The Festivals: Lineups From Venice, New York, And An Updated Toronto

Over the past few weeks, the three most important fall film festival lineups have come together: Venice, Toronto and the New York Film Festivals. I’ve fallen behind on giving you all updated lists. However, this has actually worked out in my favor, as these lists have been updated constantly, up to and including yesterday. So I decided I would take this opportunity to catch up on the three festivals, and what films are making an Oscar Push. Let’s start with updating Toronto, shall we?


I posted about the Toronto International Film Festival a few weeks ago, with all of the choice goodies that were planned for the world’s [second] greatest Oscar predicator. However, that was but an early list, and left out the world famous Midnight Madness section (great horror and thriller films screened at, you guessed it, midnight). So allow me to catch you guys up on some of the great film still to come at Toronto’s finest.

First up, we are seeing the additions of many previous festival darlings. This includes Rebecca Hall’s tour-de-force from Sundance Christine, Cannes’ Palme d’Or winner I, Daniel Blake, and Natalie Portman’s Venice contender (we’ll get to that), the Jackie Kennedy Onasis biopic Jackie.

moonlightThe festival also has many fantastic up and coming indie films, as well as major awards contenders. Perhaps the three biggest “gets” are Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight (you can watch the trailer here), the documentary of Everything by renowned director Terrence Malick, Voyage of Time, and, perhaps most exciting, The Promise. People had begun to doubt if Terry George’s World War I love triangle starring Christian Bale (The Dark Knight), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), and Charlotte Le Bon (The Walk) would come out this year, but a TIFF play is a great sign. This will be their make-or-break position, deciding if it has the legs to make an Oscar play, or if it gets Demolition-ed and moved to The Dead Zone between January and April.

blair witch 2Audiences will also get to see Chloë Grace Moretz’s true story seizure film Brain on Fire (which, you never know, could end up an awards contender) Octavia Spencer’s Hidden Figures and James Franco’s newest adaptation of Steinbeck starring Selena Gomez; as well as the Midnight films: Anne Hathaway’s Colossal, Brie Larson’s mob thriller Free Fire, and the most anticipated horror film of the year, Blair Witch. Major documentaries include Jim Jarmusch’s film about The Stooges Gimme Danger, Werner Herzog’s volcano flick Into the Inferno, and new films by Errol Morris (The B-Side) and Steve James (ABACUS). And finally, as I began writing this piece, news broke that The Red Turtle, which is being called one of the greatest animated films of all time, has lined up a spot in the festival. It’s a killer lineup, and I’ll be bringing you updates when the festival starts September 8th.

Latest Additions

  • 150 Milligrams
  • The Bleeder
  • Brain on Fire
  • Burn Your Maps
  • Christine
  • Daguerrotype
  • The Duelist
  • The Exception
  • Goldstone
  • Heal the Living
  • Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait
  • Hidden Figures
  • Home
  • I, Daniel Blake
  • In Dubious Battle
  • Jackie
  • Lady Macbeth
  • Layla M.
  • The Long Excuse
  • Maliglutit
  • Moonlight
  • Nocturama
  • Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer
  • Rage
  • (Re)Assignment
  • The Promise
  • Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves
  • Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey
  • Wakefield

Midnight Madness

  • The Autopsy of Jane Doe
  • The Belko Experiment
  • Blair Witch
  • Dog Eat Dog
  • Free Fire
  • The Girl With All the Gifts
  • Headshot
  • Rats
  • Raw (Grave)
  • Sadako vs. Kayako


  • The Bad Batch
  • Blind Sun
  • Buster’s Mal Heart
  • Colossal
  • Godspeed
  • I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
  • Interchange
  • Message from the King
  • My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea
  • Prevenge
  • The Untamed (La region salvaje)
  • Without Name


