Halloween 2019: Horror movies and supernatural thrillers in theaters on All Hallows’ Eve

October 1, 2019

by Carla Hay

There are numerous horror movies available to watch on TV, computers or mobile devices, but for Halloween 2019, there are a select number of horror flicks and supernatural thrillers that will be released in theaters in October. Horror and supernatural movies released before October 2019 that should still be in theaters during the Halloween season include “It: Chapter Two” (rated R); “Ready or Not” (rated R); “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (rated PG-13); “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” (rated PG-13); “Freaks” (rated R); “The Nightingale” (rated R); “The Lake Vampire” (not rated); “Prey” (rated PG-13); “Beloved Beast” (not rated); “The Curse of Buckout Road” (not rated); “Tigers Are Not Afraid” (not rated); and “One Cut of the Dead” (not rated). Here are the movies that have an October 2019 release:

Information in this article is about U.S. releases.

RELEASES FOR MATURE AUDIENCES

(Movies that are rated R or unrated)

“100 Acres of Hell”

Directed by Hank Lee Hump, “100 Acres of Hell” centers on former wrestling champ Buck Severs (played by Gene Snisky) and his posse of friends. After Buck has some life setbacks of getting a career-ending injury and experiencing a family tragedy, he and his pals travel to an abandoned wildlife preserve for a weekend getaway. They soon become the targets of a mutant psycho killer, who uses the preserve as a personal hunting ground.  The movie’s co-stars include Eileen Dietz, Ernest O’Donnell, Catherine Corcoran, Jason L. Koerner and Jim Roof.  “100 Acres of Hell,” which is rated R, arrives in select theaters on October 11, 2019, before expanding to more theaters on October 18, 2019.

“Beloved Beast”

In sort of a twisted homage to the classic film “Harvey” (about an imaginary rabbit friend named Harvey), the slasher flick “Beloved Beast” (written and directed by Jonathan Holbrook) features a serial killer named Harvey who wears a rabbit mask. The murderer is an escaped patient from a psychiatric institution, and he befriends a 12-year-old orphan named Nina, who’s living with her unstable, druggie aunt. The movie’s cast members include Meredith Binder, Sheila Houlahan, Tabitha Bastien, Sanae Loutsis, Khoe King, Elizabeth Rhoades and  Luke Schuck. “Beloved Beast,” which is rated R, is set for release in select theaters on October 11, 2019.

“The Dead Center”

In “The Dead Center,” written and directed by Billy Senese, a suicide victim (played Jeremy Childs, Preacher, Nashville) disappears from the morgue, which triggers a terrifying chain of events. A troubled psychiatrist named Daniel Forrester (played by Shane Carruth) tries to figure out the mystery behind a catatonic patient who is brought to the emergency psych ward with no memory of how he reached the hospital. It isn’t long before gruesome deaths begin happening on the ward. “The Dead Center,” which is unrated, arrives in select theaters and digital HD on October 11, 2019. The movie’s release on DVD and Blu-ray is on October 14, 2019.

“Echoes of Fear”

Written and directed by Brian Avenet-Bradley, “Echoes of Fear” is about a young woman named Alysa (played by Trista Robinson), who inherits her grandfather house. As she tries to find out more about his mysterious death, Alysa finds out the hard way that the house is haunted. “Echoes of Fear,” which is unrated, will be released in select theaters on October 16, 2019.

“Girl on the Third Floor”

Written and directed by Travis Stevens, “Girl on the Third Floor” tells the story of a deeply flawed husband named Don Koch (played by CM Punk), who tries to redeem himself from his criminal past by fixing up an old house where he and his pregnant wife Liz (played by Trieste Kelly Dunn) plan to start their family. Liz is concerned about whether or not Don will be able to finish the house in time for the arrival of their baby. Meanwhile, Don is tempted by a young, attractive woman named Sarah (played by Sarah Brooks), who offers to help Don with his renovations. Not surprisingly, the house has secrets that are revealed to deadly consequences. “Girl on the Third Floor,” which is not rated, opens in limited release on October 25, 2019.

“Joker” 

Joaquin Phoenix inhabits the title role in “Joker,” an origin story of Batman’s most famous enemy. In the movie, directed and co-written by Todd Phillips, Phoenix portrays Arthur Fleck, a troubled loner whose descent into madness includes a murderous crime spree. “Joker” had its world premiere at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival, where “Joker” became the first movie with comic-book origins that won the festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion. “Joker” and Phoenix are also getting a lot of buzz for other prizes, including the Academy Awards. The movie’s cast also includes Zazie Beets and Robert De Niro. Film critics, who have mostly praised “Joker,” have described the movie as being influenced by the Martin Scorsese films “Taxi Driver” and “The King of Comedy.” “Joker,” which is rated R, opens in wide release on October 4, 2019.

“The Last Fiction”

This animated film from Iran tells the story of ruthless Zahak, who takes over as king of Persia. Under his leadership, young men who work in the palace begin to mysteriously disappear. In reaction to growing unrest among the citizens, Zahak orders the murder of newborn babies. Among the discontents is a young rebel named Kaveh, who forms an army of outlaws to rebel against Zahak. Kaveh enlists the help of Afaridoun, who he trains as a warrior capable of fighting humans and demons. “The Last Fiction,” written and directed by Ashkan Rahgozar, is unrated and is set for release in select theaters on October 18, 2019.

