2017 South by Southwest: What to expect at this year’s SXSW event

March 8, 2017

by Carla Hay

SXSW 2016
The exhibit space at SXSW 2016 (Photo by Lisa Hause)

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festivals (held every year in Austin, Texas) is arguably the best-known event in the U.S. that combines music, film, interactive and convergence programming. The 31st annual SXSW event takes place from March 10 to March 19, 2017.

New for 2017, the Interactive, Film, and Music badges will now include expanded access to more of the SXSW  Conference & Festivals experience. Attendees will still receive primary entry to programming associated with their badge type but now also enjoy secondary access to most other SXSW events.

Here are some of the anticipated highlights of the festival:

Keynote speakers

The lineup of SXSW keynote speakers includes:

  • Joe Biden, former Vice President of the United States
  • Garth Brooks, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter
  • Lee Daniels, Oscar-nominated filmmaker/TV producer (“Precious,” “Empire”)
  • James Baker, FBI general counsel (He replaces FBI director James Comey, who cancelled his appearance at the event.)
  • Jennifer Doudna, Ph. D., University of California at Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology and chemistry
  • Gareth Edwards, director (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Godzilla”)
  • Adam Grant, Wharton School of Business teacher/author
  • Yasmin Green, Jigsaw director of research and development
  • Zane Lowe, Beats 1 creative director/Los Angeles anchor
  • Cory Richards, professional climber/visual storyteller
  • Nile Rodgers, Grammy-winning producer/songwriter
  • Jessica Shortall, Texas Competes managing director
  • Jill Soloway, award-winning TV producer (“Transparent”)

Meanwhile, featured speakers include actor/filmmaker Seth Rogen, New Jersey U.S. senator Cory Booker, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin, fasion designer Marc Jacobs, Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards,  WWE star/actor John Cena, rocker Sammy Hagar and “Game  of Thrones” executive producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff.

Music Performances

The Chainsmokers
Andrew Taggart of the Chainsmokers (Photo courtesy of Image Group LA/ABC)

There are about 2,000 artists who perform at SXSW every year. In 2017, some of the biggest names include the Chainsmokers, Ryan Adams, the Avett Brothers, the New Pornographers, Sylvan Esso and Bilal.

Movie Premieres

Jake Gyllenhaal in "Life"
Jake Gyllenhaal in “Life” (Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures)

SXSW has a wide variety of feature-length and short films. Here are some of the more high-profile feature films that will have their world premieres at the festival: “Atomic Blonde” (action thriller starring Charlize Theron); “Life” (sci-fi thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal); “The Disaster Artist” (directed by and starring James Franco); “Song to Song” (directed by Terrence Malick and starring Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender and Rooney Mara); and “May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers” (music documentary directed by Judd Apatow).

Click here for more on SXSW.

2017 Tribeca Film Festival: lineup of short films announced

March 7, 2017

by Carla Hay

Tribeca Film Festival - white logo


Salma Hayek in "11th Hour"
Salma Hayek in “11th Hour” (Photo by Cathal Watters)

Salma Hayek, Casey Wilson, Bobby Cannavale, John Tuturro and Kieran Culkin are among the stars of 57 short films that will premiere at the 16th Annual Tribeca Film Festival, which will take place April 19 to 30, 2017, at various locations in New York City. The first Tribeca Film Festival (which was co-founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff) launched in 2002, in order to revitalize business in downtown Manhattan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

According to the Tribeca Film Festival, a record 4,385 short films were submitted for this year’s event. Of those selected, 40 percent of the short films were directed by women, and 40 percent are films from outside the United States. The short films will be presented in 10 distinct competition programs, consisting of five narrative, four documentary, and, for the second year, one animated program. In addition, there is the Sports Shorts program as part of the 11th annual Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, sponsored by Mohegan Sun.  The Shorts program is sponsored by Nutella Originals.

The following information is an excerpt from a Tribeca Film Festival press release:

Tribeca Film Festival has several first-time documentary shorts programs this year including “S.O.S.,” which focuses on kindness to each other and planet Earth, and “Surf’s Up!,” which will have an extended Q&A following the premiere with the filmmakers and their subjects. The always popular New York program this year is aptly called “Group Therapy.”

Recipients of the Tribeca Film Festival awards for Best Narrative Short and Best Documentary Short will qualify for consideration in the Academy Awards’ Short Films category, provided the film complies with Academy rules. Since 2004 (with the exception of 2007), Tribeca’s program has included a short that has been nominated and/or won in one of these two categories. From last year’s Festival selection, three shorts that world premiered at Tribeca were nominated for Oscars: “Joe’s Violin,” “Pearl,” and “Extremis,” which was the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival Award winner for Best Documentary Short.

Tribeca Film festival also bestows a Student Visionary Award, and this year for the first time, a Best Animated Short Award.

Tribeca Film Festival Shorts Program, sponsored by Nutella Originals’ Spread the Happy series, includes:

Animated Shorts Curated by Whoopi G
The Animated shorts program showcases imaginative storytelling and captivating craft.
This program is suggested for those 14 and older.

A film still from "Curpigeon"
A film still from “Curpigeon” (Photo by Dmitry Milkin)

Curpigeon, directed and written by Dmitry Milkin. (USA) – New York Premiere. A heartwarming story about the power of community support during a time of grief, this action-oriented CG-animated short film centers around a group of park pigeons and their old men pals who come together to help one of their own get through a great loss.

Summer Camp Island, directed and written by Julia Pott. (USA) – New York Premiere. Oscar has to accept that his totally normal sleepover with Hedgehog isn’t going to be totally normal.

Odd is an Egg (Odd er et egg), directed by Kristin Ulseth, written by Maria Avramova, Kristin Ulseth. (Norway) – North American Premiere. Odd is terrified of his head – until one day he falls in love with Gunn and his life is turned upside down, freeing him from his worries in the most expected way. In Norwegian with subtitles.

Angel (Mon Ange), directed and written by Gregory Casares. (Switzerland) – International Premiere. Eva and Mr. Corbeau have long felt a reciprocal affection and attraction, but the world of humans and the world of animals don’t mix – until one autumn evening, at the masked ball organized by Eva’s father in honour of his daughter.

The Talk: True Stories About The Birds & The Bees, directed and written by Alain Delannoy. (Canada) – New York Premiere. There are things in life you never forget. One of them, like it or not, is “The Talk.”

Second to None, directed and written by Vincent Gallagher. (Ireland) – New York Premiere. Second to None is a black comedy in stop motion about the world’s second-oldest man who learns that ambition can be a killer.

Escape, directed by Limbert Fabian, Brandon Oldenburg, written by Limbert Fabian, Brandon Oldenburg, Angus McGilpin. (USA) – World Premiere. A euphoric vision of the future is presented through this cinematic poem about the challenging yet world-changing power of invention as a lone space explorer crash-lands on a desolate planet and must find a way to make her new home habitable.

Dear Basketball, directed by Glen Keane, written by Kobe Bryant. (USA) – World Premiere. Kobe Bryant’s inspiring poem Dear Basketball is stunningly drawn to life by veteran animation director Glen Keane and set to the music of legendary composer John Williams.

Shorts: Disconnected
Communication is key in the struggle to be heard

A film still from "Wave"
A scene from “Wave” (Photo by Burschi Wojnar)

Wave, directed by Benjamin Cleary, TJ O’Grady-Peyton, written by Benjamin Cleary. (Ireland) – World Premiere. A sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking story of a very isolated person, Wave tells the story of Gaspar Rubicon, who wakes up from a coma speaking a fully formed but unrecognizable language, baffling linguistics experts from around the globe.

Big City, directed by Jordan Bond, Lachlan Ryan, written by Jordan Bond. (Australia) – New York Premiere. Vijay, a lonely taxi driver who recently moved to Melbourne, picks up Chris, a stray drunk who befriends him, and over the course of the night, Chris experiences some of Vijay’s troubles and Vijay learns to see the city in a new light.

Big Sister (Ahotcha), directed and written by Michal Gassner. (Israel) – International Premiere. Gili has a clear and violent agenda towards male sexual offenders, and finds it difficult to comprehend the limits of her power to repair the world when she discovers her younger brother is suspended from school for a similar violation. In Hebrew with subtitles.

Life Boat, directed and written by Lorraine Nicholson. (USA) – World Premiere. Six teenagers are led into an intriguing game of survival by their guidance counselor.

The Navigator (Kartleseren), directed and written by Mikal Hovland. (Norway) – World Premiere. A film about trust, human vulnerability, and the fragility of power, The Navigator focuses on Jon, who gets the chance of his lifetime reading the pacenotes for his big brother in the upcoming rally championship, but is distracted by a new girl in town. In Norwegian with subtitles.

The Suitcase, directed and written by Abi Damaris Corbin. (USA) – World Premiere. The ordinary life of a Boston bred baggage handler is turned upside down when he steals a suitcase that contains terrorist plans. Inspired by true events on 9/11.

Shorts: Human Condition
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

A film still from "Shooting War"
A film still from “Curpigeon” (Photo by Ivan Verlaan)

Shooting War, directed by Aeyliya Husain. (Canada) – World Premiere. TIME magazine photographer Franco Pagetti tells the stories behind three photographs as a metaphor for the Iraq War to reveal the impact the conflict has had on a country, a region, and the world.

Skull + Bone, directed by Victoria Rivera. (USA) – World Premiere. For 200 years every Mardi Gras has started the same way: Dressed as skeletons, armed with bones, the Northside Skull and Bone Gang wake the city before dawn with drums, chants and ceremonial knocking on doors to warn people against violence, gunplay and other negative influences on the streets.

Revolving Doors, directed and written by James Burns. (USA) – World Premiere. A portrait of American recidivism produced over a span of two years, Revolving Doors follows Jason, who, despite attempts to retain meaningful employment, fails and returns to prison, devastating his family.

White Riot: London, directed by Rubika Shah, written by Ed Gibbs, Rubika Shah. (U.K.) – New York Premiere. This experimental music documentary explores how a generation united against the neo-Nazi National Front in 1970s Britain through a punk fanzine, with black and white coming together through popular culture at a terrifying time of turmoil and division.

Water Warriors, directed by Michael Premo. (Canada, USA) – New York Premiere. When an energy company begins searching for natural gas in New Brunswick, Canada, indigenous and white families unite to drive out the company in a campaign to protect their water and way of life.

Shorts: Last Exit
On the road of life there is no turning back

A scene from “Oh Damn” (Photo by Nate Cornett)

Oh Damn, directed and written by Pat Bishop and Matt Ingebretson. (USA) – World Premiere. After smoking too much weed on his way to meet a friend at the movie theater, Matt’s altered perception hurls him into a dark, surreal series of events that unfold across the theater.

Don’t Mess With Julie Whitfield, directed and written by Amy Barham. (USA) – New York Premiere. Julie Whitfield ALWAYS heads the Oak Tree Elementary School Fall Fantasy Fundraiser planning committee, so when new parent Rachel attempts a coup, it leads to a bloody battle that only one woman can survive.

Cul-De-Sac, directed by Damon Russell, written by Shawn Christensen. (USA) – New York Premiere. Parents living at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac discover a listening device inside their son’s teddy bear.

Retouch, directed and written by Kaveh Mazaheri. (Iran) – International Premiere. Maryam’s husband has an accident at home and, rather than saving him, she stops helping and watches him die. In Persian with subtitles.

Buckets, directed and written by Julia Jones. (USA) – North American Premiere. A girl learns the brutal sacrifices it takes to satisfy her love.

Baraka, directed by Néstor Ruiz Medina, written by Néstor Ruiz Medina, Juan Luis Cordero. (Spain) – US Premiere. In the months before the war in Iraq, two close brothers are forced to separate, soon meeting again when the war is in full swing, but neither is the same. In Arabic, English, Spanish with subtitles.

Shorts: New York – Group Therapy
Everyone wants to share.

Bobby Cannavale and John Turturro in “Hair” (Photo by Marissa Kraxberger)

Hair, directed by John Turturro, written by Bobby Cannavale and John Turturro. (USA) – World Premiere. An unscripted dialogue between John Turturro and Bobby Cannavale about a man’s particularness about his hair.

Lemon, directed and written by Timothy Michael Cooper. (USA) – World Premiere. Seconds after the wedding, a bride is stunned to learn that her new husband fudged nearly everything about his past, his family, and his accomplishments—but his revelations force her to come clean about a few shocking secrets of her own.

Approaching a Breakthrough, directed and written by Noah Pritzker. (USA) – World Premiere. Back in New York after a stint in Los Angeles, Norman Kaminsky has a terrible argument with his girlfriend just before running into a string of characters from his past – and despite his best efforts, Norman can’t seem to run away from his problems.

Joy Joy Nails, directed and written by Joey Ally. (USA) – World Premiere. Sarah manages Joy Joy Nails with a cheerful iron fist – but she gets her manicured claws out when Chinese Mia, a manicurist trainee, looks to be stealing the boss’s son’s affections, soon discovering that under the varnish, everyone’s a victim. In English, Korean, Mandarin with subtitles.

The Beehive, directed and written by Jacobie Gray. (Australia) – World Premiere. A superstar socialite seeks revenge when the artist who made her famous finds a younger muse.

Where There’s Smoke, directed by Evan Ari Kelman, written by Evan Ari Kelman, Parker Hill. (USA) – World Premiere. After a tragic accident, a firefighter must convince the city commissioner he’s able to return to the line of duty.

11th Hour, directed by Jim Sheridan, written by Jim Sheridan, Oskar Slingerland. (Ireland, Mexico) – International Premiere. Based on a true story, 11th Hour recounts how, on the evening of 9/11, Maria José’s bar is heaving with locals united in grief and a building rage; a cop pulls his gun and when a surprise visitor enters Maria has to seize the moment to take back control. In English, Spanish with subtitles.

Shorts: Postcards
Five female-centric stories where the past meets the present

Claudia Gusmano in "Viola, Franca"
Claudia Gusmano in “Viola, Franca” Photo by Giulia Fassina)

Viola, Franca, directed by Marta Savina, written by Marta Savina, Andrea Brusa. (Italy) – World Premiere. It’s Sicily in 1965, and Franca is forced to marry her rapist to avoid becoming a pariah in her traditionalist community, but she rebels against the established custom and sets a precedent that alters the course of Italian history, paving the way for women’s rights. In Italian, Sicilian with subtitles.

