In a shift from recent editions in which the Tribeca Film Festival expanded its lineup from year to year, TFF is tightening its roster for its sixth annual edition. Set for April 25 – May 6, 2007 in New York City, this year’s festival will present a total of 159 features and 85 shorts, a drop from the 174 features and 100 shorts that were shown in 2006 (176 features were screened in 2005 and 151 in 2004). The shift comes in part from planners’ decision to cut the two NY, NY feature competition sections. Films that previously comprised those sections will be incorporated into other areas of the festival, according to organizers. The slimmed down competition of 34 films (18 narrative and 16 documentary films) will screen in two competition lineups that were announced on Monday along with the list of 22 films screening in the festival’s Spotlight section. Additional lineups, including the roster for the new Encounters section, are expected to be announced in the coming days.
“The festival, while young, continues to attract films expressing compelling views from filmmakers from around the globe and around the corner,” said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, in a statement. Meanwhile, Peter Scarlet, Executive Director of the festival, added in a statement. “Our festival, and especially its narrative competition, continues to present outstanding new work by some of the top names on the international scene as well as by striking new voices.”
TFF’s 244 film lineup was chosen from a whopping 4,550 film submissions, according to Monday’s announcement; 2,250 of those were features. The festival also said that it will present 75 World Premieres, as well as four International, 32 North American, and 18 U.S. debuts at this year’s event.
The complete Tribeca Competition and Spotlight lineups are available below (information provided by the Tribeca Film Festival):
World Narrative Feature Competition
“Born and Bred” (Nacido y Criado), directed by Pablo Trapero, written by Pablo Trapero and Mario Rulloni. (Argentina) – U.S. Premiere.
When his life is shattered by a terrifying accident, a successful interior designer winds up in the desolate extremes of Patagonia, trying to find himself among other lost, disaffected men. Pablo Trapero’s haunting film demonstrates why he is at the cutting edge of Argentina’s most exciting cinema.
“Gardener of Eden,” directed by Kevin Connolly, written by Adam Tex Davis. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
In this dark comedy, Adam Harris’ (Lukas Haas) aimless life consists of working at a deli, living with his parents, hanging with his friends and…well, that’s about it. Stuck in a rut, he loses it all, but soon finds new purpose when he accidentally captures a serial rapist. With Giovanni Ribisi and Ericka Christensen. Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.
“Half Moon,” directed and written by Bahman Ghobadi, (Iran, Iraq, Austria, France) – U.S. Premiere
Graying but determined, Mamo is a famed Kurdish musician who obtains permission to cross the Iranian border to give his first concert in Iraqi Kurdistan. But the journey poses endless challenges, especially when he tries to bring a female singer from Iran, where performances by women have been silenced since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. In Kurdish and Farsi. Winner of the Golden Shell, 2006 San Sebastian Film Festival. A Strand Release.
“Lady Chatterley,” directed by Pascale Ferran, written by Pascale Ferran and Roger Bohbot. (France, Belgium) – North American Premiere
Winner of 5 major prizes, including Best Film and Best Actress, at the 2007 Cesar Awards, France’s equivalent of the Oscars this frankly sensual yet never vulgar film is based on the second of three versions of D.H. Lawrence’s tale about an earthy passion that is both innocent and subversive. A Kino International Release.
“The Last Man” (Atlal/Le dernier homme), directed and written by Ghassan Salhab. (Lebanon, France) – North American Premiere
In Beirut, a city where so much blood has been spilled in seemingly interminable political conflicts, the sudden appearance of what appear to be victims of a serial killer isn’t especially alarming. A 40-year-old doctor (Michel Chahine, astonishing) develops links to the victims, and begins to exhibit strange and disturbing symptoms of his own.
“Lost In Beijing” (Ping Guo), directed by Li Yu, written by Li Yu and Li Fang. (China) – North American Premiere
This tragicomic look at modern-day life in China’s capital may not be especially daring for Western viewers in terms of its sexual content, despite the battle its producers fought with censors at home, but its depiction of a menage-a-quatre involving a young woman, her boss, her husband and her boss’s wife is decidedly unlike anything else we’ve seen from the People’s Republic.
“Making Of,” directed and written by Nouri Bouzid. (Tunisia) – International Premiere
Bahta, 25, heads up a group of break dancers, but the outbreak Bahta s a young break dancer in Tunisia but after the eruption of hostilities in Iraq in 2003, he falls in with a group of fundamentalists, whose brainwashing is intended to make him a suicide bomber. In the framing story, the actor playing Bahta doesn t know how the film will end, and he and the director have conflicts of their own. Winner, Gold Tanit, Carthage Film Festival.
“My Father My Lord” (Hofshat Kaits), directed and written by David Volach. (Israel) – International Premiere. This powerful and heartbreaking film takes a look at the price that may be exacted by a rigid observation of religious tenets. Its central character, a respected rabbi in an ultra-Orthodox community — who is also a father and husband — is forced to come to terms with the demands of his faith and the welfare of his own family.
