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The Fall Festival 50: Our Wishlist For The Venice, Telluride And Toronto Film Festivals

by The Playlist Staff
June 30, 2014 3:48 PM
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Black Sea

“Black Sea” (Kevin Macdonald)
Cast: Jude Law, Scoot McNairy, Jodie Whittaker, Konstantin Khabensky
Synopsis: A submarine captain is hired to find a sunken Russian boat said to be loaded with gold.
Last We Heard: It feels like a while since we had a good submarine movie, but with “Utopia” writer Dennis Kelly and Kevin Macdonald involved in this one, this could be a good prospect. Jude Law and Scoot McNairy topline the project, which Focus are backing, and with a UK release set for December, we’ll likely see this at the London Film Festival, with Toronto very likely before that.

Kill The Messenger

“Kill The Messenger” (Michael Cuesta)
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Michael Sheen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt
Synopsis: The true story of journalist Gary Webb, who exposed the CIA’s involvement in drug smuggling, only to be made a pariah in the cover-up.
Last We Heard: One of Focus’s big awards hopes for the coming season, this Jeremy Renner-starring drama has already landed a promising October release date, and given the subject matter and the very strong trailer, this is a good bet for Toronto, and if the studio are really bullish about it, maybe Telluride as well. That won’t entirely give us confidence (“The Fifth Estate” isn’t so long ago), but we’ve got our fingers crossed that this could be something worth paying attention to.

Retour a l’Ithaque” (Laurent Cantet)
Cast: Jorge Perugorria, Pedro Julio Diaz Ferran, Isabel Santos, Fernando Hechavarria
Synopsis: Five friends gather on a terrace overlooking Havana to celebrate the return of Amadeo who had been exiled for 16 years, talking of the idealism of their youth and the disillusionment of their maturity.
Last We Heard: Palme D’Or-winner Cantet's last film saw him work in a foreign language--English--for an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ “Foxfire,” which, while better than the Angelina Jolie version, failed to catch, um, fire, and to date never secured a proper US release. His follow-up seems even lower key, a Spanish-language Cuba-set talky drama, but Cantet’s name still has enough cachet, after “The Class” and 2001’s great “Time Out” to get him a festival slot, most probably at TIFF where “Foxfire” showed in 2012.

Not Quite As Likely, But Still Possible:

On the Milky Road” (Emir Kusturica)
Cast: Emir Kusturica, Monical Bellucci, Natasa Ninkovic
Synopsis: Three interlocking stories, ostensibly about "kindness," based on Kusturica’s own short film “Our Life” about a soldier who comes to a village to get milk for his army unit, the woman who gives him the milk and a monk who lives nearby who used to be a soldier.
Last We Heard: It’s a slim possibility that we might see Kusturica’s next in the fall as timing suggests it should be well ready by now, but two-time Palme D’or winner Kusturica would be a shoo-in for Cannes if he wants that instead. It really just depends on if, having missed Cannes 2014, he wants to hang on till next year--and if not, perhaps Venice is an outside bet.

Knight Of Cups

“Knight Of Cups” (Terrence Malick)
Cast: Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Teresa Palmer
Synopsis: Under wraps, but said to involve ‘celebrity and excess’
Last We Heard: As ever, Terrence Malick is working to his own schedule, and while most are assuming that this Christian Bale-starring effort will be done before the untitled Ryan Gosling-style picture formerly known as “Lawless” (or indeed IMAX doc “Voyage Of Time”), there are no guarantees as to exactly when. Cannes boss Thierry Fremaux confirmed at a press conference that Malick wasn’t ready for the French festival, but footage was screened at the market there, which suggests that it is getting closer. If Malick is done (and that’s a big if), Venice, where “To The Wonder” premiered, is the most likely venue for the film’s bow.