Fry Day, directed by Laura Moss, written by Laura Moss, Brendan O’Brien. (USA) – New York Premiere. A teenage girl comes of age against the backdrop of Ted Bundy’s execution in 1989.

Dive (Salta), directed by Marianne Amelinckx. (Venezuela) – World Premiere. Julia goes back to the pool and remembers that, sometimes, life challenges ourselves to keep going and make decisions. In Spanish with subtitles.

Tokyo Project, directed and written by Richard Shepard. (USA) – World Premiere. On a business trip to Tokyo, Sebastian explores the city with a mysterious woman he keeps running into wherever he goes, discovering heartbreakingly that the truth, and the past, are as elusive as love.

Little Bird, directed by Georgia Oakley, written by Emily Taaffe. (U.K.) – World Premiere. Against the backdrop of 1941 London, Little Bird explores how far one young woman will go to create a new life for herself when the women of Great Britain are called upon to aid the war effort.

Shorts: S.O.S.
Helping each other and our planet in these troubled times

A scene from "Mother's Day"
A scene from “Mother’s Day” (Photo by Elizabeth Lo)

Mother’s Day, directed by Elizabeth Lo, co-directed by R.J. Lozada. (USA) – World Premiere. The impact of mass incarceration on a generation of youth is explored through an annual Mother’s Day charity bus journey that takes children from across California to visit their mothers in prison.

The Good Fight, directed and written by Ben Holman, written by Ben Holman. (Brazil, U.K., USA) – World Premiere. Following a personal tragedy, Alan Duarte opens his own boxing gym to offer salvation and hope to others in the notorious gun violence- ridden favela in Rio de Janeiro where he was born and lives. In Portuguese with subtitles.

Silo: Edge of the Real World, directed by Marshall Burnette. (USA) – World Premiere. In this meditation on life in one of the small towns that feeds America, a young farmer and a high school senior each grapple with the dangers of farm life.

The Rugby Boys of Memphis, directed by David Darg. (USA) – New York Premiere. Follow the rise of an inner-city Memphis high school’s first rugby team and see the ways in which, for these boys, the unlikely sport is much more than a game.

For Flint, directed by Brian Schulz, written by Brian Schulz, Sharika Ajaikumar, Katharina Stroh. (USA) – World Premiere. In the face of a federal emergency deeming its drinking water unsafe for consumption, Flint’s resilient citizens rally together to forge a new narrative that is hopeful and optimistic.

Blues Planet: Triptych, directed and written by Wyland. (USA) – World Premiere. Blues Planet: Triptych explores the Gulf Oil Spill disaster and its aftermath through environmental artist Wyland who, along with 30 of today’s pre-eminent artists, recorded a new genre of global blues on the catastrophe’s anniversary.

Shorts: Surf’s Up!
Be it surfing for solace or in one of the coldest places on earth, catch the waves

Martin Pollock in "Resurface"
Martin Pollock in “Resurface” (Photo by Wynn Padula)

Resurface, directed by Josh Izenberg, Wynn Padula. (USA) – New York Premiere. Struggling with trauma and depression after his military service, Iraq war veteran Bobby Lane wants to cross surfing off his bucket list before taking his life.

Under an Arctic Sky, directed by Chris Burkard, written by Ben Weiland, Chris Burkard. (USA) – World Premiere. A group of surfers along with photographer Chris Burkard journey to Iceland’s north coast in search of perfect waves during the largest storm to make landfall in 25 years.

Shorts: Viewfinder
Framing personal impressions of the past

Hilda O'Connell in "Hilda"
Hilda O’Connell in “Hilda” (Photo by Greg Harriott)

Hilda, directed and written by Kiira Benzing. (USA) – World Premiere. Hilda is a realist tribute to octogenarian New Yorker artist Hilda O’Connell who lived shoulder-to-shoulder with the great Abstract Expressionist painters in the ’50s and became a member of the Aegis Gallery in the ’60s.

The Spring, directed by Delaney Buffett, written by Chloe Corner, Delaney Buffett, Katie Corwin. (USA) – World Premiere. In August 2016, seven female filmmakers, all under the age of 25, traveled to Central Florida to film the women of Weeki Wachee Springs, for whom performing daily mermaid shows is more than a job – it’s a craft.

The Godfather of Fitness, directed by Rade Popović, written by Zoran Amar, Rade Popović. (USA, Serbia) – World Premiere. The Godfather of Fitness tells the improbable story of how an ambitious boy from California, obsessed with grueling workouts and good nutrition, became one of the most respected men in the world of fitness.

Love the Sinner, directed by Jessica Devaney, Geeta Gandbhir, written by Jessica Devaney. (USA) – World Premiere. Love the Sinner explores the Evangelical roots of homophobia in the wake of the Pulse shooting.

Watched, directed by Katie Mitchell. (USA) – World Premiere. An intimate and moving exploration of the experience of coming of age – under the gaze of state surveillance.

Woody’s Order!, directed by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, Jeremy Newberger, written by Daniel A. Miller, Ann Talman. (USA) – World Premiere. Actress Ann Talman finally performs the solo show she wrote for her muse: her brother with cerebral palsy.

Shorts: Your Heart’s Desire (Narrative)
The things you want most are often deeply hidden

A scene from "Alive"
A scene from “Alive” (Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival)

Alive, directed and written by Sung Hwan Kim. (South Korea) – International Premiere. A 100-meter sprinter faces challenges around the end of his career and his life. In Korean with subtitles.

Again, directed by Alexis Jacknow, written by Bekah Brunstetter. (USA) – World Premiere. A man watches Groundhog Day over and over and over again.

The World In Your Window, directed and written by Zoe McIntosh. (New Zealand) – North American Premiere. Squeezed into a tiny caravan, eight-year-old Jesse and his grief-stricken father are in limbo, existing more than living – until an accidental friendship with a V8-driving transsexual unlocks the means for Jesse to liberate his father and himself.

Iron Hands (), directed and written by Johnson Cheng. (USA, China) – World Premiere. As a 12-year-old girl prepares for her final test trying out for the traditionally all-boys Chinese youth Olympic weightlifting team, she makes an unlikely connection with the gym’s reclusive groundskeeper. In Chinese with subtitles.

The Escape, directed and written by Paul Franklin. (U.K.) – World Premiere. The Escape asks whether one day we’ll all dream of ordinary lives via the story of Lambert, a normal man who, out of his element in a dangerous part of town, negotiates with the mysterious Kellan for the chance to escape into a fantasy of his own choosing.

The Foster Portfolio directed and written by Danielle Katvan. (USA) – World Premiere. Based on the original short story by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., The Foster Portfolio is an offbeat mid-century tale about a rookie investment counselor who discovers that his penniless client is hiding a million-dollar inheritance in order to conceal a strange double life.

Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival: Sports Shorts, Sponsored by Mohegan Sun
A spectrum of stories, styles, and sports, this collection of athletically-minded short films will take audiences on a decades-spanning journey through some of the most unexpected and entertaining tales from sports legends and amateurs alike.

A film still from "The Amazing Adventures of Wally and the Worm"
A film still from “The Amazing Adventures of Wally and the Worm” (Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival)

The Amazing Adventures of Wally and the Worm, directed by Colin Hanks. (USA) – New York Premiere. When Dennis Rodman hurts his knee with four weeks to go in the Chicago Bulls ’96-’97 NBA championship season, young assistant trainer Wally Blasé is assigned to oversee his rehab, and the two forge a close friendship over 10 wild days of fast living recounted by director Colin Hanks through animation and first-person confessions.

Bump & Spike, directed by Michael Jacobs. (USA) – World Premiere. The spectacular rise and fall of the International Professional Volleyball Association, which existed between 1975–1980 complete with “party lifestyle,” rocking arena matches and stars on the court and in the stands, is chronicled in this Michael Jacobs-directed film.

The Counterfeiter, directed by Brian Biegel. (USA) – World Premiere. Featuring actual wiretapped phone calls and surveillance video, this film explores how the FBI brought down the largest counterfeit operation in U.S. history during the summer of 1998, thanks to the help of some major league baseball players.

Revolution in the Ring, directed by Jason Sklaver. (USA) – World Premiere. The story of Cuban boxer Teofilo Stevenson, who in 1962 chose to stay in his home country rather than defect, this film examines through the lens of Cuban-American politics how his life and the life of the Cuban people were dramatically altered by the embargo. In English, Spanish with subtitles.

Run Mama Run, directed by Daniele Anastasion. (USA) – World Premiere. Run Mama Run is an examination of motherhood and athleticism through the eyes of Sarah Brown, an elite track athlete who will continue to train through pregnancy and postpartum with help of her trainer and husband Darren Brown.

Passes and tickets for the 2017 Festival
Advance selection ticket packages are now on sale. All advance selection packages can be purchased online at www.tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets or by telephone at (646) 502-5296 or toll free at (866) 941-FEST (3378).

Also available for purchase now is The Hudson Pass, an all access pass to screenings and talks taking place at BMCC, Regal, Cinepolis Chelsea, and SVA as well as full access to all events at the Festival Hub at Spring Studios, which includes VR and immersive projects, special screenings with music performances, and access to the lounges.

Single tickets cost $21.00 for evening and weekend screenings, $12.00 for weekday matinee screenings, $40.00 for Tribeca Talks panels and special screenings, $30.00 for Tribeca TV, and $40.00 for Tribeca Immersive. Single ticket sales begin Tuesday, March 28 and can be purchased online, by telephone, or at the ticket outlet located at Cinepolis Chelsea (260 W. 23rd Street). The 2017 Festival will offer ticket discounts on general screenings and Tribeca Talks panels for students, seniors and select downtown Manhattan residents. Discounted tickets are available at Ticket Outlet locations only.

Packages and passes are now available for purchase on the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival App on iTunes and Google Play.

Tickets for events at The Beacon Theatre and at Radio City Music Hall are available for purchase online only beginning March 21, 2017.


2017 ACM Awards: first wave of performers announced

March 7, 2017

ACM Awards

Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley (Photo: by Cliff Lipson/CBS)

The Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards have announced the initial list of performers for the 2017 show, which will take place April 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The performers will include Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, and Maren Morris. The Backstreet Boys will make their debut appearance at the ACM Awards, performing with Florida Georgia Line; the two acts are touring together in 2017.

As previously announced, Keith Urban is the leading award contender for the show: He received the most nominations (seven) for the 52nd Annual ACM Awards. Bryan and Bentley will return for the second year in a row to host the ACM Awards, which is produced for television by Dick Clark Productions. CBS will have the live U.S. telecast.

March 14, 2017 UPDATE: These winners have been announced, and they will be performing at the 2017 ACM Awards:

  • Brothers Osborne – New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year presented by T-Mobile
  • Maren Morris (previously announced performer) – New Female Vocalist of the Year presented by T-Mobile
  • Jon Pardi – New Male Vocalist of the Year presented by T-Mobile

DJ Khaled to host inaugural Summerfest Cruise

March 6, 2017

DJ Khaled
DJ Khaled at the Maxim Super Bowl Party in Houston on February 4, 2017. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Maxim)

DJ Khaled is set to host the first Summerfest Cruise. a hip-hop  music festival that will take place on a Norwegian Sky cruise ship in the Caribbean from June 30 to July 3, 2017.  Future, A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne, Migos and other artists to be announced will perform at the festival. The cruise debarks on June 30, from Miami, and then makes stops in Nassau, Bahamas, and the exclusive private island of Great Stirrup Cay before returning to Miami on Monday, July 3. Cabin prices range from $721 to $1279 per person and can be purchased online at Summerfestcruise.com.

According to a press release, the Norwegian Sky spans 848 feet and features 1,002 state-of-the-art cabins. It is equipped with 11 dining options, 11 bars and lounges, two swimming pools, five hot tubs, a spa and salon, a fitness center, a jogging track, golf driving nets, a basketball and volleyball court, galleria shops, a video arcade and a casino.

In addition to musical performances, Summerfest Cruise 2017 will partner with multiple brands (to be announced) to feature exclusive experiences spanning fashion, sports, gourmet dining and interactive tech and gaming.

in a statement, DJ Khaled commented, “They don’t want us to be on a cruise—so we are going on the most major cruise the world has ever seen—hosted by me and my roster of superstar friends. But don’t get it twisted—Summerfest Cruise 2017 is more than just a cruise, it’s a movement. A movement of good vibes and creative energy. A movement that connects the worlds of music, fashion, culture, technology and design. We’re going to give you everything—the dopest live concerts, spectacular fashion pop-ups, enlightening panels and presentations—this will be one for the books. Don’t play yourself. Reward yourself.”

2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards: Drake is the top winner

March 5, 2017
2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards

Hip-hop star Drake won the most prizes (six) at the fourth annual iHeartRadio Music Awards, which took place March 5, 2017, at the Forum in Los Angeles. The event was televised live in the U.S. on TBS, TNT and truTV and simulcast on iHeartMedia stations nationwide, as well as on the digital music/live streaming radio service iHeartRadio.

Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the show included musical performances by Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, the Chainsmokers featuring Chris Martin, Shawn Mendes, Thomas Rhett, Noah Cyrus and Big Sean. iHeartRadio and Den of Thieves produced the show.

Drake went into the ceremony with 12 nominations, and won prizes such Hip-Hop Artist of the Year and Hip-Hop Album of the Year (for “Views”). The Chainsmokers had 11 nominations and ended up winning five awards:  Best New Artist, Best New Pop Artist, Best Dance Artist, Best Dance Album (for “Collage”) and Dance Song of the Year (for “Closer”).  Other multiple winners included Twenty One Pilots, Justin Bieber, Fifth Harmony and Adele.

The award show had several new categories in 2017. This year’s Best New Artist awards are grouped by music format, with the winners of each genre announced in February. Those winners then became finalists for the top title of Best New Artist presented by the all-new 2017 Subaru Impreza.  All nominees and winners are listed below. For a full list of categories visit iHeartRadio.com/awards.

