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.

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

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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

# # #

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

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: ‘Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President’ is the opening-night film

February 17, 2020

Tribeca Film Festival - white logo

Jimmy Carter and Willie Nelson in “Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President” (Photo courtesy of Jimmy Carter Library)

The following is a press release from the Tribeca Film Festival:
The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, will open its 19th edition on April 15 with the world premiere of “Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President.” It will set the stage for a festival featuring works that celebrate the power of change through art, politics and community. The 2020 Tribeca Film Festival will run April 15-26.

From award-winning director Mary Wharton, producer Chris Farrell and writer Bill Flanagan, the documentary catalogues the role of popular music in helping to propel a peanut farmer from Georgia all the way to the White House.

The world premiere of “Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President” will be followed by live performances from music legend Willie Nelson, Musical Director Paul Shaffer, and others. The event will take place at the Beacon Theatre as part of the City National Bank Screening Series during the Festival.

This rockumentary-style presidential portrait shows how Jimmy Carter’s lifelong passion for music gave him an unexpected edge as a presidential candidate. Through folk, soul, gospel, jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll, Carter tapped into a force that transcended racial and generational divides, and often party lines. Carter’s appreciation for all genres of music and friendships with the likes of Bob Dylan, the Allman Brothers, and Willie Nelson helped to define his campaign. “Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President” combines intimate interviews with Carter along with rare archival era-defining live performances from: Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Buffett, and Paul Simon among others. Director Mary Wharton traces how Carter’s genuine approachability and the unifying power of music became key to his political appeal, and allowed him to connect with voters who may only have known him as a small town peanut farmer.

Director Mary Wharton won the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Music Film for her documentary feature “Sam Cooke: Legend.” Other notable feature film credits include “Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound,” the platinum-selling concert film “Phish: IT,” and “Farrah Fawcett Forever.”

“The film accurately captures my love for all music and the importance music has played in my personal and professional life. I remain hopeful and believe that music can serve to bring us together as a nation. Rosalynn and I are pleased with the fine film Mary and Chris have made and thank all those involved for telling this story. We are thrilled that it will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival,” said President Jimmy Carter.

“We witness the power of art inspiring change and the positive impact of citizens raising their voices against injustice everyday,” said Jane Rosenthal, Co-Founder and CEO of the Tribeca Film Festival.

“As filmmakers, we were inspired to create the Tribeca Film Festival after 9/11 because we believe in the power of art to restore community and inspire change. Mary and Chris’ film, likewise, is a testament to that power.”

To further fortify that movement, Tribeca is partnering with Democracy Works and Civic Alliance, America’s premier nonpartisan coalition of businesses working together to build a future where everyone can vote, volunteer, and take action to shape the country. Tribeca Film Festival audiences will be given access to online tools that make voting easy; sending them text updates and educating them about ways to get involved in their local elections. Tribeca also provides staff with paid time off to vote, working to strengthen employee engagement.

Tribeca expands across the Hudson River to Hoboken
Last year, Tribeca’s opening night brought The Apollo uptown to its namesake theater in Harlem, and this year, the Festival will continue to use cinematic storytelling and experiences to connect communities across the Hudson river to the city of Hoboken, NJ. The city’s rich cinematic history includes scenes filmed from Oscar winner “On the Waterfront,” “Julie & Julia,” “Funny Girl,” “The Station Agent,” among others.

“It’s wonderful to embrace new audiences with our neighbor across the river,” said Rosenthal.

“We are incredibly thrilled to bring the renowned Tribeca Film Festival to Hoboken,” said Ravi Bhalla, Hoboken Mayor. “There’s no better location to host the Festival than our Mile Square, offering a wealth of culture with our local artists, galleries, and The Mile Square Theatre Company, and further cements our City as one of the major cultural destinations in the tri-state area.”

About “Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President”

“Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President” was also produced by Dave Kirkpatrick and Executive Producers include Dan Braun, Peter Conlon, and David Crawford. Submarine will handle sales for the film.

Tickets:
All passes and ticket packages are on sale now. Single tickets to attend the Festival go on sale on March 17, 2020.

#Tribeca2020
Twitter: www.twitter.com/tribeca
Facebook: www.facebook.com/tribeca
Instagram: www.instagram.com/tribeca

About the Tribeca Film Festival:
The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, brings artists 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 @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, Montefiore, National CineMedia (NCM), New York Magazine, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, P&G, PwC, Spring Studios New York, and Squarespace.

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘House of Hummingbird’

May 5, 2019

by Carla Hay

Jihu Park in “House of Hummingbird” (Photo courtesy of Epiphany Films)

“House of Hummingbird” (“Beol-sae”)

Directed by Bora Kim

Korean with subtitles

North American premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 27, 2019.

