Review: ‘Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own,’ starring Ursula von Rydinsgvard

May 29, 2020

by Carla Hay

Ursula von Rydingsvard in “Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own” (Photo courtesy of Icarus Films)

“Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own”

Directed by Daniel Traub

Culture Representation: Taking place in New York City and other parts of the world, this documentary about sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard features a predominantly white group of people (with some Asians) talking about von Rydingsvard’s life and career.

Culture Clash: Coming to America as a child from a large immigrant family, von Rydingsvard overcame childhood abuse, poverty and self-doubt to become one of the leading sculptors in the art world.

Culture Audience: “Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own” will appeal primarily to enthusiasts of fine art.

Ursula von Rydingsvard in “Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own” (Photo courtesy of Icarus Films)

Whether or not sculpture is someone’s preferred art form, the documentary “Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own” offers a compelling look into the life and artistic process of notable sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard. The movie would be worth seeing, even if it only showed her creativity, but New York City-based von Rydingsvard (who participated in the documentary) also opens up about how she overcame personal and professional obstacles to get where she is now.

Throughout the film (skillfully directed by Daniel Traub), von Rydingsvard and her team of assistants are shown creating what was one of her most ambitious pieces up to that point: “Uroda,” a copper sculpture commissioned by Princeton University in New Jersey, where the sculpture currently stands outside the university’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. The massive sculpture (which includes steel and bronze) was completed in 2015, and the documentary shows the two-year journey in creating it.

“Uroda” was somewhat outside of von Rydingsvard’s comfort zone, since she made a name for herself as a sculptor whose specialty was cedar wood. She remembers in the documentary that her preference for cedar wood came about when a monk artist named Michael Mulhern gave her cedar wood to work with when she was a young artist. She was immediately struck by the “soft” and “sensuous” feel of the cedar wood and the feeling that she “could really get carried away” with working with this material.

In the documentary, von Rydingsvard also explains why wood has a big emotional connection for her. Born in 1942, she grew up Germany with her Ukranian father and Polish mother, who were peasant famers forced to work for the Nazis. (Her parents had had nine children, including Ursula.) After Germany was defeated in World War II, the family lived in Displaced Persons camps. She remembers that at those camps, “Everything was made of wood … in a rough, rugged way. There was a kind of safety that the wood gave me.”

But things weren’t always safe in the family household, since von Rydingsvard and her younger brother Stas Karoliszyn say in the documentary that their father was physically and emotionally abusive to all of his children. The children would endure vicious beatings and degrading insults from heir father. The abuse got worse after the family immigrated to the United States in 1950, because von Rydingsvard believes that her father had an inferiority complex about being an immigrant.

According to von Rydingsvard, art was an outlet to express her emotions: “I’m so glad I did something with that anger and pain.” Her brother agrees: “Her artwork is her driving force, always.” He adds that their mother was a source of healing strength for the family: “We would not have survived the camps.”

In school, von Rydingsvard’s artist talent was recognized from an early age. She remembers being someone who was often chosen to do artwork for the school, such as make posters or Christmas decorations. “It gave me special attention that was positive,” she says. She says later in the film about art: “It helped enable me to figure myself out as something other than lazy and stupid and worthless.”

But growing up in working-class Plainview, Connecticut, there weren’t any professional artists that she knew about, so it never crossed her mind that she could make a career out of being a professional artist. She comments, “I have a tremendous yearning to be an artist. And somehow, I thought that I really didn’t deserve that. And it took most of my life, actually, to gain confidence.”

The journey to become a professional artist wasn’t an easy one for von Rydingsvard. Despite knowing from an early age that she liked making art, she was confined by traditional gender roles (in an era when it was much harder for women to be accepted into the art world than men) and was trapped in a bad marriage to a violent schizophrenic. She ended the marriage after nine years because she said she could no longer help her husband and she feared for the safety of herself and their daughter Ursie.

At the age of 33, von Rydingsvard moved from Oakland, California, to New York City, where she says she felt reborn. Even though she was a financially struggling divorced mother, she felt inspired to become a professional artist for the first time because the New York artist scene was filled with a variety of women who helped pave the way for her to find her place in the art world. She also says that nature has always been her biggest art inspiration.

Her daughter Ursie remembers growing up at that time in a “raw” SoHo loft “before living in a loft was cool.” And Ursie says that even though she and her mother were poor and living off of food stamps, it was a time of great freedom and artistic discovery for her mother. Ursie recalls the one main rule she had when she was growing up: “‘Do what you want. Just don’t set off the sprinklers.’ That was my childhood.”

Ursie also remembers that because of her mother’s decision to be a wood sculptor, “I would go to sleep to the sound of chainsaws,” which Ursie says almost had a “lullaby” effect on her. Living under financial hardship brought mother and daughter closer together. “It was a very tight, close relationship,” Ursie says.

One of the first pieces by von Rydingsvard that got attention in New York City was 1980’s “St. Martin’s Dream, a wood sculpture in Battery Park that resembled birds perched on a long fence. Several other von Rydingsvard pieces are seen and mentioned in the documentary including “Uroda,””Dumma,” “St. Eulalia,” “Sunken Shadow and Echo,” “Ocean Floor,” “Mama Your Legs,” “Ene Du Rabe,” “For Paul,” “Bent Lace” and “Scientia.”

Several people from the New York City art world are interviewed in the documentary about von Rydingsvard, including artist Sarah Sze and art patrons Agnes Gund and Lole Harp McGovern. Adam Weinberg, the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Alice Pratt Brown director, comments that “the essence of her work is touch.” Galerie Lelong president Mary Sabatino adds, “Her process is laborious. Her process is almost medieval.” Fellow artist Judy Pfaff calls von Rydingsvard “very driven,” “focused” and “very disciplined.”

Studio owner Elka Krajewska comments that part of von Rydingsvard’s identity that comes through in her art is “definitely the immigrant story, coming into this world that’s very new, and trying to figure out how … to deal with it” Art writer Patricia C. Phillips says, “I think Ursula loves beauty, but I don’t think she’s really setting out to make beautiful things. And I think she’s also setting out to make things that unsettle us a little bit. It’s why I think people find it fascinating.”

As for what von Rydingsvard thinks about beauty, she comments in a conversation with her second husband, Paul Greengard, a Nobel Prize-winning brain scientist/researcher from Yale University. (Greengard and von Rydingsvard got married in 1985. He died in 2019, at the age of 93.) “I actually hate the word ‘beauty,'” von Rydingsvard says. “I feel very uncomfortable using it because nobody actually knows what it means.”

She continues in her thoughts on beauty: “Everybody has their own understanding of it. It’s kind of an idealized state, and I’m not even sure anything like that exists. There’s  no criteria for beauty. There’s no criteria to art, to begin with. You can’t define it.”

Greengard then smiles and says to her, “I started going out with you because of your beauty.” She smiles back and indicates that she’s flattered. It’s an endearing moment in the film that shows how much these two still loved each other after decades of being married.

Some of the documentary’s footage is at Richard Webber Studio in Brooklyn, where much of her art is constructed. Richard Webber and von Rydingsvard have been longtime colleagues. She gives credit to the team of workers who assist her in building her visions. Far from being an aloof leader, von Rydingsvard is hands-on by doing a lot of the labor too, and she eats meals with her team, whom she calls “superb.”

“I like them all so much,” von Rydingsvard says. “The fact that we have lunches together every day—all of that’s an important part of the mix. We’re always extremely respectful. That’s an atmosphere that we created that works to help make the art.” Members of von Rydingsvard’s team are interviewed in the film include studio manager Sean Weeks-Earp, cutter Ted Springer and cutter/studio assistant Morgan Daly, who echo the camaraderie spirit.

One of the best aspects of “Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own” is the excellent cinematography from Traub, with assistance from cinematographer Michelle Zarbafian. From the lingering closeups to the rapturous views, the movie provides a visual feast of an experience, which is the next best thing to seeing von Rydingsvard’s art in person. The neo-classical musical score from Simon Taufique also complements each scene in a mood-perfect way.

“Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own” isn’t a long film (the total running time is only 57 minutes), but it packs in a meaningful chronicle of von Rydingsvard’s lifetime of art and experiences. The movie is bound to please fans of the artist, as well as win over new admirers of her unique talent.

Icarus Films released “Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own” through the virtual cinema program of Film Forum in New York City on May 29, 2020. The movie’s virtual cinema release in other U.S. cities begins on June 5, 2020.

2020 Tribeca Film Festival: jury winners announced

April 29, 2020

Tribeca Film Festival - white logo

The following is a press release from the Tribeca Film Festival:

 The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, announced the winners for the 2020 juried competition, awarding top honors from this year’s program. Tribeca has continued its commitment to celebrating storytellers while the 19th edition, previously set to take place April 15-26, 2020 in New York City, is being rescheduled.

The Half of It was honored with The Founders Award for Best U.S. Narrative Feature; The Hater for Best International Narrative Feature; and Socks On Fire for Best Documentary Feature. Shorts awards went to No More Wings for Best Narrative Short; My Father The Mover for Best Documentary Short; Friends for Best Animated Short and Cru-Raw for the Student Visionary Award. The Nora Ephron Award went to director Ruthy Pribar for her feature Asia. The award was created seven years ago to honor excellence in storytelling by a female writer or director who embodies the spirit and boldness of the late filmmaker. The full list of films and filmmakers honored are highlighted below.

“We are fortunate that technology allowed for our jury to come together this year to honor our filmmakers,” said Tribeca Film Festival Co-Founder and CEO Jane Rosenthal. “Despite not being able to be together physically, we were still able to support our artists, which has always been at the heart of the Festival.”                                                                                    

“While we are not yet able to celebrate these incredible films at their premieres, we are so proud to celebrate them in partnership with our generous jurors through our 2020 Tribeca awards,” said Festival Director Cara Cusumano. “The jury chose to recognize a daring, innovative, entertaining, diverse group of films and filmmakers, and the Festival is pleased to honor all of them with our first ever virtual awards ceremony.”

 Tribeca’s Art Awards, in partnership with CHANEL, honor winners in select categories with original pieces from ten world-class artists, a tradition since the Festival’s beginning. This year’s selections were curated by notable gallerist Vito Schnabel.

 As announced in early April, select programming from the 2020 edition was made available online for the public, industry, and press. This included: Immersive programming/Cinema360, the N.O.W. Creators Market, Tribeca X, Extranet Industry Resource Hub. Additional online programming will be announced in the coming weeks including Tribeca Talks @ Home, which debuted last week with Cinema360 discussions and will continue on May 3rd featuring the creators of selections from the 2020 program. More information can be found here. Projects included are: Bad Education (HBO), Inheritance (DirecTV/Vertical), I Promise (Quibi), Normal People (Hulu), Not Going QuietlyThe Great (Hulu), The Half of It (Netflix).

 Winners of the juried awards, presented by AT&T; Art Awards in partnership with CHANEL; Tribeca X, sponsored by PwC; and the jury participants are as follows:

U.S. NARRATIVE COMPETITION CATEGORIES:

The jury comprised of Cherien DabisTerry Kinney and Lucas Hedges awarded the following:

Daniel Diemer and Leah Lewis in “The Half of It” (Photo by KC Bailey/Netflix)

Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature – The Half of It, directed by Alice Wu.

  • Jury Comment: “The film is so charming, it’s so energetic, it’s so fun, it’s so well-paced, it’s directed with such a sure hand, it’s a really confident film and the characters are really well drawn and the actors were fantastic.”
  • Art Award: Julian Schnabel‘s Le Scaphandre et le Papillon, 2007. Oil on map.

Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Assol Abdullina, Materna.

  • Jury Comment: “Assol just has so much compelling energy; her emotions ran so deep…we cared about her dilemma.”
Sasha Knight and Steve Zahn in “Cowboys”

Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Steve Zahn, Cowboys.

  • Jury Comment: “Steve showed great range in playing this character.”
Lindsay Burdge and Jade Eshete in “Materna” (Photo by Greta Zozula)

Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Materna, Greta Zozula, Chananun Chotrungroj, Kelly Jeffrey, Cinematographers.

  • Jury Comment: “The visuals were striking and played with color, light and dark, in a very interesting way.”
  • Special Jury Mention for Cinematography: My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To.
Steve Zahn and Sasha Knight in “Cowboys”

Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Cowboys, Anna Kerrigan, Screenwriter.

  • Jury Comment: “A beautiful portrait of a father and his transgendered son.”

INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE COMPETITION CATEGORIES:

The jury comprised of Sabine HoffmanJudith GodrècheDanny BoyleWilliam Hurt, and Demián Bichir awarded the following:

Maciej Musiałowski and Agata Kulesza in “The Hater” (Photo by Jaroslaw Sosinski)

Best International Narrative Feature – The Hater (Poland), directed by Jan Komasa.

  • Jury Comment: “Incredibly relevant for today; we were really impressed by the way it portrayed a character that is not immediately empathetic but really got us into the journey and the story.”
  • Art Award: Helen Marden‘s January Golden Rock, 2020. Watercolor on paper.
  • Special Jury Mention: Ainu Mosir
“Kokoloko”

Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature Film – Noe Hernandez, Kokoloko (Mexico).

  • Jury Comment: “For his raw and brave performance, taking a giant leap of faith, hand-to-hand with his director.”
Shira Haas and Alena Yiv in “Asia” (Photo by Daniella Nowitz)

Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature Film – Shira Haas, Asia (Israel).

  • Jury Comment: “Her face is a never-ending landscape in which even the tiniest expression is heartbreaking; she’s an incredibly honest and present actress who brings depth to everything she does.”
Alena Yiv in “Asia” (Photo by Daniella Nowitz)

Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature Film – Asia (Israel)Daniella Nowitz, Cinematographer.

  • Jury Comments: “We were impressed with how the cinematography was supporting the emotionality of the story and was allowing us to really deeply feel with the characters.”

“Very simply and beautifully done.”

Ashish Vidyarthi and Suhasini Maniratnam in “Tryst With Destiny”

Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature Film – Tryst With Destiny (India, France), Prashant Nair, Screenwriter.

  • Jury Comments: “How cleverly conceived and executed this script was!” “Beautifully made film.”

 

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION CATEGORIES:

The jury comprised of Yance FordRegina K. ScullyRyan Fleck, Chris Pine, and Peter Deming awarded the following:

 

Bo McGuire in “Socks on Fire” (Photo by Matt Clegg)

Best Documentary Feature – Socks on Fire, Bo McGuire, Director.

  • Jury Comment:  “The film used new techniques woven into documentary filmmaking and narrative storytelling.”
  • Art Award: Sterling Ruby‘s DRFTRS, 2020. Collage, paint and glue on paper.
  • Special Jury Mention: Wonderboy
Eduardo San Juan Breña in “499” (Photo by Alejandro Mejía/AMC)

Best Cinematography in a Documentary Film – 499, Alejandro Mejia, Cinematographer.  

  • Jury Comment: “The filmmakers did an incredible job of weaving this fictional story into what’s happening today with the disappeared and to marry such grand visions that cinema can only do.”

 

‘Father Soldier Son” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Best Editing in a Documentary Film – Father Soldier Son, Amy Foote, Editor.

  • Jury Comment: “Such a well-crafted film from start to finish; a story that stays with you.”

BEST NEW NARRATIVE DIRECTOR COMPETITION:

The jury comprised of Lukas Haas, Juno Temple, Nat Wolff, Grace Van Patten, and James Ponsoldt awarded the following:

Jorge Garcia in “Nobody Knows I’m Here”

Best New Narrative Director – Nobody Knows I’m Here, Gaspar Antillo, Director.

  • Jury Comment: “A film that felt vital and alive, and every time we thought we knew who the protagonist was or what the world was it evolved and revealed more of itself to us.”
  • Art Award: Rita Ackermann‘s The Working Woman 3, 2018. Oil, crayon and graphite on paper.

BEST NEW DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR COMPETITION:

The jury comprised of Erin Lee CarrStacey ReissJosh HutchersonJoel McHale, and Gretchen Mol awarded the following:

“Jacinta”

Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award – Jacinta, Jessica Earnshaw, Director.

  • Jury Comments: “Incredibly engaging filmmaking,” “very moving, beautifully done.”
  • Art Award: Gus Van Sant‘s Achelous and Hercules, 2016. Enamel on paper.
  • Special Jury mention: The Last Out

THE NORA EPHRON AWARD:

The jury comprised of Gina RodriguezAparna NancherlaAnna BaryshnikovRegina Hall, and Lizzy Caplan awarded:

Alena Yiv and Shira Haas in “Asia” (Photo by Daniella Nowitz)

The Nora Ephron Award – Asia, Director, Ruthy Pribar.

  • Jury Comment: “From the writing, to the directing, to the camera moves, to the direction for the acting, to the way Ms. Pribar told a story through non-speaking was just outstanding.”
  • Art Award: Pat Steir‘s Untitled, 2008. Oil, pencil, ink, and acrylic on paper.
  • Special Jury Mention: My Wonderful Wanda

 

2020 Tribeca Film Festival: select immersive programming premieres early due to coronavirus change in schedule

April 3, 2020

Tribeca Film Festival - white logo

The Hsu Family in “Home” (Photo by Larry Lee)

The following is a press release from the Tribeca Film Festival:

The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, announced plans today that select programming from the 19th annual Festival will be presented online.

Tribeca is dedicated to supporting filmmakers, creators, and artists that breathe life into the Festival, the New York community, and the industry. We are excited to bring new work from incredible storytellers to an audience eager to connect with their stories. Since its inception, Tribeca has pushed the boundaries of storytelling and innovative ways to connect with audiences. This online program is the latest iteration of that commitment.

First, our focus was to ensure our industry and filmmaking community could continue to connect and develop their careers. To support that mission, we are bringing a mix of programming online that celebrates and promotes creators. The programming includes the N.O.W. Creators Market, Jury and Art Awards, our Industry Extranet Resource Hub, and the brand storytelling Tribeca X Awards.

Second, we wanted to move as fast as possible to bring some of our programming from the upcoming festival to audiences worldwide. Tribeca Immersive’s audience-facing Cinema360 will debut in partnership with Oculus and features 15 VR films, curated into four 30-40 minute programs. The public will be able to access Cinema360 via Oculus TV, for Oculus Go and Oculus Quest. The millions of people who own Oculus headsets will be able to participate in this unique programming from home. Tribeca is one of the first and only festivals to introduce this curated immersive experience to consumers.

Today, we will launch the Tribeca X Awards, where the finalists from adidas, Adorama, Dior, Dove,  Hewlett Packard, Kelly Services, Lime, Procter & Gamble, Red Bull, Square, Synchrony Bank, and Volvo Car UK will be available for audience viewing on tribecafilm.com.

The Tribeca Industry Extranet Resource Hub that is hosting participating films will be available for industry and press. The Tribeca Extranet is the Festival’s online hub providing accredited industry with resources for the program including rights availabilities, delegate directory, and sales contacts.

The juried awards for feature and shorts categories will be presented by the jury who will select the winners to be announced on tribecafilm.com within the window of the original Festival dates. The jury includes leaders of the creative community including Danny Boyle, Aparna Nancherla, Regina Hall, Yance Ford, Lucas Hedges, Pamela Adlon, Marti Noxon, Asia Kate Dillon and Sheila Nevins.

Winners in select Competition categories will be eligible for our Art Award where world-class artists donate a piece of their work to be awarded to Festival filmmakers. The awards have been a tradition since the Festival’s founding in 2001. The 2020 Art Awards, supported by CHANEL, features the work of alumni and new artists curated by notable gallerist, Vito Schnabel.

Dates for all industry and public programming are provided below.

“As human beings, we are navigating uncharted waters,” said Tribeca Enterprises and Tribeca Film Festival Co-Founder and CEO Jane Rosenthal. “While we cannot gather in person to lock arms, laugh, and cry, it’s important for us to stay socially and spiritually connected. Tribeca is about resiliency, and we fiercely believe in the power of artists to bring us together. We were founded after the devastation of 9/11 and it’s in our DNA to bring communities together through the arts.”

Tribeca’s immediate response after our postponement was to launch initiatives that could give our community something to look forward to each day. “A Short Film a Day Keeps Anxiety Away,” a daily curated online short film series featuring select award winning shorts and premieres from multiple Tribeca alumni; Soundtrack Sunday, live performances and celebrity soundtrack selections happening across Tribeca social media channels; and #TribecaTakeoutChallenge, an Instagram call-to-action campaign to inspire people to support their local restaurants while watching their favorite film.

“Our programmers adapt as society shifts and the audience needs change. The team here has responded to those needs and we stand with our creators everyday as things move through to the new future we will all be seeing over the horizon very soon,” said Paula Weinstein, CCO of Tribeca Enterprises.

“We want to ensure we are meeting the urgent needs of our community by continuing with 2020 festival programming that can evolve into virtual or remote initiatives,” said Tribeca’s Festival Director Cara Cusumano. “We identified these five programs as ones that could easily pivot online and still deliver the same impact for creators and industry. We are excited to share these most immediate announcements, while we continue to look ahead to our Festival’s next steps.“

Details on all of these programs below.

TRIBECA IMMERSIVE

“Forgotten Kiss” (Photo by Daniil Bakalin)

Tribeca Immersive, the incubator for innovation in storytelling, will move forward with the first edition of Cinema360 programming to be offered remotely. In partnership with industry pioneer Facebook’s Oculus, Cinema360 will feature 15 VR films, curated into four 30-40 minute programs. Films are viewable from April 17 through April 25 in Oculus TV, available for Oculus Go or Oculus Quest headsets.

Featuring eye-popping visuals and compelling storytelling, this year’s Cinema360 selections include everything from science fiction and horror, to romance and comedy, proving that there’s truly something for everyone. Additionally, 10 of the 15 creators make their global premiere at Tribeca Film Festival.

In addition to screening the entire 2020 Tribeca Cinema360 slate, Oculus is also releasing “The Key,” which will be available as an app for Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift-S, and Oculus Quest. This project won the 2019 Tribeca Storyscapes Award, which honors artists who bridge the gap between technology and storytelling. This magical and moving experience, from creator Celine Tricart, was made in conjunction with Friends of Refugees and Oculus VR For Good and premiered in competition at the 2019 edition of the Festival. Following its premiere at Tribeca Film Festival, the critically acclaimed work went on to win the Golden Lion award at Venice VR 2019, and was featured at 12 other international festivals.