Category finalists (by alphabetical order) are:


Song of the Year
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Justin Timberlake***
“Cheap Thrills” – Sia featuring Sean Paul
“Closer” – The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey
“One Dance” – Drake featuring Wizkid and Kyla
“Stressed Out” – Twenty One Pilots

Female Artist of the Year
Ariana Grande
Selena Gomez

Male Artist of the Year
Justin Bieber***
Luke Bryan
Shawn Mendes
The Weeknd

Best New Artist
Kelsea Ballerini
The Chainsmokers***
Chance the Rapper
Jose Favela
The Strumbellas
Bryson Tiller

Best Duo/Group of the Year
Florida Georgia Line
The Chainsmokers
Twenty One Pilots***

Best New Pop Artist
Alessia Cara
The Chainsmokers***
Lukas Graham

Pop Album of the Year
“25” – Adele***

Producer of the Year
Benny Blanco***
The Chainsmokers
Mike Elizondo
Greg Kurstin
Max Martin

Alternative Rock Song of the Year
“Bored to Death” – Blink-182
“Dark Necessities” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Heathens” – Twenty One Pilots***
“Ride” – Twenty One Pilots***
“Trouble” – Cage the Elephant

Alternative Rock Artist of the Year
Cage the Elephant
The Strumbellas
Twenty One Pilots***

Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist (New Category)
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Red Sun Rising
The Strumbellas***

Alternative Rock Album of the Year
“Blurryface” – Twenty One Pilots***

Rock Song of the Year
“Bang Bang” – Green Day***
“Dark Necessities” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Take Me Down” – The Pretty Reckless
“The Devil’s Bleeding Crown” – Volbeat
“The Sound Of Silence” – Disturbed

Rock Artist of the Year
Five Finger Death Punch
Red Hot Chili Peppers

Rock Album of the Year
“Hardwired … To Self-Destruct” – Metallica***

Country Song of the Year
“Church Bells” – Carrie Underwood
“Snapback” – Old Dominion
“Somewhere on a Beach” – Dierks Bentley***
“T-Shirt” – Thomas Rhett
“You Should Be Here” – Cole Swindell

Country Artist of the Year
Carrie Underwood
Jason Aldean
Keith Urban
Luke Bryan
Thomas Rhett***

Best New Country Artist (New Category)
Chris Lane
Chris Stapleton
Granger Smith
Kelsea Ballerini***
Maren Morris

Country Album of the Year
“Traveller” – Chris Stapleton***

Dance Song of the Year
“Closer” – The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey***
“Cold Water” – Major Lazer featuring Justin Bieber and MØ
“Don’t Let Me Down” – The Chainsmokers featuring Daya
“I Took a Pill in Ibiza” – Mike Posner
“Let Me Love You” – DJ Snake featuring Justin Bieber

Dance Artist of the Year
Calvin Harris
DJ Snake
Major Lazer
The Chainsmokers***

Dance Album of the Year
“Collage” – The Chainsmokers***

Hip-Hop Song of the Year
“All The Way Up” – Fat Joe and Remy Ma featuring French Montana and Infared
“Controlla” – Drake
“For Free” – DJ Khaled featuring Drake
“One Dance” – Drake featuring Wizkid and Kyla***
“Panda” – Desiigner

Hip-Hop Artist of the Year
DJ Khaled
J. Cole

Best New Hip-Hop Artist
Chance The Rapper***
Kent Jones
Kevin Gates

Hip-Hop Album of the Year
“Views” – Drake***

R&B Song of the Year
“Exchange” – Bryson Tiller
“Needed Me” – Rihanna
“No Limit” – Usher featuring Young Thug
“Sorry” – Beyoncé
“Work” – Rihanna featuring Drake***

R&B Artist of the Year
Bryson Tiller
The Weeknd***

Best New R&B Artist (New Category)
Bryson Tiller***
Kayla Brianna
Ro James

R&B Album of the Year
“Anti” – Rihanna***

Latin Song of the Year
“Ay Mi Dios” – IAmChino featuring Pitbull, Yandel and El Chacal
“De Pies A Cabeza” – Mana featuring Nicky Jam
“Duele El Corazon” – Enrique Iglesias featuring Wisin***
“La Carretera” – Prince Royce
“Ya Me Enteré” – Reik featuring Nicky Jam

Latin Artist of the Year
Enrique Iglesias
J Balvin
Nicky Jam***
Prince Royce

Best New Latin Artist
Carlos Rivera
Christian Daniel
Sofia Reyes

Latin Album of the Year
“Energia” – J Balvin***

Regional Mexican Song of the Year
“Amor Del Bueno” – Calibre 50
“Cicatrices” – Regulo Caro
“Me Está Gustando” – Banda Los Recoditos***
“¿Por Qué Terminamos?” – Gerardo Ortiz
“Solo Con Verte” – Banda Sinaloense MS de Sergio Lizárraga

Regional Mexican Artist of the Year
Banda El Recodo de Cruz Lizárraga
Banda Los Recoditos
Calibre 50***
Gerardo Ortiz
Remmy Valenzuela

Best New Regional Mexican Artist
Adriel Favela
Banda Los Sebastianes
Cheyo Carrillo
Joss Favela***
La Séptima Banda

Regional Mexican Album of the Year
“Recuerden Mi Estilo” – Los Plebes Del Rancho De Ariel Camacho***

Best Lyrics (Socially Voted Category)
“7 Years” – Lukas Graham
“Came Here to Forget” – Blake Shelton
“Cheap Thrills” – Sia featuring Sean Paul
“Closer” – The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey
“Heathens” – Twenty One Pilots
“Love Yourself” – Justin Bieber***
“Scars to Your Beautiful” – Alessia Cara
“Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” – Adele
“Too Good” – Drake featuring Rihanna
“You Should Be Here” – Cole Swindell

Best Collaboration (Socially Voted Category)
“Cheap Thrills” – Sia featuring Sean Paul
“Closer” – The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey
“Don’t Let Me Down” – The Chainsmokers featuring Daya
“This Is What You Came For” – Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna
“Work” – Rihanna featuring Drake***

Best Cover Song (Socially Voted Category)
“All I Ask” – Bruno Mars
“Ex’s and Oh’s” – Fifth Harmony***
“Fast Car” – Justin Bieber
“Hands to Myself” – DNCE
“Here” – Shawn Mendes
“How Will I Know” – Ariana Grande
“Love on the Brain” – Kelly Clarkson
“Purple Rain” – Jennifer Hudson and the cast of “The Color Purple”
“Sound of Silence” – Disturbed
“Too Good” – Zara Larsson

Best Song from a Movie (Socially Voted Category)
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Justin Timberlake (from “Trolls”)
“Falling for You” – Ellie Goulding (from “Bridget Jones’s Baby”)
“Girls Talk Boys” – 5 Seconds of Summer (from “Ghostbusters”)***
“Heathens” – Twenty One Pilots (from “Suicide Squad”)
“Just Like Fire” – Pink (from “Alice Through the Looking Glass”)

Best Music Video (Socially Voted Category)
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Justin Timberlake
“Don’t Let Me Down” – The Chainsmokers featuring Daya
“Formation” – Beyoncé
“Hasta El Amanecer” – Nicky Jam
“Heathens” – Twenty One Pilots
“Hymn for the Weekend” – Coldplay
“I Took A Pill In Ibiza” – Mike Posner
“Pillowtalk” – Zayn
“Side to Side” – Ariana Grande featuring Nicki Minaj
“This Is What You Came For” – Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna
“Work” – Rihanna featuring Drake
“Work From Home” – Fifth Harmony featuring Ty Dolla Sign***

Best Underground Alternative Band: (Socially Voted Category)
Hey Violet
Pierce the Veil***
Sleeping With Sirens
Tonight Alive

Social Star Award (Socially Voted Category)
Alex Aiono from YouTube
Baby Ariel from Musical.ly
Emma McGann from YouNow
Hailey Knox from YouNow
Jack and Jack from Snapchat***
Jacob Sartorius from Musical.ly
Marcus Perez from Facebook
Steph Clavin from Instagram
Todrick Hall from YouTube
xYego from Smule

Best Fan Army presented by Taco Bell (Socially Voted Category)
5 Seconds of Summer – 5SOSFam
Ariana Grande – Arianators
Beyoncé – Beyhive
Britney Spears – Britney Army
Demi Lovato – Lovatics
Fifth Harmony – Harmonizers***
Justin Bieber – Beliebers
Katy Perry – KatyCats
Lady Gaga – Little Monsters
Rihanna – Rihanna Navy
Selena Gomez – Selenators
Shawn Mendes – Mendes Army
twenty one pilots – #twentyonepilots

Best Solo Breakout
Camila Cabello
Niall Horan
Louis Tomlinson
Olivia O’Brien

Best Tour
“A Headful of Dreams Tour” – Coldplay***

Most Thumbed Up Artist of the Year

Most Thumbed Up Song of the Year
Drake featuring Wizkid & Kyla***

Label of the Year

2017 Soul Beach Music Festival: Usher, Mary J. Blige, the Roots, Faith Evans, Cedric the Entertainer to perform

March 2, 2017
Soul Beach Music Festival

Usher,  Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, the Roots and Cedric the Entertainer will perform the 17th annual Soul Beach Music Festival, which will take place  in Aruba from May 24 to 29, 2017. The Roots have teamed up with Usher as his accompanying band, and performed several shows with him in 2016. Blige’s 14th studio album, “Strength of a Woman,” is due out sometime in 2017. In 2016, she co-headlined a tour with Maxwell. Evans was part of the Bad Boy Family reunion tour in 2016. The Roots also serve as the in-house band for NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Usher’s eighth studio album, “Hard II Love,” was released in September 2016.

2017 Tribeca Film Festival: majority of film slate revealed

March 2, 2017

by Carla Hay

Tribeca Film Festival - white logo


Cate Blanchett in “Manifesto” (Photo by Julian Rosefeldt)

Cate Blanchett, Zachary Quinto, Liev Schreiber, Richard Gere, Ed Helms, Chloë Sevigny and Rami Malek are among the stars of feature films that will premiere at the 16th Annual Tribeca Film Festival, which will take place April 19 to 30, 2017, at various locations in New York City. The first Tribeca Film Festival (which was co-founded by   Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff) launched in 2002, in order to revitalize business in downtown Manhattan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

According to the Tribeca Film Festival, the curators of the 2017 festival “chose to reduce the size of the overall program by 20 percent, making this the most selective and focused festival slate yet.” The Competition section features 32 films. The Spotlight Narrative section features 15 fiction films, Spotlight Documentary section has 16 films. The Midnight section consists of five feature films and one documentary.

Clive Davis and Whitney Houston
(Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival)

In February, it was announced that the opening-night film for the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival is the world premiere of the documentary “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives,” at Radio City Music Hall on April 19. The premiere will be followed by a concert with performances by Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson, Earth, Wind & Fire and more artists to be announced.  Directed by Chris Perkel, the film (which is about Davis, a legendary music mogul/producer) is produced by Michael Bernstein of Scott Free Productions, with Ridley Scott and Mary Lisio executive producing alongside IM Global’s Stuart Ford, David Schulhof, and Deborah Zipser. IM Global provided financing for the film.  IM Global is handling all international distribution rights and WME is handling domestic sales.

The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival’s sponsors includes AT&T the presenting sponsor; Lincoln Motor Company, sponsor of the Spotlight screening; and EFFEN Vodka, sponsor of the Midnight screenings.

The following information is an excerpt from a Tribeca Film Festival press release:

To honor Earth Day, which falls during the Festival, the programmers chose to highlight documentaries that focus on critical and timely issues that have an impact on our planet, including climate change, food waste, and animal extinction. Each of these films will screen on Earth Day, April 22, as well as throughout the Festival. This will be reflected in other sections of the festival programming as well, including VR and Tribeca N.O.W

The remaining feature-length films including Galas, the Closing Night Film, and Special Sections will be announced on March 7.

The films selections are as follows:

U.S. Narrative Competition
Tribeca’s U.S. Narrative Competition recognizes the extraordinary work emerging from thriving American independent film communities today, affirming Tribeca’s commitment to discovering and elevating truly fresh, independent voices. These ten films will compete for the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

Zachary Quinto and Jon Hamm in “Aardvark” (Photo by Walter Thomson)

Aardvark, directed and written by Brian Shoaf. (USA) – World Premiere. While battling her own anxieties, therapist Emily Milburton (Jenny Slate) spends her time listening to other people’s problems. Her professional and personal worlds collide when Emily’s newest patient, Josh Norman (Zachary Quinto), walks through her door. Mentally ill and experiencing hallucinations, Josh harbors complex feelings for his estranged brother, Craig (Jon Hamm). Things begin to get interesting when Emily falls for Craig. With Sheila Vand, Tonya Pinkins, Marin Ireland.

Abundant Acreage Available, directed and written by Angus MacLachlan. (USA) – World Premiere. Still reeling over the recent death of their father, siblings Jesse (Terry Kinney) and Tracy (Amy Ryan) are attempting to settle into their new lives in his absence. Their simple existence is unexpectedly disrupted by the sudden arrival of three mysterious brothers, camping on their land and possessing a surprising connection to their family farm. With Max Gail, Francis Guinan, Steve Coulter.

Blame, directed and written by Quinn Shephard. (USA) – World Premiere. Abigail (Quinn Shephard) is an outcast who seeks solace in fantasy worlds. When high school drama teacher Jeremy (Chris Messina) casts her in Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible,’ Abigail’s confidence blooms. But soon her relationship with Jeremy begins to move beyond innocent flirtation, and it in turn fuels a vengeful jealousy that quickly spirals out of control and brings about a chain of events that draws parallels to Salem. With Nadia Alexander, Tate Donovan, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Tessa Albertson.

The Endless, directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, written by Justin Benson. (USA) – World Premiere. Years after escaping a cult as teenagers, brothers Aaron and Justin return to their former home after receiving a mysterious message. While Aaron is quickly drawn back into the fold, Justin remains uneasy. However, neither can deny it when strange events begin happening that seem to mirror the cult’s unusual axioms. Following their Tribeca breakout, “Resolution,” Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead direct and star in another intensely original genre hybrid. With Tate Ellington, Callie Hernandez, James Jordan, Lew Temple.

Flower, directed by Max Winkler, written by Alex McAulay, Max Winkler, Matt Spicer. (USA) – World Premiere. Rebellious and quick-witted, 17-year-old firecracker Erica Vandross (Zoey Deutch) kills time with her friends gawking at older men in bowling alleys and sexually scheming guys out of their money. However, her biggest scheme is still to come when her mother asks her boyfriend and his troubled, fresh-out-of-rehab son to move in with them in this biting dark comedy. With Kathryn Hahn, Adam Scott, Tim Heidecker, Joey Morgan, Dylan Gelula.