Very few feature films can be praised as accurately depicting the angst of being a 13-year-old girl. Bo Burnham’s 2018 comedy “Eighth Grade” is one of them. Catherine Hardwicke’s 2003 dark drama “Thirteen” is another. And here’s another to add to the list: writer/director Bora Kim’s beautifully made, introspective feature-film debut “House of Hummingbird,” a semi-autobiographical drama set in 1994 Seoul, South Korea. “House of Hummingbird” does not have the social-media-driven humor of “Eighth Grade” or the dangerous, self-destructive behavior of “Thirteen,” but it conveys a similar spirit that shows how feelings of insecurity and social pressures can eat away at a young girl’s confidence. Carried by an admirable performance by Jihu Park, “House of Hummingbird” is a deliberately paced film that builds up to a conclusion that transforms several of the characters in the story.

Being a 13-year-old in eighth grade is a tricky age for a girl. She’s going through puberty, and might be thinking about dating—but, depending on her family and peers, she might be considered too young to date people her age. She’s old enough to go to places without adult supervision, but she’s not old enough to drive. And 13 is an age when most people are preparing themselves for high school, which is the time in many people’s lives where they have to make decisions that impact their futures as adults.

In “House of Hummingbird,” Park portrays Eunhee, a slightly rebellious teen who loves spending time with her friends, going to karaoke bars, and occasionally getting into mischief, such as shoplifting. Her parents own a rice cake shop, and she’s sometimes made to feel socially inferior because of her family’s working-class economic status. At home in their crowded urban apartment, Eunhee is often unhappy. Her older brother Dae-Hoon (played by Son Sang-yeon), who is the favored child because he is a boy, bullies her by secretly hitting her for no good reason. Her stressed-out parents (played by Lee Seung-yeon and Jung In-gi) frequently argue with each other. And her older sister Suhee (played by Bak Su-yeon) is so passive that she tries to make herself invisible and isn’t much of a friend to Eunhee. All of the kids sometimes chip in to work at the family shop, but Eunhee doesn’t like it and thinks she can have a better life for herself. She doesn’t really know yet how she’s going to accomplish that, although she dreams of being a cartoonist.

At the cram school where Eunhee is a student, she finds an intriguing role model in a new teacher named Yong-ji (played Saebyuk Kim), who is more independent-minded than the other female teachers at the school. It’s the kind of school where a teacher will make the students chant that they won’t do karaoke and will go to Seoul University, and students are told to anonymously write down the names of other students who are being delinquent. Yong-ji encourages Eunhee to follow her dreams and to find a way to respect herself, even if the people around her don’t show Eunhee respect. As her admiration for Yong-ji grows, Eunhee finds reasons to spend time with her teacher outside of the classroom. In a letter that Eunhee writes to Yong-ji later in the movie, she asks a question that sums up her teenage feelings of uncertainty: “When will my life shine?”

Meanwhile, Eunhee tentatively gets closer to a male friend named Jiwan (played by Jeong Yun-se), and their innocent flirting turns into hand holding and then awkward experimenting with French kissing. Eunhee keeps her budding romance a secret from her family, since she doesn’t want to get in trouble for being considered too wild. Eunhee and her best friend Jisuk (played by Park Seo-yun ) get caught shoplifting, and they have a disagreement over whether or not to offer an apology to the store owner. Jisuk wants to apologize, but Eunhee does not, and the disagreement ends their friendship. During all of this personal drama, Eunhee finds out that there’s a lump on her upper neck that needs to be removed because it’s near a salivary gland. The operation might leave a scar, and there’s a chance that her face might be paralyzed.

Much of “House of Hummingbird” might be a little too slow-paced for movie audiences who are used to films about teens that have a lot of snappy dialogue and a constant stream of misadventures. “House of Hummingbird” takes a more realistic approach of showing some of the boredom that comes with being a stifled teenager. However, the last 30 minutes of this 138-minute film have a series of unforgettable events where Eunhee has a powerful awakening that she least expects, even if it comes at an emotional cost.

UPDATE: Well Go USA Entertainment will release “House of Hummingbird” on a date to be announced.

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘See You Yesterday’

May 5, 2019

by Carla Hay

Eden Duncan-Smith and Danté Crichlow in “See You Yesterday” (Photo by Linda Kallerus/Netflix)

“See You Yesterday”

Directed by Stefon Bristol

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on May 3, 2019.

“Back to the Future” meets “Black Lives Matter” could be a superficial way to describe “See You Yesterday,” a time-traveling drama about a teenage girl who goes back in time to prevent the police-shooting death of her older brother. But “See You Yesterday” is not a “Back to the Future” ripoff—it’s a compelling social commentary seen through the eyes of intelligent African American teenagers who are the central characters in the movie.

“See You Yesterday,” the first feature film from Spike Lee protégé Stefon Bristol, is a longer version of Bristol’s short film of the same name, and the movie has the same two lead actors from the short film. Eden Duncan-Smith is Claudette “CJ” Walker and Danté Crichlow is Sebastian Thomas, CJ’s best friend—two high-school students who live in Brooklyn’s East Flatbush neighborhood in New York City. Both teens are aspiring scientists who have been working on a time-traveling machine that can be worn in a backpack. CJ is the type of student who likes to read Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” in class, and she’s essentially the brains behind the time machine.