Natalie Portman

Jane Got a Gun” (Gavin O’Connor)
Cast: Natalie Portman, Noah Emmerich, Ewan McGregor and Joel Edgerton
Synopsis: In the old West, a woman must protect her crooked husband from the gang he betrayed with the help of an old flame.
Last We Heard: A film it’s impossible to write about without using the phrase “troubled production,” the troubled production of Natalie Portman’s passion-project Western experienced another setback recently when its August release date was shunted back to February 20, 2015. The reasons for the shift have not been made clear, but if it was for any reason other than not being ready in time, there’s a slim chance we’ll see the film at a festival, but unlike the incarnation that would’ve been helmed by Lynne Ramsay and starred Michael Fassbender, we’d wager that O’Connor’s version might get an out of competition-type deal if it does show up at all.

Selma Martin Luther King Ava DuVernay

“Selma” (Ava DuVernay)
Cast: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr.
Synopsis: The true story of the civil rights marches in the titular Alabama town, and Martin Luther King’s leadership during them.
Last We Heard: To be honest, with this long-gestating film now in the very capable hands of “Middle Of Nowhere” director Ava DuVernay, and getting underway a month or so ago, we’d sort of assumed that this was heading for a 2015 release. But Paramount dated it for Christmas Day a week or two back, suggesting that they have major awards season hopes for it. With the tight timeframe, it’s almost certainly too early for it to appear at Telluride, TIFF or Venice, but it could theoretically be ready to bow in time for AFI Fest in early November if they wanted to give it a big launch.


“Macbeth” (Justin Kurzel)
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, Sean Harris, Jack Reynor
Synopsis: In medieval Scotland, an ambitious warrior plots the murder of his king with the help of his wife after a group of witches predict that power is coming to him.
Last We Heard:Snowtown Murders” director Justin Kurzel got underway on this epic and blood-soaked take on Shakespeare’s classic tale at the start of this year, so it shouldn’t be too tricky to make the fall festival dates, especially with The Weinstein Company already unveiling footage at Cannes this year. That said, whether they believe it’ll be an Oscar player might make the difference as to when we see it: if they do, Venice or TIFF are fairly likely (and London might be possible too), if not, this might end up being held till next Cannes, or even Sundance.


Suffragette” (Sarah Gavron)
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff, Meryl Streep, Brendan Gleeson and Ben Whishaw
Synopsis: The inspirational tale of a group of largely working-class women, led by feminist icon Emmeline Pankhurst, on the front line of the increasingly bitter and brutal campaign to extend the vote to British women in the early years of the 20th Century.
Last We Heard: We can’t be sure if this film is being prepped for a fall bow or if it will be held for next year, but with that cast of ringers, and a period story that smacks of thematic weightiness and importance, there’s no doubt the Abi Morgan-scripted movie will be an awards hopeful. And it’s slated for a January release in the U.K., so it’s possible we could see it get festival play before the year is out, most likely at TIFF, we’d think.

Cyber Chris Hemsworth

“Cyber” or "Black Hat" (Michael Mann)
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis, Wei Tang, Holt McCallany
Synopsis: A computer hacker is released from prison to help a joint American and Chinese task force prevent computer crime.
Last We Heard: After five years away, Michael Mann is back with this new thriller, and any time you can put ‘Michael Mann’ and ‘thriller’ in the same sentence is a cause for celebration. With any other filmmaker, this wouldn’t be in festival consideration, but even though Mann doesn’t actually have much festival form, this might be an outside bet to appear at AFI or NYFF, though anything earlier than that is unlikely. Still probably a long shot (it seems to be a principally commercial consideration), but don’t count it out.

Also Possible; There's a few other big pictures that are landing in the fall, that don't necessarily seem like festival fare, but could end up as big starry galas or similar if they're done in time. "This Is Where I Leave You" or "Boxtrolls" could end up at TIFF, as could Robert Downey Jr. vehicle "The Judge" or Bill Murray starrer "St. Vincent." In terms of the classier side of the studio spectrum, "Fury" or "Into The Woods" might crop up somewhere, while "Interstellar" is a longer shot still, but could, we suppose, end up premiering at AFI Fest.

