TIFF 2016 Galas and Special Presentations Include ‘La La Land’, ‘The Magnificent Seven’, and Many More
We don’t even know the full lineup yet for the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, but there are already too many films to see. This year is filled to the brim, and they still need to announce their other sections. But in the meantime, we now know that the festival will open with Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven and will close out with The Edge of Seventeen starring Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson.
But where the festival is really shining is in how many potential Oscar contenders are lighting up the galas and special presentation section. The category includes Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, Garth Davis’ Lion (this is the one Weinstein Company will be pushing hard in Oscar season), Jeff Nichols’ Loving, J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls, Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, Lone Scherfig’s Their Finest, Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation, Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea, and Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals.
And while these films may not get into the Oscar race, it’s still a high-profile place for Christopher Guest’s Mascots, the animated film Sing, Peter Berg’s Deepwater Horizon, Oliver Stone’s Snowden, Ewan McGregor’s American Pastoral, Ben Younger’s Bleed for This, Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden and many more.
Plus, there’s a slew of films here that may not have name recognition now, but could easily catch fire with audiences at TIFF and find their way into the awards race.
Check out the full line up for galas and special presentations below, and click here for synopses on these films. The 2016 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8 – 18th.
Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, USA) – Canadian Premiere
When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team,led by expert linguist Louise Banks, are brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers. To find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity. Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, and Michael Stuhlbarg.
Deepwater Horizon (Peter Berg, USA) – World Premiere
Inspired by the true story of the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that rocked the globe on April 20, 2010, comes this chronicle of the courage of those who worked on the Deepwater Horizon and the extreme moments of bravery and survival in the face of what would become one of the biggest man-made disasters in history. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O’Brien, and Kate Hudson.
The Edge of Seventeen (Kelly Fremon Craig, USA) – World Premiere
The directorial debut of writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig follows high school junior Nadine, who is already at peak awkwardness when her all-star older brother Darian starts dating her best friend Krista. All at once, Nadine feels more alone than ever, until the unexpected friendship of a thoughtful boy gives her a glimmer of hope that things just might not be so terrible after all. Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Kyra Sedgwick, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner and Hayden Szeto.
The Headhunter’s Calling (Mark Williams, Canada) – World Premiere
A ruthless corporate headhunter in Chicago battles his rival for control of their job placement firm, until a family tragedy brings his personal and professional lives into conflict. Starring Gerard Butler, Alison Brie, Willem Dafoe, Gretchen Mol, Alfred Molina, and Max Jenkins.
The Journey is the Destination (Bronwen Hughes, United Kingdom/South Africa) – World Premiere
The inspiring life story of late photojournalist, artist and activist Dan Eldon, who abandoned a comfortable life in London to document the struggle, heartbreak and hope of a war-torn and famine-ridden region of Africa. Inspiring and irreverent, the film follows a young man coming of age to realize his purpose, his place in the world, and his belief that we can all create positive change. Starring Ella Purnell, Maria Bello, Sam Hazeldine, Ben Schnetzer, and Kelly Macdonald.
JT + The Tennessee Kids (Jonathan Demme, USA) – World Premiere
In this thrilling concert documentary, Academy Award–winning director Jonathan Demme captures the charismatic and highly acclaimed artistry of Justin Timberlake and The Tennessee Kids’ spectacular closing performances from The 20/20 Experience World Tour at the legendary MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
LBJ (Rob Reiner, USA) – World Premiere
On November 22, 1963, one president’s life was taken while another’s was resurrected. LBJ tells the story of politician Lyndon B. Johnson who was at risk of fading into irrelevancy but, upon John F. Kennedy’s assassination, seized his moment to rescue a nation and claim his place among the most influential US presidents. LBJ is an intimate look into Johnson’s masterful political manoeuvring during one of the most difficult times in America’s history. Starring Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Richard Jenkins, Bill Pullman, Jeffrey Donovan, and Michael Stahl-David.
Lion (Garth Davis, Australia) – World Premiere
After a wrong train takes a five-year-old Indian boy thousands of kilometres from home and family, he survives many challenges before being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, armed with only the scantest of clues, he learns of a new technology called Google Earth, and sets out to find his lost family. This true story stars Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, and David Wenham.