Keep the Change, directed and written by Rachel Israel. (USA) – World Premiere. In a support group for adults living with autism, David—a smooth talker struggling to hide his disability—meets a woman with similar learning challenges, and they quickly forge an intimate bond. Starring a cast of nonprofessional actors on the autism spectrum, Keep the Change details an underrepresented community with authenticity, optimism and humor. With Brandon Polansky, Samantha Elisofon, Nicky Gottlieb, Will Deaver, Jessica Walter, Tibor Feldman.

Love After Love, directed by Russell Harbaugh, written by Russell Harbaugh, Eric Mendelsohn. (USA) – World Premiere. The world of a mother and her two adult sons feels emotionally untethered following the death of their family’s patriarch. Andie MacDowell, Chris O’Dowd, and James Adomian deliver searing performances in this absorbing story of a family losing and regaining their equilibrium in the wake of loss. With Juliet Rylance, Dree Hemingway, Gareth Williams.

One Percent More Humid, directed and written by Liz W. Garcia. (USA) – World Premiere. Catherine (Julia Garner) and Iris (Juno Temple) are childhood friends home from college for a hot New England summer. As they attempt to enjoy parties and skinny-dipping and the usual vacation hijinks, a shared trauma in their past becomes increasingly difficult to suppress. As the wedge between the friends grows, they each pursue forbidden affairs to cope. With Alessandro Nivola, Maggie Siff, Philip Ettinger, Mamoudou Athie.

Saturday Church, directed and written by Damon Cardasis. (USA) – World Premiere. 14-year-old Ulysses is a shy and effeminate teen being raised in the Bronx by his strict Aunt Rose. He finds escape in a rich fantasy life of music and dance, and soon with a vibrant transgender youth community called Saturday Church. Damon Cardasis’ directorial debut is a rousing celebration of one boy’s search for his identity. With Luka Kain, Margot Bingham, Regina Taylor, Marquis Rodriguez, MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Alexia Garcia.

Thirst Street, directed by Nathan Silver, written by Nathan Silver, C. Mason Wells. (USA, France) – World Premiere. There’s a fine line between lust and obsession—and for flight attendant Gina (Lindsay Burdge), that line is often difficult to see. Grieving over a lover’s suicide, Gina loses her grip on reality after falling for a suave Parisian bartender. Tribeca alum Nathan Silver (“Actor Martinez”) takes cues from ‘70s Euro erotic psychodramas in this gorgeously retro and piercingly intimate look at one-sided love. With Damien Bonnard, Esther Garrel, Lola Bessis, Jacques Nolot, Françoise Lebrun. In English, French with subtitles.

International Narrative Competition
Representing 20 countries and four continents, Tribeca’s International Narrative Competition is a true global showcase of the best in world cinema today. These 10 international gems will compete for Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

Marie Leuenberger in “The Divine Order” (Photo by Daniel Ammann)

The Divine Order (Die göttliche Ordnung), directed and written by Petra Volpe. (Switzerland) – International Premiere. Political leaders in Switzerland cited ‘Divine Order’ as the reason why women still did not have the right to vote as late as 1970. Director Petra Volpe explores this surprising history through the story of Nora, a quiet housewife from a quaint village searching for the fierce suffragette leader inside her. With Marie Leuenberger, Max Simonischek, Rachel Braunschweig, Sibylle Brunner, Marta Zoffoli, Bettina Sucky. In Swiss-German with subtitles.

Holy Air (Hawa Moqaddas), directed and written by Shady Srour. (Israel) – World Premiere. Desperate to care for his pregnant wife and ailing father, Adam (writer/director Shady Srour) embarks on his latest, riskiest business venture: selling bottled holy air. A sharp comedy set in modern-day Nazareth, Holy Air examines the complicated emotions that go into living as a modern, progressive, Christian family on the world’s most spiritual ground. With Laëtitia Eïdo, Shmulik Calderon, Tareq Copti, Dalia Okal, Bian Anteer. In Arabic, English, French, Hebrew, Italian with subtitles.

Ice Mother (Bába z ledu), directed and written by Bohdan Sláma. (Czech Republic, Slovakia, France) – International Premiere. Hana lives alone in a big villa with only weekly visits from her two belligerent sons and their families to look forward to. While on a stroll with her grandson one day, she rescues Brona, an elderly ice swimmer with a hen for a best friend, from drowning. This encounter invigorates Hana, introducing her to a new hobby and unexpected romance. With Zuzana Kronerová, Pavel Nový, Daniel Vízek, Václav Neužil. In Czech with subtitles.

King of Peking, directed and written by Sam Voutas. (China, USA, Australia) – World Premiere. Big Wong and his son Little Wong are traveling film projectionists, screening Hollywood movies for local villagers. Faced with losing custody of his son, Big Wong starts making and selling illegal bootleg DVDs out of the old movie theater where he works, despite Little Wong’s objections. More than a father-son story, King of Peking is a love letter to cinema. With Zhao Jun, Wang Naixun, Han Qing, Si Chao, Geng Bowen, Yi Long. In Mandarin with subtitles.

Newton, directed by Amit V Masurkar, written by Mayank Tewari, Amit V Masurka. (India) – North American Premiere. India, the world’s largest democracy, is preparing for an election—and with more than 800 million voters, this is a logistical puzzle of epic proportions. With disarming charm, this film probes the nature of democracy as Newton, a young, idealistic office worker, becomes the torch bearer for political fairness when he volunteers to head up a polling station in the deepest jungle for 76 remote voters. With Rajkummar Rao, Anjali Patil, Pankaj Tripathi, Raghubir Yadav. In Hindi with subtitles.

Nobody’s Watching (Nadie Nos Mira), directed by Julia Solomonoff, written by Julia Solomonoff, Christina Lazaridi. (Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, USA, Spain) – World Premiere. After giving up a successful soap opera career in his native Argentina for a chance to make it in New York, Nico finds himself staying afloat with odd jobs bartending and babysitting. In a moving depiction of the vibrant city, Nobody’s Watching questions who is watching and how we adjust ourselves accordingly. With Guillermo Pfening, Rafael Ferro, Paola Baldion, Elena Roger, Cristina Morrison, Kerri Sohn, Marco Antonio Caponi. In English, Spanish with subtitles.

November, directed and written by Rainer Sarnet. (Estonia, The Netherlands, Poland) – International Premiere. Dive into the cold, snowy landscape of 19th-century Estonia, where werewolves and spirits roam free, and Jesus co-exists with kratts, the farmers’ mythological helpers made of tools and bones. Farmer girl Liina’s doomed romance with local boy Hans is at the center of director Rainer Sarnet’s pagan, black and white world, where the characters search for meaning in their surroundings and ponder the existence of the soul. With Rea Lest, Jörgen Liik, Arvo Kukumägi, Katariina Unt, Taavi Eelmaa, Dieter Laser. In Estonian with subtitles.

Sambá, directed by Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas, written by Ettore D’Alessandro, Carolina Encarnacion. (Dominican Republic) – World Premiere. Cisco has his back against the ropes. After spending 15 years in an American jail, he’s returned to the Dominican Republic yet is unable to get a job, a problem compounded by his mother’s ailing health and his younger brother’s delinquent habits. To make money, he’s resorted to illegal street fighting. But Cisco finds a possible salvation in Nichi, an Italian ex-boxer who sees dollar signs in Cisco’s gritty fighting skills. With Algenis Pérez Soto, Ettore D’Alessandro, Laura Gómez, Ricardo A. Toribio. In Spanish with subtitles.

Son of Sofia (O Gios tis Sofias), directed and written by Elina Psykou. (Bulgaria, France, Greece) – World Premiere. Set during the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, 11-year-old Misha is travelling from Russia to live with his mother in Athens in the home of an elderly Greek man she works for. When he learns this man is actually his new father, Misha runs away but doesn’t have the stomach for life on the streets. Returning to his new home, he clings to the stories he grew up with, melding them with reality to create a dark urban fairytale. With Viktor Khomut, Valery Tcheplanowa, Thanasis Papageorgiou, Artemis Havalits, Christos Stergioglou, Iro Maltezou. In Greek, Russian with subtitles.

Tom of Finland, directed by Dome Karukoski, written by Aleksi Bardy. (Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany) – International Premiere. This is the true story of cult artist Touko Laaksonen, better known as Tom of Finland, and the events that influenced his iconic homoerotic drawings. From Finnish army uniforms to motorcycle leathers, Tom finds inspiration in his European post-war surroundings, even as conservative Finland is not quite ready for his transgressive work. Eventually Tom and his art make their way to dazzling Los Angeles in time for the sexual revolution and its aftermath. With Pekka Strang, Lauri Tilkanen, Werner Daehn, Jessica Grabowsky. In Finnish with subtitles.

World Documentary Competition
In its 16 year history, Tribeca’s esteemed documentary competition has showcased discovery directors, future Oscar nominees, and legendary filmmakers. This year’s selection continues the tradition of spotlighting the best in nonfiction film with 12 stories of artists and activists, social justice and personal conflict, politics and romance, and so much more. These films will compete for Best Documentary Feature, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing.

Bobbi Jene and Or in "Bobbi Jene"
Bobbi Jene and Or in “Bobbi Jene” (Photo courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival)

Bobbi Jene, directed by Elvira Lind, written by Elvira Lind, Adam Nielsen. (Denmark, Israel, USA) – World Premiere. In her moving and cinematic documentary, Elvira Lind follows American dancer Bobbi Jene Smith as she makes the decision of a lifetime. Bobbi returns to the U.S., leaving behind a loving boyfriend and a successful 10-year run as a star dancer of the famous Israeli dance company Batsheva. Lind intimately portrays Bobbi’s rigorous creative process as she starts fresh in San Francisco, while still working to maintain a long-distance relationship.

Copwatch, directed by Camilla Hall. (USA) – World Premiere. “Copwatch” is the true story of We Copwatch, an organization that films police activity as a non-violent form of protest and deterrent to police brutality. In her feature film debut, director Camilla Hall crafts an intriguing and timely profile of citizen-journalist-activists- including Ramsey Orta who filmed Eric Garner’s fatal arrest- who seek to disrupt the ever-present challenge of police violence.

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, directed by David France, written by David France, Mark Blane. (USA) – World Premiere. Featuring never-before-seen footage and rediscovered interviews, Academy Award nominee David France (“How to Survive a Plague) follows a new investigation into the mysterious death of self-described “street queen” Marsha P. Johnson. Credited as one of the courageous black transgender activists who instigated the Stonewall Riots of 1969, thereby spearheading the modern gay civil rights movement.

The Departure, directed by Lana Wilson. (USA) – World Premiere. Lana Wilson follows up her award-winning film, After Tiller, with this profile of Ittetsu Nemoto, a Buddhist priest renowned for saving the lives of countless suicidal people. But Nemoto, suffering from heart disease and supporting his wife and young son, risks his life carrying the heavy emotional load to support those who no longer want to live. When saving others takes such a toll, can he find the resiliency to save himself? In Japanese with subtitles.

No Man’s Land, directed by David Byars. (USA) – World Premiere. “We are patriots,” utters one of the characters in David Byars’ detailed, on-the-ground account of the standoff between ranchers occupying Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and federal authorities. That statement—believed to be true by the armed occupiers—underlines the film, which unspools in measured pace and slowly unpacks its loaded meaning.

The Reagan Show, directed by Pacho Velez and Sierra Pettengill, written by Josh Alexander, Pacho Velez, and Fransisco Bello. (USA) – World Premiere. Constructed entirely through 1980s network news and videotapes created by the Reagan administration itself, Velez and Pettengill’s prescient documentary presents Ronald Reagan as the first made-for-TV president—a man whose experience as a performer and public relations expert made him a unique match for an emerging modern political landscape, and for his chief rival: charismatic Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

A River Below, directed by Mark Grieco. (Colombia, USA) – World Premiere. Deep in the Amazon, a renowned marine biologist and a reality TV star are each working to save the indigenous pink river dolphin from being hunted to extinction. When a scandal erupts, ethical questions are raised as murky as the waters of the Amazon River. Mark Grieco’s (Marmato) surprising documentary digs into the ethics of activism in the modern media age. In English, Portuguese, Spanish with subtitles. Earth Day Screening

The Sensitives, directed by Drew Xanthopoulos. (USA) – World Premiere. Meet the Sensitives, people who are debilitatingly sensitive to modern life—electricity, chemicals, you name it. Their symptoms and coping mechanisms might vary, but they all face the unusual and heartbreaking choice of either living in dangerous and uncertain conditions with their loved ones, or in physical and technological isolation. Director Drew Xanthopoulos captures their lives in cinematic verite style.

Shadowman, directed and written by Oren Jacoby. (USA) – World Premiere. In the early 1980s, Richard Hambleton was New York City’s precursor to Banksy, a rogue street artist whose silhouette paintings haunted the sides of Manhattan buildings. Like so many other geniuses of his time, he fell victim to drug addiction, even as his work continued to rise in both demand and value. Shadowman doubles as both a time capsule of a forgotten New York City era, and a redemption story.

A Suitable Girl, directed by Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra, written by Jennifer Tiexiera, Smriti Mundhra and Sarita Khurana. (USA, India) – World Premiere. Dipti, Amrita and Ritu are all young, modern women in India looking to get married—some desperately, some reluctantly. “A Suitable Girl” follows them over the course of four years as they juggle family, career and friends, intimately capturing their thoughts on arranged marriage, giving them a voice, and offering a unique perspective into the nuances of this institution. In English, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi with subtitles.

True Conviction, directed by Jamie Meltzer, written by Jamie Meltzer, Jeff Gilbert. (USA) – World Premiere. There’s a new detective agency in Dallas, Texas, started by three exonerated men, with decades in prison served between them, who look to free innocent people from behind bars. True Conviction follows these change-makers with no small task in front of them as they rebuild their lives and families, learn to investigate cases, work to support one another, and try and fix the criminal justice system.

When God Sleeps, directed and written by Till Schauder. (USA, Germany) – World Premiere. “My songs didn’t make me famous. The fatwa did.” And so we embark on the journey of rapper Shahin Najafi, whose bold style and transgressive lyrics put him in the crosshairs of religious clerics in his native Iran. When God Sleeps tells the story of this tireless artist-activist against the backdrop of the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks and the European right-wing backlash against Middle Eastern refugees. In English, Farsi, German with subtitles.

Supported by The Lincoln Motor Company
With a focus on marquee filmmakers and star performers, The Spotlight Narrative section is a launching pad for some of 2017’s most exciting new independent premieres for a wide audience of film lovers.

