The 10th anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival will take place next month starting April 20th.
They have started rolling out the lineup. Here are the women directed films from the World Narrative and Documentary Competition. This has got to be the most gender balanced competition I have seen since I started looking at this issue. (All descriptions from Tribeca press release)
World Narrative Competition
5 out of 12 are directed by women – that’s 42%
Angels Crest, directed by Gaby Dellal, written by Catherine Trieschmann. (UK, Canada) – World Premiere. In the working-class Rocky Mountain town of Angels Crest, young father Ethan (Thomas Dekker) is doing his best to raise his three-year-old son Nate. He has no choice—Nate’s mother (Lynn Collins) is an alcoholic. But one snowy day Ethan’s momentary lapse in judgment results in tragedy, catapulting the town’s tight-knit community into strange new directions as they try to decide where the blame lies. With Jeremy Piven, Elizabeth McGovern, Mira Sorvino, and Kate Walsh.
Artificial Paradises (Paraísos Artificiales), directed by Yulene Olaizola, written by Yulene Olaizola and Fernando del Razo. (Mexico) – North American Premiere. This beautifully rendered atmospheric story captures a young woman addicted to heroin trying to get clean at a rundown resort on the Mexican Gulf Coast. There she meets a local character and the two begin a unique rapport. First-time narrative filmmaker Yulene Olaizola subverts the conventional addict story and imbues her main characters with a complexity and honesty that inspires this delicate and resonant journey of two old souls. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Black Butterflies, directed by Paula van der Oest, written by Greg Latter. (Germany, Netherlands, South Africa) – International Premiere. Poetry, politics, madness, and desire collide in the true story of the woman hailed as South Africa’s Sylvia Plath. In 1960s Cape Town, as Apartheid steals the expressive rights of blacks and whites alike, young Ingrid Jonker (Carice van Houten, Black Book) finds her freedom scrawling verse while frittering through a series of stormy affairs. Amid escalating quarrels with her lovers and her government-censor father (Rutger Hauer), the poet witnesses an unconscionable event that will alter her life’s course. In English.
She Monkeys (Apflickorna), directed by Lisa Aschan, written by Josefine Adolfsson and Lisa Aschan. (Sweden) – North American Premiere. When 15-year-old Emma lands a competitive spot on the equestrian acrobatics team, she is taken under the wing of a pretty, slightly older teammate, Cassandra. The two begin an intense relationship where the rules of the game blur as psychological stakes get higher and higher. Lisa Aschan’s award-winning directorial debut explores the all-consuming world of teen female friendships through naturalistic direction, evocative imagery, and engrossing performances. In Swedish with English subtitles.
Turn me on, goddammit (Få meg på, for faen), directed and written by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen. (Norway) – World Premiere. Alma is a small-town teenager with an active imagination and an even more active libido. After a titillating but awkward encounter with school heartthrob Artur turns her into a social outcast, Alma is desperate to move out of town and on with her life. Turn me on, goddammit is an offbeat coming-of-age comedy with a deadpan sense of humor, enlivened by its rich sense of fantasy and frank but sweet approach to teen sexuality. In Norwegian with English subtitles.
World Documentary Competition
7 out of 12 are directed by women – that’s 58%
Bombay Beach, directed by Alma Har’el. (USA, Israel) – North American Premiere. The rusting relic of a failed 1960s development boom, the Salton Sea is a barren California landscape and symbol of the failure of the American dream. Using a stylized amalgam of cinema verité and choreographed dance, Bombay Beach revisits this poetically fruitful terrain to find a motley cast including a bipolar seven-year-old, a lovelorn football star, and an octogenarian poet-prophet— creating a moving, distinctive, and slightly surreal documentary experience.
The Carrier, directed by Maggie Betts. (USA) – World Premiere. Young mother Mutinta is a Zambian subsistence farmer in a polygamous marriage who has just learned she is HIV positive. Newly pregnant, Mutinta does everything she can to protect her unborn baby while navigating complicated family dynamics and village politics. Newcomer Maggie Betts sculpts a sensitive observational portrait of one woman’s struggle leading up to her newborn’s birth. In Tonga with English subtitles
Cinema Komunisto, directed by Mila Turajlic. (Serbia) – North American Premiere. For 32 years, Leka Konstantinovic was the personal film projectionist for Yugoslavian president and noted film enthusiast Josip Broz Tito. Comprised of interviews with Konstantinovic and other important figures in the brief but glowing history of Yugoslavian cinema, as well as archival clips from more than 60 films, Cinema Komunisto is a vibrant, fascinating celebration of a film industry—and a nation—that no longer exists. In Serbian with English subtitles.
Love During Wartime, directed and written by Gabriella Bier. (Sweden) – North American Premiere. Jasmin and Assi are newlyweds, but building a life together seems impossible: She’s an Israeli, he’s a Palestinian. When their homelands turn their backs on them, they choose to live in exile. This tender tale of a love infiltrated by politics follows a real-life Romeo and Juliet on their odyssey from the Middle East through an inhospitable Europe. As their hopes rise and then fade with each bureaucratic hurdle, will their love survive? In Hebrew, Arabic, English, German with English subtitles.
Marathon Boy, directed by Gemma Atwal. (UK, USA, India) – North American Premiere. Gemma Atwal’s fascinating and dynamic epic follows Budhia, a four-year-old boy plucked from the slums of India and trained as a marathon prodigy by Biranchi Das, a larger-than-life judo coach who runs an orphanage in the eastern state of Orissa. But over the next five years and dozens of marathons, Budhia’s roller-coaster journey turns from an uplifting story of promise and opportunity to one of greed, corruption, and broken dreams. In Oriya, English, Hindi with English subtitles.
Our School (Scoala Noastra), directed by Mona Nicoara and Miruna Coca-Cozma. (USA, Switzerland) – North American Premiere. Our School follows three Roma (commonly known as Gypsy) children in a rural Transylvanian village who are among the pioneer participants in an initiative to integrate the ethnically segregated Romanian schools. Touching on issues ranging from institutionalized prejudice, public education, and the intractability of poverty, but always firmly rooted in the hypnotic rhythms and profound reality of the Roma community, Our School is a deeply affecting, often infuriating, and ultimately bittersweet story of tradition and progress. In Romanian with English subtitles.
Semper Fi: Always Faithful, directed by Rachel Libert and Tony Hardmon. (USA) – World Premiere. Iraq war veteran Jerry Ensminger’s loyalty was always to the Marine Corps. But after his nine-year-old daughter died of a rare type of leukemia, Jerry’s relentless search for answers leads to a shocking discovery exposing of the largest water contamination sites in U.S. history. Living by the Marine creed, this drill sergeant-turned-activist puts his own pain aside and takes on the top brass in an impassioned struggle for justice on behalf of his fellow soldiers and family.