From Wes Anderson’s ‘French Dispatch’ To A Kate Winslet-Saoirse Ronan Romance: 31 Movies That Could Light Up Film Festivals In 2020

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To have both a Tarantino and a Scorsese in 2019 was a treat. Never fear, there’s plenty to look forward to in the year to come. Here we run down some of the undeclared movies (most of which are in post-production) that could have festivals drooling in 2020.

NB: Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley doesn’t shoot until early spring so we’re not expecting that to be released in 2020. And while we’d love to see Tenet at a festival, the film’s July release date indicates otherwise. A Christopher Nolan movie hasn’t opened at a festival in many years, anyway.

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David Fincher’s anticipated drama-biopic follows legendary screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz’s tumultuous development of Orson Welles’ iconic 1941 movie Citizen Kane. The Netflix pic stars Gary Oldman in the title role with Lily Collins, Amanda Seyfried and Charles Dance, and Tom Burke as Welles.

The Trial Of The Chicago 7

Aaron Sorkin’s anticipated second directorial effort charts the infamous story of seven people on trial for various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The starry ensemble includes Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Michael Keaton, Mark Rylance and Jeremy Strong. Paramount has set a late September 2020 launch.

The Eyes Of Tammy Faye

Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield star in the biopic of televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, who seek redemption after their religious empire and marriage crumbles. Michael Showalter (The Big Sick) directs the Fox Searchlight charge.

Good Morning, Midnight

George Clooney directs and stars in this Netflix pic about a scientist, alone in the Arctic, who tries to make contact with a spacecraft returning to Earth. Also along for the ride are Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler and Demian Bichir. Production began in late fall and we hear there’s a decent chance it could be ready for 2020. Gravity and First Man both lifted off at Venice.

On The Rocks

Sofia Coppola returns with the story of a young mother who reconnects with her larger-than-life playboy father on an adventure through New York. Bill Murray and Rashida Jones star in the A24 charge, which will likely have festivals drooling.


Spotlight director Tom McCarthy returns to similarly prestige-looking terrain with this Participant movie about a father who travels from Oklahoma to France to help his daughter who has been arrested for murder. Script comes from McCarthy and Jacques Audiard collaborators Thomas Bidegain and Noé Debré. Matt Damon stars. Focus and UPI will roll out beginning in early November, following a similar pattern as eventual Best Picture Oscar winner Spotlight, which debuted at Venice.

The French Dispatch

Wes Anderson’s anticipated latest brings to life a collection of stories published in The French Dispatch, an American magazine published in a fictional 20th-century French city. The all-star cast includes Timothée Chalamet, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Saoirse Ronan, Benicio Del Toro, Frances McDormand, Kate Winslet and Bill Murray. Fox Searchlight has taken Anderson’s two previous films to Berlin, and this would be a coup for the festival’s new directors.


Holy Motors director Leos Carax’s first English-language film is a musical set against the backdrop of Los Angeles. Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver play star-crossed lovers, and the project is inspired by U.S. rock band Sparks who also provide music. The French production is backed by Amazon and it screams Cannes.


In-demand director Chloe Zhao (The Rider) made this movie back to back with big-budget Marvel pic The Eternals. Frances McDormand stars in the Fox Searchlight drama about a woman in her 60s who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.

Chasing Chaplin

A look at the life and work of Charlie Chaplin in his own words featuring an in-depth interview he gave to Life magazine in 1966. The documentary comes from the team behind festival favorite Notes on Blindness and Oscar-winner John Battsek (One Day In September).


In Paul Verhoeven’s drama a 17th century nun in Italy suffers from disturbing religious and erotic visions. She is assisted by a companion, and the relationship between the two women develops into a romantic love affair. Tipped for Cannes 2019, the release was pushed back due to a reported health issue for Verhoeven.

On A Half Clear Morning

Lea Seydoux stars in this French drama about a celebrity journalist who has her life overturned by a freak car accident. Director Bruno Dumont is a Cannes regular. Rachid Bouchareb is among producers.


Festen director Thomas Vinterberg reunites with his The Hunt collaborator Mads Mikkelsen on this deliciously themed Danish-language drama about a group of teachers who road test a concept they’ve read about that alcohol helps increase creativity and reduce anxiety. Regular scriptwriter Tobias Lindholm is also aboard the Zentropa production, which will likely get good festival play.

Bergman Island

Post-production began in late 2018 on this drama from festival regular Mia Hansen-Love, so a 2020 launch seems likely. Mia Wasikowska, Tim Roth, Vicky Krieps and Anders Danielsen Lie are among the cast in the story of a filmmaking couple who retreat to the titular island to write screenplays.

Il Buco

It has been a decade since meticulous Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Frammartino’s observational drama Le Quattro Volte took the festival circuit by storm. His third feature, which began in fall 2019, charts the 1961 true story of a group of Italian speleologists who discovered the world’s second deepest cave.