“The Lighthouse”

Directed and co-written by Robert Eggers (“The Witch”), this dark and brutal drama centers on two lighthouse keepers who are isolated on a New England island in the 1890s. Thomas Wake (played by Willem Dafoe) is the older, more experienced keeper, who often becomes frustrated with the younger Ephraim Inslow (played by Robert Pattinson), who shows signs of having a rebellious streak and mental instability. Thomas is a superstitious taskmaster who warns Ephraim not to kill any of the seagulls that are constantly hovering around the lighthouse. As the story unfolds, there is an ongoing power struggle between the two men, as sinister forces become increasingly present in and around the lighthouse. “The Lighthouse,” which is rated R, opens in limited release on October 18, 2019.

“Little Monsters” (2019)

Written and directed by Abe Forsythe, the zombie comedy “Little Monsters,” which takes place in Australia, follows the madcap journey of an unemployed, slacker musician named Dave (played by Alexander England) and how he ends up in the middle of a zombie invasion. After finding himself living with his older, single sister Tess (played by Kat Stewart) and her precocious kindergarten-age son Felix (played by Diesel La Torraca), Dave volunteers to be a chaperone for a field trip that Felix’s class is taking to a family zoo. Part of Dave’s motivation to go on the trip is because Felix is attracted to Felix’s straight-laced teacher Miss Caroline (played by Lupita Nyong’o), who is the complete opposite of Dave. While at the zoo, they meet a famous children’s entertainer named Teddy McGiggle (played by Josh Gad), who becomes a rival to George for Miss Caroline’s affections. It isn’t long before the zoo is invaded by zombies. “Little Monsters,” which is rated R, arrives in select theaters for one night only on October 8, 2019, and begins streaming on Hulu on October 11, 2019.

“Memory: The Origins of Alien”

The excellent documentary “Memory: The Origin of Alien,” directed by Alexandre O. Philippe, takes a deep-dive examination into the 1979 classic sci-fi horror movie “Alien.” It’s best that people see the movie “Alien” before watching this documentary, which contains a lot of spoiler information. Ridley Scott directed “Alien,” and this documentary also gives a great deal of the movie’s creative credit to screenwriter Dan O’Bannon, who adapted the “Alien” screenplay from a story titled “Memory” that he wrote with Ronald Shusett. Several major influences on “Alien” are explored, such as artist H.R. Giger, whose “Necronom IV” painting gave Scott the idea of how the “Alien” title character would look; artist Francis Bacon, whose work inspired the creature in the movie’s famous chestburster scene; and several comic books, sci-fi novels and movies that inspired the screenplay and art direction of “Alien.” Among the notables interviewed for the documentary are “Alien” cast members Tom Skerritt and Veronica Cartwright; film editor Terry Rawlings; art director Roger Christian; associate producer Ivor Powell; Diane O’Bannon (Don O’Bannon’s widow); and legendary horror filmmaker Roger Corman. Several pundits also note the sociological and cultural influences and statements of “Alien,” which one commenter says is a movie symbolic of “patriarchal guilt.”  Although the documentary is not rated, it contains a lot of the movie’s most graphic images, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at how those horrifying scenes were filmed. The fan-driven company Legion M teamed up with Screen Media to acquire “Memory: The Origin of Alien” after the movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. “Memory: The Origin of Alien” is set for release on VOD and in select theaters on October 4, 2019.

“Portals”

On August 5, 2020, after an undisclosed research facility creates the world’s first active black hole, a cosmic disruption occurs that sets off a series of blackouts around the world. Millions of mysterious portals then begin appearing. While some people run away from the portals, other people are drawn into the potentially deadly doorways. “Portals” is an anthology featuring three internationally connected stories told by four directors: Eduardo Sanchez, Gregg Hale, Timo Tjahjanto and Liam O’Donnell. The movie’s cast members include Neil Hopkins, Deanna Russo, Gretchen Lodge and Natacha Gott. “Portals,” which is nor rated, arrives in select theaters and on VOD on October 25, 2019.

“Trick”

Directed and co-written by Patrick Lussier, “Trick” uses the slasher-flick trope of a serial killer out for revenge. On Halloween night in 2015, Patrick “Trick” Weaver massacred his classmates at a costume party. He was arrested, but he escaped from police custody after being shot five times by Detective Mike Denver (played by Omar Epps). Trick is presumed to be dead, but a masked killer reappears the following Halloween, and every Halloween after that, which convinces people that Trick has returned to continue his murder spree.  The cast members of “Trick” also include Kristina Reyes, Jamie Kennedy and Tom Atkins. “Trick,” which is not rated, arrives in select theaters and on VOD on October 18, 2019.

“Wrinkles the Clown”

This documentary, directed by Michael Beach Nichols, examines the urban mythology of Wrinkles the Clown, a sinister character that first came to the public’s attention in 2014, when a viral YouTube video emerged of Wrinkles the Clown coming out from hiding underneath a sleeping child’s bed. The video described that the clown was available for hire in southwest Florida to scare unruly children. Wrinkles the Clown then became an Internet sensation, as people filmed sightings of the clown. In addition to showing how the character developed a cult following, the movie unmasks the clown by interviewing the man behind the costume. “Wrinkles the Clown,” which is not rated, will be available on VOD and will have a limited theatrical release on October 4, 2019.