“Napoleon and Me” (Io e Napoleone), directed by Paolo Virzi, written by Furio Scarpelli, Giacomo Scarpelli, Francesco Bruni, Paolo Virzi. (Italy, France) – North American Premiere
Napoleon’s exile on the Italian island of Elba is seen through the eyes of a young teacher who reviles the former emperor (played by Daniel Auteuil), but must serve as his librarian in this light-hearted costume drama that’s as fast-paced as an operetta and spiked with Tuscan humor. Featuring Monica Bellucci as the intriguing Baroness.
“Playing the Victim” (Izobrazhaya zhertvu), directed by Kirill Serebrennikov, written by The Presnyakov Brothers. (Russia) – North American Premiere
One of Moscow’s top theatre directors has adapted his own successful play into a cinematic marvel in which a young slacker is employed by the police to literally “play the victim” in videos reconstructing crimes. His dangerously escalating disgust with the world is portrayed in a visual style so inventive that it’s only when he receives nocturnal visits from his father’s ghost that the echoes of Hamlet are evoked. Winner, Grand Prize, Rome Film Festival
“Still Life” (Sanxia Haoren), directed by Jia Zhang-Ke. (Hong Kong, China) – U.S. Premiere
This poignant human drama is set against a surreal, metaphorically loaded backdrop — a Yangtze town that will soon be submerged by the Three Gorges Dam. Like the director’s other films (Platform, Unknown Pleasures, The World), it’s an empathetic portrait of those left behind by a modernizing society, and a unique hybrid of documentary and fiction.
“Times and Winds” (Bes vakit), directed and written by Reha Erdem. (Turkey) – U.S. Premiere
This unforgettable, beautifully observed film is a lyrical and haunting portrait of life in a remote Turkish mountain village, where three pre-teens struggle with dreams and desires that are utterly specific and personal, and yet somehow universal. An extraordinary score by Arvo Paert adds to the electrifying experience.
“Towards Darkness” (Hacia la Oscuridad), directed and written by Antonio Negret. (Panama, Colombia, U.S.A.) – World Premiere
Colombia’s rampant kidnappings are the brutal reality at the heart of this nail-biting thriller. A young photographer is abducted, held for ransom, and forced to contemplate imminent death while his family makes desperate covert deals to secure his release. Featuring America Ferrara. In English and Spanish.
“Two Embraces” (Dos Abrazos), (Mexico) – International Premiere
Four people forced to fend for themselves in life — a burdened twelve-year-old boy, the cashier he has a crush on, an angry taxi driver and the estranged daughter of one of his passengers — come together in two embraces. An auspicious film debut and poignant tale of lonely people who find a glimmer of hope in each other in today’s Mexico City.
“Two in One” (Dva v odnom), directed by Kira Muratova, written by Evgenii Golubenko and Renata Litvinova. (Ukraine) International Premiere
This celebrated director’s “exquisite cruelty” appears front and center when the death of a stage actor turns a theatrical drama into a real one. Two in One’s two parts, “Stagehands” and “Woman of a Lifetime” celebrate the psychological richness that lurks just beneath the surface of banal reality–if murderous stagehands, lascivious fathers, and vengeful daughters can be described as banal.
“Vivere,” directed and written by Angelina Maccarone. (Germany) – World Premiere
On Christmas Eve, Francesca sets out from her small town for the big city, Rotterdam, to find her little sister, who has run off to follow her musician boyfriend. On the way, she picks up Gerlinde, a heartbroken older woman at the end of her rope. This exquisitely photographed tale employs a fragmented timeline to illustrate the story of three lost souls on the run.
“West 32nd,” directed by Michael Kang, written by Michael Kang and Edmund Lee. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
After hustling his way onto a homicide case, an ambitious young lawyer (John Cho) infiltrates the gritty Korean underworld of New York, searching for clues. When he meets his match in the syndicate, they’ll both do anything to get to the top. It’s a raw and thrilling race. In English and Korean.
“The Year My Parents Went On Vacation” (O Ano em que meus pais sairam de ferias), directed by Cao Hamburger, written by Claudio Galperin, Cao Hamburger, Braulio Mantovani, Anna Muylaert. (Brazil) – North American Premiere
It’s the summer of 1970, and twelve-year-old Mauro’s biggest concern is whether Brazil wins the World Cup-until his politicized parents are forced to flee the country, and he is thrust into the alien world of Sao Paolo’s Jewish community. This sensitive drama shows an innocent caught up in a ferociously repressive dictatorship he knows nothing about.
World Documentary Feature Competition
“9 Star Hotel” (Malon 9 Kochavim), directed by Ido Haar. (Israel) – U.S. Premiere
Slipping through the pre-dawn darkness over highways, through traffic and across the border, Palestinian construction workers go to work clandestinely in Israel everyday. Harr’s raw, handheld photography follows workers who build their own border shanty community to enter Israel more easily, with no choice but to risk their lives simply to earn a living. A Koch Lorber Release.
“Between Heaven and Earth” (Tussen Hemel En Aarde), directed by Frank van den Engel, Masja Novikova. (Netherlands) – North American Premiere
In the heart of the Eurasian continent, the ancient center of the world where the Silk Road connected China to Europe, the circus is a deeply rooted cultural phenomenon. This film focuses on two circus artists, whose lifelong friendship under the dictatorship in Uzbekistan is affected by the different political choices they make. In Russian and Uzbek.
