Tribeca Film Festival: 2016 dates, tickets, film lineup
UPDATE: Tickets are on sale now.
The Tribeca Film Festival happens April 13 – 24 and as you might expect, there’s a ton of stuff of interest. Newly-announced films include things like Geezer, a film about an aging rocker which stars Billie Joe Armstrong (who will also perform at the festival as well); The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, which stars Jason Sudeikis, Jessica Biel and Maisie Williams and features music by Justin Timberlake; Elvis and Nixon, a comedy which features Michael Shannon as Elvis and Kevin Spacey as Nixon; Folk Hero & Funny Guy starring Wyatt Russell and Girls‘ Alex Karpovsky and the titular musician and comedian; Mike Birbiglia’s new movie Don’t Think Twice; Tom Tykwer’s adaptation of the Dave Eggers novel A Hologram for the King starring Tom Hanks, and of course much more.
This is all in addition to the first round of films that were announced a while back, like Contemporary Color, a documentary about David Byrne‘s color guard spectaculars last year, and a love-story anthology called Madly that features a short film by Natasha Khan aka Bat for Lashes.
Various ticket packages are on sale now, with individual tickets going on sale March 29.
Check out the full lineup of films below.
US Narrative Competition
Sponsored by AKA Hotel Residences
Launching in 2016, Tribeca introduces a new competitive section dedicated to American films and filmmakers. Largely made up of first-time directors, the inaugural US competition recognizes the extraordinary work emerging from independent communities. This freshman class of US competitors come from backgrounds as diverse as music (Robert Schwartzman, Dreamland), documentary (Ian Olds, The Fixer), web series (Ingrid Jungermann, Women Who Kill), and stand-up comedy (Demetri Martin, Dean), but all possess the distinctive directorial vision that makes them a talent to watch. This new competition affirms Tribeca’s commitment to discovering and bolstering US voices. The ten films will compete for the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, and Best Actress.
Kicks, directed by Justin Tipping, written by Justin Tipping and Josh Beirne-Golden. (USA) – World Premiere. When his hard-earned kicks get snatched by a local hood, 15-year-old Brandon and his two best friends go on an ill-advised mission across the Bay Area to retrieve the stolen sneakers. Featuring a soundtrack packed with hip-hop classics, Justin Tipping’s debut feature is an urban coming-of-age tale told with grit, humor, and surprising lyricism. With Jahking Guillory, Mahershala Ali, Kofi Siriboe, Christopher Jordan Wallace, Christopher Meyer. A Focus World release.
Always Shine, directed by Sophia Takal, written by Lawrence Michael Levine. (USA) – World Premiere. This twisty psychological drama about obsession, fame, and femininity follows two friends, both actresses (Mackenzie Davis and Caitlin FitzGerald), on a trip to Big Sur, to reconnect with one another. Once alone, the women’s suppressed jealousies and deep-seated resentments begin to rise, causing them to lose their grasp on not only the true nature of their relationship, but also their identities. With Lawrence Michael Levine, Alex Koch, Jane Adams.
AWOL, directed by Deb Shoval, written by Deb Shoval and Karolina Waclawiak. (USA) – World Premiere. Joey (Lola Kirke) is a young woman in search of direction in her small town. A visit to an army recruiting office appears to provide a path, but when she meets and falls in love with Rayna (Breeda Wool) that path diverges in ways that neither woman anticipates. Building on the award-winning short of the same name, director Deb Shoval crafts a clear-eyed love story, and an impressive feature film debut. A 2015 IWC Filmmaker Award recipient.
Dean, directed and written by Demetri Martin. (USA) – World Premiere. In comedian Demetri Martin’s funny and heartfelt directorial debut, Martin plays an illustrator who falls hard for an LA woman (Gillian Jacobs) while trying to prevent his father (Kevin Kline) from selling the family home in the wake of his mother’s death. With Rory Scovel, Ginger Gonzaga, Reid Scott, Mary Steenburgen, Christine Woods, Beck Bennett, Briga Heelan.
