films that will comprise the 2019  Masters programme, with Brad Deane assuming the role of Lead Programmer. Deane continues in his role as  Director of TIFF Cinematheque and as a member of the Festival’s Platform Selection Committee.

Featuring films set in Asia, Europe, North America, and Central America, the Masters lineup has titles that run  the gamut, from dramatic true stories to dark comedies, from a black-and-white narrative to a documentary  film, with a healthy dose of introspection and socio-political commentary throughout. The slate will bring two  World Premieres to Toronto.

“One of the most exciting things about leading the vision for this programme so far has been the opportunity  to explore what defines a Master and the role that these directors play in pushing the future of cinema  forward,” said Deane. “I made it a priority to bring filmmakers into the fold that haven’t previously screened in  this programme so their films can play alongside some of the more established names. By looking at the  films in the programme, it’s apparent that mastering the form is only the jumping-off point for unique and  powerful storytelling, and I am looking forward to the discussions that will emerge among Toronto audiences  about what makes a master.”

In ​Devil Between the Legs​, Arturo Ripstein directs a script written by his wife, Paz Alicia Garciadiego, about a  warring old couple and their maid, who eventually takes matters into her own hands. Swedish filmmaker Roy  Andersson will come back to the Festival with ​About Endlessness​, a series of vignettes documenting our lack  of awareness.

American-Canadian Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin will premiere her latest documentary, ​Jordan River  Anderson, The Messenger​, about ​the long struggle of Indigenous activists to ensure equitable access to  government-funded services for First Nations children​. British legend Ken Loach’s ​Sorry We Missed You  presents a bittersweet tale of the gig economy in modern-day England.

Marco Bellocchio’s ​The Traitor​ is a biographical drama about Tommaso Buscetta, a mafia informant whose  testimony led to the largest prosecution of the Sicilian Mafia in Italian history. ​To the Ends of the Earth​, the  latest from Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, tells the story of an introverted travel-show host on  assignment in Uzbekistan.

There are five first-timers in Masters this year. ​A Hidden Life​, a portrait of Franz Jägerstätter, a conscientious  Austrian who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II, will mark American director Terrence Malick’s first  time attending the Festival in this category. Angela Schanelec’s ​I Was at Home, But… ​chronicles the aftermath  of a 13-year-old student’s disappearance and his mysterious reappearance. ​Zombi Child​, from France’s  Bertrand Bonello,​ ​spans 55 years, jumping between 1962 Haiti and present-day Paris and dealing with the  repercussions of colonialism. In ​The Whistlers​, from Romanian New Wave director Corneliu Porumboiu, a  corrupt cop travels to the Spanish island of La Gomera, home to a secret whistling language. And Elia  Suleiman stars in his latest film,​ ​It Must Be Heaven​, a dark comedy centred on a man who leaves Palestine  only to find that his problems follow him everywhere he goes.

Films screening as part of the Masters programme include:

A Hidden Life​
​Directed by Terrence Malick​ | USA/Germany
Canadian Premiere

About Endlessness​
​Directed by Roy Andersson​ | Sweden/Germany/Norway
North American Premiere

Devil Between the Legs​ ​(​El Diablo entre las Piernas​)
​Directed by Arturo Ripstein​ | Mexico/Spain
World Premiere

I Was at Home, But…​ ​(​Ich war zuhause, aber…​)
​Directed by Angela Schanelec ​| ​Germany/Serbia
North American Premiere

It Must Be Heaven​
​Directed by Elia Suleiman​ | France/Qatar/Germany/Canada/Palestine/Turkey
North American Premiere

Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger​
​Directed by Alanis Obomsawin ​| ​Canada
World Premiere

Sorry We Missed You​
​Directed by Ken Loach ​| ​United Kingdom/France/Belgium
North American Premiere

To the Ends of the Earth​ ​(​Tabi no Owari Sekai no Hajimari​)
​Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa ​| Japan/Uzbekistan/Qatar
North American Premiere

The Traitor
​Directed by ​Marco Bellocchio ​| Italy
North American Premiere

The Whistlers​
​Directed by Corneliu Porumboiu ​| Romania/France/Germany
North American Premiere

Zombi Child​
​Directed by Bertrand Bonello ​| ​France
North American Premiere

Alanis Obomsawin’s​ Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger​ was previously announced.

For film synopses, cast lists, images, and more information, see ​tiff.net/masters


The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival​®​ unveiled today the lineup for its 2019  Contemporary World Cinema (CWC) programme. The rich slate of titles from 48 countries features a wide  range of thought-provoking stories that delve into cultural issues and social struggles in poetic and captivating  ways. Introducing 21 works directed and co-directed by women, this year’s edition of CWC focuses on  fractured families, self-exploration, female-driven narratives, and the consequences of social and political  crises.

“​Contemporary World Cinema is a place where different cultures meet,” said Kiva Reardon, International  Programmer and new Lead Programmer for the section. “Th​e vision for the programme is to help expand the  cinematic canon and push the definition of what has previously been deemed as ​fundamental​. This is a  selection of essential, urgent cinema. It has been a pleasure to work with my fellow programmers in this new  role to offer bold stories and invigorating films that ask our audiences to reflect on their position in the world.”

“Contemporary World Cinema is the heartbeat of the Festival,” said Cameron Bailey, TIFF Artistic Director and  Co-Head. “This is where audiences feel the pulse of what’s happening now all around the world in screen  storytelling. It takes a strong curatorial vision to shape that vast variety of films. I’m glad we have Kiva Reardon  on the job as CWC Lead Programmer.”

With contributions from Cameron Bailey, Brad Deane, Giovanna Fulvi, Steve Gravestock, Dorota Lech, Michael  Lerman, Michèle Maheux, Diana Sanchez, and Ravi Srinivasan, Reardon has decided to emphasize the  importance of showing the current state of the world through the lens of international, deeply talented  filmmakers who help guide us through the reality of our social and political environments.

The African continent is represented in the lineup by eight films beaming with creativity. Opening the  programme is Atiq Rahimi’s third feature, ​Our Lady of the Nile​, which follows a group of Rwandan girls in a  Catholic boarding school. The bewitching work, which boasts hypnotic cinematography, foreshadows the  country’s 1994 genocide. The programme also serves as a platform for acclaimed regional projects such as  Jenna Bass’ South African road movie​ ​Flatland​, Jahmil X.T. Qubeka’s​ ​Knuckle City​, Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche’s  Terminal Sud​, and Amjad Abu Alala’s mystical​ ​You Will Die at Twenty​.

Winner of the Grand Prix in Cannes, Mati Diop’s exploration of migration, ​Atlantics​, leads a bold wave of films  exploring pressing global issues: Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamante presents an examination of his  country’s political wounds with ​La Llorona​, in which civil war victims haunt their torturer’s life; Laos’ first and  only female director to ever present a film at TIFF, Mattie Do, couples family loss and time-travelling in ​The  Long Walk​; and Lijo Jose Pellissery’s​ ​Jallikattu ​offers a daring allegory on toxic masculinity in a remote Indian  village.​ ​Other award-winning films included in the slate are ​Synonyms​, the Golden Bear–winning film from  Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, and the recipients of the 2019 Cannes Jury Prize: French director Ladj Ly’s ​Les  Misérables​ and the Brazilan film ​Bacurau​, co-directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles.