“Beyond Belief,” directed by Beth Murphy. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
Inspired by compassion for others whose loss they recognize as mirroring their own, two courageous women whose husbands died in the Twin Towers on 9/11 turn their grief into a catalyst for action. They travel to Kabul to help other widows, soon recognizing that the plight of the Afghan women leaves them feeling almost blessed. In English and Dari.
“Bomb It,” directed and written by John Reiss. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
Bomb It tells the story of contemporary graffiti, tracing its roots in ancient rock paintings through Picasso to its place in hip-hop culture in 1970’s New York City. This kinetic documentary looks at graffiti on five continents, using guerilla footage of graffiti-writers in action. You’ll never look at public space the same way again. In English, German, French, Japanese.
“Forging a Nation” (Hacer Patria), directed by David Blaustein, written by Irene Ickoickz. (Argentina) – North American Premiere
Accompanied by his mother, cousins, aunts and uncles, the director retraces the steps of his Jewish ancestors, who fled Europe in the 1920s hoping to find in Argentina the land of their dreams. This poignant film journey uses the documentary as a singular tool to explore the multifaceted ways in which the Argentine nation was built.
“I Am an American Soldier: One Year in Iraq with the 101st Airborne,” directed by John Laurence. (U.K.) – World Premiere
This unflinching examination of the war in Iraq follows soldiers from the elite 101st Airborne Division for 14 months, from stateside preparations to their deployment in Iraq and back home again. Throughout, soldiers speak candidly about their experience in the military and demonstrate the powerful bond established as they struggle to stay alive.
“Miss Universe 1929,” directed and written by Peter Forgacs. (Austria) – North American Premiere
Amateur filmmaker Marci Tenczer was smitten with his cousin, Liesl Goldarbeiter and chronicled her rise from a modest childhood in Vienna to the Texas competition where she was crowned the first Miss Universe. Then Hitler upended everyone’s universe. Peter Forgacs (Best Documentary El Perro Negro, 2005 Tribeca Film Festival) continues his fascinating exploration of Europe’s private history through home movies.
“Planet B-Boy,” directed by Benson Lee. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
A powerful documentary that’s as much about community as it is about dance, Planet B-Boy shows how breakdancing unites B-Boys across political, religious and racial boundaries. Director Benson Lee layers the drama of the world championship competition with the backstories of dancers from the U.S., Korea, Japan and France, and discovers why they are each so committed to their art. In English, French, Japanese and Korean.
“Santiago,” directed and written by Joao Moreira Salles. (Brazil) – North American Premiere
In 1992, Joao Moreira Salles started making a film about Santiago, the butler who had been working for his parents since his childhood. 13 years later, Salles looked back at the unused material on the now deceased flamboyant servant. Through Santiago’s detailed memories and erudite contemplations and the director’s voice-over, the film reflects deftly on identity, memory and the nature of documentaries. In black and white.
“A Slim Peace,” directed by Yael Luttwak. (U.K.) – World Premiere
When 14 women–Israelis, Palestinians, Bedouin Arabs, and American settlers–in the West Bank are brought together with the shared goal of losing weight, they find out they have far more in common than they ever would have imagined. A Slim Peace takes a revealing look at the universal struggle for acceptance, understanding and personal transformation in a land of intractable conflict.
“A Story of People in War & Peace,” directed by Vardan Hovhannisyan. (Armenia) – U.S. Premiere
A deeply personal meditation on the horrors of war and its effects is shown through the eyes of Armenian journalist Vardan Hovhannisyan. Weaving together footage he shot during his country’s 1994 conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan over the Nagorno Karabakh region, Hovhannisyan creates a devastating portrait of lasting damage inflicted by the battlefield. In English and Russian.
“The Sugar Curtain” (El Telon de Azucar), directed by Camila Guzman Urzua. (France, Cuba, Spain) – U.S. Premiere
Guzman Urzua makes her feature documentary debut with The Sugar Curtain, an intimate portrayal of the singular experience shared by people of her generation — those living Cuba’s utopian dream during the golden era of the revolution. It is also a lament for the end of that dream, which began to fizzle after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In Spanish
“Taxi to the Dark Side,” directed by Alex Gibney. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
This documentary murder mystery examines the death of an Afghan taxi driver at Bagram Air Base from injuries inflicted by U.S. soldiers. An unflinching look at the Bush administration’s policy on torture, the filmmaker behind Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room takes us from a village in Afghanistan to Guantanamo and straight to the White House.
“The Tree” (El Arbol), directed and written by Gustavo Fontan. (Argentina) – International Premiere. Returning to his childhood home, filmmaker Gustavo Fontan documents his parents’ deliberations over a tree planted the day he was born. Simple questions that pass between them–Is the tree dead? Should we cut it down?–become meditations on history, memory, knowledge and the sensory symphony of daily life.
