By Brian Brooks | Indiewire April 21, 2011 at 4:24AM
With the start of the Tribeca Film Festival, indieWIRE is again spotlighting emerging (and some veteran) filmmakers screening new work at this year's event. iW will wrap its preview of this year's filmmakers with over two dozen interviews.
Thursday's new director interviews include profiles from Kivu Ruhorahoza's "Grey Matter" (World Narrative Competition), Steven Schardt and Sean Nelson's "Treatment" (Viewpoints) and Lee Hirsch's "The Bully Project" (World Documentary Competition).
iW is focusing on directors with work in TFF's Narrative Feature Competition, World Documentary Competition and its new Viewpoints sidebar, which the festival describes as a "snapshot of international independent cinema that immerses audiences in distinctive perspectives."
A snapshot of Thursday's three featured interviews:
"Grey Matter" by Kivu Ruhorahoza is centered on Balthazar is a young African filmmaker on the brink of directing his first project, "The Cycle of the Cockroach," a fictional story about a young woman who survived unspeakable atrocities only to find herself committed to the same mental institution as a man driven insane by the crimes he perpetrated during the war. Potential funders for the film insist the themes are too bleak and pessimistic—they encourage Balthazar to make a "message" film that raises awareness about gender-based violence or HIV/AIDS instead. But he refuses to give up. Instead of telling his production team the news, Balthazar continues preparations for the film without financing or equipment. After rehearsing a scene with each of the characters, reality blurs and scenes from the script materialize... " I wanted to show on screen that loss of sanity that so many of us in Rwanda have experienced," Ruhorahoza told iW.
Lee Hirsch's "The Bully Project" focuses on the disquieting day-to-day lives of five kids and their families over the course of a school year. Two families are left devastated by their sons' suicide, while one mother faces her 14-year-old daughter's incarceration after she threatens her bullies with a gun. Rare access to the Sioux City Community School District captures up close and disturbing "on the ground" footage of bullying in classrooms, playgrounds, cafeterias, and school buses. "'The Bully Project' is a deeply personal film for me, having been bullied as a kid, so this question is a loaded one," said Hirsch. "It's a film I’ve wanted to make for years, arguably since middle school."
Steven Schardt and Sean Nelson's "Treatment" is the story of two writers. Both confront a mid-30s reality check and a pile of unsuccessful screenplays. Leonard convinces Nelson to back his stint at a glitzy LA rehab clinic so he can pitch their new movie deal to mega-star Gregg D. As the half-baked plan twists and turns, and Leonard's ambition and selfishness spin out of control, the writing duo's friendship cries for an overdue dose of reality. Noted Nelson, "[The film] grew into a very personal story dressed in the sheep’s clothing of a backstage Hollywood farce."
Here is the Tribeca Film Festival's 2011 lineup.
Thursday's full-length Tribeca Film Fesstival filmmaker interviews (4/21):
Tuesday's Tribeca Film Festival filmmaker interviews (4/19):
Monday's Tribeca Film Festival filmmaker interviews (4/18):
Friday's Tribeca Film Festival filmmaker interviews (4/15):
Thursday's Tribeca Film Festival filmmaker interviews (4/14):
Wednesday's Tribeca Film Festival filmmaker interviews (4/13):
Tuesday's Tribeca Film Festival filmmaker interviews (4/12):
Monday's Tribeca Film Festival filmmaker interviews (4/11):
Friday's Tribeca Film Festival filmmaker interviews (4/8):
Thursday's Tribeca Film Festival filmmaker interviews (4/7):
Wednesday's Tribeca Film Festival filmmaker interviews (4/6):
Tuesday's Tribeca Film Festival filmmaker interviews (4/5):