Loving (Jeff Nichols, USA) – North American Premiere
This film celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of Richard and Mildred Loving, who waged a decade-long legal battle that led to the overturning of the state of Virginia’s law prohibiting interracial marriage. Their civil rights case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry. Starring Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Marton Csokas, Nick Kroll, and Michael Shannon.
The Magnificent Seven (Antoine Fuqua, USA) – World Premiere
Director Antoine Fuqua brings his modern vision to a 1960 western classic. With the town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue, the desperate townspeople, led by Emma Cullen, employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns. As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money. Starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-Hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett and Peter Sarsgaard.
A Monster Calls (J.A. Bayona, USA/Spain) – World Premiere
This visually spectacular drama follows a lonely 12-year-old boy struggling with his mother’s illness, until an ancient, wild, and relentless monster appears, guiding him on a journey of courage, faith, and truth. Starring Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall, and Liam Neeson.
Planetarium (Rebecca Zlotowski, France/Belgium) – North American Premiere
Kate and Laura Barlow, two young American spiritualists in 1930s Paris, finish their world tour. Fascinated by their gift, a powerful French film producer hires them to shoot a highly ambitious film. In the vortex of cinema, experiments, and feelings, this new family doesn’t yet see what Europe will soon go through. Stars Natalie Portman, Lily-Rose Depp, Emmanuel Salinger, Amira Casar, Pierre Salvadori and Louis Garrel.
Queen of Katwe (Mira Nair, South Africa/Uganda) – World Premiere
This vibrant true story follows a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess. The support from her family and community instills her with confidence and determination, as she sets out to pursue her dream of becoming an international champion. Starring David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, and Madina Nalwanga.
The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé! : A Trip Across Latin America (Paul Dugdale, United Kingdom) – World Premiere
This documentary film follows The Rolling Stones on a cultural adventure across Latin America, as the band heads towards their historic tour finale — being the first ever rock band to play to a crowd of 1.2 million in Havana, Cuba.
The Secret Scripture (Jim Sheridan, Ireland) – World Premiere
A once vibrant and lively beauty in her youth, Roseanne McNulty has spent the majority of her adult life confined to a mental hospital in rural Ireland. She has been institutionalized for so long, no one seems to remember why she was hospitalized in the first place. When a new chief psychiatrist takes a keen interest in her, he finds a hidden memoir she has written over the course of decades. It unravels the mystery of her incarceration, telling the tale of her passionate, yet tortured, life. Starring Vanessa Redgrave, Rooney Mara, Theo James, Eric Bana, and Jack Reynor.
Snowden (Oliver Stone, Germany/USA) – World Premiere
Academy Award–winning director Oliver Stone tackles one of the most important and fascinating true stories of the 21st century. This politically charged, pulse-pounding thriller reveals the incredible untold personal story of Edward Snowden, the polarizing figure who exposed shocking illegal surveillance activities by the NSA and became one of the most wanted men in the world — considered a hero by some, and a traitor by others. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Scott Eastwood, Logan Marshall-Green, Timothy Olyphant, Ben Schnetzer, Lakeith Lee Stanfield, Rhys Ifans, and Nicolas Cage.
Strange Weather (Katherine Dieckmann, USA) – World Premiere
A lyrical, emotionally rich drama tracking Darcy as she travels the Deep South with her friend in an effort to process her grief over the loss of her son. A story about forgiveness, redemption, grace, and how to be fully alive when facing death. Starring Holly Hunter, Carrie Coon, and Kim Coates.
Their Finest (Lone Scherfig, United Kingdom) – World Premiere
Danish filmmaker Lone Scherfig’s period comedy-drama follows a group of filmmakers struggling to make an inspirational film to boost morale — and inspire America to join the war — during the London Blitz in World War II. A witty, romantic and moving portrayal of a young woman finding her way, and her voice, in the mayhem of war…and movies. Starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy, Jack Huston, Helen McCrory, Eddie Marsan, Jake Lacy, Rachel Stirling, and Richard E. Grant.
