The fall movie season, specifically August and September, is notorious for leaving audiences disgruntled and dissatisfied with boring, cheaply made studio dump movies. While fall usually bears bad films, fans can always look forward to the exciting, fresh movies from fall film festivals. Some of the best films of the year premiere at fests like the Toronto International Film Festival or the Venice Film Festival. The best films from these festivals usually receive incredible praise and buzz for months, keeping movie fans on their toes until their eventual release, and the hype from these festivals usually gives us a good insight into what’s what at the subsequent awards season.
As TIFF and Venice perpetuate Oscar buzz for the year’s best, another festival seeks to promote the most independent of films. Film Independent is a non-profit organization that seeks to build audiences for independent, innovative filmmakers, championing diversity among their community of filmmakers. Film Independent operates the Los Angeles Film Festival which seeks to promote some of the best, independent films in the industry. While you may not find the next Moonlight or Birdman at LAFF, you’re sure to find some of the best up-and-coming filmmakers in the industry.
At LAFF, we can expect to see some ambitious indie films, thought-provoking documentary films, and diverse foreign films. Check out our list of the most anticipated films coming from LAFF which runs this year from 9/20 to 9/28.
The homeless crisis in Los Angeles is huge, growing, and with no clear solution, and the problem leads to much neglect and indifference towards the homeless community. Directed by Rémi Kessler, The Advocates seeks to highlight the hard work of those who tirelessly lend a helping hand to Los Angeles’ homeless.
Jim Gaffigan has established himself as a hilarious stand-up comic with witty, self-deprecating, deadpan humor. With American Dreamer, he’ll be one of the latest to turn from comedy to drama in this thriller about a desperate cabbie who turns to kidnapping as his last resort. We’ve seen comedy actors like Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig make successful turns to drama, so here’s hoping Gaffigan can follow suit.
Cinematographer Benjamin Kasulke makes his directorial debut with Banana Split, a comedy-drama about an unlikely friendship between two young women. As April (Hannah Marks) makes the transition to college from high school, she befriends Clara (Liana Liberato), the current girlfriend of April’s ex-boyfriend Nick (Dylan Sprouse). Directorial debuts are always exciting, and coming-of-age dramedies seem to be a good place to start.
Behind the Curve
Any big conspiracy theorists out there? Did President Bush do 9/11? Are major world leaders lizard people? Does the Illuminati exist? Is the Earth flat? I, for one, am fascinated by the flat Earth theory because their theorists require incredible amounts of passion and faith, both of which I wish I had more of. Behind the Curve is a documentary that explores the most prominent voices of the flat Earth theory, and I couldn’t be more excited to gain more insight and wisdom.
The Body from Into the Dark
Jason Blum’s newest horror series Into the Dark is a 12-part anthology series that releases new episodes monthly starting in October, with each installment drawing inspiration from that particular month’s token holiday. The first episode, “The Body,” shows at LAFF and follows a hitman who is slowed from his job on Halloween night by onlookers enamored by his “Halloween costume.” Blum’s long-term commitment to nailing horror always keeps us excited for any new project, especially for a project as ambitious as this.
The Clovehitch Killer
Rising star Charlie Plummer leads this film as an average teenager who accidentally stumbles upon evidence that his all-American dad is a menacing serial killer. Early reports from this film boast exciting narrative devices, campy yet creepy acting, and all-around sinister edge. All these reports are certainly exciting and with talent like Plummer, we can be sure to expect an intense, engaging film.
Directed by French actress Mélanie Laurent, Galveston stars Ben Foster, Beau Bridges, and Elle Fanning in an elegiac story about running from lives of violence. With a stacked cast helmed by a talented filmmaker, we can surely expect Galveston to provide an acting spectacle as Laurent looks to emulate the noir-grit from Nic Pizzolatto’s source material.
Gael García Bernal and Leonardo Ortizgris star in Museo as two underachievers who decide to rob Mexico’s National Anthropology Museum on Christmas day. They make up for their lack of experience in burglary with passion and charm, so here’s hoping Museo delivers an equally charming and fun heist film.
Who doesn’t love going home for Thanksgiving just to enter heated debates with family about politics? I know I do. All joking aside, Ike Barinholtz writes, directs, and stars in this film about avoiding politics at Thanksgiving dinner, although their life circumstances make it hard to avoid. Comedy and political rage seem like a fun combination and Barinholtz’s comedic background make this one to be excited for.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Stacie Passon directs Alexandra Daddario and Taissa Farmiga in this mystery thriller about two sisters living in isolation after a family tragedy. Suddenly, an enigmatic cousin appears and threatens their solitude. The premise for We Have Always Lived in the Castle looks equally engaging, strange, and mysterious, and we couldn’t be more excited for these talented, young actresses to shine.