If you're thinking, "The what film festival again?" you shouldn't. With its move to the Palace 9 last year, the annual VTIFF established itself as a place to see movies you'd normally have to trek to NYC for — or wait for a much later Vermont theatrical release. Last year, it featured a little Swedish vampire movie called Let the Right One In that ended up becoming a cult item (and causing an Internet uproar when the DVD was released with crappy new subtitles).
The 2009 VTIFF happens October 23 to November 1. What will you get to see — besides locally made films, which are chosen from submissions by a jury?
The fest schedule isn't up yet, but the roster of films is. (You may have noticed some of them indicated by cryptically abbreviated titles on the back of the Palace 9's South Burlington marquee.) My quick rundown:
Most Likely to Become an Oscar Nominee: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. Yes, that's the title. (A Dakota Fanning teen psychic movie called Push was released last year, hence the change.) Reports from film fests say it's depressing but borne aloft by an unforgettable performance by Mo'Nique. Yes, that Mo'Nique. Check it out at the bottom of the AV Club's Toronto report.
Most Likely to Divide Audiences: The Men Who Stare at Goats (pictured). It has George Clooney, Ewan McGregor and a promising military-satire premise. But is it funny, or just stupid? Critics I've read seem to disagree.
Most Likely to Attract Rifftrax/MST3K Fans: Best Worst Movie. A documentary about Troll 2, reputed to be the worst movie of all time (not that it's not a contested title). If you haven't seen this classic work of cinema, well, it's screening at the VTIFF, too.
Most Likely to Convince You "Everything Is Connected": The Burning Plain, directorial debut of Guillermo Arriaga, the guy who wrote 21 Grams and Babel, starring Charlize Theron. It should be a laugh fest.
Sure to Have the Best Costumes: The Young Victoria, in which Emily Blunt plays the famously prissy monarch in her early years.
Most Inexplicable Programming Choice: Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Didn't this play at every theater in the state for, like, 20 weeks straight last year? Maybe it's related to that fun-bad-movie theme the fest has going on. Or maybe a UVM prof will show up to expound on the sociological significance of talking-animal movies.
Enough of the speculation. Check out their site for updates...