As with most scientific experiments, things are done with trial and error. The movie begins with CJ and Sebastian’s botched attempts to get the time-traveling invention to work. It’s only a matter of time before they broach the subject of time traveling with their science teacher Mr. Lockhart (played by “Back to the Future” star Michael J. Fox, in a brilliantly cast cameo), who tells them that if time travel were possible, it would be one of the greatest ethical conundrums that people would face, before declaring, “Time travel. Great Scott!” Fans of “Back to the Future” will get this inside joke. (In a Q&A after one of the Tribeca Film Festival screenings of “See You Yesterday,” Bristol said that Fox agreed to be in the movie after Bristol wrote him a letter, and Fox hadn’t even seen the script yet. Before filming was set to begin, Fox broke his hand, but they were able to reschedule filming for Fox several weeks later after he recovered from his injury.)

On their fourth attempt at time travel, CJ and Sebastian succeed on June 29, 2019, and go back in time and then back to the present day. The date that they begin to time travel is significant because of what will happen less than a month later. For now, the two budding scientists decide to keep their time-traveling secret to themselves.

Being a science nerd in tough East Flatbush isn’t easy. CJ and Sebastian constantly have to dodge the crime and street fights that plague their neighborhood. Her 19-year-old older brother Calvin (played by Brian Bradley, also known as Astro or Stro) is a bit of a rebel, but he’s very protective of CJ.  She is also dealing with moving on from ex-boyfriend Jared (played by Rayshawn Richardson), a bully who flaunts his new girlfriend in front of CJ. It’s clear that when Jared and CJ were together, he did not treat her well, and their relationship ended badly. But Jared keeps doing things to irritate CJ, so it isn’t long before big brother Calvin gets involved. When police arrive, an unarmed Calvin reaches for his cell phone, and gets shot to death by a cop. The date is July 14, 2019.

After going through this devastating loss, CJ comes up with the idea to go back in time to prevent Calvin from dying. Sebastian is extremely reluctant at first, but he goes along with the plan when he sees that there’s no talking CJ out of it. What happens next in the movie can’t be described without giving away spoilers, but it’s enough to say that “See You Yesterday”—like other stories about time travel—does treat the issue of changing the past in order to alter the future as a serious ethical dilemma that can have unexpected consequences. The movie also has a message that unnecessary police brutality is not going away anytime soon.

Bristol, who co-wrote the screenplay with Frederica Bailey, authentically captures modern-day Brooklyn, with the young characters talking like how real teenagers would talk, including a fair amount of cursing. If you watch “See You Yesterday” closely, there’s also a scene in the movie that’s a nod to Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.” It’s refreshing that the inventor of the time machine in this story is a teenager, because an adult would be more likely to seek fame, riches and/or glory from such an invention, whereas a teenager would be more likely to keep it a secret from adults. Above all, “See You Yesterday” shows people, no matter what their age, that life is not about changing the past but how we move forward.

Netflix will premiere “See You Yesterday” on May 17, 2019.

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘I Am Human’

May 5, 2019

by Carla Hay

Bryan Johnson in “I Am Human” (Photo by Joel Froome)

“I Am Human”

Directed by Taryn Southern and Elena Gaby

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on May 3, 2019.

Most of the recent movies about artificial intelligence (A.I.) play on fears that A.I. technology will replace jobs previously done by humans and/or will take over the world in sinister ways. The documentary “I Am Human” takes a more optimistic view by examining how the links between the human brain and A.I. technology can be used to improve health sciences by helping solve human medical problems. If you have absolutely no interest in science or A.I. technology, then you’ll probably find a great deal of this movie incredibly dull since it relies heavily on talking heads explaining complex issues and trying to make them more understandable in layman’s terms. However, the case studies presented in “I Am Human” make the documentary worth watching for anyone who’s curious about the future of medical science.

There are three people profiled in the documentary’s case studies. Bill Kochevar is a tetraplegic who receives treatment at the Cleveland VA Medical Center. Anne Shabason is a Parkinson’s disease patient in Bolton, Canada. Stephen Shrubnall is a blind man who’s hoping to have a limited fraction of his eyesight restored. All three patients undergo risky, experimental brain surgeries, which are chronicled in the film.

These case studies are part of the clinical trials known as BrainGate2 Neural Interface System, which began in 2009 and is owned by Braingate Co. BrainGate2 is the successor of BrainGate, a brain-implant system that was built and previously owned by Cyberkinetics.

Among the experts interviewed in “I Am Human” are Dr. David Eagleman, a neuroscientist from Stanford University; sci-fi author Amez Naam; Dr. Andres Lozano, a neurosurgeon at the University of Toronto; Dr. Robert Deveny, an opthamologist a Toronto Western Hospital; Dr. Nita Faranhay, professor of law and philosophy at Duke University; and Bryan Johnson, a neurotech entrepreneur.

