Frances McDormand Starrer 'Nomadland' to Play Venice, Toronto, NY Film Fests

Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures


The Searchlight title is the first studio film confirmed for the 77th Venice International Film Festival.

Nomadland, a road movie drama from director Chloé Zhao starring, and produced by, Oscar winner Frances McDormand, will premiere simultaneously at the Venice International and Toronto International film festivals on Sept. 11. Both premieres will feature virtual introductions by Zhao and McDormand.

As part of the cooperation between the fall festivals, announced earlier this month, Nomadland will also screen as the centerpiece film at the New York Film Festival. Telluride, which was part of the fall festivals collaboration but has since canceled its physical event, will hold a special "Telluride from Los Angeles" drive-in screening of Nomadland in Southern California on Sept. 11 with in-person appearances by Zhao and McDormand.

The film, which Searchlight is releasing, is the first studio-backed production to be confirmed for Venice, which will announce its competition lineup on Tuesday.

Zhao's third feature, after Songs My Brothers Taught Me and The Rider, Nomadland is adapted from Jessica Bruder’s 2017 nonfiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century.

McDormand plays Fern, a woman who, after the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life as a modern-day nomad. Oscar nominee David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck) co-stars.

McDormand and Searchlight have a strong track record at Venice. Searchlight's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri premiered in competition on the Lido in 2017 en route to a successful awards-season run and two Oscar wins, including a second best actress award for McDormand.

Nomadland's festival premiere is also a strong signal of support from Searchlight parent Disney to Venice, which will be the first major film event to go ahead in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Venice will announce its competition lineup on Tuesday. The 77th Venice International Film Festival runs Sept. 2-12.