Elsewhere, keep an eye out for Peter Bogdanovich's long-gestating "Squirrel To The Nuts," Ed Zwick's "Pawn Sacrifice," Lone Scherfig's "The Riot Club," Brian Wilson biopic "Love & Mercy" with Paul Dano and John Cusack, the Alan Rickman-directed "A Little Chaos" starring Kate Winslet, Kevin Kline and Maggie Smith in "My Old Lady," Nanni Moretti's "Mia Madre," and Takashi Miike's "Over Your Dead Body" (though that seems to have an August 23rd Japanese release date slated). As for stuff that likely won't be done yet, our guess is that Yorgos Lanthimos' hotly-anticipated "The Lobster" will be held for Cannes, as will Christi Puiu's "Sierra-Nevada." And while Jeff Nichols' "Midnight Special" could technically be ready in time, it isn't due for release until November 2015, so look for it on next year's festival circuit instead.

Have we whetted your appetite for the fall season? There's certainly enough here to get us excited. Tell us which titles you're most anxious for in the comments below. 

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  • Hush hush | July 21, 2014 4:40 PMReply

    You should place some of your bets on San Sebastian who may rob some of your predictions to Venice....

  • benutty | July 7, 2014 1:39 PMReply

    "Isaac (widely felt to have been snubbed last year for an Oscar nomination for “Inside Llewyn Davis”)"

    not true; give it up, Playlist

  • Grapevine | July 5, 2014 9:37 AMReply

    Gone Girl will be the opener to the NYFF - it can't be the centerpiece or closing with an Oct 3rd release.

  • The Fanciful Norwegian | July 5, 2014 9:14 AMReply

    A few possibilities from Greater China: Wang Xiaoshuai's THE INTRUDER (finished shooting in late '13), Johnnie To's DON'T GO BREAKING MY HEART 2 and DESIGN FOR LIVING (the former is done, the latter started shooting in late April and should be either finished or close to it), Gu Changwei's LOVE IN THE CLOUD (due out in October), Alex Law and Mabel Cheung's A TALE OF THREE CITIES, Jiang Wen's GONE WITH THE BULLETS, part one of John Woo's THE CROSSING, Tsui Hark's TRACKS IN THE SNOWY FOREST. The last four are all December releases—for now, anyway—but should be ready in time for Venice/Toronto if they decide to take them there; I expect some will be held for Berlin or possibly Rome.

  • a m | July 4, 2014 1:43 PMReply

    Wow, so many of these sound really intriguing. That Herzog film, damn.

  • Miss Anon | July 3, 2014 1:36 PMReply

    Great list but how have you missed MAPS TO THE STARS (Moore, Pattinson, Cusack) or STILL ALICE (again, Moore, Baldwin and Stewart/Killer Films). Killer is known for producing festival darlings and Cronenberg is from Canada - I would hedge he even gets a gala opening night at TIFF (plus Moore won a Palm D'Or for her work in MAPS at Cannes). Seems like a glaring oversight.

  • Miss Anon | July 3, 2014 1:36 PMReply

    Great list but how have you missed MAPS TO THE STARS (Moore, Pattinson, Cusack) or STILL ALICE (again, Moore, Baldwin and Stewart/Killer Films). Killer is known for producing festival darlings and Cronenberg is from Canada - I would hedge he even gets a gala opening night at TIFF (plus Moore won a Palm D'Or for her work in MAPS at Cannes). Seems like a glaring oversight.

  • Gerard Kennelly | July 2, 2014 5:56 AMReply

    best supporting actress 2015 predictions

    Julie Estelle the raid 2
    watts birdman
    thierry the zero theorem
    rapace the drop
    farmiga the judge
    winstead kill the messenger
    green sin city dame kill for
    chastain interstellar
    rudolph inherent vice
    poots knight cups
    hoss a most wanted man
    streep into the woods
    Lorelei Linklater boyhood

  • Gerard Kennelly | July 2, 2014 5:50 AMReply

    best supporting actor 2015 predictions

    brolin inherent vice
    hopkins noah
    winstone the gunman
    oldman child 44
    bale knight cups
    thewlis the zero theorem
    brooks a most violent year
    shannon 99 homes
    kilmer untitled terrence malick project
    odowd calvary
    dafoe a most wanted man
    duvall the judge
    gandolfini the drop
    mendelsohn starred up
    shia fury
    hawke boyhood
    hoffman armstrong
    dehaan life
    farrell solace
    considine macbeth
    liotta kill the messenger
    norton birdman