Kochevar’s, Shabason’s and Shrubnall’s respective surgeries involve getting sensors implanted in brains, with the sensors being able to affect an external objects. These surgeries are very expensive  and recommended only to people who have severe diseases. The goal is for technology to advance to the point where brain implants can be done without surgery. Another goal is to have brain interfacing by just putting on a headset, which could be possible in the future. It would vastly improve communications and decrease language barriers. Scientists and neurotech entrepreneurs are planning to introduce the first high-resolution, wearable brain interface by the year 2021.

Kochevar’s surgery was meant to have his brain control some of his machine-enabled movements through A.I. technology. As a result, his abilities to reach and grasp greatly improved. Shabon’s brain implant is connected to a pacemaker in her chest, and her anxiety greatly decreased after the surgery. Shrubnall’s surgery involved a band sown around his eye to stimulate the retina. He then had to wear special glasses, which submit electrodes to the brain, which resulted in his vision being partially restored, by him being able to see shadows. The best parts of the documentary are to see the elated reactions to the surgery results.

Of course, any new technology comes with concerns of it being used for unlawful purposes. One of the biggest issues, which is addressed in the documentary, is the idea that A.I. technology that involves brain implants will lead to “brain hacking.” But as neurotech entrepreneur Johnson says in the documentary, the rewards outweigh the risks: “Nothing is more important than addressing a broken brain.”

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘Changing the Game’

May 5, 2019

by Carla Hay

Changing the Game
Mack Beggs in “Changing the Game” (Photo by Turner Jumonville)

“Changing the Game”

Directed by Michael Barnett

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 26, 2019.

There’s an ongoing debate on how transgender people should be treated in situations where people are segregated by gender. Sports will continue to be one of the hot-button areas where transgender people are fighting for their rights. Unlike using a public restroom, categorizing a person’s gender in sports can affect their future, especially when money is involved (and it usually is). “Changing the Game” is a documentary that explores these issues, as the movie follows three American teenage transgender athletes who are navigating their way through a system where they are often mistreated and misunderstood.

At the time this documentary was filmed, all three of the athletes were in high school. Mack Beggs, who gets the most screen time, is a transgender male wrestler in Texas who’s forced to compete against girls. Beggs, who has been a state champion, also stars in the short film “Mack Wrestles,” which is making the rounds at film festivals, including Tribeca. Sarah Huckman is a transgender female Nordic skier in New Hampshire. Sarah (who is Asian) is adopted, and her parents, Jen and Tom Huckman, are completely supportive of her. Andraya Yearwood is an African American transgender female track runner in Connecticut, one of the states that allows public schools to categorize students according to whatever gender the student identifies as. Laws vary from state to state in this issue.

Mack’s situation is complicated because he is taking male hormones yet competing against girls. The documentary includes commentary from parents who think Mack has an unfair advantage against the girls he competes against. Mack essentially agrees, because he wants to compete against other males. Meanwhile, Mack’s coach doesn’t seem to care about Mack’s gender, as long as he’s winning. The coach says, “I would never turn my back on an athlete,” but all the controversy over Mack makes you wonder if the coach would stand by Mack so strongly if Mack was losing most of his matches.

Mack is living with his grandparents Nancy and Roy, who have adopted him. His grandmother says, “I’m a hardcore Republican, but I don’t have a problem stepping on any toes for transgender kids.” Mack has a girlfriend who’s also very supportive of him, but he admits that he has bouts of depression and a past suicide attempt by taking sleeping pills. The documentary mentions that 40 percent of transgender athletes attempt suicide. Mack is also under a lot of pressure because he needs an athletic scholarship to get into the college of his choice, but he knows that the odds are stacked against him because he’s a transgender athlete.

Meanwhile, the documentary shows how Sarah has become a political activist for transgender athletes. Her advocacy had an effect on the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association’s policies for transgender students, according to Guy Donnelly, principal of Kingswood Regional High School, where Sarah was a student. Advocates for transgender athletes believe that transgender people should be accepted as transgender in all aspects of their lives—in other words, sports should not be an exception.

For track runner Andraya, the biggest supporter in her family is her single mother, Ngozi Nnaji, who says she’s so protective of her daughter that she almost feels like a bodyguard. Of all three trans athletes profiled in the movie, Andraya endures the most heckling from angry parents at the games. The documentary mentions a sobering statistic that African American transgender female students are five times more likely to be murdered than their peers.

Mack gets quite a bit of heckling too. He mentions that most of the verbal abuse and bullying he gets are from adults, not from other kids. It’s taken a toll on his mental health, and his girlfriend says that Mack has had a couple of emotional breakdowns, but he doesn’t like to talk about how much pressure he’s under. Mack says, “My relationship with testosterone is complicated. I wish I didn’t have to inject it.”

