The Tribeca Film Festival has unveiled the first half of their 2014 slate—that’s 47 of the 87 feature-length films—including the World Documentary, Feature Competition, Viewpoints, Spotlight, Midnight and Storyscapes. This year is Tribeca’s 14th festival and welcomes indie filmmakers and international celebrities alike.
The 2014 festival comprises films from 32 countries and includes 55 world premieres. 102 directors will present their films—22 of these directors are women—with 37 of these filmmakers making their feature directorial debuts. The festival launches on April 17th with the debuts of “Dior and I,” a documentary about the “storied world that is the House of Christian Dior with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first Dior Haute Couture collection as Artistic Director” will open the World Documentary competition. “Gabriel” a film about a “vulnerable and confused teenager longing for stability and happiness” will open the World Narrative competition, and “Summer of Blood,” Onur Tukel‘s genre-busting “comedic reimagining of the vampire genre,” will open the Viewpoints section.
Other films we’re keeping an eye on include “Goodbye To All That,” the directorial debut of “Junebug” writer Angus MacLachlan, starring Paul Schneider, Melanie Lynskey, Heather Graham, Anna Camp, Amy Sedaris, and Celia Weston. And there’s also the ’80s-set crime drama “Electric Slide” with Jim Sturgess, Chloë Sevigny, and Patricia Arquette.
This year’s festival has an international flair, but isn’t without its share of films from the U.S. So far it doesn’t look like the festival will rely as heavily on celebrities as it did in 2013, but we’re sure they’ll be on hand come festival time.
World Narrative Feature Competition
In a testament to the universal power of film, the themes of this year’s competition resonate across international lines, in conversation with one another in their unique and powerful takes on self-discovery. Frequently unfolding through ensemble casts and multi-character structures- from X/Y’s overlapping group of friends exploring sex and monogamy in New York, to the cadre of inept slacker chicks pulling hijinks in the Israeli military in Zero Motivation– young people are discovering themselves in all contexts. As it so often is, that discovery can be channeled through romantic relationships, like for Otto the recently divorced Dad of Goodbye to All That, or Something Must Break’s Sebastian, whose awakening identity comes amidst an all-consuming love affair. This theme of authenticity in finding one’s true self resonates in the many films in which real people play fictionalized versions of themselves, such as The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq, Five Star, and the aforementioned Something Must Break. Films in this section compete for the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature, Best New Narrative Director, Best Actor and Actress, Best Screenplay, and Best Cinematography.
- Brides, directed and written by Tinatin Kajrishvili. (France, Georgia) – North American Premiere. In the suburbs of Tbilisi, Georgia, seamstress Nutsa shares an apartment with her two young children and awaits the return of her husband, Goga, who has six years left on his prison sentence. With only rare visits and phone calls to connect with her husband, Nutsa faces difficult decisions about keeping the family together and maintaining her own freedom. In her first narrative feature, director Tinatin Kajrishvili captures an intimate look at love and absence, and a subtle indictment of the harsh Georgian penal system. In Georgian with subtitles.
- Five Star, directed and written by Keith Miller. (USA) – World Premiere. A member of the notorious Bloods since he was 12 years old, Primo takes John, the son of a fallen gang member, under his wing, versing him in the code of the streets. Set amongst the streets of East New York, Five Star blends documentary and fiction as director Keith Miller (Welcome to Pine Hill) carefully eschews worn clichés of gang culture to offer a compelling portrait of two men as they are both forced to confront the question of what it really means to be a man.
- Gabriel, directed and written by Lou Howe. (USA) – World Premiere. Rory Culkin delivers an electrifying performance as Gabriel, a vulnerable and confused teenager longing for stability and happiness. Convinced that reuniting with his old girlfriend will bring his dreams to fruition, Gabriel risks it all in a desperate and increasingly obsessive pursuit. First-time writer-director Lou Howe authentically portrays the heartbreaking reality of a young man battling his inner demons, establishing himself as an extraordinary new filmmaking talent.
- Glass Chin, directed and written by Noah Buschel. (USA) – World Premiere. After going down in the fifth round, boxer Bud Gordon bowed out of the limelight. Now residing in a fixer-upper apartment in New Jersey with his girlfriend, Bud longs for his former Manhattan glory. In an effort to get back in the game, he makes a deal with a crooked restaurateur. But quick schemes rarely bring easy pay-offs and as the consequences of his business negotiations unfold, Bud has to make a choice between his integrity and his aspirations.
- Goodbye to All That, directed and written by Angus MacLachlan. (USA) – World Premiere. Otto Wall is just a little unlucky in life, and unbeknownst to him, in love. When his wife suddenly asks for a divorce, he bounces between a search for answers, desperate attempts to stay connected to his daughter, and his fateful reentry into the dating pool. Junebug screenwriter Angus MacLachlan returns to the woods of North Carolina for this sharp and sensitive comedy starring Paul Schneider, Melanie Lynskey, Heather Graham, Anna Camp, Amy Sedaris, and Celia Weston.
- Güeros, directed and written by Alonso Ruiz Palacios, co-written by Gibrán Portela. (Mexico) – North American Premiere. A water balloon suddenly dropping from the sky exploding on a mother’s head in the frantic first moments of this striking debut feature, announces its director, Alonso Ruiz Palacios, as a bold new voice of Mexican cinema. Set amidst the 1999 student strikes in Mexico City, this coming-of-age tale finds two brothers venturing through the city in a sentimental search for an aging legendary musician. Shot in beautiful black-and-white, Güeros brims with youthful exuberance. In Spanish with subtitles.
- Human Capital (Il capitale umano), directed and written by Paolo Virzì, co-written by Francesco Bruni and Francesco Piccolo. (Italy, France) – International Premiere. In Paolo Virzì’s refined three-chapter tale, we begin at the end. Approaching a snowy night from three vastly different perspectives, the lives of two generations overlap as they tumble toward an ill-fated event that inextricably links them. Starring two of Italy’s leading actresses, Valeria Golina and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Human Capital twists love, class, and ambition into a singular, true-life story that exposes the consequences of valuing certain human lives over others. In Italian with subtitles.
- The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq (L’Enlèvement de Michel Houellebecq), directed and written by Guillaume Nicloux. (France) – North American Premiere. If novelist Michel Houellebecq had indeed been kidnapped during his 2011 promotional book tour, this may have been the definitive documentary on the case. As a wild alternative, Guillaume Nicloux presents this work of complete fiction starring none other than Houellebecq himself. Playfully speculating on the explanation for Houellebecq’s mysterious disappearance, this highly entertaining, farcical piece of cinema parallels the wry characteristics of its unique and ever-unconventional subject. In French with subtitles.
- Something Must Break (Nånting Måste Gå Sönder), directed and written by Ester Martin Bergsmark, co-written by Eli Levén. (Sweden) – North American Premiere. When Sebastian meets Andreas for the first time, he knows they belong together. While Sebastian defies gender norms—flouting convention in his androgynous fluidity—straight-identifying Andreas becomes unable to accept his attraction to another man, as their relationship progresses. Struggling with his identity, Sebastian becomes increasingly determined to become “Ellie,” even if it means walking away from Andreas. Something Must Break brims with raw electricity as it explores questions of gender and sexuality with refreshing candor. In Swedish with subtitles.
- Loitering with Intent, directed by Adam Rapp, written by Michael Godere and Ivan Martin. (USA) – World Premiere. After running into a film producer eager to invest in a new project, aspiring writers Dominic and Raphael (Godere and Martin who also star) need to come up with a script fast, so the pair head to the seclusion of rural Hudson Valley, NY, to churn out their masterpiece. But when Dominic’s siren of a sister (Marisa Tomei) turns up desperate for reprieve from her boyfriend (Sam Rockwell), they soon realize they’re in for more than they bargained for. Isabelle McNally and a hilarious Brian Geraghty round out this latest effort from director Adam Rapp.