“Now, more than ever, we are feeling incredibly isolated from one another,” said Loren Hammonds, Senior Programmer of Film & Immersive. “The XR community is very much a global community, as evidenced by this program which features work from China, South Korea, Spain and Ethiopia, just to name a few. It’s my hope that by providing these remarkable 360 films to a global audience during this trying time, we can do our part to bring people back together in the name of great art and shared perspectives.”

Cinema360 Program 1: Dreams to Remember

These dreamlike experiences are journeys of adventure, from an immigrant worker’s poetic and alienating vision of his new home country, to the seemingly impossible first mission to an unexplored moon.

“1st Step” (Photo by Sean Lovelace)

1st Step (International Premiere)—Germany

Project Creators: Joerg Courtial,  Maria Courtial

1st Step is equal parts documentary and fairy tale, telling the magical story of a dream come true: the Apollo missions. Follow the missions from launch all the way through to return, and find yourself gazing at lunar panoramas re-created from NASA’s archival photos.

Dear Lizzy (World Premiere)—USA

Project Creator: Within & Fivehundred

Key Collaborator: Deborah’s Child

Lizzy takes a walk as she reads a letter from a long lost friend. The road is long and there are many strange and beautiful things to see along the way. Yet Lizzy keeps walking. What is she searching for?

Forgotten Kiss (World Premiere)—Finland

Project Creator: Oleg Nikolaenko

Key Collaborator: Daniil Bakalin

Based on the story Forgotten Kiss by Russian writer Alexander Kuprin, this film tells the beautiful legend of a royal prince, who was kissed by the magic Fairy of the Spring Night. As the prince grew up he kept looking for something incomprehensible, something completely forgotten: the forgotten kiss of the fairy.

 Rain Fruits (World Premiere)—South Korea

Project Creators: Youngyoon Song, Sngmoo Lee

Key Collaborators: Sergio Bromberg, Hyejin Jeon, Jinhyung Kim, Hwaeun Kim

Tharu comes to Korea from Myanmar in hopes of becoming a trained engineer. After a series of experiences as an alien worker in this capitalist country, he realizes that one’s dream cannot be found anywhere in the world but where his heart is: his homeland.

 

Cinema360 Program 2: Seventeen Plus

Future classics in search of cults, this collection of mind-bending narrative experiences is designed for more mature audiences.

Chris Mulkey in “A Safe Guide to Dying” (Photo by Alessandro Pederzoli)

A Safe Guide to Dying (World Premiere)—USA

Project Creator: Dimitris Tsilifonis

Key Collaborator: Froso Tsipopoulou

Linus is on a journey to find painless ways to die inside a video game simulation that emulates sensory experiences. While experimenting with different suicide methods, he realizes he cannot log out. Trapped in a digital abyss, a force is set in motion to reconnect Linus with his offline self.

Black Bag (North American Premiere)—China

Project Creator: Shao Qing

Ex-military security guard, Mr. S works for a bank and leads the life of a normal working-class man. He fantasizes about a major heist, a dream that becomes reality.  This VR film uses abstract metaphor combined with a unique hand-painted art style to create an intense thriller.

The Pantheon of Queer Mythology (World Premiere)—Spain

Project Creator: Enrique Agudo

Key Collaborator: Tim Deluxe

The Pantheon of Queer Mythology is a window into the world of a collective of Deities that present a way to question, empathize, celebrate, repent, resist, consume, abstract, identify, regenerate, and love in complex times. Step in, dare to learn, be inspired to grow, and enjoy the queerness.

Saturnism (World Premiere)—France

Project Creator: Mihai Grecu

Step inside one of the darkest paintings in the history of art: Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Son. You will find yourself alone with mad Saturn himself in the cold and gloomy landscape. Saturnism is a visceral and primitive 360 experience.

 

Cinema360 Program 3: Kinfolk

Three stories of homes and families.

“The Inhabited House” (Photo by Agustin Prieto)

Ferenj: A Graphic Memoir In VR (World Premiere)—USA, Ethiopia

Project Creator: Ainslee A. Robson

Key Collaborator: Liam Young

Ferenj is a visual dialogue between memory, reality, and the digital in an immersive memoir about Ethiopian-American mixed-race identity.

Inhabited House, The (North American Premiere)—Argentina

Project Creator: Diego Kompel

Creator Diego Kompel resurrects fond memories of his grandparents house in this inventive non-fiction work. Compositing 360 footage of the house with actual home movies that help bring the past to life, this experience is an exercise in formalism that draws on the power of remembrance, reverence, and family.

Home (International Premiere)—Taiwan ROC

Project Creator: HSU Chih-Yen

Key Collaborators: Kaohsiung Film Archive, Hsu Chih Yen Director Studios, Funique VR Studio

In this beautifully poignant experience, a family gathers at their old house on a summer afternoon. They surround  grandma, though she’s no longer able to move, react, or hear clearly. As people come and go, the day stretches on—leading to the inevitable end of the gathering.

 

Cinema360 Program 4: Pure Imagination

Stories of innovation and illusion, with a healthy dose of inspiration.

“Lutaw”

Lutaw (World Premiere)—USA, Philippines

Project Creator: Samantha Quick

Key Collaborator: Michaela Holland

Like so many others in her remote area of the Philippines, Geramy must swim between the small islands in order to travel to the nearest school. But she’s determined to find a better way to commute. This 3D animated experience is made in partnership with Oculus VR for Good and Yellow Boat of Hope.

Attack on Daddy (North American Premiere)—South Korea

Project Creator: Sung Sihup

It’s Sunday afternoon and an exhausted daddy lies on the couch. Annoyed with his daughter’s pestering pleas to play, he falls asleep and wakes up to find her missing. Sensing something awry, daddy quickly realizes that the answer to the mystery lies in her seemingly abandoned dollhouse.

Tale of the Tibetan Nomad (World Premiere)—USA

Project Creator: Carol Liu

Key Collaborator: Stan Lai

A newlywed nomad and his wife bask in the flush of new love. He falls asleep then awakens to discover his wife has disappeared. Embarking on a quest to find her, he’s led into a life he never dreamed of—one that soon slips beyond his control.

Upstander (World Premiere)—USA

Project Creator: Van Phan

Key Collaborator: Oculus VR for Good

Upstander is a 360 animated experience about bullying and how we, as bystanders, can make a difference. Immersing the audience in a world adjacent to our own, you are challenged to think and take action. How can we be part of the solution and not be part of the problem?

“We are also announcing the official selections for this year’s Virtual Arcade, including the Storyscapes nominees,” says Senior Programmer, Film & Immersive Loren Hammonds.  “The entire list of officially selected projects can be found on here on our website, starting today. We gratefully acknowledge all selected creators of Tribeca Immersive 2020 and would like to thank them for their patience and understanding through this difficult time of uncertainty.”

TRIBECA N.O.W. CREATORS MARKET

The N.O.W. (New Online Work) section, sponsored by HBO, will host its fifth annual private industry market that brings together leading online, episodic and immersive storytellers (2020 N.O.W. Showcase creators, 2020 TribecaTV Pilot Season creators and an additional curated group of online, indie episodic and VR writers/performers/influencers) to pitch new projects to a wide-range of industry, including distributors, production companies, streamers, and online platforms. Participating companies taking pitch meetings include Albyon, Atlas V, BRON Studios, CNN Original Series, Giant Spoon, Gunpowder & Sky, NOWNESS, Topic Streaming, Topic Studios, Tribeca Studios, and more.

The N.O.W. Creators Market will take place virtually April 21 and 22, 2020, setting up hundreds of 20-minute, video pitch meetings between Creators and Industry looking to collaborate on future projects.

“We established the N.O.W. Creators Market in 2016 as a way to introduce a wide array of filmmakers, writers and emerging creators to an equally diverse group of industry in an effort to inspire collaboration and career opportunities,” said Liza Domnitz, Senior Programmer, Film, TV & New Online Work. “Through the power of technology, we couldn’t be more pleased that, despite the tenuous circumstances, we can push on with the 2020 Market, and [virtually] bring together the creative community for two exciting days of one-on-one pitching and conversation.”

N.O.W. SHOWCASE

Tribeca’s New Online Work (N.O.W.) section highlights independent filmmakers who create original, short form and episodic work specifically for the online exhibition space. Previous inclusions in the NOW section include High Maintenance (Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair), The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo (Brian Jordan Alvarez), You’re So Talented (Sam Bailey), Dinette (Shaina Feinberg) and Kiss of the Rabbit God (Andrew Thomas Huang). This year’s slate includes episodic, short form and documentary work from up-and-coming and seasoned filmmakers.

The following group of filmmakers participating in the virtual N.O.W. Creators Market were to debut their work as part of the 2020 Tribeca New Online Work Showcase:

Mike Bender and Doug Chernack (Awkward Family Photos)

Mike Bender is the co-founder of AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com, the bestselling author of Awkward Family Photos, and screenwriter and co-producer of Not Another Teen Movie. Doug Chernack is the co-founder of AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com, bestselling author of Awkward Family Photos, and a creator and producer for E!, Fox Sports, and the Golf Channel.

Tomas Gomez Bustillo (Museum of Fleeting Wonders)

Tomás Gómez Bustillo was born in Buenos Aires. He earned a degree in political science in Buenos Aires and his MFA in directing at the American Film Institute Conservatory. His work screened at Slamdance and Montreal World Film Festival. He is developing his feature debut, The Death of Irma Lopez.

Lance Edmands (The Seeker)

Lance Edmands was born in Maine and graduated from NYU. His first feature as writer and director, Bluebird, premiered at Tribeca in 2013; Factory 25 and Sundance Artist Services then released theatrically. Edmands also directs and edits commercials. The Seeker is his first documentary.

Curtis Essel (Allumuah)

Curtis Essel is a director of 33 Bound; a visual production company based in London. He consciously desires to leave his audience with a little more knowledge than when they began. Imparting viewers with insight is an integral part of his process whilst showcasing the personal human experiences to anyone who comes by his work.

Keylee Koop-Sudduth and Micah Sudduth (Backsliders)

Keylee Koop-Sudduth and Micah Sudduth are a married couple of filmmakers originally from the Bible Belt. They believe stories are medicine, so they created Bob Billiams Productions to help themselves heal. Drawing from their rural backgrounds, they craft authentic stories that are a unique balance of humor and heart.

 Britt Lower and Alex Knell (Circus Person)

Britt Lower is a multi-disciplinary filmmaker and artist. Circus Person, which she wrote and stars in, is her directorial debut. She plays opposite Patricia Arquette in the upcoming Ben Stiller-directed series, Severance. Her other credits include High Maintenance, Man Seeking Woman, Casual, and Mr. Roosevelt. Alex Knell works to handcraft rich stories across new tech, film and live formats. Trained in physical theater (Lecoq), she has designed visual storytelling for 100+ filmmakers.

Héctor Silva Núñez & Lu Urdaneta (Home)

Héctor Silva Núñez is a Venezuelan filmmaker based in Chile. His works premiered at Cannes, Toronto International Film Festival, and Tribeca. He is developing his first narrative feature. Lu Urdaneta is a Venezuelan-American actress and producer based in Miami. Her production company, Alef, develops the first vertical series in Spanglish.

Alden Nusser and Ben Fries (Dying Business)

Alden Nusser and Ben Fries grew up together in Manhattan and began working together as filmmakers in 2015. Coming from documentary and music video/commercial backgrounds, respectively, their first collaboration, Crime Cutz, premiered at Tribeca in 2018. They’re the founding partners of the creative production company Field Agency.

Ava Warbick (Bobbie Blood)

Ava Warbrick‘s documentary Stephanie in the Water premiered at the Hamptons International Film Festival in 2013. Her work has been featured by Artist Television Access, Anthology Film Archives, Light Industry, Nowness, Vogue, and Netflix. Warbrick serves on the Kesselring Prize Committee for Playwriting and is a graduate of Bard College.

 

PILOT SEASON

Tribeca continued its tradition of opening submissions to independently produced TV pilots in 2020.  The following group of filmmakers participating in the virtual N.O.W. Creators Market were to debut their pilots as part of the 2020 Tribeca TV Pilot Season program:

Shelby Bartelstein (Pretty People)

Shelby Bartelstein is beyond grateful to Tribeca 2020 for including Pretty People in the Indie Pilot Showcase. Shelby penned, directed and stars in the pilot, which follows two best friends whose budding romance is tested when weight comes into play.

Che Grayson (Magic Hour)

Che Grayson is a filmmaker, writer and TED speaker. Her award-winning films have shown internationally, and her writing has been published by Teen Vogue, Image Comics and IDW Publishing. As a graduate of New York University’s MFA film program, she has written, directed and produced while studying under the mentorship of Spike Lee and Kasi Lemmons. Che is a 2016 TED resident, a 2017 IFP Marcie Bloom Film Fellow with Sony Picture Classics and a 2018 Directing Fellow with Ryan Murphy’s Half Initiative. Most recently Che began developing a series for TV, Magic Hour, starring Indya Moore (POSE).

Emily Kron and Kate Hopkins (Deceased Ones)

Emily Kron and Kate Hopkins are an exuberant two-headed creative team, writing, directing and producing television, film and digital media with their company Grandma’s Beach House Productions. They have collaborated on several films, series, music videos and comedy sketches, focusing on female-centric stories that are usually funny and unusually weird!

Scott Turner Schofield (Becoming a Man in 127 EASY Steps: But What About The Children)

Named a “Trans Influencer of Hollywood” by OUT Magazine, Scott Turner Schofield is an award-winning actor, writer and producer. Critically-acclaimed for his roles on CBS’s The Bold And The Beautiful and Amazon Prime’s Studio City, Schofield received international notice for his leading role in the 2018 feature film The Conductor (Splendid Films). He currently consults for HBO’s Euphoria among other projects. His one man show—Becoming a Man in 127 Easy Steps, funded by the National Performance Network and the Princess Grace Foundation-USA—is now a groundbreaking multimedia project.

Mike Ott (Unemployable)

Mike Ott studied under Thom Andersen at the California Institute of the Arts where he received his Masters of Fine Arts degree in Film/Video. His films have won numerous awards, including the Audience award at AFI Fest, a Gotham Award for “Best Film Not Playing in a Theater Near You,” and in 2011 he won the “Someone to Watch” Independent Spirit Award. Mike is currently in production on his hybrid feature California Dreams.

 

ADDITIONAL N.O.W. CREATORS MARKET PARTICIPANTS

Amir Admoni and Fabito Rychter*

Amir Admoni and Fabito Rychter have been working together for the last 10 years. The partnership yielded movies, TV shows, and plays that have collected 71 international awards and traveled to more than 120 festivals. Gravity VR is their first virtual reality project together.

Enrique Agudo*

Enrique Agudo’s work explores the limits of digital media. With a background in architecture, Agudo evolved into speculative worldbuilding, moving from architectural projects to research-driven fictional narratives. His work looks at future anthropological issues, identity, sexuality, and humanities through animation, new media art, creative direction, or VR.

Nitzan Bartov and Char Simpson*

Nitzan Bartov is an architect and game designer. Her work in XR, interactive, and spatial media mixes pop culture, sci-fi, and mysticism to explore relationships between humans and technology. Char Simpson is a writer and a video artist. They write interactive fiction and devise narrative formulas for immersive experiences.

Ann Bierhaus

Anna Bierhaus is a writer living in NYC, and her scripts have regularly placed in ScreenCraft, Creative World Awards, and Final Draft, among others, and gone on to Sundance’s second round.

Common Table Creative (Oliver English, Simon English and Jamer Bellis)

Common Table Creative works with the world’s leading food and beverage companies, NGOs and nonprofits to tell stories about the power of food. We create short films and long-form documentaries about food, driving consumers to support the companies, businesses, and politicians of the future.

Bianca Cristovao

Bianca Cristovao is a writer, performer, and creator based in Los Angeles. Originally from the Czech Republic’s capital, she gained recognition for her stand up performance about diversity and immigration.

Nicole Dawson

Nicole Dawson is a New York-based storyteller and graduate of NYU Tisch. Writing primarily for young adult audiences, her stories are grounded in visceral settings and dynamic female protagonists.

Stanley Erhart

Stanley Erhart (@lastmanstanley) is an undergraduate at Tulane University pursuing a BS in digital media production. Stanley uploads short form abstract videos on the social media app TikTok.

Matthew K. Esolda & Brian Goodheart

Matthew K. Esolda and Brian Goodheart are Emergency Contact, a creative/directing duo with over a decade of experience in advertising and content creation. They are friendly and are very excited to meet you.

Valeria Forster & Mercedes Cordova

In 2012, Mercedes Córdova and Valeria Forster founded Brava Cine, a production company based in Buenos Aires, with  the purpose of developing and promoting audiovisual projects by female directors.

Léa Furnion

New York writer/filmmaker Léa Furnion likes making things, an idea that inhabits her series pilot, a handy-focused neo-practical voyage to a love for eco-living, a topic of her upcoming novel.

Malerie Grady & James Mackenzie

Malerie Grady and James Mackenzie are filmmakers from Atlanta, Georgia. They developed Tough Love from a back-alley comedy sketch to a character-driven dating web series that premiered at Outfest 2019.

Caleb Hearon

Caleb Hearon is a Chicago-based comedian at whom nobody has ever been mad. He performs every week at iO Chicago, Second City, The Hideout, and on Twitter, if video monologues count. Caleb is an NBCUniversal Bob Curry Fellow and produces iO’s weekly sketch and current events show, Studio Eleven. He’s originally from Missouri where he was raised by four strong women—his mother, Kellie, and the Dixie Chicks.

Sami Kriegstein Jacobson

Sami Kriegstein Jacobson is an award-winning director, producer, and multimedia-artist (HuffPost, Spotify, InStyle, Complex, YouTubePremium) who moonlights as a digital branded content consultant, which sounds vague but is real, Dad, I swear.

Jennifer Levinson

Jennifer Levinson’s written and produced content has amassed 100 million views across BuzzFeed Video, VRScout, and CryptTV. Formerly a writer on the show Solve, Jennifer now has five projects in production.

Jonathan Lewis

Jonathan Aubrie Lewis is an award winning (2019 AT&T Film Awards Underrepresented Winner) filmmaker who has been a professional director for the past eight years. His most recent film, Sojourn, is an intimate exploration of black male identity. It has screened at Atlanta Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Raindance Film Festival, Holly Shorts and most notably, The National Museum of African American History & Culture, a part of the Smithsonian African American Film Festival.

Bunny Michael & Omega

Bunny Michael and Omega are multidisciplinary artists and collaborators. Their work which displayed at The Whitney, Tate Modern, and MOMA PS1 has been featured in NY Times and ArtForum.

Raqi Syed & Areito Echevarria*

Raqi Syed and Areito Echevarria are visual effects artists and researchers whose work combines visual storytelling and new technologies. They have contributed to films such as Avatar and The Hobbit series. They are both practitioners in immersive reality and currently teach at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

Adam Waheed

Adam Waheed is a comedian, actor and content creator, from Queens, New York. He most recently wrote, produced, and starred in the short film, Tribes, which was an official selection for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. He also starred in the Comedy Central series, Pitch Please, which is live on Comedy Central’s Facebook page. Adam has also worked with high-end brands like T-Mobile, Old Spice, Mountain Dew, Call of Duty and more.

Micah Ariel Watson

Micah Ariel Watson is a filmmaker and playwright from Wichita, KS. Her work centers the sacred and secular in Black culture. She will receive her MFA from NYU spring 2020.

 *Indicates 2020 Tribeca Immersive Official Selection Artist.

INDUSTRY EXTRANET

Tribeca Extranet, the festival’s online resource hub for industry, will launch as planned, providing accredited industry with resources on the 2020 program including rights availabilities, delegate directory, and sales contacts.  The Extranet will also host an online screening library of select Tribeca 2020 projects.  Work from the feature & short films programs, Tribeca N.O.W., and pilot season can opt to make their pieces available to accredited press & industry during the window of April 15 – May 15. The films may be securely streamed on personal computers or tablets.  All viewed titles will be reported to press & sales contacts.

The Extranet is available to accredited 2020 industry, using your Tribeca user name and password to access.  New accreditations are currently open here:  https://www.tribecafilm.com/festival/industry

Email industry@tribecafilmfestival.orfg for more information.

JURIED AWARDS

The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, is moving forward with announcing the 2020 jury members who will select the winners in the film competition sections for the 2020 program. The jurors will award work in nine different categories and honor new voices and prominent members of the creative community with unique art awards. More than 30 industry leaders were selected to honor feature length and short film categories, comprising narratives and documentary films. Jurors will also present the Tribeca X Award, celebrating excellence in branded storytelling at the intersection of advertising and entertainment. The winning films, projects, filmmakers, actors, and storytellers in each category will be announced on tribecafilm.com during the original Festival dates, April 15-26.

Each year Tribeca and CHANEL bring together world-class artists who donate a piece of their work to be presented as an award to honored Festival filmmakers, a tradition since the Festival’s beginning.

“Now more than ever, it is important that we come together to celebrate the work of the amazing storytellers that give us laughter and craft the stories that unite us. It is our responsibility to honor these creators with the Tribeca Art Awards along with CHANEL, our partners for the past 15 years” – Jane Rosenthal, Tribeca Enterprises and Tribeca Film Festival Co-Founder and CEO

The 2020 Tribeca Film Festival Art Awards, supported by CHANEL, features the work of one artist returning to support the program for his 19th year in addition to nine other artists who were personally selected by this year’s curator and notable gallerist, Vito Schnabel.