Dreamland, directed by Robert Schwartzman, written by Benjamin Font and Robert Schwartzman. (USA) – World Premiere. Robert Schwartzman makes his directorial debut with this comedy about the cost of reaching your dreams. Part-time pianist Monty Fagan (Johnny Simmons) begins a May-December romance that upends his home life. A set of perfectly cast co-stars push or manipulate Monty along the way: Amy Landecker, Frankie Shaw, Alan Ruck, Beverly D’Angelo, along with Robert’s older brother Jason Schwartzman, and their mother Talia Shire.
The Fixer, directed by Ian Olds, written by Paul Felten and Ian Olds. (USA) – World Premiere. After an exiled Afghan journalist (Dominic Rains) arrives in a small town in Northern California, he lands a menial job as a crime reporter for the local newspaper. Restless in his new position, he teams up with an eccentric local (James Franco) to investigate the town’s peculiar subculture only to find things quickly taking a dangerous turn. With Melissa Leo, Rachel Brosnahan, Tim Kniffin, Thomas Jay Ryan.
Folk Hero & Funny Guy, directed and written by Jeff Grace. (USA) – World Premiere. Alex Karpovsky and Wyatt Russell co-headline as two artistically inclined childhood friends, a comedian and a folk-rocker respectively, who set out on a tour together in hopes of regaining their “mojo” and finding love in the process. Jeff Grace’s debut film offers a fresh perspective on male friendship and a music-infused spin on the classic road-trip buddy comedy. With Meredith Hagner, Michael Ian Black, Hannah Simone, Heather Morris, Melanie Lynskey, David Cross.
Live Cargo, directed by Logan Sandler, written by Logan Sandler and Thymaya Payne. (USA, Bahamas) – World Premiere. Nadine (Dree Hemingway) and Lewis (Keith Stanfield) move to a small Bahamian island hoping to restore their relationship in the wake of a tragedy, only to find the picturesque island torn in two: on one side a dangerous human trafficker and on the other an aging patriarch, struggling to maintain order. With Leonard Earl Howze, Sam Dillon, Robert Wisdom.
The Ticket, directed by Ido Fluk, written by Ido Fluk and Sharon Mashihi. (USA) – World Premiere. When a blind man inexplicably regains his vision, he becomes possessed by a drive for a better life—a nicer home, a higher paying job—leaving little room for the people who were part of his old life. Dan Stevens, Malin Åkerman, Oliver Platt, and Kerry Bishé star in this haunting parable of desire, perception, and ambition.
Women Who Kill, directed and written by Ingrid Jungermann. (USA) – World Premiere. Morgan and Jean work well together as true crime podcasters because they didn’t work well, at all, as a couple. When Morgan strikes up a new relationship with the mysterious Simone, their shared interest turns into suspicion, paranoia, and fear. Ingrid Jungermann’s whip smart feature debut is an adept and wry comedy on modern romance’s hollow results, set in an LGBTQ Brooklyn. With Ingrid Jungermann, Ann Carr, Sheila Vand, Shannon O’Neill, Annette O’Toole, Grace Rex. A 2015 Tribeca All Access grantee.
Madly, directed and written by Gael García Bernal, Mia Wasikowska, Sebastian Silva, Anurag Kashyap, Sion Sono, and Natasha Khan. (Argentina, Australia, USA, India, Japan, UK) – World Premiere. Madly is an international anthology of short films exploring love in all its permutations. Directed by some of the most vibrant filmmakers working today, the six stories in Madly portray contemporary love in all its glorious, sad, ecstatic, empowering, and erotic manifestations. With Radhika Apte, Satyadeep Misra, Adarsh Gourav, Kathryn Beck, Lex Santos, Mariko Tsutsui, Yuki Sakurai, Ami Tomite, Justina Bustos, Pablo Seijo, Tamsin Topolski. In English, Hindi, Japanese, Spanish with subtitles.