- X/Y, directed and written by Ryan Piers Williams. (USA) – World Premiere. Ryan Piers Williams directs and stars alongside America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn and Melonie Diaz in a character-driven drama centered around four restless New Yorkers, and their shifting sexual and romantic relationships as they search for a sense of intimacy and self-identity. As Mark, Jen, Sylvia, and Jake navigate through their emotionally-arrested states, X/Y reveals the honest and wanton desire we all have to connect with someone and what is at stake when that connection fades.
- Zero Motivation directed and written by Talya Lavie. (Israel) – World Premiere. Filmmaker Talya Lavie steps into the spotlight with a dark comedy about everyday life for a unit of young female Israeli soldiers. The human resources office at a remote desert base serves as the setting for this cast of characters, who bide their time pushing paper, battling for the top score in Minesweeper, and counting down the minutes until they can return to civilian life. Amidst their boredom and clashing personalities, issues of commitment—from friendship to love and country—are handled with humor and sharp-edged wit. In Hebrew with subtitles.
World Documentary Feature Competition
The 12 films of this year’s World Documentary Competition are typified by depth of character and beauty in form. Character studies exploring creative geniuses like the prodigy choreographer of Ballet 422, the freshman Artistic Director of fashion institution Dior in Dior and I, and iconic thinker and New Yorker Susan Sontag, all unfold through lush photography and thoughtful direction. These films celebrate the accomplishments of the individual, mirroring the thread of stories that espouse the power of groups in this year’s competition. A team of Indian traditional artists rally to protect their community threatened with displacement in Tomorrow We Disappear, while a vivacious gang of transgender women demand equal rights from the Puerto Rican government in Mala Mala, and activists risk everything for their cause in 1971. This riveting collection of international stories compete for Best Documentary Feature, Best New Documentary Director, and Best Editing.
- 1971, directed and written by Johanna Hamilton, co-written by Gabriel Rhodes. (USA) – World Premiere. Forty years before WikiLeaks and the NSA scandal, there was Media, Pennsylvania. In 1971, eight activists plotted an intricate break-in to the local FBI offices to leak stolen documents and expose the illegal surveillance of ordinary Americans in an era of anti-war activism. In this riveting heist story, the perpetrators reveal themselves for the first time, reflecting on their actions and raising broader questions surrounding security leaks in activism today.
- Ballet 422, directed by Jody Lee Lipes. (USA) – World Premiere. Cinematographer and documentarian Jody Lee Lipes crafts an intimate, fly-on-the-wall documentary offering a rare peek into the hidden world of professional ballet. The film shadows Justin Peck, wunderkind choreographer of the New York City Ballet, as he undertakes the Herculean task of creating the company’s 422nd original piece. Following the creative process from its embryonic stages to its highly anticipated premiere, Ballet 422 is a powerful celebration of the skill and endurance of New York’s most talented dancers—as well as those who remain hidden in the wings.
- Dior and I (Dior et moi), directed and written by Frédéric Tcheng. (France) – World Premiere. In Frédéric Tcheng’s masterful documentary, one enters the storied world that is the House of Christian Dior with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first Dior Haute Couture collection as Artistic Director, a true labor of love by a dedicated, charming, and often humorous group of collaborators. Beautifully melding the everyday, pressure-filled components of fashion with a mysterious and elegant reverence for the history of this iconic brand, Tcheng’s colorful homage to the seamstresses of the atelier is nothing short of magical. In English and French with subtitles.
- Fishtail, directed and written by Andrew Renzi. (USA) – World Premiere. The iconic voice and noble philosophies proffered by Harry Dean Stanton punctuate this authentic look at life on the edge of wilderness. Producer of festival favorite, Two Gates of Sleep, Andrew Renzi makes his directorial debut with this glimpse into the rugged lifestyle few Americans still pursue. Follow the cowboys of Montana’s Fishtail Basin Ranch as they survive another calving season in this captivating atmospheric documentary. Set to a seraphic score, Stanton would agree, this is a film for “those of earth-born passion.”
- Garnet’s Gold, directed by Ed Perkins. (UK) – World Premiere. Twenty years ago, Garnet Frost nearly lost his life hiking near Scotland’s Loch Arkaig. The near-death experience still haunts him to this day, and, in particular, a peculiar wooden stick he discovered serendipitously right before he was rescued. Believing the staff (as he calls it) is actually a marker for a fortune hidden nearly 300 years ago, Garnet embarks on a treasure hunt to search for the lost riches. But beneath the search for gold, lies a poignant pursuit for life’s meaning and inspiration.
- Mala Mala, directed by Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini. (Puerto Rico) – World Premiere. Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles’ vibrant and visually striking immersion in the transgender community of Puerto Rico celebrates the breadth of experiences among trans-identifying women: from campaigning for government-recognized human rights, to working in the sex industry, or performing as part of drag troupe, “The Doll House.” Unapologetic and unconventional, Mala Mala explores the ways internal and external identity pave the path of self discovery through the unique yet universal stories of its fascinating cast of characters. In English and Spanish with subtitles.
- Misconception, directed by Jessica Yu. (USA) – World Premiere. For almost 50 years, the world’s population has grown at an alarming rate, raising fears about strains on the Earth’s resources. But how true are these claims? Taking cues from statistics guru Hans Rosling, Misconception offers a provocative glimpse at how the world—and women in particular— are tackling a subject at once personal and global. Following three individuals, director Jessica Yu focuses on the human implications of this highly charged political issue, inspiring a fresh look at the consequences of population growth. In English, Hindi, Mandarin, and Russian 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.
- Point and Shoot, directed and written by Marshall Curry. (USA) – World Premiere. In 2011, unassuming Matthew VanDyke left his home in Baltimore to find adventure and see the world on his motorcycle, only to end up joining the Libyan rebel army to take arms against Gaddafi. Gun in one hand, video camera in the other, Matthew finally finds purpose and meaning in his wanderlust, until he is captured and held in solitary confinement for six months and must decide where his allegiances really lie. Director and TFF award winner, MarshallCurry (Racing Dreams), captures one man’s arresting transformation from a sheltered kid to a soldier on the front lines.
- Regarding Susan Sontag, directed and written by Nancy Kates, co-written by John Haptas. (USA) – World Premiere. Hungry for life and gracefully outspoken throughout her career, Susan Sontag became one of the most important literary, political, and feminist icons of her generation. Kates’ in depth documentary intimately tracks Sontag’s seminal, life-changing moments through her own words, as read by Patricia Clarkson—from her early infatuation with books to her first experience in a gay bar; from her first marriage to her last lover.Regarding Susan Sontag is a nuanced investigation into the life of a towering cultural critic and writer whose works on photography, war, and terrorism still resonate today. An HBO Documentary film.
- Tomorrow We Disappear, directed by Jimmy Goldblum and Adam Weber. (USA) – World Premiere. The puppeteers, performers, and magicians of the Kathputli colony in Delhi are the last slum-dweller–artists of their kind. When their land is sold to high-rise developers, they must fight for the only home they know. Fending off relocation, they struggle to keep their mystical Indian folk arts alive and to conserve what beauty remains as they are forced into someone else’s vision of the future. Tomorrow We Disappear is not just documentation, but ultimately becomes an extraordinary act of preservation. In Hindi with subtitles.
- Virunga, directed and written by Orlando von Einsiedel. (UK) – World Premiere. Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park, a UNESCO world heritage site, and the last natural habitat for the endangered mountain gorilla. None of that will stop the business interests and rebel insurgencies lurking at the park’s doorstep. Orlando von Einsiedel pairs gorgeous natural scenes from Virunga with riveting footage of the Congolese crisis, raising an ardent call for conservation as a vital human enterprise. Along the way, he spotlights the incredibly dangerous work that is often required to safeguard the environment. In English, French, and Swahili, with subtitles.