The most common argument that people have against trans athletes is that trans athletes have an “unfair advantage.” This argument seems to be used the most when parents think someone with a masculine physique is competing against females. When prize money and scholarships are at stake, it’s no wonder that the conflicts over this issue can get heated. Sarah admits that she often holds herself back in competitions and deliberately does not perform at her best because she doesn’t want to be a target for this type of “unfair advantage” accusation.

Andraya says she wouldn’t be on her track team if she didn’t have the support from the other people on the team. She gets some more encouragement when another African American transgender female named Terry Miller joins the team. In one of the movie’s most touching moments, Terry says that she was inspired to join the team because of Andraya. They naturally become very close friends.

Still, they have to endure angry outbursts from parents who don’t want them on the team, even if Andraya and Terry can help the team win in group competitions. During a track meet, a furious mother tells the camera that athletes like Andraya and Terry don’t have to deal with menstruation, so they have an unfair advantage. The menstruation argument is actually an insult to all females, because it wrongly assumes that females who are menstruating are physically less capable of winning an athletic competition against females who aren’t menstruating.

“Changing the Game” is a straightforward documentary that doesn’t use gimmicks or fancy camera techniques. The film is unapologetically rooting for these transgender athletes, but the filmmakers could have done a little bit more well-rounded reporting by interviewing more people involved in the schools’ athletic systems, such as more coaches, referees, recruiters and leaders of athletic departments.

Another area where the movie definitely need improving was in expanding its reporting on what is being done on both sides to address the legal issues in the key states where transgender laws are the most hotly debated. Showing Sarah Huckman’s activism in New Hampshire (a liberal state) doesn’t seem like enough to cover the lawmaking issues that should be addressed in this documentary. In addition, although high school athletes are the focus of this film, most of these athletes have plans to continue in the sport after high school, and they will probably be facing the same issues in college or wherever they plan to continue participating in the sport. Only Mack’s post-high-school plans were given enough screen time in this film.

Despite some of these flaws in the documentary, “Changing the Game” does a good job of humanizing an issue that many people want to dismiss as not relevant to their lives. The rights that transgender people are fighting for are civil rights that speak to us as human beings and how we treat each other. The rights aren’t asking for special treatment but to be treated with the same respect, dignity and legal access that cisgender people get for gender identity.

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘Wig’

May 5, 2019

by Carla Hay

Nelson Sullivan in “Wig” (Photo courtesy of HBO)

“Wig”

Directed by Chris Moukarbel

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on May 4, 2019.

The documentary “Wig” is a joyous and sassy love letter to Wigstock (the annual drag festival in New York City) and New York City’s drag culture. The movie comes 24 years after the 1995 documentary “Wigstock: The Movie,” which chronicled the 1994 Wigstock event. Unlike “Wigstock: The Movie,” which was essentially a concert film, “Wig” takes a deeper dive into the history of Wigstock and its under-rated impact on pop culture.

Wigstock was launched in 1984 by Lady Bunny, and its first incarnation ran until 2001. The festival was revived in 2018 by Lady Bunny and Neil Patrick Harris. (Harris and his husband, David Burtka, are two of the producers of “Wig,” which had its world premiere as part of the Tribeca Film Festival’s inaugural Tribeca Celebrates Pride, an entire day of LGBTQ-themed programming. Lady Bunny performed after the film’s premiere.)

A lot has changed since Wigstock went on hiatus in 2001. RuPaul, who was one of Wigstock’s original stars, has become an entertainment mogul, as the host/showrunner of the Emmy-winning drag contest “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and the founder of RuPaul’s DragCon event, which currently has annual editions in Los Angeles and New York City. The rise of RuPaul and drag culture is a direct result of LGBTQ culture overall becoming much more visible in the 21st century, with more LGBTQ characters and reality stars on screen; the launch of LGBTQ TV networks, such as Logo and Here; and more LGBTQ celebrities living their lives openly. That visibility and growing public support for LGBTQ rights also had an impact on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision to make marriage equality legal for same-sex couples.

In its own unique way, Wigstock has been part of this movement. It’s important to bring up this historical context because “Wig” would have been a very different movie if it had been made in the 1990s. “Wig” director Chris Moukarbel (who directed Lady Gaga’s 2017 Netflix documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two”) skillfully rises to the challenge of presenting the history of Wigstock in a cohesive, entertaining style that a wide variety of people can relate to and enjoy.

“Wig” includes some prophetic archival footage from the early 1990s showing RuPaul having a bathroom conversation with British filmmaker Fenton Bailey, who asks RuPaul if drag queens will be popular in America. Fast forward decades later, and Bailey’s World of Wonder production company (which he co-founded in 1991 with fellow filmmaker Randy Barbato) is producing the “Drag Race” franchise, drag queen Big Freedia’s self-titled reality series and numerous other film, TV and digital projects. RuPaul is seen frequently throughout the “Wig” movie, including RuPaul’s early club days at New York City’s Pyramid Club (which was a vital part of the city’s drag scene that birthed Wigstock), to directing an impromptu home photo session with fellow drag queen Nelson Sullivan in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s, to on-stage appearances at Wigstock throughout the years.

