The films for the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival started rolling out yesterday. Here are the women directed films in competition in both the narrative and documentary sections as well as the out of competition viewpoints section. (Descriptions from the press release) The festival runs in NYC from April 18-29.
World Narrative Feature Competition – (2 women directed films out of 12) – 17% – not an impressive number
Una Noche, directed and written by Lucy Mulloy. (UK, Cuba, USA) – North American Premiere. Fed up with catering to the privileged tourist class, Cuban teens Raul and Elio are tantalized by the promise of a new life in Miami. Accused of assaulting a foreigner, Raul has no choice but to flee, but Elio must decide whether his own escape is worth abandoning his beloved sister. Brimming with the nervous energy of Havana’s restless youth and evocative cinematography of the sun-bleached capital, Una Noche follows one sweltering day, full of hope and fraught with tensions, that burns to a shocking climax. In Spanish with subtitles.
While We Were Here, directed and written by Kat Coiro. (USA) – World Premiere. Jane (Kate Bosworth) and her English husband travel to Naples hoping to reinvigorate their silently disintegrating marriage and escape a personal tragedy that hangs heavily between them. When Jane, facing writer’s block, takes a day trip to a beautiful island off the coast, she meets a young American man living a hermetic life on the island. As the two embark on an unlikely emotional affair, Jane faces some drastic changes in her life.
World Documentary Feature Competition (3 women directed films out of 12)
Downeast, directed by David Redmon and Ashley Sabin. (USA) – World Premiere. Gouldsboro, Maine. Hit hard by the closure of the sardine canning factory, its laid-off residents—mostly 70-year-olds—just want to get back to work. So why is Italian immigrant Antonio Bussone having so much trouble getting federal funds to open a new lobster processing plant? Charged with the spirit of a generation that still gives it 110 percent, this poignant and poetic documentary sheds new light on the trying task of putting America back to work.
The List, directed by Beth Murphy. (USA) – World Premiere. After leading rebuilding teams in war-torn cities in Iraq, Kirk Johnson returned to America to establish and advocate for a growing number of Iraqi citizens now targeted by radical militias because they aided the U.S. in the reconstruction effort. TFF alum Beth Murphy (Beyond Belief) creates an affecting portrait of an unlikely but passionate humanitarian who has championed the cause of Iraqi refugees largely ignored by the U.S. government. In English, Arabic with subtitles.
The World Before Her, directed by Nisha Pahuja. (Canada) – World Premiere. Weaving together the seemingly opposing stories of the Miss India beauty pageant and a fundamentalist Hindu camp for girls, director Nisha Pahuja illuminates the situation of women across contemporary India, drawing surprising parallels in the way women are perceived and the opportunities that are afforded them in both modernizing and traditional cultures. The World Before Her is a riveting, thoughtful profile of the fundamental contradictions of a country in transition. In English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati with subtitles.
Viewpoints (5 women directed films out of 14)
Burn, directed by Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Detroit is burning. Meet the men and women charged with saving the once-roaring American city that many have written off as dead. With vast stretches of forsaken buildings left as kindling, they face one of the worst arson rates in the world. From executive producer Denis Leary, Burn drives us straight into the heart-pounding fire and introduces us to the characters and controversies that make up the most overworked and underequipped firehouse in the country.
El Gusto, directed and written by Safinez Bousbia. (Algeria, Ireland, UAE) – North American Premiere, Documentary. A rhythmic cocktail of European and Arabic traditions, chaabi music was the heart and soul of cosmopolitan Algiers in the 1940s, but the war of independence with France tore apart the peaceful Muslim and Jewish communities that came together to play this unique music. A group of over-the-hill but still fiery musicians reunites after five decades apart in this spirited, gorgeously shot documentary about music’s power to transcend cultural boundaries. In French, Arabic with subtitles.
Sexy Baby, directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. In the age of runaway social media and “sexting,” raunchy rap songs on pop radio and hardcore pornography at the click of a mouse—what’s it like to be a woman? A girl? A teenage boy? A parent? Following a middle-aged former porn star, a young woman undergoing a controversial surgery, and a 12-year-old girl who’s growing up faster than her parents can handle, Sexy Baby is a startling look at America’s increasingly sex-saturated culture.
Stones in the Sun (Woch nan Soley), directed and written by P. Benoit. (USA, Haiti) – World Premiere, Narrative. In the 1980s, in the midst of increasing political violence, a young couple, two sisters, and a father and son are driven from Haiti to New York, where they must confront the truths of their interlocked pasts. In her impassioned, penetrating feature film debut, Haitian director P. Benoit steers clear of clichés about immigrants and refugees, authentically tapping into the reality of the unique Haitian-American experience. In English, Haitian Creole with subtitles.
Turn Off the Lights, directed by Ivana Mladenovic, written by Ivana Mladenovic and Bianca Oana. (Romania) – World Premiere, Documentary. After years behind bars, three young men begin to rediscover lives of aggression and excess in their raucous Roma community. Among them is Alex, a captivating figure with a disturbingly blasé attitude toward violence, women, and guilt. In this absorbing documentary, offering a rare peek into contemporary Roma culture, Alex and his fellow ex-cons reconcile the outside world with the gray-shaded areas of morality with which they all struggle. In Romanian with subtitles.