The core of Tribeca’s commitment to launching fresh voices and embracing risky, utterly original storytelling is Viewpoints. Kicking off with the delightfully twisted Summer of Blood, Onur Tukel’s comedic reimagining of the vampire genre, the spectrum of boundary-pushing work Viewpoints celebrates is reflected in a bounty of styles, genres, filmmakers, and subjects. Love & Engineering’s endearing nerds use their computer science expertise to find love by “hacking” women with data and algorithms, while illusionist The Amazing Randi’s decades long mission is not only to master the secrets of magic but to expose the charlatans who abuse them in An Honest Liar (charlatans not unlike Art and Craft’s master art forger who dupes curators just for the fun of it). Taking his own life into his hands, nine-year old Junior in Venezuela is on a mission to be himself— just with straight hair—in the charming Bad Hair, while the hard hitting Starred Up centers on a young man desperately trying not to end up like his criminal father. This troupe of art forgers, legendary magicians, and lovesick engineers join film noir detectives, hotdog tycoons, and drug smugglers to populate a 2014 program of uncommon originality and exuberance.
- Art and Craft, directed by Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Mark Landis is one of the most prolific and notorious ‘artists’ of the century. An expert forger of masterpiece art, Landis has duped curators across the nation, further befuddling them by donating his imitations instead of selling them. Many have dedicated years tracking his escapades with one burning question: “Why?” Framed around a cat-and-mouse chase between Landis and those he has hoodwinked, Art and Craft paints a richly complicated portrait of mental illness, skewed philanthropy, and the desire to feel connected.
- 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 Weekendhilariously delves into the stereotypical realm of masculinity that is camping and the great outdoors. A Tribeca Film release.
- Bad Hair (Pelo Malo), directed and written by Mariana Rondon. (Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, Germany) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. Junior, a nine-year-old living in Caracas, wants nothing more than to straighten his unruly hair to look like a singer for his school photo—a fixation that stirs homophobic panic in his overtaxed mother. Each effort Junior makes to alter his appearance and gain his mother’s love is brushed off with abrasive avoidance until he’s ultimately faced with a heartbreaking decision. With a painfully tender performance by Samuel Lange, writer-director Mariana Rondón directs this coming-of-age drama about the search for identity clashing with intolerance. In Spanish with subtitles.
- Below Dreams, directed and written by Garrett Bradley. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. A reverie of images and sound, Below Dreamsloosely follows the narratives of three very different people returning to New Orleans for the promise of a better life. But as each character experiences the city’s realities, it becomes clear that their individual hopes and dreams may no longer be possible, and that with change must also come sacrifice. Shot documentary style, but with dreamlike qualities melding fiction and reality, this is a hypnotic tribute to both the socially marginalized and to the city of New Orleans itself.
- 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.
- Black Coal, Thin Ice (Bai Ri Yan Huo), directed and written by Diao Yinan. (China, Hong Kong) – North American Premiere, Narrative. After a botched arrest in a grisly serial-murder case, small-town detective Zhang Zili is suspended from the force, taking a job as a security guard at a coal factory. When another series of mysteriously similar murders takes place five years later, Zhang sets out to investigate on his own. Winner of the top prize at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Diao Yinan’s moody, quietly powerful thriller is a classic film noir staged against the quotidian lives of a wintry Northern Chinese industrial town. In Mandarin with subtitles.
- Broken Hill Blues (Ömheten), directed and written by Sofia Norlin. (Sweden) – North American Premiere, Narrative. A group of adolescents wrestle with their uncertain futures in a remote mining town that is literally cracking underneath their feet. Kiruna, the northernmost town in Sweden, sits above an iron ore mine that has been slowly eroding the land around it for decades. Soon, Kiruna and everyone in it will have to move, but to where they do not know. As the displaced teenagers linger on the cusp of adulthood, they echo the town’s own fragility in this beautiful and understated film. In Swedish with subtitles.
- Electric Slide, directed and written by Tristan Patterson. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. A heightened homage to the City of Angels, Electric Slide riffs on the real-life story of Eddie Dodson, the notorious “Gentleman Bank Robber.” With a debonair sophistication and a serious talent for flirt, Dodson managed to lure money from mesmerized female tellers at over 60 banks during an epic spree in the 1980s. Director Tristan Patterson gathers Jim Sturgess, Chloë Sevigny, and Patricia Arquette to paint a dark, hyper-stylized tale of crime, love, and style.
- Famous Nathan, directed and written by Lloyd Handwerker. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters, a New York City icon, has left a lasting imprint on the collective memory and palate of Coney Island. Director and grandson of ‘Famous’ Nathan himself, Lloyd Handwerker, takes a look back at the immigrant experience and almost 100 years of family and New York history in this personal documentary gem. Featuring a strong score, colorful and endearing characters, rare archival material, and a nuanced editing style, Famous Nathan will not disappoint New York history enthusiasts.
- An Honest Liar, directed and written by Justin Weinstein, Tyler Measom, co-written by Greg O’Toole. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Renowned magician James “The Amazing” Randi, has been wowing audiences with his jaw-dropping illusions, escapes, and sleight of hand for over 50 years. When Randi began seeing his cherished art form co-opted by all manner of con artists, from faith healers and fortune-tellers to psychics and gurus, Randi made it his mission to expose the simple tricks charlatans have borrowed from magicians to swindle the masses. Weinstein and Measom chronicle Randi’s best debunkings, with the help of interviewees including Penn Jillette, Bill Nye, and “Mythbuster” Adam Savage, ultimately showing us how we are all vulnerable to deception, even “The Amazing” Randi himself.
- Honeymoon, directed and written by Leigh Janiak, co-written by Phil Graziadei. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative. What begins as a happy honeymoon for newlyweds Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) takes a sinister turn when Bea disappears from bed one night and Paul discovers her the next day naked in the woods with no memory of how she got there. Soon Bea begins an escalating, unexplainable shift from a happy, carefree young woman to a cold, distant, and calculating one. Supernatural forces may be at work, but they uncannily echo some of the anxieties that come with a new marriage—issues such as secrecy, mistrust, and loss of identity—in Janiak’s brooding domestic drama.
- I Won’t Come Back (Ya Ne Vernus), directed by Ilmar Raag, written by Oleg Gaze and Jaroslava Pulinovich. (Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Kazakhstan, Russia) – World Premiere, Narrative. Aloof graduate student Anya is on the run from the police when she encounters precocious and willful Kristina, an orphan determined to find her grandmother in Kazakhstan. Kristina offers a momentary solution to Anya’s desperate situation, and the unlikely pair begins a harrowing and unpredictable odyssey, hitchhiking across the epic landscapes of Russia and its neighboring countries. I Won’t Come Back is a visceral look at survival and a heartfelt exploration into the depths of friendship and the meaning of family. In Russian with subtitles.
- 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.
- Karpotrotter (Karpopotnik), directed and written by Matjaž Ivanišin, co-written by Nebeojša Pop-Tasić. (Slovenia) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Karpotrotter is a road movie about place, time, and memory, as well as an homage to filmmaker Karpo Godina, whose work flourished during the Black Wave of Yugoslavian filmmaking in the 1960s. Director Matjaž Ivanišin retraces the footsteps of his compatriot’s journey, interlacing Godina’s original Super 8mm footage with folklore music, landscape imagery, and contemporary portraits of the local villagers. In Slovene with subtitles.