“A Walk into the Sea: Danny Williams and The Warhol Factory,” directed by Esther B. Robinson. (U.S.A.) – U.S. Premiere
Esther Robinson’s engrossing portrait of her uncle Danny Williams-Warhol’s onetime lover, collaborator and filmmaker in his own right-offers an engaging exploration of the Factory era, an homage to Williams’s talent, a journey of family discovery and a compelling inquiry into Williams’ mysterious disappearance at age 27.
“We Are Together” (Thina Simunye), directed by Paul Taylor. (U.K.) – North American Premiere
Though they’ve endured painful setbacks, including the loss of loved ones to AIDS, nothing can quell the angelic singing voices of the children in South Africa’s Agape Orphanage. Told with compassion and grace, Paul Taylor’s uplifting documentary celebrates the children’s indomitable spirits and musical aspirations. Includes a special performance by Alicia Keyes and Paul Simon. In Zulu and English.
“2 Days In Paris” (Deux jours a Paris), directed and written by Julie Delpy. (France) – North American Premiere
Actress Julie Delpy (Before Sunrise) writes, directs, edits, produces, stars in and even composes music for her crowd-pleasing directorial debut. With a snappy comic edge, the story revolves around Marion bringing her American boyfriend Jack (Adam Goldberg) on a visit to Paris. Between clashes of culture, language and flirtatious ex-boyfriends, their relationship is tested in this charming, smart gem. A Samuel Goldwyn Films Release.
“Chops,” a documentary film directed by Bruce Broder. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
Each year, Jazz at Lincoln Center and its artistic director Wynton Marsalis host the prestigious Essentially Ellington Festival, a competition of high school jazz bands from across the country. This toe-tapping and empowering documentary focuses on one Florida band filled with young musicians who hit all the right notes.
“The Grand,” directed by Zak Penn, written by Zak Penn and Matt Bierman. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
Woody Harrelson goes all-in to save his dead father’s hotel-casino from a real estate developer in this hilarious mockumentary. His master plan: to win the world’s most famous high stakes tournament, the Grand Championship of Poker. Anteing up the laughs are Werner Herzog, Cheryl Hines, David Cross, Ray Romano and Dennis Farina.
“Invisibles,” directed by Mariano Barroso, Isabel Coixet, Javier Corcuera, Fernando Leon de Aranoa, Wim Wenders. (Spain) – U.S. Premiere
Giving voice to those silenced by international indifference, Academy Award(R) nominated actor Javier Bardem teams with Doctors Without Borders to produce this powerful collection of short films. Five acclaimed directors shed light on heroic, yet unsung humanitarian efforts to combat international crises, which have thus far remained invisible. In Spanish, English, Lwo, Kiluba and Swahili.
“The Killing of John Lennon,” directed and written by Andrew Piddington. (U.K.) – North American Premiere. A riveting, disturbing glimpse into the mind of John Lennon’s killer, Mark David Chapman, during the days leading up to his deadly confrontation with the rock star outside the Dakota. Lines lifted verbatim from Chapman’s own journal give actor Jonas Bell’s unforgettable performance an eerie, chilling precision.
“My Best Friend” (Mon meilleur ami), directed by Patrice Leconte, written by Patrice Leconte and Jerome Tonnerre. (France) – U.S. Premiere
After business associates chide him for his indifference to other people, high-powered art dealer Francois (Daniel Auteuil) is challenged to produce an actual friend in only ten days, or lose a valued vase. His search sets off a witty, yet thoughtful look at the meaning of friendship from prolific French director Patrice Leconte. An IFC Films Release.
“The Optimists” (Optimisti) directed by Goran Paskaljevic, written by Vladimir Paskaljevic and Goran Paskaljevic. (Serbia) – North American Premiere
One of Central Europe’s leading filmmakers follows his unforgettable A Midwinter Night’s Dream (TFF 2005) with this new film whose five episodes conjure up a world where people have trouble distinguishing truth from illusions. Each segment reflects the motto of Voltaire’s Candide: “Optimism is insisting everything is good, when everything is bad.”
“Pete Seeger: The Power of Song,” a documentary directed by Jim Brown. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen are two of many who attest to Seeger’s importance in this compelling documentary that is more than a simple biography. Using new interviews, archival footage and home movies, Brown presents a social history through the life of one of this country’s most compelling forces for change and, arguably, the most significant folk artist of our time.
“The Power of The Game,” a documentary directed by Michael Apted. (U.S.A) – World Premiere
Six stories intertwine in this dramatic and moving examination of the social impact of soccer across the world. Juxtaposing thrilling footage from games leading to and throughout the 2006 World Cup, Apted highlights stories of triumph over adversity from around the globe and skillfully conveys the remarkable transformative power of this sport. In English, German, Farsi, French and Spanish.
“Purple Violets,” directed and written by Ed Burns. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
Aspiring novelist Patti Petalson’s (Selma Blair) chance encounter with her ex Brian (Patrick Wilson) turns her life upside down in this charming romance. Burns shows a new maturity both behind and in front of the lens as he also pairs with Debra Messing to round-out the foursome of college friends reuniting after years of estrangement.