El Clásico, directed by Halkawt Mustafa, written by Anders Fagerholt and Halkawt Mustafa. (Norway, Iraqi Kurdistan Region) – North American Premiere. Alan and Gona are in love, but Gona’s father won’t approve their union because Alan is a little person. So, Alan hits the road with his brother, traveling from their small Iraqi village to the Bernabéu Stadium, home of Real Madrid. The plan: meet Cristiano Ronaldo, and earn the blessing of Gona’s father. El Clásico is a distinctly cinematic road movie, brimming with warmth and humor. With Wrya Ahmed, Dana Ahmed, Rozhin Sharifi, Kamaran Raoof, Nyan Aziz. In Arabic, Kurdish with subtitles.
Icaros: A Vision, directed by Leonor Caraballo and Matteo Norzi, written by Leonor Caraballo, Matteo Norzi, and Abou Farman. (Peru, USA) – World Premiere. An American woman in search of a miracle embarks on an adventure in the Peruvian Amazon. At a healing center, she finds hope in the form of an ancient psychedelic plant known as ayahuasca. With her perception forever altered, she bonds with a young indigenous shaman who is treating a group of psychonauts seeking transcendence, companionship, and the secrets of life and death. With Ana Cecilia Stieglitz, Arturo Izquierdo, Filippo Timi. In English, Spanish with subtitles.
Junction 48, directed by Udi Aloni, written by Oren Moverman and Tamer Nafar. (Israel, Germany, USA) – International Premiere. Set against a backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Junction 48 charts the musical ambitions of Kareem, an aspiring rapper from the town of Lod. A heartbreaking portrayal of the intersection of personal and political tragedies, Junction 48 questions to what extent music can be dissociated from politics. With Tamer Nafar, Samar Qupty, Salwa Nakkara, Ayed Fadel, Sameh “SAZ” Zakout, Saeed Dassuki. In Arabic, Hebrew with subtitles.
Mother (Ema), directed by Kadri Kousaar, written by Leana Jalukse and Al Wallcat. (Estonia) – International Premiere. This darkly comic, crime mystery set in small-town Estonia centers on Elsa, the full time caretaker of her comatose son, Lauri, and the locals, who are abuzz with rumors about who shot Lauri and why. But in this tight-knit town, where everyone seems to know everyone and everything except for what’s right under their nose, the world’s clumsiest crime may go unsolved. With Tiina Mälberg, Jaan Pehk, Andres Tabun, Andres Noormets, Rea Lest, Jaak Prints, Siim Maaten. In Estonian with subtitles.
Parents (Forældre), directed and written by Christian Tafdrup. (Denmark) – World Premiere. Told with deadpan Nordic humor and a touch of surrealism, Parents follows Kjelde and Vibeke, two empty-nesters who find themselves unable to let go of the past. Stripped of their identity without their son, who recently moved away to college, they attempt to reclaim their youthful vigor by moving back into the old apartment where they first fell in love. They soon realize that everything that once defined them might no longer exist. With Søren Malling, Bodil Jørgensen, Elliott Crosset Hove, Miri-Ann Beuschel, Anton Honik. In Danish with subtitles.
Perfect Strangers (Perfetti sconosciuti), directed by Paolo Genovese, written by Filippo Bologna, Paolo Costella, Paolo Genovese, Paola Mammini, and Rolando Ravello. (Italy) – International Premiere. Paolo Genovese’s new film brings us a bitter ensemble with an all-star cast that poses the question: How well do we really know those close to us? During a dinner party, three couples and a bachelor decide to play a dangerous game with their cell phones. Brilliantly executed and scripted, Perfect Strangers reveals the true nature of how we connect to each other. With Marco Giallini, Kasia Smutniak, Valerio Mastandrea, Anna Foglietta, Edoardo Leo, Alba Rohrwacher, Giuseppe Battiston. In Italian with subtitles.