“I am honored to have been invited to assemble a cross-generational group of nine artists whose work captures the current mood of contemporary society. This project is inspired by the connection between artists and filmmakers as natural storytellers, creators of narratives that accrue to a form of cultural journalism. Each artist included in this selection has a special relationship with both New York City and my gallery,” – Vito Schnabel

*Indicates the 2020 Art awarded in each category

For further information on participating Jurors please visit tribecafilm.com

To view an online gallery of art work and artists bios visit: https://www.tribecafilm.com/festival/art2020

FEATURE FILM COMPETITION CATEGORIES

  • 2020 U.S. Narrative Feature Competition Jury – awarding Founders Award for Best U.S. Narrative Feature, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, and Best CinematographyCherien Dabis, Terry Kinney, Lucas Hedges

*Art Award: Julian Schnabel: Le Scaphandre et le Papillon, 2007. Oil on map. Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature

  • 2020 International Narrative Competition Jury – awarding Best International Narrative Feature, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, Best CinematographySabine Hoffman, Judith Godrèche, Danny Boyle, William Hurt, Demian Bichir

*Art Award: Helen Marden: January Golden Rock, 2020. Watercolor on paper. Best International Narrative Feature

 

  • 2020 Documentary Feature Competition Jury – awarding Best Documentary Feature, Best Editing, Best CinematographyYance Ford, Regina Scully, Ryan Fleck, Chris Pine, Peter Deming

*Art Award: *Sterling Ruby: DRFTRS, 2020. Collage, paint and glue on paper. Best Documentary Feature

 

  • 2020 Best New Narrative Director Competition JuryLukas Haas, Juno Temple, Nat Wolff, Grace Van Patten, James Ponsoldt

*Art Award: *Rita Ackermann: The Working Woman 3, 2018. Oil, crayon and graphite on paper. Best New Narrative Director

 

  • 2020 Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director JuryErin Lee Carr, Stacey Reiss, Josh Hutcherson, Joel McHale, Gretchen Mol

*Art Award: Gus Van Sant: Achelous and Hercules, 2016. Enamel on paper. Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award

  • 2020 Nora Ephron Award JurorsGina Rodriguez, Lizzy Caplan, Aparna Nancherla, Anna Baryshnikov, Regina Hall

*Art Award: Pat Steir: Untitled, 2008. Oil, pencil, ink, and acrylic on paper. Nora Ephron Award

SHORT FILM COMPETITION CATEGORIES

  • 2020 Narrative/Animation Short Competition JuryKasi Lemmons, Pamela Adlon, Kerry Bishe, Taylor Hackford, Marshall Curry

*Art Award: Robert Nava: Medusa’s Walk, 2020. Acrylic, oil stick, crayon, and pencil on paper. Best Narrative Short

*Art Award: Stephen Hannock: Wallsend Morning on the River Tyne, 2019. Oil on board. Best Animated Short

  • 2020 Short Documentary and Student Visionary Competitions JuryAsia Kate Dillon, Marti Noxon, Sheila Nevins

*Art Award: Francesco Clemente: Flag US, 2018. Watercolor and miniature on paper. Best Documentary Short

*Art Award: Vahakn Arslanian: Light of Airbus, 2009. Graphite on paper in artist’s frame. Student Visionary Award

 

2020 TRIBECA X JURY:

Stefon Bristol, Filmmaker

Taylor Johns, Head of Content Production, YETI

David Lee, Chief Creative Officer, Squarespace

Matt MacDonald, Chief Creative Officer, Omnicom for AT&T

Bonnie Siegler, Founder, Eight and a Half

 

TRIBECA X

The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, announced today that it will continue Tribeca X sponsored by PwC, it’s competition to celebrate the intersection of advertising and entertainment. The 5th annual Tribeca X Award will honor the best brand and filmmaker collaborations of the year and recognize best in class branded content told through the lens of storytelling. Following an expansion in 2019, the Tribeca X Award will award both narrative and documentary work in three categories: feature film, short film, episodic series. The finalists for the 2020 Tribeca X Awards include works created by notable filmmakers and featuring talent such as Morgan Cooper, Gabrielle Dennis, Margaret Qualley, Lena Waithe, Denzel Whitaker and Olivia Wilde representing brands and agencies including adidas, Dove, Dior, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Procter & Gamble (P&G), Red Bull, Square, Synchrony Bank, Volvo, attn:, Anonymous Content, ColorCreative, Giant Spoon, Great Big Story, and Grey Group.

The shortlisted pieces represent a diverse group of filmmakers and reflect a variety of themes and subjects including climate change, technology, social responsibility, finance, music, fashion, LGBTQ+ inclusion  and more.

Many of this year’s selected finalists will be available to screen on TribecaFilm.com. Traditionally, these pieces screen in theaters during the Festival, but this year Tribeca will showcase the competition online. The selected finalists are available to view now: https://www.tribecafilm.com/festival/tribecax2020

 

2020 TRIBECA X AWARD FINALISTS:

FEATURE FINALISTS:

“All The Streets Are Silent: The Convergence of Hip Hop and Skateboarding (1987-1997)

Synopsis: Downtown Manhattan. Early 90s. Two potent subcultures were colliding: Skateboarding and hip hop. “All the Streets Are Silent” brings to life the magic of that time period.

Director: Jeremy Elkin

Brand: adidas

Agency: Elkin Editions

 

“Nose”

Synopsis: With exclusive access to Dior’s “Maison de Parfums” creative process, this documentary film unveils the fascinating role of the Nose at Dior; the most prestigious Fashion et Perfume brand in the world.

Director(s): Clément Beauvais, Arthur de Kersauson

Brand: Dior

Production Co: Mercenary Production

 

“U Shoot Videos?”

Synopsis: Moji, a young filmmaker in Kansas City, shoots low budget music videos for a living. He has talent and wants to take his career to the next level, but the leap forward is difficult and at times dangerous.

Director: Morgan Cooper

Brand: Adorama

Talent: Denzel Whitaker

 

SHORT FINALISTS:

“The Birdman”

Synopsis: Volvo & Sky Atlantic present the true story of a young boy from Wales who went from breeding birds in his back yard to saving the rarest bird in the world and 8 other species from the brink of extinction.

Director: D.A.R.Y.L

Brand: Volvo Car UK

Agency: Grey London

 

“Carlos”

Synopsis: The unscripted film follows Inglewood resident Carlos Lopez, detailing the roadblocks he’s faced living in a sprawling city with limited public transit and no car and the newfound freedom he’s discovered through the micro mobility of Lime.

Director: Cara Stricker

Brand: Lime

Agency: The Lab at Anonymous Content

 

“Forged in Flint”

Synopsis: Small business owners and entrepreneurs in Flint have decided to start building the future they want to see. And it’s working.

Director: Bradley Tangonan

Brand: Square

 

“Pay Day”

Synopsis: Nyssa Rose dreams of starting her own business. But she spends like there’s no tomorrow. She finds herself stuck in a time loop, reliving the same Pay Day. Again. And again. That is, until she learns to make better choices and save for her future with Synchrony Bank.

Director: Morgan Cooper

Brand: Synchrony Bank

Agency: Giant Spoon

Production Co: ColorCreative

Talent: Gabrielle Dennis

 

“Wake Up”

In a short directed by Olivia Wilde, Margaret Qualley stars as a woman awakened to a world she doesn’t recognize, one where people are more engaged with screens than with each other. She sets out to find connection in a disconnected world and relearn what it means to be human.

Director: Olivia Wilde

Brand: Hewlett Packard

Agency: The Lab at Anonymous Content

Talent: Margaret Qualley

 

EPISODIC FINALISTS:

“Girls Room”

Synopsis: Girls Room is an original series that tackles the pain and power of female adolescence through the eyes of 5 girls as they face the challenges of growing up in today’s social-first world. Cinematically vertical, the series was created to reach young girls where they are, on social media platforms on their mobile devices.

Director: Tiffany Johnson

Writer: Lena Waithe

Brand: Dove

Agency: attn:, BBH Entertainment

 

“The Mind Behind”

Synopsis: The Mind Behind is a 3-episode documentary series that delves deep into the minds of our most talented artists and athletes and explores how they react to extraordinary situations unique to their profession.

Director: Niyantha Shekar

Brand: Red Bull

Agency: Red Bull Media House

Production Co: Supari Studios

 

“Proud”

Synopsis: Proud is a video channel in partnership with Procter & Gamble that lives on Great Big Story, CNN’s global video company devoted to cinematic storytelling, housing sponsored editorial content that celebrates members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Director(s): Asher May-Corsini, Sofia Couceiro, Michael Fequiere, Dave Yim

Brand: Procter & Gamble

Agency: Great Big Story

 

“What’s Next”

Synopsis: Through this series of five short documentaries, Kelly Services pays homage to the remarkable men and women who apply their talents in various communities around the world.

Director: Ben Proudfoot

Brand: Kelly Services

Production Co: Breakwater Studios

About the Tribeca Film Festival:

The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, brings visionaries and diverse audiences together to celebrate storytelling in all its forms, including film, TV, VR, gaming, music, and online work. With strong roots in independent film, Tribeca is a platform for creative expression and immersive entertainment. The Festival champions emerging and established voices; discovers award-winning filmmakers and creators; curates innovative experiences; and introduces new technology and ideas through premieres, exhibitions, talks, and live performances.

The Festival was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in 2001 to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan following the attacks on the World Trade Center. Now in its 19th year, the Festival has evolved into a destination for creativity that reimagines the cinematic experience and explores how art can unite communities. www.tribecafilm.com/festival.

Twitter: @Tribeca

Instagram: @tribeca

Facebook: facebook.com/Tribeca

 

About Presenting Sponsor AT&T:

As Presenting Sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival, AT&T is committed to supporting the Festival and the art of filmmaking through access and innovation, while expanding opportunities to diverse creators around the globe. AT&T helps millions connect to their passions – no matter where they are. This year, AT&T and Tribeca will once again collaborate to give the world access to stories from underrepresented filmmakers that deserve to be seen. AT&T Presents: Untold Stories – an Inclusive Film Program in Collaboration with Tribeca, is a multi-year, multi-tier alliance between AT&T and Tribeca along with the year-round nonprofit Tribeca Film Institute.

About the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival Partners:

The Tribeca Film Festival is pleased to announce its 2020 Partners: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), BVLGARI, CHANEL, City National Bank, CNN Films, Diageo, ESPN, HBO, Montefiore, National CineMedia (NCM), New York Magazine, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, P&G, PwC, Spring Studios New York, and Squarespace.

2020 Tribeca Film Festival postponed due to coronavirus concerns

March 12, 2020

by Carla Hay

Tribeca Film Festival - white logo

The 19th annual Tribeca Film Festival in the New York City area has been postponed until further notice, due to coronavirus concerns. The event was originally scheduled to take place April 15 to April 26, 2020. The rescheduled dates are to be announced. For the first time this year, the Tribeca Film Festival had announced it was expanding outside of New York City, and would be holding some events in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Tribeca Enterprises co-founder/CEO Jane Rosenthal issued this statement: “We founded the Tribeca Film Festival as a way to heal our community after the devastation of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. We were determined to overcome our fear and anxiety by joining together.  It is in our DNA to march forward while caring about our community, said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder and CEO of Tribeca Enterprises.

“We have made the difficult decision to postpone the 19th Tribeca Film Festival (April 15-26) based on the announcement by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that events of 500 people or more are banned due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of the public while also supporting our friends, filmmakers and storytellers who look to Tribeca as a platform to showcase their work to audiences. We will be back to you shortly with our plans.”

The 2020 Tribeca Film Festival’s opening-night film was announced as director Mary Wharton’s documentary “Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President” at the Beacon Theatre. After the world-premiere screening, Willie Nelson, Paul Shaffer, Nile Rodgers and others artists were scheduled to perform at the event.

Other movies that were announced to world premiere at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival included the comedy “The Stand-In” (starring Drew Barrymore), the drama “No Future” (starring Catherine Keener and Charlie Heaton) and the David Bowie biopic “Stardust” (starring Johnny Flynn). Documentaries that were announced to world premiere at the festival include “Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road,” “Citizen Penn” (about Sean Penn), “John Lewis: Good Trouble” and “Tough Love: The Lennox Lewis Documentary.”

The festival is among the long list of events around the world that have been postponed or cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. In addition, several schools, government offices, community centers and other places have been temporarily closed due to the outbreak.

Click here the latest updates on what’s been cancelled or postponed because of coronavirus concerns.

Review: ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always,’ starring Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder

March 12, 2020

by Carla Hay

Sidney Flanigan in “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (Photo courtesy of Focus Features)

“Never Rarely Sometimes Always”

Directed by Eliza Hittman

Culture Representation: Taking place in rural Pennsylvania and New York City, the dramatic film “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” about a 17-year-old who gets an abortion, has a predominantly white cast with some representation of African Americans.

Culture Clash: The teenager seeking the abortion doesn’t want to tell her parents, so she travels from her native Pennsylvania to New York, where adult permission isn’t required to get an abortion.

Culture Audience: “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” will appeal mostly to people who like well-written, well-acted independent films and are concerned about reproductive rights.

Sidney Flanigan in “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (Photo courtesy of Focus Features)

When viewers first see 17-year-old Autumn Gallagher (played by Sidney Flanigan) in the dramatic film “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” she’s performing at a talent show at her high school in rural Pennsylvania. She’s on stage by herself, singing and playing an original song on acoustic guitar, with lyrics that include “He’s got the power of love me” and “He makes me do things I don’t want to do.” During her somewhat nervous performance, a guy around her same age shouts from the audience, “Slut!” She pauses briefly, with shock and embarrassment flashing across her face, and then continues the performance.

After the show, Autumn is eating at a local diner with her family—her mother (played by Sharon Van Etten), her stepfather (played by Ryan Eggold) and Autumn’s cousin/best friend/schoolmate Skylar (played by Talia Ryder). The conversation is tense, since Autumn and her stepfather do not get along, and her mother has to urge him to tell Autumn that she did a good job at the talent show.

Meanwhile, the same guy who rudely heckled her at the talent show is eating at a nearby table with some friends. He makes a sexually obscene gesture to Autumn. And she walks over to the table and throws a glass of water on him without saying a word before she leaves.

The quiet way that Autumn handles this problem is consistent with her personality, which is introverted and sometimes sullen. And when she finds out that she’s pregnant (the pregnancy is unplanned and unwanted), it’s no surprise that she wants to keep the pregnancy secret from her parents and she wants to get an abortion. Although it’s not explicitly stated in the film, it’s implied that the guy who heckled her is the father of her child. Whatever relationship she had with the guy, it has clearly ended.

Autumn finds out she’s pregnant by going to a “pregnancy crisis center,” and notices something odd: The woman who gives her the pregnancy test is using a test that can be bought at a drugstore. The female worker also discourages Autumn from getting an abortion and tells her about her options for having the baby. Autumn won’t find out until later that this place is not a real medical clinic, but a facility affiliated with a pro-life group.

When she goes to a real clinic, Autumn thinks she’s 10 weeks pregnant, based on what she was told at the “pregnancy crisis center.” But she’s gets a harsh shock when she finds out that she’s actually 18 weeks pregnant.  It takes a while for it to sink in to Autumn that the “pregnancy crisis center” mostly likely intentionally deceived her about her pregnancy term, so that if she decided to terminate the pregnancy, there would be a possibility that she would wait until it was too late to get a legal abortion.

After finding out about the pregnancy, Autumn becomes distracted and more emotionally withdrawn. Skylar notices right away that something is wrong, and so Autumn confides in her about being pregnant. Autumn has done her research on the Internet and found out that because she is under 18, she can’t get a legal abortion in Pennsylvania without signed permission from her parents. New York is the closest state to her where minors can get an abortion without needing adult permission, but Autumn doesn’t have the money to the take the trip and to get the abortion.

Autumn and Skylar work together as cashiers in a supermarket, where they are being sexually harassed by an unseen male supervisor. Every time they hand in their cash register’s money through a window at the end of their shift, the supervisor creepily kisses their hands, and the girls cringe in disgust. It’s perhaps why Skylar impulsively and somewhat gleefully steals some of the cash-register money one day to help pay for their bus trip to New York.

But when Autumn and Skylar get to New York City, what they thought would be a one-day trip has to be extended to two days, because New York state law requires a two-day process for abortions. Autumn and Skylar have to find an place to stay overnight that they can afford. Meanwhile, Autumn has insurance through her parents, but she doesn’t want the abortion to appear on their insurance records. So she has to pay for the abortion herself, which doesn’t leave enough money for the bus trip back home.

“Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (written and directed by Eliza Hittman) takes viewers on a harrowing and poignant journey that avoids a lot of clichés about unplanned teen pregnancies. No one gets hysterical in the movie, and there’s no sympathetic adult who swoops in to help Autumn with her problem. Autumn’s quiet desperation is shown in heartbreaking moments, such as when she repeatedly punches her abdomen to try to induce a miscarriage. (Her bruises are seen when she gets an ultrasound at a real clinic.)

And in the movie’s most powerful scene (which inspired the film’s title), at the clinic in New York, Autumn is asked a series of questions about her personal life. The multiple choice answers are “never, rarely, sometimes, always.” Autumn’s emotionally painful reactions reveal some of the trauma that she’s experienced her her life.

“Never Rarely Sometimes Always” won a Special Grand Jury Award for Neorealism at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and the Silver Bear (second-place award) at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival. The movie’s greatest strength is in not trying to be a story about extraordinary accomplishments (which is often the focus of many dramatic films) but by taking an unflinching look at the everyday turmoil and obstacles that someone like Autumn can face in trying to get a legal abortion for an unwanted pregnancy.

Flanigan and Ryder give utterly realistic performances that also show the importance of their friendship and family bond, which can be considered a bright spot in Autumn’s very bleak situation. And the directorial approach of Hittman is to tell the story in such an intimate way, that viewers will feel like almost like they’re watching from the viewpoint of a hidden camera.

Regardless of how someone might feel about abortion or which laws are in place, the reality of unwanted and unplanned pregnancies isn’t going to go away. The question that the movie puts forth is whether or not people under the age 18 have less rights in choosing when to become parents, and if they should have to go through more indignities and more restrictions to get safe and legal abortions. Autumn’s story is a cautionary tale on what can happen to someone in this situation. The toll that it takes isn’t limited to the person seeking an abortion but can have ripple effects on society at large.

Focus Features will release “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” in select U.S. cinemas on March 13, 2020.

UPDATE: Because of the widespread coronavirus-related closures of movie theaters worldwide, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has moved up the VOD release of “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” to April 3, 2020.

Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison, makes first public statement since his conviction of sex crimes

March 11, 2020

by Colleen McGregor

Harvey Weinstein at The Weinstein Company party in celebration of “Wind River” at Nikki Beach in Cannes, Frances, on May 20, 2017. (Photo by Dave Benett)

In a New York City courtroom on March 11, 2020, disgraced entertainment mogul Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for a first-degree criminal sexual act and a third-degree rape. Weinstein was found guilty of these charges on February 24, 2020. On the same day of his conviction, he was found not guilty of three other charges, which were more serious: two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of first-degree rape involving two women (Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann) in separate incidents. The jury, consisting of seven men and five women, deliberated for nearly a week.

Weinstein’s prison sentence could have ranged from five years to 29 years. According to the Associated Press, Judge James Burke commented when delivering the 23-year sentence to Weinstein, who is 67: “Although this is a first conviction, this is not a first offense.” Weinstein, who did not testify during his trial, continues to deny all sexual-misconduct allegations against him.

After his sentencing, Weinstein gave his first public statement since he was convicted of these sex crimes. According to the Associated Press, Weinstein said, “To all the women who testified, we may have different truths, but I have great remorse for all of you … Thousands of men are losing due process. I’m worried about this country. I’m totally confused. I think men are confused about these issues.”

His attorneys are expected to appeal the conviction. His defense attorney Donna Rotunno commented after Weinstein’s prison sentence was delivered: “We were looking for fairness, and we didn’t get it.”

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said that Weinstein’s sentence “puts sexual predators and abusive partners in all segments of society on notice.”

Weinstein is also facing sexual-assault charges in Los Angeles, where he is accused of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another woman on two consecutive nights during Oscars week in 2013. He is expected to be extradited to face trial in Los Angeles on those charges.

Weinstein was first arrested in May 2018, when he turned himself into the New York Police Department. He was arrested and charged with rape and forced oral sex. According to the Associated Press, the rape charge was for an unidentified woman who claims that Weinstein raped her at a New York hotel room in 2013. The oral sex charge was for a 2004 incident in which former aspiring actress Lucia Evans claims that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him at his New York office.

In October 2018, the charge involving Evans was dismissed. According to CNN, Evans’ attorney Carrie Goldberg implied that the charge was dropped for political reasons because of a “feud between the NYPD and the DA’s office.” Goldberg added that the dropped charge “does speak to a system desperate in need of reform.”

Weinstein’s conviction and imprisonment for sex crimes are considered landmarks for the #MeToo movement, which became a major cultural force in October 2017, when the New York Times and the New Yorker reported that Weinstein has a long history of sexual misconduct allegations, going back as far as the 1980s. The reports detailed how he silenced many of his alleged victims with financial settlements and non-disclosure agreements. In the years since those reports were published, more than 100 women have come forward to claim that Weinstein sexually harassed or sexually assaulted them. Weinstein continues to claim that any sex acts he committed were consensual.

After the reports were published, Weinstein was fired by The Weinstein Company (the entertainment firm that Harvey co-founded in 2005 with his brother Bob); Harvey’s second wife, Georgina Chapman, divorced him; and the company filed for bankruptcy. The Weinstein Company has since been purchased by investment group Lantern Entertainment.

In March 2019, Lantern and Gary Barber launched Spyglass Media Group, which will own the library previously owned by The Weinstein Company. Italian film distributor Eagle Pictures, cinema chain Cineworld (which own Regal Cinemas) and later AT&T’s Warner Bros. were brought in as minority holders. The library includes Oscar-winning movies “The King’s Speech,” “The Artist,” “Inglourious Basterds,” “Django Unchained,” “The Hateful Eight,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “The Iron Lady,” as well as partial ownership of the fashion reality TV competition “Project Runway.”

Before co-founding The Weinstein Company, the Weinstein brothers co-founded Miramax Films in 1979. Miramax was the studio behind numerous Oscar-winning films, such as “My Left Foot,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Shakespeare in Love” and “No Country for Old Men.” Miramax was sold to Disney in 1993, then to Filmyard Holdings in 2010, and then to the beIN Media Group in 2016. In 2019, beIN sold a 49% stake in Miramax to ViacomCBS.

Several industry organizations (including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) have expelled Harvey Weinstein from their membership, and he has been sued by several women for sexual harassment/sexual misconduct. Ashley Judd, one of his accusers, is also suing him for defamation because she claims Harvey Weinstein damaged her reputation and career after she rejected his sexual advances.