- Love & Engineering, directed and written by Tonislav Hristov. (Finland, Germany, Bulgaria) – International Premiere, Documentary. Is there an algorithm for love? Atanas, a Bulgarian engineer living in Finland, is determined to find out. With the help of some of his geeky bachelor friends, he sets up a series of experiments to crack the code and develop a new, scientific approach to dating. This charming and lighthearted documentary follows Atanas and company as they research pheromones, chart brain waves, and try out “hacks” on blind dates, in their quest to find romance in the modern world. In Bulgarian, English and Finnish with subtitles.
- Maravilla, directed and written by Juan Pablo Cadaveira. (Argentina) – International Premiere, Documentary. A true underdog story,Maravilla follows Argentinian boxer Sergio ‘Maravilla’ Martinez, as he sets out to reclaim the title of Middleweight champion that was unfairly snatched from him in 2011 by Julio Chavez, Jr. Focusing on the rise of Martinez from penniless amateur to world champion and sporting celebrity, director Juan Pablo Cadaveira offers a fascinating glimpse into today’s boxing landscape, revealing the politics of the sporting profession that often places entertainment value over the sport itself. In English and Spanish with subtitles.
- The Overnighters, directed by Jesse Moss. (USA) – New York Premiere, Documentary. After hydraulic fracturing uncovers a rich oil field in North Dakota, a small conservative town is tested as hordes of unemployed men chasing the “American Dream” pour into its borders. Desperate men, often running from their past, find compassion and refuge in the form of a local pastor. However, the more responsibility he shoulders, the more everything threatens to come crumbling down. A film of dualities, this provocative modern-day parable by documentarian Jesse Moss challenges the very fabric of our society.
- Starred Up, directed by David Mackenzie, written by Jonathan Asser. (UK) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. Writer Jonathan Asser intelligently brings the brutality of British prison life to raw, unflinching life in this tense and unpredictable drama. Jack O’Connell (This Is England) plays Eric, a young offender so violent and volatile that he is ‘starred up’—prematurely moved to an adult prison. As he tries to keep his head down and navigate this new microcosm of societal codes and loyalties, Eric’s explosive nature is tested under the ceaseless gaze of guards and fellow inmates, one who turns out to be his estranged father, Neville (Ben Mendelsohn). A Tribeca Film release.
- Summer of Blood, directed and written by Onur Tukel. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative.
Misanthropic and immature Eric faces a premature mid-life crisis after his girlfriend leaves him. With no career and even less charisma in bed, it seems like this loveable loser is beyond hope, until one fateful summer night when a vampire bites him in a Brooklyn alleyway. The next day, Eric finds his confidence invigorated and his stomach in excruciating pain that can only be cured by one thing…blood. Onur Tukel directs and stars in this delightfully dark comedy about love, lust, and humanity.
- Traitors, directed and written by Sean Gullette. (Morocco) – North American Premiere, Narrative. In Sean Gullette’s feature debut, Malika is the lead singer of an all-female punk band and sees music as a means to escape a dull and conservative life in Tangier. When a producer expresses interest in her, she jumps at the chance, but first she’ll need to find the money for recording, and a drug run across the Moroccan border may be her only option. Fiery and energetic, Traitors is a spirited and rebellious journey of a young woman breaking from the traditional life set before her. In Arabic, English and French with subtitles. Traitors is screening as part of a special cultural partnership with Venice Days where a European film showcased at Venice Days is selected by organizers there to have its international premiere at Tribeca. In 2013 Venice Days premiered Lenny Cooke.
- 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.
- Young Bodies Heal Quickly, directed and written by Andrew T. Betzer. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Two brothers drift aimlessly through their summer days, trashing abandoned cars and playing with paintball guns, until the accidental death of a young woman forces them to make drastic decisions. With few options, the duo flee across state lines to dodge arrest and search for refuge. Poetic, funny, and poignant, this quietly mesmerizing film follows the brothers’ transitions from boys to men through an absorption of the world—good and bad—around them.
The Spotlight, Midnight and Storyscapes line-up on page 2.
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With its focus on marquee directors, prominent actors, and star performers, Spotlight is Tribeca’s showcase for launching breakout films. This year’s program finds maturing millennials navigating the changing nature of their friendships in best-friends comedy Life Partners, and Big Chill-homage About Alex, while older characters also struggle with change—like the New York couple at the center of Ira Sachs’ touching Love is Strange, and a subdued Robin Williams as a late-in-life man finally embracing his authentic self in Boulevard. From the international side, provocateur Roman Polanski finally brings his Cannes hit Venus In Fur to the U.S., while Stellan Skarsgård anchors pitch-black comedy, In Order of Disappearance as an unlikely vigilante. The Spotlight documentaries probe topics from LEGO bricks to Chinese-American cuisine, and include profiles of icons ranging from legendary musicians like The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir in The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir and shock-rock badboy, Alice Cooper, in Super Duper Alice Cooper, to sharp-tongued Texas governor Ann Richards in All About Ann: Governor Richards of the Lone Star State and the (as-of-now) only American winner of the Tour de France, Greg LeMond, whose bitter rivalry with a teammate threatens to derail his career in Slaying the Badger. Rounding out the docs is a an expose of questionable undercover FBI tactics, The Newburgh Sting. With something for every taste, Spotlight is an exciting panorama of premieres sure to stimulate, inspire, and entertain.
- 5 to 7, directed and written by Victor Levin. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Young aspiring novelist Brian (Anton Yelchin) meets Arielle (Bérénice Marlohe), the sophisticated wife of a French Diplomat. They soon embark on a “cinq-a-sept” affair that challenges Brian’s traditional American ideas of love and relationships. A cosmopolitan comedy of manners told with surprising warmth and lightness, 5 to 7 marks writer and producer Levin’s (Mad Men) directorial debut, and welcomes actress Marlohe (Skyfall) as a glamorous, ebullient screen presence. With Glenn Close and Frank Langella.
- About Alex, directed and written by Jesse Zwick. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. A circle of twenty-something friends reunite for a weekend away to console a suicidal member of their group. Yet, despite their best efforts to enjoy themselves, a tinderbox of old jealousies, unrequited love, and widening political differences leads to an explosion of drama that, coupled with the flammable combination of drugs, wine, and risotto, cannot be contained. A Big Chill for our current social media moment, About Alex is a lighthearted look at the struggles of a generation that has it all—and wants more. Starring Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, Max Minghella, Jason Ritter, Nate Parker, and Maggie Grace.
- Alex of Venice, directed by Chris Messina, written by Jessica Goldberg and Katie Nehra & Justin Shilton. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Workaholic environmental attorney Alex (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has always relied on her husband George (Chris Messina) to take the reins at home. But when he unexpectedly asks for a break, his departure forces Alex to reevaluate her life as she juggles the care of her son and needs of an aspiring-actor father (Don Johnson), all amid the most important case of her life. Actor Chris Messina steps behind the camera for his directorial debut about a woman pushed to the edge who finds the strength to press on.
- All About Ann: Governor Richards of the Lone Star State, directed by Keith Patterson and Phillip Schopper. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. An unmissable documentary for any political junkie, All About Ann celebrates the achievements of larger-than-life Ann Richards, who became the first elected female governor of Texas. Her cool demeanor, acid wit, and passion for social inclusivity made her one of the most powerful and progressive governors in U.S. history, a liberal democrat intent on building “the new Texas.” But, when the 1994 election begins, Richards is faced with her toughest challenge yet, as an increasingly conservative majority turn towards a new, pro-business candidate: George W. Bush. An HBO Documentary Film.
- Boulevard, directed by Dito Montiel, written by Douglas Soesbe. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Nolan Mack, a soft-spoken bank employee, undoubtedly loves his wife Joy, though their cavernous empty house only underscores how disconnected they’ve always been from each other. Nolan finds himself drifting from his familiar present-day life in pursuit of lost time after meeting a troubled young man named Leo on his drive home. What begins as an aimless drive down an unfamiliar street turns into a life-altering series of events. Robin Williams and Kathy Baker deliver quietly stirring performances in this touching film about finding the strength to be true to yourself at any age.
