2019 Toronto International Film Festival: ‘Jojo Rabbit’ wins People’s Choice Award

September 15, 2019

The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival took place from September 5 to September 15 in Toronto. Here are the 2019 winners of the festival’s awards, which were announced on September 15 at an awards-ceremony brunch:

THE GROLSCH PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

Winner: Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit

First runner-up: Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story
Second runner-up: Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite

The award offers a $15,000 cash prize and custom award, sponsored by Grolsch.

THE GROLSCH PEOPLE’S CHOICE MIDNIGHT MADNESS AWARD

Winner: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s The Platform

First runner-up: Andrew Patterson’s The Vast of Night
Second runner-up: Jeff Barnaby’s Blood Quantum

THE GROLSCH PEOPLE’S CHOICE DOCUMENTARY AWARD

Winner: Feras Fayyad’s The Cave

First runner-up: Garin Hovannisian’s I Am Not Alone
Second runner-up: Bryce Dallas Howard’s Dads

INTERNATIONAL JURY AWARDS

TORONTO PLATFORM PRIZE 

Winner: Pietro Marcello’s Martin Eden

Honourable Mentions:

Kazik Radwanski’s Anne at 13,000 ft

Alice Winocour’s Proxima

The Toronto Platform Prize offers a custom award and a $20,000 cash prize.

The Festival welcomed an international jury comprised of award-winning filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari, Berlinale Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian, and international film critic Jessica Kiang.

THE PRIZE OF THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF FILM CRITICS (FIPRESCI PRIZE)

Winner – Discovery Programme: Carmel Winters’ Float Like a Butterfly​

Honourable Mention: Laura Luchetti’s Twin Flower

THE PRIZE OF THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF FILM CRITICS (FIPRESCI PRIZE)

Winner – Discovery Programme: Heather Young’s Murmur

Winner – Special Presentations: Coky Giedroyc’s How to Build a Girl

The jury was comprised of Jury President Rita di Santo (UK), Frédéric Jaeger (Germany), Liam Lacey (Canada), Ruben Peralta Rigaud (Dominican Republic), Müge Turan (Turkey), and Claire Valade (Canada).

NETPAC AWARD

Winner: Oualid Mouaness’ 1982

The jury, selected from the Network for the Promotion of Asian Pacific Cinema, included Chairperson Beckie Stocchetti, Kanako Hayashi, and Albert Shin.

SHORT FORM JURY AWARDS

IWC SHORT CUTS AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN SHORT FILM

Winner: Chloé Robichaud’s Delphine

Honourable Mention: The jury awarded a special mention to Theodore Ushev’s The Physics of Sorrow for its impressive filmmaking and detailed craftsmanship.

The award offers a $10,000 cash prize, made possible by IWC Schaffhausen.

IWC SHORT CUTS AWARD FOR BEST SHORT FILM

Winner: Lasse Linder’s All Cats Are Grey in the Dark

Honourable Mentions: Federico Luis Tachella’s The Nap, for its brave exploration of age and sexuality.

The award offers a $10,000 cash prize, made possible by IWC Schaffhausen.

The jury was comprised of Chelsea McMullan, Léo Soesanto, and Andrea Roa.

CANADIAN FILM JURY AWARDS

CITY OF TORONTO AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FIRST FEATURE FILM

Winner: Matthew Rankin’s The Twentieth Century

This award carries a cash prize of $15,000, made possible by the City of Toronto.

CANADA GOOSE® AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FILM

Winner: Sophie Deraspe’s Antigone

Honourable mention: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn’s The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open.

This award carries a cash prize of $30,000 and a custom award, sponsored by Canada Goose®.

The jury was comprised of Magali Simard, Devyani Saltzman, and Alicia Elliott.

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 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.

OPENING & CLOSING NIGHT GALAS 

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.

GALAS 

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.

FESTIVAL AND STRAND GALAS 

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.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS 

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.

AWARDS AND COMPETITIONS 

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.

OFFICIAL COMPETITION 

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.

FIRST FEATURE COMPETITION – SUTHERLAND AWARD

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.

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION  – GRIERSON AWARD

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.

SHORT FILM AWARD

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

• WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE WATER AND THE MOON – Dir. Jian Luo

• 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

• WATERMELON JUICE (SUC DE SÍNDRIA) – Dir. Irene Moray

• QUEERING DI TEKNOLOJIK – Dir. Timothy Smith

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.

STRANDS 

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.

LOVE 

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.

DEBATE

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.

