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Lee, Levinson To Screen Latest During Tribeca's Talks Series

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire March 30, 2009 at 2:54AM

The 2009 Tribeca Film Festival has announced the line-up for its two discussion programs - the Tribeca Talks Series and "Behind the Screens: Films and Conversations about Truth, Clarity and Responsibility" - which will include the world premiere of Barry Levinson's "Poliwood," and a special screening of Spike Lee's "Passing Strange."
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The 2009 Tribeca Film Festival has announced the line-up for its two discussion programs - the Tribeca Talks Series and "Behind the Screens: Films and Conversations about Truth, Clarity and Responsibility" - which will include the world premiere of Barry Levinson's "Poliwood," and a special screening of Spike Lee's "Passing Strange."

The Tribeca Talks Series includes “Tribeca Talks Panels,” “Tribeca Talks: After the Movie,” “Tribeca Talks Special Events,” “Tribeca Talks: Industry” and “Tribeca Talks: Pen to Paper hosted by Barnes & Noble.” Open to the public and featuring in-depth discussions and audience Q&A with directors and film participants following select screenings of Festival films, "Tribeca Talks: After the Movie" and "Behind the Screens" will provide audiences "with a unique opportunity to engage in dialogue with filmmakers and industry leaders on a variety of fascinating and provocative subjects." The 2009 Tribeca Film Festival will take place from April 22 to May 3, 2009.

"The Tribeca Talks panel series has always been one of the Festival's most compelling programs, examining issues and trends in society and the entertainment industry with some of the biggest names in film, art and media," said Nancy Schafer, Executive Director of the Tribeca Film Festival, in a statement. "This year we are proud to provide increased opportunities for audiences to continue their exploration of films and topics after screenings with thought-provoking conversations featuring filmmakers, actors and thought leaders, as well as increase the number of free events open to the public with the new Barnes & Noble panel discussions."

"Tribeca Talks Special Events" will include:

The world premiere of "Poliwood," a film that explores the collision and collusion between politics and Hollywood, followed by a conversation with legendary director Barry Levinson and actors Josh Lucas, Rachael Leigh Cook, Tim Daly, Lynn Whitfield, Tony Goldwyn, Robert Davi and Matthew Modine, moderated by Lawrence O'Donnell, NBC News political analyst and writer.

"Passing Strange," Spike Lee's filmed record of the 2008 Tony Award-winning Broadway rock musical, will make its debut in New York for a one-time screening and subsequent panel discussion with Spike Lee, award-winning show creator and star Stew and co-composer Heidi Rodewald (Lee's "Kobe Doin' Work" will also premiere at the fest).

"Tribeca Talks: After the Movie" will include:

"Outrage," a documentary by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick that takes "a bold look at the hidden lives of closeted politicians and the media's complicity in keeping their secrets," will be followed by a conversation with the director, former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey and Sirius Radio host Michelangelo Signoreli, moderated by author and activist Rodger McFarlane.

"Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi," a documentary about the kidnapping of an Italian journalist and his Afghan "fixer"--someone hired by foreign journalists to facilitate, translate and gain access for their stories--will be followed by a discussion with The Nation reporter Christian Parenti, former Afghan fixer Naqeeb Sherzad, director Ian Olds, and New Yorker staff writer and author of "The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq" George Packer after the screening.

"American Casino," investigative journalist Leslie Cockburn's feature debut that contrasts high-level players in the subprime mortgage gamble with the working-class Americans who were the unwitting chips on the table, will be followed by a conversation with director Leslie Cockburn, producer Andrew Cockburn, NYU Stern School of Business Economics Professor and Chairman of RGE Monitor Nouriel Roubini and Bloomberg News' Mark Pittman about the relationship between Wall Street and Main Street.

"The Girlfriend Experience," featuring Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh and the film's stars Sasha Grey and Chris Santos in a discussion following the screening of his film, a narrative that follows five days in the life of a $2,000-an-hour Manhattan call girl.

"Making the Boys," a screening of the documentary, about the groundbreaking play that debuted one year before Stonewall, will be followed by a conversation with director Crayton Robey, playwright/screenwriter Mart Crowley, Village Voice columnist Michael Musto and other special guests, moderated by Tony Award winning producer and filmmaker Dori Berinstein.

"Inherit the Wind," presented by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation: a screening of the 1960 classic about the case against a science teacher teaching evolution will be followed by a conversation between Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Beak of the Finch" Jonathan Weiner, Jon Amiel, director of the Charles Darwin biopic Creation and Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education Dr. Eugenie Scott about how a scientific explanation of the world, backed by evidence, can bring with it both public and private controversy.

For a full list of panels, including their schedule, check out the next pages.

