ENTERTAINMENT
09/29/2016 09:27 am ET

'Hamilton,' Ava DuVernay And 'Billy Lynn' Are Headlining The 2016 New York Film Festival

"20th Century Women" and "The Lost City of Z" will premiere.
NYFF

In addition to the first glimpses of cardigan weather, an annual harbinger of fall in Manhattan is the New York Film Festival. Kicking off Friday and running through Oct. 16, the cinematic gala picks up where September’s trifecta (the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals) leave off, ushering in prestige films from across the globe as Hollywood prepares for winter’s more art-house-oriented releases. 

This year’s NYFF opens with the premiere of Ava DuVernay’s new documentary about the 13th Amendment. Most of the lineup is peppered with standout titles from other festivals, including Sundance’s “Manchester by the Sea,” Cannes’ “Personal Shopper” and “Toni Erdmann,” and Toronto’s “My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea” and “Jackie,” among others. But a few other films will make their world premieres, and one of NYFF’s signatures is revival screenings (this year’s includes Marlon Brando’s “One-Eyed Jacks” and Barbara Kopple’s “Harlan County, USA”) and conversations with filmmakers (Jim Jarmusch, Kenneth Lonergan and others are on hand). 

But enough chatter. If you don’t live in New York, fear not ― much of the lineup is slated for theatrical release before the end of the year. Put these movies on your radar. 

  • "The 13th" (Opening Night Film)
    Ava DuVernay needs no rest. Her OWN drama, "Queen of Sugar," is now airing its first season, and in November she'll start fil
    NYFF
    Ava DuVernay needs no rest. Her OWN drama, "Queen of Sugar," is now airing its first season, and in November she'll start filming an adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. In between, "The 13th" will open the New York Film Festival ahead of its Oct. 7 Netflix release. Pegged to the racial inequities plaguing America's criminal justice system, DuVernay's new documentary traces how the 13th Amendment -- which abolished slavery in 1865 -- has allowed for mass incarceration and a racially charged prison system.
  • "20th Century Women" (Centerpiece Film)
    A teenage boy in 1979 California gets some life lessons from three wise and eccentric ladies: his single mother (Annette
    NYFF
    A teenage boy in 1979 California gets some life lessons from three wise and eccentric ladies: his single mother (Annette Bening), a pink-haired photographer (Greta Gerwig) and a bold young friend (Elle Fanning). Directed by Mike Mills ("Thumbsucker," "Beginners"), "20th Century Women" sounds like therapy, and I mean that in the best possible sense. 
  • "The Lost City of Z" (Closing Night Film)
    British explorer Percy Fawcett wanted desperately to find a lost city in the Amazon. In 1925, Fawcett and his son disappeared
    NYFF
    British explorer Percy Fawcett wanted desperately to find a lost city in the Amazon. In 1925, Fawcett and his son disappeared during their quest. He called the ancient region "the lost city of Z," and in 2009, his story was chronicled in a book bearing that name. As these things go, James Gray ("We Own the Night," "The Immigrant") has turned it into a movie. Charlie Hunnam plays Fawcett, with Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller Tom Holland and Angus Macfadyen in supporting roles.
  • "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk"
    One of fall's most-anticipated mysteries is "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," based on the celebrated 2012 novel b
    NYFF
    One of fall's most-anticipated mysteries is "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," based on the celebrated 2012 novel by Ben Fountain. Technophile director Ang Lee ("Brokeback Mountain," "Life of Pi") is once again pushing boundaries, having filmed the post-war PTSD drama at an abnormally high frame rate that requires special equipment to project. Attendees will be selected by lottery, making this one of the festival's hottest tickets.
  • "Hamilton's America"
    Can't get a ticket to Broadway's hottest show? Catch "Hamilton" behind the scenes in Alex Horwitz's new documentary, whi
    NYFF
    Can't get a ticket to Broadway's hottest show? Catch "Hamilton" behind the scenes in Alex Horwitz's new documentary, which traces the history that inspired the musical and the show's titanic status in the cultural zeitgeist. 
  • "I Am Not Your Negro"
    "I Am Not Your Negro" was a hit at the Toronto Film Festival, where it <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/la-la-lan
    NYFF
    "I Am Not Your Negro" was a hit at the Toronto Film Festival, where it won the top documentary prize and snagged theatrical distribution. Based on James Baldwin's unfinished Remember This House, the stirring movie zeroes in on America's tenuous race relations as seen through such figures as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Medgar Evers.
  • "The Ornithologist"
    When a solitary bird-watcher's boat capsizes in Portugal, he is rescued by Chinese pilgrims. But that's the easy part. In Jo&
    NYFF
    When a solitary bird-watcher's boat capsizes in Portugal, he is rescued by Chinese pilgrims. But that's the easy part. In João Pedro Rodrigues' film, bizarre encounters, a queer awakening and metaphysical oddities create an outré odyssey that makes "spiritual quest" seem like an understatement. 
  • "Elle"
    "Elle" is already the subject of contentious debates among those who've seen it,&nbsp;which means it's a must-see. French vet
    NYFF
    "Elle" is already the subject of contentious debates among those who've seen it, which means it's a must-see. French vet Isabelle Huppert plays a successful video-game executive seeking revenge on a man who raped her. But "Basic Instinct" and "Showgirls" director Paul Verhoeven's psychological study is far more complex, offering a perverse satire about that sometimes drifts into full-blown comedic territory. Bring on the think-pieces, as well as potential Oscar glory: "Elle" is France's submission for Best Foreign Language Film.
  • "Moonlight"
    If you've heard anything about&nbsp;fall's festivals, you've probably heard a thing or two about "Moonlight." Barry Jenkins'
    NYFF
    If you've heard anything about fall's festivals, you've probably heard a thing or two about "Moonlight." Barry Jenkins' stunning portrayal of three chapters in a black Miami boy's adolescence agonizes over the inter-city experiences that teach him to stifle his young queerness. "Moonlight" is life presented in cinematic beauty, raw and affected and brutal -- yet, somehow, never without hope.
  • "The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography"
    To leaf&nbsp;through the work of portrait photographer&nbsp;Elsa Dorfman is&nbsp;to survey 50 years of American culture, part
    NYFF
    To leaf through the work of portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman is to survey 50 years of American culture, particularly in the hands of documentarian Errol Morris, who lovingly captures Dorfman in all her charming eccentricities.
  • "Paterson"
    Every movie that slice-of-life indie maestro&nbsp;Jim Jarmusch ("Only Lovers Left Alive," "Broken Flowers") makes is somethin
    NYFF
    Every movie that slice-of-life indie maestro Jim Jarmusch ("Only Lovers Left Alive," "Broken Flowers") makes is something of an event, and early reception indicates "Paterson" is one of his finest outings yet. Adam Driver, who always seems to be Having A Moment these days, plays a bus driver who channels his daily observations in resplendent poetry. 
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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Must-See Movies From The 2016 Toronto Film Festival
CONVERSATIONS