“Razzle Dazzle,” directed by Ken Jacobs. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
A frequently returning TFF filmmaker presents the world premiere of his new experimental narrative opus. Razzle Dazzle confirms Jacobs’ mastery of digital filmmaking in which he treats the image as a painterly canvas, exploring the depths of cubism and abstract expressionism from source material comprising turn-of-the-century stereopticon slides and an early Edison film.
“The Road to St. Diego” (El Camino de San Diego), directed and written by Carlos Sorin. (Argentina) – North American Premiere
A young Argentine backwoodsman learns that soccer star Diego Maradona is ailing in a Buenos Aires hospital, and resolves to bring him a tree root he’s uncovered–which he’s certain looks just like his idol. Tracing a pilgrimage filled with humor, Sorin spins a delightfully offbeat tale about the roles that fate, religion and idolatry can play in life.
“Steep,” a documentary directed by Mark Obenhaus. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
Whether it’s jumping out of a helicopter hovering above the powdery slopes of Alaska’s mountain ranges, or trying to outrun an avalanche in the French Alps, Steep traces the legacy of extreme skiing from its early pioneers to the death-defying daredevils of today.
“Take the Bridge,” directed by Sergio M. Castilla. (Chile, U.S.A.) – World Premiere
Four young strangers meet after their failed suicide attempts land each of them in the hospital on the same day. United by circumstance, they may yet discover a reason to live. This fresh, original take on city life pays tribute to the vitality and energy of the Dominican community in Washington Heights. In English and Spanish.
“This Is England,” directed and written by Shane Meadows. (U.K.) – U.S. Premiere
It’s the summer of 1983 in northern England. Punks, Mods and Skinheads are on the rise, but employment is not. Eleven-year-old Shaun has lost his father but seems to find a surrogate family in a band of friendly skinheads. When they’re joined by the older, overtly racist Con, who’s just out of prison, the tale takes a much darker turn. An IFC First Take Release.
“Tuya’s Marriage” (Tu Ya De Hun Shi), directed by Wang Quan’an, written by Lu Wei and Wang Quan’an. (China) – North American Premiere.
A strong-willed shepherdess on the Mongolian steppe, Tuya must face some harsh truths about the future. In need of an able provider, she reluctantly divorces her ailing husband and considers proposals from a string of quirky suitors. This warm, witty tale, featuring stunning cinematography, won the top prize at the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival.
“You Kill Me,” directed by John Dahl, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
In this smart, darkly funny drama by John Dahl (The Last Seduction) about addiction and recovery, Ben Kingsley delivers a bravura performance as Frank, an alcoholic contract killer forced to go through a twelve-step program and become a funeral home assistant. Also starring Tea Leoni and Luke Wilson. An IFC Films Release.
The Air I Breathe, directed by Jieho Lee, written by Jieho Lee and Bob DeRosa. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. A businessman (Forest Whitaker) bets his life on a horse race, a gangster (Brendan Fraser) sees the future, a pop star (Sarah Michelle Gellar) falls prey to a crime boss (Andy Garcia), and a doctor (Kevin Bacon) must save the love of his life. Based on a Chinese proverb, these four overlapping stories dramatize the four emotional cornerstones of life: happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love.
The Animated World of John Canemaker (U.S.A.) Continuing Tribeca’s celebration of New York-based independent animators, this program features the work of John Canemaker, a pre-eminent animation teacher, filmmaker, author and historian, who won an Oscar for his animated short The Moon and the Son in 2006. A selection of short films spanning Canemaker’s career will be shown.
Anita O’Day – The Life of a Jazz Singer, directed by Ian McCrudden & Robbie Cavolina (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. An intimate and deeply moving tribute to jazz diva extraordinaire Anita O’Day, completed just weeks before her death in November 2006. Packed with terrific clips and anecdotes from friends and fellow musicians, this enjoyable documentary zips along at the speed of her renowned up-tempo interpretation of “Sweet Georgia Brown.” work in progress.
Black, White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Maplethorpe, directed by James Crump. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. In the ’70s and ’80s, the relationship between legendary curator Sam Wagstaff, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and musician/poet Patti Smith was at the epicenter of New York’s revolutionary art scene. This engrossing documentary features interviews with Smith and a bevy of art world luminaries including Joan Juliet Buck, Dominick Dunne, Richard Tuttle, Eugenia Parry and Ralph Gibson.
The Bubble, directed by Eytan Fox, written by Gal Uchovsky, Eytan Fox. (Israel) – U.S. Premiere. Three roommates treat their hip Tel Aviv neighborhood like their own chic paradise, relatively sheltered from Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. But when Israeli boy meets a Palestinian boy at a border checkpoint, this artificial bubble bursts. Director Fox follows up Walk on Water and Yossi & Jagger with this story that shows that even love can’t bridge irreconcilable differences.
The Cake Eaters, directed by Mary Stuart Masterson, written by Jayce Bartok. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. A prodigal son’s return conjures up old ghosts for three generations of two different families in a small, quiet town. Masterson’s debut feature unfolds the intimate secrets and tensions that compel these families to move forward. The dynamic ensemble cast features Kristin Stewart, Aaron Stanford, Bruce Dern, Jayce Bartok, Elizabeth Ashley and Miriam Shor.