Zosia Mamet and Matt Schear as Ben in "The Boy Downstairs"
Zosia Mamet and Matt Schear in “The Boy Downstairs” (Photo by Jon Pack)

The Boy Downstairs, directed and written by Sophie Brooks. (USA) – World Premiere. Zosia Mamet exhibits winsome charm as Diana, navigating the rite of passage of every single New Yorker: the search for an apartment. She seemingly finds a jewel of a home until realizing her downstairs neighbor is her ex whose heart she broke. Like a true New Yorker, she keeps the apartment. With Matthew Shear, Deirdre O’Connell, Sarah Ramos, Diana Irvine.

Buster’s Mal Heart, directed and written by Sarah Adina Smith. (USA) – New York Premiere. A fugitive hotly pursued by rangers reviews the pathway to his present circumstances and finds conflicting stories. A spellbinding Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) brings impressive range to Sarah Adina Smith’s sophomore feature: a twisting, mind-bending thriller in which the typical rules don’t apply, least of all to a man who cannot be certain of anything he’s done. With DJ Qualls, Kate Lyn Sheil, Sukha Belle Potter, Lin Shaye. A Well Go USA release.

Chuck, directed by Philippe Falardeau, written by Jeff Feuerzeig, Jerry Stahl. (USA) – US Premiere. Chuck is the true story of Chuck Wepner (Liev Schreiber), the man who inspired the billion-dollar film series Rocky—a liquor salesman from New Jersey who went 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali. Wepner suffered numerous losses, knockouts, and broken noses in his ten years in the ring, and lived an epic life of drugs, booze, and wild women outside of it. With Elisabeth Moss, Ron Perlman, Naomi Watts, Jim Gaffigan, Michael Rapaport. An IFC Films release.

The Clapper, directed and written by Dito Montiel. (USA) – World Premiere. Ed Helms stars as Eddie Krumble, a professional audience member who gains unwanted notoriety when a late-night talk show turns his life into a national obsession, threatening his budding relationship with gas station attendant Judy (Amanda Seyfried). Directed by Dito Montiel (Boulevard, Tribeca ‘14), The Clapper is a heartfelt comedy featuring Tracy Morgan, Adam Levine, Russell Peters, PJ Byrne, and appearances from Rob Gronkowski, Mark Cuban and the late Alan Thicke.

Dabka, directed and written by Bryan Buckley. (USA) – World Premiere. When rookie journalist Jay Bahadur (Evan Peters) has an inspiring chance encounter with his idol (Al Pacino), he uproots his life and moves to Somalia looking for the story of a lifetime. Hooking up with a local fixer (Barkhad Abdi), he attempts to embed himself with the local Somali pirates, only to find himself quickly in over his head. Based on the true story of one reporter’s risk-taking adventure that ultimately brought the world an unprecedented first-person account of the pirates of Somalia. With Melanie Griffith. In English, Somali.

The Dinner, directed and written by Oren Moverman. (USA) – North American Premiere. Two brothers, congressman Stan and caustic former teacher Paul, are locked in sibling rivalry and are forced to come head to head over a dinner with their wives. As the two couples (Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Steve Coogan and Rebecca Hall) sit down to dine, their dark family secrets are drudged on to the table along with the main course, in this adaptation of the Herman Koch bestseller. With Chloe Sevigny. An Orchard release.

Literally, Right Before Aaron, directed and written by Ryan Eggold. (USA) – World Premiere. Still reeling from his breakup with college sweetheart Allison (Cobie Smulders), Adam’s (Justin Long) world is thrown into further chaos when he’s surprisingly invited to attend her wedding. Over a surreal weekend, he stumbles through a nightmarish rehearsal dinner and drinks his way through the reception as he thinks back on where it all went wrong with the one that got away. Ryan Eggold directs this refreshingly unconventional romantic comedy. With Ryan Hansen, John Cho, Luis Guzmán, Dana Delany, Lea Thompson, Peter Gallagher, and Kristen Schaal.

The Lovers, directed and written by Azazel Jacobs. (USA) – World Premiere. Years into a dispassionate marriage, a long-married couple, both seriously involved with other people, resolve to call it quits. To their surprise, their decision reignites a dormant spark that leads to an impulsive affair. Broadway legend Tracy Letts and the always-luminous Debra Winger shine in writer/director Azazel Jacob’s (“Terri”) latest. With Debra Winger, Tracy Letts, Melora Walters, Aiden Gillen, Tyler Ross, Jessica Sula. An A24 release.

Manifesto, directed and written by Julian Rosefeldt. (Germany) – New York Premiere. All current art is fake. Nothing is original. These are some of the statements exposed in artist Julian Rosefeldt’s stunning piece. Starring Cate Blanchett, we witness a series of vignettes which draw upon artist manifestos that question the true nature of art. A chameleonic Blanchett gives a tour-de-force performance as she transforms in each segment like never before. A FilmRise Release.

Permission, directed and written by Brian Crano. (USA) – World Premiere. Anna (Rebecca Hall) and Will (Dan Stevens) are the definition of long-term monogamy, and with great careers, an impending marriage, and a potential new home, things couldn’t be better. But after a close friend’s joke about her non-existent sexual experience hits too close to home, Anna proposes to Will an experiment to broaden their horizons without sabotaging their relationship: to try an open relationship—together. With Gina Gershon, Francois Arnaud, Morgan Spector, David Joseph Craig, Jason Sudeikis.

Rock’n Roll, directed by Guillaume Canet, written by Guillaume Canet, Rodolphe Lauga, Philippe Lefebvre. (France) – International Premiere. Real-life couple Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard play themselves in this satirical comedy about a couple dealing with aging in the limelight. After Guillaume gets told by a co-star that he’s just not that cool anymore, he goes to increasingly extreme lengths to prove her wrong, putting his happy domestic life to the test. With Gilles Lellouche, Philippe Lefebvre, Camille Rowe, Yvan Attal. In French with subtitles.

Sweet Virginia, directed by Jamie Dagg, written by The China Brothers. (USA) – World Premiere. Jon Bernthal, Rosemarie DeWitt, Imogen Poots, Odessa Young, and a spectacular Christopher Abbott star in this gritty neo-Western with echoes of the early Coen Brothers: a burglary-homicide rattles the residents of a small Alaska town. Jamie Dagg’s sophomore feature is a haunting drama about the predator in each of us, and the prices we pay to start over.

Take Me, directed by Pat Healy, written by Mike Makowsky. (USA) – World Premiere. Ray is in the boutique simulated abduction business. It’s an understandably threadbare market, so he jumps at the chance when a mysterious call contracts him for a weekend kidnapping with a handsome payday at the end. But the job isn’t all that it seems. A black comedy that threads the needle between crime thriller and slapstick farce, Take Me is as twisty as it is funny. With Taylor Schilling, Pat Healy, Alycia Delmore, Jim O’Heir.

Thumper, directed and written by Jordan Ross. (USA) – World Premiere. This suspenseful crime drama follows Kat Carter (Eliza Taylor), the troubled new girl in a school harboring a deep secret. When she attracts the attention of the volatile gang leader Wyatt (a menacing Pablo Schreiber), Kat’s own hidden secrets threaten to put her life in danger. Executive Produced by Cary Fukunaga, the film features raw supporting turns from Lena Headey, Daniel Webber, Ben Feldman, and Grant Harvey.

The Trip to Spain, directed by Michael Winterbottom. (U.K.) – World Premiere. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon reunite with director Michael Winterbottom for another chapter in their hilarious road trip series. This time taking their wit and appetites on a tour through picturesque Spain’s finest fine dining, Coogan and Brydon trade celebrity impressions and witty banter over paella and gazpacho, their comic observations on fame and friendship as dry as the finest Spanish wine. With Marta Barrio, Claire Keelan, Margo Stilley. An IFC Films release.

Supported by The Lincoln Motor Company
Over the past 15 years, Tribeca has solidified itself as one of the preeminent documentary film destinations in the country. The Spotlight Documentary section‘s 16 high-profile world premieres represent the major stories and acclaimed filmmakers that will be making waves in 2017.

A scene from “ACORN and the Firestorm” (Photo by Tony Azios/Pandora Film Center)

ACORN and the Firestorm, directed and written by Reuben Atlas and Sam Pollard. (USA) – World Premiere. For 40 years, the community-organizing group ACORN advocated for America’s poorest communities, while its detractors accused it of promoting government waste and the worst of liberal policies. Riding high on the momentum of Barack Obama’s presidential victory in 2008, ACORN was at its social zenith when a hidden-camera video sparked a national scandal and brought it all crashing down.

AlphaGo, directed by Greg Kohs. (USA) – World Premiere. With simple rules but a near-infinite number of possible outcomes, the ancient Chinese board game Go has long been considered the holy grail of artificial intelligence. Director Greg Kohs’ absorbing documentary chronicles Google’s DeepMind team as it takes on one of the world’s top Go players in a weeklong tournament, pitting man against machine in a competition that reveals as much about the workings of the human mind as it does the future of AI. In English, Korean with subtitles.

Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World, directed and written by Barry Avrich. (Canada) – World Premiere. Barry Avrich’s in-depth and eye-opening documentary pulls back the curtain on the behind-the-scenes dealings revolving around the contemporary art world. Reputable artists, critics, auctioneers and collectors demystify the often illusive and complex relationship between art and commerce in this film, which features extraordinary access to industry players.

ELIÁN, directed by Tim Golden, Ross McDonnell. (Northern Ireland, Ireland, USA) – World Premiere. Thanksgiving, 1999: Two fishermen on the Florida Straits find a young Cuban boy, Elián González, floating alone in an inner tube. Their discovery evolves into a custody battle between Elián’s Cuban father and his Miami-located relatives that brings the conflict between Cuba and the U.S. to the forefront. Eighteen years later, “ELIÁN,” executive produced by Alex Gibney, gives the now grown-up Elián the chance to tell his own side of the story. In English, Spanish with subtitles.

Frank Serpico, directed and written by Antonino D’Ambrosio. (USA) – World Premiere. With unprecedented access to a notoriously reclusive subject, Antonino D’Ambrosio creates a powerful portrait of Frank Serpico, the former NYPD officer who in the 1970s blew the whistle on the corruption and payoffs running rampant in the department. The true story that inspired Sidney Lumet’s American crime classic that bears his name.

Get Me Roger Stone, directed and written by Dylan Bank, Daniel DiMauro, Morgan Pehme. (USA) – World Premiere. With his bespoke suits and collection of Nixon memorabilia, political firebrand and noted eccentric Roger Stone has been a fixture of Republican politics since the 1970s, yet at the same time has always been an outsider. Despite its success, his brand of confrontational (some would say “dirty”) politics was always publicly rejected by the conservative mainstream, though with the shocking ascendancy of his longtime pet project Donald Trump (interviewed in the film), Stone—the ultimate political trickster—would likely say he was just ahead of his time. A Netflix release.

Gilbert, directed by Neil Berkeley, written by Neil Berkeley, James Leche. (USA) – World Premiere. Legendary comedian Gilbert Gottfried has had quite a career. Rocketing to fame in the 1980s, he was thrust into the public consciousness almost immediately thanks to his brash personality, unique worldview, and off-kilter comic timing. Now, foul-mouthed and unapologetic after decades of flying solo in both his work and in his personal life, Gilbert has shockingly reinvented himself…as a family man. With Jay Leno, Bill Burr, Jeff Ross, Whoopi Goldberg, Howie Mandel.

A Gray State, directed by Erik Nelson. (USA) – World Premiere. Christmas, 2014: filmmaker, veteran and charismatic up-and-coming voice of alt-right politics David Crowley and his family are killed in their suburban Minnesota home. Their shocking deaths quickly become a cause célèbre for conspiracy theorists. Executive produced by Werner Herzog, A Gray State combs through Crowley’s photographs, videos and recordings to investigate what happens when an ideology becomes an all-consuming obsession.

Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS, directed by Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested, written by Mark Monroe. (USA) – World Premiere. Chronicling Syria’s descent into unbridled chaos, this gripping and insightful work captures the Syrian war’s harrowing carnage, political and social consequences, and, most importantly, its human toll. From personal stories of family survival and tragedy to keen insight from top experts from around the world, acclaimed filmmaker and author Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested create an informative and comprehensive documentary, as the story continues to unfold. In English, French, Arabic, Kurdish with subtitles. A National Geographic release.

Hondros, directed by Greg Campbell, written by Greg Campbell, Jenny Golden. (USA) – World Premiere. Beginning with the war in Kosovo in 1999, award-winning photographer Chris Hondros served as a witness to conflict for over a decade before being killed in Libya in 2011. In Hondros, director and childhood friend Greg Campbell creates a portrait of a man with not only great depth and sensitivity, but a passion for his craft, and an unending talent for creating breathtaking imagery. Executive produced by Jake Gyllenhaal. In Arabic, English with subtitles.

I Am Evidence, directed by Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir. (USA) – World Premiere. Every year in cities around the United States, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of rape kits are left untested in police storage facilities. Produced by Mariska Hargitay, I Am Evidence exposes this shocking reality, bringing attention to the way in which police have historically processed sexual assault cases. Through an exploration of survivors’ accounts, the film sheds light on these disturbing statistics, and shows what can be achieved when evidence—and the individuals it represents—are treated with the respect we all deserve. An HBO Documentary Film release.

LA 92, directed by Daniel Lindsay, TJ Martin. (USA) – World Premiere. Few images are seared into the American consciousness with the anger and clarity of the beating of Rodney King and the riots following his abusers’ acquittal. Twenty-five years later, Academy Award-winning directors Daniel Lindsay and TJ Martin draw on archival news images and unseen footage to paint an in-depth portrait of those riots and the tempestuous relationship between Los Angeles’ African-American community and those charged with protecting it. A National Geographic release.

No Stone Unturned, directed by Alex Gibney. (USA, Northern Ireland) – World Premiere. In 1994, six men were gunned down and five wounded in a pub while watching a World Cup soccer match in Loughinisland, Northern Ireland. With a police investigation that was perfunctory at best, the case remained unsolved. In this non-fiction murder mystery, Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney reopens the original case to investigate why no culprit was ever brought to justice.

