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2019 TIFF Predictions

The Conversation

The Conversation: Time for TIFF 2019 – Predictions!

The Conversation: Time for TIFF 2019 – Predictions!

The Toronto International Film Festival is set to unspool its latest monolithic program. A major cue to set Oscar season into motion, the line-up will feature an amalgamation of previous film festival offerings from around the world. While it’s not easily a program which can be contained in any real predictive sense, here’s a look at some offerings which may make an appearance. As usual, many of TIFF’s most anticipated highlights are its Gala and Special Presentations programs, which court media attention thanks to the usual high-profile red-carpet courting, so we can expect to see a number of studio ventures heading here, such as James Gray’s Ad Astra being a sure bet. Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers, of all things, could also be something we’d see pop up here. Same goes for a number of titles, such as Brian Kirk’s 21 Bridges, Eric Notarnicola’s Mister America, Dee Rees’ The Last Thing He Wanted, Sean Durkin’s The Nest, Cory Finley’s Bad Education, Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, Justin Simien’s Bad Hair, Wash Westmoreland’s The Earthquake Bird, Jay Roach’s Untitled Charles Randolph Project (formerly Fair and Balanced), Malik Vitthal’s Body Cam, Stephen Kijak’s Shoplifters of the World, Josh Trank’s Fonzo, Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet, Gia Coppola’s Mainstream, Max Winkler’s Jungleland, Sia’s Music, Barry Levinson’s Harry Haft, Henry-Alex Rubin’s Semper Fi, Liz Garbus’ Lost Girls, Roger Avary’s Lucky Day, Lucky McKee’s Kindred Spirits, John Turturro’s The Jesus Rolls, Andrew Levitas’ Minimata, Justin Kelly’s Weetzie Bat, Charlie Day’s El Tonto, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash’s Downhill, Marc Meyers’ Human Capital, Scott Cooper’s Antlers, Noah Hawley’s Lucy in the Sky, Tara Miele’s Wander Darkly, Roger Michell’s Blackbird, Brad Anderson’s Fracture, Michael Cristofer’s The Night Clerk, Henry Joost & Ariel Schuman’s sci-fi project (with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Machine Gun Kelly), Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead’s Synchronic, Drake Doremus’ untitled project with Shailene Woodley, Jamie Dornan and Sebastian Stan (formerly No, No, No, Yes) and John Ridley’s Needle in a Haystack.

Tomorrow’s announcements will likely include several Cannes titles — Palme d’Or in Parasite for one and and a wide array of titles from the Comp, Un Certain Regard and select items from Critics’ Week/Directors’ Fortnight (The Lighthouse) will be fitted into the large program. Locarno and Venice titles will be presented side by side with items from Sundance (Alma Har’el’s Honey Boy and Chinonye Chukwu’s Clemency might be gunning for pre-theatrical release red carpets) while Berlin items in Golden Bear winner Nadav Lapid’s Synonymes, Teona Strugar Mitevska’s God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunija and Agnès Varda’s Varda by Agnès should also make their North American premieres (Telluride has first dibbs on that distinction).

We can expect TIFF would court a number of these as potential Gala screenings as well: Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, Destin Cretton’s Just Mercy, Reed Morano’s Rhythm Section, James Mangold’s Ford vs. Ferrari, Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, Marielle Heller’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Craig Zobel’s The Hunt, Todd Philips’ Joker, Ang Lee’s Gemini Man, Gavin O’Connor’s Torrance, Edward Norton’s Motherless Brooklyn, Miranda July’s Kajillionaire, Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep, Melina Matsoukas’ Queen and Slim, and Sam Mendes’ 1917.

From France, a number of directors have yet to unveil completed projects (several of them working in English), such as Julie Delpy with My Zoe, Yamina Benguigui with Soeurs, Marjane Satrapi with Radioactive, Nicole Garcia with Lisa Redler, Cedric Klapisch with Deux Moi, Cedric Kahn with Happy Birthday, Nicolas Boukrief with Three Days and a Life, Danielle Arbid with Passion Simple, Jalil Lespert with Le Dindon, Julien Rappeneau with Fourmi, Nicolas Bedoes with La Belle Epoque, Geraldine Nakache with J’irai où tu iras, Yvan Attal with Mon Chien Stupide, Anne Fontaine with Police, Ludovic Bergery with L’Etreinte, Regis Roinsard’s Les Traducteurs, Guillaume de Fontenay’s Sympathy for the Devil, Fabienne Berthaud’s Un monde plus grand, Olivier Abbou’s Furie and Maimouna Doucoure with Cuties. And then Jean-Paul Salome’s Isabelle Huppert starrer La Daronne (which may end up with the English language title Mama Weed) could show here.

