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by Paula Bernstein
April 10, 2014 4:00 PM
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Tribeca Film Festival Expands Online Programming, Announces Free Streaming Titles

The Tribeca Film Festival has expanded its online programming, adding Tribeca N.O.W., a newly designed program that recognizes creators of new online work (N.O.W.) as part of the fifth annual Tribeca Online Festival (TOF).

In addition, Tribeca has announced eight festival titles which will be available to stream for free. The titles include features "Ice Poison" (Bing Du), "Ne Me Quitte Pas," "True Son" and "Vara: A Blessing," which will be streamed following their Festival theatrical premieres. Additional titles include the short films "Love in the Time of March Madness," "Parachute," "Peepers" and "Scratch." The short films will be accessible on tribecafilm.com/online. In addition, through the same site, audiences can vote on the best online feature and short, with the winners receiving a total of $15,000 in prize money. Winners will be announced at the Tribeca Film Festival Awards on April 24.

Tribeca Film will also release 2014 TFF selections "Beneath the Harvest Sky," "The Bachelor Weekend" and "Bright Days Ahead" nationwide via on demand during the Festival window. The titles will be available in more than 50 million homes in the U.S. through all major cable video-on-demand providers, as well as iTunes, Amazon Watch Instantly, VUDU, Xbox, Google Play and YouTube.

Khyentse Norbu's 'Vara: A Blessing'

During TOF, Tribeca N.O.W. will showcase the innovative talent of 12 creators chosen by the TFF programming team from nearly 100 candidates nominated for their innovative storytelling and robust creative vision by an advisory board of creative professionals. The program optimizes Tribeca's mission to find the newest, most original forms of storytelling and sharing it with the widest possible audience. The projects include unique music videos, short documentaries, and imaginative webseries. Each nominee and their work will be featured on the Tribeca website and granted access to 2014 TFF events.

"The growth of digital, social and mobile platforms has made it possible for us to deliver new artistic talent to audiences on more than just one screen," said Genna Terranova, Director of Programming. "While online storytelling is in abundance, curation is not yet as evolved or readily available as the independent film world. Tribeca N.O.W. is a platform to draw attention to these artists and support them as they continue their careers, whether that be in the online sphere or beyond."

Tribeca Film Festival’s #6SECFILMS competition returns for its second year. The online juried competition uses the six-second, micro-movie making app Vine to create shorts in the categories of genre, comedy, drama and animation. This year, in addition to the jury awards, online audiences can view the very short film entries on www.tribecafilm.com/6secfilms and vote for their favorite, through April 12, to receive the #6SecFilms Audience Award. Winners will be announced on April 15.

Details on the feature films streamed on the Tribeca Online Festival follow (descriptions courtesy of Tribeca):

Ice Poison (Bing Du), directed and written by Midi Z. (Myanmar, Taiwan R.O.C.)  -- North American Premiere, Narrative. Faced with diminishing returns on his harvest, a poor young farmer in Myanmar pawns his cow for a moped and seeks alternative income as a taxi driver. Among his first fares is a woman making a new start after escaping an arranged marriage in China. Together, they are lured into the lucrative business of selling “ice poison” (crystal meth) around town. With an unobtrusive documentary style, Burmese-Taiwanese director Midi Z captures the struggles faced by many in an unseen part of the world. In Burmese and Chinese Yunnan with subtitles.

Ne Me Quitte Pas, directed and written by Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Koevorden. (Netherlands, Belgium) -- International Premiere. Left by his wife for another man, Marcel falls into alcoholism and a deep depression, with only his friend Bob, also an alcoholic, to look after him. The friendship between the two men captures the frailty of the male ego and the natural comedy borne from their candid conversations. Ne Me Quitte Pas follows this downward spiral of mid-life crisis in a tender, often humorous, sometimes disturbing, examination of the ‘crisis of masculinity,’ alongside a mesmerizing exploration of mundane rural existence. In Flemish and French with subtitles.

True Son, directed by Kevin Gordon. (USA) -- World Premiere, Documentary. Stockton, California is considered one of the worst cities in the United States, riddled with financial crisis and crime rates rivaling Afghanistan. But where everyone else saw hopelessness, 22-year-old Michael Tubbs saw possibility. In 2012, Tubbs decided to run for City Council to reinvent his hometown, building his campaign from the ground up. In Kevin Gordon’s passionate and inspirational documentary he sets out to beat a politician twice his age and bring his community back from bankruptcy.

Vara: A Blessing, directed and written by Khyentse Norbu. (Bhutan) -- North American Premiere, Narrative. Raised in a sheltered village, young Lila yearns for a life devoted to Hindu worship, like that of her devadasi mother, but she begins to encounter worldly obstacles to her spiritual fulfillment. Guileless, Lila agrees to model for a lowly village boy who hopes to become a sculptor, unknowingly endangering both of their lives under the ever-present gaze of the villagers, especially the village landlord’s son.

The full list of short films streamed on the Tribeca Online Festival is as follows:

Love in the Time of March Madness, directed by Melissa Johnson and Robertino Zambrano, written by Melissa Johnson. (USA) -- World Premiere.

Parachute, directed by Peter Stebbings, written by Peter Mooney. (Canada) -- World Premiere.

Peepers, directed by Ken Lam, written by Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper. (USA) -- New York Premiere.

Scratch, directed and written by Philip Kelly, co-written by Liam Ryan. (Ireland) -- New York Premiere.

TRIBECA FILM ON-DEMAND

Beneath the Harvest Sky, directed and written by Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly. (USA) -- U.S. Premiere, Narrative. Bored and restless, best friends Dominic and Casper are making plans to escape their small town in Northern Maine to start new lives in Boston. In order to earn the money, Dominic spends the summer harvesting potatoes, while Casper becomes involved in the family business -- smuggling drugs over the Canadian border. The divergent paths of the two boys, both trapped in their circumstances in different ways, will change their friendship forever. Brought to life by two stellar lead performances, Beneath the Harvest Sky is an authentic portrayal of adolescent frustration, culminating in a heartbreaking coming-of-age drama. A Tribeca Film release.

The Bachelor Weekend, directed and written by John Butler. (Ireland) -- U.S. Premiere, Narrative. Pressured by his best man to spend a bachelor’s weekend camping, foppish groom-to-be, Fionan, reluctantly agrees. But when his fiancée’s alpha-male brother, nicknamed ‘The Machine,’ unexpectedly turns up, the camping trip takes a turn for the worst. Fionan and his genteel friends are no match for the uncouth bully, and the trip begins to look like it will become Fionan’s worst nightmare. A slapstick, good-natured comedy, Bachelor Weekend hilariously delves into the stereotypical realm of masculinity that is camping and the great outdoors. A Tribeca Film release.

Bright Days Ahead (Les beaux jours), directed by Marion Vernoux, written by Fanny Chesnel. (France) -- U.S. Premiere, Narrative. In this sophisticated and sexy drama, a newly retired woman in her 60s (French cinema icon Fanny Ardant, "8 Women," "Confidentially Yours") finds herself tumbling into an affair with a much younger man (Laurent Lafitte, Little White Lies), her computer teacher at the local seniors’ club. As she finds herself courting danger -- taking her young lover to places they could easily be discovered by her husband (Patrick Chesnais, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly") -- she must decide if her retirement will mark the end for her marriage, or a new beginning. In French with English Subtitles. A Tribeca Film Release.

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