After highlighting 40 titles confirmed to hit theaters this fall, we now turn our attention to the festival-bound films either without distribution or a release date. Looking over Venice, Toronto, and New York Film Festival selections, we’ve rounded up 20––most of which we’ll be checking out over the next few weeks––we can’t wait to see.

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

A Cooler Climate (James Ivory and Giles Gardner; NYFF)

After debuting at NYFF’s third edition in 1965 with the Merchant-Ivory production Shakespeare Wallah, James Ivory returns this year for a world premiere. A Cooler Climate, co-directed with Giles Gardner, finds the filmmaker poetically revisiting a formative trip to Afghanistan through self-shot film he recovered. Featuring music by Alexandre Desplat and clocking in at 75 minutes, we’re curious what the 94-year-old Oscar winner has cooked up. – Jordan R.

A Compassionate Spy (Steve James; Venice)

Hoop Dreams and Life Itself director Steve James is returning with his first feature in six years. A Compassionate Spy, premiering at Venice Film Festival, follows the lives Ted and Joan Hall. The former worked on the Manhattan Project and was concerned about the worldwide nuclear catastrophe the atomic bombs could cause, so he shared information to the Soviet Union. The latter stood by her husband in a marriage of over 50 years and, now in her 90s, vividly recalls their story. All in all, it should make for a fascinating precursor to next year’s Oppenheimer. – Jordan R.

A Couple (Frederick Wiseman; Venice and NYFF)

Despite shaping a career of thoroughly comprehensive, riveting documentary work, 92-year-old Frederick Wiseman has dabbled in fiction filmmaking a few times. For his first such outing in two decades, he’s teamed with star and co-writer Nathalie Boutefeu to adapt the diaries of Sophia Tolstoy. Featuring monologues bringing to life letters from Leo Tolstoy to Sophia, at just over one hour is Wiseman’s latest quite brief compared to his epic documentaries, but it promises another unexpected, exciting career shift. – Jordan R.

The Eternal Daughter (Joanna Hogg; Venice, TIFF, and NYFF)

Earlier last year we dug up the first details on a project Joanna Hogg and Tilda Swinton, reuniting quickly after The Souvenir films, shot in secret. Now it’s finally set for a run at the major fall festivals. Not much is known yet about The Eternal Daughter, but it is said to be a ghost-story-of-sorts, following an artist and her elderly mother confronting long-buried secrets when they return to a former family home, which is now a hotel. – Jordan R.

How to Blow Up a Pipeline (Daniel Goldhaber; TIFF)

Surely one of the major discoveries in this year’s TIFF lineup, Daniel Goldhaber’s Cam follow-up How to Blow Up a Pipeline tracks a crew of young environmental activists who execute a daring mission to (that’s correct) sabotage an oil pipeline. Based on Andreas Malm’s book, we’re looking to see how timely issues get explored vis-à-vis a hopefully riveting heist thriller. – Jordan R.

In Viaggio (Gianfranco Rosi; Venice)

Just a couple of years after Notturno, Oscar-nominated Italian director Gianfranco Rosi’s In Viaggio will, fittingly, premiere at the Venice Film Festival. It tracks the recent journeys of Pope Francis—a path certainly well-documented in no shortage of media outlets, yet it should be fascinating to see what Rosi’s singular vision focuses on here. – Jordan R.

Love Life (Kôji Fukada; Venice and TIFF)

Coming off of A Real Thing, made for Japanese TV but released here as one epic film, director Kôji Fukada is back with the drama Love Life, which follows a couple as they reflect on their romantic pasts, spurred on by the arrival of a past love. We look forward to seeing Fukada’s tender, yet mysterious qualities come into play here. – Jordan R.

Master Gardener (Paul Schrader; Venice and NYFF)

First Reformed hangs heavy, still, over the filmography and perception of Paul “One of Very Few Americans Still Making Movies Explicitly for Adults” Schrader; The Card Counter not as much, which is hardly to suggest it’s anything less than a superb morality play dressed as a thriller. All signs point to Master Gardener being part three in a late-career revival—not least from returns for DP Alexander Dynan and editor Benjamin Rodriguez Jr.—though that’s roughly the most we know. – Nick N.

No Bears (Jafar Panahi; Venice, TIFF, and NYFF)

A radically defiant artist, Iranian director Jafar Panahi has been making some of the most vital––both artistically and politically––works of the last three decades. Recently jailed for six years due to support of anti-government protests, the filmmaker has also completed a new feature. No Bears, set to play at Venice, TIFF, and NYFF while seeking U.S. distribution, follows two parallel stories of love. In both the lovers are troubled by hidden (but inevitable) obstacles, the force of superstition, and the mechanics of power. Starring Panahi, Naser Hashemi, Vahid Mobaseri, Bakhtiyar Panjei, Mina Kavani and Reza Heydari, return for our review soon. – Jordan R.

Other People’s Children (Rebecca Zlotowski; Venice and TIFF)

A Couple isn’t the only Frederick Wiseman movie coming to fall festivals this year. The director also has a brief supporting turn (as glimpsed in the trailer) in Rebecca Zlotowski’s new drama Other People’s Children, which follows Benedetta star Virginie Efira as a teacher who begins a relationship only to become connected with her boyfriend’s daughter. After an impressive last feature, An Easy Girl, here’s hoping Zlotowski has another strong outing here. – Jordan R.