Since the accusations about Weinstein were made public, there have been several books, news stories and documentaries about his scandals. The most notable feature-length documentary so far about Weinstein is Hulu’s “Untouchable,” which began streaming in September 2019. The entertainment industry website Deadline reported in 2018 that Plan B (Brad Pitt’s production company) and Annapurna Pictures are planning a dramatic feature film about how The New York Times broke the Weinstein #MeToo story. The movie, if it’s made, will likely begin filming after all of Weinstein’s criminal cases have been resolved.

Harvey Weinstein’s downfall is widely considered to be the turning point of the #MeToo cultural movement, which has survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault publicly telling their stories and seeking justice. The #MeToo movement has also led to sexual misconduct allegations against many other famous and powerful men, often resulting in the accused losing their jobs and/or being sued. Harvey Weinstein now joins Bill Cosby as two of the once-powerful men in the entertainment industry who have been convicted of sexual assault since the resurgence of the #MeToo movement.

2020 Athena Film Festival: movie reviews and recaps

March 5, 2020

by Carla Hay

Athena Film Festival

Pictured  from left to right at the 2020 Athena Film Festival Awards, held February 26 at Barnard College in New York City: filmmaker Effie T. Brown, Athena Film Festival co-founder/artistic director Melissa Silverstein, filmmaker Unjoo Moon, actress Beanie Feldstein, Athena Film Festival co-founder Kathryn Kolbert and Barnard College president Sian Beilock. (Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images for the Athena Film Awards)

The 10th annual Athena Film Festival—which took place at New York City’s Barnard College from February 27 to March 1, 2020—once again had an impressive presentation of female-oriented movies, panels and networking events.

The festival was preceded on February 26 by the annual Athena Film Festival Awards, which honored actress Beanie Feldstein, filmmaker Jennifer Kaytin Robinson and producer Effie T. Brown with Athena Awards, while filmmaker Unjoo Moon received the event’s first Breakthrough Award. Moon’s Helen Reddy biopic “I Am Woman” was the opening-night film at the festival, where the movie had its New York premiere. Gloria Steinem, filmmaker Greta Gerwig (a 2006 Barnard graduate), director Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”), actress Lorraine Toussaint and Oscar-winning filmmaker Dan Cogan (“Icarus”) were among the presenters at the award show, while singer Arianna Afsar performed at the event. Also in attendance were actress Andrea Riseborough, filmmaker Liz Garbus (“What Happened, Miss Simone?”) and author/public speaker Verna Myers.

One of the changes to Athena Film Festival this year was that it became more environmentally conscious by not having pamphlets, which were provided at previous Athena Film Festivals. (People who still needed to see a schedule on paper could go to the information area, which had a paper schedule on display.) Saving paper by not having pamphlets and encouraging people to go online for information are steps in the right direction for helping the environment. Kudos to the Athena Film Festival producers for being forward-thinking about this important issue.

Almost all of the movies had their world premieres at other festivals, but there were several that had their New York premieres at the Athena Film Festival. (Full reviews will be posted later. This article will be updated with links to those reviews.)

The New York premieres at the Athena Film Festival included these movies:

The narrative centerpiece film was “Lost Girls,” a mystery thriller directed by Liz Garbus and starring Amy Ryan as a mother searching for her missing 24-year-old daughter. The movie is based on the true story of Mari Gilbert’s quest to find justice for her daughter Shannan Gilbert, who was among the victims of the Gilbo Beach Murders on New York’s Long Island. The story includes how Mari and other family members of the murder victims joined forces to try find out who murdered their loved ones. Netflix will begin streaming “Lost Girls” on March 13, 2020.

If you liked Netflix’s 2019 “Unbelieveable” limited series (which was based on a true crime story about the hunt for a serial rapist), you’ll also like “Lost Girls.” The movie’s screenplay, written by Michael Werwie, is based on Robert Kolker’s book “Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery.”

“Lost Girls” team members at the Athena Film Festival premiere of the movie at Barnard College in New York City on February 29, 2020. Pictured from left to right: producer Anne Carey, actress Molly Brown, actress Amy Ryan, actress Miriam Shor, actress Lola Kirke, actress Oona Laurence and director Liz Garbus. (Photo by Carla Hay)

At the Q&A after the “Lost Girls” screening, which was attended by many of the real-life people who are portrayed in the film, Garbus said that she wanted to direct this movie: “I fell in love with the story. I felt if I could be part of telling and elevate the story again and appreciating the incredible work by these women in keeping their loved ones’ stories alive, then it would be a great honor.”

Ryan, who plays Mari Gilbert in “Lost Girls,” was visibly moved when she spoke to Mari’s daughter Sherre Gilbert, who was in the front row of the audience.  “I am so grateful to use my voice to help to keep this story going …This story matters. it was really an honor to play your mom.” Ryan added that the actresses who portrayed the grieving allies shared a real-life friendship on the movie set. “Our connection to each other was an amazing reflection of that … I just think when you get a group of women together in a room, it can be very powerful.”

“Never Rarely Sometimes Always” was another standout film at the Athena Film Festival. This drama, written and directed by Eliza Hittman, follows the emotionally harrowing journey of a 17-year-old named Autumn Gallagher (played by Sidney Flanigan), who has to travel from her hometown in rural Pennsylvania to New York City to get an abortion for an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. The movie realistically shows the obstacles she faces, as well as the toll that her abortion decision takes on her physically and psychologically. Hittman had been scheduled to do a post-premiere Q&A at the Athena Film Festival,  but she had to bow out to attend the Berlin International Film Festival, where “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” won the Silver Bear Award (second-place prize). Focus Features will release “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” in select U.S. cinemas on March 13, 2020.

The dramatic film “The Perfect Candidate,” directed and co-written by Haifaa al-Mansour, is about a woman named Maryam (played by Mila Al Zahrani), who’s facing a different type of obstacle. She’s a Saudi Arabian female doctor who running for her local city council, in a culture where women rarely try to be political leaders because it’s considered unladylike and almost taboo. Not surprisingly, she faces a lot of sexism and degrading reactions to her campaign. It’s a well-acted film that provides further insight into how far some countries need to go before they won’t place a stigma on gender-equality opportunities that women in other countries take for granted. Music Box Films will release “The Perfect Candidiate” in U.S. cinemas, on a date to be announced. The movie was already released in Saudi Arabia, which selected “The Perfect Candidate” as the country’s official 2019 Academy Awards submission for Best International Feature Film.

Perhaps the best underrated gem of the festival was the Canadian drama “Kuessipan,” directed and co-written by Myriam Verreault and Naomi Fontaine, based on Fontaine’s novel of the same time. The mostly French-language movie tells the story of two teenage girls in Québec who’ve been best friends since childhood, but their lives are going in different directions. Mikuan (played by Sharon Ishpatao Fontaine) comes from a stable family and is headed to college, while Shaniss (played by Yamie Grégoire) comes from a troubled broken home and is an unwed teenage mother who’s dropped out of school. What makes this story different from others with a similar concept is that the girls happen to be from the Innu tribe. Their racial identity and issues related to their culture are rarely seen in movies, so it’s refreshing that this film does it in a very authentic way. The movie is engaging and very well-made, from beginning to end. “Kuessipan” is highly recommended for anyone who likes coming-of-age stories that ring true.

 

The only feature film to have its world premiere at the festival was the documentary “Dying Doesn’t Feel Like What I’m Doing,” directed by Paula Weiman-Kelman, about female rabbi/activist Rachel Cowan and how she lived with terminal brain cancer before her death in 2018. The movie played to a sold-out audience. It’s an intimate and starkly made film that treats Cowan with dignity and respect. At the Q&A that was held after the screening, Weiman-Kelman said that she started filming the documentary before Cowan was diagnosed with brain cancer, but Cowan graciously wanted her to keep filming after the diagnosis.

The inspiring documentary “Woman in Motion” (directed by Todd Thompson) tells the story of “Star Trek” actress Nichelle Nicholas’ 1970s campaign to recruit more women and people of color to join NASA and become astronauts. This movie would make a great companion piece to the 2016 Oscar-nominated hit drama “Hidden Figures,” which told the story of three African American women who were underappreciated pioneers at NASA in the 1960s. “Woman in Motion” also takes a look at how “Star Trek” also played a role in opening up people’s minds to the idea that a diverse group of people could be in outer space.

The Irish horror flick “Sea Fever” (written and directed by Neasa Hardiman) is definitely influenced by the 1979 classic film “Alien,” since it’s about a group of people trapped on board with a parasitic creature that can multiply easily, infect humans, and then kill them. And the smartest one in the group is a scientific-minded woman, who’s the best chance that they have of survival. But instead of being a gun-toting warrior like Sigourney Weaver’s “Alien” character Ripley, the heroine of “Sea Fever” is a marine-biology student Siobhán (played by Hermione Corfield), who’s the youngest person on an isolated ship that’s under attack by a mysterious sea creature. Even though the movie has some predictable tropes, what makes “Sea Fever” different from other horror films of this type is that Siobhán has to deal with ageism, as well as the expected sexism. For most of the story, the other people on board don’t take her seriously. And there are dire consequences when her warnings go unheeded. Gunpowder & Sky will release “Sea Fever” in U.S. cinemas on a date to be announced.

“Rocks,” a drama directed by Sarah Gavron, was the festival’s closing-night film. “The movie (written by Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson) is about a London teenager nicknamed Rocks (played by Bukky Bakray), who comes home to find her single mother missing, and she has to take care of her younger brother Emmanuel (played by D’angelou Osei Kissiedu) by herself. With the help of her female friends, Rocks tries to hide her situation from child protective services, which would separate the siblings in foster care. Overall, the movie is good, although some people might have an issue with one aspect of the movie’s conclusion that ends up being vague and open to interpretation. (It has to do with a decision that Rocks makes about Emmanuel.) However, the movie’s greatest strength is that it doesn’t sugarcoat the problems that Rocks encounters as an unexpected underage guardian of her brother.  Film4 will release “Rocks” in the U.K. and Ireland on April 24 , 2020. The movie’s U.S. release date is undetermined, as of this writing.

Other movies that had their New York City premieres at the festival included the Marie Curie biopic “Radioactive”; the lesbian cop drama “The Long Shadow”; the Papua New Guinea women’s rugby documentary “Power Meri”; the British drama “Military Wives”; the Israeli political documentary “Objector”; the French coming-of-age drama “Stars by the Pound”; the Spanish lesbian drama “Carmen & Lola”; and the Italian female boxing documentary “Butterfly.”

The festival had some movies that were originally released in 2019 and have won prizes and Oscar nominations. They included the Syrian war documentary “For Sama” (co-directed by and starring Waad al-Kateab); Greta Gerwig’s Oscar-nominated version of “Little Women,” based on the classic Louisa May Alcott novel; the Disney animated sequel “Frozen 2” (co-directed by Jennifer Lee); and the Harriet Tubman biopic “Harriet,” directed by Kasi Lemmons.

There were also networking events (most were invitation-only), discussion panels and creative workshops.

The Athena Film Festival’s “The Silence Breakers” panel at Barnard College in New York City on February 29, 2020. Pictured from left to right: Sarah Anne Masse, Jasmine Lobe, Drew Dixon and Sheri Sher. (Photo Carla Hay)

The most-talked about panel, which also packed the room with about 250 people, was “The Silence Breakers,” featuring #MeToo accusers of disgraced entertainment moguls Harvey Weinstein and Russell Simmons. The panel, which took place on February 29, was moderated by The Hollywood Reporter executive film editor Tatiana Siegel, who has covered several #MeToo stories in the entertainment industry. The panelists shared their thoughts on the February 24 verdict that convicted Weinstein of a first-degree criminal sexual act and a third-degree count of rape. A New York City jury of seven men and five women delivered the verdict, which acquitted Weinstein of the most serious charges: two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of first-degree rape.

The panelists shared their thoughts on the verdict. “I was really relieved. It felt like a weight I’d been carrying on my shoulders for 12 years had been lifted,” commented actress Sarah Ann Masse, who claims that Wejnstein sexually harassed her during a job interview in 2008. “I was expecting him to get away with it, like he had for decades.”

Jasmine Lobe, an writer/actress who says that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 2006, had this to say about Weinstein being convicted of sex crimes: “There was a tremendous sense of victory. We were all preparing for the worst.” Weinstein continues to deny all sexual-misconduct allegations against him. He will receive his prison sentence on March 11, 2020.

Drew Dixon (a former A&R executive at Def Jam Records and Arista Records) and Sheri Sher (a founding member of the all-female hip-hop group Mercedes Ladies) each claim that they were raped by Simmons, who founded the companies Def Jam and Rush Communications. He stepped down from his businesses in 2017, after several women went public with similar allegations. Dixon says her assault happened in 1995, while Sher claims that Simmons sexually violated her in 1983. Simmons has denied all the accusations against him. As of this writing, he has not been arrested for any alleged sex crimes that still fall under the statute of limitations, but he’s being sued in California by an unnamed woman who claims he raped her in 1988.

“It is a game-changer, a watershed moment,” Dixon said of the Weinstein rape conviction. “Also, the fact that a majority-male jury understood the nuance of remaining in touch with your perpetrator.” Simmons accuser Sher added that since the resurgence of the #Me Too movement and now that Weinstein has been convicted of rape, there’s a “sense that it’s a new era. It’s time to change. It’s real.”

Dixon and Sher are among the Simmons accusers featured in the documentary “On the Record,” directed by Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick. The movie was publicly protested by Simmons and some of his supporters. Executive producer Oprah Winfrey and Apple TV+ then dropped out of the project. HBO Max then picked up the documentary, which will begin streaming on a date to be announced. Dixon mentioned that when black women accuse black men of abuse, the situation is more complicated because of the racial injustices that black men face in the legal system.

Meanwhile, the panelists said that although organizations such as Time’s Up have been helpful for many #MeToo survivors, a lot more progress needs to be made in order to change the culture where sexual harassers and predators can still thrive. The panelists advocate for laws that extend or suspend statutes of limitations for sex crimes. They also think there should be more policies that won’t allow non-disclosure agreements for settlements involving sexual misconduct.

Masse and Dixon also noted that more industry people in power who say they care about this issue need to practice what they preach and hire #MeToo silence breakers who’ve been victims of career retaliation. Because the #MeToo issue is not limited to the entertainment industry, Dixon commented that it’s everyone’s responsibility to do their part to stop the cycle of abuse: “If you see something, say something. You call it out. You don’t laugh it off.”

2020 Tribeca Film Festival: short films announced

March 5, 2020

Tribeca Film Festival - white logo

“John Bronco”

The following is a press release from the Tribeca Film Festival:

The 19th annual Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, today announced its 2020 Shorts Program lineup. Setting a record with over 6,100 submissions, the final program roster includes 64 diverse and captivating short films from 20 countries around the globe, and features 46 world premieres, including DreamWorks Animation’s new animated short, To Gerard. The short films will be presented in 10 distinct competition programs which include five narrative, four documentary, and one animation program. For the fourth consecutive year, 40 percent of the selections are directed by female filmmakers. Queen Collective by Procter & Gamble in partnership with Queen Latifah, Flavor Unit Entertainment and Tribeca Studios is back, a program dedicated to supporting gender and racial equality behind the camera. The 2020 shorts lineup is programmed by Sharon Badal and Ben Thompson. The 2020 Tribeca Film Festival takes place April 15 – April 26.

“In this important election year we have a political doc shorts program that illustrates contemporary issues facing our country, as well as a music doc shorts program that’s very diverse,” said Sharon Badal, Vice President of Filmmaker Relations and Shorts Programming, Tribeca Film Festival. “Everyone needs some escapism too, so our comedy shorts, sci-fi shorts, and New York shorts programs are back by popular demand.”

Tribeca’s defining tradition of discovering talent and supporting filmmaker alumni development will again be on full display in this year’s short program. A cohort of seven student films will make their debut, and Tribeca welcomes back many alumni with short films, including Alex Budovsky (Bathwell in Clerkentime), Carlos Javier Ortiz (Shikaakwa), Bryan Buckley (Saria), James Burns (Solitary), Chris Burkard (Unnúr), and Scott Calonico (Betrayal).

Notable voiceover talent and actors featured in the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival Shorts Film program include Benedict Cumberbatch (The Tiger Who Came to Tea), Dennis Quaid (John Bronco), and Ruth Bader Ginsberg (Making the Case). Plus, Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind (Motorcycle Drive By) will perform after the world premiere of the program Shorts: Rhythm of Life in Hoboken, NJ.

International storytelling will be celebrated in Tribeca’s Short Film program, with 44 percent of its selections originating from 20 different countries, including: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

2020 best live-action short and best documentary short Academy Award® winners The Neighbors’ Window and Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If You’re A Girl) both world premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and continue the latest in Tribeca’s long tradition of curating films that have been nominated or won an Oscar. Recipients of the Tribeca Film Festival awards for Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short, and Best Animated Short will qualify for consideration in the Academy Awards’ Short Films category, provided the film complies with Academy rules. Tribeca Film Festival also gives out a Student Visionary Award.

The 2020 Tribeca Film Festival Shorts Program is as follows:

Animated Shorts Curated by Whoopi G

Imaginative storytelling and captivating craft. Suggested for those 14 and older.

“Grandad Was a Romantic” (Image by Maryam Mohajer)

Grandad Was A Romantic, directed, written, and by Maryam Mohajer. (UK) – New York Premiere, Short Animation. Grandad first fell in love with granny seeing her picture. It sounds like a fairy tale. All it needs is a happy ending. With Maya Naraghi.  

Umbrella, directed and written by Helena Hilario, Mario Pece. Produced by Helena Hilario. (Brazil) – New York Premiere, Short Animation. Inspired by true events, Umbrella is a short film that follows Joseph, a boy who lives in an orphanage and dreams of having a yellow umbrella.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea, directed by Robin Shaw, written by Joanna Harrison, Judith Kerr. Produced by Ruth Fielding, Camilla Deakin. (UK) – World Premiere, Short Animation. A mysterious tiger turns up unannounced and invites himself in for afternoon tea. With David Oyelowo, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tamsin Greig, Clara Ross, David Walliams.

Beyond Noh, directed by Patrick Smith, written by Patrick Smith, Kaori Ishida. Produced by Kaori Ishida. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Animation. Beyond Noh rhythmically animates 3,475 individual masks from all over the world.

Kapaemahu, directed by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson. Produced by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Animation. Four mysterious boulders on Waikiki Beach have a hidden history; within them, there are legendary transgender healing spirits. In Hawaiian with English subtitles.

Bathwell in Clerkentime, directed, written, and produced by Alex Budovsky. (Colombia, USA) – World Premiere, Short Animation. This is the animated short that completes the trilogy about cuckoos from Clerkenwell going nuts. In this episode birds face problems with marriage, raising kids, and alcohol.

Friends, directed, written, and produced by Florian Grolig. (Germany) – North American Premiere, Short Animation. The “small” one is, well, small, and the “big” one is definitely very very big. They are friends.

To Gerard, directed and written by Taylor Meacham. Produced by Jeff Hermann. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Animation. A sprightly elderly man brightens the day of a little girl through magic.

Choose Your Battles

Docs about politics, perseverance and purses.

“Sixth of June”

Sixth of June, directed by Henry Roosevelt. Produced by Rylan Soref, Nicole Galovski. (USA) – New York Premiere, Short Documentary. Why do we remember, and what do we lose if we forget? With Susan Eisenhower, Helen Patton, Keith Nightengale.

USA V SCOTT, directed by Ora DeKornfeld, Isabel Castro. Produced by Ora DeKornfeld. (USA) – New York Premiere, Short Documentary. When an Arizona resident is charged with three felony counts and faces a 20-year prison sentence for helping migrants, his community grapples with moral questions posed by his arrest. With Scott Warren, Emily Saunders, Greg Kuykendall.

The Undocumented Lawyer, directed by Zach Ingrasci, Chris Temple, written by Zach Ingrasci, Chris Temple. Produced by Jenna Kelly. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. Lizbeth Mateo is an attorney who swore to uphold the Constitution. She’s also undocumented. When a client takes sanctuary in a church, Lizbeth’s own experience guides their fight for justice. With Lizbeth Mateo, Edith Espinal. In English, Spanish with English subtitles.

Shikaakwa, directed by Carlos Javier Ortiz, written by Carlos Javier Ortiz, Tina K. Sacks. Produced by Carlos Javier Ortiz, Tina K. Sacks. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. Its title derived from the indigenous word for Chicago, this story meditates on the physical spaces that hold us up and hold us back. With Ondelee Pertee, Deetreena Perteet.

Vote Neil, directed by Honora Talbott. Produced by Honora Talbott. (USA) – New York Premiere, Short Documentary. A Marine vet runs to be the first openly gay man elected to the Alabama State Legislature. With Neil Rafferty, Michael Rudulph.

Making The Case, directed, written, and produced by Jennifer Callahan. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for whom legal arguments are daily currency, examines her handbags, revealing a corner of a mind that has argued and won historic cases.

Don’t Look Back

Some decisions are irrevocable.

“The Last Ferry From Grass Island” (Photo by Giorgos Valsamis)

The Last Ferry from Grass Island (島嶼故事), directed and written by Linhan Zhang. Produced by Clifford Miu. (Hong Kong SAR, USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. A Hong Kong hitman retires as a fisherman on the peaceful Grass Island. One day, his Chinese apprentice shows up, tasked to kill him before the last ferry departs. With Tai Bo, Wang Yang, Yee Yee Yeung. In Cantonese, Mandarin with English subtitles.

No More Wings, directed and written by Abraham Adeyemi. Produced by Abiola Rufai. (UK) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. At a divergent point in their lives, two lifelong friends (Ivanno Jeremiah, Parys Jordon) meet at their favorite South London fried chicken shop. With Ivanno Jeremiah, Parys Jordon, Joshua Cameron, Tyrus Mckenzie.

Burros, directed and written by Jefferson Stein. Produced by Liz Cardenas. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. While traveling through the Tohono O’odham tribal lands into the United States, a six-year-old indigenous girl (Amaya Juan) discovers a Hispanic migrant her age who has lost her father. With Amaya Juan, Zuemmy Carrillo, Virginia Patricio, Rupert Lopez. In English, Spanish with English subtitles.