“Zombieland: Double Tap”

Ten years after the 2009 comedy film “Zombieland” became a hit, the movie’s sequel “Zombieland: Double Tap” arrives in theaters, reuniting director Ruben Fleischer with original cast members Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin, as a quartet of misfits trying to stay alive in a zombie apocalypse. New cast members include Zoey Deutch, Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson and Avan Jogia. “Zombieland: Double Tap,” which is rated R, has a wide release in theaters on October 18, 2019. In select cities, AMC Theatres will be showing a special double feature of “Zombieland” and “Zombieland: Double Tap” on October 16, 2019. Tickets and more information on the double feature can be found here.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY RELEASES

(Movies that are rated PG or PG-13)

“The Addams Family”

Directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, “The Addams Family” is the animated version of Charles Addams’ comic-strip that ran in the New Yorker from 1938 to 1988. The comic strip , which is about a spooky clan that has a hard time fitting into a “normal” world, would go on to spawn a live-action TV series in the 1960s, an animated TV series in the 1970s and live-action films in the 1990s. The all-star voice cast of “The Addams Family” animated film includes Oscar Isaac as patriarch Gomez Addams; Charlize Theron as matriarch Morticia Addams; Chloë Grace Moretz as daughter Wednesday Addams; Finn Wolfhard as son Pugsley Addams; Nick Kroll as Uncle Fester, Gomez’s brother; Snoop Dogg as Cousin Itt, Gomez’s cousin; Bette Midler as Grandmama, Gomez and Fester’s mother; and Allison Janney as reality TV host Margaux Needler, the story’s villain. “The Addams Family,” which is rated PG-13, opens in wide release on October 11, 2019.

“Countdown”

Would you want to know the exact date and time that you’re going to die? That’s the premise behind “Countdown” (written and directed by Justin Dec), which tells the story of what several people do when they download an app that predicts when they will die. One of the people who downloads the app is a young nurse named Quinn (Elizabeth Lail), who finds out she only has three days to live. The movie’s cast also includes Anne Winters, Charlie McDermott, Peter Facinelli, Jordan Calloway and Talitha Eliana Bateman. “Countdown,” which is rated PG-13, is set for release on October 25, 2019.

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”

This sequel to 2014’s “Maleficent” reunites Angelina Jolie as the titular witch character and Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora. Directed by Joachim Rønning, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” picks up several years after “Maleficent,” as Maleficent and Aurora form new alliances and face new adversaries in their struggle to protect the moors and the magical creatures in their environment. The movie’s co-stars include Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith (Aurora’s future mother-in-law) and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Conall, one of the leaders of the dark fey, a band of winged creatures exiled from the human world. The movie’s cast members also include Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville, Juno Temple and Ed Skrein.  “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” which is rated PG-13, opens in wide release on October 18, 2019.

“Polaroid”

Directed by Lars Klevberg, “Polaroid” centers on a high-school student named Bird Fitcher (played by Kathryn Prescott), a social outcast who uncovers dark secrets when she starts using a mysterious Polaroid vintage camera. People end up dying after having their picture taken by the camera. “Polaroid” was originally supposed to be released in 2017 by Dimension Films, a subsidiary of the now-defunct Weinstein Company, before Lantern Entertainment (which bought the Weinstein Company’s assets) and 13 Films took over the distribution rights for the movie. The film is the American version of Klevberg’s 2015 Norwegian short film of the same title. “Polaroid,” which is rated PG-13, will be released in select theaters on October 11, 2019.

SPECIAL RE-RELEASES

“3 From Hell”

“3 From Hell” is the third film in writer/director Rob Zombie’s series of horror movies that began with 2003’s “House of 1,000 Corpses” and continued with 2005’s “The Devil’s Rejects.” In “3 From Hell,” Baby Firefly (played by Sheri Moon Zombie), Otis Driftwood (played by Bill Moseley) and Winslow Foxworth Coltrane (Richard Brake) have survived a shootout with the police, and are now planning a breakout from prison. When the three make their break, they go on a road trip. Along the way, people are take hostage, and there’s plenty of murder and mayhem. After a successful three-night run in mid-September 2019, “3 From Hell” returns to theaters for a one-night screening on October 14, 2019. Fathom Events is presenting the movie, which is rated R. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Alien”

“In space, no one can hear you scream” was the tagline for director Ridley Scott’s classic 1979 sci-fi horror film “Alien.” That sentence sums up the deepest fears of the film’s protagonists: an isolated, seven-member crew on the space tug Nostromo. The movie tells the story of how they find out that they are not alone on their spaceship. Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto are among the stars of “Alien,” a critically acclaimed film that has spawned many sequels and prequels. Fathom Events is presenting “Alien” (which is rated R) on October 13, October 15 and October 16, 2019, to celebrate the movie’s 40th anniversary. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“An American Werewolf in London” 

