Beyond the Galas: 10 under-the-radar TIFF19 entries (for

Kristen Stewart in Seberg

My second pre-2019 Toronto International Film Festival piece for looks at 10 non-Galas that are seem hugely intriguing.

As September 5 draws closer, the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival lineup is growing more and more. That’s how it works: After the initial announcement — I summarized the first batch here — the following weeks feature more of, well, everything. That means high-profile releases from masters like Terrence Malick (A Hidden Life), starpower from the likes of Natalie Portman (Lucy in the Sky), Midnight Madness selections, and plenty of other unique features and docs.

The Galas draw much of the attention, but some of the most interesting TIFF selections can be found elsewhere. Here are ten non-Galas that could create some buzz.

The Capote Tapes: The life of Truman Capote is a treasure trove of anecdotes peppered with cameos from some of the most important and iconic individuals of the 20th century. In this documentary, friends of the In Cold Blood author discuss the iconic author and his fascinating career.

Clifton Hill: No, this is not a film about 19-year-old Buffalonians hitting Clifton Hill for a night of debauchery. Instead, Albert Shin’s thriller is centered on a Niagara Falls native investigating a kidnapping from years before. The cast includes the great director David Cronenberg.

Color Out of Space: Cult filmmaker Richard Stanley (Hardware) returns to screens with an H.P. Lovecraft adaptation starring Nicolas Cage. Yep, Cage at a TIFF Midnight Madness screening. This horror flick sounds unmissable. 

Hope Gap: Could this be the year in which Annette Bening finally captures an Oscar? Hard to say, but this drama about a married couple’s breakup does seem like Oscar fodder. The American Beauty and Being Julia star goes toe-to-toe with the always engaging Bill Nighy. 

How to Build a Girl: Lady Bird and Booksmart standout Beanie Feldstein plays a teenager-turned-music-critic in a coming-of-age story based on Caitlin Moran’s book. Emma Thompson and Chris O’Dowd co-star.

Les Misérables: Ladj Ly’s violent, hot-button drama earned a Special Prize at Cannes. Set in contemporary France and inspired by Victor Hugo’s novel, the film highlights the nation’s political unrest and social change. 

Liberté: Can Albert Serra top his stunning historical drama The Death of Louis XIV? Perhaps; on paper, his latest sounds like a delectable treat. It “follows an ensemble of libidinous 18th-century French aristocrats who embark on an extended night of woodland cruising to live out their sexual fantasies.”

Seberg: Kristen Stewart’s recent TIFF track record — Personal Shopper, Clouds of Sils Maria, underrated 2018 selection JT LeRoy — is hard to top. Her pairing with Una director Benedict Andrews on a biopic of controversial actress Jean Seberg could offer Stewart the meatiest role of her career. 

Synchronic: Filmmakers Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson seem to grow stronger and more ambitious with each film — see Spring and The Endless for proof. Their latest features Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan as paramedics investigating a series of deaths. 

Wasp Network: Another TIFF, another entry from Olivier Assayas. The director’s follow-up to TIFF18’s Nonfiction stars a high-profile cast — Penélope Cruz, Edgar Ramírez, and Gael García Bernal — in a thriller exploring the lives of Cuban dissidents in the 1990s.

There’s still more to come — come back to for updates, and see the current lineup at