As a cinematographer, Christina Voros is quietly becoming one of the documentary industry's most dynamic forces. Recent work, perhaps most notably on James Franco's directorial efforts, are characterized by stark, beautiful imagery and showcase a talent that demands attention, and her recent directorial output, which contains one feature documentary ("kink") and four shorts deserves equal status among her work. "The Director," Voros' second feature length documentary, is an intimate portrait of Frida Giannini, Gucci's Creative Director and in its merging of portraying singular figures with personal twists, arising from her family's work in the fashion industry, is perhaps the greatest indication of her dynamism to date. [Cameron Sinz]
"Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me"
Few actors stick with the business as long as Elaine Stritch has throughout her 87-years of life, and even fewer have managed to maintain the consistent endearment that has colored the legendary actress' career. Whether from Stephen Sondheim's 1970 musical "Company," or her turn as Jack Donaghy's mother Colleen on "30 Rock," Stritch has remained one of the screen and stage's most hardworking legends. First time director Chiemi Karasawa was first introduced to Stritch through a mutual hairdresser, and after producing documentaries for seven years, eventually decided to focus her feature debut on the personal life of the still-working actress. Using interviews with Nathan Lane, Tina Fey, and many other collaboraters with the actress, Karasawa has created a picture of Stritch both entertaining and unflinching in equal measure. [Cameron Sinz]
It's about time that gay boys got their own version of "Mean Girls"? That's the reductive gist of Darren Stein's "G.B.F.," a high school comedy that puts the usual second (or third) banana role of the gay best friend front and center. Tanner (Michael J. Willett) is accidentally outed, becoming his high school's first openly gay student. The three most popular girls at school (Sasha Pieterse, Andrea Bowen and Xosha Roquemore) -- in a clear send up of the Heathers or the Plastics -- race to snatch him up as an accessory, leading to Tanner's popularity skyrocketing and various hijinks ensuing. Indiewire got a sneak peak at the film, and we're happy to say it's gone from "film we're excited to see at Tribeca" to "film you we think you should see at Tribeca." [Peter Knegt]
"Gasland Part II"
Josh Fox's 2010 fracking documentary "Gasland," made no small impact upon its release. After premiering to raves at Sundance and receiving multiple Emmy nominations, a WGA nomination for screenplay, and an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature. Know Fox is returning three years later with the sequel, aiming to further examine the long-term environment impact of fracking while travelling throughout the country to see its effects firsthand. "Gasland," did a great job of opening the national discussion on the issue, and "Part II" looks to be an even deeper investigation into the worldwide natural gas process, hopefully taking the opportunity to address some of the original's more negative criticisms along the way. [Cameron Sinz]
New York filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie are known for their irreverent urban narratives "The Pleasure of Being Robbed" and "Daddy Longlegs," both of which contain a naturalistic quality that suggests they could work wonders with non-fiction. With "Lenny Cooke," they've done just that: Partly a found footage documentary about former high school basketball star Lenny Cooke, who in 2001 ranked higher than fellow upstart player LeBron James, the movie follows Cooke from his promising teen years to the series of disappointments that follow, constructing a beguiling American tragedy that defies genre categorization and eventually veers into magic realism even as it remains tethered to its true story. The Safdies have stood out over the last few years for continually challenging audience expectations, and that's certainly true here: You've never seen a sports movie like this before. [Eric Kohn]