This year’s CWC slate is also rich in contributions from internationally renowned actors — both in front of and  behind the camera — with Mexican actor Gael García Bernal’s second film as director, ​Chicuarotes​;​ ​Austrian  performer Karl Markovics’s third feature, ​Nobadi​; Dutch actor-turned-director Halina Reijn’s ​Instinct​; and an  extraordinary performance from Iranian icon Golshifteh Farahani in Manele Labidi’s ​Arab Blues​. Produced by  US powerhouse Jada Pinkett Smith, Minhal Baig’s ​Hala ​is a coming-of-age story about an American Muslim  teenager trying to balance her relationship with her strict parents and her own desires. The film is inspired by  Baig’s own life and brings to the screen a fresh look at the teen experience.

Other highlights in the programme study the complexity of family dynamics, such as Taiwanese Chung  Mong-Hong’s lyrical ​A Sun​,​ ​which focuses on a fractured father–son relationship. ​Balloon​, directed by Tibetan  filmmaker Pema Tseden, tells the conflicting struggles of a family dealing with China’s one-child policy. And  Yaron Zilberman returns to TIFF with the World Premiere of ​Incitement​, the first-ever fiction film to depict the  cataclysmic assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Spotlighting the struggles and triumphs of women in societies around the world are: Maryam Touzani’s  domestic epic ​Adam​; Hikari’s ​37 Seconds​, which follows a young manga artist who uses her craft as a tool of  self-discovery; and Sharipa Urazbayeva’s​ ​Mariam​,​ the story of a strong Kazakhstani mother and her drive to  help her family survive. Films centring on working-class women include internationally acclaimed Bengali  director Rubaiyat Hossain’s ​Made in Bangladesh​, which follows a​ ​factory worker fighting for dignity in the world  of fast fashion; ​The County​, from Cannes prize–winning Icelandic director Grímur Hákonarson; and Edward  Burns’ intriguing family portrait ​Beneath the Blue Suburban Skies​.

Films screening as part of the Contemporary World Cinema programme include:

37 Seconds​ ​
​Directed by Hikari | Japan/USA
Canadian Premiere

Adam ​
​Directed by Maryam Touzani | Morocco/France/Belgium
North American Premiere

Arab Blues ​(​Un Divan à Tunis​)​
​​Directed by Manele Labidi | France
North American Premiere

​​Directed by Mati Diop | France/Senegal/Belgium
North American Premiere

Atlantis ​
​Directed by Valentyn Vasyanovych | Ukraine
North American Premiere

Bacurau ​Kleber
​Directed by Mendonça Filho, Juliano Dornelles | Brazil
North American Premiere

Balloon ​(​Qi Qiu​)​
​​Directed by Pema Tseden | China
North American Premiere

The Barefoot Emperor​
​Directed by Jessica Woodworth, Peter Brosens | Belgium/Netherlands/Croatia/Bulgaria
World Premiere

Beanpole ​(​Dylda​)​ ​
​Directed by Kantemir Balagov | Russia
North American Premiere

Beneath the Blue Suburban Skies ​
​Directed by Edward Burns | USA
World Premiere

Blow the Man Down
​​Directed by Danielle Krudy, Bridget Savage Cole | USA
International Premiere

Bombay Rose
​​Directed by Gitanjali Rao | India/United Kingdom/Qatar
North American Premiere

​Directed by Gael García Bernal | Mexico
North American Premiere

The Climb​
​Directed by Michael Angelo Covino | USA
Canadian Premiere

Corpus Christi​ (​Boze Cialo​)
​Directed by Jan Komasa | Poland/France
North American Premiere

The County​ (​Héraðið​)
​Directed by Grímur Hákonarson | Iceland/Denmark/Germany/France
International Premiere

Dogs Don’t Wear Pants​ ​(​Koirat eivät käytä housuja​)
​Directed by J-P Valkeapää | Finland/Latvia
North American Premiere

The Father​ (​Bashtata​)
​Directed by Petar Valchanov, Kristina Grozeva | Bulgaria/Greece/Italy
North American Premiere

​Directed by Jenna Bass | South Africa/Luxembourg/Germany
North American Premiere

A Girl Missing​ (​Yokogao​)
​Directed by Koji Fukada | Japan/France
North American Premiere

​Directed by Minhal Baig | USA
Canadian Premiere

Henry Glassie: Field Work​
​Directed by Pat Collins | Ireland
World Premiere

​Directed by Yaron Zilberman | Israel
World Premiere

​Directed by Halina Reijn | Netherlands
North American Premiere

The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão​ (​A Vida Invisível de Eurídice Gusmão​)
​Directed by Karim Aïnouz | Brazil/Germany
North American Premiere

Jallikattu​ Lijo
​Directed by Jose Pellissery | India
World Premiere

Knuckle City​
​Directed by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka | South Africa
International Premiere

La Llorona​
​Directed by Jayro Bustamante | Guatemala/France
North American Premiere

Les Misérables​
​Directed by Ladj Ly | France
North American Premiere

The Long Walk​ (​Bor Mi Vanh Chark​)
​Directed by Mattie Do | Laos/Spain/Singapore
North American Premiere

Made in Bangladesh​
​Directed by Rubaiyat Hossain | France/Bangladesh/Denmark/Portugal
World Premiere

​Directed by Sharipa Urazbayeva | Kazakhstan
North American Premiere

Maria’s Paradise​ (​Marian paratiisi​)
​Directed by Zaida Bergroth | Finland/Estonia
World Premiere

​​Directed by Karl Markovics | Austria
World Premiere

*​Contemporary World Cinema Opening Film​*
Our Lady of the Nile​ (​Notre-Dame du Nil​)
​Directed by Atiq Rahimi | France/Belgium/Rwanda
World Premiere

The Perfect Candidate​
​Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour | Saudi Arabia/Germany
North American Premiere

Red Fields​ (​Mami​)​
​​Directed by Keren Yedaya | Israel/Luxembourg/Germany
International Premiere

Resin​ (​Harpiks​)
​Directed by Daniel Joseph Borgman | Denmark
World Premiere

So Long, My Son​ (​Di Jiu Tian Chang​)
​Directed by Wang Xiaoshuai | China
North American Premiere

Spider​ (​Araña​)​
​Directed by ​Andrés Wood | Chile
International Premiere

A Sun ​(​Yang Guang Pu Zhao​)​
​Directed by ​Chung Mong-Hong | Taiwan
World Premiere

Synonyms​ (​Synonymes​)
​Directed by Nadav Lapid | France/Israel/Germany
North American Premiere

Terminal Sud​ (​South Terminal​)
​Directed by Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche | France
North American Premiere

Three Summers​ (​Três Verões​)
​Directed by Sandra Kogut | Brazil/France
World Premiere

Verdict ​Raymund
​Directed by Ribay Gutierrez | Philippines/France
Canadian Premiere

A White, White Day ​(​Hvítur, Hvítur Dagur​)
​Directed by Hlynur Pálmason | Iceland/Denmark/Sweden
North American Premiere

The Wild Goose Lake​ (​Nan Fang Che Zhan De Ju Hui​)
​Directed by Diao Yinan | China/France
North American Premiere

You Will Die at Twenty
​Directed by ​Amjad Abu Alala | Sudan/France/Egypt/Germany/Norway/Qatar
North American Premiere

Previously announced Canadian features screening at the Festival as part of the Contemporary World Cinema  programme include: ​And the Birds Rained Down​, ​Antigone​, ​The Body​ ​Remembers When the World Broke Open​,  Castle in the Ground​, ​The Last Porno Show​, ​Tammy’s Always Dying​, and ​White Lie​.