The Cypher, directed by Letia Solomon, written by Wes Akwuobi. Produced by Anne Brashier, C. Craig Patterson. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. With his reputation and a potential record deal on the line, Khalil (Nigel Cox) confronts his opponent (Kerrice Brooks) and defends his identity after being outed during a freestyle competition. With Nigel Cox, Kerrice Brooks, Juan Gil, O’Shay Neal, Nelcie Souffrant, Alexander Robinson, Michael Devon.

The Catch (El Salto), directed by Thais Drassinower, written by Camila Zavala. (Peru) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. The trust between married trapeze artists (Oscar Meza, Vania Accinelli) is threatened before the most important performance of their career. With Oscar Meza, Vania Accinelli, Roberto Ruiz. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Saria, directed and written by Bryan Buckley. Produced by Aura Santamaria. (USA) – New York Premiere, Short Narrative. Two inseparable orphaned sisters, Saria and Ximena (Estefanía Tellez, Gabriela Ramírez), fight against daily abuse and unimaginable hardship at Virgen de La Asuncion Safe Home in Guatemala. With Estefanía Tellez, Gabriela Ramírez. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Live and Learn

Doc life lessons past, present and future.

“Mr. Somebody” (Photo by Brian Wertheim)

Mr. Somebody, directed and written by Brian Wertheim. Produced by Jared Callahan, Jonathan Pickett. (USA) – New York Premiere, Short Documentary. A former member of the Crips searches for redemption after 14 years behind bars. With Jerome “Bam” Blackburn.

Solitary, directed and written by James Burns, Shal Ngo. Produced by Chris Wilson, Jake Ewald. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. A documentary hybrid about solitary confinement, following three people who have spent a combined nine years in solitary, one of whom co-directed the film. With James Burns, Pamela Winn, Five Mualimm-ak, Jack DiFalco, Alana Barrett-Adkins, Daniel Danielson.

Float, directed, written and produced by Saila Huusko. (Finland) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. Women in Sri Lanka confront community expectations by learning to swim; along the way, swimming becomes a way to stay afloat. In English, Sinhalese with English subtitles.

Betrayal, directed by Scott Calonico, written by Scott Calonico, Harmon Leon. Produced by Harmon Leon. (Germany, UK, USA) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. Andy (Andreas Stiller Hudson), deserted as a child by his father (Werner Stiller), uncovers a forgotten 40-year-old goodbye letter from his dad. With Andreas Stiller. In with English subtitles.

Crescendo!, directed by Alex Mallis. Produced by Matt O’Neill, Perri Peltz. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. An opera singer (Michael Fabiano) finds his voice. With Michael Fabiano.

Unnúr, directed by Chris Burkard, written by Matt McDonald, Ben Weiland. Produced by Mike Sandifer. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. Elli is an Icelandic photographer, surfer, and kayaker whose perspective changed after surviving a near death experience. Today he is a father and the film details the complicated world of parenthood. With Elli Thor Magnusson, Unnur Erlendsdottir.

LOL

Comedies that go off the rails.

Suresh John in “One Last Last Heist” (Photo by Stuart Campbell)

One Last Last Heist, directed and written by Darrin Rose. Produced by Courtney Hicks. (Canada) – New York Premiere, Short Narrative. An armed robber (Suresh John) sets up his heartbroken buddy on a meet-cute — during a heist. With Suresh John, Darrin Rose, Ava Julien, Marito Lopez.

A Piece of Cake, directed and written by The Bragg Brothers. Produced by Lana Link, RD Delgado, Rob Pfaltzgraff. (USA) – New York Premiere, Short Narrative. When a desperate father (Rich Sommer) discovers his daughter’s (Riona O’Donnell) favorite cake decoration is illegal, he descends into a confectionery black market. Should he break a birthday promise or break the law? With Rich Sommer, Natalie Britton, Riona O’Donnell, Michael Villar.

Query, directed by Sophie Kargman, written by Ryan Farhoudi, Sophie Kargman. Produced by Sophie Kargman, Nicole Smolen, Ryan Farhoudi, Nick Delli Santi, Ashton Ramsey. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. A leisurely day belies its uninvited end as Jay (Justice Smith) and Alex (Graham Patrick Martin), best friends and roommates, challenge one another on their opinions of sexuality. With Justice Smith, Graham Patrick Martin, Armie Hammer, Olivia Sui.

I Can Change, directed and written by Jim Jenkins. Produced by Marc Grill, Greg McCollum. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. The night before his wedding, an underachiever (John Hoogenakker) receives the power to stop time, so he attempts to make major life changes his fiancé (Lucy Cudden) wants him to make, all before morning. With John Hoogenakker, Lucy Cudden, Annie Sertich, Kimberly Dooley, Matt Newell.

Egg, directed and written by Michael J. Goldberg. Produced by Kara Taylor Goldberg. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. Under the watchful eye of an elderly woman (Gabrielle Chan), a young girl (Kim Doan), bored in suburbia, becomes determined to claim a large Easter egg as her own. With Alex Anfanger, Caitlin McGee, Patrick Woodall, Leah Henoch, Aaron Schroeder.

John Bronco, directed by Jake Szymanski. Produced by Marc Gilbar, Meredith Kaulfers, Rebecca Donaghe, Maggie McLean. (USA, Iceland) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. The legendary pitchman for the Ford Bronco rises, falls, and is ultimately redeemed. With Walton Goggins, Tim Meadows, Tim Baltz, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bo Derek, Dennis Quaid.

New York

All world premiere stories from the city we call home.

“Prelude”

Prelude, directed by Tsubasa Matsumoto, written by Koji Enomoto, Tsubasa Matsumoto & Klark Chaudry. Produced by Victor Tyler, Zoey Pressey. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. Alex (Vincenzo Hickley) shares distressing thoughts about life to Marion (Jessica Park), a girl he is smitten with, and winds up revealing the truth of their birth. With Vincenzo Hickley, Jessica Park, Tara Westwood, Ariel Eliaz.

Black Ghost Son, directed and written by Christopher Low. Produced by Tiffany Jackman. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. Eddie (Gary Luk) is learning to become a father and his son, Troy (Kavon John Lightse), is navigating the spaces between ethnicity and identity. With Kavon John Lightsey, Gary Luk, Cece Anna Lee.

Shadows, directed and written by Ria Tobaccowala. Produced by Rekha Tobaccowala, Ashley Deckman, Ria Tobaccowala. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. During the fragile chapter when a girl faces womanhood, Naya (Crystal De La Cruz) explores her independence on homecoming night away from her watchful family. With Crystal De La Cruz, Reynaldo Piniella, Selenis Leyva, Juan Arturo, Awilda Santana. In English, Spanish with English subtitles.

Look At Me, directed and written by Nika Fehmiu. Produced by Nika Fehmiu, Anton Vicente Kliot, Hannah Vicente Kliot. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. On a winter night in New York City, a young, intoxicated boy’s (Connor Vasile) fate is determined by his brief encounters with strangers, and a deeper American truth is exposed. With Hadley Robinson, Connor Vasile, Juliette Alice Gobin, Snezana Bogdanovic, Uliks Fehmiu, John Gargan. In Bosnian, English with English subtitles.

Gets Good Light, directed by Alejandra Parody, written by Daniel Solé. Produced by Elizabeth Phillipson-Weiner. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. A luxury condo begins serving as an alluring open house by day, but by night becomes a brief refuge for a family targeted by immigration enforcement. With Jessica Pimentel, Cedric Lieba Jr., Edmond Cofie, Catherine Curtin. In English, Spanish with English subtitles.

Sloan Hearts Neckface, directed by Justin Fair, written by Ian Grody. Produced by Patrick Ng. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. An anonymous, anarchic graffiti artist (Raul Castillo) unexpectedly falls in love with a fan (Clara Mamet) but can’t be with her until he reveals his true identity. With Clara Mamet, Raúl Castillo, Isiah Whitlock Jr..

Tapes, directed and written by Dara Katz, Betsy Kenney. Produced by Sarah Donnenberg, Leah Donnenberg, Kirstin VanSkiver. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. A woman’s discovery of a 30-year-old recording leads to an awkward family dinner and an unexpected revelation about her mother (Maryann Plunkett). With Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders, Madeline Fischer, Jonathan Braylock, Devin Bockrath, Francis Li.

No Surrender

Docs concerning courage and conviction.

Miranda Miller in “On Falling” (Photo by Scott Secco)

On Falling, directed and written by Josephine Anderson. Produced by Joella Cabalu. (Canada) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. In a meditation on the limits of the body and the mind, three young women (Andréane Lanthier Nadeau, Miranda Miller, Brittany Phelan) muse on their experiences as professional mountain bikers. With Andréane Lanthier Nadeau, Miranda Miller, Brittany Phelan. Also playing as part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.

Tall Tales with True Queens, directed by Kristina Budelis, Leandro Badalotti. Produced by Kristina Budelis. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. At Drag Queen Story Hour, a controversial children’s event series, a tale of pride and prejudice is told.

Akashinga, directed by Maria Wilhelm. Produced by Kim Butts, Drew Pulley, Maria Wilhelm. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. An all-female anti-poaching unit pushes a group of new recruits to the limit as they attempt to protect the elephants of their homeland.

Echoes in the Arctic, directed by Andy Maser, Paul Nicklen, Tahria Sheather. Produced by Tahria Sheather, Andy Maser, Sam Kretchmar. (USA, Norway) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. A team of dedicated filmmakers and scientists document the world’s healthiest orca population in the Norwegian Arctic to help protect it from oil exploration.

Tā Moko – Behind the Tattooed Face, directed by Mick Andrews, David Atkinson. Produced by Mick Andrews, David Atkinson. (New Zealand) – New York Premiere, Short Documentary. Maori face tattooing is a tradition that almost died out through colonization. Bernard and Sapphire show their passion to see Maori communities heal by receiving face tattoos of their own.

My Brother’s Keeper, directed and produced by Laurence Topham. (UK) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. A former Guantánamo detainee, Mohamedou Ould Salahi, and his one-time American guard, Steve Wood, form an unlikely friendship in an inspiring true story.

Rhythm of Life

Music infused docs with heart and soul.

“The Difference” (Photo by Tyler Bertram)

The Difference, directed and written by Brianne Berkson, Miguel Gluckstern (BriGuel). Produced by Brianne Berkson, Miguel Gluckstern, Andres Gonzalez, Atman Smith, Ali Smith, Dr. Megan Poe, Cassie Smith. (USA) – New York Premiere, Short Documentary. How do we provide our children with tools to live and thrive? What can we do to make a difference?

My Father The Mover, directed and written by Julia Jansch. Produced by Julia Jansch, Mandilakhe Yengo. (South Africa) – New York Premiere, Short Documentary. African electronic Gqom beats motivate kids in the township of Khayelitsha, South Africa to jive through their hardship and find their superpowers.With Stoan Galela, Alatha Galela. In English, Xhosa with English subtitles.

Welcome to a Bright White Limbo, directed and written by Cara Holmes. Produced by Zlata Filipovic. (Ireland) – International Premiere, Short Documentary. Combining documentary and dance performance, this visually arresting film dives into the mind and creative process of Oona Doherty’s award winning dance show, Hope Hunt. With Oona Doherty.

When I Write It, directed by Nico Opper, Shannon St. Aubin, written by Nico Opper, Shannon St. Aubin, Leila Mottley, Ajai Kasim. Produced by Nico Opper, Shannon St. Aubin. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. Two Oakland teens (Leila Mottley, Ajai Kasim) explore what it means to be young, black, and committed to making art in their rapidly changing city. With Leila Mottley, Ajai Kasim.

Motorcycle Drive By, directed and written by David Wexler. Produced by David Wexler, Bradford Coleman. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. Third Eye Blind cannot finish their new album in time for a massive tour. Their fans still show, breaking attendance records, and highlighting the importance of the band’s deep cuts. With Stephan Jenkins, Brad Hargreaves, Kryz Reid, Colin Creev, Alex LeCavalier.

Update Required

Out of this world sci-fi shorts.

Ben Mortley in “Carmentis” (Photo by David Le May and Antony Webb)

Carmentis, directed and written by Antony Webb. Produced by Jaclyn Hewer. (Australia) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. An injured and grief-stricken miner (Ben Mortley) on the desolate planet Carmentis must overcome his personal demons in order to survive, but can he get there before the planet freezes? With Ben Mortley, Adriane Daff, Jo Morris.

The Light Side, directed and written by Ryan Ebner. Produced by Dominick Ferro. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. An aging Sith Lord (Joseph Ragno) must come to grips with his past and discover why humility may be the greatest force in the galaxy. With Joseph Ragno.

Abducted, directed by Ben Joyner, written by Josh Barkey. Produced by Brad Jayne, Thomas Torrey, James Edward Tilden, Henry Drayton. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. A tongue-in-cheek Southern thriller about a rookie cop’s (Jenna Kannell) first date gone horribly wrong. With Jenna Kannell, Jay Devon Johnson, Jesse C. Boyd, Rebecca Koon.

System Error, directed and written by Matt Vesely. Produced by Kirsty Stark. (Australia) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. George works at a convenience store, desperately hoping for a friend. But George is a robotic service unit, and robotic service units do not have friends. Not yet, anyway. With David Quirk, Nick Nemeroff.

A Better You, directed and written by Eamonn Murphy. Produced by Quintin Ahern. (Ireland) – International Premiere, Short Narrative. Living in a dystopian, neo-steampunk world, a shy young man named Douglas (Seán T. Ó’Meallaigh) invests in a customizable carbon clone to help him win the girl of his dreams. With Seán T. Ó’Meallaigh, Hannah Mamalis, Charlie Kranz, Aoife Nic Ardghail, Márcio Wille.

TOTO, directed by Marco Baldonado, written by Marco Baldonado, Walter Woodman. Produced by Jeremiah Lapointe, Marco Baldonado. (Canada) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. Rosa Forlano, a 90 year old Nonna, falls in love with a Robot while teaching it how to make spaghetti. Unfortunately, her recipe is forgotten after a software update. With Rosa Forlano, Simon Dragland, Walter Woodman, Marco Baldonado, Justin Macri, Gabriela Francis, Mary Rose Sciarrillo.

Jack and Jo Don’t Want To Die, directed and written by Kantu Lentz. Produced by Roja Gashtili, Erica Fishman, Kate Bolger. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. Jack (Justin Kirk) works at a suspension facility where people choose to end their lives. On the night of his suspension, Jack’s life takes a turn when he meets Jo. With Justin Kirk, Olivia Edward, Moses Storm, Hemky Madera.

Without Borders

Compelling dramas from here and abroad.

“Grey Zone” (Phoro by Alon Daniel)

Grey Zone (תחום אפור), directed and written by Gal Sagy. Produced by Dor Azulay. (Israel) – North American Premiere, Short Narrative. On an urban crosswalk, Neta (Rachel Yaron) finds herself following a man (Udi Pers) who touched her abruptly and without her consent. With Udi Persi, Rachel Yaron. In Hebrew with English subtitles.

Cru-Raw (Cru), directed and written by David Oesch. Produced by Zurich University of the Arts. (Switzerland) – New York Premiere, Short Narrative. A young chef (Jeanne Werner) must learn that in this kitchen, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears go into making every dish. With Jeanne Werner, Malika Khatir, Nic Aklin. In French with English subtitles.

Liliu, directed and written by Jeremiah Tauamiti. Produced by Ngaire Fuata. (New Zealand) – New York Premiere, Short Narrative. An ambitious, young court interpreter (Vito Vito) risks everything to help Nua (Ana Tuisila), a wrongfully imprisoned chief, get back to her stranded grandchildren. With Vito Vito, Ana Tuisila, Peter Hayden, Tuiasau Uelese Petai. In English, Samoan with English subtitles.

Soup (Суп), directed by Inga Sukhorukova, written by Mark Kirdan, Inga Sukhorukova. Produced by Evgeniia Borisova, Inga Sukhorukova. (Russia) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. Can a bowl of soup heal old wounds? With Nikolay Kozak, Andrey Mihhalev. In Russian with English subtitles.

Blood and Glory, directed and written by Satinder Kaur. Produced by YJ Meira, Tema L. Staig, Allison Vanore, Kerry Michelle O’Brien, Uzma Xina Kang, Jeff Vespa. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. Two homeless, female veterans’ (Jomarla Melancon, Shara McGlinn) friendship is tested when they confront adversity, discrimination, and mother nature itself. With Jomarla Melancon, Shara McGlinn, Ian Littleworth, Tank Jones.

The Black Veil, directed and written by A.J. Al-Thani. Produced by Vibhav Gautam. (Qatar) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. An oppressed woman (Sana Al-Habib) puts her life at risk in order to find her freedom. With Sana Al-Habib, Ahmed Al-Nowfal Al-Tamimi. In Arabic with English subtitles.

Vera, directed and written by Laura Rubirola Sala. Produced by Laura Rubirola Sala, Clàudia Maluenda. (Spain) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. Vera (Paulina Garcia), a fan of classical music who works as a night-time cleaner, discovers Miguel a man she has never seen but who she imagines thanks to the objects on his desk. With Paulina García. In Catalan with English subtitles.

Queen Collective by Procter & Gamble in partnership with Queen Latifah, Flavor Unit Entertainment, and Tribeca Studios

This year’s docs feature authentic and positive portrayals of diverse women in front of the camera and celebrate multicultural women storytellers and directors behind the camera.

“Tangled Roots”

Tangled Roots, directed by Samantha Knowles. (USA) – World Premiere. Short Documentary. Tangled Roots follows Attica Scott, the only black woman representative in Kentucky, as she fights to dismantle a system of discrimination against black people penalized for something seemingly innocuous – their hair.

Gloves Off, co-directed by Nadine Natour and Ugonna Okpalaoka. (USA) – World Premiere. Short Documentary. Gloves Off follows the story of a young police officer who suits up and protects her community by day, then laces up and defends her undefeated boxing champion title by night. As she carves her own path in two male-dominated arenas, the film follows the people she fights for most: the residents on her patrol, her Florida hometown, and young boxers just like her.

Passes and Tickets for the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival:

All festival passes are on sale now. Ticket Packages are currently available for purchase and will remain on sale until March 8, 2020. Single tickets to attend the Festival go on sale on March 17, 2020. Visit: https://www.tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets

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About the Tribeca Film Festival:

The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, brings visionaries and diverse audiences together to celebrate storytelling in all its forms, including film, TV, VR, gaming, music, and online work. With strong roots in independent film, Tribeca is a platform for creative expression and immersive entertainment. The Festival champions emerging and established voices; discovers award-winning filmmakers and creators; curates innovative experiences; and introduces new technology and ideas through premieres, exhibitions, talks, and live performances.

The Festival was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in 2001 to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan following the attacks on the World Trade Center. Now in its 19th year, the Festival has evolved into a destination for creativity that reimagines the cinematic experience and explores how art can unite communities. The 19th annual edition will take place April 15 – 26, 2020. www.tribecafilm.com/festival

Hashtag: #Tribeca2020

Twitter: @Tribeca

Instagram: @tribeca

Facebook: facebook.com/Tribeca

About Presenting Sponsor AT&T:

As Presenting Sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival, AT&T is committed to supporting the Festival and the art of filmmaking through access and innovation, while expanding opportunities to diverse creators around the globe. AT&T helps millions connect to their passions – no matter where they are. This year, AT&T and Tribeca will once again collaborate to give the world access to stories from underrepresented filmmakers that deserve to be seen. AT&T Presents: Untold Stories – an Inclusive Film Program in Collaboration with Tribeca, is a multi-year, multi-tier alliance between AT&T and Tribeca along with the year-round nonprofit Tribeca Film Institute.

About the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival Partners:

The Tribeca Film Festival is pleased to announce its 2020 Partners: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), BVLGARI, CHANEL, City National Bank, CNN Films, Diageo, ESPN, HBO, Montefiore, National CineMedia (NCM), New York Magazine, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, P&G, PwC, Spring Studios New York, and Squarespace.

2020 Tribeca Film Festival: features lineup announced

March 3, 2020

Tribeca Film Festival - white logo

Drew Barrymore and Drew Barrymore in “The Stand-In”

The following is a press release from the Tribeca Film Festival:

The 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, today unveiled its feature film lineup. Continuing its tradition of championing the discovery of emerging voices and celebrating new work from established talent, the 19th edition of the Festival foregrounds comedic, music-centered, political and socially-conscious films from diverse storytellers who use art to inspire positive change and community restoration. The 2020 Tribeca Film Festival will run April 15-26.

The features program will include 115 films from 124 filmmakers from across 33 different countries. The line-up includes 95 world premieres, 2 international premieres, 4 North American premieres, 4 U.S. premieres, and 9 New York premieres and one sneak preview. This year’s program includes 19 directors returning to Tribeca with their latest projects, and 44 of the feature films have one or more women directors. The feature program was curated from 3,385 submissions, and this year’s Festival received a record 10,397 total submissions across all categories.

“First comes the story, then empathy, then comes change.  When you change the narrator, you empower different voices to show audiences new worlds through their eyes,” said Paula Weinstein, Chief Content Officer of Tribeca Enterprises and program advisor.  “We are privileged to have so many new and rich worlds brought to life by visionary storytellers. We hope audiences leave the Festival deeply touched, moved, and entertained.”

“This year’s festival embraces the unique power of film to bring people together — whether that’s literally the communal experience of watching a film in a packed theater, or the more intangible way a great film can make you empathize with a stranger’s struggle,” said Cara Cusumano, Festival Director. “In an election year where we will go to the polls to make big decisions about our future together, these films are an opportunity for connection and understanding.”

“The 10 films in our International Competition reflect the power of political and artistic filmmaking from all over the world. From returning filmmakers to new voices, we will welcome and celebrate the diverse storytellers who will share their personal visions of their own cultures. Tribeca audiences will embark on 10 journeys full of poetry and emotion in these innovative international tales,” said Frédéric Boyer, Artistic Director.

