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Memo to Distributors: Buy These 2016 Tribeca Film Festival Movies

Memo to Distributors: Buy These 2016 Tribeca Film Festival Movies

“All This Panic”

Jenny Gage’s subtly directed “All This Panic” is like a female version of “Boyhood”: This delicate non-fiction effort follows an ensemble of young women from the final years of high school into their early college days, weaving three years of parties, fights and hangout sessions into a rich treatise on what it means to grow up. Working with her husband, cinematographer Tom Betterton, Gage capture the girls in the midst of fights, celebrations and loneliness. The movie offers a rare glimpse at the way small moments feed into the bigger picture, as characters coping with various repressed emotions deal with the fallout years later. Yet even while not everyone gets what they want — one girl in particular evades college to pursue an acting career that never materializes — “All This Panic” manages to offer a beautiful tribute to the inherently poignant qualities of time gone by. It’s a thousand times more believable than the relentless coming-of-age dramas that crop up at film festivals throughout the year, and as its young stars grow up, promises to keep resonating in the years to come. —Eric Kohn
Sales Contact: The Film Sales Company

“Always Shine” (review)

With a studied approach to genre filmmaking that calls to mind Brian De Palma at his best, “Always Shine” finds aspiring actress Anna (Mackenzie Davis) in the midst of a cold war battle with longtime pal Beth (Caitlin FitzGerald), whose ability to land bigger roles creates a natural divide between them. Their conflict comes to a head over the course of a long weekend in Big Sur, where the pair retreat to a cabin in an attempt to relax — and instead wind up literally at each other’s throats. Sophia Takal’s sleek thriller is an actor’s showcase for its two leads, who inhabit opposite ends of an anxiety spectrum that drives them both mad. Viewers looking for first-rate suspense don’t need to look much further in current cinema. —EK
Sales Contact: Visit Films

“Vincent ‘n’ Roxxy” (review)

Unfolding like a Nicholas Winding Refn-directed remake of “Shotgun Stories” — albeit one that’s a bit dopier than that sounds — Gary Michael Schultz’s “Vincent N Roxxy” is a nasty little thriller that moves at the pace of a southern drawl before going absolutely berserk in its final minutes. It’s the rare meditation on violence that doubles as a masterclass in the same subject. Continuing his transition from pipsqueak prom date into one of Hollywood’s most unlikely tough guys (to say nothing of his real-life run in with the law), Emile Hirsch plays a terse greaser named Vincent. Sliding behind the wheel of his black muscle car for a 700-mile drive from “the city” to someplace southwest, our boy barely gets out of his driveway before he sees another vehicle get deliberately sideswiped at an intersection. Vincent — perhaps more of a good Samaritan than he seems — rushes over to the scene of the crime and saves the dreadlocked damsel in distress from the goon who’s kicking her sideways. The duo heads out of town and drives off into the night. For a film that takes place in an unspecified stretch of midwestern nowhere, “Vincent N Roxxy” boasts a remarkably cohesive sense of place. The sparsely populated town where Vincent and JC grew up exudes a strong “Winter’s Bone” vibe, like the Ozarks had been flattened by a plague of some kind. Much of the film’s first half coasts on the chemistry between Hirsch and Kravitz, as Schultz takes a refreshingly patient approach to their romance — it’s inevitable that the smoke show between them will eventually catch fire, but the slow burn adds to the tension. When things take a hard left turn and the powder keg of violence finally explodes, the fallout is shocking to a degree that’s almost never seen in new American cinema. —DE
Sales Contact: WME Global

“Between Us” (review)

You’ve seen this movie before, and sophomore writer-director Rafael Palacio Illingworth (2009’s “Macho”) knows it. “Between Us” is yet another micro-budget relationship drama about a young, white, and excruciatingly attractive L.A. couple who — when confronted with the prospect of real commitment — begin to panic at the thought that their lives are actually about to take shape. But if “Between Us” doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, it articulates with distressing clarity the pressures that can simmer beneath even the most longstanding love stories. Henry (“Mad Men” alum Ben Feldman) is a thirtysomething filmmaker who’s struggling to write a worthy follow-up for his once-popular debut feature. Dianne (Olivia Thirlby) is… an event planner, maybe? It’s hard to pin down exactly what she does — she’s a pretty girl who walks clients around empty industrial spaces and invites them to imagine how they might be able to fill them in a lucrative way. Content. Branding. Story. Forget it, guys; it’s Los Angeles. “Between Us” may be too familiar to feel like it’s showing us things we can’t see for ourselves, but Illingworth’s film holds together on the strength of its conviction. —DE
Sales Contact:  CAA

