Chloé Zhao's new film to be launched via string of global screenings.

Credit: Searchlight Pictures

It is no secret that the competition between rival film festivals can be tense — but that has seemingly changed in these strange times. It was announced Monday that four of the biggest festivals on the movie calendar are combining to launch writer-director Chloé Zhao’s new film Nomadland, which stars two-time Oscar-winner Frances McDormand.

Searchlight Pictures Chairmen Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula announced that the film will receive simultaneous world premieres on Sept. 11 at the 77th Venice International Film Festival and the 45th Toronto International Film Festival, both of which will feature virtual introductions by Zhao and McDormand. Telluride, which canceled its 47th edition due to the global pandemic, will host a special “Telluride from Los Angeles” drive-in screening in Southern California later in the evening, featuring in-person appearances by Zhao and McDormand. Film at Lincoln Center also announced Nomadland as the Centerpiece Selection of the 58th edition of the New York Film Festival, leading into a domestic theatrical release this fall, subsequently rolling out internationally.

Nomadland is based on journalist Jessica Bruder’s 2017 non-fiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century. The film follows Fern (McDormand), 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 outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. The film features real nomads Linda May, Swankie, and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West. Zhao directed 2017's The Rider, while her next movie is the Angelina Jolie-starring Marvel film The Eternals.

“The American road fascinates me," said Zhao in a statement. "It's heartbreakingly beautiful and deeply complicated. I've traveled it for many years and always hoped to capture a glimpse of it. I'm thankful to be able to make Nomadland and excited for audiences to join Fern on her adventure."

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