Directed by John Landis, the 1981 film “An American Werewolf in London” tells the story of two vacationing American college students—David Kessler (played by David Naughton) and Jack Goodman (played by Griffin Dunne)—who are backpacking in England. While traveling in the moors of Yorkshire, they stop in a pub and get a strange reaction from the locals, who warn them not to be outside at night when there is a full moon. It isn’t long before David and Jack find out the hard way that there’s a werewolf on the loose. “An American Werewolf in London” has the distinction of being the first movie to win an Oscar for makeup and hairstyling when it became an official competitive category for the 1982 ceremony, where Rick Baker won the prize. As part of the Cinépolis Handpicked series, the Cinépolis theater chain is showing “An American Werewolf in London” (which is rated R) on October 15, 2019. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Creature From the Black Lagoon” (1954)

In “Creature From the Black Lagoon,” directed by Jack Arnold, a partial skeleton of mysterious creature with webbed hands is discovered in South America’s Amazon. Four scientists (played by Antonio Moreno, Richard Carlson, Richard Denning and Whit Bissell), along with a female colleague (played by Julie Adams) and a boat captain (played by Nestor Paiva) take a boat trip on the Amazon to look for the rest of the skeleton and to investigate if the creature has any living relatives. Needless to say, they get their answer. “Creature From the Black Lagoon” spawned sequels at least one remake. As part of the Cinépolis Handpicked series and to celebrate the film’s 65th anniversary, the Cinépolis theater chain is showing “Creature From the Black Lagoon” (which is rated G) on October 22, 2019. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Exorcist”

The 1973 classic “The Exorcist,” directed by William Friedkin, is often ranked as the scariest horror movie of all time. In the story, Chris MacNeil (played by Ellen Burstyn) is distraught when she sees her 12-year-old daughter Regan (played by Linda Blair) begin to act strangely, such as speaking in tongues. When Regan starts levitating, Chris is convinced that Regan might be possessed by the devil. Chris asks a local priest named Father Damien (played by Jason Miller) for help. He then requests to perform an exorcism, and the Catholic Church sends an exorcism expert Father Lankester Merrin (played by Max von Sydow) to assist in the exorcism. “The Exorcist,” which is rated R, received 10 Oscar nominations (including Best Picture), and ended up winning two Oscars: Best Original Screenplay and Best Sound Mixing. As part of the Cinépolis Handpicked series, the Cinépolis theater chain is showing the director’s cut of “The Exorcist” (10 minutes of extra footage that wasn’t in the film’s original release) on October 29, 2019. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Ghostbusters” (1984)

The original 1984 “Ghostbusters” movie is considered a horror-comedy classic. Directed by Ivan Reitman, the movie tells the story of three paranormal investigators (played by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis), their first recruit (Ernie Hudson), their socialite client (played by Sigourney Weaver), her neighbor (played by Rick Moranis), and how they stumble upon ghosts and demons in New York City. To celebrate the movie’s 35th anniversary, Fathom Events is showing “Ghostbusters” in select theaters on October 6 and October 10, 2019. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“House of the Devil” (2009)

The indie horror film “The House of the Devil,” written and directed by Ti West, will get a limited re-release to celebrate the film’s 10th anniversary. Set in the 1980s, “The House of the Devil” tells the story of financially struggling college student Samantha Bolin (played by Jocelin Donahue), who takes a babysitting job from a creepy couple named Mr. and Mrs. Ulman (played by Tom Noonan and Mary Woronov). Samantha’s best friend, Megan (played Greta Gerwig), gives her a ride to the isolated mansion where the Ulmans live, and reluctantly leaves Samantha there. Not surprisingly, many horrible things happen in the mansion. “The House of the Devil,” which is rated R, will have its theatrical re-release in select theaters (mostly at Alamo Drafthouse), beginning October 8, 2019.

“Little Shop of Horrors” (1986)

The 1986 musical-comedy film “Little Shop of Horrors,” directed by Frank Oz, is based on the off-Broadway musical “Little Shop of Horrors,” which was based on Roger Corman’s 1960 film “The Little Shop of Horrors.” In the story of 1986’s “Little Shop of Horrors,” Rick Moranis plays Seymour Krelborn, a nerdy florist shop worker who finds out his Venus flytrap can speak. (Levi Stubbs voices the plant, named Audrey II,  in the movie.) Also starring in the film are Ellen Green as Seymour’s co-worker Audrey, who’s the object of his affections; Steve Martin as Orin Scrivello, Audrey’s abusive boyfriend; and Jim Belushi as Patrick Martin, a licensing and marketing executive who tries to get Seymour to sell other talking plants like Audrey II. John Candy, Bill Murray, Christopher Guest, Tichina Arnold and Tisha Campbell are also among the movie’s cast members in smaller supporting roles. As part of the Cinépolis Handpicked series, the Cinépolis theater chain is showing the director’s cut of “Little Shop of Horrors” (which is rated PG-13) on October 1, 2019. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Psycho” (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock directed what is arguably his most influential film: “Psycho,” a horror masterpiece that is considered the “grandfather” of slasher movies. In the beginning of the movie, embezzler Marion Crane (played by Janet Leigh), who is one the run from the law with stolen cash, when she checks into the creepy and isolated Bates Motel, whose caretaker is Norman Bates (played by Anthony Perkins). What happened to Marion in her motel room’s shower became one of the most iconic horror scenes in movie history. It isn’t long before Marion’s sister Lila Crane (played by Vera Miles) goes looking for Marion, and she also ends up at the Bates Motel, where Lila discovers how dangerous the Bates Motel really is. “Psycho” spawned the 1983 sequel “Psycho II” (starring Perkins and Miles) and director Gus Van Sant’s 1998 “Psycho” remake, both of which got mixed-to-negative reviews. The “Bates Motel” TV series, which was on the air from 2013 to 2017, was the origin story of a teenage Norman Bates. As part of the Cinépolis Handpicked series, the Cinépolis theater chain is showing Hitchcock’s “Psycho” (which is rated R) on October 8, 2019. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Shining”