“Keep Quiet” (review)

Thirty-three-year-old Csanád Szegedi is the ideal vessel to carry on the legacy of the Holocaust. Within his round body, the Holocaust is both real and imagined, active and forgotten, present and past past. It’s his story that fascinated filmmakers Sam Blair and Joseph Martin, his story they’re following to the 20th Century’s most storied burial ground. If Szegedi seems at all familiar, it’s because he’s the recently retired face of Hungary’s ultranationalistic Jobbik party. A “principled, conservative, and radically patriotic Christian party,” this blight on the face of modern Europe is so openly anti-semitic that they make Ted Cruz’s comments about “New York values” seem subtle by comparison. And then he found out that he’s Jewish. Oops! The most rewarding choice made by the filmmakers is to let Szegedi narrate his own story — despite his tremendous charisma, the inherent unreliability of his account makes it hard not to appreciate why some people refuse to accept his change of heart. —DE
Sales Contact: The Film Sales Company

“King Cobra” (review)

Possibly the best film ever made about the business end of America’s gay porn industry (Google makes this an extremely difficult point to research), Justin Kelly’s “King Cobra” is a sensitive and darkly hilarious true crime story that works from top to bottom. Assuming a tragicomic tone that isn’t far removed from the likes of “Boogie Nights,” Kelly’s sordid story takes us back in time to the glory days of 2006, when YouTube was less than a year old and tube sites had yet to make smut a lot less profitable for the people who made it. Sean Paul Lockhart (“The Fosters” alum Garrett Clayton) is a twink with a twinkle in his eyes, barely out of high school and already chomping at the bit to leave his life behind. Rebranding himself as “Brent Corrigan” and telling his oblivious mom (Alicia Silverstone) that he’s off to a paid internship on a film set (kind of!), he hops a bus that’s heading out of San Diego and towards the verdant suburbs up north. Stephen (Christian Slater) is waiting for him at the station. An inconspicuous and firmly closeted guy who fits right into the fabric of suburbia, Stephen runs a lucrative porn empire out of his ticky-tack house. While too old (and too scared) to insert himself directly into the action, he is nevertheless the king of King Cobra videos. Initially, the psychosexual dynamics between the Svengali and his stud are more complicated than the contract that binds them together, but it isn’t long before the two sides of their arrangement blur into one — that’s when things start to get messy. Down in the valley, The Viper Boyz are getting ready to strike. Joe (James Franco) is an aging bottom with big ambition. Kelly’s script pounds with empathy for those who want to live in a world that’s only comfortable with them in its margins, those men who decide that it’s better to own the sewers than to live on the streets.

“Madly” (review)

“Madly” is either the work of a true visionary or a shameless opportunist — those are the only conceivable explanations for an omnibus film that boasts a roster of directors so electrically strange and selective. The collection of talent that producer Eric Mahoney has assembled for this loosely related anthology project is as diverse as it is unexpected: An erotic social drama from Indian auteur Anurag Kashyap (“Gangs of Wasseypur”) plows into a postpartum thriller directed by “Alice in Wonderland” star Mia Wasikowska. “Nasty Baby” director Sebastían Silva delivers a short that imagines the interior life of a NYC subway dancer (“Showtime!”), and legendary Japanese maverick Sion Sono responds with a shocking comedy about a family trip to a sex club. Actor Gael García Bernal follows that with a wistful glimpse of a marriage destabilized by childbirth, and — most surprisingly of all — musician Natasha Khan (a.k.a. Bat for Lashes) closes things out with a wedding day tale that feels like the cinematic adaptation of a song from her new album. The film, like love itself, is inconsistent and hard to define; it is also, like love itself, hard to resist. —DE

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