LAUGH

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.

DARE

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.

THRILL

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.

CULT

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.

JOURNEY

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.

CREATE

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

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.

FAMILY

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!

TREASURES

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.

LFF SCREEN TALKS

LFF SCREEN TALK: RIAN JOHNSON

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.

LFF SCREEN TALK: KIM LONGINOTTO

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.

LFF SCREEN TALK: LUKAS MOODYSSON

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.

INDUSTRY & EDUCATION

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

BFI PLAYER

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/

SPONSORS AND FUNDERS

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 D23 Expo: Photos and Videos

The 2019 edition of D23 Expo: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event took place August 23 to August 25, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. Here are the star-studded  photo and video highlights from the event:

Disney Legends Awards

Robert Downey Jr. at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
Diane Sawyer at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
Robin Roberts at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
Jon Favreau at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
Christina Aguilera at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
Ming-Na Wen at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
Kenny Ortega at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
Wing T. Chao at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

Disney+ Preview

“Obi-Wan Kenobi” star Ewan McGregor and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“The Mandalorian” team Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Giancarlo Esposito and Taika Waititi at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” stars Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp and Wyatt Russell at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“Wanda Vision” team Matt Shakman, Jac Schaeffer, Kevin Feige, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Kat Dennings, Randall Park and Kathryn Hahn at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“Diary of a Female President” co-star Gina Rodriguez, Disney+ showcase host Yvette Nicole Brown and “Diary of a Female President” co-star Tess Romero at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“Encore!” host/executive producer Kristen Bell at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“Noelle” star Anna Kendrick, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production president Sean Bailey and “Noelle” star Billy Eichner (pictured at right) at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“The World According to Jeff Goldblum” star Jeff Goldblum at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“Lizzie McGuire” star Hilary Duff at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“High School Musical: The Series” stars at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

Walt Disney Studios Movie Presentation

“Jungle Cruise” stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” stars Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning and Michelle Pfeiffer at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” team Billy Dee Williams, R2-D2, Anthony Daniels, Keri Russell, Naomi Ackie, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“Eternals” team Kevin Feige, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, Angelina Jolie and Barry Keoghan at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“Raya and the Last Dragon” stars Cassie Steele and Awkwafina at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“Frozen 2” stars Josh Gad, Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel and Jonathan Groff at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“Frozen 2” stars Sterling K. Brown and Evan Rachel Wood at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“Soul” stars Daveed Diggs, Phylicia Rashad and Questlove at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“Soul” stars Tina Fey and Jamie Foxx at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“Onward” stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

Miscellaneous Photos

Cast members from “Black-ish,” “Grown-ish” and “Mixed-ish”: Gary Cole, Jordan Buhat, Trevor Jackson. Toka Sumpter, Diggy Simmons, Miles Brown, Laurence Fishburne, Ethan Williams Childress, Christina Anthony, Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jenifer Lewis, Mykal-Michelle Harris, Yara Shahidi, Chloe Bailey, Halle Bailey, Francia Raisa and Arica Himmel at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
“The Simpsons” team members Mike B. Anderson, Al Jean, Matt Groening, Nancy Cartwright and Matt Selman at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

2019 D23 Expo: Walt Disney Studios, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar and other Disney-owned movie studios announce updates

August 24, 2019

Walt Disney Studios co-chairman/chief creative officer Alan Horn at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

The following is a press release from Walt Disney Studios:

The Walt Disney Studios—including studio leaders and filmmakers from Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Disney live action, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios—wowed an audience of nearly 7,000 this morning at D23 Expo 2019 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. Alan Horn, cochairman and chief creative officer, The Walt Disney Studios—joined by Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy, Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige, Disney live action’s Sean Bailey, Pixar’s Pete Docter and Disney Animation’s Jennifer Lee—offered guests a captivating look at Disney’s upcoming film slate, including never-before-seen footage and a host of stars, plus a spectacular performance from “Frozen 2” voice cast members Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad.

“You’re not just fans, you’re family,” said Horn to the packed room. “It’s because of you that we keep working so hard to make great movies, and we love D23 Expo because it’s where we can share them with you first.”

The presentation included the following highlights.

LUCASFILM

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and  director/producer/screenwriter J.J. Abrams  at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

President of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” director/writer/producer J.J. Abrams showcased the riveting conclusion to the Skywalker saga. Kennedy and Abrams revved up the audience, introducing nine stars from the film —many of whom marked this as their first D23 Expo appearance: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran and Billy Dee Williams, plus special appearances from R2-D2, BB-8 and the new droid D-O. A brand-new poster was revealed—and gifted to the entire audience. And all were given a look back at the incredible legacy of Star Wars storytelling and treated to a sneak peek of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” which opens in U.S. theaters on Dec. 20, 2019.