- 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.
- Chef, directed and written by Jon Favreau. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative. After talented and dynamic chef Carl Casper’s (Favreau) social media-fueled meltdown against his nemesis food critic lands him without any job prospects, Chef Casper hits the road with his son and his sous chef (John Leguizamo) to launch a brand new food truck business. Complete with lavish food imagery and a star-studded cast including Sofia Vergara, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, and Amy Sedaris, Favreau’s fresh take on food and chef culture has poignant messages about the media-driven world in which we live and the real meaning of success. An Open Road Release.
- Every Secret Thing, directed by Amy Berg, written by Nicole Holofcener. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. One clear summer day in a Baltimore suburb, a baby goes missing from her front porch. Two young girls serve seven years for the crime and are released into a town that hasn’t fully forgiven or forgotten. Soon, another child is missing, and two detectives are called in to investigate the mystery in a community where everyone seems to have a secret. An ensemble cast, including Elizabeth Banks, Diane Lane, Dakota Fanning, and Nate Parker, brings to life Laura Lippman’s acclaimed novel of love, loss, and murder.
- In Order of Disappearance (Kraftidioten), directed by Hans Petter Moland, written by Kim Fupz Aakeson. (Norway) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Upstanding community leader Nils (Stellan Skarsgård) has just won an award for ‘Citizen of the Year’ when he learns the news that his son has died of a heroin overdose. Suspecting foul play, Nils begins to investigate, and soon finds himself at the center of an escalating underworld gang war between Serbian drug dealers and a sociopathic criminal mastermind known only as “The Count.” Hans Petter Moland’s action-thriller is an entertaining and intelligent black comedy set in the dead of frozen Norwegian winter. In English, Norwegian, and Swedish with English subtitles.
- In Your Eyes, directed by Brin Hill, written by Joss Whedon. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative.
East Coast housewife Rebecca (Zoe Kazan) lives a comfortable, sheltered life, but she always knew there was something special about herself. Charismatic ex-con Dylan (Michael Stahl-David) has paid his debt to society and is ready for a fresh start in New Mexico, including a burgeoning flirtation with local good-time-gal Donna (Nikki Reed). When the two polar opposites realize they are strangely connected, an utterly unique metaphysical romance begins in TFF alum Brin Hill’s sweet and smart film, which star Zoe Kazan aptly described as “Joss Whedon does Nicholas Sparks.”
- Just Before I Go, directed by Courteney Cox, written by David Flebotte.(USA) – World Premiere, Narrative.Seann William Scott plays Ted Morgan, a down-on-his-luck everyman who has decided he’s had enough of the hard knocks life has thrown his way. But before saying his final adieu, Ted returns to his hometown to right a few wrongs. Enter a zany cast of characters, including Rob Riggle, Olivia Thirlby, and Garret Dillahunt, who, whilst royally messing up his scheme, manage to teach him a few clumsy, but ultimately valuable lessons.
- Keep On Keepin’ On, directed and written by Alan Hicks, co-written by Davis Coombe. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.Eighty-nine year old trumpeting legend Clark Terry has mentored jazz wonders like Miles Davis and Quincy Jones, but Terry’s most unlikely friendship is with Justin Kauflin, a 23-year-old blind piano player with uncanny talent, but debilitating nerves. As Justin prepares for the most pivotal moment in his budding career, Terry’s ailing health threatens to end his own. Charming and nostalgic, Alan Hicks’ melodic debut celebrates an iconic musician while introducing an emerging star of equal vibrancy.
- Life Partners, directed and written by Susanna Fogel, co-written byJoni Lefkowitz.(USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Nearing 30, Sasha and Paige realize their codependent friendship is preventing either of them from settling down. But when Paige meets the dorky yet lovable Tim, Sasha fears that she’s being replaced. Leighton Meester, Gillian Jacobs, Gabourey Sidibe, and Adam Brody star in a comedy revolving around two friends and the guy that strikes discord in their harmoniously laid-back resistance to growing up. Directed by Susanna Fogel, Life Partnersaffectionately tackles the intimacy and complexity of female friendship.
- Love is Strange, directed and written by Ira Sachs, co-written by Mauricio Zacharias. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative.Ira Sachs returns to the indie scene following 2012’s acclaimed Keep the Lights On with another new take on modern love. Acting veterans John Lithgow and Alfred Molina star as Ben and George, a Manhattan couple who are finally given the opportunity to make their union official. But when Ben loses his teaching job as a result, the relationship is tested in unconventional ways—leaving them to lean more heavily than ever on their love to hold things together. A Sony Pictures Classics Release.
- Lucky Them, directed by Megan Griffiths, written by Huck Botko and Emily Wachtel. (USA) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative.More interested in partying and flirting with young musicians than work, veteran rock journalist Ellie Klug (Toni Collette) has one last chance to prove her value to her magazine’s editor: a no-stone-unturned search to discover what really happened to long lost rock god, Matt Smith, who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend. Teaming up with an eccentric amateur documentary filmmaker (Thomas Haden Church in a delightful performance), Ellie hits the road in search of answers in this charming dramedy set against the vibrant Seattle indie music scene. An IFC Films Release.
· Manos Sucias, directed and written by Josef Wladyka, co-written by Alan Blanco. (Colombia, USA) – International Premiere, Narrative. Towing a submerged torpedo in the wake of their battered fishing boat, a desperate fisherman and a naive kid embark on a journey trafficking millions of dollars worth of cocaine. Shot entirely on location along the Pacific coast of Colombia—in areas that bear the indelible scars of the drug trade—Manos Sucias refuses to glamorize the drug trade but rather seeks to offer a rare glimpse of its devastating effects. Executive Produced by Spike Lee.
- Match, directed and written by Stephen Belber. (USA)– World Premiere, Narrative. A Seattle couple (Matthew Lillard and Carla Gugino) travel to New York to interview colorful former dancer Tobi (played with remarkable dexterity by Patrick Stewart) for research on a dissertation about dance. But soon, common niceties and social graces erode when the questions turn personal and the true nature of the interview is called into question. Based on the Tony Award-winning play of the same name, Match moves effortlessly between riotous wit and delicate poignancy in this story of responsibility, artistic commitment, and love.
- Miss Meadows, directed and written by Karen Leigh Hopkins (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Prim schoolteacher Miss Meadows (Katie Holmes) is not entirely what she appears. Well-mannered, sweet, and caring, yes, but underneath the candy-sweet exterior hides the soul of a vigilante, taking it upon herself to right the wrongs in this cruel world by whatever means necessary. Things get complicated, however, when Miss Meadows gets romantically entangled with the town sheriff (James Badge Dale) and her steadfast moral compass is thrown off, begging the question: “Who is the real Miss Meadows and what is she hiding?”
- The Newburgh Sting,directed by David Heilbroner and Kate Davis, written by David Heilbroner. (USA)– World Premiere, Documentary.Just 60 miles north of New York City sits the poverty-stricken town of Newburgh, where, in 2009, four men were arrested for a plan to bomb two Jewish centers in the Bronx. But their leader, a suspicious Pakistani businessman planted by the government as an informant, led these men straight into the hands of the authorities. With endless footage gathered from hidden cameras, directors David Heilbroner and Kate Davis investigate just what homegrown terrorism truly means in this shocking and galvanizing exposé.
