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Fall Festival Wishlist: The Films We Hope To See in Venice, Toronto and/or Telluride

By Indiewire | Indiewire June 21, 2012 at 1:11PM

Even as Cannes announced its lineup, speculation and predictions loomed about what was in store for the triad of major festivals of the very early fall (or, technically, the very late summer).
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"The Broken Circle Breakdown," directed by Felix von Groeningen, written by von Groeningen and Carl Joos
Flemish film director von Groeningen's latest film is about a couple whose child falls ill, was recently picked up by The Match Factory, becoming the first ever Flemish film to be represented by them. Von Groeningen's 2009 film "The Misfortunates" won Best Film at the 2010 International Istanbul Film Festival, picking up a Golden Tulip award.

Keith David and Halle Berry shooting "Cloud Atlas"
Courtesy of Pacific Cost News Keith David and Halle Berry shooting "Cloud Atlas"

"Cloud Atlas," written and directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer (from the novel by David Mitchell)
Mystery surrounds the German-produced adaptation of David Mitchell's postmodern instant classic novel "Cloud Atlas."  In the novel, six stories across various times (from the distant past to the distant future) are told in cascading contexts; that is, one narrator tells the tale of the next.  While the Wachowski's (who, of course, brought us "The Matrix") were not universally praised for their last go at directing, "Speed Racer," the film still has its ardent fans.  And no one's stopped listening to the directorial duo.  But let us not forget that the Wachowski's are not going this alone.  They are joined by German director Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run"), who has been busy lately, with films like "Three" and "The International."  With the Wachowski's and Tykwer's history in smashing genres and a killer cast (Susan Sarandon, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Keith David, Hugo Weaving, and Xun Zhou), "Cloud Atlas" has us on the edge with anticipation.  It was recently announced the film would have an October 26 release date, so a flashy debut at one of the fall fests seems perfect.

The Company You Keep,” directed by Robert Redford, written by Lem Dobbs (from the novel by Neil Gordon)
Gordon’s 2003 novel concerns a former Weather Underground radical who is flushed out 30 years after his activist youth by a young journalist that discovers his identity. The film version stars Redford and Shia LaBeouf in the leads, but the thriller’s supporting cast overflows with brilliant character actors: Sam Elliott, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Cooper, Nick Nolte, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon and Richard Jenkins. (Brit Marling and Anna Kendrick rep the younger contingent.) The material keeps Redford in the politically rich terrain that has most interested him recently (“The Conspirator,” “Lions for Lambs”) but has not led to box office or awards success. This ninth directing effort, however, has the benefit of strong source material and the kind of high-caliber cast that could draw serious attention.

Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij at a screening of "Sound of My Voice" presented by Gucci.
Dave Allocca/Starpix Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij at a screening of "Sound of My Voice" presented by Gucci.

"The East," directed by Zal Batmanglij, written by Batmanglij and Brit Marling
Ever since breaking out of the gate with his stellar directorial debut "Sound of My Voice," all eyes have been on Zal Batmanglij's anticipated (and much bigger) follow-up "The East," which finds him re-teamed with "Sound of Voice" co-writer/star, Brit Marling, and distributor Fox Searchlight. When we caught up with him in late April, Batmanglij told Indiewire that he was in the midst of editing the film, so chances are it will be ready for the fall festival circuit. The film sounds a lot like "Sound of My Voice: Marling stars as a contract worker tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group, only to find herself falling for its leader. Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page, Julia Ormond and Patricia Clarkson all star. 

"The English Teacher," directed by Craig Zisk, written by Dan Chariton and Stacy Chariton
TV director Craig Zisk makes his feature debut with "The English Teacher," an indie comedy. Michael Angarano, the "Snow Angels" actor who hasn't quite found his breakout role yet, will star as a failed playwright who returns to his hometown and falls in love with his English teacher, played by Julianne Moore. It seems pretty straightforward, but it's never smart to write off anything with Julianne Moore.

"Foxfire," written directed by Lauren Cantet (from the novel by Joyce Carol Oates)
French director Cantent won the Palme D'Or in 2008 for "Entre les murs," a semi-autobiographical film based on the experiences of Francois Begaudeau, author of the novel the film was based off. This year, Cantet brings to life another author's work--Joyce Carol Oates' "Foxfire," a story of five girls growing up in a troubled atmosphere who form their own gang. Shot in Ontario, Canada and previously adapted by Annette Haywood-Carter in 1996 featuring a young Angelina Jolie, Cantet casts newcomers in his latest endeavor. Producers say they are prepping the film for a release at the Toronto Film Festival this September.

"Gambit," directed by Michael Hoffman, written by Joel & Ethan Coen
Hoffman's film is a remake of the 1966 comedy "Gambit" starring Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. The Joel and Ethan Coen-scripted update stars Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz as a London art dealer and a Texas steer roper who plot to con a wealthy collector into buying a phony Monet painting. The film had been in development for several years with stars including Jennifer Aniston and Hugh Grant rumored to be involved before it finally got off the ground in 2011. The film is slated for this October. [Devin Lee Fuller]