Every year there are films that resonate far beyond a theatrical release—if they manage to find their way to a commercial screen at all—or film festival appearance. Their significance can be attributed to a variety of factors, from structure to subject matter to language, but these films are united in their lasting impact on the cinematic art form. For this annual series, the Department of Film combs through major studio releases and the top film festivals in the world, selecting influential, innovative films made in the past 12 months that we believe will stand the test of time. Whether bound for awards glory or destined to become a cult classic, each of these films is a contender for lasting historical significance, and any true cinephile will want to catch them on the big screen.
There is a $2 surcharge for any Contenders ticket purchased online one day or more in advance.
Organized by the Department of Film.