A United Kingdom (Amma Asante, United Kingdom) – World Premiere
This biopic tells the true story of Seretse Khama, King of Bechuanaland (modern Botswana), and Ruth Williams, the London office worker he married in 1947 in the face of fierce opposition from their families and the British and South African governments. Starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike.
The Age of Shadows (Kim Jee woon, South Korea) – North American Premiere
The latest from cutting-edge director Kim Jee woon is an epic-scale period thriller about a double agent sent to infiltrate a band of freedom fighters during the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 1920s. Starring Korean superstars Song Kang ho, Han Ji min, and Gong Yoo.
All I See Is You (Marc Forster, Thailand) – World Premiere
Set in exotic locations, this unique and visually-driven psychological drama tells the story of a blind woman and her husband, who upon restoration of her sight, begins to discover previously unseen and disturbing details about themselves, their marriage, and their lives. Stars Blake Lively, Yvonne Strahovski, and Jason Clarke.
American Honey (Andrea Arnold, USA) – North American Premiere
Star, an adolescent girl from a troubled home, runs away with a travelling sales crew who drive across the American Midwest selling subscriptions door to door. Finding her feet in this gang of teenagers, she soon gets into the group’s lifestyle of hard-partying nights, law- bending days, and young love. Starring Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keogh, and Sasha Lane.
American Pastoral (Ewan McGregor, USA) – World Premiere
Based on the Pulitzer Prize–winning Philip Roth novel, American Pastoral follows a family whose seemingly idyllic existence is shattered by the social and political turmoil of the 1960s. Ewan McGregor stars in his directorial debut as Seymour “Swede” Levov, a once legendary high school athlete who is now a successful businessman married to a former beauty queen. But turmoil brews beneath the polished veneer of Swede’s life, when his beloved teenage daughter disappears after being accused of committing a violent act. Dedicated to finding her, what he discovers shakes him to the core, forcing him to look beneath the surface and confront the chaos that is shaping the world around him. Also starring Academy Award–winner Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning, Emmy–winner Uzo Aduba, David Strathairn, Valorie Curry, Peter Riegert, and Rupert Evans.
Asura: The City of Madness (Kim Sung-soo, South Korea) – World Premiere
A shady cop finds himself in over his head when he gets caught between Internal Affairs and the city’s corrupt mayor, in this scintillating crime drama from Korean maestro Kim Sung-soo. Stars Hwang Jung-min, Kwak Do-won, Ju Ji-hoon, and Jung Woo-sung.
Barakah Meets Barakah (Mahmoud Sabbagh, Saudi Arabia) – North American Premiere
Saudi Arabia’s first rom-com features comedian and social-media superstar Hisham Fageeh as a mild-mannered civil servant who runs up against his society’s strict mores when he sets out to romance the outspoken daughter of a wealthy couple. Also starring Fatima Al Banawi.
Barry (Vikram Gandhi, USA) – World Premiere
New York City, 1981. Inspired by true events, a young Barack Obama tries to find his way as a college student in a new city as he is faced with questions about race, culture, and identity in this inspiring drama centered on a crucial year in the future President’s life. Starring Devon Terrell, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Ellar Coltrane.
Birth of the Dragon (George Nolfi, USA/China/Canada) – World Premiere
Set against the backdrop of San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1964, this cross-cultural biopic chronicles Bruce Lee’s emergence as a martial- arts superstar after his legendary secret showdown with Shaolin master Wong Jack Man. While details of the fight are hotly disputed to this day, one thing is clear — out of that epic fight, Bruce Lee emerged as The Dragon, the man who brought Kung Fu to the world. Starring Billy Magnussen, Xia Yu, and Philip Ng.
The Birth of a Nation (Nate Parker, USA) – International Premiere
Filmmaker-actor Nate Parker reclaims the title of D.W. Griffith’s 1916 milestone for this epic chronicle, set against the antebellum South, of the life of Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner accepts an offer to use his preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities — against himself and his fellow slaves — Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom. Starring Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Mark Boone Jr., Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Dwight Henry, Aja Naomi King, Esther Scott, Roger Guenveur Smith, Gabrielle Union, Penelope Ann Miller, and Jackie Earle Haley.
