The Toronto International Film Festival announced its 2016 Vanguard program featuring dark and edgy films that twist genre and art house conventions together in a new way.
The 2016 selection includes Nacho Vigalondo’s twist on the Kaiju genre, Colossal; the first animated feature film from graphic novelist and animator Dash Shaw, My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea; Fabrice Du Welz’s thrilling Message from the King; Sarah Adina Smith’s Buster’s Mal Heart starring Rami Malek in his first leading role in a feature film; and The Bad Batch, the second feature from Ana Lily Amirpour starring Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey and Giovanni Ribisi.
The 41st Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8 to 18, 2016.
Films screening as part of the Vanguard program include:
The Bad Batch Ana Lily Amirpour, USA North American Premiere
A savage dystopian cannibal fairy tale set in a Texas wasteland where society’s rejects are just trying to make ends meat. Starring Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Giovanni Ribisi, Yolonda Ross, Jayda Fink, Cory Roberts, Louie Lopez, Keanu Reeves, and Jim Carrey.
Blind Sun Joyce A. Nashawati, France/Greece North American Premiere
Greece, sometime in the near future. A seaside resort is struck by a heavy heat wave, water is rare and violence is mounting. Ashraf, a solitary immigrant, is looking after a villa while its owners are away. On a dusty road crushed by the sun, he is stopped by a police officer for an identity check.
Buster’s Mal Heart Sarah Adina Smith, USA World Premiere
A mountain man on the run from authorities survives the winter by breaking into people’s empty vacation homes. He has recurring dreams of being lost at sea — only to find that he is, in fact, the man lost at sea. He is one man in two bodies. This is the story of how he split in two.
Colossal Nacho Vigalondo, Canada World Premiere
Gloria is an ordinary woman who, after losing her job and being kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend, is forced to leave her life in New York and move back to her hometown. When news reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, South Korea, Gloria gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to this far-off phenomenon. As events begin to spin out of control, Gloria must determine why her seemingly insignificant existence has such a colossal effect on the fate of the world. Starring Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell, and Tim Blake Nelson.
Godspeed Chung Mong-Hong, Taiwan World Premiere
Critically acclaimed director Chung Mong-Hong’s latest endeavour centres on a young man whose plan to reform himself takes a tumble when he, along with a seemingly carefree, innocent cab driver, is kidnapped over the heroin he is delivering. Starring Hong Kong veteran Michael Hui.
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House Osgood Perkins, Canada/USA World Premiere
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House is a modern and minimalist ghost story, set in an 1800s farmhouse in rural Massachusetts. Lily, a hospice nurse, retells the story of how she moved into the house to care for an ailing horror writer in the last few months of her life…and never left.
Interchange Dain Iskandar Said, Malaysia/Indonesia North American Premiere
A hard-nosed cop and a forensics photographer confront their darkest selves as a macabre murder investigation leads them to the realm of superstitions, shamans and the supernatural.
Message from the King Fabrice Du Welz, United Kingdom/France/Belgium World Premiere
After suddenly losing all contact with his younger sister, Jacob King arrives in Los Angeles determined to track her down. Piecing together her last known movements, King finds unsettling evidence of a life gone off the rails as he relentlessly pursues the truth about what happened to his sister. Stars Chadwick Boseman.
My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea Dash Shaw, USA World Premiere
High school can be brutal. Renowned comic book writer/artist Dash Shaw examines how the social structure within a high school changes when calamity strikes. Starring John Cameron Mitchell, Reggie Watts, Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham, Maya Rudolph, Susan Sarandon, and Alex Karpovsky.
Prevenge Alice Lowe, United Kingdom North American Premiere
Written and directed by British comedian and actress Alice Lowe during her own pregnancy, Prevenge is a darkly comic drama about a pregnant woman out for revenge.
The Untamed (La región salvaje) Amat Escalante, Mexico/Denmark/France/Germany/Norway/Switzerland North American Premiere
Young mother Alejandra is a working housewife, raising two boys with husband Angel in small city. Her brother Fabian works as a nurse in a local hospital. Their provincial lives are upset with the arrival of the mysterious Veronica. Sex and love can be fragile in certain regions where strong family values, hypocrisy, homophobia and male chauvinism exist. Veronica convinces them that in the nearby woods, inside an isolated cabin, dwells something not of this world that could be the answer to all of their problems.
WITHOUT NAME Lorcan Finnegan, Ireland World Premiere
Land surveyor Eric, alienated from urban existence and those who love him, travels to a remote and unnamed Irish woodland to assess its suitability for a dubious development project. Intangible elements are at play in this ethereal environment. The place seems to be imbued by an intelligence of sorts. A silhouette flits between trees. The place fascinates the fragmenting Eric as much as it disturbs him. Following in the psychonautic footsteps of the mysterious Devoy, Eric attempts to communicate with his surroundings, but he becomes a prisoner of a place without a name.
Previously announced Canadian titles in the Vanguard program include Anne Émond’s Nelly.