20 September, 2012

14 films we might see at the 2012 Savannah Film Festival

Last year, the Savannah Film Festival marked both my first visit to the event and the first festival I've covered while writing for Reel Georgia. Thank you for following me around the state for an entire year!

I had a phenomenal experience in Savannah last year, but having only attended once, I've had to do a bit of research to learn the tastes and evolution of the festival over the years. This year marks the 15th anniversary for Georgia's most glamorous festival, and I think they'll create quite the spectacle.

I'll admit it, 14 is a pretty high number for a festival wishlist. I don't think we will see all of these films make the cut, but I think all of them would fit in just fine as official selections. (And just for the record, it would be a dream if Terrence Malick's "To the Wonder" was featured, but I don't want to get my hopes up.)

Find out which films have pinged my radar after the jump!

14 - Not Fade Away

"The Sopranos" mastermind, David Chase, has directed his first feature, "Not Fade Away." The film is about a 1964 New Jersey teen rock band and stars James Gandolfini and Bella Heathcote. It premieres at the New York Film Festival next month and will screen shortly afterwards in Austin. 

13 - The Impossible

Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona has tackled the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami with "The Impossible," starring Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor and Tom Holland. So far, Toronto is the only North American festival to show the film, which doesn't open in theaters until December 21st.

12 - Still

James Cromwell is undeniably a familiar face throughout Savannah. His fellow Oscar nominee Geneviève Bujold also stars in Michael McGowan's film about an aging New Brunswick couple fighting off bureaucrats in order to build their final home. Maybe Mr. Cromwell will bring his film by for us!

11 - Tabu

Miguel Gomes' film "Tabu" has ricocheted around the would at a number of festivals. I honestly don't know much about the plot, but I know it is supposed to be beautiful and bizarre. I'm sold.

10 - Fill the Void

While I talk about Israel's cinema more than that of any other country, movies like "Fill the Void" make it nearly impossible not to. This film has jumped the gun and built international buzz before the Ophir Awards have even taken place. After being a hit at Venice, Rama Burshtein's movie would likely be a hit in Savannah, too.

9 - The Gatekeepers

"The Gatekeepers," another Israeli film, is a documentary about Shin Bet, Israel's top security and counterterrorism organization. The film is pretty highly buzzed and has Sony Classics behind it, so I suspect we will be hearing a lot about it in the coming months.

8 - The Sapphires

What looks to be one of the 2012's prominent feel-good films is "The Sapphires." A tale about four Australian Aboriginal girls who form a musical group and perform for US troops in Vietnam. The synopsis alone is enough for me to check it out, but Chris O'Dowd also stars as the band's manager, sealing the deal.

7 - Life of Pi

Ang Lee's much anticipated adaptation of "Life of Pi" will premiere in New York later this month. While it is premature to assume that this ambitious project is a slam dunk, the trailer at least ensures that we won't be disappointed by the visuals. 

6 - The Iceman

Savannah Film Festival has already honored two stars of "The Iceman," James Franco and Ray Liotta. Maybe they can invite them back, alongside Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder and Chris Evans. Savannah is also no stranger to crime dramas, meaning "The Iceman" would fit nicely into the lineup.

5 - Flight

Robert Zemeckis' "Flight" was filmed in Georgia and opens up nationally on November 2nd, the next-to-last night of the festival. Perhaps an earlier slot in Savannah's schedule would be a perfect fit for the film that very well could bring Denzel Washington a sixth Oscar nomination.

4 - No

"No" features Gael García Bernal as a Chilean ad executive who launches a campaign against dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1988. Sharply styled and hotly anticipated, "No" won't be seen in theaters until 2013.

3 - Amour

Michael Haneke directs French acting legends Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva and Isabelle Huppert in "Amour." Isn't that enough?

2 - Silver Linings Playbook

Walking away with the People's Choice Award at Toronto was just the first step in what is looking to be a fruitful season for David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook." Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver and Chris Tucker star in the film. Perhaps an opening night slot for Savannah?

1 - Rust & Bone

While others might not be anticipating "Rust & Bone" quite as much as I am, one look at the trailer was enough for me. Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts are two dynamic actors and are said to give mesmerizing performances. "Rust & Bone" is my most hoped for film for this year's festival.

Well there you have it. Many films crossed my mind but weren't included since I have a stronger interest in most of those that I did include ("Anna Karenina," "Hyde Park on Hudson," "Quartet" being left out). We shall see if my speculation pays off on October 1st, when the official lineup is announced and tickets go on sale.

Check out the festival's website at www.savannahfilmfestival.com and keep an eye out here for updates.

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