This year’s Tribeca Film Festival will open with an appropriately New York City-centric film: Lisa D’Apolito’s fully authorized Gilda Radner documentary “Love, Gilda,” billed as an “intimate portrait” of the beloved comedy legend and original “Saturday Night Live” star. The film’s world premiere will open the festival on Wednesday, April 18 with an opening night event at the Beacon Theatre. This year’s festival runs April 18 – 29.
The film is directed and produced by D’Apolito with the support of the Gilda Radner estate, and the festival touts it as “a true autobiography of a pioneering woman, told in her own words and in her own voice.” Radner passed away from cancer in 1989.
The new documentary includes audiotapes, rare home movies, and diary entries from Radner herself, along with interviews with her friends and those inspired by her, including Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Cecily Strong, Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman, Paul Shaffer, Lorne Michaels, Alan Zweibel, Stephen Schwartz, Andrew Alexander, and Martin Short.
First-time feature filmmaker D’Apolito said in an official statement, “I fell in love with Gilda Radner while doing pro bono work at Gilda’s Club, the cancer support organization Gene Wilder founded in honor of Gilda, in Greenwich Village where I grew up. This started my journey to discover who Gilda was as a person and as a performer. Gilda inspired me and many other women with her remarkable spirit and unique talent that changed the world of comedy. I’m grateful and honored to share the extraordinary legacy of Gilda Radner at the Tribeca Film Festival.”
D’Apolito first launched an Indiegogo campaign to make the film back in 2015, when she asked for assistance raising just $50,000 to help bring the documentary to life. Radner was previously the subject of a 1994 “Biography” special, “Gilda Radner: In Her Own Words,” though D’Apolito is the first film to give the full-length treatment to her remarkable life.
Jane Rosenthal, Co-Founder and CEO of the Tribeca Film Festival, added, “As a Festival that has always supported women’s voices and is largely run by women we are incredibly proud to celebrate the inimitable voice of Gilda during the opening night of our Festival. Gilda Radner was a powerful comedic force of nature who opened doors and thrilled audiences while becoming one of the most prolific comedians of a generation. Her cutting edge humor was only second to her dedicated leadership in cancer care with her eponymous Gilda’s Club.”
The 2018 Tribeca Film Festival will announce its feature film slate on March 7.