- Night Moves, directed and written by Kelly Reichardt, co-written by Jon Raymond. (USA)– U.S. Premiere, Narrative. Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, and Peter Sarsgaard star as radical activists surreptitiously plotting to blow up Oregon’s Green Peter Dam in an act of environmental sabotage. As their plan marches inexorably towards fruition, they soon discover that small steps have enormous consequences. Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy director Kelly Reichardt crafts another graceful and absorbing film about outsiders searching for a meaningful place on the edges of the system in this atmospheric environmental thriller. A Cinedigm Release.
- The One I Love, directed by Charlie McDowell, written by Justin Lader.(USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative. In Charlie McDowell’s refreshing and inventive twist on the love story, Ethan and Sophie escape to a country retreat in a last ditch attempt to save their ailing marriage. But what begins as a quiet opportunity to reconnect soon morphs into an unexplainable head trip that forces the couple to confront their relationship in an impossibly unique way. Starring Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss in heartfelt performances, The One I Love turns the romantic comedy upside down with an altogether original take on monogamy, relationships, and how much you ever really know your partner. A Radius-TWC Release.
- The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir, directed by Mike Fleiss. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.Drop out of school to ride with the Merry Pranksters. Form America’s most enduring jam band. Become a family man and father. Never stop chasing the muse. Bob Weir took his own path to and through superstardom as rhythm guitarist for The Grateful Dead. Mike Fleiss re-imagines the whole wild journey in this magnetic rock doc and concert film, with memorable input from bandmates, contemporaries, followers, family, and, of course, the inimitable Bob Weir himself.
- Palo Alto, directed and written by Gia Coppola, adapted from Palo Alto: Stories by James Franco. (USA) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. Popular but shy soccer player April (Emma Roberts) frequently babysits for her single-dad coach, Mr. B. (James Franco), while Teddy (Jack Kilmer) is an introspective artist whose best friend and sidekick, Fred (Nat Wolff), is an unpredictable live wire with few filters or boundaries. One party bleeds into another as April and Teddy finally acknowledge their mutual affection, and Fred’s escalating recklessness spirals into chaos. Palo Alto is a vibrant cinematic immersion into the overlapping stories and emotions that make up the high school experience. A Tribeca Film Release.
- The Search for General Tso, directed by Ian Cheney.(USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. From New York City to the farmlands of the Midwest, there are 50,000 Chinese restaurants in the U.S., yet one dish in particular has conquered the American culinary landscape with a force befitting its military moniker—“General Tso’s Chicken.” But who was General Tso and how did this dish become so ubiquitous? Ian Cheney’s delightfully insightful documentary charts the history of Chinese Americans through the surprising origins of this sticky, sweet, just-spicy-enough dish that we’ve adopted as our own.
- Silenced, directed by James Spione. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Only 11 Americans have ever been charged under the Espionage Act of 1917; eight of them since President Obama took office. Academy Award®-nominated documentarian James Spione returns to TFF with the incredible personal journeys of two members of that octet, Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou, along with accountability advocate, Jesselyn Radack, who helped bring their cases to light. With resonance in the post-Snowden era, Silenced catalogs the lengths to which the government has gone to keep its most damning secrets quiet, in an impassioned and thought-provoking defense of whistleblowers everywhere. Executive produced by Susan Sarandon.
- Sister, directed and written by David Lascher, co-written by Todd Camhe.(USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. When unstable Connie (Barbara Hershey) is tragically widowed, she finds it impossible to care for her delinquent adolescent daughter, Nicki, forcing her son, Bill (Reid Scott), to take his sister in. As the two begin to forge a healthy bond, well-meaning Bill implements his own method of treatment for Nicki’s mental troubles, but, when turmoil persists, he must reconcile his beliefs with what actually may be best for his sister. Sister addresses the polemic issue of youth psychotropic drug prescription with restraint and sensitivity.
- Slaying the Badger, directed and written by John Dower. (UK) – World Premiere, Documentary. Before Lance Armstrong, there was Greg LeMond, who is now the first and only American to win the Tour de France. In this engrossing documentary, LeMond looks back at the pivotal 1986 Tour, and his increasingly vicious rivalry with friend, teammate, and mentor Bernard Hinault. The reigning Tour champion and brutal competitor known as “The Badger,” Hinault ‘promised’ to help LeMond to his first victory, in return for LeMond supporting him in the previous year. But in a sport that purports to reward teamwork, it’s really every man for himself. An ESPN Films Production.
- Super Duper Alice Cooper, directed and written by Reginald Harkema, Scot McFadyen, and Sam Dunn. (Canada) – World Premiere, Documentary.Emerging from the Detroit music scene of the 1970s in a flurry of long hair and sequins, Alice Cooper restored hard rock with a sense of showmanship, while simultaneously striking fear into the hearts of Middle America with the chicken-slaughtering, dead-baby-eating theatrics that would cement his identity as a glam metal icon. Meticulously crafted from rare archival footage, Super Duper Alice Cooper tells the story of the man behind the makeup, Vincent Furnier, the son of a preacher, who got caught in the grip of his own monster.
- Third Person, directed and written by Paul Haggis. (Belgium) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. Veteran screenwriter and director Paul Haggis (Crash) brings to the screen a calculated vision of the drama of love. Three stories set in cities known for romance—New York, Rome, and Paris—take raw and personal twists as characters grapple with the difficulties of modern relationships. With a heavyweight cast including James Franco, Mila Kunis, Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, Adrien Brody, and Maria Bello, Haggis once again weaves an intricate narrative out of seemingly separate worlds. A Sony Pictures Classics Release.
- Untitled Daniel Junge and Kief Davidson Documentary. (USA, Denmark) – World Premiere, Documentary. Stay tuned for more information on this new documentary exploring the fans of a beloved childhood toy.
- Venus in Fur (La Vénus à la fourrure), directed and written by Roman Polanski, co-written by David Ives. (France, Poland) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Thomas (Matthieu Almaric) is a theater director staging an adaptation of an obscure 19th century Austrian novel. Frustrated by the quality of actresses he has auditioned, Thomas is about to give up when mysterious Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner, Polanski’s wife) arrives in his theater unannounced, knowing every line by heart. As the two begin a fevered, intense, and at times aggressive collaboration, the lines between passion and obsession (and theater and reality) begin to blur in auteur Roman Polanski’s latest New York stage adaptation. In French and German with English subtitles. A Sundance Selects Release.
What do alien invaders and chupacabras have in common with a sword-wielding maniac and the ghost of a turn-of-the-century murderer? They can all be found in Tribeca’s 2014 Midnight program, a collection of this year’s most boundary-pushing genre films from around the globe. Opening Night selection, Preservation, is a moody, intelligent take on the maniac in the woods genre, and an apt foreshadowing of the slew of inhuman baddies that emerge from the darkness to terrify sexed-up teens in Extraterrestrial, Indigenous, and sure-to-be-a-conversation-piece special screening, Zombeavers. Meanwhile, a rookie cop takes on his deranged doppelganger in bizarre German horror-cum-arthouse film, Der Samurai, while the conflict takes a team turn in Intramural, a wacky romp about an underdog flag football team that riffs on classic sports movies with a cartoonish comedic sensibility. Too terrifying, strange, or downright hilarious for daylight hours, these seven films wear their Midnight Movie moniker with pride.
- The Canal, directed and written by Ivan Kavanagh.(Ireland) – World Premiere, Narrative. Film archivist David and his wife are perfectly happy—or so he believes. When a looming secret shatters their marriage at the same time as a turn-of-the-century film reel he is studying reveals their house to be the site of a 1902 multiple-murder, David begins to unravel, and the house’s eerie history threatens to repeat itself. Dripping with tension and chilling to the core, this visceral Irish ghost story is a visually arresting and genuinely shocking journey into the darkness within.
