"The Railway Man" (directed by Jonathan Teplitzky)
In “The Railway Man,” Australian filmmaker Jonathan Teplitzky’s latest, Colin Firth plays real-life army officer Eric Lomax. Based on Lomax’s memoir, the film tells the tale of the Scottish lieutenant’s suffering at the hands of Japanese soldiers during World War II when he is shipped off to a camp in Thailand. It isn’t until years later that the PTSD-inflicted Lomax, at the behest of his wife (played by fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman), seeks closure from his former captor. While there is no release date yet, “The Railway Man” should be a shoo-in for TIFF if its ready, where Teplitzky’s film “Burning Man” premiered in 2011. [Julia Selinger]

"The Rover" (directed by David Michod)
Toronto seems a safe bet for director David Michod's follow-up to 2010's "Animal Kingdom," a crime drama taking place in the Australian desert in the near future that sees Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson teaming up to track down the gang of thieves that stole Pearce's car. The setting automatically gives off "Mad Max" vibes, which could make it unlikely to show up at Venice, unless they're interested in adding some counter-programming to their normally straight-laced lineup. [Clint Holloway]

"Rush" (directed by Ron Howard)
In a follow-up to "Frost/Nixon," Ron Howard and Peter Morgan reteam for a biopic of the Formula 1 champion racer Niki Lauda centered around his 1976 near-death crash. Daniel Bruhl stars as Lauda alongside Chris Hemsworth as his rival James Hunt. When Lauda recovers, Hunt must prepare himself for his opponent's resurgence while sporting a guilty conscience after the crash. "Rush" will be released September 20, making a Toronto kick-off a few weeks earlier a safe bet. [Madeline Raynor]

(directed by Shane Salerno)
This film has been shrouded in buzz and speculation, just like the famously reclusive author it attempts to capture. The talking head documentary will look at J.D. Salinger's life after he went into seclusion following the publication of "The Catcher in the Rye," the seminal novel that young people everywhere have looked to for a (sometimes grim) philosophy on life. Salinger retreated from the world to a New Hampshire cabin, from which he wrote a tantalizing amount of fiction that he withheld from publication. Salinger passed away in 2010, raising controversy about whether the public would have access to his hidden body of work. The film is said to be filled with secrets and revelations about the author's deeply private life, including the reveal of "the biggest secret of his lifetime." The countdown to the revelation is on, with the film premiering September 6. [Madeline Raynor]

(directed by Susanne Bier)
Susanne Bier’s Depression-era drama has one major hook: its two leads. The film is the second on our list and the second expected in 2013 (“American Hustle” is the other) to co-star Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, an extremely attractive couple following the success of “Silver Linings Playbook.” Yet we shouldn’t forget Bier directed “In a Better World,” which won the Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2010, “Thing We Lost in the Fire,” and the original “Brothers” (2004). She’s an intriguing filmmaker who will undoubtedly leave just as much of a mark on “Serena” as her two young leads. [Ben Travers]

"Snowpiercer" (directed by Bong Joon-ho)
For his English language debut, Korean director Bong Joon-ho ("The Host") has assembled a killer cast for his futuristic thriller. Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Tilda Swinton, Ewan Bremner, John Hurt, Ed Harris, Song Kang-ho and Go Ah-sung co-star as passengers on a class-divided train who make up the only survivors on Earth in AD 2031. The film is adapted from the French graphic novel "Le Transperceneige." No U.S. release date is set yet. [Madeline Raynor]

(directed by Guy Maddin)
Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin's best work owes a major debt to silent cinema, so it was only a matter of time before he acknowledged its history. While Maddin has made his own silent films in the past, "Spiritismes" promises something different: a series of recreations of silent films that have been lost due to the lack of proper restoration efforts over the years. Maddin has talked about "Spiritismes" as a séance that rejuvenates dead movies, an entrancing concept in tune with his poetic approach to cinematic experiences. It's also, in its own unique way, a form of creative advocacy that highlights the need to keep track of film history. [Eric Kohn]

"Tom at the Farm" (directed by Xavier Dolan)
Xavier Dolan returns both in front of and behind the camera with his fourth feature film, and his first adaptation.  A take on Michel Marc Bouchard's play "Tom à la Ferme," the story follows Tom (Dolan), a man coping with the death of his boyfriend. When he heads to meet the deceased's family at their rural farm, it becomes clear his mother was not aware of her son's relationship with Tom (or his sexual orientation), and things spiral out of control. Dolan fans are surely already counting the minutes, and for once it won't be the minutes to Cannes. Dolan is taking the fall festival route this time around, and while his native Canadian festival stop Toronto seems like a given, a Venice premiere first should not be ruled out.  [Peter Knegt]

"Twelve Years a Slave" (directed by Steve McQueen)
British director Steve McQueen first gained serious critical acclaim in 2007 for his tense prison drama "Hunger," which he followed up with the 2011 drama "Shame," an unnerving portrait of sex addiction. Here, he adapts Solomon Northup's remarkable account of being kidnapped and sold into slavery for a dozen years in the middle of the 19th century. The material is inherently suspenseful and harrowing, since Northup provides a detailed account of slavery's brutal nature in the Deep South. But it's Fassbender's penchant for creating disquieting atmosphere that's well positioned to make this spectacular survival tale come to life and possibly provide one of the more accurate recreations of slavery life in America. (Take that, "Django Unchained.") It also could provide a bigger showcase for Ejiofor, a great underrated character actor. [Eric Kohn]