“The Shining” is director Stanley Kubrick’s version of the Stephen King novel, which tells the story of an aspiring writer named Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson), who takes a job as a live-in caretaker of the historic Overlook Hotel in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain area during the hotel’s off-season. He moves there with his wife Wendy Torrance (played by Shelley Duvall) and kindergarten-aged son Danny Torrance (played by Danny Lloyd), who shows signs of having psychic abilities. The hotel cook Dick Hallorann (played by Scatman Crothers) notices Danny’s unusual abilities, which Dick calls “the shining.” When Danny’s visions become more menacing and Jack starts descending into madness, it’s only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose. A 4K remastered restoration of “The Shining,” which is rated R, arrives in select theaters on October 1, 2019. More information and ticket purchases can be found here. After the movie, there will be a featurette shown about “Doctor Sleep,” the sequel to “The Shining” that will get a wide release in theaters on November 8, 2019.

“Zombieland”

The 2009 film “Zombieland,” directed by Ruben Fleischer, is a horror comedy about a quartet of misfits (played by Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin) who are thrown together during a zombie apocalypse. As they fight for survival, they have some strange and hilarious encounters. Look for a memorable cameo from Bill Murray. In select cities, AMC Theatres will be showing a special double feature of “Zombieland” and the 2019 sequel “Zombieland: Double Tap” on October 16, 2019. Both movies are rated R. Tickets and more information on the double feature can be found here.

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:

IN COMPETITION

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:

HORIZONS (ORIZZONTI)

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

LION OF THE FUTURE

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

VENICE CLASSICS

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

VIRTUAL REALITY COMPETITION

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 New York Film Festival: special events, shorts, talks announced

August 23, 2019

Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker” (Photo by Nikos Tavernise)

Film at Lincoln Center announces the complete lineup for the Special Events, Shorts, and Talks sections for the 57th New York Film Festival (September 27 – October 13).

Special Events will feature Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club Encore, an extended version of his portrait of the eponymous Harlem nightclub where legendary black musicians like Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, and Duke Ellington performed for an exclusively white clientele. Coppola recovered lost negatives to restore sound, image, and the film’s intended length, and will appear in person for a Q&A.

Joker, the highly anticipated origin story of Batman’s arch enemy, starring a brilliant Joaquin Phoenix as the nefarious villain, will screen in a special sneak preview. Phoenix will join audiences for an extended Q&A along with director Todd Phillips and the creative team behind this stunning new vision of Gotham.

Roee Messinger’s American Trial: The Eric Garner Story envisions the fictional but unscripted trial of recently fired officer Daniel Pantaleo for one of the nation’s most disturbing recent tragedies: Eric Garner’s 2014 murder by police chokehold in Staten Island, which galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement. The film features the testimony of real-life witnesses and friends of Garner, and the participation of two legal teams. American Trial will make its World Premiere at NYFF with a free screening and extended panel, featuring the director and a number of the film’s participants.

Special Events also includes a Screenwriting Master Class with Olivier Assayas, a fixture of the New York Film Festival, who will discuss the process of adapting real events into creative fictions, such as his newest film, Wasp Network, playing in this year’s Main Slate.

This year’s four Shorts programs feature a mix of narrative and documentary films from established and emerging artists, with 9 world premieres, including all titles in the annual New York Stories program and Theo Anthony’s Subject to Review (Program 2). Highlights include new work from NYFF alumni Yorgos Lanthimos, Gabriel Abrantes, Gaston Solnicki, Qiu Yang, Martin Rejtman, Pia Borg, Joe Stankus, Adinah Dancyger, Jay Giampietro, Ricky D’Ambrose, and Joanna Arnow.

NYFF Talks return with On Cinema, wherein festival director Kent Jones sits down with world-renowned filmmakers for an in-depth discussion about films that have influenced and inspired them, illustrated with film clips. This year Film at Lincoln Center presents two such talks: with Martin Scorsese, director of Opening selection The Irishman, and Pedro Almodóvar, a festival veteran and director of Main Slate selection Pain and Glory. Directors Dialogues are special Q&As with filmmakers from NYFF57, discussing the ideas and the craft behind their buzzed-about newest works. This year’s participants are Bong Joon-ho, the Palme d’Or–winning director of Parasite, and Mati Diop, who makes her NYFF debut with Atlantics.

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. Shorts are programmed by Tyler Wilson and Madeline Whittle.

HBO is the presenting sponsor of NYFF Talks, which bring wide-ranging conversations with directors featured in NYFF57 to the public and include Directors Dialogues and On Cinema. HBO also sponsors NYFF Live, which will be announced in September.

As part of their commitment to celebrating filmmaking talent, Warby Parker is proud to return this year as the presenting partner of the Screenwriting Master Class.

The NYFF Shorts section is presented by Netflix.