- Der Samurai, directed and written by Till Kleinert. (Germany) – International Premiere, Narrative. A samurai-wielding figure wearing a white dress lurks menacingly in the forest, waiting to descend upon an unsuspecting village in the muddy backwaters of rural East Germany. As heads roll with each stroke of his sword, dutiful, straight-laced cop Jakob becomes increasingly
powerless to resist the draw of the Samurai’s feral otherness. The two enter into a bizarre folie à deux as Jakob is forced to confront his own carnal impulses that he has long sought to repress.
- Extraterrestrial, directed by Colin Minihan, written by The Vicious Brothers. (Canada) – World Premiere, Narrative.The Vicious Brothers (Grave Encounters) return to Tribeca with their latest heart-pumping thriller. Five friends set out to a cabin in the woods for a fun weekend getaway—that is, until extraterrestrial visitors turn it into a fight for their lives. The group is pulled from their reverie when a flickering object crashes deep in the woods. As they investigate, the friends stumble across an alien spacecraft, and its inhabitants have not arrived in peace.
- Indigenous, directed by Alastair Orr, written by Max Roberts. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. A group of five American friends on the cusp of adulthood travel to Panama to relax and reconnect. They befriend a local woman in their hotel bar—and despite some ominous whispers—she goes against the specific instructions of her brother and brings the Americans on a daytrip into the pristine falls at the nearby jungle. What begins as an innocent outing to a picturesque waterfall quickly turns terrifying after she suddenly goes missing. As night closes in, the friends realize too late the truth behind the rumors—the legendary, blood-sucking Chupacabra is now stalking them. In English and Spanish with subtitles.
- Intramural, directed by Andrew Disney, written by Bradley Jackson.(USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. There comes a time in every fifth-year senior’s life where they must either accept the impending ‘real world’ of jobs, marriage, and payment plans or shirk that responsibility in favor of playing the most glorious intramural football game your school probably doesn’t really care to see. In this full throttle and hilarious send-up of inspirational sports movies, director Andrew Disney harnesses every cliché and overused trope to tell the greatest (and only) intramural sports movie of all time. Featuring an ensemble cast including Kate MacKinnon, Jay Pharoah, Beck Bennett, and Nikki Reed.
- Preservation, directed and written by Christopher Denham,(USA) – World Premiere, Narrative.
Three family members head deep into the woods for a hunting trip that doubles as a distraction from their troubles at home. When all of their gear is stolen, they turn on each other, but soon realize there are much more treacherous forces at work. Actor Christopher Denham takes his second turn in the director’s chair with this finely crafted horror-thriller starring Pablo Schreiber (The Wire, Orange is the New Black), Aaron Staton (Mad Men), and Wrenn Schmidt (Boardwalk Empire).
- Zombeavers, directed and written by Jordan Rubin, co-written by Al Kaplan and Jon Kaplan.(USA) – World Premiere, Narrative.You know the story: sexy teens head to a secluded lakeside cabin for a weekend of debauched fun, only to be menaced by a mysterious force picking them off one by one. But here, the culprit proves to be a horde of rabid zombie beavers! The B-movie creature feature is making a comeback, and with 2 million views of its trailer in its first two weeks alone, Zombeavers is a veritable phenomenon. And it’s finally here. Special midnight screening.
Tribeca Film Festival’s Storyscapes, created in collaboration with BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin, is a juried section at the Festival to showcase innovative and interactive transmedia work across genres. This year the stories are all around us, bringing to life innovative forms of storytelling that encourage participation and spark imagination. Put on a Virtual Reality headset and experience the visceral power ofUse of Force. Immerse yourself in the computer-generated, non-linear experience of Clouds. Vote on the path that Choose Your Own Documentary takes in a live performance that incorporates comedy, film and audience participation. Create your own joyful choir with On A Human Scale. Finally, eavesdrop on the past as you navigate through a 3D-city neighborhood that no longer exists in Circa 1948. These are stories that surround us and stories that involve us. Dive in. Curated by the TFF Programming team along with Ingrid Kopp, Director of Digital Initiatives for the Tribeca Film Institute, the program will present five selections as public, interactive installations at the Bombay Sapphire House of Imagination (121 Varick Street, 7th Floor) starting from April 23 – April 26, 2014. The interactive nature of Storyscapes will also extend to the lounge and cocktail bars at Bombay Sapphire House of Imagination. Different locations will trigger specific messages sent to mobile phones; a mixture of facts and stories about cocktails, botanicals, technology and creativity. Guests will be encouraged to share thoughts and observations, which will be projected in the lounge.
- Choose Your Own Documentary, Project Creators: Nathan Penlington, Fernando R. Gutierrez De Jesus, Nick Watson, and Sam Smaïl.Inspired by the Choose Your Own Adventure books of the 1980s,Choose Your Own Documentary tells the story of Nathan Penlington’s discovery of a diary tucked away in one of these books and his attempts to unravel its many mysteries. Part comedy stand-up, part documentary, this is a unique live interactive experience in which the audience plays a vital role. With over 1,566 possible versions, and multiple endings, every performance is different and the audience votes on the path the documentary takes. Where will the story lead? How will the story end? You decide.
- Circa 1948, Project Creator: Stan Douglas with the NFB Digital Studio. Circa 1948 is a new project from internationally renowned artist Stan Douglas. Together with NFB Interactive, he has recreated areas from Vancouver’s history that no longer exist. The locations have been meticulously researched and are recreated in historically accurate 3D detail, where they become the site of the disembodied voices of the people who once inhabited them. Eavesdrop on the past and explore a seminal turning point in the history of Vancouver through the voices of homeless veterans, gamblers, prostitutes, and police officers. Hearing—but not seeing—the inhabitants, you can navigate the different environments and be immersed in a plot peopled with characters from a disappeared world.
- Clouds, Project Creators: Jonathan Minard, James George. A new generation of artists and hackers are emerging and creating tools for poetic and socially engaged experiments in art, storytelling, and technology. 3D-scanned conversations from this community form a network of ideas explored in a non-linear documentary that is assembled from code, bringing form and content together in a truly exciting way. Clouds will be presented as an interactive installation that you can navigate yourself.
- On a Human Scale, Project Creator: Matthew Carey. On a Human Scale reimagines the people of New York City as a fully playable and immersive video instrument controlled by a piano. Each key triggers a different video of a different person, from a different walk of life, singing a different note. When played together they fuse into a joyful choir that is totally under the control of whoever is at the keyboard. Playing the piano brings to life an audiovisual installation that fuses music, film, people, and technology into a living, singing tapestry of humanity.
- Use of Force,Project Creator:Nonny de la Peña. Use of Force is a fully immersive documentary experience that puts you on scene when migrant Anastasio Hernandez Rojas was killed by border patrol on the U.S.–Mexico border in 2010. Using custom built virtual reality, participants stand alongside witnesses who were trying to stop the events unfolding, offering a profound and visceral experience. Nonny de la Peña is a pioneer of immersive journalism and this is an experience that really puts you in someone else’s shoes.
- 6, directed byLouie Psihoyos. (USA) – Work In Progress, Documentary.From the Academy Award®- winning filmmaking team that revealed oceanic atrocities in The Cove comes a bigger and bolder mission. Utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, director Louie Psihoyos assembles a team of activists intent on showing the world never-before-seen images that will change the way we understand issues of endangered species and mass extinction. Whether infiltrating notorious black markets with guerilla-style tactics, or working with artists to create beautiful imagery with unexpected animal subjects, 6 will literally change the way you see the world.
- A Brony Tale, directed by Brent Hodge, written by Ashleigh Ball and Hodge. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Born of internet mecca 4chan, the “Brony” phenomenon is a flourishing community of adult, mostly male, fans of the children’s cartoon “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” a group drawn together by their mutual love of the show’s positive, teamwork-oriented moral. Brent Hodge’s funny and illuminating documentary surveys the members of this surprising subculture, framed by the journey of Ashleigh Bell, one of the show’s voice actors, to embrace her unexpected fan base.