For film synopses, cast lists, images, and more information, see ​tiff.net/cwc


The Toronto International Film Festival​​’s Wavelengths programme revealed today the lineup for its 19th edition, consisting of international shorts and features by established and emerging talents. With a total of 37 titles, this year’s selection is a testament to political fortitude and artistic experimentation, seen across a captivating mix of genres and perspectives.

The selection comprises four programmes of experimental short films, two curated pairings, and 10 features, each contributing to a dynamic survey of some of today’s most exciting moving-image work. Wavelengths is curated and overseen by Andréa Picard, with contributions from members of TIFF’s international programming team — namely Brad Deane, Giovanna Fulvi, Dorota Lech, and Kiva Reardon — and programming associate Jesse Cumming.

“As we approach the 20th anniversary of Wavelengths, one can discern an important shift in formal language and experimentation, and an even wider range of artistic expression, which reflects — in some cases seriously, and others surprisingly playfully — a refusal to be contained, confined, or even labelled,” said Picard. “As the world runs further amok, it is comforting and inspiring to see filmmakers and artists continue to make work that is personal, committed, generous, aesthetically alert, and rigorous. The films in this year’s programme perfectly exemplify the essential role art plays in resistance and resilience, but also in our capacity for imagination.”

Wavelengths is pleased to host a number of alumni to present some of their most provocative and  accomplished work to date, including Catalan artist-filmmaker Albert Serra with ​Liberté​, his award-winning  tale of 18th-century decadence and desire; Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa with ​Vitalina Varela​, a continuation  of his pathos-laden tales of life in Lisbon’s margins; Sergei Loznitsa with​ State Funeral​, in which he  repurposes footage shot in 1953, in the days following the death of Joseph Stalin, into a trenchant reflection  on cults of personality; and Anocha Suwichakornpong and Ben Rivers, who return to TIFF with ​Krabi, 2562​, a  collaborative work on memory, landscape, and social awareness.

Resistance and tenacity — both political and personal — are the theme of several Wavelengths selections,  including two highlights from the burgeoning “Galician New Wave”: Oliver Laxe’s quietly monumental ​Fire Will Come​, the follow-up to his Festival selection ​Mimosas​ (TIFF 2016), and Eloy Enciso’s ​Endless Night​, set in the  aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, with its script drawn from letters and other texts of the era. A different  strength is exhibited in Hassen Ferhani’s understated documentary ​143 Sahara Street​, which presents the  world in a microcosm as seen through a portrait of octogenarian Malika, who lives and works alone in her  roadside diner in the Sahara Desert.

Wavelengths 2019 also welcomes many newcomers to the programme, with a number of works that reflect  on the state of contemporary geopolitics through a mix of styles that range from non-fiction to the  speculative. Highlights from contemporary Brazil include ​The Fever​ by director Maya Da-Rin, an  Indigenous-led tale of a father who must navigate his daughter’s imminent departure for medical school;  Affonso Uchôa’s forceful yet elegant documentary experiment ​Seven Years in May ​(which screens with  Gabino Rodríguez and Nicolás Pereda’s previously announced ​My Skin, Luminous​); and the short film ​The Bite  by artist Pedro Neves Marques, a science fiction–tinged story about a​ ​queer love triangle struggling to survive  an encroaching mosquito epidemic in the rainforest.

This year’s shorts programmes feature formally impressive and surprising work by a number of leading  international talents, including World Premieres by Zachary Epcar, Luke Fowler, Gastón Solnicki, Mike Gibisser,  and Tomonari Nishikawa, as well as the North American Premieres of Turner Prize–winning artist Charlotte  Prodger’s entry in this year’s Venice Biennale, ​SaF05​, and Marwa Arsanios’s ​Who’s Afraid of Ideology? Part 2,  which premiered at the Sharjah Biennial. ​As ever, the programme is rounded out by a number of restorations  and rediscoveries, including​ ​E​dward Owens’s ​R​emembrance: A Portrait Study​ (1967), a touching and playful  tribute to the artist’s mother, and ​2minutes40seconds​ (1975), an experimental documentary by Korean  filmmaker Han Ok-hee, founding member of the feminist film collective Kaidu Club.

Wavelengths’ complete 2019 lineup is as follows:

Wavelengths’ complete 2019 lineup is as follows:

Wavelengths 1: WLS19
Austrian Pavilion​
​Directed by Philipp Fleischmann | Austria
World Premiere

​Directed by Charlotte Prodger | United Kingdom
North American Premiere

Slow Volumes​
​Directed by Mike Gibisser | USA
World Premiere

The Bite​ (​A Mordida​)
​Directed by Pedro Neves Marques | Portugal/Brazil
World Premiere

Wavelengths 2: Sun Rave
​​Directed by Blake Williams | Canada
World Premiere

Amusement Ride​
​Directed by ​Tomonari Nishikawa | Japan
World Premiere

Black Sun​ (​Sol Negro​)
​Directed by Maureen Fazendeiro | Portugal/France
International Premiere

A Topography of Memory ​
​Directed by Burak Çevik | Turkey/Canada
North American Premiere

Sun Rave​ (​Lafhat Shams​)
​Directed by Roy Samaha | Lebanon
North American Premiere

(tourism studies) ​
​Directed by Joshua Gen Solondz
USA | Canadian Premiere

Wavelengths 3: Look Around
​Directed by ​Han Ok-hee | South Korea
International Premiere

Hrvoji, Look at You From the Tower
​​Directed by Ryan Ferko | Canada/Serbia/Croatia/Slovenia
World Premiere

Circumplector ​
​Directed by Gastón Solnicki | Argentina
World Premiere

​Directed by Luke Fowler | United Kingdom/France
World Premiere

Second Generation
​​Directed by Miryam Charles | Canada
North American Premiere

Transcript ​(​Lín Mó​)
​Directed by Erica Sheu | USA/Taiwan
Canadian Premiere

Who’s Afraid of Ideology? Part 2​
​Directed by Marwa Arsanios | Lebanon/Kurdistan/Syria
North American Premiere

Wavelengths 4: Lives of Performers
​Directed by Zachary Epcar | USA
World Premiere

Remembrance: A Portrait Study ​
​Directed by Edward Owens | USA
Festival Premiere

Vever (for Barbara)​
​Directed by Deborah Stratman | Guatemala/USA
Canadian Premiere

Book of Hours ​
​Directed by Annie MacDonell | Canada
World Premiere

We Still Have to Close Our Eyes​
​Directed by John Torres | Philippines
North American Premiere

This Action Lies​ (​Cest Action Gist​)
​Directed by James N. Kienitz Wilkins | USA/Switzerland
North American Premiere

Those That, at a Distance, Resemble Another ​
​Directed by Jessica Sarah Rinland | United Kingdom/Argentina/Spain
North American Premiere
preceded by

Heavy Metal Detox​ ​
​Directed by Josef Dabernig | Austria
World Premiere

Seven Years in May ​(​Sete Anos em Maio​) ​
​Directed by Affonso Uchôa | Brazil/Argentina
North American Premiere


My Skin, Luminous​ (​Mi Piel, Luminosa)​
​Directed by ​Gabino Rodríguez, Nicolás Pereda | Mexico/Canada
North American Premiere


143 Sahara Street​ (​143 rue du désert​)
​​Directed by Hassen Ferhani | Algeria
North American Premiere

Endless Night ​(​Longa noite​)
​Directed by ​Eloy Enciso | Spain
North American Premiere

