‘Nomadland’ premieres as Centerpiece film at New York Film Festival after winning at Toronto and Venice

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Frances McDormand stars in the film “Nomadland.” [Searchlight Pictures]

After making history earlier this month, Chloé Zhao’s acclaimed drama “Nomadland,” starring Oscar winner Frances McDormand, made its premiere Saturday (Sept. 26) as the Centerpiece film at the 58th New York Film Festival.

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, this year’s New York Film Festival included two drive-in screenings of “Nomadland” Saturday in Queens at the New York Hall of Science and Brooklyn located at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.

“We knew that Chloé Zhao’s masterful film, ‘Nomadland,’ deserved a central spot at the New York Film Festival as soon as we saw it,” said Eugene Hernandez, Director of the New York Film Festival, in a statement. “It was hardly surprising to learn that the film had also resonated with our friends in Venice, Telluride, and Toronto. We’re elated to share Chloé and Fran’s remarkable achievement with New York audiences this fall, in solidarity with our festival colleagues.”

On Sept. 11, the film had a simultaneous world premiere at Venice and Toronto, followed by a special “Telluride from Los Angeles” Drive-In Screening that evening.

“Nomadland” was lauded with the Golden Lion this year at the 77th Venice International Film Festival and was awarded the Grolsch People’s Choice Award at the 45th Toronto International Film Festival.

It is the first film to hold both honors, according to a news release.

Zhao (“The Rider”) adapted “Nomadland” from journalist Jessica Bruder’s 2017 nonfiction book “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century” after McDormand and producer Peter Spears acquired the literary adaptation rights shortly after publication.

The film follows Fern (McDormand), a woman in her 60s who loses everything in the Great Recession. Following the economic collapse of her company town in rural Nevada, she packs her van and sets off to try a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad.

Zhao is a film director, screenwriter, editor, and producer known for her work on her debut feature film, “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” (2015), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Her second feature film, “The Rider” (2017), received several accolades including nominations for Independent Spirit Award for Best Film and Best Director. Zhao directed the upcoming Marvel Studios release “The Eternals,” set for release in 2021 by Walt Disney Studios.

Searchlight Pictures will release “Nomadland” in theaters Dec. 4.

“Nomadland”marks the first project between Zhao and Searchlight Pictures and the fifth between McDormand and Searchlight. McDormand won an Oscar for her performance in Martin McDonagh’s film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” which Searchlight released globally in 2017.

Leading up to its theatrical release, “Nomadland” will continue its festival run: The Western drama will be the opening-night film of the eighth annual Middleburg (Virginia) Film Festival, set for Oct. 15-18, as well as for the re-imagined 2020 San Diego International Film Festival planned for the same dates.

The 41st annual Aspen Filmfest in Colorado, which is slated for Oct. 15-21, also will include “Nomadland.”



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