Billy Dee Williams, R2-D2, Anthony Daniels, Keri Russell, Naomi Ackie, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams  at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

MARVEL STUDIOS

Director/screenwriter Ryan Coogler and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige  at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, kicked off his presentation with a surprise visit from “Black Panther” director and co-writer Ryan Coogler. Together, they revealed that “Black Panther 2” (working title) will hit U.S. theaters on May 6, 2022.

Feige segued to next year’s “The Eternals,” inviting cast members from the muchanticipated film to the stage: Richard Madden, who portrays the all-powerful Ikaris; Kumail Nanjiani, who plays cosmic-powered Kingo; Lauren Ridloff, who portrays the super-fast Makkari, the first deaf hero in the MCU; Brian Tyree Henry, who plays the intelligent inventor Phastos; Salma Hayek, who plays the wise and spiritual leader Ajak; Lia McHugh, who portrays the eternally young, old-soul Sprite; Don Lee, who plays the powerful Gilgamesh; and Angelina Jolie, who stars as the fierce warrior Thena. Feige revealed concept art images of each character, and announced three new cast members and their characters: Gemma Chan, who plays humankind-loving Sersi; Kit Harington, who was cast as non-Eternal Dane Whitman, and Barry Keoghan, who portrays aloof loner Druig, and was on hand for the event. Directed by Chloé Zhao, who helmed the critically acclaimed Sundance film “The Rider,” “The Eternals” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 6, 2020.

Kevin Feige, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, Angelina Jolie and Barry Keoghan at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

Feige concluded with “Black Widow,” the Cate Shortland-directed first film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which hits U.S. theaters on May 1, 2020. Feige shared a pre-recorded greeting featuring stars Scarlett Johansson, who reprises her role of Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow; David Harbour, who was cast as Alexei the Red Guardian; and Florence Pugh, who plays Yelena. The audience was also treated to an exclusive look at the upcoming film.

DISNEY LIVE ACTION

Dwayne Johnson at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)
Emily Blunt at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

Sean Bailey, president, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, took the audience through upcoming releases for the studio, including next summer’s “Jungle Cruise,” a rousing adventure inspired by the classic theme-park attraction. Star Dwayne Johnson, who plays riverboat captain Frank Wolff, entered Hall D23 aboard an original Jungle Cruise boat, introducing a “trailer” that showed off his character—so much so, that co-star Emily Blunt, who portrays Dr. Lily Houghton, arrived via classic car to share with fans her own “trailer,” offering a different perspective—Bailey laughingly informed Johnson and Blunt that neither trailer was official. Directed by Jaume ColletSerra, Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” hits U.S. theaters on July 24, 2020.

Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer and Chiwetel Ejiofor at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

Bailey welcomed Angelina Jolie back to the stage to present exclusive footage and details about Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” the exciting follow-up to the hit 2014 film. Maleficent, portrayed by Jolie, and her goddaughter Aurora, played by Elle Fanning, begin to question the complex family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, unexpected allies and new dark forces at play. Aurora’s imminent marriage to Prince Phillip is cause for celebration—however, Prince Phillip’s mother, Queen Ingrith, portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer, challenges Maleficent’s role as Aurora’s mother figure. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Connal, one of the leaders of the dark fey who becomes Maleficent’s ally. Ejiofor, Pfeiffer and Fanning were all welcomed to the stage by an enthusiastic audience. Directed by Joachim Rønning, who co-helmed 2017’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” arrives in U.S. theaters on Oct. 18, 2019.

Director/screenwriter Niki Caro and Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production president Sean Bailey at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

Bailey next introduced acclaimed filmmaker Niki Caro, director of “Mulan,” the upcoming live-action reimagining of the 1998 classic animated film. Caro expressed to fans her passion for the project, sharing several minutes of footage from the epic adventure inspired by one of China’s fiercest warriors. In Disney’s “Mulan,” which opens in U.S. theaters on March 27, 2020, the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders. So, the eldest daughter of an honored but ailing warrior masquerades as a man, transforming into a heroic warrior to ultimately earn her the respect of a grateful nation and a proud father.

