The Soft Buzz of Fall Films

With the fall season looming, it carries in a wave of autumnal films loaded with gravitas and a whiff of prestige. Films usually earmarked for a touch of Oscar gold are held for release these last months of the year.

The organizers of the Telluride Film Festival aren’t interested so much in celebrity influence. This unassuming film festival, held annually during the Labor Day Weekend in a vintage mining town in Colorado, prefer to roll-out the slate with minimal notice. No room for celebrities or publicists. The press corps find themselves queuing up with the ticketed patrons.

The selection of films that premiere at Telluride generate “soft buzz”, a nonchalant precursor of sorts, to wider releases later in the fall. Those fortunate group of audiences are privy to first views of films that would play later at celebrity-driven festivals, like the Toronto Film Festival and the New York Film Festival. These types of festivals utilize the Hollywood promo cycle to kick-start the fall buzz in a major fashion with star sightings, paparazzi, corporate branding and VIP swag.

Moonlight and La La Land casually played in Telluride’s 2016 schedule. Other previous films that went to wide acclaim include Spotlight (2015), Birdman (2014),  Gravity (2013), and The King’s Speech (2010).

The line-up that populated this year’s edition is no different with skimping on intriguing narratives and bold subjects. Following is a brief outlook to what you may be seeing at the cinema in the anticipated months. Here’s to creating some early buzz.

Battle of the Sexes
Emma Stone, left, and Steve Carrell, right, in Battle of the Sexes.

Battle of the Sexes – Emma Stone and Steve Carrell carry this biopic about Billie Jean King’s 1973 match with arch nemesis Bobby Riggs.

The Darkest Hour – Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill focusing on his first days as Prime Minister during WWII in this historical feature directed by Joe Wright.

Lady Bird – Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut stars Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf as daughter and mother, respectively, in a tale that seems to stem from Gerwig’s adolescent life with relationship humor set at a Catholic school in Sacramento.

The Shape of Water – An eccentric fairy tale directed by Guillermo del Toro concerning a mute cleaning lady played by Sally Hawkins who romances a fantastical monster during her rounds.

Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water.

Downsizing – An absurdist tale by writer/director Alexander Payne that features an occupational therapist in the form of Matt Damon who wishes to shrink himself to a size of 5 inches.

Wonderstruck – Director Todd Haynes’ latest tells the story of a young boy in the Midwest with a parallel tale about a young girl in New York from fifty years ago as they both seek the same mysterious connection, with Julianne Moore starring.

Top image: Gary Oldman in The Darkest Hour.

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