- Journey to the West (Xi You), directed and written by Tsai Ming Liang. (France, Taiwan R.O.C.) – North American Premiere, Narrative. A meditation loosely based on the classical Chinese story by Wu Cheng’en. This groundbreaking new interpretation brings the legendary pilgrimage of a Buddhist Monk into the present tense. Director Tsai Ming Liang bids us to look and listen, providing a timeless take on the spiritual journey of an individual whose main battle is the constant negotiation between the self and the substrate in which he finds himself. Journey to the West proposes that true enlightenment awaits those who endure.
- This Time Next Year, directed by Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman.(USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy swept along the East Coast, devastating countless communities in its wake. This is one community’s story of what it takes to rebuild. TFF alum Jeff Reichert (Gerrymandering) teams up with co-director/producer Farihah Zaman to follow the residents of Long Beach Island, NJ, during the first full year after the storm. Funded by Tribeca Film Institute with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, this documentary is more than just a film; it is a call to action.
- 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.
The “Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival” line-up on page 3.
TRIBECA/ESPN SPORTS FILM FESTIVAL
· When the Garden was Eden, directed by Michael Rapaport. (USA) – World Premiere. Actor Michael Rapaport delivers an unabashed love note to the Knicks with this fast-moving tribute to the team’s glory days. Featuring interviews with Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Earl Monroe, Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, Phil Jackson and others connected to the team’s championship years,When the Garden was Eden is a snapshot of a colorful and volatile era in New York history and a testament to the breathless energy that defines the city and its sporting heroes.
The following Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival titles have been announced in their respective sections as part of the 2014 TFF film program:
· Intramural, directed by Andrew Disney, written by Bradley Jackson.(USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. There comes a time in every fifth-year senior’s life where they must either accept the impending ‘real world’ of jobs, marriage, and payment plans or shirk that responsibility in favor of playing the most glorious intramural football game your school probably doesn’t really care to see. In this full throttle and hilarious send-up of inspirational sports movies, director Andrew Disney harnesses every cliché and overused trope to tell the greatest (and only) intramural sports movie of all time. Featuring an ensemble cast including Kate McKinnon, Jay Pharoah, Jake Lacy, Beck Bennett, and Nikki Reed.
· Maravilla, directed and written by Juan Pablo Cadaveira. (Argentina) – International Premiere. A true underdog story,Maravilla follows Argentinian boxer Sergio ‘Maravilla’ Martinez, as he sets out to reclaim the title of Middleweight champion that was unfairly snatched from him in 2011 by Julio Chavez, Jr. Focusing on the rise of Martinez from penniless amateur to world champion and sporting celebrity, director Juan Pablo Cadaveira offers a fascinating glimpse into today’s boxing landscape, revealing the politics of the sporting profession that often places entertainment value over the sport itself. In English and Spanish with subtitles
· Slaying the Badger, directed and written by John Dower. (UK) – World Premiere. Before Lance Armstrong, there was Greg LeMond, who was the first and only American to officially win the Tour de France. In this engrossing documentary, LeMond looks back at the pivotal 1986 Tour, and his increasingly vicious rivalry with friend, teammate, and mentor Bernard Hinault. The reigning Tour champion and brutal competitor known as “The Badger,” Hinault ‘promised’ to help LeMond to his first victory in return for LeMond supporting him in the previous year. But in a sport that purports to reward teamwork, it’s really every man for himself.
Tribeca Talks: After the Movie and Conversations
· Tribeca Talks: After the Movie
Champs, directed by Bert Marcus. (USA) – World Premiere. This insightful and provocative documentary charts the lives of some of America’s heaviest hitters—including Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Bernard Hopkins—as they seek to break out of poverty via one of the few outlets available. Bert Marcus skillfully weaves their personal histories and gripping footage from their biggest bouts to explore the meaning of the American dream in a society increasingly fragmented between rich and poor.
After the movie: Stay for a conversation with former boxers Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, and boxing promoter Lou DiBella, about life, rivalry, and conflict both inside and out of the ring.
· Special Conversation
Shooting and Scoring
A conversation about the particular art in creating authentic sports stories – from non-fiction material to heart stopping hits that satisfy hardcore fans while also connecting with broader audiences. Featuring director Peter Berg, best known for his hit TV series and film Friday Night Lights and for the recent sports doc series State of Play which illuminates the intersection of sports and sports culture with wider society in 2014 America.
Next Goal Wins will screen as part of the Tribeca Drive-In series on April 19. The full Tribeca Drive-In schedule will be announced in the coming days.
· Next Goal Wins, directed by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison. (UK) – World Premiere . When the American Samoan national soccer team suffered the world’s worst defeat, losing to Australia 31-0, these tiny islands crash-landed into last place in FIFA world rankings, and became known as “the worst team in the world.” More than a decade later, they have not yet won an official match. Next Goal Wins follows their miraculous efforts as they train for the next World Cup. Led by an eccentric new coach, they have a chance to redefine their international reputation.
· The Battered Bastards of Baseball, directed and written by Chapman Way and Maclain Way. (USA) – New York Premiere. Bing Russell is best known for his role as Deputy Clem on Bonanza, but he left Hollywood in 1973 to pursue his first love: baseball. Creating the independent Portland Mavericks, his ragtag roster of players that major franchises rejected were baseball’s biggest joke. Then they shattered expectations and turned Major League Baseball on its heels in an unheralded story of spirit and rebellion.
30 for 30: Soccer Stories
Followed by a special conversation with filmmakers Ezra Edelman, Daniel Battsek and ESPN about the films and the upcoming World Cup
· The Opposition, directed by Ezra Edelman and Jeffrey Plunkett (USA/Chile) – World Premiere. In the wake of the 1973 military coup in Chile, American-backed dictator Augusto Pinochet transformed Santiago’s National Stadium into a concentration camp where political opponents were tortured and assassinated. Only two months later, that same stadium was scheduled to host a decisive World Cup qualifier between Chile and the Soviet Union. Despite protests, FIFA’s own investigation, and the Soviets’ eventual boycott, the Chilean team still played the game as planned, qualifying for the 1974 World Cup on a goal scored against no one.
· Maradona ’86 (TBC), directed by Sam Blair, Executive Produced by John Battsek (USA) – World Premiere. In the 1986 World Cup, Diego Armando Maradona redefined what is possible for one man to accomplish on the soccer field. Already a figure of notoriety, but with one failed World Cup behind him, Argentinian Maradona took possession of the international stage in Mexico, the spotlight rarely drifting from him as he wrote an indelible history with his feet and, of course, with a “hand from God.” Maradona ’86 is a fascinating, evocative, and operatic portrait, revealing Maradona’s inner complexity and contradictions while basking in the joy and passion of his performance on the pitch, as he wrote his name into soccer history forever.
· True Gladiators, directed by Kevin Donovan (USA) – World Premiere. Follows the career of three former American Gladiators and how they deal with the demands of the show, the injuries, and their personal lives.
Jim Kalafat was a tough kid from a small town in Montana who dreamed of playing for the NFL. His prodigious skills as a linebacker led him all the way to the Los Angeles Rams, where he met fellow teammate Dan Clark. After suffering career-ending injuries, the two best friends used their athleticism, broad smiles and gift for gab to become the muscular, ass-kicking, heartthrob stars “Laser” and “Nitro” on the hit ‘90s television show American Gladiators. Joined by Mr. America 1989, Steve Henneberry, a.k.a. “Tower”, the three battle-scarred gladiators reveal what went on behind the scenes of one of the most popular syndicated “sports” shows in history.