  • The 6th Beatle
  • ABACUS: Small Enough to Jail
  • Amanda Knox
  • An Insignificant Man
  • The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography
  • Beauties of the Night María
  • Bezness as Usual
  • Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary
  • The Cinema Travellers
  • Citizen Jane: Battle for the City
  • Forever Pure
  • Gaza Surf Club
  • Gimme Danger
  • Girl Unbound
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • I Called Him Morgan
  • India in a Day
  • In Exile
  • Into the Inferno
  • Mali Blues
  • Politics, Instructions Manual
  • Rodnye
  • The Ivory Game
  • The Turning Point
  • The War Show
  • Water and Sugar: Carlo Di Palma, the Colours of Life

TIFF Cinematheque

  • Daughters in the Dust
  • Genreal Report on Certain Matters of Interest for a Public Screening
  • Irma Vep
  • Lumière! Thierry Frémaux for this edition
  • One Sings, the Other Doesn’t
  • One Eyed Jacks
  • Pan’s Labyrinth
  • Something Wild
  • The Battle of Algiers
  • The Horse Thief


Venice Film Festival

It’s been previously reported that Damien Chazelle’s La La Land would be the opening film of the prestigious Venice Film Festival, and that an Amy Adams double feature would take place in the form of Arrival and Nocturnal Animals. With a jury overseen by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall), it’ll be intereting to see where the Golden Lion ends up this year. Let’s look at some of the other contenders falling at the 73rd Venice Film Festival.

light between oceansLet’s start with the films actually competing for the prestigious Golden Lion. The three biggest titles are Natalie Portman’s Jackie, Malick’s Voyage of Time, and the soon-to-be-released The Light Between Oceans, a period drama starring Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz. The other major film in contention is The Bad Batch by Ana Lily Amirpour, whose last film A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, an indie darling from a few years back.

Out of competition, we have a strong lineup of films we didn’t expect to see much of in the festivals. Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven continues to prove it may be more of a critical hit than many originally figured, lining up yet another festival slot, the Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) documentary about Nick Cave Once More With Feeling, and most surprisingly, Mel Gibson’s comeback war film Hacksaw Ridge. Other films and shows making an appearance are Franco’s In Dubious Battle, Paolo Sorrentino’s miniseries The New Pope, and the Italian premiere of The Secret Life of Pets.

It’ll be interesting to see how this all pans out. I think the big title from this lineup, however, is still La La Land. Sure, I have an admitted bias towards the film, since I’d love to pick the Best Picture winner a full year in advance, but I have facts on my side too. It’s bound to be a frontrunner for the Golden Lion, as President Mendes got his start in the theater, staging a beloved rendition of Cabaret, and past works always plays a major role in the jury’s pick. Furthermore, festival director Alberto Barbera has declared that the film is “Classic American cinema at its best…[the likes of which] we aren’t used to seeing anymore.” If that’s not a hell of a recommendation, I don’t know what is. At any rate, this festival is bound to be a big one, and I’ll keep you all updated once it starts August 31st.

In Competition

  • Arrival
  • The Bad Batch
  • Brimstone
  • El Ciudadano Ilustre
  • Jackie
  • El Cristo ciego
  • La La Land
  • Frantz
  • La Region Salvaje
  • Les beaux jours d’Aranjuez 3D
  • The Light Between Oceans
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • On The Milky Road
  • Paradise
  • Piuma
  • Questi giorni
  • Spira mirabilis
  • Une vie
  • The Woman Who Left
  • Voyage Of Time

 Special Event

  • Planetarium
  • The Young Pope, Episode 1 & 2

 Out Of Competition

  • A jamais
  • The Age Of Shadows
  • American Anarchist
  • Assalto al Cielo
  • Austerlitz
  • The Bleeder
  • Gantz:O
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • I Called Him Morgan
  • The Journey
  • The Magnificent Seven
  • Monte
  • Once More With Feeling
  • Our War
  • Safari
  • Tommaso


  • Big Big World
  • Bitter Money
  • Boys In the Trees
  • Dawson City: Frozen Time
  • Gukoroku
  • Home
  • Il piu grande sogno
  • Kekszakallu
  • King Of The Belgians
  • Liberami
  • Malaria
  • Maudite Poutine
  • Sao Jorge
  • Sie Einsiedler
  • Tarde para la ira
  • Through The Wall
  • Reparer les vivants
  • White Sun

