05-15 November 2020

Festivals & Events


October 15, 2019

HIFF39: PREMIERES section highlights the hottest films this awards season

The PREMIERES section presents the hottest films that are generating major buzz this awards season. With world premieres in Venice and Toronto, these major films, from distributors ranging from Fox Searchlight, A24, Lionsgate, Amazon Studios and Netflix, have a great shot to be on Oscar ballots in a few months.

Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro in THE IRISHMAN (Courtesy of Netflix)

From the latest from auteurs Martin Scorsese (THE IRISHMAN), Noah Baumbach (MARRIAGE STORY) and Terence Malick (return to top form with A HIDDEN LIFE), to dynamic feature debuts from the likes of Mati Diop (the first black female director to win in Cannes), to high flying and epic adventure from Tom Harper (THE AERONAUTS). Plus, we have not one but two new feature films starring Oscar nominee Adam Driver! this year’s HIFF39 PREMIERES selections should be truly experienced on the big screen!

In 1862, daredevil balloon pilot Amelia Wren teams up with pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher to advance human knowledge of the weather and fly higher than anyone in history, facing incredible challenges on the way. An Amazon Studios Release.

ATLANTICS France, Belgium, Senegal)
ATLANTICS is a haunting tale of love set in the suburbs of Dakar. When a fire ruins Ada’s wedding and a mysterious fever spreads, little does Ada know that her former beau has returned.

BELLBIRD (New Zealand)
Set on a humble Northland dairy farm in New Zealand, BELLBIRD revolves around a rural community as they help one of theirs deal with grief after the loss of a loved one.

DAFFODILS (New Zealand)
As indie musician Maisie keeps her dying father company for one last time, she learns about her parents’ bittersweet love story, expressed through contemporary re-imaginings of iconic hit songs by New Zealand artists. New Zealand’s answer to LA LA LAND!

When Franz Jägerstätter refuses to fight for the Nazis in World War II, he is threatened with execution for treason. His unwavering faith and his love for his family keeps his spirit alive. A HIDDEN LIFE is a return to form for director Terence Malick.

Kept apart by a terrible lie, years pass as two sisters forge their respective paths through their city's teeming bustle, each believing the other to be half a world away. An Amazon Studios Release.

When renowned novelist Harlan Thrombey is found dead in his estate, Detective Benoit Blanc is enlisted to investigate, sifting through a web of red herrings and lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan’s untimely death. The latest whodunit from director Rian Johnson (THE LAST JEDI). 

Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran looks back on his life and the hits that defined his mob career, in particular, the part he claims to have played in the disappearance of his life-long friend, Jimmy Hoffa.

A stage director (Adam Driver) and his actor wife (Scarlett Johansson) struggle through a grueling divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes in one of the most critically-acclaimed films of the year.

PALM BEACH (Australia)
A retired rock band reunites in the affluent northern beaches of Sydney, but as the group reconnects, cracks begin to form between the once-close friends as secrets from decades earlier start to resurface.

Idealistic Senate staffer Daniel J. Jones is tasked with leading an investigation into the CIA's post 9/11 Detention and Interrogation Program and uncovers shocking secrets in this gripping, dark political drama.

With a bravura performance from Kristin Stewart as the titular French New Wave icon Jean Seberg, this film focuses on her affiliation with the Black Panthers in the 1960s. An Amazon Studios Release.

THE TWO POPES (UK, Italy, USA, Argentina)
Cardinal Bergoglio requests permission to retire from the church, but he discovers a secret from embattled Pope Benedict. Confronting the apparent divide between them, these two men must find common ground for the sake of the church’s future.

Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, and featuring an astonishing ensemble of award-winning actors and breakouts alike, WAVES traces the epic emotional journey of a suburban African American family—led by a well-intentioned but domineering father—as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the aftermath of a loss.

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