In “Wig,” many of the drag queens comment on the mainstreaming of drag culture, compared to the early years of Wigstock. Although many of the queens appreciate that drag culture has become more accepted and has become a more viable way to make a living, some of the queens express some wistful nostalgia for the days when the community was much smaller and more tight-knit.

Drag queen Linda Simpson says that “’Drag Race’ was groundbreaking,” but the flip side is that drag culture was “more fun” when it was less mainstream. Simpson adds, “Now, drag is all about de-mystifying drag. It takes away from the insider-y feel that we had before.”

Flotilla DeBarge comments, “There are too many people right now who want to be drag queens, but they don’t know what it’s about,” adding that doing drag should be about passion, not money. “Anybody can do drag, but what kind of drag queen do you want to be?” As drag queen Naomi Smalls puts it: “RuPaul paved the way for me, but who the fuck paved the way for Ru? I love that drag is being normalized.”

For many drag queens, validation outside the drag community is the ultimate sign of success. Willam Belli, also known as drag queen Willam (a former “Drag Race” contestant who landed a cameo in the 2018 remake of “A Star Is Born”), hilariously tells a story about surprising a male intruder who had broken into Willam’s home, and the intruder backed away and called her “ma’am.” Willam laughs when remembering how the intruder acknowledged her as a woman: “I passed!”

Some of the Wigstock devotees also talk about their early influences. Charlene Incarnate says that most of her gay role models were closeted dads in her church. Harris said that drag culture appeals to him as a magician. As drag queen Tabboo! says in the film, “Wigstock was revolutionary because it kickstarted the ‘Come out, come out, wherever you are.’”

Lady Bunny adds, “We were putting something special out there in New York because this was the time of AIDS.” The AIDS crisis and its impact on the LGBTQ community is given a respectful amount of acknowledgement in “Wig,” which includes some heartbreaking testimonials of people who have lost friends and loved ones to the deadly disease.

Hate crimes against drag queens and others in the LGBTQ community are also mentioned in “Wig.” Jeremy Extravagance talks about his longtime friendship with singer/drag queen Kevin Aviance, who was the survivor of a vicious beating in 2006, outside of a gay bar in Manhattan. Aviance, who is interviewed and has some of the movie’s best scenes, describes his attack as, “I never felt so much hate in my life from someone I never met.” He says of being a hate-crime survivor: “Drag is my silver lining.”

As one commentator puts it: “Drag is hyper-femininity in response to aggressive masculinity.” If that’s the case, then Wigstock is the ultimate on-stage clapback. The heart of the movie is still about the thrill and the spectacle of performing at Wigstock, with Lady Bunny as the event’s founding mother. Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry, a previous Wigstock performer, says cheekily of Lady Bunny: “The thing that annoys me about Bunny is that she flirts like crazy…and nothing happened [between us].”

If there’s any one person who’s portrayed as a chief villain in “Wig,” it’s Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor of New York City from 1993 to 2001. (He is not interviewed in the movie.) Giuliani’s crackdown of the city’s nightclubs resulted in numerous closures that directly affected gay nightlife and drag culture. It’s perhaps no coincidence that Wigstock went out of business when Giuliani was in office.

The movie culminates with a dazzling array of footage from Wigstock’s spectacular comeback in 2018, including appearances from Lady Bunny, Bianca Del Rio, Aviance, Ladies of Lips, Amanda Lepore and Harris in full costume from his Tony-winning “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” drag role. If people still don’t understand what drag culture is about, one “Wig” commentator says it best in the movie: “Drag is about putting on the outside what you feel on the inside.”

HBO will premiere “Wig” on June 18, 2019.

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘Other Music’

May 5, 2019

by Carla Hay

“Other Music” (Photo by Robert M. Nielsen)

“Other Music”

Directed by Puloma Basu and Rob Hatch-Miller

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 26, 2019.

Brick-and-mortar retail stores that sell music—just like video stores and places to develop film—are a dying breed that the Internet and other digital technology have been killing off since the mid-2000s. From 1995 to 2016, Other Music was an independent music store located in New York City’s East Village. The store had a reputation for being a place that championed obscure and non-mainstream music, but Other Music also carried releases from popular artists, with an emphasis on releases that might not be that easy to find. The documentary “Other Music” is a respectful, nostalgic history of the store, including a behind-the-scenes look at the final days before Other Music closed for good on June 25, 2016.

Other Music’s financial woes weren’t just caused by the Internet. Like many other independent retailers in high-priced urban cities, Other Music (which stayed in the same location throughout its 21-year run) couldn’t keep up with the rising rents in the area. But the store’s history is truly a reflection of what was going on in the music business at the time. Other Music was co-founded by Chris Vanderloo, Josh Madell and Jeff Gibson, at a time (the mid-‘90s) when alternative/indie rock was at the height of its commercial appeal. Vanderloo and Madell were former employees of Kim’s Underground Video, an independently run video store in New York City.