The Fever ​(​A Febre​) ​
​Directed by Maya Da-Rin | Brazil/France/Germany
North American Premiere

Fire Will Come ​(​O que arde​)
​​Directed by Oliver Laxe | Spain/France/Luxembourg
North American Premiere

Heimat is a Space in Time​ (​Heimat ist ein Raum aus Zeit​) ​
​Directed by Thomas Heise | Germany/Austria
North American Premiere

Krabi, 2562 ​
​Directed by Anocha Suwichakornpong, Ben Rivers | Thailand/United Kingdom
North American Premiere

​Directed by ​Albert Serra | France/Spain/Portugal/Germany
North American Premiere

State Funeral ​
​Directed by Sergei Loznitsa | Netherlands/Lithuania
North American Premiere

Un Film Dramatique​
​Directed by ​Éric Baudelaire | France
North American Premiere

Vitalina Varela​ ​
​Directed by Pedro Costa | Portugal
North American Premiere

For film synopses, cast lists, images, and more information, see ​tiff.net/​wavelengths


At this year’s Toronto International Film Festival​®​, the revamped Discovery programme features  a robust lineup of 37 films from emerging filmmakers representing 35 countries, including 33 World  Premieres and four films making international debuts.

“This year’s Discovery builds on our track record of identifying major new filmmakers early,” said Cameron  Bailey, TIFF’s Co-Head and Artistic Director. “This is where you want to look for the next decades’ masters,  and it’s great to see longtime TIFF programming associate Dorota Lech shaping the section as Discovery’s  Lead Programmer.”

“I’m thrilled to be curating the Discovery programme, a showcase of films that — regardless of form — expand,  embolden, or even challenge notions of storytelling beyond what is established or expected,” said Lech. “TIFF  has long held a space for first- and second-time directors, acting as a springboard for launching the  international careers of cinematic giants such as Yorgos Lanthimos, Maren Ade, Christopher Nolan, Alfonso  Cuarón, Lav Diaz, Kim Seung-woo, Barry Jenkins, Jean-Marc Vallée, Dee Rees, and Jafar Panahi. Expect the  programme to push cinematic boundaries, pointing us in unexpected directions. As in previous years, it is a  place to find work that could be poetic, bold, or challenging, but that is always passionate.”

Discovery continues to celebrate and reflect TIFF’s unwavering commitment to championing women’s  directorial ​voices, with 54% of its selection directed by women. This year’s programme opens with Chiara  Malta’s​ Simple Women​, ​in which a director serendipitously meets Elina Löwensohn, an actor she idolized in  her youth, prompting her to question her filmmaking process. Malta was inspired by her own encounter with  Löwensohn in this tender, playful, and multi-layered fiction debut. Women’s journeys are also explored as  central themes in Antoneta Kastrati’s ​ZANA​, Filippo Meneghetti’s ​Two of Us​, ​Hinde Boujemaa’s ​Noura’s  Dream, ​Hisham Saqr’s ​Certified Mail​, Ina Weisse’s ​The Audition​, ​Jorunn Myklebust Syversen’s​ Disco​, ​Kim  Seung-woo’s ​Bring Me Home​, ​Klaudia Reynicke’s​ Love Me Tender​, Mahnaz Mohammadi’s ​Son-Mother​, María  Paz González’s ​Lina from Lima​, ​Maria Sødahl’s ​Hope​, Neasa Hardiman’s ​Sea Fever​, ​and Tamar Shavgulidze’s  Comets​.

Discovery is curated and overseen by Lech, with contributions from members of TIFF’s international  programming team, namely Cameron Bailey, Giovanna Fulvi, Steve Gravestock, Michael Lerman, Michèle  Maheux, Kiva Reardon, Diana Sanchez, and Ravi Srinivasan.

Films screening as part of the Discovery programme include:

​Directed by Oualid Mouaness | United States/Lebanon/Norway/Qatar
World Premiere

​Directed by Oren Gerner | Israel
World Premiere

The Antenna​ (​Bina​)
​Directed by Orçun Behram | Turkey
World Premiere

The Audition​ ​(​Das Vorspiel​)
​Directed by Ina Weisse | Germany/France
World Premiere

August​ (​Agosto​)
​Directed by Armando Capó | Cuba/Costa Rica/France
World Premiere

Black Conflux​
​Directed by Nicole Dorsey | Canada
World Premiere

Bring Me Home​ (​Na-reul cha-ja-jwo​)
​Directed by Kim Seung-woo | South Korea
World Premiere

A Bump Along The Way​
​Directed by Shelly Love | United Kingdom
International Premiere

Calm With Horses​
​Directed by Nick Rowland | United Kingdom/Ireland
World Premiere

Certified Mail​ (​Bi Elm El Wossul​)
​Directed by Hisham Saqr | Egypt
World Premiere

​​Directed by Tamar Shavgulidze | Georgia
World Premiere

​Directed by Jorunn Myklebust Syversen | Norway
World Premiere

Easy Land​
​Directed by Sanja Zivkovic | Canada
World Premiere

​Directed by Minos Nikolakakis | Greece
World Premiere

The Giant​
​Directed by David Raboy | USA
World Premiere

The Good Intentions​ (​Las Buenas Intenciones​)
​Directed by Ana García Blaya | Argentina
World Premiere

Hearts and Bones​
​Directed by Ben Lawrence | Australia
International Premiere

Hope​ ​(​Håp​)
​Directed by Maria Sødahl | Norway/Sweden
World Premiere

​Directed by Myriam Verreault | Canada
World Premiere

Lina from Lima​
​​Directed by María Paz González​ | Chile/Argentina/Peru
World Premiere

The Lost Okoroshi​
​Directed by Abba Makama | Nigeria
World Premiere

Love Me Tender​
​Directed by Klaudia Reynicke | Switzerland
International Premiere

​Directed by ​Heather Young | Canada
World Premiere

My Life as a Comedian​ (​En komikers uppväxt​)
​Directed by ​Rojda Sekersöz | Sweden/Belgium
World Premiere

Noura’s Dream​
​Directed by Hinde Boujemaa | Tunisia/Belgium/France
World Premiere

The Obituary of Tunde Johnson​
​Directed by Ali LeRoi | USA
World Premiere

Pompei​ ​
​Directed by Anna Falguères, John Shank | ​Belgium/Canada/France
World Premiere

Raf​ ​
​Directed by Harry Cepka​ ​|​ ​Canada/USA
World Premiere

The Rest of Us​
​Directed by Aisling Chin-Yee | Canada
World Premiere

Sea Fever​
​Directed by Neasa Hardiman | Ireland/Sweden/Belgium/United Kingdom
World Premiere

*​Discovery Opening Film​*
​Directed by Simple Women​
​Chiara Malta | Italy/Romania
World Premiere

​Directed by Carlo Sironi | Italy/Poland
International Premiere

Son-Mother​ (​Pesar-Madar​)
​Directed by Mahnaz Mohammadi | Iran/Czech Republic
World Premiere

Stories From The Chestnut Woods​ ​(​Zgodbe iz kostanjevih gozdov​)
​​Directed by Gregor Božič ​| Slovenia/Italy
World Premiere

Sweetness in the Belly​
​Directed by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari | Ireland/Canada
World Premiere

Two of Us​ (​Deux​)
​Directed by Filippo Meneghetti | France/Luxembourg/Belgium
World Premiere

​Directed by Antoneta Kastrati | Albania/Kosovo
World Premiere

Previously announced Discovery films include Nicole Dorsey’s ​Black Conflux​, Sanja Zivkovic’s ​Easy Land​,  Myriam Verreault’s ​Kuessipan​, Heather Young’s ​Murmur​, Harry Cepka’s ​Raf​, and Aisling Chin-Yee’s ​The Rest of  Us​.