Bleed for This (Ben Younger, USA) – Canadian Premiere
This film tells the incredible true story of one of the most inspiring and unlikely comebacks in sports history. Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza, shoots to stardom after winning two world title fights before a near-fatal car accident leaves him with a broken neck, and he is told he may never walk again. Against all odds and doctor’s orders, renowned trainer Kevin Rooney agrees to help Vinny return to the ring just a year after the accident, for what could be the last fight of his life. Stars Miles Teller, Katey Sagal, and Aaron Eckhart.
Blue Jay (Alex Lehmann, USA) – World Premiere
Meeting by chance when they return to their tiny California hometown, two former high-school sweethearts reflect on their shared past through the lens of their differently dissatisfied presents, in this tender, wise and affecting chamber drama from first-time feature director Alex Lehmann. Starring Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson.
Brimstone (Martin Koolhoven, Netherlands/Germany/France/Belgium/Sweden/United Kingdom) – North American Premiere
A triumphant epic of survival set in the searing wilds of the Badlands, the menacing inferno of the old American West. This tale of powerful womanhood and resistance against the unforgiving cruelty of a hell on earth follows Liz, a heroine carved from the beautiful wilderness, full of heart and grit, and accused of a crime she didn’t commit, hunted by a vengeful preacher. Stars Guy Pearce, Dakota Fanning, Emilia Jones, Carice Van Houten and Kit Harington.
BrOTHERHOOD (Noel Clarke, United Kingdom) – International Premiere
Writer-director-star Noel Clarke completes the British crime-drama trilogy he began with KiDULTHOOD and AdULTHOOD, in this gritty tale of an ex-con whose dreams of settling down and going straight run up against the long memories (and itchy trigger fingers) of a crew of old enemies. Stars Noel Clarke, Arnold Oceng, David Ajala, Cornell S. John, and Michael “Stormzy” Omari.
Carrie Pilby (Susan Johnson, USA) – World Premiere
Carrie, a person of high intelligence who graduated Harvard at 18, struggles to make sense of the world as it relates to morality, relationships, sex and leaving her New York City apartment. Susan Johnson makes her feature directorial debut in this beautiful adaptation of the acclaimed novel. Stars Bel Powley, Nathan Lane, Gabriel Byrne, Vanessa Bayer, and Jason Ritter.
Catfight (Onur Tukel, USA) – World Premiere
A reunion between two old school friends sparks a no-holds-barred war of attrition, in this outrageously madcap black comedy. Stars Sandra Oh, Anne Heche, Alicia Silverstone, Craig Bierko, and Dylan Baker.
City of Tiny Lights (Pete Travis, United Kingdom) – World Premiere
Tommy Akhtar — cricket fan, devoted son and deadbeat private eye — is just emerging from another hangover when his next case walks through the door. Hooker Melody wants him to find her friend who has gone missing. As he delves deeper into the case, Tommy’s journey to uncover the truth leads him into the hidden layers of modern London, unlocking shocking secrets about past loves, friendships, and family. Starring Riz Ahmed, Cush Jumbo, James Floyd, Billie Piper and Roshan Seth.
The Commune (Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark/Sweden/Netherlands) – North American Premiere
Danish auteur Thomas Vinterberg’s new film focuses on a middle-aged professional couple in 1970s Denmark who decide to experiment with communal living by inviting a group of friends and random eccentrics to cohabit with them in a sprawling house. With Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, and Helene Reingaard Neumann.
Daguerrotype (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, France/Japan/Belgium) – World Premiere
Kiyoshi Kurosawa makes his first film outside Japan with this French-language ghost romance fantasy, about an aging photographer whose obsession with an archaic technique draws his young assistant and beautiful daughter into a dark and mysterious world. With Tahar Rahim, Constance Rousseau, Olivier Gourmet, and Mathieu Amalric.
A Death in the Gunj (Konkona Sensharma, India) – World Premiere
Set in 1979, this coming of age story follows a shy young Indian student who quietly and fatefully unravels during a family road trip to McCluskiegunj. Stars Vikrant Massey, Ranvir Shorey, Kalki Koechlin, Gulshan Devaiah, Tillotama Shome, Jim Sarbh, Tanuja Mukherjee, Om Puri, and Arya Sharma.
