It’s my company’s cardinal year at TIFF and I can’t be more excited to attend a slew of films, #TIFFConference panels and Q&As, and the many, many cocktail networking hours.
After trudging through the program, the online schedule, the press and industry screenings, and a number of trailers, the pallet of films this year are shockingly lacking in the comedic and syfy genres. Overall, there were many, many, many about war from both North American and oppositional perspective, unplanned pregnancies, widows, taxi drivers, and a few trans stories. I picked my way through the list, though, to find the ones about relationships, identity, growth, mental health, and history.
Here’s what I’m most excited for at this year’s festival! Trailers included where available.
Greta Gerwig’s back on screen with Ethan Hawke, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Julianne Moore and writer-director Rebecca Miller (whose “Private Lives of Pippa Lee” stole me heart). Maggie (Gerwig) seems like a ruthless go-getter judging only by the film’s program description. She wants a baby and she’s going to get one via artificial insemination… but then she meets John (Hawke). He’s married (to Moore’s character!!) but he and Maggie click anyway. I’m keen to see how this plays out. Hawke’s character is described, and quoted in the film, as being “the bad boy of fictocritical anthropology.” A literary spark in modern cinema that makes my heart sore.
This is Charlie Kaufman’s newest. Themes of human connection and artistic creation. It’s stop animation. Co-directed with Duke Johnson to which this is his directorial debut. Please be good.
It’s exactly what the title suggests. An awkward 12-year-old girl finds out her older sister has developed an eating disorder in her quest for admiration. While it’s part of TIFF Kids, the film is recommended for 11 years and up due to its sensitive content. This one may be an important film for youth, and I can’t wait to see it unfold.
Besides the fact that I’ve heard really great things about working with Jason Bateman, he’s a great actor. His directorial debut “Bad Words” did pretty well at #TIFF13, so why not invest in his sophomore film about a family to whom everything is performance… I mean, semi-improvised public interventions? That sounds funny! Plus – Nicole Kidman and Christopher Walken.
Remember “The Princess Bride?” Well Ron Reiner is back with another one. Nick Robinson from “Jurassic World” (I approve!) plays an 18-year-old privileged but rehab-ridden bad ass. The script’s a co-write with Reiner’s son Nick and Matt Elisofon whose credits I cannot find. Is this their first? In any case, their contributions are credited by giving the script a sharp sense of humour.
While I’m not familiar with Sebastien Schipper’s work, this German film is described as being a romantic thriller. It’s “two and a quarter hours of passion and adrenaline – shot in one continuous take.” One take?! I’ve got to see this.
This film sounds epic. Epic is the way that a good story unfolds in a harrowing and captivating way. A period piece set in 17th Century New England that stakes a village against the evil, dark woods. This is Robert Eggers first but, obviously passionate, coming from production design he ensures that the film is strikingly accurate to the period. Shot in the Northern Ontario woods, too.
Eddie Redmayne starred in “The Theory of Everything,” last year’s oscar-winning film about Stephen and Jane Hawking. While “The Danish Girl” is directed by Tom Hooper, it looks remarkably similar to Redmayne’s Hawking performance (albeit, the “King’s Speech” and “Les Miserables,” Hooper’s gems, are in the same vein production-wise). In this film, and this is the reason I’m excited to see this, Redmayne portrays Lili Elbe, an up-and-coming young, female artist born into a male body. On top of that, this story is set in the 1920’s and is based on a fact-based novel of the same name by David Ebersoff. Stories of identity and the ways we share and communicate them with the world are very important. They invite us to explore possibility and make our communities a more inclusive place, sparking conversations about topics that may be unfamiliar or difficult to bring up.
For some reason I am drawn to this film. I’m drawn to its lanky lead. His troubled, criminal past. The idea of returning to a place he once knew, now viewed entirely different. The thrill of what’s at stake. The trailer really did it for me. Described as a “beautifully made by profoundly disturbing” feature debut, it was also a hit at Cannes so it’s definitely on my list.
Here’s one from the unplanned pregnancy theme. This clip drew me in. The clever exchange and the non-chalant energy of the two teens about to bring a life into the world entertained and moved me.
And last but not least, perhaps my most-anticipated non-drama of #TIFF15 is this. A self-aware comedy horror in the same vein as Cabin in the Woods but with more jokes. Plus Taissa Farmiga is amazing.