For film synopses, cast lists, images, and more information, see ​tiff.net/discovery


The Toronto International Film Festival​®​ documentary programme reveals its lineup of 25  non-fiction works, including 18 World Premieres with representation from 18 countries. The films cover many  high-profile figures, both famous and infamous — including Truman Capote, Merce Cunningham, Ron Howard,  Bikram Choudhury, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and Imelda Marcos — and a broad range of themes, including  artistic achievement, the power of journalism, immigration, global politics, and resistance against corrupt  leaders. Three films use sports as a framework to look at environmentalism, capitalism, and racism.     “This year’s programme captures characters you’ll never forget: lovers, fighters, dancers, athletes, despots,  rebels, hustlers, and heroes,” said Thom Powers, serving his 14th year as TIFF Docs programmer this Festival.  “We’ll be talking about these films for a long time to come.”

The section will open with the World Premiere of ​The Cave​ from Oscar-nominated director Feras Fayyad, about  an underground hospital led by a female doctor in war-torn Syria. Other World Premieres from renowned  directors include Alan Berliner’s ​Letter to the Editor​, a personal reflection on photojournalism; Barbara Kopple’s  Desert One​, chronicling a perilous mission to rescue hostages in Iran; Thomas Balm​è​s’ ​Sing Me A Song,  following a young monk in Bhutan who forms a long-distance relationship via his smartphone; ​And We Go  Green​, about racers in the Formula E competition for electric cars, directed by Fisher Stevens and Malcolm  Venville and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio; and Eva Orner’s ​Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator​, about the  controversial yoga teacher who had multiple lawsuits filed against him for sexual misconduct.

First-time documentarians present films on prominent figures: Bryce Dallas Howard’s ​Dads​ explores  fatherhood with leading comedians and her own father, Ron Howard; Alla Kovgan’s ​Cunningham​, shot in 3D,  captures the artistry of dancer Merce Cunningham; and Ebs Burnough, who previously served in the Obama  administration, makes his debut with ​The Capote Tapes​, a biography of American writer Truman Capote.

The everyday lives of refugees and migrants are brought to centre stage in Eva Mulvad’s ​Love Child​, following a  couple at risk of execution for their love affair; ​Ready for War, directed by Andrew Renzi and executive  produced by Drake, Future, and David Ayer, which tells the story of immigrants who served in the US military  only to be deported; Hind Meddeb’s ​Paris Stalingrad ​which follows migrants from Africa and Afghanistan living  on the streets in the city of lights; and ​My English Cousin​, Karim Sayad’s portrait of the director’s real-life  Algerian cousin who discovers the challenges of returning home.    Russian politics and the rise of capitalism are examined in Gabe Polsky’s ​Red Penguins​, recounting a comic  tale of American hustlers bringing NHL-style hockey to Moscow, and Alex Gibney’s ​Citizen K​, profiling the  oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who turned against Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Rounding out the section are stories from around the globe, including Garin Hovannisian’s ​I Am Not Alone​,  about a peaceful resistance movement in Armenia; and Mark Cousins’ ​Women Make Film: A New Road Movie  Through Cinema​, a recently completed 14-hour exploration of female directors around the world. The first four  hours of ​Women Make Film​, which was executive produced by Tilda Swinton, were previewed at last year’s  Festival. Alexander Nanau’s ​Collective​ follows crusading Romanian journalists who uncover a scandal; Daniel  Gordon’s ​The Australian Dream​,​ ​executive produced by Ben Simmons, tells the story of football legend Adam  Goodes, who battled racism in the AFL; and Lina Al Abed’s​ Ibrahim: A Fate to Define​ centres on the mysterious  disappearance of a Palestinian secret agent. Also featured are Patricio Guzmán’s ​The Cordillera of Dreams​,  completing the director’s trilogy about the Chilean landscape, and Lauren Greenfield’s ​The Kingmaker​, a profile  of Imelda Marcos.

Last year’s TIFF Docs lineup showcased ​Free Solo​, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best  Documentary Feature. The 2018 Festival also presented a strong market for distribution deals for titles such as  The Biggest Little Farm​, ​The Elephant Queen​, and​ Maiden​.

Films screening as part of the TIFF Docs programme include:

And We Go Green​
​Directed by Fisher Stevens, Malcolm Venville | USA
World Premiere

The Australian Dream​ ​
​Directed by Daniel Gordon | Australia/United Kingdom
International Premiere

Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator​ ​
​Directed by Eva Orner | USA
World Premiere

The Capote Tapes​
​Directed by Ebs Burnough | United Kingdom
World Premiere

TIFF Docs Opening Film​*
The Cave​
​Directed by Feras Fayyad | Syria/Denmark/Germany/USA/Qatar
World Premiere

Citizen K​ ​
​Directed by Alex Gibney | USA/United Kingdom
North American Premiere

Collective ​(​Colectiv​)​
​​Directed by Alexander Nanau | Romania/Luxembourg
North American Premiere

​Directed by Alan Zweig | Canada
World Premiere

The Cordillera of Dreams​ (​La Cordillera de los Sueños​)​
​Directed by ​Patricio Guzmán | France/Chile
North American Premiere

​Directed by ​Alla Kovgan | Germany/France/USA
World Premiere

​​Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard | USA
World Premiere

Desert One​
​Directed by Barbara Kopple | USA
World Premiere

I Am Not Alone
​​Directed by Garin Hovannisian | Armenia/USA
World Premiere

Ibrahim: A Fate to Define​
​Directed by Lina Al Abed | Lebanon/Palestine/Denmark/Qatar/Slovenia
North American Premiere

The Kingmaker
​​Directed by Lauren Greenfield | USA/Denmark
Canadian Premiere

Letter to the Editor
​​Directed by Alan Berliner | USA
World Premiere

Love Child​
​Directed by Eva Mulvad | Denmark
World Premiere

My English Cousin​
​Directed by Karim Sayad | Switzerland/Qatar
World Premiere

Paris Stalingrad ​
​Directed by Hind Meddeb | France
International Premiere

Ready for War
​​Directed by Andrew Renzi | USA
World Premiere

Red Penguins
​Directed by ​Gabe Polsky | USA/Russia
World Premiere

Sing Me A Song ​
​Directed by Thomas Balmès | France/Germany/Switzerland
World Premiere

There’s Something in the Water​
​Directed by Ellen Page, Ian Daniel | Canada
World Premiere

This Is Not a Movie ​
​Directed by Yung Chang | Canada/Germany
World Premiere

Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema ​
​Directed by Mark Cousins | United Kingdom
World Premiere

Previously announced TIFF Docs films include Alan Zweig’s ​Coppers​, Ellen Page and Ian Daniel’s ​There’s  Something in the Water​,​ ​and​ ​Yung Chang’s ​This Is Not a Movie​.

For film synopses, cast lists, images, and more information, see ​tiff.net/docs​.

Festival tickets go on sale September 2 at 10am (TIFF Member pre-sale August 31, 10am–4pm). Buy tickets online at​ ​tiff.net​, b​y phone at 416.599.2033 or 1.888.258.8433, or in person at a box office. See box office  locations and hours at​ ​tiff.net/tickets​.

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About TIFF
TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film  Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and  entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates  an annual economic impact of $189 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors  including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the  Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation and RBC. For more  information, visit tiff.net.

