Major Events Set for 53rd New York Film Festival, September 25 – October 11
By: Ellis Nassour
The 53rd New York Film Festival, September 25 – October 11, announced that Robert Zemeckis’ 3D docudrama The Walk (Tri-Star Pictures) will make its world premiere as the Opening Night selection. However, the actual showing at Alice Tully Hall will be on September 26, due to the visit of Pope Francis. Festival dates stay the same, with free NYFF programming to take place on September 25.
The Walk stars Golden Globe nominee Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit, the French high-wire artist who achieved the 1974 feat of walking between the Twin Towers.
Co-written by Zemeckis [and Christopher Browne], based on Petit’s memoir To Reach the Clouds, it co-stars Oscar winner Ben Kingsley and Ben Schwartz. Cinematography is by Dariusz Wolski. The score is by Oscar and GG nominee Alan Silvestri. Over 180 artists helped created the stunning visual effects.
The Walk marks the second 3D feature selected for the Opening Night Gala since Ang Lee’s 2012 Life of Pi. The film opens in theatres October 2.in 3D and IMAX.
NYFF director and selection committee chair Kent Jones says, "The Walk plays like a classic heist movie – the planning, rehearsing, execution, the last-minute problems – in the tradition of The Asphalt Jungle or Bob le flambeur. However, it’s not money that’s stolen, but access to the world’s tallest buildings. There’s an astonishing re-creation of ’70s Lower Manhattan. It’s something quite rare: rich, mysterious, and, throughout it all, you’re on the edge of your seat."
Zemeckis, also a producer, is extremely honored his film will open the 53rd NYFF. The Walk is a New York story, so I’m delighted to be presenting it to New York audiences first. My hope is that Festival audiences will be immersed in the spectacle, but also enraptured by the celebration of a passionate artist who helped give the wonderful towers a soul."
Sony Motion Picture Group chair Tom Rothman states, "The Walk is a love letter to the Twin Towers, which through the magic of cinema, come back to vibrant, inspiring life. It’s also a universal story of the determined pursuit of impossible dreams. The NYFF has always been a place where such dreams come true."
Oscar and Golden Globe winner Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs (Universal/Legendary Pictures), written by Oscar and GG winner Aaron Sorkin and starring Oscar and GG nominee Michael Fassbender, has been selected as the Festival Centerpiece attraction on Saturday, October 3. The film’s a Scott Rudin and Mark Gordon Company production with Entertainment 360/Decibel Films and Cloud Eight Films. For more information, visit www.stevejobsthefilm.com.
[This is the second Steve Jobs biopic. Ashton Kutchner starred in 2013’s Jobs.]
Working from Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography, Boyle and Sorkin weaved multiple threads of the Apple founder and genius at the epicenter of the digital revolution into three daringly extended backstage scenes, as Jobs prepares to launch the first Macintosh, the NeXT workstation, and the iMac.
The film co-stars Oscar and GG winner Kate Winslet and features Seth Rogen, GG nominee Jeff Daniels, and GG nominee Michael Stuhlbarg.
Jones notes, "You hear a Steve Jobs is being produced, and you see multiple possible movies in your head, but not this one. It’s dramatically concentrated, beautifully expansive, extremely sharp, and wildly entertaining. The actors just soar! You can feel their joy as they bite into their material."
Boyle notes, "Steve Jobs was a contradictory and complex character. He’s the kind of brilliant, flawed character Shakespeare would’ve relished."
Oscar winner Don Cheadle makes his directorial debut with Miles Ahead (Bifrost Pictures/Crescendo Productions), the Miles Davis biopic chosen for Closing Night. He also co-wrote the screenplay and stars as the legendary musician. Emayatzy Corinealdi, GG nominee Ewan McGregor and Michael Stuhlbarg co-star.
"I admire Don’s film," explains Jones, "because of all the intelligent decisions he’s made about how to deal with Miles, but I was moved – deeply moved – for other reasons. Don knows as an actor, a writer, a director, and a lover of Miles’ music that intelligent decisions and well-planned strategies only get you so far, that it’s your own commitment and attention to every moment and every detail that brings a movie to life."
But how do you make a movie about one of the greatest artists of the 20th century? Use Cheadle’s prescription: Get to know the man inside and out, then you reveal him in full in a passionate cinematic mosaic refracted through his crazy late-70s days. Davis, holed up in his apartment and in need of money, is wracked with pain from a variety of ailments and is haunted by memories of old glories and humiliations and of his great love Frances Taylor (Corinealdi).
The 17-day New York Film Festival showcases the best in world cinema, featuring top films from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. A highlight will be Luminous Intimacy: The Cinema of Nathaniel Dorsky and Jerome Hiler, the first-ever dual retrospective of the experimental filmmakers that’ll include the world premiere of Dorsky’s Intimations, NY premieres of Summer, December, February, and Avraham, in addition to a new work.
The selection committee, chaired by Jones, includes FSLC director of programming Dennis Lim, FSLC senior programming advisor Marian Masone, Film Comment magazine editor-in-chief Gavin Smith, and Film Comment and Sight & Sound contributing editor Amy Taubin.
Tickets for the screenings and special events of 53rd New York Film Festival go on sale in early September. Film Society member at the Film Buff Level or above get early ticket access along with a ticket discount! Visit www.filmlinc.com/membership to join by August 7 to qualify.
For more access, VIP passes and subscription packages give film buffs the earliest opportunity to purchase tickets and secure seats at the Festival’s biggest events — including Opening, Centerpiece, and Closing Nights – and provide access to other events including the invitation-only Opening Night party. These benefits are on sale now at www.filmlinc.com/NYFF.
FSLC receives generous, year-round support from American Airlines, The New York Times, Stella Artois, HBO, The Kobal Collection, Variety, Row NYC Hotel, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the NY State Council on the Arts. Support for the NYFF is provided by Jaeger-LeCoultre, FIJI Water, KIND Bars, Portage World Wide, WABC-7, and WNET NY Public Media.
For more information and to download the free FSLC app, visit www.filmlinc.com. Follow the NYFF @filmlinc on Twitter.
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