Charlie Bartlett, directed by Jon Poll, written by Gustin Nash. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Failing to fit in at a high school run by a disenchanted principal (Robert Downey, Jr.), awkward Charlie Bartlett (Anton Yelchin) is running out of options for making friends-until he names himself the school “psychiatrist.” When he starts doling out advice, and the occasional pill, to classmates, his popularity soars in this witty take on teenage insecurity. With Hope Davis. A Sidney Kimmel/MGM Release
Descent, directed by Talia Lugacy, written by Brian Priest, Talia Lugacy. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. A tale of innocence shattered, dreams destroyed and vengeance fulfilled, Descent begins with an idealistic vision of college sweethearts and wild house parties, but quickly falls apart. A rape sends Maya (Rosario Dawson) into a spiral of drugs, rage and despair–until she is reunited with her attacker and offered a chance to settle the score. A City Lights Pictures Release.
The Final Season, directed by David M. Evans, written by Art D’Alessandro. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Baseball is everything in Norway, Iowa, but when government authorities decide the small town’s population no longer warrants its own high school, a longstanding baseball tradition is in peril. Sean Astin stars as the new and untested coach who must provide Norway with one exciting final season in this heartwarming story based on true events.
Golden Door (Nuovomondo), directed and written by Emanuel Crialese. (Italy, Germany, France) – NY Premiere. The turn-of-the-century voyage of a poor family from rural Sicily through the “golden door” of Ellis Island and into America is beautifully portrayed in this visually striking, emotionally resonant narrative. Charlotte Gainsbourg portrays the young bride in this new film by N.Y.U. graduate Crialese that was Italy’s Oscar submission this year. A Miramax Films release.
Good Time Max, directed by James Franco, written by James Franco and Merriwether Williams. (U.S.A) – World Premiere. Actor James Franco (Spider-Man) cowrites, stars in and directs this stunning drama about two intellectually gifted brothers who take drastically different courses in life. One evolves into a successful doctor while the other leads a roller coaster, drug-fueled existence. But even after growing up and growing apart, they remain inextricably connected to each other.
The Hammer, directed by Charles Herman Wurmfeld, written by Kevin Hench. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. In an underdog comedy that never pulls a punch, an aging boxer now working as a construction worker (Adam Carolla) is convinced by a wily coach to step back into the ring after a 20-year hiatus. Though the former rising champion is well past his prime, he embarks on a rollicking quest for what he missed the first time around: a spot on the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team.
I Have Never Forgotten You, directed and written by Richard Trank, (U.S.A.) – North American Premiere. How did a man who trained as an architect track down some of the world’s most notorious war criminals? Discover the history and legacy of legendary Nazi hunter and humanitarian Simon Wiesenthal in this stirring documentary. Narrated by Academy Award(R)-winning actress Nicole Kidman, it features previously unseen archival footage and interviews with friends, family, and world leaders.
In the Beginning Was the Image: Conversations with Peter Whitehead, directed by Paul Cronin. (U.K.) – U.S. Premiere. Peter Whitehead’s work as a key independent British filmmaker of the 1960’s has been the subject of recent worldwide retrospectives. This documentary on the artist, by a returning TFF filmmaker, is important not only as a portrait, but also as a meditation on the construction of identity. Copresented by Anthology Film Archives.
Chavez, directed by Diego Luna. (Mexico) – World Premiere. Actor Diego Luna (Y Tu Mama Tambien) steps behind the camera for this heartfelt documentary about the life and career of his countryman, Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez, considered one of the sport’s – and Mexico’s all-time greats. Luna follows Chavez through the final bouts of his career, even as he proudly passes the torch of boxing to his son.
Lovesickness (Maldeamores), directed by Carlitos Ruiz Ruiz, written by Jorge Gonzales, Carlitos Ruiz Ruiz. (Puerto Rico) – World Premiere
Tales of maddening infatuation–a surprising love triangle, an unfaithful marriage and a hostage situation–weave together artfully in the backyards of Puerto Rico. Passion defeats reason again and again in this melancholy comedy about the selfish search for love and connection. In Spanish.
Music Inn, directed by Ben Barenholtz. (U.S.A.) – North American Premiere
A cinema veteran makes his debut as a filmmaker, aided by a veritable who s who of distinguished musicians, to tell the legendary story of how enthusiasts and hip scholars were drawn to Lenox, Massachusetts each summer starting in 1951. There their dedication to jazz and folk supported the founding of the world s first permanent school of jazz.
Nobel Son, directed by Randall Miller, written by Randall Miller and Jody Savin. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
In this taut thriller spiked with droll humor, Ph.D. candidate Barkley (Bryan Greenberg) is kidnapped the night before his father Eli (Alan Rickman) will receive the Nobel Prize. When Eli refuses to pay a ransom equal to the $2 million prize, secrets, betrayal and revenge collide. With Bill Pullman, Danny DeVito, Mary Steenburgen, Ted Danson, Ernie Hudson and Eliza Dushku.