The Toronto International Film Festival is generously supported by Lead Sponsor Bell, Major Sponsors RBC,  L’Oréal Paris and Visa, and Major Supporters the Government of Ontario, Telefilm Canada, and the City of Toronto.

2019 New York Film Festival: Projections lineup announced

August 12, 2019

“Tyrant Star”

The following is a press release from Film at Lincoln Center:

Film at Lincoln Center announces the complete lineup for the Projections section of the 57th New York Film Festival, to take place October 3-6. The slate is comprised of six features, seven shorts programs, and two videos that will be looped in the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater. This international selection of film and video work expands upon our notions of what the moving image can do and be. Drawing on a broad range of innovative modes and techniques, including experimental narratives, avant-garde poetics, crossovers into documentary realms, and contemporary art practices, Projections brings together a diverse offering of short, medium, and feature-length work by some of today’s most essential and groundbreaking filmmakers and artists.

“Many of the works in this year’s lineup are palpable in their political urgency—radical both in their formal innovation and in their deep engagement with the turbulence of the contemporary moment,” said Projections co-curator Aily Nash. “At the intersection of the visual arts and experimental film, Projections remains a rare platform for various approaches and cinematic traditions to jointly inform and inspire one another. This year, we foreground an array of international feature-length films as well as a strong selection of daring shorter works made by contemporary artists, as we continue to bring together today’s most inventive practitioners working with the moving image.”

Projections features 40 short and feature films, representing 21 countries with six world premieres, six North American premieres, and 19 U.S. premieres.

Among the highlights are the North American premiere of Minh Quý Trương’s striking feature The Tree House; Thomas Heise’s monumental essay film Heimat Is a Space in Time, utilizing both new material and archival footage to reflect on the fraught evolution of Germany’s national identity; a new 35mm restoration of avant-garde film pioneer Pat O’Neill’s 1974 film Saugus Series, a dazzling showcase for his groundbreaking work with the optical printer; Longa noite, the long-awaited sophomore feature from Arraianos filmmaker Eloy Enciso Cachafeiro; and a special free program dedicated to the memory of the late filmmaker and Projections alum Jonathan Schwartz, featuring seven of his 16mm films. The lineup also features new work from several Film at Lincoln Center alumni: Miko Revereza (Distancing), whose No Data Plan screened in Art of the Real 2019; Akosua Adoma Owusu (Pelourinho: They Don’t Really Care About Us), a Projections alum whose short films have also screened in the New York African Film Festival and New Directors/New Films; Luise Donschen (Entire Days Together), an alum of Art of the Real; and Burak Çevik (A Topography of Memory) and James N. Kienitz Williams (This Action Lies), both alums of New Directors/New Films 2019.

Three films in Projections will be shown on 35mm celluloid, including the North American premiere of George Clark’s Double Ghosts, inspired by an unfinished film by Raúl Ruiz, and Joshua Gen Solondz’s lyrical travelogue (tourism stories). Seven films will be exhibited on 16mm, including Tomonari Nishikawa’s Amusement Ride, which observes the inner workings of a Ferris wheel from the inside of a swinging passenger car.

Projections showcases a number of contemporary artists, including new work by Charlotte Prodger, winner of the 2018 Turner Prize, whose SaF05, featured in the 2019 Venice Biennial, marks the third entry in the artist’s autobiographical video trilogy; Beatrice Gibson, whose dream-logic thriller Two Sisters Who Are Not Sisters is based on a 1929 Gertrude Stein play; Éric Baudelaire, who spent four years collaborating with students from a Parisian middle school on Un Film dramatique; Patrick Staff, whose The Prince of Homburg meditates upon contemporary issues of gender and queer resistance; Pedro Neves Marques, who imagines an anxious future in his atmospheric, sci-fi tinged The Bite; and feature films by Marwa Arsanios, whose formally audacious Who Is Afraid of Ideology? tracks the influence of the Kurdish Women’s Liberation Movement, and Mariah Garnett, whose Trouble is an intimate essay film about her father and his past as a political activist in Belfast.

Making their Projections debuts are Simon Liu, who crafts an eerie portrait of contemporary Hong Kong in the World Premiere of Signal 8; Gabino Rodríguez, co-directing alongside Projections alum Nicolás Pereda for their shape-shifting docufiction My Skin, Luminous, which follows an infirmed orphan who has lost the pigment in his skin; and Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil, and Jackson Polys, whose Culture Capture: Terminal Adddition is made under the banner of their public secret society New Red Order. Projections also showcases returning filmmakers Zachary Epcar (Billy), Ben Russell (COLOR-BLIND), Kevin Jerome Everson and Claudrena N. Harold (Black Bus Stop), Dani and Sheilah ReStack (Come Coyote), Ryan Ferko (Hrvoji, Look at You From the Tower), Peggy Ahwesh (Kansas Atlas), and Luke Fowler, who returns to NYFF with two short films, Mums’ Cards and Houses (for Margaret).

The NYFF is proud to continue its collaboration with MUBI. The curated streaming platform will be the dedicated sponsor of the Projections section for the fifth consecutive year. Following the conclusion of the festival, MUBI will proudly present a selection of titles from this year’s program, making these essential works available to audiences across the globe. Details on the film selections and schedule will be announced at a later date.
Projections is curated by Dennis Lim (FLC Director of Programming) and Aily Nash (independent curator). Shelby Shaw and Dan Sullivan are Program Assistants.

Projections tickets are $17 for General Public and $12 for Members & Students. A Projections All-Access Pass will also be available for purchase.
Tickets for the 57th New York Film Festival will go on sale to the general public on September 8. Festival and VIP passes are on sale now and offer one of the earliest opportunities to purchase tickets and secure seats at some of the festival’s biggest events, including Opening and Closing Night. Learn more at filmlinc.org/NYFF57Passes.

All films screen digitally at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center (144 W. 65th St.) unless otherwise noted.
Heimat Is a Space in Time
Thomas Heise, Germany/Austria, 2019, 218m
U.S. Premiere

Stretching from the dawn of World War I to the present day, Thomas Heise’s monumental essay film reflects on the fraught evolution of Germany’s national identity through the prism of one family’s history. The film, shot in monochrome black-and-white, combines a wealth of archival footage and materials––including letters written by Heise’s grandparents during the war––with new footage in which the director traces vestiges of his country’s national trauma to the very sites and landscapes that once played host to unspeakable violence. As he visualizes his ancestors’ forced displacement across East and West Germany, Heise achieves a moving meditation on the relationship between home and heritage.
Un Film dramatique
Éric Baudelaire, France, 2019, 114m
U.S. Premiere

Shot over a period of four years, Un Film dramatique follows the creative intuitions of 20 budding Parisian artists at Dora Maar Middle School in Saint-Denis as they experiment with cameras on their own terms, theoretically reflect on the medium, and debate issues of ethnicity, discrimination, and representations of power and identity. Humorous, intimate, and illuminating, Éric Baudelaire’s film is a testament to cinema’s collaborative nature, in which the young filmmakers become co-authors and subjects of their own lives.