Denial (Mick Jackson, USA/United Kingdom) – World Premiere
Based on the book History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier, this riveting, true-life drama recounts the courtroom showdown between historian Deborah E. Lipstadt and notorious Holocaust denier David Irving, who accused her of libel when she declared him a Holocaust denier. In the English legal system, in cases of libel, the burden of proof is on the defendant, therefore it was up to Lipstadt and her legal team to prove that the Holocaust had occurred. Starring Academy Award-winner Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall, Andrew Scott, Jack Lowden, Caren Pistorius and Alex Jennings.
Elle (Paul Verhoeven, France) – North American Premiere
Michèle seems indestructible. As the head of a leading video game company, she brings the same ruthless attitude to her love life as to business. Being attacked in her home by an unknown assailant changes Michèle’s life forever. When she resolutely tracks the man down, they are both drawn into a curious and thrilling game — a game that may, at any moment, spiral out of control. Stars Isabelle Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Anne Consigny, Charles Berling, Virginie Efira, Christian Berkel, Judith Magre, Jonas Bloquet, Alice Isaaz, Vimala Pons, Raphaël L Lenglet, Arthur Mazet, Lucas Prisor, Hugo Conzelmann, and Stéphane Bak.
Foreign Body (Raja Amari, Tunisia/France) – World Premiere
Samia immigrates to France illegally. Obsessed by the idea her radical islamist brother might be stalking her, she first finds refuge with Imed, an acquaintance from her village, then with Leila, her employer. Desire and fear heightens the tension between the three protagonists. With Hiam Abbass, Sarra Hannachi, and Salim Kechiouche.
Frantz (François Ozon, France/Germany) – Canadian Premiere
Set in a small German town in the aftermath of World War I, this elegiac tale of love and remembrance follows a young woman mourning the death of her fiancé, Frantz, who was killed in battle in France. She forms a bond with a mysterious Frenchman who has arrived to lay flowers on her beloved’s grave. Starring Paula Beer, Pierre Niney, Marie Gruber, Ernst Stötzner, Johann Von Bülow, and Anton Von Lucke.
The Handmaiden (Park Chan-wook, South Korea) – North American Premiere
A crook-turned-servant falls for the vulnerable heiress she had originally schemed to swindle, in this audacious, visually sumptuous, and highly erotic period piece from writer-director Park Chan-wook. Starring Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong, Kim Hae-sook, and Moon So-ri.
Harmonium (Kôji Fukada, Japan/France) – North American Premiere
A Japanese family’s humdrum daily routine is fatefully upset by the arrival of a stranger from the father’s past, in this slow-burning dramatic thriller. Stars Tadanobu Asano, Mariko Tsutsui, Kanji Furutachi, Taiga, Momone Shinokawa, and Kana Mahiro.
I Am Not Madame Bovary (Feng Xiaogang, China) – World Premiere
A café proprietor spends a decade petitioning the Chinese legal system after being swindled by her ex-husband, in this caustically comic contemporary fable. Stars Fan Bingbing.
The Journey (Nick Hamm, United Kingdom) – North American Premiere
A dramatization of the events preceding the historic 2006 St. Andrews Agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland after years of violent strife between Unionist and Republican factions. Stars Timothy Spall, Colm Meaney, John Hurt, Toby Stephens and Freddie Highmore.
King of the Dancehall (Nick Cannon, USA/Jamaica) – World Premiere
Nick Cannon directs and stars in this high-energy musical about a young man from Brooklyn who gets caught up in the vibrant Kingston music scene during a visit to Jamaica. Starring Nick Cannon, Whoopi Goldberg, Busta Rhymes, Peter Stormare, Kimberly Patterson, Louis Gossett Jr., Kreesha Turner, Kamani Marley, Collie Budz, Killer Bean, and Beenie Man.
La La Land (Damien Chazelle, USA) – Canadian Premiere
Writer-director Damien Chazelle captures the story of Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for destroying hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams. Starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, and Rosemarie DeWitt.