Out Of Competition Orrizonti

  • Dark Night

Cinema Nel Giardino

  • Franca: Chaos And Creation
  • Inseperables
  • In Dubious Battle
  • L’estate addosso
  • My Art
  • The Net
  • Robinu
  • The Secret Life Of Pets



And finally, we conclude this list with the lineup from the hoity-toity New York Film Festival. Known for releasing the more artsier American flicks, the New York has brought us past contenders including The Social Network, Steve Jobs, Bridge of Spies and Gone Girl. While the list is filled with choice upcoming films, the heart of the festival is always its selections for the Opening, Centerpiece, and Closing films. We already received word that the Opening film would, for the first time ever, be a documentary, with Ava DuVernay’s The 13th filling that slot. Over the past few weeks, the other slots have begun to be filled.

The Closing Film of the ceremony will be acclaimed director James Gray’s The Lost City of Z. The film will explore obsession and survival in the Amazonian wilderness. Considering Paramount has not yet announced a release date, and they already have a full docket of awards contenders, I’d wager that they’re using this screening to decide how to proceed with the film: is it an awards player? A commercial hit? Neither? Should they release it in November or March? These are the questions that festivals help to answer, and it’ll be interesting to see where this particular chess piece ends up moving.

20th century womenThe Centerpiece Film, meanwhile, is surprisingly Mike Mills20th Century Women. Starring Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig, Elle Fanning and Billy Cruddup, the follow-up to 2011’s Beginners has been anticipated by indie fans for several years. Following a young boy who comes of age in the late 70s and shaped by three generations of women, including his single mother (Bening), the film sounds like it could be a real winner. This theory is furthered by the fact that Festival Director Kent Jones has announced that he selected the film because “[not only] did its depiction of the late 70s reach the uncanny…Bening’s performance is one of her very best,” and he was “taken aback” by her acting. That’s high praise for one of our greatest working actresses, and proof that between Bening, Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Ruth Negga, we may have one of the very greatest Best Actress races on our hands.

billy lynnHowever, what probably excites people the most is the recent announcement that the New York Film Festival will be in charge of officially testing out the technology for the World Premiere of Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. The film is the lynchpin of this entire Oscar race, as it is the biggest unknown entity out there. A strong story on paper, and lined with the best of the best to make it, Lee’s quest for technological domination has brought about massive experimentation with the film, and we won’t know until the film premieres in October if the 120 fps frame rate will be an accomplishment or an eyesore. Either way, it’s an exciting get for the festival, and I can’t wait to hear the results.

The lineup is rounded out with anticipated indie flicks like Cannes contenders I, Daniel Blake, Aquarius, Elle, Graduation, Julieta, Neruda, Paterson, Personal Shopper, Toni Erdmann and The Unknown Girl, as well as Sundance and TIFF contenders Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight. Overall, it’s a strong lineup, and one that could have devastating effects on the Oscar race. I will update you all with results when the festival begins September 30th.


Opening: The 13th
Centerpiece: 20th Century Women
Closing: The Lost City of Z
Special Screening: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

  • Aquarius
  • Certain Women
  • Elle
  • Fire at Sea(Fuocoammare)
  • Graduation(Bacalaureat)
  • Hermia and Helena
  • I, Daniel Blake
  • Julieta
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight
  • My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea
  • NerudaPaterson
  • Personal Shopper
  • The Rehearsal
  • SieranevadaSon of Joseph (Le fils de Joseph)
  • Staying Vertical (Rester vertical)
  • Things to Come (L’Avenir)
  • Toni Erdmann
  • The Unknown Girl
  • Yourself and Yours

And that covers the Fall Festival Circuit (for now). We have yet to hear from the Telluride Film Festival, and we still have AFI in mid November. I’ll keep you updated on all these events, and I’ll be posting an article later this week explaining what these festivals mean for the Oscar race, as well as quality. Until then, I’d start planning your Fall and Winter film schedule.

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