Longa noite / Endless Night
Eloy Enciso Cachafeiro, Spain, 2019, 89m
U.S. Premiere

Spanish filmmaker Eloy Enciso Cachafeiro’s long-awaited follow-up to Arraianos follows a mysterious, soft-spoken man named Anxo who returns to his hometown in the Galician countryside. There, he is confronted with a series of moral and existential quandaries that bring his past transgressions to bear on a community crippled by poverty and political injustice. Unfolding as an episodic series of encounters and conversations—based on plays, memoirs, and letters from the Franco regime—the film lays bare a system quietly fostering new forms of fascism. Shot by Mauro Herce (cinematographer of Fire Will Come, playing in this year’s NYFF Main Slate), Longa noite gradually expands from a portrait of sociopolitical malaise into a metaphysical mystery in which past and present, fact and fiction, become increasingly indistinguishable.

Mariah Garnett, USA/UK, 2019, 82m
North American Premiere

Mariah Garnett’s intimate and inventive biographical portrait of her artist father recounts in his own words his past as a political activist in Belfast and his daughter’s unlikely influence on his life. Through a combination of letters, interviews, archival footage, and uncanny reenactments of the period (featuring Garnett herself in the role of her father), this slyly self-reflexive yet deeply felt film provides crucial insights into his largely forgotten accomplishments and Ireland’s history of sociopolitical unrest, while also documenting the father and daughter’s belated reunion.

The Tree House / Nhà Cây
Minh Quý Trương, Vietnam, 2019, 84m
North American Premiere

In Minh Quý Trương’s striking second feature, a man living on Mars in the year 2045 examines footage brought back from his encounters with an indigenous community in the jungles of Vietnam. As he experiments, his thoughts drift from matters of identity, aesthetics, and the politics of imagemaking, to ritual burial practices, to the seen and unseen forces that shape cultures. Combining elements of science fiction and ethnography, The Tree House is a powerful exploration of how time and environment relate to our understanding of home.

Who Is Afraid of Ideology?
Marwa Arsanios, Lebanon, 2019, 51m
U.S. Premiere

The Kurdish Women’s Liberation Movement has been disrupting gender and ecological hierarchies across the Middle East. In this stimulating, bifurcated film, shot among the mountains of Kurdistan, a village for women in northern Syria, and a farming community in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley, Marwa Arsanios uses an array of striking formal strategies––including the frequent disassociation of sound and image––to track the movement’s influence and the efforts of autonomous women’s groups to reclaim land amidst the Rojava revolution.

preceded by
Mum’s Cards
Luke Fowler, UK, 2018, 9m
U.S. Premiere
In his intimate portrait, Luke Fowler’s mother reflects on her life’s work as a sociologist in Glasgow and, through a collection of hand-written notes, illuminates the personal and political nuances that make up a life devoted to intellectual inquiry.
Free Admission

Special Program:
Appearances and Disappearances: In Memory of Jonathan Schwartz

Taking as their subjects childhood, the transience of seasons, and our shared mortality, the 16mm films of Jonathan Schwartz (1973-2018) devote themselves to the ephemerality of external worlds and a gestural responsiveness to internal states. This program of seven, poetic films made over 15 years—combining cutout collage, lyrical camerawork, and elliptical editing—merge wonder and disquiet, elation and sorrow, moving from intimacies of fatherhood and love to contemplations of nature and culture. Curated by Irina Leimbacher
For Them Ending (2005, 16mm, 3m)
Animals Moving to the Sound of Drums (2013, 16mm, 8m)
If the War Continues (2012, 16mm, 5m)
Den of Tigers (2002, 16mm, 19m)
Winter Beyond Winter (2016, 16mm, 11m)
A Leaf is the Sea is a Theater (2017, 16mm to digital, 17m)
New Year Sun (2010, 16mm, 3m)
TRT: 65m

Shorts Program 1: News From Home

Miko Revereza, USA, 2019, 10m
North American Premiere

After deciding to leave the U.S. and return to the Philippines, Miko Revereza charted his journey on film, creating superimpositions of intimate 16mm images shot in his home, at the airport, and with his family. A coda of sorts to Miko Revereza’s recent feature No Data Plan, Distancing uses personal experience to reflect on the lives of displaced persons throughout the western world.

Come Coyote
Dani and Sheilah ReStack, USA, 2019, 8m
U.S. Premiere

The second in a planned trilogy of films about desire and domesticity that began with Strangely Ordinary This Devotion (2017), Come Coyote examines issues around queer reproduction, intimacy, and motherhood. Collaborators and partners Dani and Sheilah ReStack capture in fleeting, diaristic images the tender and terrifying feelings they have around ushering new life into the world, conveyed with both humor and a powerful immediacy.

Kansas Atlas
Peggy Ahwesh, USA, 2019, 17m
World Premiere

Lebanon, Kansas, is perhaps best known as the geographic center of the U.S. Constructed of aerial footage of small towns and vistas, this transfixing, split-screen essay film pairs Peggy Ahwesh’s images of the region with text by Marianne Shaneen, which borrows from Michel Foucault, Donna Haraway, and other social theorists. An unassuming landscape thus becomes an emblem of America and its unnerving blend of beauty and barely suppressed bigotry.

Charlotte Prodger, UK, 2019, 40m
U.S. Premiere

Charlotte Prodger skips across continents, charting a course through the artist’s past via the landscapes of Scotland, Botswana, and the American West, in this third entry in the artist’s autobiographical video trilogy. Via voiceover, Prodger meditates on death and desire, intimacy and identity, and, in the figure of an unusually maned lioness, finds a personal symbol for queer desire. Prodger is the winner of the 2018 Turner Prize.

Shorts Program 2: Making Contact

My Skin, Luminous
Gabino Rodríguez and Nicolás Pereda, Mexico/Canada, 2019, 39m
U.S. Premiere

Having lost the pigment in his skin, Matias, an infirmed orphan at a Michoacán primary school, has been quarantined from his classmates; however, the presence and words of novelist Mario Bellatin offer the prospect of healing. Moving from classroom to countryside to a local monastery, My Skin, Luminous is a shape-shifting docufiction that weaves its real-life subject into a subtly unfolding drama, and which speaks to the wider ongoing reforms to Mexico’s public school system.

The Bite / A Mordida
Pedro Neves Marques, Portugal/Brazil, 2019, 26m
U.S. Premiere

In Pedro Neves Marques’s atmospheric, sci-fi-tinged fiction set against the backdrop of a crisis-stricken São Paulo, a team of biologists attempt to thwart a viral outbreak through the use of genetically modified mosquitoes, while, in a parallel story, three lovers living in rural seclusion resist the reactionary politics of a newly appointed conservative government. Marques imagines an anxious present in which the promise of a better tomorrow relies on new conceptions of intimacy, identity, and reproduction.

Shorts Program 3: Signs of Life

The Prince of Homburg
Patrick Staff, USA/UK, 2019, 23m
North American Premiere

Patrick Staff’s vibrant, color-coded short, cleverly uses text from Heinrich von Kleist’s 19th-century play of the same name to explore themes of persecution and punishment, and to meditate upon contemporary issues of gender, queer resistance, and the carceral state.

Tyrant Star
Diane Severin Nguyen, USA/Vietnam, 2019, 16m
World Premiere

The star-crossed melancholy of two separated lovers is memorialized in a cathartic rendition of a beloved pop tune, intertwining the sensual and the toxic within an urban periphery of Vietnam. Tyrant Star is a musical tale of postwar emancipation and trauma.

Zachary Epcar, USA, 2019, 8m
U.S. Premiere

Zachary Epcar’s oblique psychodrama follows Billy and Allison through an evening of ominous disturbances. As flames dance, flashlights flicker, and domestic objects scatter in all directions, the couple’s home becomes a theater of contemporary anxiety.

