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Our 20 Most-Anticipated 2019 Fall Festival Premieres

Written by on August 26, 2019 

After highlighting 50 anticipated titles confirmed to arrive in theaters this fall, we now turn our attention to the festival-bound films either without distribution or awaiting a release date. Looking over Venice International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and New York Film Festival titles (as well as a few likely Telluride contenders), we’ve rounded up 20 movies–most of which we’ll be checking out over the next few weeks–that we can’t wait to see–and will hopefully land a U.S. release soon.

Check out our 20 most-anticipated festival premieres below, and return for our reviews.

About Endlessness (Roy Andersson) – Venice and TIFF

During the five-year wait since A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, the closing chapter of Roy Andersson’s Living trilogy, the filmmaker hasn’t exactly been resting on his laurels. Andersson began production as early as February 2017 on his newest work About Endlessness, another lovingly handcrafted vision of life as grotesquely surreal comedy. Although Andersson doesn’t consider the film another chapter of his Living trilogy, we can almost definitely expect a similar visual approach, save for the inclusion of title cards and some mysterious voiceover this time around. Clocking in at just 76 minutes, it’s a shorter outing for Andersson, but we imagine no less imaginative or impactful. – Tony H.

Anne at 13,000 ft (Kazik Radwanski) – TIFF

Premiering as part of TIFF’s Platform section comes the latest feature from Kazik Radwanski, who has impressed with his previous features Tower and How Heavy This HammerAnne at 13,000 ft stars Deragh Campbell 0f Stinking Heaven, I Used to Be Darker, and MS Slavic 7 in what’s described as an A Woman Under the Influence of the Canadian variety. With the ingredients of an intimate, affecting character study, we hope this stands out amongst the impressive lineup at the festival. – Jordan R.

Bad Education (Cory Finley) – TIFF

Released last year, the dark comedy Thoroughbreds felt quite accomplished for a directorial debut and now Cory Finley is stepping up his scope with his follow-up. Tackling the true story of the Roslyn superintendent who embezzled over $11 million, it’s written by Mike Makowsky, who actually attended the school at the time of the scandal. Starring Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, Ray Romano, Geraldine Viswanathan, Alex Wolff, Kayli Carter, and Rafael Casal, it’s set for a TIFF world premiere and if it goes over well, we could imagine a distributor could fast-track a fall release. – Jordan R.

Color Out of Space (Richard Stanley) – TIFF

After one of his best roles in years with Mandy, Nicolas Cage is back in another hallucinogenic realm of our dreams: an H.P. Lovecraft adaptation. Premiering as part of TIFF’s Midnight Madness section is Color Out of Space, which adapts Lovecraft’s 1927 short story and comes from director Richard Stanley, who makes his return to narrative filmmaking after a few decades. Telling the story of a meteor that lands next to a family’s home and strange occurrences play out, it gives Cage another delirious leading turn with a patriarch character gone mad. Oh, and there’s a score from Hereditary composer Colin Stetson. – Jordan R.

Coming Home Again (Wayne Wang) – TIFF

After his independent landmark drama Chan Is Missing, director Wayne Wang has enjoyed an eclectic career with films of varying scopes and for his latest, he looks to be returning to more small-scale, intimate fare. Coming Home Again, which world premieres at TIFF, follows a man who returns home to care for his ailing mother as a special New Year’s Eve feast is planned. With the makings of a tender drama, it perhaps might make a strong viewing with the recent Columbus and The Farewell as looks at East-meets-West life amidst family trauma. – Jordan R.

The County (Grímur Hákonarson) – TIFF

Grímur Hákonarson landed on our radar with his last film, the heartfelt Cannes winner Rams. Four years later he’s now back with The County, which follows an Icelandic woman who rises up against her local co-op and the old ways of life in her small village. Described as David-and-Goliath story, we look forward to the specificity and splendor that Hákonarson will likely once again bring to screens in this chilly locale. – Jordan R.

Ema (Pablo Larraín) – Venice and TIFF

Chilean director Pablo Larraín had a major 2016, releasing three films in the United States with The Club, Neruda, and his English-language debut Jackie. With his post-9/11 drama The True American delayed, he embarked on a smaller feature in his native country. Ema is a dance-focused drama starring frequent collaborator Gael García Bernal and newcomer Mariana Di Girolamo. The script written by Guillermo Calderon (Neruda) and Alejandro Moreno follows Bernal as a dance choreographer and Di Girolamo as his schoolteacher wife. As they face the hardships of a failed adoption, they will express themselves through dance. – Jordan R.

First Cow (Kelly Reichardt) – NYFF and likely Telluride

Following up what is perhaps the best film in a stellar career, Kelly Reichardt has gone from Certain Women to First Cow, an adaptation of The Half-Life: A Novel from Jonathan Raymond, who has collaborated with Reichardt on the screenplays for Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff, and Night Moves. Seemingly adapting just part of the novel, the Pacific Northwest-set story follows John Magaro and Orion Lee’s characters as they forge their way through 19th-century life. Set to come to NYFF as a New York premiere, it means it’ll likely land at Telluride prior. – Jordan R.

Martin Eden (Pietro Marcello) – Venice, TIFF, and NYFF

The rare heavy-hitter to arrive at the trio of Venice, TIFF, and NYFF, Martin Eden may not be on everyone’s radar thus yet, but considering Pietro Marcello’s previous film Lost and Beautiful world premiered at Locarno, he seems to be stepping further into the international spotlight. The Jack London adaptation follows a sailor who has dreams of becoming an author as he’s immersed in an Italian port city. Shot on 16mm with early comparisons to Visconti and Rossellini, this could be the international break-out of the season. – Jordan R.

The Moneychanger (Federico Veiroj) – TIFF and NYFF

The prolific Federico Veiroj hasn’t quite had a chance to make his mark on the global cinema landscape as his films often go unnoticed at least here in the United States (his latest, Belmonte, was quietly released on Netflix just a few months ago). But that could change with his latest film The Moneychanger, which is headed to both TIFF and NYFF. The story is set in 1970s Uruguay as we follow a man embroiled in the world of currency in what promises to be another riveting drama from the director. – Jordan R.

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