The festival season is almost here and as Telluride, Venice, and Toronto start to finalize their upcoming schedules, a surprise is starting to take shape for the 52nd New York Film Festival as programmers are teasing what looks like a strong slate of movies to screen. Today comes word that Alejandro González Iñárritu’s eagerly-anticipated new feature Birdman starring Michael Keaton will close the festival. Iñárritu co-wrote the screenplay for the dark comedy with Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo, and the film features an acclaimed ensemble cast that includes Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Amy Ryan, Zach Galifianakis, and Andrea Riseborough. Birdman will have its world premiere as the opener of the Venice Film Festival.
The 2014 New York Film Festival, which runs from September 26th to October 12th, has long been a venerable cinematic institution, but typically runs slightly behind in buzz due to the fact that it takes place following the flood of Telluride, Venice, and Toronto, all of which typically bolster a larger roster of world premieres and major awards hopefuls. This year however, it appears the festival is aiming to make a wider impression. New York scored a fairly major coup by programming David Fincher’s highly-anticipated Gone Girl as its opening night film and has confirmed another major get in snatching the world premiere for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice as its centerpiece feature. Birdman, which by the time it screens in New York on October 12th will have already had its unusual premise put up for critical inspection, will surely get a nice bump in buzz before it releases in theaters on October 17th.
The Fox Searchlight feature already seems to be collecting quite a fan base due to an impressive and confident teaser trailer that debuted recently and seems ripe to be a major awards player. The film tells the meta-infused tale of washed-up actor (Keaton) who once played an iconic superhero on movie screens and is now trying to make a major comeback on the stage. Birdman is already noteworthy for its tongue-in-cheek casting of the one-time Batman and because the film is Iñárritu’s first stab at comedy – he previously directed the misery-porn features 21 Grams and Babel.
Stay tuned as the full schedules for not just New York, but also Toronto, Venice, and Telluride are announced in the coming days.