TIFF should be a rich edition for Canadiana with Atom Egoyan’s Guest of Honor and Francois Girard’s The Song of Names making international premieres, Matthew Rankin’s The Twentieth Century, Sophie Deraspe’s Antigone Librement, Louise Archambault’s And the Birds Rained Down, Thom Fitzgerald’s Stage Mother, Vincenzo Natali’s In the Tall Grass, Larysa Kondracki’s Innocent Monsters, and Aisling Chin-yee’s The Rest of Us making world premieres, and the latest from Xavier Dolan, Monia Chokri, Denis Cote and Anne Emond making North American premieres.

A number of international notables from around the globe, likewise, have yet to premiere new features, many of which could show up in TIFF’s broad Contemporary World Cinema category, or potentially its Platform competition category (the field of which will narrow once Venice announces its competition). While Fabrice du Welz has gone to Locarno with Adoration and Alejandro Amenabar has gone to San Sebastian to premiere, one could also see them pop up somewhere here. Otherwise, we’re still waiting to see Katrin Gebbe’s Pelican Blood, Jonathan Nossiter’s Last Words, Petr Kazda & Tomas Weinreb’s No One Likes Me, Istvan Szabo’s Zarojelentes, Dietrich Bruggemann’s No, Katrin Olafsdottir’s The Wind Blew On, Atiq Rahimi’s Our Lady of the Nile, Argryis Papadimitropoulos’ Monday, Philippa Lowthorpe’s Misbehavior, Tudor Cristian Jurgiu’s And They May Still Be Alive Today, Levan Koguashvili’s Brighton 4, Jasmila Zbanic’s Quo Vadis, Aida, Oualid Mouaness’ 1982, Thorstein Klein’s Adventures of a Mathematician, Claire McCarthy’s Burning Season, Julian Jarrold’s Sulphur and White, Adrian Shergold’s Cordelia, Niels Arden Oplev’s Daniel, Jeremy Sims’ Rams, Szabolcs Hadju’s Treasure City, Tom Harper’s The Aeronauts, Romola Garai’s Outside, Eion Macken’s Here Are the Young Men, Caroline Link’s When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit, Xing You’s Summer Knight, Mitch Jenkin’s The Show, Jorge Michel Grau’s Bunker, Paula van der Ouest’s The Bay of Silence, Gabriele Mainetti’s Freaks Out, Craig Roberts’ Eternal Beauty, Anthony Jerjen’s Inherit the Viper, Ziska Riemann’s Get Lucky, Dominic Cook’s Ironbark, Peter Cattaneo’s Military Wives, Michael Engler’s Downton Abbey, Rupert Goold’s Judy, Miguel Angel Jimenez’s Una Ventana al mar, Cathy Brady’s Wildfire, Dan Friedkin’s Lyrebird, Gregory Magne’s The Inspiration, Petr Jakl’s Medieval, Mikael Hafstrom’s The Perfect Patient, Marie Grohto Sorenson’s Psychosia, (which was selected for Venice’s international film critics’ week) Lee Tamahori’s Emperor, Mika Kaurismaki’s Mestari Cheng, Eran Riklis’ Spider in Web, Andrucha Waddington’s O Juizo, Gabriele Salvatores’ Tutto il mio folle amore, Jonathan Jakubowicz’s Resistance, Alan Yang’s Tigertail, Jessica Swale’s Summerland, Pedro Varela’s The Seven Sorrows of Mary, Lisa Barros & Glenn Leyburn’s Normal People, Malgorzata Szumowska’s The Other Lamb, Viggo Mortenson’s Falling, Robin Pront’s The Silencing, Ivan Sen’s Loveland, Vadim Perelman’s Persian Lessons, Stephen Johnson’s High Ground, Belen Funes’ A Thief’s Daughter (just selected for San Sebastian Film Festival), Euros Lyn’s Dream Horse, Florian Zeller’s The Father, Christopher Smith’s The Banishing, Richard Stanley’s Color Out of Space, Ciaran Foy’s Eli, Gianni Amelio’s Hammamet, Shannon Murphy’s Babyteeth, Ole Christian Madsen’s Notat, Burhan Qurbani’s Alexanderplatz, Bradley Lew’s Motel Acacia, Jim Taihuttu’s The East, Sean Ellis’ Eight for Silver, Tomasz Wasilewski’s Fools, and Darren Lyn Bousman’s The Death of Me could populate the Midnight section.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2021: France (Bruno Dumont), Passing (Rebecca Hall) and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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