In the documentary, Vanderloo is described as the most customer-oriented; he was the Other Music owner who was most likely to be mingling with store customers. Madell was the managerial taskmaster, who was the most involved in employee hiring and training, as well as community outreach and setting up in-store performances. Gibson was the one who was the most enthusiastic about discovering new music—the more obscure, the better. In 2001, Gibson left Other Music and moved to Belgium, where his wife is from, and he declined to participate in the documentary.

The documentary mentions that, at first, many people thought it was crazy for Other Music to open directly across the street from the East Village location of Tower Records, the music-store behemoth that was considered one of the most powerful music retailers in the U.S. for decades. But it turns out that both stores had overlapping customers, and Tower Records’ foot traffic helped Other Music, which was a place to find releases that Tower Records might not have. Ironically, Other Music would outlast Tower Records (which closed all its U.S. operations in 2006), as well as other corporate music retailers that shut down in the U.S., such as Virgin Megastore and HMV. TransWorld-owned music retailers Musicland, Sam Goody, The Wherehouse and Camelot Music also went out of business years before Other Music did.

Other Music was the kind of store that strived to keep its anti-corporate image intact. The store’s labels and signs were hand-written. Most of the inventory was from independent record companies. The store prided itself on having employees who were extremely knowledgeable about non-mainstream music and weren’t shy about making recommendations to customers. But all of that led to Other Music having a “hipster snob” reputation that was a turnoff and intimidated some people, which the documentary rightfully acknowledges. A few of the employees interviewed also admit that they would be impatient and give attitude to customers if they thought the customers didn’t know much about music.

The film predictably includes a number of celebrities who mostly praise Other Music. Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore opens the movie with this glowing statement about Other Music: “Per square meter, it probably had more interest value than any other shop I’d ever been in, in the world.” Oscar-winning actor Benicio del Toro says that shopping at Other Music was “almost like a religious experience.” Vampire Weekend lead singer Ezra Koenig, former Le Tigre member JD Sampson, and Animal Collective singer Avey Tare are among the other artists who share fond memories of Other Music.

A few celebrities, such as Jason Schwartzman and Regina Spektor, admit that although they were fans of Other Music, they often felt like their musical tastes were being judged by the staff. Spektor explains that she always had a feeling of “first-day-of-school nervousness” when she shopped at Other Music, because she didn’t want to feel embarrassed. The National lead singer Matt Berninger said that if people felt uncomfortable shopping at Other Music because of the “snob” factor, it was because Other Music “set the bar high” when it came to musical taste. “They should celebrate stuff that’s better-than-average.”

One of the best things about the Other Music documentary is that is gives a spotlight to some of the store’s unsung heroes. Even though Other Music carried a wide variety of music, it still had an image of being dominated by indie rock. It might come as a surprise to many people who see this film that Other Music’s staff was a lot more diverse than the stereotypical white male music nerd, even though the store’s owners/bosses and many of the employees fit that stereotype. There were plenty of female staffers there too (although they don’t get as much screen time in the movie as the male staffers) and some people of color (usually male) who worked at Other Music. Most of the employees describe themselves as music fanatics and misfits who wouldn’t do well if they had to work at a regular 9-to-5 office job. It’s mentioned in the documentary that it was hard to get a job at Other Music because the standards for music knowledge were high and the employee turnover was relatively low. Co-owner Madell said that if employees got fired, it was often because of chronic tardiness.

Many people in the documentary mention Duane Harriott (a black man) as Other Music’s best employee. Harriott, who worked at Other Music from 1997 to 2008, is interviewed in the film, and he says of Other Music: “It wasn’t just a record store. It was a community center.” He also says he was largely responsible for building Other Music’s hip-hop inventory “from scratch.” Harriott is praised by many people in the documentary for his encyclopedic music knowledge and his sales skills—he had a gift of gab with customers, and he loved to tell trivia factoids and stories about artists, which often resulted in people buying music that they originally didn’t intend to buy.

Many of the employees of Other Music were also musicians, and they were encouraged to promote their own music in the store. One former employee, an African American identified in the movie only as Beans, was notorious for relentlessly suggesting that customers buy his music. Beans, who’s interviewed in the movie, freely admits that he was one of those Other Music employees who would get impatient and give attitude to customers if he thought they seemed clueless. Even though he admits this flaw, he’s also clearly one of Other Music’s most loyal employees: He’s seen in the documentary being one of the last employees to stay behind to help clear out the store after it permanently closed.

The documentary also interviews Vanderloo’s wife Lydia and Madell’s wife Dawn, who are perhaps the biggest unsung heroes of Other Music. The wives reveal that because they had more stable incomes than their husbands, the wives kept the business afloat for years when Other Music was losing money. In other words, if Vanderloo and Madell hadn’t been married to people who could give them money to keep the business going, the store would have closed years before 2016. The wives say that they and their husbands kept the business going because they felt obligated to Other Music’s customers and employees. But when they were losing so much money that the business no longer became sustainable, it was time to shut it down for good.