Da 5 Bloods

In Spike Lee’s latest, a group of veterans from the Vietnam War return to the jungle. It’s a Netflix pic, so unless something changes at the festival, there won’t be a repeat of Lee’s buzzy Croisette debut of BlacKkKlansman. Chadwick Boseman, Paul Walter Hauser, Clarke Peters and Jean Reno are among the cast.

Souvenir Part II

This is the second part of Joanna Hogg’s lauded Sundance and Berlin drama about a young film student (Honor Swinton Byrne in a breakout role) who becomes romantically involved with a complicated and untrustworthy man. A24 is back on board.

The Last Planet

Festival favorite Terrence Malick’s record for lengthy post-production suggests his retelling of several episodes in the life of Christ is unlikely to be ready for 2020. But you never know. The under-wraps project, which shot in Italy in early fall, features Son of Saul star Geza Rohrig as Jesus, Matthias Schoenaerts as Apostle Peter, and Mark Rylance as Satan.

Next Goal Wins

Taika Waititi’s adaptation of the 2014 British soccer documentary that follows Dutch coach Thomas Rongen, who attempts the nearly impossible task of turning the American Samoa soccer team from perennial losers into winners. Fox Searchlight is behind the pic, whose cast includes Elisabeth Moss, Michael Fassbender and non-binary person Kaimana. The Inbetweeners co-creator Iain Morris has co-scripted.


Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul won the Palme d’Or in 2010 and was back on the Croisette in 2015 and 2018. A Riviera return seems likely for secretive project Memoria, which reportedly stars Tilda Swinton as a Scottish woman visiting her ill sister in Bogota. Neon has North American rights.

Untitled Todd Haynes Velvet Underground Documentary

Haynes’ feature doc chronicles seminal rock group The Velvet Underground and its late frontman Lou Reed, charting the band’s rise in the 1960s. Christine Vachon at Killer Films is producing. Distributors got a sneak peek at the Cannes Market this year, where Cinetic and Submarine teamed on sales. Haynes has been a Croisette regular.

Algerian By Accident

Brazilian director Karim Aïnouz is a festival favorite, and his 2019 drama Invisible Life played at Cannes and was Brazil’s International Oscar entry. His latest project is a long-gestating documentary that explores the director’s Algerian roots and the legacy of the country’s battle for independence.

Uppercase Print

Romanian filmmaker Radu Jude’s last film screened at Toronto after its Karlovy Vary premiere, where it picked up the Crystal Global for best film. His latest is the story of a Romanian teenager who was apprehended by the secret police for political protest graffiti and whose untimely death is shrouded in mystery.

The Story Of My Wife

Following her Berlinale Golden Bear win in 2017 for On Body and Soul, Hungarian filmmaker Ildiko Enyedi returns with this novel adaptation about a naval captain who met his wife after being dared by a friend to marry the next woman who walked into the cafe they were sitting in. Léa Seydoux and Louis Garrel star.


Rebecca Hall makes her directing debut on this classy looking drama adaptation of the Harlem Renaissance novel by Nella Larsen. Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga and Andre Holland star in the story about the practice of racial passing, a term coined to classify a member of one racial group who seeks to be accepted by a different racial group.

Pieces Of A Woman

Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf lead the cast in the story of a grieving woman trying to come to terms with her loss. Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó’s 2014 drama White God won the top prize in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard and also screened in Sundance, while his 2017 pic Jupiter’s Moon screened in Cannes’ main competition. Bron Studios is producing his latest work.

The White Tiger

Priyanka Chopra and Rajkummar Rao star in this Netflix flick adapted from the Man Booker-winning novel of the same name, which follows a man’s journey from poverty to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Venice regular Ramin Bahrani (At Any Price) directs, so a Lido debut is possible.


Brit helmer Francis Lee’s anticipated sophomore film stars Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan in the story of a fossil hunter who develops an intense relationship with a young woman. See-Saw Films produces and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, Lionsgate and Transmission have all boarded key markets. We understand the film wasn’t ready for Sundance 2020, but is likely to lock a good spot at a festival later in the year. Lee’s feature debut God’s Own Country was a critical hit after its Sundance premiere in 2017 and went on to be nominated for a BAFTA.


Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci lead cast in the Brit indie pic from second-time director Harry Macqueen. Firth And Tucci play partners of 20 years who, after one is diagnosed with dementia, travel across the UK in their old RV. BBC Films, BFI and The Bureau are among partners.

Hillbilly Elegy

Ron Howard directs and produces this pic based on J. D. Vance’s memoir about his impoverished childhood growing up in rural Appalachia. Scripted by The Shape of Water scribe Vanessa Taylor, the anticipated pic stars Amy Adams and Glenn Close. Netflix won rights to the hot package after bidding a reported $45 million, and it shot in the U.S. in Georgia over the summer.

Over The Moon

This musical animated feature comes from Glen Keane, the Oscar-winning Disney animator whose credits include The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. China’s Pearl Studio, formerly Oriental DreamWorks, are behind the retelling of a classic Chinese myth about a young girl who embarks on a journey to the moon. Pearl will release theatrically in China in 2020. Another Netflix pic and thus another likely to eschew Cannes.

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