Circuit Q&A: Which Fall Film Festival Has the Best Lineup?

Fall and the official launch of awards season is upon us. The best, busiest time of the year for Hollywood, the next four months will see the premieres and reemergence of many high-profile awards contenders. Whether showcasing big debuts from accomplished auteurs that get all the publicity and headlines or shining a spotlight on emerging talent, there are many fall film festivals to watch out for. With a slew of options, from the big names like TIFF, Venice and Telluride to some of the smaller festivals like San Sebastián and Savannah, which festival offers the best lineup of the season?

The season really kicks off with the 49th Telluride Film Festival (August 30th – September 2nd) and the 76th Venice International Film Festival (August 28th – September 7th). Although Telluride boasts a more intimate, carefully curated slate of films and in years past has premiered several Oscar nominees and winners, they don’t release what’s playing until right before the festival. But if history is any indication, they’re sure to have a great lineup.

Outside of Cannes, Venice is probably one of the more prestigious of the film festivals (and also the oldest at 86 years running). Venice is known as a cultural powerhouse in the industry and this year will be no different. The festival opens this year with the French film “The Truth” starring the legendary Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche. Some of the other films announced include Noah Baumbach’s (“Frances Ha” and “The Squid and the Whale”) “Marriage Story,” the Joaquin Phoenix vehicle “Joker,” and Netflix’s “The King” starring Timotheé Chalamet. 

Next up is the hip Toronto International Film Festival (September 5th – 15th). Touted by some as the hottest ticket in town (and one of the longer festivals), many young directors flock to this city. It doesn’t hurt that many of the more recent Best Picture winners premiere here. Scheduled this year are some of the most talked about films of the year (a few of which premiered at Cannes earlier), including Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory,” South Korea’s lock Oscar contender “Parasite,” much-buzzed-about French film “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” Michael B. Jordan‘s “Just Mercy” and the long-awaited “The Goldfinch.” TIFF offers quite the lineup of much anticipated foreign and American films.

The San Sebastián International Film Festival (September 20th – 25th) has quite the history of big-time international openings including “Star Wars” and “Vertigo” amongst others, and this year is sure to be no different. Some of the more talked about films that are showing this year include the American remake of 2014’s Danish “Blackbird,” Gael García Bernal’s “Chicuarotes,” French film “Les Misérables” and the reemergence of the Aretha Franklin documentary “Amazing Grace.”

There is also the 57th New York Film Festival (September 27th – October 13th) at Lincoln Center. This year’s main slate includes films from 17 different countries including “Parasite,” “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” “Pain & Glory,” “Varda by Agnés” and “Beanpole.” This year’s festival opens up with the highly-anticipated Martin Scorsese film “The Irishman” and ends with Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn.”

This season seems to be jam-packed with critical darlings and awards season contenders. Whether the selections are big premieres or gems that fly under the radar, there is a lot to look forward to this year.

Which film festival line up are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below! 

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