WASTED! The Story of Food Waste, directed by Anna Chai and Nari Kye. (USA) – World Premiere. Each year, $218 billion—or 1.3 billion tons—of food is thrown out. With nearly a billion people worldwide facing starvation, food conservation is a more urgent issue than ever before. Executive produced by Anthony Bourdain, Chai and Kye’s fast-paced and forward-thinking food doc takes viewers on a tour of inventive new ideas for recycling waste and maximizing sustainability from innovative chefs like Massimo Bottura, Dan Barber and Danny Bowien, who turn scraps into feasts before our eyes. Earth Day Screening

Whitney. “can I be me,” directed by Nick Broomfield and Rudi Dolezal, written by Nick Broomfield. (U.K.) – World Premiere. Whitney Houston was the most awarded female recording artist of all time, with more consecutive number one hits than The Beatles, and on top of that she was America’s Sweetheart. Yet despite her fame, talent, and success, she died tragically at the age of 48. Featuring largely never-before-seen footage and Broomfield and Dolezal’s moving documentary tells the story of the girl behind the voice. A Showtime release.

Year of the Scab, directed by John Dorsey. (USA) – World Premiere. During the 1987 NFL strike, teams scrambled to assemble temporary replacements to fill in for their boycotting players. The Washington Redskins were notable for their “scabs,” a collection of cast-offs who nonetheless rode a surprising wave of momentum against all odds. “Year of the Scab” revisits this ultimate underdog story and the men whose ordinary lives were interrupted. Those so-called “scabs” helped break the strike and bring their team to victory, only to struggle for their place in the sports history books.
An ESPN Films release.

Encompassing documentaries, narratives, and hybrid work, American and international films, first time filmmakers and Oscar nominees, Viewpoints is Tribeca’s home for bold directorial visions, underrepresented perspectives, and innovative style.

A scene from “City of Ghosts” (Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios)

City of Ghosts, directed by Matthew Heineman. (USA) – New York Premiere, Documentary. The fearless citizen-journalists of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” (RBSS) risk their lives on a daily basis to document and expose the atrocities of the Islamic State in their home city of Raqqa, Syria. Academy Award-nominee Matthew Heineman (“Cartel Land”) returns to Tribeca with an immersive and deeply personal documentary chronicling the lives of these activists. In Arabic with subtitles. An Amazon Studios release.

Dog Years, directed and written by Adam Rifkin. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Vic Edwards (Burt Reynolds) was one of the biggest movie stars in the world, known for his mustachioed good looks and cocky swagger. With his Hollywood glory a distant memory, the now-octogenarian Vic is prompted to reassess his life with the passing of his beloved dog and the arrival of an invitation to receive a lifetime achievement award from the (fictional) International Nashville Film Festival. With Ariel Winter, Chevy Chase, Clark Duke, Ellar Coltrane, Juston Street.

The Family I Had, directed by Katie Green and Carlye Rubin, written by Tina Grapenthin, Katie Green, Carlye Rubin. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. In “The Family I Had,” a mother recalls how her seemingly brilliant teenage son came to shatter their idyllic family through one horribly violent and shocking act. Now, left to pick up the pieces, the survivors test the boundaries of their newly defined reality in this moving true crime exploration of the nature and limits of familial love.

The Farthest, directed and written by Emer Reynolds. (Ireland) – International Premiere, Documentary. On the 40th anniversary of Voyager’s eleven-billion-mile flight (and counting), experience a comprehensive behind-the-scenes account from those who built and nurtured this unprecedented deep space achievement. Emer Reynolds creates a vivid celebration of curiosity and exploration for the most audacious project in human history, and one of humankind’s greatest successes.

Flames, directed and written by Zefrey Throwell and Josephine Decker. (USA) – World Premiere. Filmed over five years, “Flames” follows real-life couple Josephine Decker and Zefrey Throwell from the white-hot passion of first love to the heartbreak of breaking up. But for these two filmmakers, the end of the relationship wasn’t the end of the story. As they continue filming, reconstructing what happened and where it went wrong, lines begin to blur between what was real and what was “the film”—if there’s even a difference anymore. With Hollis Witherspoon, Michael Melamedoff, Joe Swanberg, Matthew Levy.

For Ahkeem, directed by Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Soest. (USA) – North American Premiere, Documentary. Beginning one year before the events in Ferguson, Missouri, Levine and Van Soest’s intimate and cinematic “For Ahkeem” is the coming of age story of 17-year-old Daje Shelton in neighboring North St. Louis. Falling in love and fighting with mom, Daje struggles with typical teen growing pains, but also must increasingly combat the institutional and social roadblocks that keep black teens like her from succeeding in America.

The Last Animals, directed by Kate Brooks, written by Kate Brooks and Mark Monroe. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Photojournalist Kate Brooks turns her lens from war zones to a new kind of genocide in this sweeping and sobering film. As the single-digit population of the Northern White Rhino ticks closer to extinction, Brooks exposes the epidemic of highly effective poachers and trafficking syndicates, and the heroic efforts of conservationists, park rangers, and scientists to protect these majestic creatures. In Czech, English, French, Lingala with subtitles. Earth Day Screening

Mr Long, directed and written by SABU. (Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan R.O.C., Germany) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Following an assignment gone wrong in Tokyo, professional Taiwanese hitman Mr. Long (Chang Chen) finds himself stranded without a passport in a run-down Japanese village. So naturally Long does what any cold-hearted killer would do in his situation: befriend the locals and open a wildly popular noodle cart. Moving artfully between scenes of slickly choreographed violence and charming, whimsical drama, Japanese director SABU’s latest is a refreshing twist on the gangster genre, offering a surprisingly tender and heartwarming fable of redemption. In Japanese, Mandarin, Taiwanese with subtitles.

My Art, directed and written by Laurie Simmons. (USA) – North American Premiere, Narrative. For artist Ellie Shine (Laurie Simmons), age really isn’t anything but a number. Unhappy with where her career has gone, the single New Yorker flees upstate to recharge her creative spark away from the big city’s various distractions. There, she attracts the romantic interests of three men who accompany Ellie on an odd and unexpected journey toward finding her late-blooming artistic momentum. With Lena Dunham, Robert Clohessy, John Rothman, Josh Safdie, Parker Posey, Blair Brown, Barbara Sukowa.

My Friend Dahmer, directed and written by Marc Meyers. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Before Jeffrey Dahmer became one of the most notorious serial killers of all time, he was a teenage loner. Conducting grisly experiments in a makeshift backyard lab, Jeff was invisible to most, until his increasingly bizarre behavior unexpectedly attracted friends. Based on the cult graphic novel, My Friend Dahmer chronicles the origins of the man, the monster…the high school senior. With Ross Lynch, Anne Heche, Dallas Roberts, Alex Wolff, Tommy Nelson, and Vincent Kartheiser.

Pilgrimage, directed by Brendan Muldowney, written by Jamie Hannigan. (USA, Ireland) – World Premiere, Narrative. In 13th-century Ireland, a cadre of monks travel through the war-torn countryside on a mission to bring their land’s most sacred relic to Rome. But other forces are gaining on them, as the true significance of the relic becomes dangerously apparent. A period drama crossed with an action/adventure road movie, “Pilgrimage” delivers a profound lesson on religious fervor and the savagery of soldiers with a cause. With Tom Holland, Richard Armitage, Jon Bernthal, John Lynch, Stanley Weber.

A Thousand Junkies, directed by Tommy Swerdlow, written by Tommy Swerdlow and TJ Bowen. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Three heroin addicts crisscross Los Angeles in search of relief in this comedy balanced on the fine line between reliance and dependence. With a sensitive eye and gift for the absurd, writer/director/co-star Tommy Swerdlow crafts both the inevitable and the wholly unexpected: a drug movie that struggles to find any drugs, and a road movie that drives in circles. With TJ Bowen, Blake Heron, Bill Pullman, Steven Weber, Dinarte de Freitas.

The Wedding Plan (Laavor et HaKir), directed and written by Rama Burshtein. (Israel) – New York Premiere, Narrative. Spirited bride-to-be Michal is dumped by her fiancé a month before their wedding. Undeterred, she keeps her wedding date, leaving it to fate to provide a suitable groom. With invitations sent, venue booked, and the clock counting down to the big day, Michal goes to increasingly elaborate lengths in her search for Mr. Right, in writer-director Rama Burshtein’s (“Fill the Void”) funny and poignant romantic comedy. With Noa Kooler, Amos Tamam, Oz Zehavi. In Hebrew with subtitles. A Roadside Attractions release.

Supported by EFFEN® Vodka
Tribeca’s Midnight section is the destination for late night audiences to discover the best in psychological thriller, horror, sci-fi, and cult cinema. This year’s six selections offer new genre experiences for even the most extreme viewer.

Milo Ventimiglia in “Devil’s Gate” (Photo by David Bukach)

Devil’s Gate, directed by Clay Staub, written by Peter Aperlo, Clay Staub. (Canada, USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Struggling to overcome a recent professional tragedy, a tough-as-nails FBI agent (Amanda Schull) relocates to a small North Dakota town to investigate the disappearance of a local woman and her young son. The search leads to the missing woman’s husband’s (Milo Ventimiglia) secluded farm, on which answers, new mysteries, and God-fearing terrors await. Not to mention, something locked and caged down in the basement. With Shawn Ashmore, Bridget Regan, Jonathan Frakes.

Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine, directed by Patrick O’Dell. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. “Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine” charts the rise and fall of the irreverent, boundary-pushing Big Brother Magazine, whose taboo-breaking stunts and unapologetically crass humor spawned MTV’s “Jackass” and a generation of skaters. Featuring a trove of original footage and interviews with the magazine’s major players, “Dumb” celebrates the lowbrow legacy of this touchstone of ’90s counterculture. With Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, Steve Rocco, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Tony Hawk, Chad Muska. A Hulu release.

Hounds of Love, directed and written by Ben Young. (Australia) – New York Premiere, Narrative. Dark forces lurk behind the sunny façade of an unassuming Australian suburb in Ben Young’s stylish directorial debut. This ‘80s-set true crime thriller follows 17-year-old Vicki on the night she’s abducted by a disturbed couple. While bound to a bed inside of the kidnappers’ home and subjected to psychological and physical torture, Vicki must find a way to drive a wedge between her unhinged captors and escape by any means necessary. With Emma Booth, Ashleigh Cummings, Stephen Curry, Susie Porter, Damian de Montemas, Harrison Gilbertson. A Gunpowder & Sky release. Presented in partnership with Venice Days.

Psychopaths, directed and written by Mickey Keating. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Over the course of one excessively blood-soaked night, multiple serial killers’ paths cross, leaving a trail of bodies and begging the question: Which psychopath will live to see morning? One of the most exciting and unclassifiable new voices in indie horror, Mickey Keating delivers his wildest ride yet with this ultra-stylish and uber-violent descent into madness. With Ashley Bell, James Landry Hébert, Mark Kassen, Angela Trimbur, Larry Fessenden, Jeremy Gardner, Sam Zimmerman.

Super Dark Times, directed by Kevin Phillips, written by Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski. (USA) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Teenagers Zach and Josh have been best friends their whole lives, but when a gruesome accident leads to a cover-up, the secret drives a wedge between them and propels them down a rabbit hole of escalating paranoia and violence in Kevin Phillips’ atmospheric ‘90s-set mystery-thriller. With Owen Campbell, Charlie Tahan, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Max Talisman, Sawyer Barth, Amy Hargreaves.

Tilt, directed by Kasra Farahani, written by Jason O’Leary, Kasra Farahani. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. There’s something off about Joe. Although his pregnant girlfriend, Joanne, supports him as he devotes more and more time to his passion project, a sprawling documentary about America’s “golden age,” both the film and Joe are becoming increasingly unhinged. Joanne is growing worried about Joseph’s odd behavior…but not as worried as she should be. With Joseph Cross, Alexia Rasmussen, Kelvin Yu, Jessy Hodges, CS Lee.

2017 Juried Feature Film Awards
Awards in the three main competition sections will be determined by a jury and presented in the following categories: Founders Award for Best U.S. Narrative Feature; Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature; Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature; Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature; Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature; Best International Narrative Feature; Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature; Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature; Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature; Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature; Best Documentary Feature; Best Editing in a Documentary Feature; and Best Cinematography in a Documentary Feature.

In addition to the awards for U.S. Narrative, International Narrative, and World Documentary Competition the Festival juries will present awards for the Best New Narrative Director and The Albert Maysles Award (Best New Documentary Director) for first-time feature directors in any section.

One narrative film directed by or written by a woman with a film making its North American, International, or World Premiere will receive the Nora Ephron Award, which recognizes a woman who embodies the spirit and vision of the legendary filmmaker and writer Nora Ephron.

March 3, 2017 UPDATE:

The 2017 Storyscapes selections include six projects from four countries, three of the projects are world premieres. One project will be selected by a jury to receive the Storyscapes Award, presented by AT&T, which recognizes groundbreaking approaches in storytelling and technology.

Moe Black in “Blackout” (Photo by Scatter)

Blackout (World Premiere)
Project Creators: Scatter: Alexander Porter, Yasmin Elayat, James George, Mei-Ling Wong
Key Collaborators: Hannah Jayanti Antfood
“Blackout” is an ongoing participatory, volumetric VR project gathering the reflections of real people living in today’s tense political climate through the lens of the New York subway. By creating a rotating, ‘crowd-sourced’ cast, Blackout addresses the impossible task of representing the extraordinary breadth of human experience in New York City. Each viewing of Blackout is different, surrounding you with a unique group of straphangers taking you to the places their minds go between destinations.

Draw Me Close (World Premiere)
Project Creator: Jordan Tannahill
Canadian playwright-director Jordan Tannahill partners with the National Theatre and the National Film Board of Canada to create “Draw Me Close,” a vivid memoir about his relationship with his mother in the wake of her terminal cancer diagnosis. Collapsing the worlds of live performance and animation to create an unforgettable encounter between a mother and her son,
“Draw Me Close” tells the story of their past and what is to be their future. This special presentation is a world premiere of the first chapter of “Draw Me Close.”

The Island of the Colorblind (International Premiere)
Project Creator: Sanne de Wilde
Key Collaborators: IDFA DocLab, de Brakke Grond
What does color mean to those who can’t see it? In the late eighteenth century a catastrophic typhoon swept over Pingelap, a tiny atoll in the Pacific Ocean. One of the few survivors carried a rare gene that causes achromatopsia, a condition that includes the inability to distinguish colors. Over generations, the islanders ended up perceiving their world in black and white. “The Island of the Colorblind” invites the audience to explore this shift in perception through de Wilde’s photography and an interactive installation

The Last Goodbye (World Premiere)
Project Creators: Gabo Arora, Ari Palitz
Key Collaborator: Stephen Smith, Here Be Dragons, MPC, Otoy, LightShed and USC Shoah Foundation
In July of 2016, Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter toured the Majdanek Concentration Camp in what he vowed would be his final visit. By marrying a stereo video capture of Pinchas within a photoreal roomscale experience, The Last Goodbye reaches profound levels of immersion in service of the first ever VR testimony that will be archived and preserved. The importance of listening to Pinchas’ story is more important now than ever and this is also a beautiful testament to love, compassion and the human spirit.

NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism (New York Premiere)
Project Creators: Hyphen-Labs – Ashley Baccus-Clark, Carmen Aguilar y Wedge, Ece Tankal, Nitzan Bartov
Imagined futures and contemporary realities come together in “NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism,” a multidisciplinary exploration of women of color’s experience through the lens of technology, society and culture. The project includes speculative products, immersive experiences and neuroscientific research. In the VR experience, discover the neurocosmetology lab, a kind of beauty salon, where instead of ordinary braids, customers are fitted with transcranial electrodes that allow access to a surreal alternate world.

TREEHUGGER : WAWONA (North American Premiere)
Project Creator: Marshmallow Laser Feast
Key Collaborators: Natan Sinigaglia, Mileece I’Anson, Cinekid Foundation, STRP, Southbank Centre and Migrations.
“TREEHUGGER : WAWONA” is an interactive installation that combines today’s cultural hunger for beautiful immersive experiences with art, science, data, environmentalism and technology. Centered on a vast sculpture of a giant redwood tree, the viewer dons a VR headset, places their head into the tree’s knot and is transported into its secret inner world. The longer someone hugs the tree, the deeper they drift into treetime: a hidden dimension that lies just beyond the limit of our senses.

The Virtual Arcade selections include 23 projects from six countries, 17 of which are world premieres:

A project still from “Alteration” (Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival)

Alteration (World Premiere) – France
Project Creator: Jérôme Blanquet
Key Collaborators: James Sénade, Yann Apéry, Antoine Cayrol, Baptiste Chesnais, Pierre Zandrowicz, Jean-françois Blanquet
This is a poetic trip into the future: Alexandro volunteers for an experiment carried out to study dreams. He can’t imagine that he will be subjected to the intrusion of Elsa, a form of Artificial Intelligence who aims to digitize his subconscious in order to feed off it. She’s a vampire…bit by megabit.

Apex (World Premiere)- The Netherlands/USA
Project Creator: Arjan van Meerten
Key Collaborator: Wevr
The stunning new experience from the brilliant imagination of 3D artist and musician Arjan van Meerten, “Apex” is the highly anticipated follow up to the creator’s acclaimed and award-winning experience, “Surge.” Step into a surrealistic and darkly beautiful vision of a fiery urban apocalypse; one populated by skeletal ghost animals, abstract shapes, maniacal smiling giants and, of course, you.

Arden’s Wake (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Eugene Chung
Key Collaborators: Jimmy Maidens
The sea levels have risen, and a young woman and her father live in a lighthouse perched atop the ocean’s surface. When he goes missing, she descends deep into the post-apocalyptic waters previously forbidden to her, embarking on a thrilling journey of family history and self-discovery. From the creators of the magnificent “Allumette” (Tribeca 2016), “Arden’s Wake” continues the elegant evolution of storytelling from Penrose Studios.

Auto (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Steven Schardt
In the near future, self-driving taxi services employ “safety drivers,” a transitional measure of comfort for passengers. On his first day, Musay, an Ethiopian immigrant with 40 years of driving experience, picks up a couple habituated to the service. Not content — not comfortable — with merely sitting, Musay insists on driving, instigating a series of events with substantial consequences.

Bebylon – Battle Royale (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Cory Strassburger, Ikrima Elhassan
Key Collaborators: Alex Underhill, Giray Ozil, Jennifer Chavarria
From the minds at Kite + Lightning, this comedic arena battle experience blends a satirical narrative with revolutionary head-to-head VR gaming. Set in a futuristic status conscious society, players compete as crude, narcissistic, immortal babies for fame and fortune. Wielding weaponized status symbols such as gold-plated selfie sticks and big-fisted battle buggies, you can be the “beby” of your most shameless rock star fantasy.

Becoming Homeless: A Human Experience (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Stanford University
Key Collaborators: Elise Ogle, Tobin Asher, Jeremy Bailenson
Everyone’s story is unique, but the human experience is collective. In this interactive first-person VR experience, you will face the adversity of living without a home. From Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, “Becoming Homeless” aims to change the way some may think and act about the epidemic of homelessness that exists globally.

Broken Night (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Alon Benari, Tal Zubalsky, Alex Vlack
Key Collaborators: Eko, Hidden Content, Real Motion VFX
“Broken Night” explores a woman’s (Emily Mortimer) unreliable narrative of an intense trauma. Speaking to a detective, her confused memories unfold: returning home in the midst of a fight with her husband (Alessandro Nivola),they encounter an intruder. The viewer is placed in a position of choosing which memories to follow, sharing her confusion before coming to the startling truth.

Extravaganza (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Ethan Shaftel
“Extravaganza” mixes 3D animation and live-action footage in a bitingly funny satire. You are a puppet trapped in a stunningly offensive puppet show, performing for a clueless executive (Paul Scheer). Confronted with his glaringly obvious blind spots and prejudices, Extravaganza asks: can technology change society for the better, or does it just magnify our worst traits in new ways?

Hallelujah (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Zach Richter, Bobby Halvorson, Eames Kolar
Key Collaborators: Chrissy Szczupak, Orin Green, Jess Engel, ECCO VR, International Orange Chorale of SF, Chris Milk, Aaron Koblin
“Hallelujah” is a revolutionary virtual reality music performance that reimagines Leonard Cohen’s most well-known song. It is the world’s first VR music experience to provide an uncompromised sense of presence with six degrees of freedom using Lytro Immerge technology. A Within Original.

Life of Us (New York Premiere) – USA
Project Creators: Chris Milk, Aaron Koblin
Key Collaborators: Megan Ellison and Annapurna Pictures, Pharrell Williams, Made with Unity, McKenzie Stubbert, Jona Dinges
Life of Us is a shared VR journey from Within that tells the complete story of the evolution of life on earth.

The Other Dakar (World Premiere) – Senegal
Project Creator: Selly Raby Kane
Key Collaborators: Electric South, Goethe Institut
A little girl receives a message and discovers the hidden face of Dakar. An homage to Senegalese mythology and a stunningly visual debut from Dakar-based artist and designer Selly Raby Kane, this magical 360 film transports viewers to a place where past and future meet and where artists are the beating heart of the city.

The People’s House (World Premiere) – Canada
Project Creators: Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël (Felix & Paul Studios)
“The People’s House” takes you on a historic visit of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s White House. Through the transportive power of VR, The Obamas take you on an intimate journey inside the West Wing, Executive and Private Residences, reflecting on their time there, and recounting the building’s profound history since its creation over two centuries ago.

The Possible: Hoverboard (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: David Gelb
Key Collaborators: Chris Milk, June Cohen, Patrick Milling-Smith, Samantha Storr, Ari Palitz
If you could have just one superpower, what would it be? For Alexandru Duru, the answer is obvious: the ability to fly. That’s why he founded Omni Hoverboards, which has transformed hoverboard technology from dream to reality. In “Hoverboard”–the season finale of Within’s first original series, The Possible–you’ll follow Alexandru and his team as they build and test a prototype—then experience the freedom of flight for yourself.

The Protectors: Walk in The Ranger’s Shoes (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Kathryn Bigelow, Imraan Ismail
From Academy Award-winning director Katheryn Bigelow and acclaimed VR creator Imraan Ismail,
“The Protectors” chronicles a day in the life of the rangers in Garamba National Park. These rangers are often the last line of defense in a race against the poachers intent on slaughtering elephants for their ivory tusks. The rangers face constant danger and even death, at the service of these sentient, noble creatures.

Rainbow Crow (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Eric Darnell, Maureen Fan, Larry Cutler, Claudia Southmartin, Kane Lee
Key Collaborators: Michael Hutchinson, Nathaniel Dawson
From the director of “Madagascar,” “Invasion!” (Tribeca 2016), and “Asteroids!” comes Baobab Studio’s latest visionary VR animation. The carefree forest animals imagine spring will last forever. However, winter comes and the animals soon realize that their lives are in danger. What they need is a hero; what they need is Rainbow Crow. Step inside a moving, soon-to-be classic, musical experience for all ages.

Remember: Remember (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Kevin Cornish
If our minds are a map of every memory we’ve had, what do we become if those memories are stripped away? In this cinematic, room-scale VR experience set against the backdrop of an alien invasion, you are a prisoner being brainwashed by a lost love. As you cycle through your memories, the two of you begin to question what is real and what is imagined.

Sergeant James (North American Premiere) – France
Project Creator: Alexandre Perez
Key Collaborators: Avi Amar
It’s Leo’s bedtime, but he thinks there is something under his bed. Is it just the harmless imagination of a young boy, or something more sinister? Is it…you? From director Alexandre Perez, “Sergeant James” recaptures the innocence of youth, the wonder of the unknown, and the folly of fear, while hinting at a far creepier possibility.

Step to the Line (New York Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Ricardo Laganaro
Key Collaborators: Defy Ventures/ Oculus VR for Good
Shot entirely on location in a California maximum security prison, “Step to the Line” is a documentary that aims to provoke a transformation in the spectator’s eyes about prisoners, the prison system, and even themselves. In this project, we see how release from incarceration can be just as jarring as intake and how parallel lives diverge when someone serves time.

Sword of Baahubali (New York Premiere) – India
Project Creator: SS Rajamouli, Arka Mediaworks
Key Collaborators: Radeon Technologies Group & CNCPT LA
Two friends find themselves on a battlefield, as the armies of Bhalladeva and Shivudu are set to charge into battle. As they watch the action unfold, they are unexpectedly asked to participate. Their mission – to find a legendary warrior’s sword and deliver it to him, ensuring victory. Based on S.S. Rajamouli’s “World of Baahubali,” India’s biggest movie franchise.

Talking With Ghosts (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Ric Carrasquillo, Roman Muradov, Sophia Foster-Dimino, Maria Yi
Key Collaborators: Wesley Allsbrook, Matthew Chadwick, Sebastien Chevrel, Tauni Oxborrow, Saschka Unseld, Oculus Story Studio.
“Talking With Ghosts” is the next wave of emerging art in the field of Illustrative VR. Following the success of “Dear Angelica,” Oculus Story Studio decided to enhance its painting app Quill with comic-like storytelling functionality, enabling anyone to tell their own illustrative stories in VR. The resulting works are called Quill Stories and “Talking With Ghosts” is a compilation of the very first of their kind, entirely painted and told in VR by four remarkable artists. Made in collaboration with Oculus Story Studios.

Testimony (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Zohar Kfir
Key Collaborators: Selena Pinnell
Recent events have dramatically shifted the conversation around sexual abuse in the United States. Despite persistent victim-shaming and the discounting of their experiences, abuse survivors are increasingly coming forward, empowering one another to become agents of change. “Testimony” is an interactive documentary presenting the narrative accounts of sexual abuse survivors, using virtual reality to engage viewers with an intimate, motion-driven interface.

Tree (New York Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Milica Zec, Winslow Porter
Key Collaborators: Aleksandar Protic, Jakob Kudsk Steensen
See and feel what it is like to become a tree in this haptically enhanced VR experience. With your arms as the branches and your body as the trunk, you experience the growth from a seedling to its fullest form, taking on its role in the majestic rain forest and witnessing its fate firsthand.
Unrest (World Premiere) – France/USA
Project Creator: Arnaud Colinart, Jennifer Brea, Amaury La Burthe
Key Collaborators: Diana Barrett (Fledgling Fund), Lindsey Dryden (Little By Little Films)
From the award-winning team behind “Notes pn Blindness,” “Unrest” allows audiences to access the world of chronic illness and disability in an exploratory, user-led experience. Based on the documentary film of the same name, the project draws upon sensory meditations on pain, fatigue, and neurosensory symptoms, and allows the public a visceral personal experience of a hard-to-understand condition.

Passes and tickets for the 2017 Festival
Advance selection ticket packages are now on sale. All advance selection packages can be purchased online at tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets, or by telephone at (646) 502-5296 or toll free at (866) 941-FEST (3378).

Also available for purchase now is The Hudson Pass, an all access pass to screenings and talks taking place at BMCC, Regal, Cinepolis Chelsea, and SVA as well as full access to all events at the Festival Hub at Spring Studios, which includes VR and immersive projects, special screenings with music performances, and access to the lounges.

Single tickets cost $21.00 for evening and weekend screenings, $12.00 for weekday matinee screenings, $40.00 for Tribeca Talks panels and special screenings, $30.00 for Tribeca TV, and $40.00 for Tribeca Immersive. Single ticket sales begin Tuesday, March 28 and can be purchased online, by telephone, or at the ticket outlet located at Cinepolis Chelsea (260 W. 23rd Street). The 2017 Festival will offer ticket discounts on general screenings and Tribeca Talks panels for students, seniors and select downtown Manhattan residents. Discounted tickets are available at Ticket Outlet locations only.

Packages and passes are now available for purchase on the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival App on iTunes and Google Play.

2017 Coachella Festival: Lady Gaga replaces Beyoncé as headliner

February 28, 2017

2017 Coachella Festival

Lady Gaga and Beyoncé
Lady Gaga (pictured at left) and Beyoncé (pictured at right). (Photos courtesy of CBS)

Lady Gaga has replaced Beyoncé as a headliner at the 2017 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which will take place April 14 to April 16 and April 21 to April 23 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. Lady Gaga will headline the Saturday shows on April 15 and April 22. Beyoncé dropped out of the festival on February 23, because of her pregnancy (she’s due to give birth to twins sometime in mid-2017), but it has been announced that Beyoncé plans to make up for the cancellation by being a headliner at the 2018 Coachella Festival.  Radiohead will headline the 2017 Coachella Festival on April 14 and April 21, while Kendrick Lamar will headline on April 16 and April 23. Other performers at Coachella in 2017 include Bon Iver, Future, the XX, Lorde, Travis Scott and Justice. The event is produced by Goldenvoice, a division of AEG Presents.