The Limehouse Golem (Juan Carlos Medina, United Kingdom) – World Premiere
In the notorious Limehouse district of 19th-century London, a series of murders have shaken the city. The crimes are so monstrous that the press claim they’re the work of The Golem — a mythic creature from European legend. With no leads and in a desperate attempt to avoid the mobs wrath, Scotland Yard promote the seemingly inexperienced Detective Kildare to stop the slaughtering. Stars Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke, Douglas Booth, Daniel Mays, Sam Reid, Maria Valverde, and Eddie Marsan.
Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan, USA) – Canadian Premiere
A reclusive handyman must face his painful past when he returns to his Massachusetts hometown after the sudden death of his beloved older brother, in this emotionally overwhelming and critically acclaimed drama from writer-director Kenneth Lonergan. Stars Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, Gretchen Mol, and Matthew Broderick.
Mascots (Christopher Guest, USA) – World Premiere
Starring many of his regular troupe of actors, Christopher Guest’s new comedy takes place in the ultra-competitive world of sports mascots where they compete for the most prestigious award in their field, the Gold Fluffy. Cast includes Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Lynch, Fred Willard, Parker Posey, Bob Balaban, Harry Shearer and Ed Begley Jr.
Maudie (Aisling Walsh, Canada/Ireland) – Canadian Premiere
Maudie tells the true story of Maud Lewis, who overcame the physical challenge of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis to become one of Canada’s premier folk artists. Stars Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke.
Neruda (Pablo Larraín, Chile/Argentina/Spain/France) – Canadian Premiere
Pablo Larraín weaves an engrossing metafictional fable around the 1948 manhunt for celebrated poet and politician Pablo Neruda, who goes underground when Chile outlaws communism and is pursued by an ambitious police inspector hoping to make a name for himself by capturing the famous fugitive. Starring Gael García Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Luis Gnecco, Mercedes Morán, Diego Muñoz, Pablo Derqui, and Michael Silva.
Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford, USA/United Kingdom) – North American Premiere
The second feature from writer-director Tom Ford follows the story of a woman who is forced to confront the demons of her past, as she is drawn into the world of a thriller novel written by her ex-husband. This romantic thriller of shocking intimacy and gripping tension explores the thin lines between love and cruelty, and revenge and redemption. Stars Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Karl Glusman, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney, Andrea Riseborough, and Michael Sheen.
The Oath (Baltasar Kormákur, Iceland) – World Premiere
Icelandic action ace Baltasar Kormákur directs and stars in this psychological thriller about a father who tries to pull his daughter out of her world of drugs and petty crime, only to find that danger can be found in unexpected places. Also stars Gísli Örn Garðarsson and Hera Hilmar.
Orphan (Arnaud des Pallières, France) – World Premiere
Four moments in the lives of four female characters. Sandra’s youth as she moves to Paris and has a brush with disaster. Karine’s teenage years, an endless succession of runaways, men and mishaps, because anything is better than her desolate family home. The childhood of a little girl called Kiki, captured as a game of hide and seek turns to tragedy. And finally the grown-up life of Renée, a woman who thought she was safe from her own past. Gradually, we come to understand that these four characters are actually different sides of the same woman. Starring Adèle Haenel, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Gemma Arterton and Sergi López.
Paris Can Wait (Eleanor Coppola, USA) – World Premiere
An American woman in a tired marriage finds herself on an unforeseen road trip from Cannes to Paris with a dashing Frenchman. What should be a seven-hour drive unexpectedly takes two days with many diversions: picturesque sites, fine food and wine, humour, fun, wisdom — and romance. Starring Diane Lane, Arnaud Viard and Alec Baldwin.
Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, USA) – North American Premiere
Paterson is a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey. He adheres to a simple routine, writing poetry and observing the city on his route. His wife, Laura, lives in an ever-changing world. He supports her newfound ambitions; she champions his secret gift for poetry. The film channels the history and energy of the City of Paterson. The quiet triumphs and defeats of daily life are observed over one week, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details. Stars Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani.
