Chloé Zhao’s ‘Nomadland’ Selected as NYFF Centerpiece, Plus Venice and TIFF Screenings

The Searchlight release stars Frances McDormand in her first major leading role since winning the Oscar for "Three Billboards."
Frances McDormand in the film NOMADLAND. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved
Searchlight Pictures

Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” is shaping up to be the first festival darling of the fall season. The New York Film Festival has announced that Zhao’s followup to “The Rider” has been selected as the centerpiece screening of the 2020 festival. Last year’s NYFF centerpiece was Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” which went on to land multiple Oscar nominations. The announcement from NYFF confirms that “Nomadland” will also screen at the 77th Venice International Film Festival and the 45th Toronto International Film Festival. While Telluride is canceled, a special “Telluride from Los Angeles” drive-in screening is also planned for “Nomadland.”

Based on Jessica Bruder’s 2017 nonfiction book “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century,” Zhao’s latest stars two-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand as a woman who packs her van and sets off on the road to explore a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad following the economic collapse of her company town in rural Nevada. The role is McDormand’s first major leading turn since winning the Best Actress Oscar for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

“We knew that Chloé Zhao’s masterful film, ‘Nomadland,’ deserved a central spot at the New York Film Festival as soon as we saw it,” said New York Film Festival director Eugene Hernandez in an official statement. “We’re elated to share Chloé and Fran’s remarkable achievement with New York audiences this fall.”

Added NYFF director of programming Dennis Lim, “We are honored to have Chloé back at the festival with her most ambitious and moving work to date. Anchored by Frances McDormand’s indelible performance, ‘Nomadland’ is a road movie for our precarious times, and it establishes Chloé as one of the most clear-eyed and humane observers of life on the American margins.”

“I’m very excited and proud that ‘Nomadland’ will screen at NYFF,” Zhao said. “I learned how to make films in New York City, at NYU. This wonderful, brave, and inspiring city means a lot to me. I’m so thankful for NYFF to invite me back to connect with its audiences.”

“Nomadland” is Zhao’s third directorial feature release following “Songs My Brother Taught Me” and “The Rider,” the latter of which won the Gotham Award for Best Feature and landed multiple nominations at the Indie Spirit Awards. Zhao is making her blockbuster debut with Marvel’s “The Eternals.” Searchlight is the distributor behind “Nomadland” and also handled McDormand’s “Three Billboards.” A release date for “Nomadland” has yet to be announced.

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