Jolene Pinder, Executive Director

All These Sleepless Nights
A Bigger Splash
The Witch
The Edge of Seventeen
Manchester by the Sea
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Cemetery of Splendor

Clint Bowie, Director of Programming

While I certainly didn’t get to see all the films I had wanted to see this year (does that ever happen?), I did have a number of great cinema-going experiences. Many of these were in non-traditional spaces and featured older films. Watching Showgirls on a big screen in the Bywater backyard “Burgundy Picture House” with a group of other superfans was a highlight of the year, as was another DIY-style experience I shared with a friend where we watched back-to-back screeners of Christine and Kate Plays Christine on a home projection system. (Though neither made my final list, I recommend seeing them both, together if possible, and I wish we had tacked on Network as a third) And perhaps my most enjoyable cinema-going experience was with The Clock at the CAC this year, which I (and other NOFS colleagues) wrote about earlier this year. It was truly a gift to the city, and I’m sad that not more people were able to take advantage of this special offering.

Among new releases this year, here are the ten films I saw that meant the most to me:

Cameraperson (dir. Kirsten Johnson): Comprising brief fragments of footage she shot for other films as a cinematographer, this innovative documentary weaves together disparate vignettes that, together, form a moving, deeply compassionate picture of the world through one woman’s eyes. Beautifully incorporated into the film is the filmmaker’s own experience with parenthood: both in losing a parent and becoming one. I have perhaps never felt so close to a filmmaker as while watching this film, partly due to the personal nature of some of the content but also partly due to the way she speaks to herself—and, as presented, to the viewer—as she is recording footage, narrating herself preparing for a shot or her own reactions to poignant moments, narration that she likely never intended for anyone to hear but that becomes, when shared in this context, sublime. It left me in tears and was one of the few films I saw this year that truly impacted the way I see the world.

All These Sleepless Nights (dir. Michal Marczak): The most exciting film I saw at Sundance this year, I couldn’t stop talking about it for weeks. Though classified as a documentary, much of it felt didn’t feel as such—but I didn’t care in the least: I gobbled up all of the dancing scenes, the late-night beach parties, the sneaking into private gardens… It’s filled with a sense of directionless wondering that teeters between malaise and excitement, something like a meditative adventure. I loved it. Such an original point of view.

Weiner (dir. Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg): We all know Anthony Weiner’s story already, but it still felt too crazy to be true while watching this film. Expertly crafted with incredible access.

The Fits (dir. Anna Rose Holmer): One of the most promising new cinematic voices to emerge in the past couple of years. The story itself (about a group of young dancers in Cincinnati who start to fall prey to a mysterious seizure-like disorder) is fascinating and feels urgent (particularly the moments when the drinking water is considered to be the culprit), but what makes this film so special is the film’s artful direction and quietly powerful performance from the lead actress (who is aptly named Royalty Hightower). Both director and actress have long careers ahead of them.

Krisha (dir. Trey Edward Shults): Such an incredible example of how good ideas and a strong point of view can propel a hyper-low-budget film to success. I’m also so proud that NOFF supported this filmmaker when he submitted a much shorter version of this film three years ago.

Manchester By the Sea (dir. Kenneth Lonergan): One of the most affecting films of the year, with heart-breaking performances all around.

Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins): Beautiful and engaging, my vote for the Best Picture Oscar. We need more films with characters like these. My one gripe is that it didn’t cast more gay actors for the gay roles in the film, but that charge isn’t levied solely at this film but at Hollywood in general.

La La Land (dir. Damien Chazelle): Fun and utterly delightful. I nearly fell asleep during the extended John Legend montage, but otherwise loved every second of this.

Certain Women (dir. Kelly Reichardt): I’ve loved Kelly Reichardt’s entire oeuvre so far, and this one was no exception. She continues to be one of the strongest voices in cinema today.

Body (dir. Małgorzata Szumowska): Weird and beautiful, with one of the most memorable performances of the year from Maja Ostaszewska. We showed this one at NOFF this year, and I urge you to see it out.

John Desplas, Artistic Director Emeritus

Below is a list of my ten favorite movies among those I saw in a movie theatre this year. There
were many films I would like to have seen, many of which I see perched high on lists of dedicated filmgoers, that, alas, I missed either due to scandalously short theatrical runs, or, shamefacedly I must admit, thru sheer negligence. I emphasize mine is no Solomonic “ten best of 2016,” but a list of ten movies that spoke to me, and, in good conscience, I could recommend unreservedly. In random order, they are:

Love and Friendship (dir. Whit Stillman)
Manchester by the Sea (dir. Kenneth Longergan)
La La Land (dir. Damien Chazelle)
Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins)
Hail, Caesar! (dir. Ethan Coen, Joel Coen)
Deadpool (dir. Tim Miller)
The Handmaiden (dir. Park Chan-Wook)
Gleason (dir. Clay Tweel)
Les Cowboys (dir. Thomas Bidegain)
Weiner (dir. Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg)

Monika Baudoin, Director of Operations

These are my favorite movies of 2016:
Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins)
All These Sleepless Nights (dir. Michał Marczak)
Neon Bull (dir. Gabriel Mascaro)
Wild (dir. Nicolette Kredits)
Weiner (dir. Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg)
Francofonia (dir. Aleksandr Sokurow)
The Good Wife (dir. Mirjana Karanovic)
Thunder Road (short) (dir. Jim Cummings)

And here is a list of other 2016 movies that I also really enjoyed:
Rams (dir. Grímur Hákonarson)
Between Sea and Land (dir. Carlos del Castillo)
The Lobster (dir. Giorgos Lanthimos)
My First Kiss and the People Involved (dir. Luigi Campi)
Mr. Gaga (dir. Tomer Heymann)
Dheepan (dir. Jacques Audiard)

Sergio Lobo-Navia, Tech Director

1. Things to Come
2. Moonlight
3. A Bigger Splash
4. Hail Caesar
5. The Fits
6. Everybody Wants Some!!
7. Cafe Society
8. O.J. Made in America
9. Sully
10. Love and Friendship
11. Green Room
12. Illinois Parables
13. Certain Women
Honorable Mentions: Nice Guys, Knight of Cups, Fences, Do Not Resist, Kate Plays Christine, Game 7 NBA Finals, Game 7 World Series
Best Male Actor: Anthony Weiner (Weiner)
Best Female Actor: Isabelle Huppert (Things to Come/Elle)
Best Supporting Male Actor: Ralph Fiennes (A Bigger Splash)
Bear Support Female Actor: Lilly Gladstone (Certain Women)

Skye Macdonald, Director of Development and Community Relations

Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins)
Certain Women (dir. Kelly Reichardt)
Mustang (dir. Deniz Gamze Ergüven)
Kate Plays Christine (dir. Robert Greene)
O.J.: Made in America (dir. Ezra Edelman)
The Lobster (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)
My First Kiss and the People Involved (dir. Luigi Campi)
collective: unconscious (dir. Lily Baldwin, Frances Bodomo, Daniel Patrick Carbone, Josephine Decker, Lauren Wolkstein)
Mammal (dir. Rebecca Daly)
Tickled (dir. David Farrier, Dylan Reeve)