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

Tickets for Special Events and the On Cinema Talks are $30 for General Public and $25 for Members & Students. Some exceptions may apply for select programs, including Joker and the Screenwriting Master Class. Tickets for Shorts and the Directors Dialogues are $17 for General Public and $12 for Members & Students. Visit here for more information.

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 today, 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.

SPECIAL EVENTS DESCRIPTIONS

American Trial: The Eric Garner Story
Dir. Roee Messinger, USA, 100m
World Premiere

The idea is powerfully simple: engage the services of two actual legal teams to create a rigorous, legally based fictional—yet unscripted—trial that never happened for one of the nation’s most disturbing recent tragedies. The accused is Officer Daniel Pantaleo (only recently fired by New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill), charged in the July 17, 2014 death of Eric Garner with reckless manslaughter and strangulation in the first degree. The judge is played by a seasoned defense lawyer, while the officer is played by the only actor in the cast (Anthony Altieri). Eyewitnesses, bystanders, friends, and his widow, Esaw Snipes, all come to testify; meanwhile, credible expert witnesses who would have likely been called to testify in a real trial provide their testimonies for both the prosecution and the defense to create fair judicial proceedings. Roee Messinger’s film goes deep into the case, placing the audience in the position of the jury. American Trial is a one-of-a-kind film, and this special screening will be free to the public.

The Cotton Club Encore
Dir. Francis Ford Coppola, U.S., 1984, 139m

It’s now clear that Francis Ford Coppola’s eighties constituted his most fruitfully experimental period of filmmaking, when he used the clout from such behemoth masterpieces of the previous decade as the Godfather films and Apocalypse Now to try his hand at films of various genres and budget levels. At the time, The Cotton Club, Coppola’s stylish throwback to those 1930s Hollywood standbys the gangster film and the musical, was considered a costly disappointment, altered seemingly irrevocably due to behind-the-scenes conflicts with producers and financiers. Yet this sophisticated, witty, wildly ambitious movie, starring Gregory Hines and Richard Gere, about the titular Harlem nightclub, where legendary black musicians like Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, and Duke Ellington performed for an exclusively white clientele, was always something special, a rousing American entertainment that was both an evocation of the work of such directors as Raoul Walsh and William Wellman and a loving recreation of the period itself. The brilliance of Coppola’s vision is more apparent than ever in this “reawakened” version, The Cotton Club Encore, for which the director recovered lost negatives to bring the film back to its original length and luster, with restored sound and image.

Joker
Dir. Todd Phillips, USA, 122m

The Joker began life on April 25, 1940 as the anarchic enemy of DC Comics’ Batman, and his appearance was possibly inspired by Conrad Veidt’s permanently, demonically smiling face from the 1928 silent film The Man Who Laughs. The Joker has gone through many transformations and iterations, but his origin story has never been as vividly or shockingly imagined and realized as it is here, in one of the most anticipated films of the year. Join us for a special screening and discussion with the creative team behind this stunning, truly disturbing vision, led by director Todd Phillips and his brilliant star, Joaquin Phoenix. A Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and BRON Creative release.

Screenwriting Master Class with Olivier Assayas

Presented by Warby Parker
The amazing and eclectic career of French filmmaker Olivier Assayas has encompassed autobiography (Cold Water, Summer Hours, Something in the Air), contemporary meta-fiction (Irma Vep, demonlover, Clouds of Sils Maria), literary adaptation (Les destinées sentimentales), and in the case of the epic Carlos and his latest film in this year’s festival, the exhilarating Wasp Network, about a ring of Cuban refugees functioning as spies for the Castro government while living in Miami in the early nineties, intimate narratives based on true stories. In this special discussion, Assayas will talk about the process of turning real events into creative fictions. Starring Penélope Cruz and Édgar Ramirez, Wasp Network is based on Fernando Morais’s meticulously researched 2015 book The Last Soldiers of the Cold War.

SHORT FILM DESCRIPTIONS

Program 1: International (TRT: 89m)
A mixture of narrative and documentary, this program showcases bold, new films by emerging and established filmmakers working in international cinema today.
Programmed by Tyler Wilson.

Party Day / Dia de Festa
Sofia Bost, Portugal, 2019, 17m
Portuguese with English subtitles
North American Premiere
A cash-strapped single mother is pulled into an unresolved family conflict as she struggles to host her daughter’s seventh birthday party. Sofia Bost’s 16mm-shot drama, filled with illuminating performances, renders a complicated depiction of motherhood and the inconsolable grievances inherited by each generation.

Blessed Land / Một Khu Đất Tốt
Phạm Ngọc Lân, Vietnam, 2019, 19m
Vietnamese with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Searching for her deceased husband’s grave, a mother wanders with her son through a cemetery that has been partially remade into a golf course. Phạm Ngọc Lân’s intricately staged single-location film merges two disparate time periods, creating unnerving harmony between sociopolitical conspiracy and the natural erosion of memory, spiritual calm and modern decadence.

Circumplector
Gastón Solnicki, Argentina/France, 2019, 3m
U.S. Premiere
Gastón Solnicki’s miniature of Notre-Dame—filmed days before the fire—impressionistically links various media the cathedral evokes, including still-life painting and Baroque music, to present-day footage of work and performance.