The full line-up for the Tribeca Film Festival's two discussion programs - the Tribeca Talks Panel Series and "Behind the Screens" - is as follows (with descriptions provided by the festival):

"Tribeca Talks Special Events" Poliwood World Premiere In this fascinating documentary, legendary Academy Award(R)-winning director Barry Levinson sets out to explore the collision and collusion between politics and Hollywood. The film gives the viewer a front-row seat and backroom access to the most significant presidential campaign of the 21st century. Featuring interviews with high-profile celebrities and powerful political figures, Poliwood gives insider access to the influence Hollywood has over today's political process as we discover the thin line between politician and actor, news and entertainment, policy and tabloid. Trailing a number of politically active actors, writers, directors, and musicians, this documentary is sure to spark debate about the role media and celebrities should have in modern day politics.

Following the screening, Emmy Award(R)-winning writer/producer and MSNBC political analyst Lawrence O'Donnell will lead a discussion about this convergence of politics and Hollywood with director Barry Levinson and actors Josh Lucas, Rachael Leigh Cook, Tim Daly, Lynn Whitfield, Tony Goldwyn, Robert Davi and Matthew Modine, who appear in the film.

DATE: Friday, May 1 TIME: 6 PM LOCATION: BMCC Tribeca PAC

Passing Strange New York Premiere After a sold-out run at The Public Theater, a Broadway transfer, and multiple nominations and awards (including a Tony), the spectacular Passing Strange played its final super-energized performance in 2008. But before that final curtain, Spike Lee captured the show on film, amazingly retaining and transmitting the power and intensity of co-creator/star Stew and crew's performances so that nobody has to miss one of the greatest theatrical productions in recent memory.

Following the screening, join Spike Lee, Stew, and co-creator Heidi Rodewald for a conversation about the stage show and the difficulties of trying to recreate that theatrical experience for the big screen.

DATE: Saturday, May 2 TIME: 7 PM LOCATION: Directors Guild Theater

"Tribeca Talks: After the Movie" Inherit the Wind Sponsored by Alfred P Sloan Foundation The Tribeca Film Festival pays tribute to the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth with a retrospective screening of Stanley Kramer's Inherit the Wind. Nearly a half century ago, Kramer and his all-star cast (including Spencer Tracy, Fredric March and Gene Kelly) brought this fictionalized version of the infamous 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial to the big screen. The trial was triggered by a public outcry surrounding the teaching of evolution in schools in the 1920s. The anti-evolution movement persists to this day and continues to try to undermine the teaching of evolution in public schools across the country.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with special guests from the realms of film and science, including Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jonathan Weiner, Jon Amiel, director of the Charles Darwin biopic Creation and Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education Dr. Eugenie Scott, who will take a closer look at how a scientific explanation of the world, backed by evidence, can bring with it both public and private controversy.

DATE: Saturday, April 25 TIME: 1 PM LOCATION: SVA Theater 2

Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi In 2007, the Taliban kidnapped 24-year-old Ajmal Naqshbandi and an Italian journalist. Naqshbandi was one of Afghanistan's best "fixers"-someone hired by foreign journalists to facilitate, translate, and gain access for their stories. This gripping, tragic story is a behind-the-scenes look into the dangerous and unseen world that happens before we get the news.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring director Ian Olds, The Nation reporter Christian Parenti, former Afghan fixer Naqeeb Sherzad and New Yorker staff writer and author of "The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq" George Packer.

DATE: Sunday, April 26 TIME: 1 PM LOCATION: SVA Theater 2

Making the Boys The Festival presents a special work-in-progress version of Making the Boys, directed by Crayton Robey. This documentary, about the groundbreaking play that debuted one year before Stonewall, features the many people involved with the original stage play and subsequent film, including Crowley and Dominick Dunne, as well as Edward Albee, Robert Wagner, and Paul Rudnick. After the screening there will be a discussion moderated by Tony Award-winning producer and film documentarian Dori Berinstein, with director Crayton Robey, playwright/screenwriter Mart Crowley, Village Voice columnist Michael Musto and other special guests.

DATE: Monday, April 27 TIME: 8 PM LOCATION: SVA Theater 2

The Girlfriend Experience Director Steven Soderbergh follows five days in the life of a $2,000-an-hour Manhattan call girl (adult film star Sasha Grey) who thinks she has her life totally under control. She even has a devoted boyfriend who accepts her lifestyle. But when you're in the business of meeting people, you never know who you're going to meet.

Director Steven Soderbergh and stars Sasha Grey and Chris Santos will participate in a discussion following the film.