The competition category includes 10 U.S. Narratives, 10 International Narratives, and 12 Documentary competition features. Additionally, the feature line-up includes 16 Spotlight Narratives, 20 Spotlight Documentaries, 17 Viewpoints, 5 Midnight, 13 Movies Plus selections; 6 Tribeca Critics’ Week, 3 films as part of this year’s new Women at Work section, and a family event.

As previously announced, the 2020 Festival will open April 15 with the world premiere of award-winning director Mary Wharton’s documentary, Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President, at the Beacon Theatre as part of the City National Bank Screening Series with live performances from music legend Willie Nelson, Musical Director Paul Shaffer, Nile Rodgers and others. New this year, the Festival will be expanding across the Hudson river to the city of Hoboken, NJ, using cinematic storytelling and experiences to connect to this culturally vibrant community.

In addition to Weinstein, Cusumano, and Boyer, the programming team includes VP Filmmaker Relations and Shorts Programming, Sharon Badal; Senior Programmers Liza Domnitz (features, TV, and online work), Loren Hammonds (immersive and features), Lucy Mukerjee (features); Programmer Ben Thompson (shorts); and a team of associate programmers.

 

2020 Feature Film Selection:

U.S. NARRATIVE COMPETITION

Tribeca’s U.S. Narrative Competition showcases extraordinary work from breakout independent voices and distinguished filmmaking talent. These 10 world premieres will vie for the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

Angela Bettis in “12 Hour Shift”

12 Hour Shift, directed and written by Brea Grant. Produced by Jordan Wayne Long, Tara Perry, Matt Glass, Christina McLarty Arquette, David Arquette. (USA) – World Premiere. Nurse Mandy is just trying to make it through her double shift alive, but her nasty drug addiction, annoying coworkers, needy patients, and devious cousin are making it pretty tough, not to mention organ-stealing criminals and an injured convict. With Angela Bettis, Chloe Farnworth, Nikea Gamby-Turner, Kit Williamson, Tara Perry, David Arquette.

Cowboys, directed and written by Anna Kerrigan. Produced by Gigi Graff, Anna Kerrigan, Dylan Sellers, Chris Parker. (USA) – World Premiere. Troy and his young transgender son Joe are on the run from his conservative mother in the Montana wilderness, with a detective in hot pursuit in this emotionally powerful narrative. With Steve Zahn, Jillian Bell, Sasha Knight, Ann Dowd.

Fully Realized Humans, directed and written by Joshua Leonard. Produced by Sean Drummond, Chelsea Bo. (USA) – World Premiere. Parents-to-be Elliott and Jackie (an eight-months pregnant Jess Weixler) embark on a quest for self-actualization before the imminent birth of their first child in this strikingly honest and hilarious portrait of parents and children. With Joshua Leonard, Jess Weixler, Tom Bower, Beth Grant, Michael Chieffo, Janicza Bravo.

The Half of It, directed and written by Alice Wu. Produced by Anthony Bregman, M. Blair Breard, Alice Wu. (USA) – World Premiere. In a modern-day Cyrano-meets-Pygmalion, Ellie, a shy Chinese-American straight-A student finds herself helping the school jock woo the girl they both secretly love. With Leah Lewis, Daniel Diemer, Alexxis Lemire, Collin Chou. A Netflix Release.

Little Fish, directed by Chad Hartigan, written by Mattson Tomlin. Produced by Lia Buman, Rian Cahill, Chris Ferguson, Tim Headington, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Mattson Tomlin. (USA) – World Premiere. A pandemic attacking people’s memory is spreading around the world at an alarming rate. Two young newlyweds struggle to hang onto who they are, both as individuals and as a couple. With Olivia Cooke, Jack O’Connell, Raúl Castillo, Soko.

Lorelei, directed and written by Sabrina Doyle. Produced by Francesca Silvestri and Kevin Chinoy, Jennifer Radzikowski. (USA) – World Premiere. Reformed ex-con Wayland returns to his hometown and reconnects with his high school girlfriend Dolores, now a single mom with dreams of Hollywood in Doyle’s fable-like tale of second chances. With Pablo Schreiber, Jena Malone, Amelia Borgerding, Parker Pascoe-Sheppard, Chancellor Perry.

Materna, directed by David Gutnik, written by David Gutnik, Jade Eshete, Assol Abdullina. Produced by Liz Cardenas, Emily McEvoy. (USA, Kyrgyzstan) – World Premiere. Four women whose lives are separated by race, culture, and class but connected by the complexities of motherhood become inextricably bound together by an incident on the New York City subway. With Kate Lyn Sheil, Lindsay Burdge, Jade Eshete, Rory Culkin, Michael Chernus, Sturgill Simpson, Assol Abdullina. In English, Russian with English subtitles.

My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To, directed and written by Jonathan Cuartas. Produced by Kenny Oiwa Riches, Anthony Pedone, Jesse Brown, Ian Peterson, Patrick Fugit. (USA) – World Premiere. Dwight and his sister Jessie reach a crossroads over what to do about their little brother Thomas, a sickly child with a mysterious affliction, in this moody American indie feature debut. With Patrick Fugit, Ingrid Sophie Schram, Owen Campbell.

No Future, directed by Andrew Irvine, Mark Smoot, written by Mark Smoot. Produced by Jonathan Duffy, Kelly Williams, Jeff Walker, Lisa Normand. (USA) – World Premiere. Following the overdose of an estranged friend, recovering addict Will, still struggling with his own sobriety, returns to his hometown where he begins a troubled affair with his friend’s grieving mother. With Catherine Keener, Charlie Heaton, Rosa Salazar, Jackie Earle Haley, Austin Amelio, Jefferson White.

The Violent Heart, directed and written by Kerem Sanga. Produced by Ed McDonnell, Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen, Tobey Maguire, Matthew Plouffe, P. Jennifer Dana, Mark Roberts, Ross Putman, Dave Hunter. (USA) – World Premiere. Fifteen years after the murder of his older sister, taciturn Daniel finds himself falling for Cassie, a vivacious high school senior in this southern gothic-inspired Romeo & Juliet story set in the American heartland. With Grace Van Patten, Jovan Adepo, Lukas Haas, Mary J. Blige, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Jahi Di’Allo Winston.

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

Over Tribeca’s 19-year history, the non-fiction film selections have exhibited work from emerging and renowned filmmakers, including future Academy Award® winners. This year’s films will compete for Best Documentary Feature, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing.

Eduardo San Juan Breña in “499” (Photo by Alejandro Mejia/AMC)

499, directed by Rodrigo Reyes, written by Rodrigo Reyes, Lorena Padila. Produced by Inti Cordera, Andrew Houchens. (Mexico) – World Premiere. The powerful hybrid documentary 499 examines Cortez’s legacy almost five centuries later through the eyes of a stranded conquistador traveling through Mexico. The film is a cinematic meditation on the violence that still vibrates through society. With Eduardo San Juan Breña. In Nahuatl, Spanish with English subtitles. TFI supported.

Dear Mr. Brody, directed and written by Keith Maitland. Produced by Megan Gilbride, Melissa Robyn Glassman, Keith Maitland, Sarah Wilson. (USA) – World Premiere. In 1970, eccentric hippie millionaire Michael Brody, Jr. decided to give $25 million away to anyone who needed it, sparking a media frenzy and thousands of letters from strangers all requesting his help.

Enemies Of the State, directed by Sonia Kennebeck. Produced by Ines Hofmann Kanna. (USA) – World Premiere. When their hacker son is targeted by the US Government, the DeHarts will do anything to protect him.  And so begins to unravel a web of secrets in this twisty, stranger-than-fiction cyber-thriller story. With Joel Widman.

Father Soldier Son, directed by Catrin Einhorn, Leslye Davis. Produced by Leslye Davis, Catrin Einhorn, Kathleen Lingo, Nancy Donaldson Gauss. (USA) – World Premiere. This intimate documentary from the New York Times follows one American family over the course of ten years, becoming an intergenerational exploration of the meaning of sacrifice, purpose, family and American manhood in the aftermath of war. A Netflix release.

Jacinta, directed by Jessica Earnshaw. Produced by Jessica Earnshaw, Holly Meehl, Nimisha Mukerji. (USA) – World Premiere. An astonishing and ultimately hopeful record of the hereditary nature of trauma, Jacinta follows the lives of three generations of women struggling to maintain stability. TFI supported.

Landfall, directed by Cecilia Aldarondo. Produced by Ines Hofmann Kanna, Cecilia Aldarondo. (USA) – World Premiere. Chronicling the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Landfall is a sensitive and urgent portrait of the continued fraught relationship between the US and Puerto Rico, a land in mourning and resistance. In English, Spanish with English subtitles. TFI supported.

The Last Out, directed by Sami Khan, Michael Gassert, written by Sami Khan. Produced by Michael Gassert, Jonathan Miller, Sami Khan. (USA) – World Premiere. An affecting story of raw talent, passion and naivete, The Last Out follows three Cuban baseball players with Major League dreams who, facing difficult choices, embark on radically different paths when those dreams don’t pan out. With Happy Oliveros, Carlos O. González, and Victor Baró. In English, Spanish with English subtitles. Also playing as part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.

Pray Away, directed by Kristine Stolakis. Produced by Jessica Devaney, Anya Rous. (USA) – World Premiere. Pray Away is a powerful exposé on gay conversion programs, revealing the damage inflicted by shame and repression through intimate testimonies from current members and former leaders of the pray the gay away movement. TFI supported.

Socks on Fire, directed and written by Bo McGuire. Produced by Tatiana Bears, Amy Dotson. (USA) – World Premiere. Bo McGuire returns home to rural Alabama to document the bitter property feud between his homophobic aunt and gay uncle. Blending home videos with cinematic reenactments, McGuire paints a riveting picture of a house divided. With Odessa Young, Carron Clark, Chuck Duck, Michael Patrick Nicholson, John Washington.

Simple as Water, directed by Megan Mylan. Produced by Robin Hessman, Megan Mylan. (USA, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Germany) – World Premiere. Megan Mylan’s closely observed fragments of lives cut between Turkey, Greece, Germany, and the U.S.. Each unfolding scene portrays the elemental bonds holding together Syrian families pulled apart by war, searching for a new life. In Arabic, English with English subtitles.

Wake Up on Mars (Réveil sur Mars), directed and written by Dea Gjinovci. Produced by Sophie Faudel, Dea Gjinovci, Britta Rindelaub, Jasmin Basic. (France, Switzerland) – World Premiere. Two teenage sisters lie in a vegetative state in the small Swedish home of their Kosovar family, the cause of their mysterious malady, known as “resignation syndrome,” entwined with their personal trauma experienced as refugees. With Furkan Demiri, Djeneta Demiri, Ibadeta Demiri, Nurje Demiri, Muharrem Demiri, Resul Demiri. In Albanian, Swedish with English subtitles.

Wonderboy, directed and written by Anissa Bonnefont. Produced by Stella Maris Pictures. (France) – International Premiere. French fashion house Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing allows the camera to become his confidante as he embarks on a search for his birth mother, in this enchanting documentary about adoption and identity. In French with English subtitles. 

INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE COMPETITION

The New-York based Festival breaks its geographical boundaries with the International Narrative Competition, welcoming filmmakers from abroad to join a global platform for contemporary world cinema. These films will compete for Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

Kantu Shimokura in “Ainu Mosir” (Photo by Sean Price Williams)

Ainu Mosir, directed and written by Takeshi Fukunaga. Produced by Eric Nyari, Harue Miyake. (China, Japan, USA) – World Premiere. In an indigenous village in Northern Japan, sensitive 14-year-old Kanto takes his first tentative steps towards manhood as a debate brews among the community about a controversial ceremony. With Kanto Shimokura, Debo Akibe, Emi Shimokura, Toko Miura, Lily Franky. In Japanese with English subtitles.

Asia, directed and written by Ruthy Pribar. Produced by Yoah Roeh, Aurit Zamir. (Israel) – World Premiere. Asia is not your average mom. She’s free-spirited, open-minded and non-judgmental; but all that is put to the test when her teenage daughter – who happens to be differently abled – announces that she’s ready to lose her virginity. With Alena Yiv, Shira Haas, Tamir Mulla, Gera Sandler. In Hebrew, Russian with English subtitles.

Contactado, directed by Marité Ugás, written by Marité Ugás, Mariana Rondón. Produced by Mariana Rondón. (Peru) – World Premiere. Tribeca alums Mariana Rondón and Marité Ugás return with a captivating drama about an aging self-proclaimed prophet who revisits his past as a spiritual guru after an eager young follower entices him to return to preaching. With Baldomero Cáceres, Miguel Dávalos, Lita Sousa, Samantha Castillo, Solange Tavares, Beto Benites. In Spanish with English subtitles.

The Hater (Hejter), directed by Jan Komasa, written by Mateusz Pacewicz. Produced by Jerzy Kapuściński, Wojciech Kabarowski. (Poland) – International Premiere. Disgraced Law student Tomek will do what it takes to impress Gabi and her liberal family. Taking a job at a sordid PR company, he finds he excels at spreading political misinformation. But at what cost? With Maciej Musiałowski, Vanessa Alexander, Maciej Stuhr, Agata Kulesza, Danuta Stenka, Jacek Koman. In Polish with English subtitles.

Kokoloko, directed and written by Gerardo Naranjo. Produced by Gabriel Garcia Nava, Gerardo Naranjo. (Mexico) – World Premiere. In a tropical seaside village, Marisol pursues personal freedom while navigating between the two men in her life – her lover and her violent cousin who is keeping her captive. With Alejandra Herrera, Noé Hernández, Eduardo Mendizábal. In Spanish with English subtitles.

My Wonderful Wanda (Wanda, mein Wunder), directed by Bettina Oberli, written by Cooky Ziesche, Bettina Oberli. Produced by Lukas Hobi, Reto Schaerli. (Switzerland) – World Premiere. Wanda nurses the patriarch of the wealthy Wegmeister-Gloor family. When an unexpected complication arises, family secrets come to light and arrangements are made to try and appease everyone in this biting family drama. With Agnieszka Grochowska, Marthe Keller, André Jung, Birgit Minichmayr, Jacob Matschenz, Anatole Taubman. In German, Polish with English subtitles.

Nobody Knows I’m Here (Nadie sabe que estoy aquí), directed by Gaspar Antillo, written by Enrique Videla, Josefina Fernández, Gaspar Antillo. Produced by Juan de Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín. (Chile) – World Premiere. Memo lives on a remote Chilean sheep farm, hiding a beautiful singing voice from the outside world. A recluse with a glittery flair, he can’t stop dwelling on the past, but what will happen once someone finally listens? With Jorge García, Millaray Paz Lobos García, Luis Gnecco, Alejandro Goic, Gaston Pauls, Eduardo Paxeco. In English, Spanish with English subtitles. A Netflix release.

She Paradise, directed by Maya Cozier, written by Maya Cozier, Melina Brown. Produced by Mishka Brown, Jeniffer Konawal, Kara Baker, Jolene Mendes, Marie-Elena Joseph. (Trinidad and Tobago) – World Premiere. When naïve teenager Sparkle joins a dance crew of confident older girls, she encounters an alluring but unsettling new world of sex and money in this snapshot of sisterhood in Trinidad and Tobago. With Onessa Nestor, Kimberly Crichton, Chelsey Rampersad, Denisia Latchman, Kern Mollineau, Michael Cherrie.

Sublet, directed by Eytan Fox, written by Eytan Fox, Itay Segal. Produced by Gal Uchovsky, Micky Rabinovitz, Moshe Edery, Leon Edery. (Israel, USA) – World Premiere. In this heartwarming latest from Eytan Fox (Yossi), John Benjamin Hickey plays a gay travel writer who trades New York for Tel Aviv, where a charming young man helps him get perspective on his long-term relationship. With John Benjamin Hickey, Niv Nissim, Lihi Kornowski, Miki Kam, Omri Loukas, Tamir Ginsburg. In English, Hebrew with English subtitles.

Tryst with Destiny, directed and written by Prashant Nair. Produced by Manish Mundra. (India, France) – World Premiere. A billionaire learns there is something money can’t buy, a lower-caste couple attempts to build a new life, and a corrupt city cop finds himself far outside of the law in Nair’s slyly biting triptych on class in contemporary India. With Ashish Vidyarthi, Suhasini Mani Ratnam, Viineet Kumar, Kani Kusruti, Jaideep Ahlawat, Palomi Ghosh. In English, Hindi, Telugu with English subtitles.

 

SPOTLIGHT NARRATIVE

Anticipated premieres from acclaimed filmmakers and performers are the focus of the Spotlight Narrative section which continues to be a launching pad for compelling stories.

Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney in “Bad Education” (Photo by JoJo Whilden/HBO)

Bad Education, directed by Cory Finley, written by Mike Makowsky. Produced by Fred Berger, Eddie Vaisman, Julia Lebedev, Oren Moverman, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Mike Makowsky. (USA) – US Premiere. In the wake of an impending embezzlement scandal, a charismatic superintendent struggles to maintain order to keep his high school district prosperous in this energetic dark comedy based on an outrageous true story. With Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, Geraldine Viswanathan and Ray Romano. An HBO Films release.

Clean, directed by Paul Solet, written by Paul Solet, Adrien Brody. Produced by Daniel Sollinger, Adrien Brody, Paul Solet, Elliot Brody. (USA) – World Premiere. Tormented by a past life, garbage man Clean attempts a life of quiet redemption. But when his good intentions mark him a target of a local crime boss, Clean is forced to reconcile with the violence of his past in this brutal and bloody thrill ride. With Adrien Brody, Glenn Fleshler, Richie Merritt, Ari Chandler-DuPont, Mykelti Williamson, Rza, Michelle Wilson, John Bianco.

Don’t Tell a Soul, directed and written by Alex McAuley. Produced by Merry-Kay Poe. (USA) – World Premiere. Joey’s older brother Matt convinces him to rob a house for their sick mother and security guard Hamby falls in a well chasing them. Now Hamby must match wits with the teenagers in order to get out. With Jack Dylan Grazer, Fionn Whitehead, Rainn Wilson, Mena Suvari.

The God Committee, directed and written by Austin Stark. Produced by Molly Connors, Amanda Bowers, Jonathan Rubenstein, Ari Pinchot, Jane Oster, Bingo Gubelmann, Benji Kohn. (USA) – World Premiere. When a donor heart arrives at a New York City hospital, a committee of doctors and bureaucrats must convene to decide which of three patients deserves the life-saving transplant in this ethically charged medical drama. With Kelsey Grammer, Julia Stiles, Colman Domingo, Janeane Garofalo, Dan Hedaya.

Happily, directed and written by BenDavid Grabinski. Produced by Jack Black, Nancy Leopardi, Ross Kohn, Spencer Berman, BenDavid Grabinski. (USA) – World Premiere. Joel McHale stars in this Jack Black-produced romantic-comedy-thriller about a happily married couple whose friends perform an intervention to put an end to their constant public displays of affection. With Joel McHale, Kerry Bishé, Stephen Root, Natalie Morales, Paul Scheer and Natalie Zea.

Inheritance, directed by Vaughn Stein, written by Matthew Kennedy. Produced by David M. Wulf, Richard Barton Lewis, Arianne Fraser. (USA) – World Premiere. When the patriarch of a wealthy and powerful New York family suddenly dies, his daughter is left with a shocking secret inheritance that challenges her beliefs in justice and threatens to destroy her family’s lives. With Lily Collins, Simon Pegg, Connie Nielsen, Chace Crawford, Patrick Warburton, Michael Beach. A DIRECTV release.

The King of Staten Island, directed by Judd Apatow, written by Judd Apatow, Pete Davidson, Dave Sirus. Produced by Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel. (USA) – New York Premiere. Judd Apatow directs Staten Island’s own Pete Davidson in this bracing, emotional comedy about a burnout who has to learn to let go of the past and finally grow up. With Pete Davidson, Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr, Bel Powley, Maude Apatow, Ricky Velez and Steve Buscemi. A Universal Pictures release.

Love is Love is Love, directed by Eleanor Coppola, written by Eleanor Coppola, Karen Leigh Hopkins. Produced by Anahid Nazarian, Adriana Rotaru. (USA) – World Premiere. Tribeca alum Eleanor Coppola delivers a heartwarming triptych that explores love, infidelity and romance. With Maya Kazan, Joanne Whalley, Chris Messina, Kathy Baker, Marshall Bell, Cybill Shepherd, Rita Wilson, Rosanna Arquette, Polly Draper.

Love Spreads, directed and written by Jamie Adams. Produced by Jamie Adams, Maggie Monteith. (Wales) – World Premiere. Rock band Glass Heart seclude themselves in a remote cottage to find inspiration and energy for their next album. It all hinges on star Kelly, but inspiration won’t come, and tensions start to build. With Alia Shawkat, Eiza Gonzalez, Chanel Cresswell, Nick Helm, Dolly Wells, Tara Lee.

Monday, directed and written by Argyris Papadimitropoulos. Produced by Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Damian Jones, Deanna Barillari. (Greece) – World Premiere. Mikey and Chloe are two Americans living in Athens. Both are romantically unattached when they meet one hot summer Friday. Their instantaneous chemistry leads to a whirlwind weekend and questions about their future when they wake up Monday. With Sebastian Stan, Denise Gough.

My Zoe, directed and written by Julie Delpy. Produced by Malte Grunert, Gabrielle Tana, Andrew Levitas, Julie Delpy, Hubert Caillard, Dominique Boutonnat. (Germany, France) – US Premiere. In this hybrid of drama and science fiction, audiences are treated to director and star Julie Delpy’s newest exploration of modern relationships—here the eternal tie of parent and child. With Julie Delpy, Daniel Brühl, Gemma Arterton, Richard Armitage, Sophia Ally. In English, French, German with English subtitles. A Blue Fox Entertainment release.

Silk Road, directed and written by Tiller Russell. Produced by Stephen Gans, David Hyman, Duncan Montgomery, Alex Orlovsky, Jack Selby. (USA) – World Premiere. Ripped from the headlines, Silk Road captures the birth of the titular darknet marketplace through an elaborate, thrilling cat-and-mouse game between its ambitious creator Ross Ulbricht and a disreputable DEA agent desperate to bring down the millennial kingpin. With Jason Clarke, Nick Robinson, Alexandra Shipp, Katie Aselton, Jimmi Simpson, Paul Walter Hauser.