  • Gerard Kennelly | July 2, 2014 5:44 AMReply

    best actress 2015 predictions

    chastain a most violent year
    witherspoon wild
    cotillard macbeth
    adams big eyes
    mara carol
    pike gone girl
    bissett welcome to new york
    woodley fault in stars
    rapace child 44
    mulligan far from madding crowd
    stone untitled Cameron crowe project
    hathaway interstellar
    johnson fifty shades grey
    portman jane got gun
    chastain miss julie
    cotillard two days one night
    bejo the search
    williams suite francaise
    mcadams a most wanted man

  • Gerard Kennelly | July 2, 2014 5:37 AMReply

    best actor 2015 predictions

    fassbender Macbeth
    fiennes grand Budapest
    crowe noah
    carrel foxcatcher
    boseman get on up
    hardy the drop
    depardieu welcome to new york
    affleck gone girl
    renner kill the messenger
    downey jr the judge
    keaton birdman
    penn the gunman
    oconnell unbroken
    phoenix inherent vice
    mcconaughey interstellar
    pitt fury
    cooper untitled cameron crowe project
    hoffman most wanted man
    depp black mass
    foster armstrong
    hopkins solace
    gyllenhaal enemy
    bale knight cups
    farrell miss julie
    sandler the cobbler
    hanks hologram for the king
    clarke everest
    garfield 99 homes
    isaac a most violent year
    hardy krays biopic
    waltz zero theorem
    pacino manglehorn
    oconnell starred up

  • colton | July 1, 2014 2:11 PMReply

    You mean KGB not MGB for Child 44

  • colton | July 1, 2014 6:32 PM

    Oh, sorry. Thanks for the correction.

  • kpkwrtr | July 1, 2014 3:14 PM

    No, Colton, MGB is correct given the period in which the author set the story. Officially known as the Ministry For State Security, the MGB existed from sometime in the mid-1930's to the early 1950's when the organization was folded into the newly-formed KGB.

  • tiana | July 1, 2014 8:23 AMReply

    I think still alice(based on best selling novel by Lisa genova) directed by Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer could screen at one of these festivals and starring julianne moore, Kristen stewart,kate Bosworth,hunter parrish and alec Baldwin.

  • Sanker from India | June 30, 2014 11:02 PMReply

    Sorry for the nitpicking. I absolutely love this list after the superherocentric articles of recent times. It's actually trainspotting screenwriter john hodge, not author. Trainspotting the book has Irvine welsh as it's author.
    I love you guys! Will be referring to this list many times over the next few months!!

  • Jess | July 1, 2014 10:22 AM

    You're right, of course Sanker. We've corrected the slip in the text, and thanks!

  • BEF | June 30, 2014 8:55 PMReply

    Great list! I hope Michael Mann's film stays as "Black Hat" or anything else ... "Cyber" is so bad, the only ones that could be potentially worse would be "The Internet" or "World Wide Web"

  • ger heard ken L E | July 2, 2014 5:26 AM

    hemsworth in a techno thriller ??????

    PARANOiA was a disaster

  • mark | June 30, 2014 6:55 PMReply

    I really hope Inherent Vice is better than The Master. That was just a bad film. I heard mixed things about the script on deadline

  • Franka | June 30, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    Great list. So many potential films coming soon!

  • DG | June 30, 2014 4:41 PMReply

    Also I wonder if Inherent Vice will play surprise screenings before Venice the way that The Master did in 2011. I think it plaed after midnight shows of The Shining?

  • DG | June 30, 2014 4:38 PMReply

    Wtf is that pic next to the Inherent Vice synopsis?

  • brad pitt 54321 | July 2, 2014 5:28 AM

    online so far there are on set pics of

    joaquin phoenix

    pregnant nurse maya rudolph

    and an actor that looks so like river phoenix it is scary

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