2020…whew…what a year?!LV
2020 has been quite the rollercoaster year — a year that has disrupted the norms and changed life going forward — but only time will tell what changes stick. Although there was a lot of doom and gloom this year, there has also been some silver linings/bright spots — film festivals have been more democratized and opened up to the masses while switching to hybrid/virtual festivals (one of the highlights of my year is that I got press accreditation for some major fests this year — TIFF, AFI, UrbanWorld and I just recently got into Sundance’s Press Inclusion Initiative for next year’s festival 🙌🏾), tons of great movies, particularly indie films, were released this year and Hollywood and the industry was called out on its bullshit (again) and is taking real action to work on their diversity and inclusion.
I’ve seen over 150 films that were released this year — some really good, some really bad and lots of international and diverse voices. Wow, that’s a lot of movie watching…and that’s just the new stuff I saw. With that said, it was extremely difficult to narrow it down to the 20 Best Films — each film brings something different to the table. If you get a chance, I recommend that you check them all out! But here goes (and they’re not ranked):
- “Quo vadis, Aida?” – Directed by Jasmila Zbanic (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
- “Wolfwalkers” – Directed by Tom Moore & Ross Stewart (Ireland) (Apple +)
- “The Forty-Year Old Version” – Directed by Rahda Blanks (USA) (Netflix)
- “Apples” – Directed by Christos Nikou (Greece)
- “Sorry We Missed You” – Directed by Ken Loach (UK) (Amazon)
- “Martin Eden” – Directed by Pietro Marcello (Italy)
- “Nomadland” – Directed by Chloe Zhao (USA)
- “Another Round” – Directed by Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark)
- “The Mole Agent” – Directed by Maite Alberdi (Chile) (Hulu)
- “Da 5 Bloods” – Directed by Spike Lee (USA) (Netflix)
- “Collective” – Directed by Alexander Nanau (Romania)
- “Shithouse” – Directed by Cooper Raiff (USA)
- “Night of the Kings” – Directed by Philippe Lacote (Ivory Coast)
- “True Mothers” – Directed by Naomi Kawase (Japan)
- “Palm Springs” – Directed by Max Barbakow (USA) (Hulu)
- “Time” – Directed by Garrett Bradley (USA) (Amazon)
- “A Good Man” – Directed by Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar (France)
- “Rent-A-Pal” – Directed by Jon Stevenson (USA) (Hulu)
- “Embattled” – Directed by Nick Sarkisov (USA)
- “Death of Nintendo” – Directed by Raya Martin (Philippines)
Honorable Mentions: “Minari” (Lee Isaac Chung – USA), “Soul” (Pete Docter – USA – Disney+), “Slyvie’s Love” (Eugene Ashe – USA – Amazon), “Beans” (Tracey Deer – Canada), “A l’abordage!” (Guillaume Brac – France), “Class Action Park” (Seth Porges – USA – HBO Max)
I also had the pleasure to see some great short films too! Shoutout to “Alive” by Jimmy Olsson, “The Present” by Farah Nabulsi, “Lost Kings” by Brian Lawes, “Single” by Ashley Eakin, “Modern Whore” by Nicole Bazuin, “Hiplet: Because We Can” by Addison Wright, “The Voice in Your Head” by Graham Parkes and “Gramercy” by Pat Heywood & Jamil McGinnis.
There was also some really good TV this year too! My top 5 shows in 2020 were (unranked):
- “I May Destroy You” (HBO)
- “The Undoing” (HBO)
- “Bridgerton” (Netflix)
- “Normal People” (Hulu)
- “Lovecraft Country” (HBO)
- “High Fidelity” (Hulu)
- “The Great” (Hulu)
- “Industry” (HBO)
- “Upload” (Amazon Prime Video)
- “Perry Mason” (HBO)
*HBO is still top of the TV game in my book — they’ll never steer you wrong.
So I did notice a theme…most of what I watched and enjoyed this year was real heavy, even though the year itself was heavy. But there were a few laughs thrown in for good measure. Overall, this was an amazing year for new voices, bold stories and new breakout stars! Here’s hoping 2021 continues on this trajectory.
What were your favorites of 2020??? Drop a line in the comments below to let me know!