It’s that time of year again, where the city of Toronto is buzzing with excitement because of the Toronto International Film Festival! TIFF has programmed such a wonderful set up this year and as usual, there are too many films to choose from!
I was fortunate enough to purchase a package of 30 tickets, which I divided with my closest friends and we picked some good ones! I always advise newcomers to watch films that they normally wouldn’t go see in theatres or they wouldn’t get the chance to see on the big screen, due to distribution and access to limited releases! TIFF has been getting bigger and there are plenty of mainstream films that highlight the festival! However, I like watching the underdogs, the smaller, independent films, that might surprise audiences and end up winning Oscar gold!
So, here are my #TIFF19 picks and these are films that I highly recommend based on the simple fact that each of them are very different.
- And We Go Green
The reason I chose to watch And We Go Green is because I’m interested to see how major corporations are trying to save the environment by becoming environmentally friendly. I’m excited to see how a man who has been apart of the racing industry his whole life, came up with Formula E and how the rest of the racing community adapts to that change. It’s also co-directed by Fisher Stevens and Malcolm Venville! I watched another Fisher Stevens documentary Before the Flood a couple of years ago at TIFF and it was well done and very informative. It is also produced by Appian Way Productions, which is Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company, he also makes an appearance in the documentary, so here’s to hoping that Leo shows up as well! The best part about purchasing a ticket for the premiere of a documentary, is that the filmmakers will most definitely be there and discuss the making of their film.
The reason I chose Seberg is because in film school I studied French New Wave Cinema and Jean Seberg was in a film called Breathless, this was her defining role, which encapsulated the whole genre. Jean Seberg was a fantastic actress, but it was her life off screen that held the most intriguing and powerful story. I am beyond excited to see Kristen Stewart give a brilliant performance as Jean Seberg and it’s about time that Stewart gets some sort of recognition for how talented she is!
3. Endings, Beginnings
My friends have raved about Drake Doremus and his ability to really expose emotions from his main characters. He creates these human stories that are so raw on screen, that he will make you feel many things at once. I’m very excited to see this one because of the aspect of a love triangle between Jamie Dornan, Shailene Woodley and Sebastian Stan. Three great actors tackling a film with Drake Doremus is definitely going to be something wonderful to see!
4. The Two Popes
As a Catholic, I always enjoy watching films that involve the Church because filmmakers can always have a different perspective about the private lives of priests, cardinals or in this case popes. The Two Popes is labelled a dark comedy and Fernando Meirelles is a gifted filmmaker who will be able to create a balance between the true story and the humour that comes with it. Also to have legends, such as Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce play Pope Benedict and Pope Francis is beyond perfect casting! Netflix definitely has a great one being added to their library!
5. Honey Boy
My most anticipated film of the festival this year is Honey Boy. The reason is because I’ve been a massive fan of Shia LaBeouf’s for years and have always supported him throughout his career. LaBeouf has had a very hard life and has always been misunderstood. This film is a huge piece of LaBeouf and I’m very proud in the way he wanted to present his story. Alma Har’el is a beautiful director and it looks like she has approached this project with a gentle heart but at the same time allowing the brutal honesty of the situation to shine through. I’m looking forward to seeing Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges embody two very different versions of Otis (Shia LaBeouf) and I’m even more excited to see what Labeouf does as he portrays his own father.
6. Lucy in the Sky
The main reason I chose this film was because I love space! More importantly I love films about space that do something different with the narrative. Lucy in the Sky looks absolutely twisted and I know for a fact Natalie Portman will give another jaw dropping performance! I’m also very happy that I’m supporting Noah Hawley in his feature film directorial debut! New filmmakers coming up with original content and making a trailer that looks this interesting is something I would definitely love!
7. Uncut Gems
The dynamic duo of the Safdie Brothers have returned with Uncut Gems. Considering I had a real GOOD TIME watching Good Time because of how different their style was is the main reason I’m watching this one. They’re minds are unlike anything I’ve seen and to be able to create such obscure films is something I will most definitely support. Also having Adam Sandler in a serious role is always a great thing because his dramatic pieces are very underrated!
Trey Edward Shults is debuting his junior film at TIFF and it has already been getting rave reviews at other festivals! I’m mostly excited to see the family dynamics after dealing with a loss. It seems to be a very humanistic journey and Shults has taken another direction for his filmography with this one! Kelvin Harrison Jr has been labelled as the Breakout Star this year and I’m happy I’m ending the festival with this piece right here!
I’ve heard so many different things from Telluride and Venice that I’m really looking forward to the Oscar race this year. My EARLY predictions are as follows:
- Meryl Streep will get nominated for Lead Actress for The Laundromat AND Supporting Actress for Little Women
- Renee Zellweger will return in the Best Actress category for Judy
- Tom Hanks will most definitely return to the Best Actor category for A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood
- Cynthia Ervio could also have a nomination in the bag for Harriet.
- I would love to see Antonio Banderas get some kind of recognition for either The Laundromat or Pain and Glory
- A stretch would be Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson getting nominated for The Lighthouse, depending on the traction it gets
- I would LOVE to see Parasite get some recognition as well!
- Kristen Stewart deserves to get nominated for Seberg because she’s overdue for a nomination
- Shia LaBeouf should DEFINITELY get some recognition for his cathartic screenplay for Honey Boy
- Joaquin Phoenix is winning the Best Actor Oscar this year, there is literally no competition, it is his for the Joker
Those are my early predictions for what could generate some buzz at the festival this year!
For the next 2 weeks I will be documenting my #TIFF19 experience on my Twitter (@amxndasantino) and my Instagram (amxndasantinox)! Happy #TIFF19 everyone and let the Oscar season begin!