DATE: Wednesday, April 29 TIME: 8 PM LOCATION: SVA Theater 2


American Casino Politicians and the media like to talk about the relationship between Wall Street and Main Street, but investigative journalist Leslie Cockburn's debut feature gets to the guts of the matter, visiting defectors from Bear Stearns and Standard & Poor's and other high-level players in the subprime mortgage gamble and, on the flipside, visiting the working-class Americans who were the unwitting chips on the table.

Following the screening, director Leslie Cockburn, producer Andrew Cockburn, NYU Stern School of Business Economics Professor and Chairman of RGE Monitor Nouriel Roubini and Bloomberg News correspondent Mark Pittman will discuss the relationship between Wall Street and Main Street.

DATE: Saturday, May 2 TIME: 2 PM LOCATION: Directors Guild Theater

Outrage Academy Award(R)-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick (This Film Is Not Yet Rated) delivers a searing indictment of the hypocrisy of closeted politicians who actively campaign against the LGBT community to which they covertly belong. Outrage boldly reveals the hidden lives of some of our nation's most powerful policymakers, details the harm they've inflicted on millions of Americans, and examines the media's complicity in keeping their secrets.

Expanding on the issues raised in Outrage, director Kirby Dick, author and Sirius Radio talk show host Michelangelo Signorile and former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey will discuss political hypocrisy, public versus private lives, gay rights, homophobia in the media, and the controversy surrounding outing in a conversation led by author and activist Rodger McFarlane.

DATE: Friday, May 1 TIME: 8 PM LOCATION: Directors Guild Theater

"Tribeca Talks Panels" The Big Time to the Big Screen: 30 Years of Sports Filmmaking Sponsored by ESPN Whether played out on the field, in the ring, or on the court, every great sports drama is ultimately a human tale--of conflict, determination, passion, triumph, and loss. In honor of ESPN's 30th anniversary, ESPN Films launches "30 for 30," an unprecedented documentary film series featuring 30 of today's finest directors bringing to life 30 of the most remarkable sports stories from 1979 to 2009--the ESPN era. These films represent an extraordinary and diverse mosaic of the impact of sports on America and world culture.

Chris Connelly will lead a discussion with four of the thirty accomplished and up and coming filmmakers contributing to this series: Dan Klores, Barbara Kopple, Barry Levinson and Albert Maysles.

DATE: Friday, April 24 TIME: 5 PM LOCATION: SVA Theater 2

The Future of Independents Great art often comes out of great struggle. With the film industry suffering the same upheaval as many other great American industries, where does the future of independent filmmaking lie? Please join members of the DGA's Independent Directors Committee in a discussion of how an independent film gets made in today's rapidly shrinking global economy. Directors Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, TFF '07), Rose Troche (The L Word, Go Fish), Raymond De Felitta (City Island, TFF '09), Gary Winick (Bride Wars, Tadpole) will discuss some of the challenges ahead for independent directors with David Carr of The New York Times.

DATE: Friday, May 1 TIME: 5 PM LOCATION: Directors Guild Theater

"Behind the Screens: Films and Conversations about Truth, Clarity and Responsibility" The Burning Season TFF award winner Cathy Henkel (The Man Who Stole My Mother's Face, TFF '04) returns with this powerful portrait of three lives affected by deliberately lit fires raging across Indonesia. Destroying pristine rainforest, endangering wildlife, and contributing to climate change, these fires only benefit the lucrative palm oil industry. Following a carbon-trading entrepreneur, an orangutan rescuer, and a palm oil farmer, this doc inspirationally shows those caught at the intersection of big business and conservation. Hugh Jackman narrates.

Following the screening, Henkel and film subject Dorjee Sun, CEO of Carbon Conservation, along with The New York Times Environmental Correspondent Elisabeth Rosenthal will participate in a panel discussion about the multitude of issues raised in the film.

DATE: Monday, April 27 TIME: 7 PM LOCATION: SVA Theater 1

Transcendent Man Some hail him as a modern-day Nostradamus, others dismiss him as a crackpot. Futurist and famed inventor Ray Kurzweil is the preeminent theorist on the pending fusion of humans and super-intelligent machines as the next phase of evolution, a "singularity" he predicts will occur within thirty years. This fascinating (and at times terrifying) doc explores the personal ideals behind his controversial ideas.

Robert Krulwich (NPR Science Desk Correspondent, co-host of WNYC's Radiolab, and science correspondent for ABC News) will lead a discussion with Ray Kurzweil and director Barry Ptolemy following the screening.

DATE: Tuesday, April 28 TIME: 7 PM LOCATION: SVA Theater 1

Burning Down the House: The Rise and Fall of CBGB Fueled by vintage performances by the likes of Patti Smith, Talking Heads, Television, Bad Brains, and The Ramones, this doc charts the history and far-reaching influence of iconic downtown club CBGB and its fight for survival against the Bowery homeless shelter that sought to shut it down. Sonic Youth, Debbie Harry, Ice-T, Fab 5 Freddy, and others share their passion for the anything-goes spirit of the club and its founder, Hilly Kristal.