Padre Pio (Abel Ferrara; Venice)

Not often an Abel Ferrara movie contributes to stories on Fox News, but get Shia LaBeouf converting to Catholicism and all bets are off. Padre Pio‘s pre-release sturm und drang will of course overshadow whatever Ferrara’s concocted for this long-brewing passion project, but early looks suggest something fans of his late era (hello) can rely upon. Coming off the career highlight that was Zeros and Ones, he has all our faith—whoever’s in front of the camera. – Nick N.

Personality Crisis: One Night Only (Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi; NYFF)

Well, it’s not the Martin Scorsese film we all hoped for this year. It may only be completists who care, but as a man who has watched his episode of Amazing Stories and The 50 Year Argument do I humbly suggest Personality Crisis will prove—keeping with Scorsese’s recent run of genially paced, compact documentary portraits—a nice night at the movies. Not bad, as far as tiding us over until the big historical epic. – Nick N.

Saint Omer (Alice Diop; Venice, TIFF, and NYFF)

After building an impressive career in documentaries over the last decade, Alice Diop makes her narrative debut with Saint Omer. Playing at Venice, TIFF, and NYFF, the drama follows a journalist’s perspective on a court case involving a young Senegalese woman who allegedly murdered her baby daughter. For being inspired by a real-life incident, it’ll be intriguing to see how Diop’s non-fiction sensibilities weave into her first narrative feature. – Jordan R.

Sanctuary (Zachary Wigon; TIFF)

One of the festival titles that has us interested from cast and logline alone, Sanctuary follows Margaret Qualley as a dominatrix who battles it out with her boyfriend (Christopher Abbott) when he tries to end their relationship. Earning much acclaim for his last feature, the John Gallagher Jr.-led feature The Heart Machine, Zachary Wigon is primed to deliver a titillating and biting drama. – Jordan R.

“Sr.” (Chris Smith; NYFF)

Few filmmakers were of Robert Downey Sr’s stature—tasteless, meticulous, fool, genius, underground, and irreplaceable. Chris Smith (American Movie, Jim & Andy) bears the significant task of paying tribute to the filmmaker who died last summer, though “Sr.” would seem to bear the subject’s brilliance—NYFF’s description tells us he’s “occasionally shown working on his own version of the movie we’re watching.” His (somewhat more famous) son’s involvement is reason to hope for a portrait both honest and intimate. – Nick N.

Stonewalling (Huang Ji and Ryuji Otsuka; Venice, TIFF, and NYFF)

Though not previously on our radar a few weeks ago, Huang Ji and Ryuji Otsuka’s Stonewalling has been selected for Venice, TIFF, and NYFF, greatly piquing our interest. The story follows a flight-attendant-in-training whose surprise pregnancy interrupts her plans, she becoming caught in a system unconcerned with her well-being. While the husband-and-wife filmmaking team have been working for over a decade, they are poised for quite a break-out with this drama. – Jordan R.

Theatre of Thought (Werner Herzog; TIFF)

While his first documentary of the year, The Fire Within: A Requiem for Katia and Maurice Krafft, got a curiously quiet release on the heels of Fire of Love, thankfully Werner Herzog’s second 2022 documentary is arriving with more fanfare. Set for a world premiere at TIFF, Theatre of Thought focuses on perhaps the most complex subject matter this intrepid documentarian has captured thus far: the brain. Interviewing scientists, human-rights lawyers, tech billionaires, and more, Herzog may expose what mysteries lie in us all. – Jordan R.

Trenque Lauquen (Laura Citarella; Venice and NYFF)

As a producer of Mariano Llinás’ Extraordinary Stories and La Flor, Laura Citarella knows her way around an epic narrative. For her latest feature, the twelve-part, two-film, four-hour Trenque Lauquen, she explores a nesting doll of stories based in the eponymous Argentinean city and centered on the strange disappearance of Laura Paredes’ character. As Llinás’ work has thankfully got distribution out of their festival premieres, hopefully there’s similar interest for Trenque Lauquen. – Jordan R.

Walk Up (Hong Sangsoo; TIFF and NYFF)

To quote Bryan Ferry: it’s the same old story. A Hong film, heretofore unknown, is announced for festival premiere; Cinema Guild make a U.S. acquisition before more than 12 people have seen it; the movie premieres to respectable reviews, perhaps word of a single innovation amidst the director’s entrenched formulas; I finally see it and find it’s far greater than any advance notice, and continue thinking Hong is the world’s greatest filmmaker. Hence this placement. – Nick N.

The Wonder (Sebastián Lelio; TIFF)

Florence Pugh is currently unstoppable, and she continues her domination in this year’s The Wonder, a psychological thriller set in 1859 Ireland. The story itself is mysterious—Pugh plays a British nurse sent to observe an 11-year-old girl who has not eaten in months and determine whether it is a miracle as claimed. If any filmmaker can pull off such a tenuous balance between tension and emotion, it would be Sebastián Lelio, who dazzled us with the atmospheric A Fantastic Woman and Disobedience.Jonah W.

Ten more fall festival films to have on your radar:

  • Chevalier (Stephen Williams; TIFF)
  • Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy (Nancy Buirski; Venice)
  • Dreamin’ Wild (Bill Pohlad; Venice)
  • Fragments of Paradise (KD Davison; Venice)
  • Immortal (Jalmari Helander; TIFF)
  • Is That Black Enough for You?!? (Elvis Mitchell; NYFF)
  • Nuclear (Oliver Stone; Venice)
  • Raymond & Ray (Rodrigo García; TIFF)
  • Sick (John Hyams; TIFF)
  • Viking (Stéphane Lafleur; TIFF)

Follow all of our festival coverage year-round here.

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