The Salesman (Asghar Farhadi, Iran/France) – North American Premiere
A sudden eruption of violence creates an atmosphere of simmering tension between a husband and wife, in this work of slow-burning domestic suspense from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. Featuring Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidousti.
Salt and Fire (Werner Herzog, Germany/USA/France/Mexico) – North American Premiere
Shot in Bolivia, writer-director Werner Herzog’s Salt and Fire follows a mysterious hostage-taking where the leader of a small scientific delegation is deliberately stranded with two blind boys in an area of gigantic salt flats. Starring Michael Shannon, Gael García Bernal and Veronica Ferres.
Sing (Garth Jennings, USA/France) – World Premiere
A show-biz impresario who happens to be a koala attracts a menagerie of musical hopefuls when he holds a singing contest to try and save his theatre. Written and directed by Garth Jennings, this animated musical comedy features more than 85 hit songs. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, and Tori Kelly.
Souvenir (Bavo Defurne, Belgium/Luxembourg/France) – North American Premiere
Liliane was once “Laura”, a rising star in the singing world, who had her moment of glory when she finished second behind Abba in the 1974 European Song Contest. Now working in a meat factory, Liliane’s brush with fame has been all but forgotten. But when she meets Jean, a 21-year-old boxer, her dreary life is suddenly turned upside down. With Isabelle Huppert, Kévin Azaïs, and Johan Leysen.
Things to Come (Mia Hansen-Løve, France/Germany) – Canadian Premiere
A delicate and affecting tale about a middle-aged professor whose carefully structured life is thrown into disarray when her husband leaves her for another woman, and who finds an unlikely new companion in a former student and radical young communist. With Isabelle Huppert, André Marcon, Roman Kolinka, Edith Scob, Sarah Le Picard, and Solal Forte.
Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, Germany) – Canadian Premiere
An alternately hilarious and mortifying comedy about the fraught relationship between a repressed corporate consultant and her incessantly prank-playing dad. Starring Peter Simonischek, Sandra Hüller, Michael Wittenborn, Thomas Loibl, Trystan Pütter, Hadewych Minis, Lucy Russell, Ingrid Bisu, Vlad Ivanov, and Victoria Cocias.
Trespass Against Us (Adam Smith, United Kingdom) – World Premiere
Three generations of the Cutler family live as notorious outlaws among some of the wealthiest lands in Britain. They spend their time hunting, raiding large estates, and tormenting the police. In the midst of it all, Chad finds himself torn between respect for his father and a desire for a better life for his children. The law is cracking down on his clan, and the decision might not be his to make. Stars Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson, Lyndsey Marshal, Killian Scott, Rory Kinnear, and Sean Harris.
Una (Benedict Andrews, United Kingdom) – Canadian Premiere
When a young woman unexpectedly arrives at an older man’s workplace looking for answers, the secrets of the past threaten to unravel his new life. Their confrontation will uncover buried memories and unspeakable desires shaking them both to the core. Starring Rooney Mara, Ben Mendelsohn, and Riz Ahmed.
Unless (Alan Gilsenan, Canada/Ireland) – World Premiere
Reta Winters has many reasons to be happy, but all the quiet satisfactions of her well-lived life suddenly disappear when her eldest daughter Norah inexplicably drops out of college and is found on a Toronto street corner, panhandling and refusing to speak. An adaptation of the final novel by the late, great Canadian novelist Carol Shields. Starring Catherine Keener, Matt Craven, Hannah Gross, Martha Henry, and Hanna Schygulla.
The Wasted Times (Cheng Er, China) – World Premiere
Love, hatred, and betrayal abound in Shanghai during the chaotic, war-torn 1930s. Mr. Lu is ambushed during an important meeting with the Japanese army, but his sister’s husband, Watabe, sacrifices himself to save Mr. Lu. Worse still, the Japanese brutally murder Mr. Lu’s children and sister. To avenge their deaths, Mr. Lu’s mistress attempts to kill the culprit but ends up dead. Years later as the Sino- Japanese war comes to a close, Mr. Lu visits Mrs. Wang, the abandoned wife of his former boss who reveals an astonishing truth about the tragedy. Cast includes Zhang Ziyi, Ge You, and Tadanobu Asano.