Emma Stone in “Cruella'” (Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios)

Next up, Bailey shared details about “Cruella,” an all-new feature film starring Emma Stone and Emma Thompson. Stone, who plays the iconic “Cruella,” sent D23 Expo fans a greeting from the London-based set with help from a spotted, four-legged co-star. Fans also got a glimpse of an image of Stone in full costume with Cruella’s signature black-and-white hair. Director Craig Gillespie, who helmed “I, Tonya” and “The Finest Hours,” brings “Cruella” to the big screen on May 28, 2021, with a fresh, 1970s, punkrock approach.

PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS

Mike Jones, Kemp Powers, Dana Murray and Pixar Animation Studios chief creative officer Pete Docter at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

Pixar Animation Studios’ Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter guided the audience through Pixar’s upcoming film slate of originals. Docter began with next summer’s release, “Soul,” which he directs. The film journeys from the streets of New York City to the never-before-seen cosmic realms and “The You Seminar,” the fantastical place where we all discover our unique personalities. Producer Dana Murray, co-director/ writer Kemp Powers and writer Mike Jones joined Docter on stage, and together they set up the film for the audience and shared a sneak peek.

Daveed Diggs, Phylicia Rashad and Questlove at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

The team revealed members of the voice cast who joined them on stage, including Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs, Tina Fey and Jamie Foxx. Foxx lends his voice to Joe Gardner, a middle-school band teacher whose true passion is playing jazz. Fey plays 22, a soul-in-training who has an unexpected encounter with Joe when he accidentally finds his way to the “You Seminar.”

Tina Fey and Jamie Foxx at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

Together, the two are going to find a way to get Joe back to Earth, making him think again about what it truly means to have soul. Filmmakers also revealed that globally renowned musician Jon Batiste will be writing original jazz music for the film, and Oscar®-winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (“The Social Network”), from Nine Inch Nails, will compose an original score that will drift between the real and soul worlds. Disney and Pixar’s “Soul” opens in U.S. theaters on June 19, 2020.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, director Dan Scanlon, Tom Holland, Chris Pratt and producer Kori Rae at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

Docter next introduced director Dan Scanlon and producer Kori Rae, who shared details and more than ten minutes of exclusive footage from Pixar’s upcoming feature film “Onward.” The movie, which opens in U.S. theaters on March 6, 2020, stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt as two teenage elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left in the world. Set in a modern fantasy world, Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” is inspired by Scanlon’s personal experiences with his brother. Holland, Pratt and Julia Louis-Dreyfus —who voices Mom in the movie—joined the filmmakers on stage—much to the delight of the audience, who all received an exclusive “Onward” poster.

WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS

Dean Wellins, Osnat Shurer, Adele Lim and Paul Briggs at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee presented an overview of the studio’s next two features, beginning with the Thanksgiving 2020 fantasy-action-adventure, “Raya and the Last Dragon.” Directors Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins (“Big Hero 6,” “Frozen”), producer Osnat Shurer (“Moana”) and writer Adele Lim (“Crazy Rich Asians”) joined Lee on stage to set up the film, which introduces Raya, a lone warrior from the fantasy kingdom of Kumandra who teams up with a crew of misfits in her quest to find the Last Dragon and bring light and unity back to their world.

Cassie Steele and Awkwafina at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

The D23 Expo crowd was the first to get a look at the new film, viewing an exclusive three-minute piece. They also met two newly announced members of the voice cast: Awkwafina lends her voice to Sisu, the Last Dragon, who was left on Earth in case dark forces return to the world, and Cassie Steele voices the lead character, Raya. Exploring themes of community and hope, and inspired by the beautiful and diverse cultures of Southeast Asia, the fantasy-action-adventure “Raya and the Last Dragon” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 25, 2020.

Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

Lee, who directs “Frozen 2” with Chris Buck, and wrote the screenplay, invited Buck to join her on stage as the Oscar®-winning duo revealed new details about the upcoming film, which opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22. Lee and Buck introduced two new “Frozen 2” cast members: Sterling K. Brown, who voices Lieutenant Destin Mattias, and Evan Rachel Wood, who voices Queen Iduna, Anna and Elsa’s mother.

Josh Gad, Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel and Jonathan Groff at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 24, 2019.  (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

The crowd— who received an exclusive D23 Expo “Frozen 2” poster—saw never-before-seen footage of the new characters, including a scene that featured Wood as Iduna singing to young Elsa and Anna. The song, “All Is Found,” is one of seven all-new original songs by Oscar®-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. The audience also saw a sequence from the movie that showcased Elsa’s yearning for answers about the past, culminating in another song, “Into the Unknown.” And a climactic performance of the song “Some Things Never Change” by Menzel, Bell, Groff and Gad brought the audience to its feet, capping off the studio presentation in extraordinary style.