From the beginning, Other Music had issues with being cash-strapped. As Josh Madell says in documentary, the store didn’t pay most of its employees in its early years (the staff knowingly signed up as volunteers), and not even Lydia and Dawn were exempt from working for free. The wives talk about how their pre-marriage dates with their future husbands involved meeting at the store and being unpaid employees. A “dinner date” would be often be ordering pizza while they worked for free at the store.

The documentary also mentions how Other Music was affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which caused most businesses located in downtown Manhattan to be temporarily closed or severely limited in the weeks and sometimes months after the tragedy. William Basinski’s “DLP1.1” composition (one of his “disintegration loop” instrumental recordings) became Other Music’s unofficial anthem in dealing with aftermath of 9/11, according to the documentary. Other Music co-owner Madell says that the store had its biggest sales in the year 2000, and things never really recovered after 2001.

When Napster and other controversial file-sharing services began to eat away at the music industry’s profits, Other Music responded by launching its own digital music store without digital-rights management, but that wasn’t until 2007, when music retail was already in a major downward spiral, and iTunes was already dominating the online music market. Things also got worse for Other Music when corporate stores such as Best Buy had lower prices for CDs than what Other Music’s wholesalers/distributors would charge. Other Music had its own e-newsletter, and when that also shut down, the owners heard that Lou Reed was despondent over it. Other Music also launched its own record label in 2012.

Financial woes aside, Other Music’s biggest legacy is that it was a home for independent artists, many of whom weren’t mainstream enough for commercial radio or corporate chain stores. The documentary includes footage of in-store performances of artists such as Ghost, St. Vincent and Conor Oberst. Former employee Harriott says his most memorable Other Music performance was by the mysterious and elusive singer/songwriter Gary Wilson, who arrived at the store with a blanket over his face. Before his performance, Wilson poured talcum powder over himself and then performed wearing 3-D glasses.

The documentary also notes that in the aftermath of 9/11, the music community in New York City became more vibrant. It was during this period of time that the New York City music scene had LCD Soundsystem, The Strokes, Interpol, The National, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Other Music helped all of these acts before they broke through to larger audiences.

Although a few people (including Josh Madell) had tears in their eyes and understandably got emotional in the final days and hours before Other Music’s last day in business, the general feeling was one of positivity over all the great experiences they had because of Other Music. There’s plenty of nostalgia and wistfulness, because the closing of Other Music represents a bygone era when most people got their music by physically going to a store and combing through racks of vinyl records, cassettes or CDs. Many of the customers interviewed in the documentary talk about how they prefer the tangible feeling of holding albums in their hands, so that they can better appreciate the artwork or lyrics that came with the packaging.

People who’ve spent countless hours of their lives at a music store know that it’s become an increasingly rare experience to physically be at a store devoted to music where you can find those hidden gems or sought-out items to add to a collection. Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly common for small, independent businesses such as Other Music to not be able to survive online competitors, technology’s effects or rising rent.

The documentary ends with the “Other Music Forever” farewell concert that took place at the Bowery Ballroom on June 28, 2016. The event, hosted by Janeane Garofalo, included performances by Yoko Ono, Sharon Van Etten, Bill Callahan, Yo La Tengo, OM, Julianna Barwick and Frankie Cosmos. People who didn’t attend the concert can see a few snippets in the movie, as well as how Other Music co-owner Madell had to practically beg a modest Vanderloo to come up on stage.

“Other Music” co-directors Puloma Basu and Rob Hatch-Miller do a fine job of telling Other Music’s story in a cohesive and entirely conventional manner. There’s some use of animation, which can be hit-or-miss in a documentary, but it works well-enough in this movie because the animation is used sparingly. And although there are some celebrities and other world travelers who no doubt got to experience Other Music firsthand, the movie might not be compelling enough to watch for the average person who’s never heard of Other Music or has never even been to New York City.

And here’s why the movie might have a challenge in finding an audience that’s larger than those who care about a music store in New York City: Unfortunately, there are any number of beloved, independently owned music stores around the world that have closed over the years. Each store had its own unique impact on its community. Other Music just happened to be in America’s largest-populated city, so it had a bigger profile than most indie record stores. The people who have the most emotional attachment to Other Music are those who had a great experience there and/or those whose careers were affected by Other Music—and that’s a very niche audience indeed.

That’s not to say that the “Other Music” documentary isn’t worth watching, and you don’t have to be a former customer or employee to enjoy the movie. But people who never went to Other Music might have a harder time relating to and engaging in the documentary’s sentimental nostalgia over the store. The “Other Music” documentary would make a great double feature with “All Things Must Pass,” director Colin Hanks’ excellent 2015 documentary about the rise and fall of Tower Records, because, at the very least, the “Other Music” documentary shows how a scrappy underdog outlasted a corporate giant.