San Vittore
Yuri Ancarani, Italy, 2019, 11m
Observing security guards as they search and escort children through Milan’s oldest prison, San Vittore depicts the lingering effects of the institution on its visitors. Visual artist Yuri Ancarani’s short documentary remains firmly immersed in a child’s-eye point of view, evoking the young subjects’ increasing understanding of the institution’s purpose with quiet, disturbing tension.

She Runs / Nan Fang Shao Nv
Qiu Yang, China/France, 2019, 19m
Chinese with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Set in Changzhou, a city in China’s southern Jiangsu province, She Runs follows a young student after she tries to quit her school’s aerobic dance team. Eschewing close-ups for long shots—around building corners, or from entirely different rooms—Qiu Yang’s Cannes-winning short follows its protagonist’s mounting desperation, implicating the underlying foundation of Changzhou as much as people inhabiting it.

Shakti
Martin Rejtman, Argentina/Chile, 2019, 20m
Spanish with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Not long after his grandmother dies, a twenty-something man in Buenos Aires breaks up with his girlfriend and begins obsessing over her unexpected reaction—but then he meets someone else. The stylistic exactness, narrative shrewdness, and droll pacing emblematic of Martin Rejtman’s cinematic sensibility are perfectly at home in this short comedy of peculiar minutiae and casual digressions.

Program 2: Documentary (TRT: 68m)
This documentary program connects the imperfections of the human experience to the influence of technology and mass media by pairing Pia Borg’s chilling account of the Satanic Ritual Abuse Panic of the 1980s with Theo Anthony’s wry, imaginative essay film about the instant replay system of professional tennis.
Programmed by Tyler Wilson.

Demonic
Pia Borg, Australia, 2019, 30m
North American Premiere
The real and the imagined fold together in Pia Borg’s horror-documentary about the Satanic Ritual Abuse Panic of the 1980s, a mass hysteria during which people around the world “recovered” memories of debauchery and human sacrifices related to satanic cults. Using a cunning combination of archival media coverage, audio footage, and historical recreation by way of computer animation and 16mm, Demonic reframes our current moment of misinformation and distrust, revealing the forces at play between psychiatry, media, and false memory.

Subject to Review
Theo Anthony, USA, 2019, 38m
World Premiere
The latest from Theo Anthony (Rat Film) charts the rise and development of the instant replay system Hawk-Eye in professional tennis, cleverly relating innovative technology and the imperfections of the human experience to the history of cinema, sports entertainment, and humanity’s desire to objectively interpret the world. Featuring music by composer Dan Deacon, Subject to Review is another odd, imaginative, and accessible documentary essay from the Baltimore-based filmmaker.

Program 3: Narrative (TRT: 96m)
From absurdist thrillers and political fantasies to lo-fi sci-fi and body horror, these seven shorts from emerging and established international filmmakers make up this wildly eclectic narrative program.
Programmed by Tyler Wilson.

Automatic
Emma Doxiadi, Greece, 2019, 10m
Greek with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Two young women convince each other they are under threat after accidentally photographing what they believe to be a concealed automatic rifle. Shot in drawn-out, static takes, Emma Doxiadi’s comical mystery comments on Greece’s ongoing refugee crisis in real time, pointing squarely at foolish knee-jerk reactions.

Mthunzi
Tebogo Malebogo, South Africa, 2019, 9m
North American Premiere
While walking home from the store, a young man is prompted to help a seizing woman, and unknowingly demonstrates the danger of doing the right thing. Cape Town–based filmmaker Tebogo Malebogo’s briskly tense script and direction elevate Mthunzi from a simple morality tale into a nervous thriller about implicit biases in unfamiliar circumstances.

Control Plan
Juliana Antunes, Brazil, 2018, 15m
Portuguese with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Set shortly after former President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, Control Plan follows a young Brazilian woman who uses her cell phone’s teleportation service to flee the country. Politically serious but always funny, this lo-fi sci-fi from Juliana Antunes (Baronesa) is as much a commentary on the fraught paradigm shifts of 2016 as it is a pointed takedown of limited data plans.

Nimic
Yorgos Lanthimos, Germany/UK/USA, 2019, 12m
North American Premiere
Matt Dillon stars as a professional cellist whose seemingly innocent question to a stranger results in weirdly repetitive consequences to his daily routine. Working with cinematographer Diego García (Cemetery of Splendor), Lanthimos lends his distressing, absurdist vision to the instruments, patterns, and lonesome gestures of modern city life.

Please Speak Continuously and Describe Your Experiences as They Come to You
Brandon Cronenberg, Canada, 2019, 9m
Brandon Cronenberg uses only in-camera effects to tell the hilarious, house-of-mirrors horror story of a patient at an experimental psychiatric facility (Deragh Campbell) who receives a brain implant that allows her to revisit dreams.

Austral Fever / Fiebre austral
Thomas Woodroffe, Chile, 2019, 21m
U.S. Premiere
After an injury places a teenager on bed rest, he and his adult caretaker develop an unusual attraction to his wound. Filmed mostly in dimly lit spaces with southern Chile’s mountain range as its backdrop, Austral Fever is a slow-burning, quietly perverse fantasy about cabin fever, addictive pleasures, and the mysteries of the human body.