Two Sisters Who Are Not Sisters / Deux soeurs qui n’est sont pas soeurs
Beatrice Gibson, UK, 2018, 23m
U.S. Premiere

In Beatrice Gibson’s dream-logic thriller, based on a 1929 play by Gertrude Stein, two amateur sleuths—played by filmmakers Ana Vaz and Basma Alsharif—investigate a crime that may not have happened. Pushing narrative beyond its limits to the point of abstraction, Gibson offers a bewitching reflection on identity, motherhood, and storytelling itself.

Shorts Program 4: Beginnings and Endings

Entire Days Together / Ganze Tage zusammen
Luise Donschen, Germany, 2019, 23m
World Premiere

A young girl is cured of her epilepsy just as summer vacation is about to begin. During her last days with her classmates, she’ll come to experience life in a new way. Arranged as a series of elliptical tableaux, this haunting narrative from Luise Donschen (Casanova Gene) captures a simultaneous sense of discovery and disorientation as it proceeds from the confines of the classroom to a wider world of adolescent anxieties.

Hrvoji, Look at You From the Tower
Ryan Ferko, Canada/Serbia/Croatia/Slovenia, 2019, 17m
U.S. Premiere

Ryan Ferko’s mutating portrait of the former Yugoslavia descends from the verdant hillsides to the ruined underbelly of this historical no-man’s-land, linking myth and memory through first-person anecdotes, remnants of ancient artifacts and architecture, and the imported sounds of 1970s stadium rock.

Houses (for Margaret)
Luke Fowler, UK, 2019, 5m
World Premiere

Luke Fowler constructed this tribute to Scottish filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait on the occasion of her centenary. Setting off to Tait’s native Orkney, Fowler creates a record of her life and work through images of her past dwellings, filming locations and notebooks. The soundtrack consists of location recordings made in Orkney and an archival tape recording of Tait reciting her poem “Houses,” in which she reflects on the meaning of home.

Double Ghosts
George Clark, Chile/Taiwan/UK, 2018, 35mm, 31m
North American Premiere

Inspired by an unfinished film by Chilean director Raúl Ruiz, George Clark’s globetrotting short retraces Ruiz’s ill-fated production from the beaches of Viña del Mar and the port of Valparaiso to the cemeteries of New Taipei City. Framed around a conversation with Ruiz’s widow, the filmmaker Valeria Sarmiento, Double Ghosts channels the spirit of this unrealized project into a poetic reflection on the creative process and the power of influence.

Shorts Program 5: On the Move

Black Bus Stop
Kevin Jerome Everson and Claudrena N. Harold, USA, 2019, 9m
U.S. Premiere

Kevin Jerome Everson and Claudrena N. Harold resurrect an informal meeting ground for black students at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville in the 1980s and ’90s in this ecstatic tribute. In a collaboration with members of the student body, the filmmakers stage a nocturnal celebration of this sacred and historic space through an exuberant display of choreographed song and dance.

Amusement Ride
Tomonari Nishikawa, Japan, 2019, 16mm, 6m
U.S. Premiere

Tomonari Nishikawa’s latest visual sleight of hand, shot on 16mm with a telephoto lens, observes the inner workings of a Ferris wheel, locating intricate structural patterns and crosscurrents of movement from the inside of a swinging passenger car.
(tourism studies)

Joshua Gen Solondz, USA, 2019, 35mm, 7m

A selection of still and moving images captured in over a half-dozen locations around the globe have been transformed into a bracing, rapidly unfolding cinematic travelogue in Joshua Gen Solondz’s lyrical film, which finds unexpected parallels and echoes among its far-flung locales.

Signal 8
Simon Liu, Hong Kong/UK/USA, 2019, 14m
World Premiere

Simon Liu’s eerie, entrancing portrait of contemporary Hong Kong tracks a series of strange disruptions to the city’s urban infrastructure. Deceptively tranquil 16mm images of everyday life are accompanied by muffled music cues, ominous radio transmissions, and intimations of an impending hazardous event that may never arrive.

Akosua Adoma Owusu, Ghana, 2019, 9m

In 1927, W. E. B. Du Bois wrote to the U.S. Embassy of Brazil concerning the country’s discriminatory attitude toward black immigrants. Akosua Adoma Owusu conveys this correspondence through montage, juxtaposing voiceover readings of the letters, sumptuous Super-8 footage shot on the streets of Pelourinho, and interpolated images from Spike Lee’s controversial music video for Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Really Care About Us,” resulting in a film that swiftly traces nearly a century of social unrest.

Ben Russell, France, 2019, 30m
U.S. Premiere

Ben Russell’s visually eclectic Super 16mm work of psychedelic ethnography surveys the history of colonialism in French Polynesia through present-day forms of ritualized dance, body art, and woodworking. Shot between Brittany and the Marquesas Islands, COLOR-BLIND is guided by the spirit of post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin, whose words and art appear throughout.
Shorts Program 6: Solve for X

Saugus Series

PHX [X is for Xylonite]
Frances Scott, UK, 2019, 13m
World Premiere
Frances Scott explores the history and usage of plastic in this imaginative essay film. Using three-dimensional animations, distorted vocal recordings, and the words of Roland Barthes, she connects the founding of the first plastics factory in 1866 and the development of cellulose nitrate, a key element in the creation of film stock.

Jenny Brady, Ireland, 2019, 15m
U.S. Premiere

Jenny Brady’s film surveys over 100 years of deaf history from the controversial and damaging Milan Conference of 1880 to a modern-day protest at a university for the hard of hearing. Drawing on a wide range of archival recordings in which communication breaks down and would-be civil conversations devolve into public altercations, Receiver bears out the old maxim that those who speak loudest rarely listen—and those with the most to say are seldom heard.

Saugus Series
Pat O’Neill, USA, 1974, 35mm, 18m
U.S. Premiere

Landscape imagery, archival footage, and animation are hybridized in this dazzling experimental film from 1974, a showcase for Pat O’Neill’s pioneering work with the optical printer. Restored by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation.

This Action Lies
James N. Kienitz Wilkins, USA, 2018, 32m
U.S. Premiere

James N. Kienitz Wilkins applies his loquacious and self-reflexive sensibility to a frequently hilarious work of cinema as intellectual inquiry. Training his 16mm lens on a foam coffee cup (recalling the austerity of a Warhol screen test) while holding court on a myriad of subjects ranging from the history of Dunkin’ Donuts to new fatherhood, Wilkins offers a dizzying disquisition on looking, listening, and the slippery nature of truth.

Amphitheater Loops
Free and open to the public

A Topography of Memory
Burak Çevik, Turkey/Canada, 2019, 30m
U.S. Premiere

This subtly expansive new work by Burak Çevik (Belonging, ND/NF 2019) combines CCTV footage of urban Istanbul with audio of a family heading to vote in the controversial June 2015 Turkish general election. As talk ranges from domestic matters to political affiliations, shots of the city’s skyline, coastal architecture, and religious landmarks captured the day after the election slowly scroll past. Underlying these eerily serene images is the knowledge that in a follow-up vote five months later, the right-wing government would regain power.

Culture Capture: Terminal Adddition
Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil, and Jackson Polys, USA, 2019, 7m
North American Premiere

The latest video by the public secret society known as the New Red Order is an incendiary indictment of the norms of European settler colonialism. Examining institutionalized racism through a mix of 3D photographic scans and vivid dramatizations, this work questions the contemporary act of disposing historical artifacts as quick fixes, proposing the political potential of adding rather than removing.

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