About The Walt Disney Studios
For more than 90 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music, and stage plays to consumers throughout the world.

About D23 Expo 2019
D23 Expo—The Ultimate Disney Fan Event—brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, and more. The event provides fans with unprecedented access to Disney films, television, games, theme parks, and celebrities. For the latest D23 Expo 2019 news, visit D23expo.com. Presentations, talent, and schedule subject to change. To join the D23 Expo conversation, be sure to follow DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and use the hashtag #D23Expo.
About D23 The name “D23” pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his first studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official club for fans in Disney’s 90-plus-year history. It gives its members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication, Disney twenty-three; a rich website at D23.com with members-only content; member-exclusive discounts; and special events for D23 Members throughout the year.
Fans can join D23 at Gold Membership ($99.99), Gold Family Membership ($129.99), and General Membership (complimentary) levels at D23.com. To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

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.

FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS

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.

SECOND WAVE FILM LINEUP BELOW:

ABOU LEILA
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.

THE ANTENNA
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.

THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M
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.

BLISS
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.

BLOOD MACHINES
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.

BUTT BOY
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.

CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER
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.

COLOR OUT OF SPACE
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.

IRON FISTS AND KUNG FU KICKS
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.

KNIVES OUT
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.

THE LODGE
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.

THE LONG WALK
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..

LYLE
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.

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE
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.

NOBADI
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.

PARASITE
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.

PATRICK
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.

PHIL TIPPETT – MAD DREAMS AND MONSTERS
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.

THE PLATFORM
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.

PREY
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.

SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
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.

THE SHIP OF MONSTERS
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!

SYNCHRONIC
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.

TRAMPA INFERNAL
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!!

THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF WOLFBOY
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.

THE VAST OF NIGHT
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.

VFW
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.

VHYES
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.

VIVARIUM
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.

ATTEND:

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

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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.

Peter Fonda dead at 79; ‘Easy Rider’ star was son of Henry Fonda, brother of Jane Fonda

August 16, 2019

by Lauren Jones

Peter Fonda, an actor whose counterculture image was cemented in his 1969 breakout movie “Easy Rider,” died of complications from lung cancer at his Los Angeles home. He was 79. Peter Fonda was the son of legendary Oscar-winning actor Peter Fonda and the sister of Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda.

According to the Associated Press, Jane Fonda issued this statement: “I am very sad,” Jane Fonda said in a statement. “He was my sweet-hearted baby brother. The talker of the family. I have had beautiful alone time with him these last days. He went out laughing.”

The Fonda family also issued this group statement: “In one of the saddest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our hearts. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy.”

Peter Fonda, who was one of the producers and screenwriters of “Easy Rider,” received an Oscar nomination for co-writing the screenplay. In the movie, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper (who directed the film) play two biker hippies. Peter Fonda also received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, his role as a beekeeper in the 1997 “Ulee’s Giold.” He had numerous roles in film and television. His other notable movies included the 199’s “The Limey”; the 2007 Western remake of  “3:10 to Yuma”; and the 2007 action film “Ghost Rider.”

In the last few years of his life, Peter Fonda (an unabashed liberal) was very critical of President Donald Trump and the Trump administration. In June 2018, Peter Fonda made several controversial anti-Trump remarks on Twitter. The most controversial was when Peter Fonda tweeted, in reaction to the Trump administration’s policy to separate families entering the U.S. illegally: “We should rip Barron Trump from the arms of First Lady Melania Trump and put him in a cage with pedophiles.” Peter Fonda later made a public apology for that tweet.

The controversy happened around the time that Fonda’s movie “Boundaries” (in which he had a cameo) was due to arrive in theaters. Some Trump supporters tried to pursuade Sony Pictures Classics from canceling the movie’s release, but those attempts were unsuccessful. (Click here to read Culture Mix’s interview with the stars of “Boundaries.” The interview took place before the controversy.)

Peter Fonda is survived by his third wife, Margaret DeVogelaere, and his two children: actress daughter Bridget; and son Justin, both from Peter Fonda’s first marriage to Susan Brewer. Peter Fonda’s last two movies are the war drama “The Last Full Measure” (due out in limited release on October 25, 2019) and the drama “The Magic Hours,” whose release date is to be announced.