The Sound of Philadelphia, directed and written by Jeremie Guez. Produced by Aimee Buidine, Julien Madon, David Hinojosa, Christine Vachon, Trevor Matthews, Nick Gordon. (France, Belgium, Netherlands, USA) – World Premiere. Raised as brothers, cousins Peter and Michael are the progeny of Irish hitmen. Thirty years later, both are caught in an endless familial cycle of revenge and destruction. With Matthias Schoenaerts, Joel Kinnaman, Maika Monroe, Paul Schneider, Nicholas Crovetti, Ryan Phillippe.

The Stand-In, directed by Jamie Babbitt, written by Sam Bain. Produced by Tom McNulty, Caddy Vanasirikul, Ember Truesdell, Chris Miller, Brian O’Shea (USA) – World Premiere. Drew Barrymore stars in this comedy about a Hollywood actress who trades places with her enthusiastic stand-in so that she can take a break from the public eye. With Drew Barrymore, Michael Zegen, TJ Miler, Holland Taylor, Charlie Barnett, Ellie Kemper, Andrew Rannells, Lena Dunham.

Stardust, directed by Gabriel Range, written by Christopher Bell, Gabriel Range. Produced by Paul Van Carter, Nick Taussig, Matt Code. (UK) – World Premiere. In 1971, David Bowie embarked on a transformative road trip through America with struggling publicist Rob Oberman. Stardust provides an intimate glimpse into the moments that inspired Bowie to reinvent himself in order to truly become himself: his iconic celestial alter-ego Ziggy Stardust. With Johnny Flynn, Jena Malone, Marc Maron.

The Trip to Greece, directed and written by Michael Winterbottom. Produced by Melissa Parmenter. (UK, Greece) – World Premiere. Back for their fourth cinematic travelogue, Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan head out together on a Greek excursion inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey—and, naturally, fueled by sharp-witted banter and the best Werner Herzog impressions imaginable. With Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon. An IFC Films release.

SPOTLIGHT DOCUMENTARY

Documentaries consistently make waves at Tribeca as notable filmmakers and major stories are represented in this section through high-profile premieres.

Bishop Juan Gerardi in “The Art of Political Murder” (Photo courtesy of Prensa Libre)

The Art of Political Murder, directed by Paul Taylor. Produced by Teddy Leifer, Regina K. Scully. (UK) – World Premiere. The shocking murder of human rights activist Bishop Juan Gerardi in the aftermath of the Guatemalan Civil War sets the ground for a powerful battle between justice and corruption in this political crime thriller Executive Produced by George Clooney. With Francisco Goldman, Ronalth Ochaeta, Claudia Méndez Arriaza, Leopoldo Zeissig, Rubén Chanax, Arturo Aguilar. In English, Spanish with English subtitles. An HBO Documentary Films release.

Athlete A, directed by Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk. Produced by Serin Marshall, Jen Sey, Julie Parker Benello. (USA) – World Premiere. In the riveting Athlete A, filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk delve into the world of elite competitive gymnastics and the toxic culture within that allowed sexual abuse to go on for decades unchecked. A Netflix Release. Also playing as part of the ESPN/Tribeca Sports Film Festival.

Banksy Most Wanted, directed and written by Aurélia Rouvier, Laurent Richard, Seamus Haley. Produced by Laurent Richard. (France) – World Premiere. Banksy is a household name, but behind this name hides a multitude of stories, artworks, stunts, political statements and identities, leading to one of the art world’s biggest unanswered questions- who is Banksy? In English, French with English subtitles.

Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road, directed by Brent Wilson, written by Brent Wilson, Jason Fine. Produced by Tim Headington, Theresa Steele Page, Brent Wilson. (USA) – World Premiere. The Beach Boys’ lead songwriter takes a drive around Los Angeles with Rolling Stone editor and longtime friend Jason Fine in this nonlinear cinematic memoir, as vivid and multifaceted as his music. With Brian Wilson, Bruce Springsteen, Sir Elton John, Linda Perry, Jim James, Nick Jonas, Gustavo Dudamel.

Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful, directed and written by Gero von Boehm. Produced by Felix von Boehm. (Germany) – World Premiere. Catherine Deneuve, Grace Jones, Charlotte Rampling, Isabella Rossellini, Anna Wintour and others give their take on legendary photographer Helmut Newton’s life, art, and legacy, in this portrait of a man who was at once provocative, unconventional, subversive and genius in his depiction of women. With Grace Jones, Sylvia Gobbel, Isabella Rossellini, Anna Wintour, Nadja Auermann, Phyllis Posnick, Charlotte Rampling, Marianne Faithfull, Claudia Schiffer, Hanna Schygulla, Carla Sozzani, Arja Toyryla, June Newton.  In English, French, German with English subtitles.

Hydration, directed by Mimi Valdés. Produced by Pharrell Williams, Mimi Valdés, Jerry Kolber, Adam “Tex” Davis. (USA) – World Premiere. Hydration takes audiences backstage and behind the scenes of Pharrell’s ground-breaking Something in the Water festival, using music to bring together his divided hometown of Virginia Beach. Featuring exhilarating live performances by legendary music artists Jay Z, Missy Elliot, Gwen Stefani and others. With Pharrell Williams, Gwen Stefani, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Pusha T, Dave Grohl, Snoop Dogg and more.

Ice Cold, directed by Karam Gill, written by Karam Gill, Nicholas Stafford Briggs. Produced by Peter Scalettar, Carmen Garcia Durazo, Andrew Primavera. (USA) – World Premiere. From Executive Producers Migos & Quality Control, explore one of rap music’s most elaborate forms of personal expression…jewelry. Fans love it; haters only see superficiality. Ice Cold cuts deep into the “bling bling” obsession to examine its often overlooked socioeconomic motivations. With Migos, Lil Yachty, J Balvin, Slick Rick, Ben Baller, ASAP Ferg.

Kubrick by Kubrick (Kubrick par Kubrick), directed and written by Gregory Monro. Produced by Jeremy Zelnik, Martin Laurent. (France) – World Premiere. A rare and transcendent journey into the life and films of the legendary Stanley Kubrick like we’ve never seen before, featuring a treasure trove of unearthed interview recordings from the master himself. In English, French with English subtitles.

Larry Flynt for President, directed by Nadia Szold, written by Nadia Szold, Tchavdar Georgiev. Produced by Ben Browning, Lauren Mekhael, Steven Prince, Ivan Orlic. (USA) – World Premiere. Assembled from never before seen footage shot in 1983, this fascinating film documents controversial Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt’s unlikely bid for the White House after a gunman’s bullet left him partially paralyzed. With Larry Flynt.

Not Going Quietly, directed by Nicholas Bruckman, written by Amanda Roddy, Nicholas Bruckman. Produced by Amanda Roddy. (USA) – World Premiere. An intimate, inspiring look at activist and loving father Ady Barkan, diagnosed with ALS at age 32 and who, in spite of declining physical abilities, embarks on a nationwide campaign for healthcare reform. With Ady Barkan, Rachael King, Elizabeth Jaff, Ana Maria Archila, Nate Smith, Tracey Corder.

Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles, directed by Laura Gabbert. Produced by Steve Robillard, Mohamed Al Rafi, Jeff Frey, Lauren Deuterman. (USA) – World Premiere. Follow celebrity chef Yotam Ottolenghi as he assembles a star-studded team of the world’s most innovative pastry chefs to put on a Versailles-themed culinary gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With Yotam Ottolenghi, Dominique Ansel, Ghaya Oliveira, Dinara Kasko, Sam Bompas, Janice Wong. In English, French, Hebrew, Russian, Ukrainian with English subtitles.

Rebuilding Paradise, directed by Ron Howard. Produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Sara Bernstein, Justin Wilkes, Xan Parker. (USA) – New York Premiere. Director Ron Howard profiles several survivors of California’s deadliest wildfire who must decide whether to leave or to remain and rebuild in a town that is now on the front lines of the climate crisis. With Woody Culleton, Michelle John, Carly Ingersoll, Matt Gates, Zach Boston. A National Geographic release.

Ricky Powell: The Individualist, directed by Josh Swade, written by Josh Swade, Christopher McGlynn. Produced by Josh Swade, Christopher McGlynn, Eamon O’Neil. (USA) – World Premiere. Ricky Powell boasts a quintessential New York story, rising to fame as a street photographer in the 80’s and 90’s and touring with the Beastie Boys, capturing some of the wildest moments in popular culture. With Ricky Powell, Natasha Lyonne, Debi Mazar, Mike D, Laurence Fishburne, Chuck D, LL Cool J, DMC.

Somebody Up There Likes Me, directed by Mike Figgis. Produced by Peter Worsley, Louis Figgis. (UK) – North American Premiere. A series of intimate conversations with Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, whose extraordinary music career placed him at the forefront of the British R&B explosion to rock ‘n’ roll stardom. With Ronnie Wood, Sally Wood, Imelda May, Damien Hirst, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Sir Rod Stewart, Charlie Watts.

Stockton on My Mind, directed by Marc Levin, written by James Lester, Marc Levin. Produced by Marc Levin, Mike Marangu, Cassius Michael Kim, Daphne Pinkerson. (USA) – World Premiere. In 2016, Stanford graduate Michael Tubbs became the youngest and first African-American mayor of Stockton, California. Stockton On My Mind follows Mayor Tubbs through his first term in office as he tirelessly advances his innovative proposals for a city at a turning point. With Mayor Michael Tubbs. An HBO Documentary Films Release.

This Is Paris, directed and written by Alexandra Haggiag Dean. Produced by Aaron Saidman. (USA) – World Premiere. There’s Paris Hilton and there’s “Paris Hilton”, the latter a character created by a teenage girl desperate to escape into a fantasy. Alexandra Dean’s revealing documentary offers the real Paris’ untold story. With Paris Hilton, Kathy Hilton, Nicky Hilton Rothschild. A YouTube Originals release.

Tough Love: The Lennox Lewis Documentary, directed by Rick Lazes, Seth Koch, written by Josh Dubin, Seth Koch. Produced by Chad A. Verdi, Rick Lazes, Nick Koskoff, Tom DeNucci. (USA) – World Premiere. Lennox Lewis’ rise from humble beginnings in the East End of London to the top of the boxing world defied the odds. Using never before seen footage from Lewis’ personal archives, Tough Love: The Lennox Lewis Documentary shines a light on what makes a true champ. With Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson, Dr. Dre, Nelson Mandela, Emmanuel Steward, Jim Lampley.

Wojnarowicz, directed by Chris McKim. Produced by Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Chris McKim. (USA) – World Premiere. A collage-like, incisive look at the life of writer, painter and thinker David Wojnarowicz, whose powerful, unapologetic way of seeing the world gave voice to queer rights at a critical time in US history. With David Wojnarowicz, Fran Lebowitz, Peter Hujar, Kiki Smith, Richard Kern, Nan Goldin, Carlos McCormack.

Yung Lean: In My Head, directed and written by Henrik Burman. Produced by David Herdies & Michael Krotkiewski, Ludvig Andersson. (Sweden) – World Premiere. When a Swedish teen rapper finds a rabid fanbase via the internet, international superstar Yung Lean is born. But as his fame grows, darkness settles in, blurring the line between reality and his own vivid imagination. With Jonatan Leandoer Håstad, Axel Tufvesson, Carl-Mikael Berlander, Benjamin Reichwald, Emilio Fagone, Oskar Ekman.  In English, Russian, Swedish with English subtitles.

Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn, directed by Muta’Ali, produced by Jevon Frank, Victorious De Costa, Muta’Ali (USA) – World Premiere. In 1989, a black youth was murdered in Brooklyn when he was misidentified as the boyfriend of a local white girl. The aftermath of Yusuf Hawkins’ death exploded into a social movement, exposing racial prejudices that continue to plague us today. With Al Sharpton, Amir Hawkins, Diane Hawkins, Freddy Hawkins, Mayor David Dinkins. An HBO Documentary Film release.

VIEWPOINTS

Viewpoints, which includes narratives and documentaries, recognizes distinct voices in independent filmmaking by creating a home for bold directorial visions and embracing distinct characters or points of view.

Ben Irving in “Giants Being Lonely”

Giants Being Lonely, directed and written by Grear Patterson. Produced by Olmo Schnabel. (USA) – North American Premiere, Feature Narrative. From lauded mixed-media artist Grear Patterson, this engrossing coming-of-age drama centers around two troubled high-school baseball players — the gifted star-pitcher, Bobby, and the overlooked coach’s son, Adam — as they struggle with sex, love, difficult family dynamics, and teenage isolation. With Jack Irving, Ben Irving, Lily Gavin, Gabe Fazio, Amalia Culp.

A Glitch in the Matrix, directed by Rodney Ascher. Produced by Ross Dinerstein. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. Are we living in a simulation? Acclaimed documentarian Rodney Ascher (Room 27, The Nightmare) tackles this question with compelling testimony, philosophical evidence and scientific explanation in this engaging journey for the truth.

Harley, directed by Jean-Cosme Delaloye, written by Jean-Cosme Delaloye, Lila Place. Produced by Jean-Cosme Delaloye. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. With inklings of American Movie, Jean-Cosme Delaloye’s Harley stands out as an outrageously entertaining portrait of Harley Breite, a thriving criminal defense lawyer attempting to win over his Dulcinea.

Honeymood, directed and written by Talya Lavie. Produced by Eitan Mansuri, Jonathan Doweck. (Israel) – World Premiere, Feature Narrative. Following a fight in their honeymoon suite on the night of their wedding, a bride and groom embark on a surreal urban odyssey through the streets of Jerusalem in Tribeca award winner Talya Lavie’s dazzling romantic comedy. With Ran Danker, Avigail Harari. In Hebrew with English subtitles.

I’m No Longer Here (Ya No Estoy Aqui), directed and written by Fernando Frias de la Parra. Produced by Gerardo Gatica, Alberto Muffelmann, Gerry Kim. (Mexico) – US Premiere, Feature Narrative. 17 year old Ulises loves to dance. But when the local cartel mistakenly targets him, he’s forced to flee his home in Mexico, landing alone in the wilds of Queens. With Juan Daniel Garcia Treviño, Bianca Coral Puernte Valenzuela, Jonathan Fernando Espinoza Gamez, Luis Leonardo Zapata, Leonardo Ernesto Garza Ávila, Estefania Judith Tovar Ramirez, Rocio Monserrat Rios Hernandez, Brandon Yahir Alday Vazquez, Yesica Avigail. In Spanish with English subtitles. A Netflix release.

La Llorona, directed and written by Jayro Bustamante. Produced by Jayro Bustamante, Gustavo Matheu. (Guatemala, France) – New York Premiere, Feature Narrative. As the patriarch of a privileged family stands trial accused of genocide, a new housemaid comes to the house. Her presence unleashes something– is it the pent-up tensions of a family at the breaking point, or does she bring something more sinister with her from the depths of Guatemalan folklore? With María Mercedes Coroy, Sabrina De La Hoz, Margarita Kenéfic, Julio Díaz. In Spanish with English subtitles. A Shudder release.

La Madrina: The Savage Life of Lorine Padilla, directed, written, and produced by Raquel Cepeda. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. While the Bronx burned, Lorine claimed her place as queen of the NYC street gang The Savage Skulls. 40 years later, she examines her impact in the intervening years: as mother, spiritual advisor, activist, and keeper of a controversial legacy. With Lorine Padilla, Elizabeth Maldonado, Senator Luis Sepulveda, Council Member Ritchie Torres.

Looking for a Lady With Fangs and a Moustache, directed and written by Khyentse Norbu. Produced by Max Dipesh Khatri. (Nepal) – US Premiere, Feature Narrative. Plagued by otherworldly visions, a young Nepali musician and entrepreneur is told that he only has one week to live. Norbu’s atmospheric, trancelike fourth feature sees him reckon with his spiritual skepticism. With Tsering Tashi Gyalthang, Tulku Kunzang, Orgen Tobgyal Rinpoche, Tenzin Kunsel, Tulku Ngawang Tenzin, Rabindra Singh Baniya.  In Nepali, Tibetan with English subtitles.

Marvelous and the Black Hole, directed and written by Kate Tsang. Produced by Carolyn Mao. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Narrative. A teenage delinquent befriends a surly magician who helps her navigate her inner demons and dysfunctional family with sleight of hand magic. With Miya Cech, Rhea Perlman, Leonardo Nam, Kannon Omachi, Paulina Bugembe,  Keith Powell. TFI Supported.

Miracle Fishing, directed by Miles Hargrove, written by Miles Hargrove, Eric F. Martin. Produced by Eric F. Martin. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. In 1994, Tom Hargrove was kidnapped in Colombia by the FARC. With a $6M ransom price and without support from the authorities, Tom’s wife and sons pick up the phone (and a Video8 camcorder) to negotiate directly with the largest terrorist group in the Western Hemisphere. In English, German, Spanish with English subtitles.

The Outside Story, directed and written by Casimir Nozkowski. Produced by Frank Hall-Green, Brian Newman, Joseph Stephans, Casimir Nozkowski. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Narrative. Having just broken up with his girlfriend, introverted video editor Charles gets locked out of his apartment, accidentally embarking on a transformative odyssey through his neighborhood. With Brian Tyree Henry, Sunita Mani, Sonequa Martin-Green, Olivia Edward, Asia Kate Dillon, Rebecca Naomi Jones.

P.S. Burn This Letter Please, directed and written by Michael Seligman, Jennifer Tiexiera. Produced by Jennifer Tiexiera, Michael Seligman, Craig Olsen. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. A box found in an abandoned storage unit unearths a time capsule of correspondences from a forgotten era: the underground drag scene in 1950’s New York City. Firsthand accounts and newly discovered footage help cast a long overdue spotlight on the unsung pioneers of drag. With Henry Arango, Michael Alogna, James Bidgood, Robert Bouvard, Terry Noel, Joseph Touchette, Claude Diaz, George Roth, Esther Newton, Joe E. Jeffreys, George Chauncey, Robert Corber, Thomasine Barlett, Michael Henry Adams.

Pacified (Pacificado), directed and written by Paxton Winters. Produced by Paula Linhares, Marcos Tellechea, Darren Aronofsky, Lisa Muskat, Paxton Winters. (Brazil) – New York Premiere, Feature Narrative. Following the violent clean-up and occupation of Brazilian favelas for the Rio Summer Olympics, timid teenager Tati is drawn to the father she’s never met in this layered, vivid portrayal of a world where loyalty to your neighbors comes above all else. With Bukasa Kabengele, Cassia Nascimento, Debora Nascimento, José Loreto, Raphael Logam, Lea Garcia.  In Portuguese with English subtitles.

The State of Texas vs. Melissa, directed by Sabrina Van Tassel. Produced by Isaac Sharry, Sabrina Van Tassel, Philippe de Bourbon. (France) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. Melissa Lucio was the first Hispanic woman sentenced to death in Texas. For ten years she has been awaiting her fate, and now faces her last appeal. Van Tassel’s urgent documentary is the portrait of a woman against the entire system.

Stateless (Apátrida), directed and written by Michèle Stephenson. Produced by Michèle Stephenson, Jennifer Holness, Lea Marin. (USA, Dominican Republic, Haiti) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. In 2013, the Dominican Republic stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, rendering over 200,000 people without nationality, identity or homeland. Stateless explores this complex history and politics through one young woman’s fight to protect the right to citizenship for all people. With Rosa Iris Diendomi-Álvarez, Teofilo Murat, Gladys Feliz. In Creole, Spanish with English subtitles. TFI supported.

Stray, directed and written by Elizabeth Lo. Produced by Elizabeth Lo, Shane Boris. (Turkey, Hong Kong) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. Bringing us into the world of Zeytin, a stray dog living life on the streets of Istanbul, Stray delivers a deceptively simple and wonderfully touching journey of marginalization and resilience. In Turkish with English subtitles.

Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal, written by Loira Limbal, Malika Zouhali-Worrall. Produced by Jameka Autry. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. This poignant and intimate documentary examines the emotional toll on families in pursuit of the American dream, told through the lens of a 24-hour daycare center in Westchester, New York. With Delores “Nunu” Hogan, Patrick Hogan, Marisol Valencia, Shanona Tate. In English, Spanish with English subtitles.

MIDNIGHT

Tribeca’s Midnight section provides a space for fans to discover new projects in genre filmmaking.

“Becky”

Becky, directed by Cary Murnion, Jonathan Milott, written by Nick Morris, Ruckus Skye, Lane Skye. Produced by Raphael Margules, JD Lifshitz, Jordan Yale Levine, Jordan Beckerman, Russ Posternak. (USA) – World Premiere. Mourning her mother’s death, teenaged Becky doesn’t think she could possibly have a worse time during a lake house trip with her dad. The unexpected arrival of four escaped convicts is about to prove she can. With Kevin James, Joel McHale, Lulu Wilson, Amanda Brugel.

The Boys from County Hell, directed and written by Chris Baugh. Produced by Brendan Mullin, Yvonne Donohoe. (Ireland, UK) – World Premiere. For decades, the residents of Ireland’s Six Mile Hill have traded urban legends about an ancient blood-craving ghoul that sleeps beneath their land. Bad news for the locals: A father-and-son team of pipeline workers have woken it up. With Jack Rowan, Nigel O’Neill, Louisa Harland, Michael Hough, Fra Fee, John Lynch.

The Dark & The Wicked, directed and written by Bryan Bertino. Produced by Bryan Bertino, Adrienne Biddle, Sonny Mallhi, Kevin Matusow. (USA) – World Premiere. On a secluded farm in a nondescript rural town, a man is slowly dying.  His family gathers to mourn, and soon a darkness grows, marked by waking nightmares and a growing sense that something evil is taking over the family. With Marin Ireland, Michael Abbott Jr., Xander Berkeley.

Honeydew, directed and written by Devereux Milburn. Produced by Dan Kennedy, Alan Pierson. (USA) – World Premiere. Unfortunately for a young couple on a camping trip, their car broke down in the middle of the night. Even more unfortunate: In hopes of using a phone for help, they’ve stepped foot inside a house of, to put it lightly, very strange horrors. With Sawyer Spielberg, Malin Barr, Barbara Kingsley.