The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio (L’Orchestre de Piazza Vittorio), directed by Agostino Ferrente, written by Agostino Ferrente in collaboration with Massimo Gaudioso, Mariangela Barbanete, Francesco Piccolo. (Italy) – North American Premiere
This is the unlikely story of how two energetic Romans created an orchestra comprised entirely of immigrants from all over the world living in one area of the Eternal City. When a group of 30 different musicians playing 15 unrelated instruments finally takes the stage, they provide a rousing call to arms for fans of world music, and all those who believe in the mini-miracles of neighborhood cultural initiatives.
Shotgun Stores, directed and written by Jeff Nichols. (U.S.A) – North American Premiere
A family feud in rural Arkansas erupts in this biblical tale of blood ties and vengeance, sparked when two sets of half-brothers collide at the funeral of their father. This slow-burning thriller recalls the character-driven storytelling of the 1970’s, with a lyrical feel for the intimate rhythms and heat-baked landscapes of the forgotten South.
Suburban Girl, directed and written by Marc Klein. (U.S.A) – World Premiere.
Determined to rise through Manhattan’s cutthroat literary ranks on her own, an ambitious young book editor (Sarah Michelle Gellar) hesitates to become involved with a high-powered publishing playboy (Alec Baldwin) many years her senior. Personal and professional lines slowly blur in this witty adaptation of Michelle Bank’s bestselling book, The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing.
The True Legend of Tony Vilar (La vera leggenda Di Tony Vilar), directed by Giuseppe Gagliardi, written by Giuseppe Gagliardi, Peppe Voltarelli. (Italy) – International Premiere.
Using a tongue-in-cheek mockumentary style, this half-true, half-imagined tale is based on the story of real-life singer Tony Vilar. Born in Italy, he later moved to Argentina and became one of the most popular crooners in 1960’s Latin America, then mysteriously disappeared, leaving a faint trail apparently leading to New York City. In Italian.
Vitus, directed by Fredi Murer, written by Peter Luisi, Fredi M. Murer, Lukas B. Suter. (Switzerland.) – NY Premiere
A child prodigy yearns for a “normal” life with his parents and eccentric grandfather in this charming family drama, starring the great German actor Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire; Downfall). While his parents plan a future of piano competitions, Vitus would rather learn to fly. He just needs to find an adult who’ll let him. A Sony Pictures Classics Release.
Attica, directed by Cinda Firestone. (U.S.A., 1974) – World Premiere Revival.
In 1971, inmates at Attica State Prison seized control of D-yard and took 35 hostages after peaceful efforts for reforms failed. Attica investigates the rebellion and its bloody suppression, revealing institutionalized injustices, sanctioned dishonesty, and abuses of power. Attica provided courtesy of The New York Public Library, Donnell Media Center and New York Women In Film & Television.
Autumn Days (Dias de oto o), directed by Roberto Gavaldon, written by Julio Alejandro, Emilio Carballido. (Mexico, 1962.) – North American Premiere Revival
Pina Pellicer, best known here for her role opposite Brando in One-Eyed Jacks, gives an unforgettably touching performance in this subtle melodrama as a naive girl who finds work in the big city, then fashions an alternate reality in the wake of a disastrous love affair. Gabriel Figueroa s stunning b&w photography invigorates this new restoration from Mexico s Film Archive.
The Forty-first (Sorok pervyi), directed by Grigori Chukrai, written by Grigori Koltunov, (Russia, 1956.) – World Premiere Revival
One of the first major films of the post-Stalinist thaw and a 1957 Cannes award-winner, The Forty First’s remarkable power stems largely from the stunning camerawork of Sergei Urusevsky (The Cranes Are Flying, I Am Cuba), who creates a timeless landscape of sand, water and sky for an unexpected love story between a female Red Army sniper and a White Army officer.
The Letter Never Sent (Neotpravlennoe), directed by Mikhail Kalatozov, written by Valeriy Osipov, Viktor Rozov, Grigoriy Koltunov. (Russia, 1959) – World Premiere Revival
The third collaboration between the phenomenal director/cinematographer duo of Kalatozov and Sergey Urusevskiy (The Cranes Are Flying, I Am Cuba), this film traces four geologists’ search for a diamond mine as they face natural disasters in the merciless Siberian wilderness, rendered in all its overwhelming power by an extraordinary, unhinged camera.
Night of the Hunchback (Shabe ghuzi) directed by Farokh Ghaffary, written by Jalal Moghaddam. (Iran, 1965.) – World Premiere Revival
This dark comedy, a key masterwork of Iranian cinema, has long remained unseen in the West. Adapted from a story in 1001 Nights and set in a popular theatre troupe, the story follows the death of an actor in a farcical accident and the brilliantly elaborate gags and misunderstandings that abound in subsequent attempts to dispose of his body.
The Pelican (Le pelican), directed by Gerard Blain, written by Marie-Helene Bauret, Gerard Blain. (France, 1973) – North American Premiere Revival
Dubbed “the French James Dean,” for his roles in films by Claude Chabrol (Le beau Serge, Les cousins) and Howard Hawks (Hatari), Gerard Blain’s work as director never surfaced in the U.S. This is his masterpiece, a moving account of parental love and obsession, filmed in a rigorous style that recalls Bresson or Dreyer-sans religion.