Following the screening, 101.9 RXP DJ Matt Pinfield will lead a discussion featuring director Mandy Stein, music producer and original member of The Ramones Tommy Ramone, music producer and Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz, co-founder of Punk Magazine and former Spin Magazine senior editor Legs McNeil and musician Jesse Malin, co-owner of the late Coney Island High as well as the year-old Bowery Electric, to further discuss the legacy of the famous (and infamous) rock spot.

DATE: Thursday, April 30 TIME: 7 PM LOCATION: SVA Theater 1

"Tribeca Talks: Industry" Tools of the Trade: Alternative Distribution, Marketing 2.0, and Beyond Every filmmaker is looking for an audience. With the emergence of innovative and widely successful strategies such as marketing on Facebook or digitally distributing on YouTube, the old studio-driven business model of film distribution and marketing has been turned on its head. There are now multiple ways that filmmakers can control what happens to their film once they've made it, so how do they come up with the best formula for success? Does one size fit all? This panel will explore a number of key marketing and distribution strategies available to both short and feature filmmakers. Panelists include Sara Pollack, Entertainment Marketing Manager, YouTube; filmmaker Jon Reiss; and Cynthia Swartz, Partner, 42 West. Moderated by The Hollywood Reporter's Steven Zeitchik.

DATE: Tuesday, April 28 TIME: 2 PM LOCATION: SVA Theater 2

(Untitled): A Case Study for Digital Workflow With today's quickly evolving technology, choosing the best resources and workflow for your project can be a challenge. Decisions made months prior to principal photography will impact the post-production process, back-end costs, and ultimately, the success of your production. In this case study, Panavision and Merge Creative Media will review the workflow employed on the feature film (Untitled), directed by Jonathan Parker and starring Adam Goldberg and Marley Shelton. Panelists will explain the process from acquisition on the Panavision Genesis(R) camera system all the way through the end of the post process.

Panelists include Svetlana Cvetko, (Untitled)'s director of photography; Gavin Rosenberg and Jeremy Evans from Merge Creative; and Chris Konash and John Fishburn from Panavision.

DATE: Wednesday, April 29 TIME: 2 PM LOCATION: SVA Theater 2

Film: A Matter of Choice Most directors and cinematographers who shoot on film will tell you that nothing is more satisfying than the sound of the stock running through the camera gate or the sight of light pushed through film at 24 frames per second. But really, it is all about the image and how that image will live on celluloid. Whether they're using 35mm or Super 16mm, filmmakers have a certain aesthetic in mind when they choose to shoot on film.

Join a discussion with Damien Chazelle (Guy and Madeline On a Park Bench) and Julio DePietro (The Good Guy) and other 2009 Festival filmmakers who have made this choice. Moderated by Screen International.

DATE: Thursday, April 30 TIME: 2 PM LOCATION: SVA Theater 2


"Tribeca Talks: Pen to Paper" Hosted by Barnes and Noble

As Good as the Book? As Good as the Book?, moderated by Dana Stevens, Slate Magazine film critic, and featuring a panel including Julian Kemp (My Last Five Girlfriends) and Dave Callaham (Tell Tale), will explore the challenges facing a writer when translating a literary vision into the blueprint for a cinematic one can be daunting. Is it ever possible to create a movie that the audience will think is better than the book?

DATE: Saturday, April 25 TIME: 12 PM LOCATION: Barnes & Noble Union Square

Directors as Writers The relationship between what is on the page and what is on the screen is the key to the success of any film. Critic and Flavorpill Film Editor Lisa Rosman will explore the challenges faced when you are the keeper of both flames, with writer/directors Raymond De Felitta (City Island), Gloria LaMorte and Paola Mendoza (Entre Nos) and Jac Schaeffer (TiMER).

DATE: Sunday, April 26 TIME: 12 PM LOCATION: Barnes & Noble Union Square

Writing Big and Small: A Conversation with Brian Koppelman and David Levien Writing with a big budget is often perceived as different than writing with a small one. Does money affect the imagination of the writer? Join former Premiere film critic and current Some Came Running blogger Glenn Kenny as he discusses the intersection of production budgets and the creative process with Brian Koppelman and David Levien (The Girlfriend Experience, Ocean's Thirteen).

DATE: Monday, April 27 TIME: 3 PM LOCATION: Barnes & Noble Union Square

Check out indieWIRE's New Guide to Film Festivals (listings will be updated throughout the year):
JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC

This article is related to: New York, Features, Interviews







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