Sputnik, directed by Egor Abramenko, written by Andrei Zolotarev, Oleg Malovichko. Produced by Mikhail Vrubel, Alexander Andryushenko, Fyodor Bondarchuk, Ilya Stewart. (Russia) – World Premiere. The lone survivor of an enigmatic spaceship incident hasn’t returned back home alone—hiding inside his body is a dangerous creature. His only hope: a doctor who’s ready to do whatever it takes to save her patient. With Oksana Akinshina, Peter Fyodorov, Fyodor Bondarchuk, Anton Vasiliev, Pavel Ustinov. In Russian with English subtitles.

MOVIES PLUS

A Tribeca tradition, Movies Plus offers audiences the unique opportunity to continue the experience of a film through buzzworthy conversations or performances after each special screening. Past Movies Plus experiences have included a Sheryl Crow tribute to Linda Ronstadt (2019), the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus performed after the world premiere of Gay Chorus Deep South (2019), and a Broadway-style performance following Bathtubs Over Broadway (2018).

Sean Penn in “Citizen Penn” (Photo courtesy of KTF Films)

Citizen Penn, directed and written by Don Hardy. Produced by Shawn Dailey, Don Hardy. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. On January 12, 2010 a devastating 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti altering the landscape and lives of millions. Aid workers from around the globe descended on the island, along with one unlikely leader – actor and filmmaker Sean Penn. With Sean Penn, Ann Lee, Anderson Cooper, Cecile Accilien.

After the Movie: A conversation with director Don Hardy along with Sean Penn and CORE CEO Ann Lee.

Disclosure, directed and written by Sam Feder. Produced by Amy Scholder. (USA) – New York Premiere, Feature Documentary. Executive Producer Laverne Cox amplifies this study of transgender representation in the media, bringing together trans creatives and activists to deconstruct scenes from cinema through the ages in order to confront our evolving understanding of gender. With Laverne Cox, Lilly Wachowski, Yance Ford, Jen Richards, Mj Rodriguez, Chaz Bono.

After the Movie: A conversation led by Laverne Cox (Executive Producer), and Sam Feder (Director) with some very special guests, about the current rise and history of transgender representation in film and television.

Call Your Mother, directed by Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady. Produced by Eleanor Galloway. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. Comedians’ mothers take center stage in this documentary from the directors Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing (TFF 2006 selection Jesus Camp), a hilarious ode to moms and the way they have shaped the work of some of comedy’s biggest stars. With Louie Anderson, Awkwafina, Jimmy Carr, Bridget Everett, Fortune Feimster, Rachel Feinstein, Jim Gaffigan, Judy Gold, Jen Kirkman, Jo Koy, Bobby Lee, The Lucas Brothers, Norm Macdonald, Jim Norton, Tig Notaro, Yvonne Orji, Kristen Schaal, Roy Wood Jr..

After the Movie: A conversation with comedians Bridget Everett, Rachel Feinstein, Judy Gold, Roy Wood Jr. and more.

Don’t Try to Understand: A Year in the Life of Earl “DMX” Simmons, directed by Christopher Frierson. Produced by Clark Slater. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. Hip-hop icon DMX returns from a recent stint in prison determined to reignite his career, but his comeback proves ill-fated when faced with the mounting pressures of fatherhood, faith and addiction. This unfiltered documentary presents an intimate glimpse into the man behind the public persona.

After the Movie: A special performance by DMX.

Freedia Got a Gun, directed by Chris McKim. Produced by Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Chris McKim. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. After losing her brother to gun violence, New Orleans’ queen of bounce Big Freedia uses her national platform to shine a spotlight on gun reform in this achingly honest and human documentary plea for activism and reform. With Big Freedia.

After the Movie: A conversation with musician Big Freedia, journalist and executive producer Charles Blow, director and producer Chris McKim and producer Randy Barbato.

Fries! The Movie, directed and written by Michael Steed. Produced by Christopher Collins, Lydia Tenaglia. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. To better understand the globe’s obsession with the fried potato, chefs, food scientists, historians and celebrities, including Malcom Gladwell and Chrissy Teigen, take the audience on a joyous and mouth watering journey around the world to delve into everyone’s favorite fried food. With Chrissy Teigen, Malcolm Gladwell, Eric Ripert, Dave Arnold, Harold McGee.

After the Movie: A conversation with cookbook author and model Chrissy Teigen, chef Eric Ripert, Museum of Food and Drink founder Dave Arnold, and director Michael Steed.

The Go-Go’s, directed by Alison Ellwood. Produced by Trevor Birney. (USA) – New York Premiere, Feature Documentary. Through a wealth of archival material and candid interviews, Director Alison Ellwood takes us on a nostalgic look back at the Go-Go’s rise to fame in the 80s all the way to today, as the band collaborates on new music for the first time in nineteen years. With Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine, Jane Wiedlin. A Showtime release.

After the Movie: A special performance by The Go-Go’s.

John Lewis: Good Trouble, directed by Dawn Porter. Produced by Laura Michalchyshyn, Dawn Porter, Erika Alexander, Ben Arnon. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. Using a combination of vérité and archival along with the 80-year old Georgia Congressman’s own words, John Lewis: Good Trouble examines Lewis’ current work and activism, and takes a look back at a lifetime of campaigning for political and social change. A Magnolia Pictures and Participant release.

After the Movie: A conversation with director and producer Dawn Porter and subjects from the film.

Kiss the Ground, directed by Josh Tickell, Rebecca Tickell, written by Josh Tickell, Rebecca Tickell, Johnny O’Hara. Produced by Rebecca Tickell, Josh Tickell, Bill Benenson, Darius Fisher. (USA, France, China, Uganda, Zimbabwe) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. A revolutionary group of activists, scientists, farmers, and politicians band together in a global movement of “Regenerative Agriculture” that could balance our climate, replenish our vast water supplies, and feed the world, narrated by Woody Harrelson. With Woody Harrelson, Ian Somerhalder, Gisele Bündchen, Patricia Arquette, David Arquette, Tom Brady, Jason Mraz. In English, French with English subtitles.

After the Movie: A conversation with model and activist and Executive Producer Gisele Bündchen, actor and activist Ian Somerhalder and directors Rebecca Tickell and Josh Tickell.

The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show, directed by Yoruba Richen, written by Yoruba Richen, Valerie Thomas, Elia Gasull Balada. Produced by Valerie Thomas, Joan Walsh. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. While the country was embroiled in a divisive election with racial tensions flaring, civil rights activist Harry Belafonte guest hosted The Tonight Show for one week in 1968 transforming it into a multicultural political experience. With Harry Belafonte, Whoopi Goldberg, Questlove, Tamron Hall.

After the Movie: A conversation with Artivist, Producer and Executive Director of Sankofa.org Gina Belafonte, director Yoruba Richen and Producer Joan Walsh. Moderated by Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editorial director and publisher of The Nation.

Truth to Power, directed, written and produced by Garin Hovannisian. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. The Grammy-winning lead singer of System of a Down, Serj Tankian helps to awaken a political revolution on the other side of the world, inspiring Armenia’s struggle for democracy through his music and message. With Serj Tankian, Rick Rubin, Tom Morello, Shavo Odadjian, John Dolmayan, Carla Garapedian.

After the Movie: A special performance by System of a Down’s Serj Tankian, accompanied by the NYU Symphony Orchestra.

Underplayed, directed by Stacey Lee. Produced by William Crouse. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. From Delia Derbyshire to Alison Wonderland this inspiring music documentary portrays radical female artists breaking the rhythm of inequality in the electronic music industry and opening doors for the next generation. With Alison Wonderland, Tygapaw, Tokimonsta & Suzanne Ciani.

After the Movie: A World Class performance by iconic Brooklyn artist, Tygapaw, presenting an inspiring interactive vision of electronic music today.

With Drawn Arms, directed by Glenn Kaino, Afshin Shahidi. Produced by Glen Zipper, Sean Stuart. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. At the 1968 Olympics, gold medalist Tommie Smith iconically raised his fist in a symbol of black struggle and solidarity. With Drawn Arms follows Smith as he looks back 50 years to the moment that helped define a movement and changed the course of his life forever.

After the Movie: A conversation with directors Glenn Kaino and Afshin Shahidi, subject Tommie Smith and musician and executive producer John Legend.

TRIBECA CRITICS’ WEEK

In its second year, Tribeca Critics’ Week is a section of the Festival that presents a curated slate of six feature films from New York-based film critics including Eric Kohn (IndieWire), Joshua Rothkopf (film critic), Bilge Ebiri (film critic and editor, New York Magazine/Vulture), Alissa Wilkinson (Vox.com), and Leah Greenblatt (Entertainment Weekly).

Christian Bale in “American Psycho” (Photo courtesy of Lionsgate)

American Psycho, directed by Mary Harron, Produced by Christian Halsey Solomon, Chris Hanley, Edward R. Pressman. (USA) – Feature Narrative. Twenty years after its debut, Christian Bale’s turn as the murderous NYC yuppie Patrick Bateman has lost none of its simultaneously hilarious and chilling power. With Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas. Join Tribeca and director Mary Harron for a special 20th anniversary screening and conversation.

I Carry You With Me, directed by Heidi Ewing. Written by Heidi Ewing, Alan Page Arriaga. Produced by Mynette Louie, Heidi Ewing. (USA, Mexico) – New York Premiere. Acclaimed documentarian Heidi Ewing’s narrative debut is a cross-border romantic drama about a gay New York chef reflecting back on his experiences coming of age in Mexico. With Armando Espitia, Christian Vázquez, Michelle Rodríguez, Ángeles Cruz, Raúl Briones, Arcelia Ramírez, Pascacio López, Michelle Gonzáles, Luis Alberti, Yael Tadeo, Nery Arredondo, Alexia Morales. A Sony Pictures Classic Release.

Lux Aeterna, directed and written by Gaspar Noé. Produced by Gary Farkas, Clément Lepoutre, Olivier Muller. (France) – North American Premiere, Feature Narrative. In the midst of a hectic shooting day, a women-led film set gradually descends into psychological disarray. Singular provocateur Gaspar Noé’s latest sensory experience takes a piercing look at the dark side of the collaborative filmmaking process. With Beatrice Dalle, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Félix Maritaud, Karl Glusman, Clara 3000, Paul Hameline, Luka Isaac. In English, French with English subtitles.

The Nowhere Inn, directed by Bill Benz, written by Carrie Brownstein, St. Vincent. Produced by Carrie Brownstein, Lana Kim, St. Vincent, Jett Steiger. (USA) – New York Premiere, Feature Narrative. What’s meant to be a documentary about St. Vincent’s music career devolves into a mind-bending distortion of reality once the singer hires her best friend as its director. Deliriously warping the mockumentary template, Portlandia veteran Bill Benz’s directorial debut defies genre categorization. With Annie Clark, Carrie Brownstein.

Shirley, directed by Josephine Decker, written by Sarah Gubbins. Produced by Christine Vachon, David Hinojosa, Sue Naegle, Sarah Gubbins, Jeffrey Soros, Simon Horsman, Elisabeth Moss. (USA) – New York Premiere, Feature Narrative. Shirley Jackson, the celebrated author of the iconic 1948 short story The Lottery, is brought to blisteringly sharp life in Josephine Decker’s immersive drama. With Elisabeth Moss, Michael Stuhlbarg, Odessa Young, Logan Lerman. A Neon release.

Sweet Thing, directed and written by Alexandre Rockwell. Produced by Louis Anania, Kenan Baysal, Haley Elizabeth Anderson. (USA) – North American Premiere, Feature Narrative. In this follow up to Rockwell’s acclaimed Little Feet, Billie and her younger brother Nico struggle through adolescence with an alcoholic father and negligent mother. Forced to run away, this band of outsiders find solace in a new friendship. With Will Patton, Karyn Parsons, Lana Rockwell, Nico Rockwell, Jabari Watkins, ML Josepher.

WOMEN AT WORK

What does it mean to be a working woman today? As the question becomes a more urgent part of the cultural conversation, Tribeca has curated a group of documentaries that seek to answer it across industries from sports, science, and law enforcement. These films consider how women in the workplace have struggled and thrived and always gotten the job done.

Frieda Zamba in “Girls Can’t Surf” (Photo courtesy of Frieda Zamba)

Girls Can’t Surf, directed by Christopher Neliusm and written by Christopher Nelius and Julie Anne DeRuvo. Produced by Michaela Perske and Christopher Nelius. (Australia, USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. Under the radical glow of Australian sun, peroxide hair and fluorescent surf-shorts, a dark wave of male chauvinism crashed down on 1980’s surf culture. Girls Can’t Surf shares the untold story of pioneering women who surfed against this tide. With Pam Burridge, Lisa Anderson, Wendy Botha, Jodie Cooper, Rochelle Ballard, Pauline Menczer, Jolene Smith, Jorja Smith, Nic Carroll, Jamie Brissick, Ian Cairns, Alisa Schwarzstein, Frieda Zamba. Also playing as part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.

Picture a Scientist, directed by Ian Cheney, Sharon Shattuck. Produced by Manette Pottle, Ian Cheney, Sharon Shattuck. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. Despite the minimal news coverage, sexual harassment and gender inequality against women are no less prevalent in science than they are in pop culture and corporate America. Picture a Scientist illuminates this uncomfortable truth while also advocating for change.

After the Screening: A conversation with directors Sharon Shattuck, Ian Cheney and groundbreaking scientists and film subjects, Raychelle Burks Ph.D., Jane Willenbring, Ph.D., and Nancy Hopkins Ph.D.. Hosted by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Women in Blue, directed and written by Deirdre Fishel. Produced by Beth Levison. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. After a high-profile police shooting rocks the Minneapolis Police department, its first female chief is forced to resign. Women in Blue takes a look at policing in America, as it follows the stories of the women officers who carry on the effort to reform the department and restore trust in the community. With Alice White, Melissa Chiodo, Janée Harteau, Erin Grabosky, Catherine Johnson, Nekima Levy-Pounds, Medaria Arradondo. TFI supported.

FAMILY EVENT

“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” (Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures)

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, directed and written by Tim Hill; Story by Tim Hill and Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger; Based on the Series “SpongeBob SquarePants” Created by Stephen Hillenburg. Produced by Ryan Harris. (USA) – Sneak Preview. SpongeBob SquarePants, his best friend Patrick Star and the rest of the gang from Bikini Bottom hit the big screen in the first-ever all CGI SpongeBob motion picture event. After SpongeBob’s beloved pet snail Gary is snail-napped, he and Patrick embark on an epic adventure to The Lost City of Atlantic City to bring Gary home. As they navigate the delights and dangers on this perilous and hilarious rescue mission, SpongeBob and his pals prove there’s nothing stronger than the power of friendship. With Tom Kenny, Awkwafina, Matt Berry, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass, Bill Fagerbakke, Carolyn Lawrence, Mr. Lawrence, Reggie Watts. A Paramount Pictures release.

2020 JURIED FEATURE FILM AWARDS:

Awards in the three main competition sections — U.S. Narrative, International Narrative, and Documentary Competition — 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, the Festival juries will present awards for Best New Narrative Director and The Albert Maysles Award (Best New Documentary Director) for first time feature directors in any section.

Two feature films—one narrative and one documentary—will be selected to receive the Audience Award, the audience choice for best feature film. Films playing in the Competition, Viewpoints, Spotlight, Midnight, Movies Plus, and Tribeca Critics’ Week screenings sections are eligible.

Passes and Tickets for the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival:

All festival passes are on sale now. Ticket Packages are currently available for purchase and will remain on sale until March 8, 2020. Single tickets to attend the Festival go on sale on March 17, 2020. Visit: https://www.tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets

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About the Tribeca Film Festival:

The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, brings visionaries and diverse audiences together to celebrate storytelling in all its forms, including film, TV, VR, gaming, music, and online work. With strong roots in independent film, Tribeca is a platform for creative expression and immersive entertainment. The Festival champions emerging and established voices; discovers award-winning filmmakers and creators; curates innovative experiences; and introduces new technology and ideas through premieres, exhibitions, talks, and live performances.

The Festival was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in 2001 to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan following the attacks on the World Trade Center. Now in its 19th year, the Festival has evolved into a destination for creativity that reimagines the cinematic experience and explores how art can unite communities. The 19th annual edition will take place April 15 – 26, 2020. www.tribecafilm.com/festival.

#Tribeca2020

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Facebook: facebook.com/Tribeca

About Presenting Sponsor AT&T:

As Presenting Sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival, AT&T is committed to supporting the Festival and the art of filmmaking through access and innovation, while expanding opportunities to diverse creators around the globe. AT&T helps millions connect to their passions – no matter where they are. This year, AT&T and Tribeca will once again collaborate to give the world access to stories from underrepresented filmmakers that deserve to be seen. AT&T Presents: Untold Stories -an Inclusive Film Program in Collaboration with Tribeca, is a multi-year, multi-tier alliance between AT&T and Tribeca along with the year-round nonprofit Tribeca Film Institute.

About the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival Partners:

The Tribeca Film Festival is pleased to announce its 2020 Partners: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), BVLGARI, CHANEL, City National Bank, CNN Films, Diageo, ESPN, HBO, Montefiore, National CineMedia (NCM), New York Magazine, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, P&G, PwC, Spring Studios New York, and Squarespace.

Harvey Weinstein convicted of sex crimes, including rape

February 24, 2020

by Colleen McGregor

Harvey Weinstein at The Weinstein Company’s Pre-Academy Awards Dinner sponsored by Grey Goose at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on February 25, 2017. (Photo by Hagop Kalaidjian/BFA)

On February 24, 2020, in a New York City courtroom, disgraced entertainment mogul Harvey Weinstein was found guilty on two of five possible counts involving two women: a first-degree criminal sexual act and a third-degree rape. He was found not guilty of the three most serious charges: two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of first-degree rape involving two women (Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann) in separate incidents. The jury, consisting of seven men and five women, deliberated for nearly a week.

The trial began on January 6, 2020, after experiencing many delays. Weinstein, who is 67, did not testify at his trial. After the verdict was read, Weinstein was immediately taken to jail, where he will be held until his sentencing on March 11, 2020. He faces up to 29 years in prison.

Weinstein is also facing sexual-assault charges in Los Angeles, where he is accused of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another woman on two consecutive nights during Oscars week in 2013.

Weinstein was first arrested in May 2018,  when he turned himself into the New York Police Department. He was arrested and charged with rape and forced oral sex. According to the Associated Press, the rape charge was for an unidentified woman who claims that Weinstein raped her at a New York hotel room in 2013. The oral sex charge was for a 2004 incident in which former aspiring actress Lucia Evans claims that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him at his New York office.

In October 2018, the charge involving Evans was dismissed. According to CNN, Evans’ attorney Carrie Goldberg implied that the charge was dropped for political reasons because of a “feud between the NYPD and the DA’s office.” Goldberg added that the dropped charge “does speak to a system desperate in need of reform.”

A few famous actresses testified against Weinstein in his New York trial: Annabella Sciorra (who says that Weinstein raped her in her apartment in 1993 and 1994) and Rosie Perez, who testified that Sciorra told her about being raped shortly after the incident. Perez found out much later that Sciorra’s alleged rapist was Weinstein, but Perez did not go to police because Sciorra swore her to secrecy at the time.

According to the Associated Press, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. made this statement after the verdict was revealed: “This is the new landscape for survivors of sexual assault in America, I believe, and it is a new day. It is a new day because Harvey Weinstein has finally been held accountable for crimes he committed. Weinstein is a vicious, serial sexual predator who used his power to threaten, rape, assault and trick, humiliate and silence his victims. Weinstein with his manipulation, his resources, his attorneys, his publicists and his spies did everything he could to silence to survivors.”

Weinstein’s attorneys said that they will appeal the verdict. His defense attorney Donna Rotunno commented after the verdict was revealed: “Harvey is unbelievably strong. He took it like a man. He knows that we will continue to fight for him, and we know that this is not over.”

Weinstein’s conviction and imprisonment for sex crimes are considered landmarks for the #MeToo movement, which became a major cultural force in October 2017, when the New York Times and the New Yorker reported that Weinstein has a long history of sexual misconduct allegations, going back as far as the 1980s. The reports detailed how he silenced many of his alleged victims with financial settlements and non-disclosure agreements. In the years since those reports were published, more than 100 women have come forward to claim that Weinstein sexually harassed or sexually assaulted them. Weinstein has denied all the allegations, and says any sex acts he committed were consensual.

After the reports were published, Weinstein was fired by The Weinstein Company (the entertainment firm that Harvey co-founded with his brother Bob); Harvey’s second wife, Georgina Chapman, divorced him; and the company filed for bankruptcy. The Weinstein Company has since been purchased by investment group Lantern Entertainment.

In March 2019, Lantern and Gary Barber launched Spyglass Media Group, which will own the library previously owned by The Weinstein Company. Italian film distributor Eagle Pictures, cinema chain Cineworld (which own Regal Cinemas) and later AT&T’s Warner Bros. were brought in as minority holders. The library includes Oscar-winning movies “The King’s Speech,” “The Artist,” “Inglourious Basterds,” “Django Unchained,” “The Hateful Eight,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “The Iron Lady,”  as well as partial ownership of the fashion reality TV competition “Project Runway.”

Several industry organizations (including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) have expelled Harvey Weinstein from their membership, and he has been sued by several women for sexual harassment/sexual misconduct. Ashley Judd, one of his accusers, is also suing him for defamation because she claims Harvey Weinstein damaged her reputation and career after she rejected his sexual advances.

Since the accusations about Weinstein were made public, there have been several books, news stories and documentaries about his scandals. The most notable feature-length documentary so far about Weinstein is Hulu’s “Untouchable,” which began streaming in September 2019. The entertainment industry website Deadline reported in 2018 that Plan B (Brad Pitt’s production company) and Annapurna Pictures are planning a dramatic feature film about how The New York Times broke the Weinstein #MeToo story. The movie, if it’s made, will likely begin filming after all of Weinstein’s criminal cases have been resolved.

Harvey Weinstein’s downfall is widely considered to be the turning point of the #MeToo cultural movement, which has survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault publicly telling their stories and seeking justice. The #MeToo movement has also led to sexual misconduct allegations against many other famous and powerful men, often resulting in the accused losing their jobs and/or being sued.