To Die A Little (Morir Un Poco),directed by Alvaro J. Covacevich. (Chile, 1966.) – North American Premiere
Memories About Sayat Nova, directed by Levon Grigorian. (Armenia, 2006.) – North American Premiere
Two Remarkable Rediscoveries: To Die A Little, an unknown jewel of Latin American filmmaking, lost for nearly 40 years until it was unearthed last year, features images recalling Cassavetes and Rouch. Memories About Sayat Nova reveals astonishingly beautiful, newly discovered scenes from Sergei Paradjanov’s masterwork Sayat Nova, which was censored by the Soviet government.
Black Sheep, directed and written by Jonathan King. (New Zealand) – New York Premiere
An entrepreneurial farm owner wants to revolutionize the industry with genetically engineered sheep. But when environmental activists try to stop him, they accidentally unleash his baaaad experiment into the world. And this sheep likes blood. In a country where sheep outnumber humans, the last thing you should ever do is piss them off. An IFC First Take Release.
Dirty Sanchez, directed by Jim Hickey. (U.K.) – North American Premiere
Think Jackass on crack and you’ve got the boys of Dirty Sanchez-Great Britain’s troupe of raunchy madmen on a world tour of depravity. With wicked nasty stunts such as liposuction drinking games, beer enema shotguns, things that shouldn’t be done with male genitalia, and more, Dirty Sanchez should be viewed with a cast-iron stomach and a twisted sense of humor. Mature audiences only.
Heckler, directed by Michael Addis. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
Comedian Jamie Kennedy confronts hecklers and heckled alike in this wry, spirited documentary. With appearances from limelight veterans like Rob Zombie, Mike Ditka, George Lucas and Bill Maher, Heckler illuminates the often contentious relationship between those in the spotlight and the critics in the crowd.
In the Land of Merry Misfits, directed and written by Keven Undergaro. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
A wrong turn lands a young college graduate in a colorful realm of seriously twisted fairytales and wacky ne’er-do-wells on noble quests. To escape and win back his girlfriend, this unlikely hero must help a whimsical group of madcap misfits thwart the accepted social order and capture “The Grail of Popularity.”
The Matrimony, directed by Teng Huatao, written by Zhang Jialu, Yang Qianling. (China) – North American Premiere
In 1920’s Shanghai, wealthy Junchu loses his fiancee in a freak accident and is coerced by his mother into marrying Sansan, a near stranger. Soon afterward, Sansan’s body is inhabited by the devious ghost of Junchu’s dead lover, sending her on a downward spiral of madness and murder in this captivating gothic horror. In Mandarin.
Mulberry Street, directed by Jim Mickle, written by Nick Damici, Jim Mickle.
(U.S.A.) – New York Premiere
One sweltering summer day in Manhattan, the streets explode into chaos as a rat-borne virus breaks out. With every bite, city dwellers turn into bloodthirsty, rodent-like creatures that violently attack other residents. Seven recently evicted tenants fight through the night for survival as the city quickly spirals out of control.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes, directed and written by John Erick Dowdle. (U.S.A) – World Premiere
When hundreds of videotapes showing torture, murder and dismemberment are found in an abandoned house, they reveal a serial killer’s decade-long reign of terror and become the most disturbing collection of evidence homicide detectives have ever seen. Brutal and engrossing, actual footage from these tapes mixed with interviews with FBI profiles and victims’ families begin to expose the many layers to this mystery.
Rise: Blood Hunter, directed and written by Sebastian Gutierrez. (U.S.A) – World Premiere
Reporter Sadie Blake (Lucy Liu) awakens in a morgue and realizes she is no longer human. Trying to resist the thirst for blood, she vows to hunt down the sect responsible for her situation, and kill the vampire that changed her. Chalk fill of action, this slayer flick is sure to thrill. With Michael Chiklis. A Destination Films/Samuel Goldwyn Release.
Scott Walker – 30th Century Man, directed by Stephen Kijak. (U.S.A./U.K.) – New York Premiere
Scott Walker is one of rock music’s most enigmatic figures. This astonishing look at the reclusive artist features exclusive footage of Walker recording his latest critically acclaimed album, The Drift, as well as interviews with the man himself, famous fans and collaborators such as David Bowie, Radiohead, Brian Eno and Jarvis Cocker.
Unearthed, directed and written by Matthew Leutwyler. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere
When an archeologist obsessed with the mysterious disappearance of an ancient Native American people uncovers a subterranean lair in the New Mexico desert, a blood-thirsty creature is unleashed on a small town. In the wake of the carnage, the people’s only hope is a quick-thinking rogue sheriff and the ritual medicine of the lost tribe.
The Workshop, directed and written by Jamie Morgan. (U.K.) – World Premiere
A spiritual search for answers leads the filmmaker to a California workshop run by a guru who promotes sexual adventure-and the existence of aliens. In this amusing and emotional film, Jamie and his friends shed their clothes and inhibitions for a wild ride of sex, fear, love, anger, betrayal and joy. Mature audiences only.