The Marvelous Misadventures of the Stone Lady / Les Extraordinaires mésaventures de la jeune fille de Pierre
Gabriel Abrantes, France/Portugal, 2019, 20m
North American Premiere
A female sculpture escapes from the Louvre to experience the aggressive streets of contemporary Paris in this fairy-tale pastiche from Gabriel Abrantes. Slyly raising questions of liberation through crisply rendered CGI characters in direct contact with the harsher outside world, Abrantes critiques the power structures of venerable institutions without ever forgoing his ability to entertain.

Program 4: New York Stories (TRT: 98m)
This program, now in its fifth year, showcases work from some of the most exciting filmmakers living and working in New York today, including established names and ones to watch.
Programmed by Madeline Whittle and Tyler Wilson.

Good News
Joe Stankus, USA, 2019, 10m
World Premiere
Novelist Evan is excited to share the news that he’s been accepted to a prestigious summer writers’ colony with his husband and their friends over an intimate dinner party. But the big reveal doesn’t go as planned in this finely calibrated domestic-drama-in-miniature.

Caterina
Dan Sallitt, USA, 2019, 17m
World Premiere
Dan Sallitt intimately crafts a small-scale portrait of an inquisitive and compassionate young woman in this subtly episodic slice of life, following the eponymous protagonist through her ongoing, everyday search for connection among friends, lovers, and fellow travelers.

Moving
Adinah Dancyger, USA 2019, 8m
World Premiere
The act of transporting an old mattress into a new walk-up apartment becomes absurdist, cinematic one-woman choreography in this wordless vignette from Adinah Dancyger, full of humor and pathos, and painfully familiar to city-dwellers.

Foreign Powers
Bingham Bryant, USA, 2019, 17m
World Premiere
A nameless young woman recounts a peculiar dream, set in a mysterious fictional city and populated by her real-world friends and acquaintances, in Bingham Bryant’s vivid, precisely conceived exploration into the uncanny logic and banal strangeness of our subconscious wanderings.

the thing that kills me the most
Jay Giampietro, USA, 2019, 5m
World Premiere
Faces, voices, light: language itself is rendered abstract in this impressionistic fugue about fraught interpersonal dynamics at a weekly social engagement, narrated in retrospect by an exasperated fellow guest.

The Sky Is Clear and Blue Today
Ricky D’Ambrose, USA, 2019, 16m
World Premiere
Ricky D’Ambrose brings his trademark marriage of formalist rigor and sly narrative wit to this faux-documentary account of an American director developing an experimental film for German television about the events of September 11, 2001.

Fit Model
Myna Joseph, USA, 2019, 20m
World Premiere
In Myna Joseph’s deft depiction of a woman fiercely determined to get by on her own terms, Lu Simon (Lucy Owen) is a thirty-something struggling actor navigating day jobs and errands across the city, while juggling negotiations with an unhelpful hospital billing department.

Laying Out
Joanna Arnow, USA, 2019, 5m
World Premiere
This tersely lyrical meditation on sex and gender roles from Joanna Arnow features two fed-up mermaids lounging on a beach, drinks in hand, as they vent and commiserate over underacknowledged frustrations and unspoken desires.

TALKS DESCRIPTIONS

On Cinema: Martin Scorsese

In these annual special events, New York Film Festival Director Kent Jones sits down with world-renowned filmmakers for in-depth talks about films from other directors that have influenced them, their discussion illustrated with film clips. In the first of two On Cinema events that the festival is pleased to present this year, Jones will talk with Martin Scorsese, whose epic crime drama The Irishman is this year’s highly anticipated opening event. Scorsese, known as much for his work as a film historian as for his unparalleled, decades-spanning cinematic career, will guide the audience through a selection of films that inspired this remarkable new work.

On Cinema: Pedro Almodóvar

Among the world’s most beloved auteurs, Pedro Almodóvar has shown films at the New York Film Festival eleven times over the past four decades. This year’s selection is perhaps his most personal film yet: Pain and Glory, starring a Cannes Film Festival–awarded Antonio Banderas in the role of a director—essentially a surrogate Almodóvar figure—who has reached a creative block. As with all of his films, there is a deep wellspring of emotion in Pain and Glory, as well as a rich tapestry of allusions and references to a cinematic past, which this conversation will help elucidate.

Directors Dialogues
The Directors Dialogues are the New York Film Festival’s annual series of intimate conversations, in which a selection of filmmakers from this year’s festival sit down for special Q&As to discuss the ideas and the craft behind their buzzed about newest works. Participating directors include:

Bong Joon-ho

The South Korean filmmaker, whose unpredictable and diverse filmography has taken us from the gonzo monster movie The Host to the intense, bloody melodrama of Mother to the graphic novel action of Snowpiercer, has created perhaps his masterpiece with this year’s Palme d’Or–winner Parasite. Bong will discuss his spring-trap-loaded comedy-drama-thriller with a social conscience—so make sure you see it first to not spoil its many surprises.

Mati Diop

The French-Senegalese director made perhaps the year’s most talked-about debut feature with Atlantics, which earned her the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. Both ghost and love story, the film feels unlike any other, hypnotic and supernatural yet grounded in the realities of life as it’s experienced by those living in contemporary, working-class Dakar. Diop will be on hand to discuss how she negotiated these registers and how she constructed her singular film.