Why the 2017 Oscar mistake wasn’t a publicity hoax and 5 other Oscar ‘alternative facts’ debunked

February 28, 2017

by Carla Hay

Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel (pictured at left) looks on as Oscar presenter Warren Beatty (pictured at right) explains the infamous Oscar mistake
Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel (pictured at left) looks on as Oscar presenter Warren Beatty (pictured at right) explains the infamous Oscar mistake. (Photo by Eddy Chen/ABC)

It didn’t take long for the conspiracy theories to start after the biggest mistake in Oscar history was broadcast live for millions of people around the world to see at the 89th Annual Academy Awards, which took place the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 26, 2017.

To recap, in case you’re one of the few people who haven’t heard about it yet: The wrong winner was announced for Best Picture. The producers of the contemporary musical “La La Land” were on stage for an entire two minutes while giving their acceptance speeches when it was announced that “La La Land” was not the winner for Best Picture. The coming-of-age drama “Moonlight” was, in fact, the real winner. The “La La Land” team had to literally hand over the Oscars they thought they had won to the “Moonlight” team. How embarrassing.

It was determined that the wrong envelope had been given to presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, who therefore announced the wrong winner. The video of this incident quickly went viral, but many people on the Internet started spreading stories that the whole thing was a rigged publicity stunt to boost the Oscar ceremony’s ratings. This conspiracy theory couldn’t be farther from the truth, and here’s why:

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the longtime accounting firm for the Academy Awards, has a legally binding contract to not reveal the voting results to anyone other than to a select few people at the firm. Not even the Oscar telecast’s producers, host or the network executives (the people who would have the most to gain from publicity stunts for the show) know who won until the winner is announced on stage. The Oscar statuettes handed out on stage do not have the winners’ names on the statuettes—the winners’ names are engraved on these awards after the ceremony.


PricewaterhouseCoopers, which issued a formal apology for the envelope error, makes such a big deal out of showing the locked briefcases where the Oscar envelopes are held, that the two PricewaterhouseCoopers employees entrusted with this responsibility of handing out the sealed envelopes actually walk the red carpet and pose for pictures with the briefcases. Each employee carries the same envelopes in case something happens that would prevent one of the employees from handing over the envelopes in  time.

Because of the millions of dollars at stake, PricewaterhouseCoopers would not put their business and reputation on the line for such an elaborate publicity stunt that would only harm the company. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, whose members do the Oscar voting, also issued a separate apology, even though PricewaterhouseCoopers is taking full responsibility for the fiasco.

And if it were a publicity stunt, it was a poorly timed stunt that didn’t work. Why wait until the very end of the show (which dragged on way past its scheduled end time) to do it? It would have made more sense to pull a publicity stunt at the beginning of the show or before the show in order to get people to tune in for higher ratings. According to the Nielsen Company and The Hollywood Reporter,  ratings for this year’s Oscars dropped to 32.9 million U.S. viewers, which is a 4 percent decrease from the previous year.

The fact that the mistake wasn’t corrected for two whole minutes (which is a long time on live TV) indicates that the show’s producers didn’t know what a humiliating, colossal mistake had been made on their live TV broadcast. Beatty, Dunaway and the “La La Land” team certainly didn’t know who the winner was in advance, because it would be insane and financially non-beneficial to them to embarrass themselves on TV in this manner for the sake of boosting TV ratings.

PriceWaterHouse Coopers employee Brian Cullinan (pictured at right) on the Oscar red carpet before the show at the Dolby Theatre on February 26, 2017.
PricewaterhouseCoopers employees Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan on the Oscar red carpet before the show at the Dolby Theatre on February 26, 2017. (Photo by Tyler Golden/ABC/Tyler Golden)

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ U.S. chairman Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, two of the company’s employees who had the responsibility of handing out the correct envelopes during the Oscar ceremony, were among the few people who knew in advance who the real winner was. Why did it take them so long to correct the mistake on stage? That is currently being “investigated,” according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Sometimes a mistake this big really does happen because of an unintentional error. It’s time to let the conspiracy theories go.

March 1, 2017 UPDATE: PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Academy have announced that Cullinan and Ruiz have now been prohibited from any PricewaterhouseCoopers activities related to the Oscars.

Here are five other “alternative facts” (in other words, things that aren’t true) about recent Academy Awards that have spread over the Internet and by some media outlets, along with the real truth to debunk the false reports:

Are Ben Affleck and Casey Affleck the first brothers to win Oscars?

No. In a backstage interview at the 2017 Academy Awards, Casey Affleck (winner of Best Actor, for “Manchester by the Sea”) said that he and his older brother Ben Affleck are the only brothers to win Oscars. In fact, brothers Joel and Ethan Coen each won three Oscars on the same night for directing, writing and producing the 2007 movie “No Country for Old Men.” The Coen brothers won the awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Ben Affleck has two Oscars: Best Picture (for producing the 2012 drama “Argo”) and Best Original Screenplay (for co-writing the 1997 drama “Good Will Hunting.”) Ben Affleck has not received Oscar nominations as an actor or director; he was famously snubbed by not getting an Oscar nomination for directing or starring in “Argo.”

Is “Moonlight star” Mahershala Ali the first Muslim to win an Oscar?

No. Because religion is such a sensitive and private issue for many, it’s difficult to know who really was the first Muslim to actually win an Oscar. It may be obvious to look to the Best Foreign Film category to make assumptions about which Oscar winners were Muslim (for example, the 2011 Iranian film “A Separation” won in that category), but the Academy Awards have many lower-profile categories such as technical awards and short-film awards that a Muslim could have won in those categories long before “Moonlight” star Ali won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. As for the Oscar categories for actors and actresses, Iranian-American actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, who has openly discussed being Muslim, won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the 2003 drama “House of Sand and Fog.”

Is Sam Smith the first openly gay person to win an Oscar?

No. In 2016, Oscar winner Sam Smith mistakenly declared in his acceptance speech that he was the first openly gay person to win an Oscar. Smith—whose “Writing’s on the Wall” tune (from the James Bond film “Spectre”) won the Oscar for Best Original Song—was soon corrected on social media that he wasn’t the first openly gay person to win an Oscar. Elton John won the same Oscar for co-writing the 1994 “The Lion King” hit song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” Smith later made a public apology for his mistake.

Did “Moonlight” writer/director Barry Jenkins become the first African-American to win an Oscar for Best Picture?

No. An African-American has not yet won this prize. However, “12 Years a Slave” director/producer Steve McQueen (who is British) became the first black person to win an Oscar for Best Picture. The Oscar for Best Picture goes to the eligible producer(s) of the film, not the director or the stars of the movie, unless a director or star of the movie is also one of the eligible producers of the film.

In the case of “Moonlight,” the Oscar for Best Picture was awarded to producers Jeremy Kleiner, Dede Gardner and Adele Romanski, who are all Caucasian. Jenkins was not one of the producers of “Moonlight.” Kleiner and Gardner also previously won a Best Picture Oscar for the 2013 film “12 Years a Slave,” whose Oscar-winning producers also included McQueen, Brad Pitt and Anthony Katagas.

Did “Moonlight” writer/director Barry Jenkins become the first African-American to win an Oscar in a screenplay category?

No. Geoffrey S. Fletcher became the first African-American to win a screenplay Oscar for the 2009 movie “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.” Fletcher received the prize for Best Adapted Screenplay. John Ridley, who is also African-American, won the same award for “12 Years a Slave.”

Barry Jenkins and the ‘Moonlight’ team backstage at the 2017 Academy Awards

February 27, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 89th Annual Academy Awards took place on February, 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.


Oscar wins:

Best Picture (for producers Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner)

Best Adapted Screenplay (for Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney)

Best Supporting Actor (for Mahershala Ali)

Here is what these Oscar winners said backstage in the Academy Awards press room.

Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski and Barry Jenkins at the 2017 Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski and Barry Jenkins at the 2017 Academy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Mike Baker/©A.M.P.A.S.)


What went through your head when “La La Land” was announced the winner of Best Picture, and then just a couple of minutes later it was “Moonlight”?

Barry Jenkins (writer/director): I think all the movies that were nominated were worthy, so I accepted the results. I applauded like everyone else. I noticed the commotion that was happening, and I thought something strange had occurred.  And then I’m sure everybody saw my face. But I was speechless when the result … that was awkward, because I’ve watched the Academy Awards, and I’ve never seen that happen before. And so it made a very special feeling even more special, but not in the way I expected.

“Moonlight” feels a bit life‑changing because it’s such an experience of filmmaking for us as audience members. For you guys, being so involved in the project, what will you remember the most about this life‑changing experience for you?

Jenkins: The last 20 minutes of my life have been insane. I don’t think my life could be changed any more dramatically than what happened in the last 20 or 30 minutes. But I also think, too, working on this film with everyone here, all the cast that is somewhere drinking champagne, I’m sure, it’s just been otherworldly, I will say.

And I never expected so many people to see the film, but even a step further, so many people see themselves in the film. I was in Germany, and this guy stood up and said, “I’m from rural Germany, you know, and 20 minutes into this film, I didn’t see Alex Hibbert. I saw myself.” And that was how I felt in working on it. I had one idea of what I was doing, and then I realized that everyone else was bringing this other thing that was much more beautiful than my idea could ever be. So, yeah, beyond life‑changing.

Given the impact that “Moonlight” has had, do you think that this will help break down barriers for more stories about LGBT people of color?

Tarell Alvin McCraney (writer): The hope that we have today about telling stories is that those people, the ones who we are leaning on to make those stories, were watching and found the platform that they saw they could stand on.  I remember sitting back somewhere watching Dustin Lance Black accept for “Milk,” and thinking, “Maybe one day … me.” And here I am. So if that’s any indication, I hope we are moving in that vein.  I hope the storytellers up here and their proud journey here can imprint on someone out there watching, that they too can stand here too, and also tell their stories as daringly, as intimately as possible.

Jeremy Kleiner (producer): I might just add … because I didn’t get a chance to thank ‑‑ we didn’t get a chance to thank our courageous distributor, A24. This project didn’t really have a lot of comps. It was kind of outside of, like, the modeling of what, you know, a movie should be in terms of return on investment and that. And I think that this outcome for “Moonlight,” independently of tonight, but just the effect it’s had domestically around the world hopefully creates some incentives to make stories like this in all different forms.  So that ‑‑ and that was not far from our minds as well.

This question is for Barry Jenkins. What explanation were you given for the mixup tonight?

Jenkins: No explanation. Things just happen, you know? But I will say I saw two cards.  And so things just happen, you know? I wanted to see the card to see the card. And Warren [Beatty] refused to show the card to anybody before he showed it to me. And so he did. He came upstairs, and he walked over to me, and he showed the card.

Everybody was asking, Can I see the card? And he’s like, “No, Barry Jenkins has to see the card.  I need him to know.” And he showed it to me, and I felt better about what had happened. I will say to all you people, please write this down: The folks from “La La Land” were so gracious. We spent a lot of time together over the last six months, and I can’t imagine being in their position and having to do that. I wasn’t speechless because we won. I was speechless because it was so gracious of them to do that.

What did the card say?

Jenkins: The card said, “Best Picture: ‘Moonlight.’ Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski.” But there were two cards.

Did you all have speeches prepared for Best Picture?  And if so, what were you going to say?

Adele Romanski (producer): Yeah, we might have had a couple ideas. But I think the way that what went down, we kind of had to roll with it.  I feel good about what was said.  But I have to admit it was a bit of a fugue state, and I don’t know that I remember it. We didn’t thank people that we probably should have thanked.

Jenkins: Yeah, I absolutely wanted to thank A24 a thousand times because when I first set out to make this film with Adele, there was a budget that we had, and you guys know what the budget is now. It’s 1.5 [million dollars]. The budget we were offered before that was much, much smaller. And without us asking, they increased that budget because they believed in the project. They never told us to alter anything in that process.

So my whole acceptance speech was going to be in thanks to them, because it’s amazing to be Barry Jenkins right now, but it was not a year and a half ago for a guy who made a movie for $13,000 and hadn’t made a movie in seven years at that point. So I was going to give as much love to them as I possibly could with my time on the mic. And it’s unfortunate that things happened the way they did. But hot damn, we won Best Picture.

Barry, for you this has been a long time coming, and it’s been a long journey for you.  Ironically, the stories or the themes told in “La La Land” could apply to you as well. What are your feelings toward Los Angeles and this city and the people in it?

Jenkins: I love L.A.!  How could I not right now? You know, I’ll speak about “La La Land.” When I saw Justin [Horowitz, one of the producers of “La La Land”] at Telluride, I told him that I hadn’t been home in about two months. And I can see my apartment in the background of the opening shot of that film, and I was nostalgic for L.A., which is a crazy feeling for a guy from Miami who’s always had a hard time in L.A.

But you’re right. This is a fulfillment of a lot of things. And I also would have thanked Darnell Martin who gave me my first job in this city. Yeah, she took Chiron and said, Hey, come be my assistant and learn everything I have to teach you. So a lot of things have come full circle right now. This circle was much bigger than I ever could have imagined for myself or for this film.

But it feels good, man, you know. And I guess anything’s possible because most of the voters who voted us Best Picture, they reside here in Los Angeles, and yet they voted a film about a marginalized character from a marginalized community told in a very unorthodox way into Best Picture. And so, God bless L.A.

First off, why do you think that “Moonlight” resonated so deeply with audiences? And secondly, how do you think that winning this Oscar is going to change your life or your career?

Jenkins: I mean, my career, that part’s pretty clear. You know, I write an e‑mail, somebody’s going to reply at this point. Or I make a phone call, somebody is going to call back. So that part is cool.

But why this film? You know, I can’t say. I kind of took it off the table when we came to making this. I mean, Tarell put so much truth in what he wrote in the piece “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.” I try to take truth and manifest it on screen. And the only thing I can speak to is that whatever authenticity, whatever fire this guy had in his belly, people saw it, and they reflected the same fire in their belly.

McCraney: Barry does this often where he deflects the fact that, you know, sure, I may have brought my truth to the table in the original script. However, what Barry continued to do when he rewrote the script and when he started shooting, when he started casting, when he was working with those actors, was continue to see himself in those moments, those intimate moments. And everybody can relate to that, because we all know that moment that we felt awkward, because Barry found the moment he was awkward, and he put it on screen.

And so for me, that’s the lightning rod that keeps bringing people back.  We’re putting our true feelings, our true selves there.  And this man did it, you know, in 25 days with a cast and crew who was in and out in Miami in the dreaded heat, but we did that with love and compassion and fullness.  I think that’s what keeps bringing people back to the cinema.

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