The Tenth Man (El Rey Del Once), directed and written by Daniel Burman. (Argentina) – North American Premiere. Ariel is summoned to Buenos Aires by his distant father, who runs a Jewish aid foundation in El Once, the bustling Jewish neighborhood where he spent his youth. Writer-director Daniel Burman (All In) returns to Tribeca with this tender exploration of community, and the intricacies of the father-son relationship. With Alan Sabbagh, Julieta Zylberberg, Usher, Elvira Onetto, Adrian Stoppelman, Elisa Carricajo. In Spanish with subtitles.
Elvis & Nixon, directed by Liza Johnson, written by Joey Sagal, Hanala Sagal, and Cary Elwes. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. In 1970, a few days before Christmas, Elvis Presley showed up on the White House lawn seeking to be deputized into the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs by the President himself. Elvis & Nixon, starring Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey respectively, imagines the comical details of this outlandish historical encounter. Featuring supporting performances from Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Colin Hanks, Evan Peters, and Sky Ferreira. An Amazon Studios/Bleecker Street release.
World Documentary Competition
Sponsored by Bira 91
In its 15 year history, Tribeca’s esteemed documentary competition has showcased discovery directors, future Oscar nominees, and legendary filmmakers including the likes of Albert Maysles. This year’s selection continues the tradition of recognizing vital current voices in nonfiction film. They include lyrical cinematic works like LoveTrue directed by returning TFF winner Alma Har’el and Contemporary Color by Bill and Turner Ross that expand our notion of what a documentary can be, to journalistically infused work tackling urgent current issues including financial crime (Betting on Zero), the militarization of the police (Do Not Resist), and America’s broken criminal justice system (The Return, Untouchable). Tribeca’s 2016 documentary competition represents the cutting edge of nonfiction filmmaking, and points to where the form is headed. The twelve films will compete for Best Documentary Feature, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing.
Contemporary Color, directed by Bill Ross and Turner Ross. (USA) – World Premiere. In the summer of 2015, legendary musician David Byrne staged an unprecedented event at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center to celebrate the art of color guard—synchronized dance involving flags, rifles, and sabers—by pairing regional color guard teams with performers, including St. Vincent, Nelly Furtado, and Ad-Rock. More than a concert film, the TFI-supported Contemporary Color is a cinematic interpretation of a one-of-a-kind live event, courtesy of visionary filmmakers Bill and Turner Ross.
All This Panic, directed by Jenny Gage. (USA) – World Premiere. What is it like to come of age in New York City? First-time director Jenny Gage follows vivacious sisters, Ginger and Dusty, and their high school friends over the course of their crucial teen years. In this sensitive and cinematic documentary, Gage captures all the urgency, drama, and bittersweetness of girlhood as her subjects grapple with love, friendship, and what their futures hold.
Betting on Zero, directed and written by Ted Braun. (USA) – World Premiere. Allegations of corporate criminality and high-stakes Wall Street vendettas swirl throughout this riveting financial docu-thriller. Controversial hedge fund titan Bill Ackman is on a crusade to expose global nutritional giant Herbalife as the largest pyramid scheme in history while Herbalife execs claim Ackman is a market manipulator out to bankrupt them and make a killing off his billion dollar short.
BUGS, directed and written by Andreas Johnsen. (Denmark) – World Premiere. Head Chef Ben Reade and Lead Researcher Josh Evans from Nordic Food Lab are on a mission to investigate the next big trend in food: edible insects. Filmmaker Andreas Johnsen follows the duo on a globe-trotting tour as they put their own haute-cuisine spin on local insect delicacies (bee larva ceviche, anyone?) in the pursuit of food diversity and deliciousness.
Do Not Resist, directed by Craig Atkinson. (USA) – World Premiere. In Do Not Resist, director Craig Atkinson, through keen and thoughtful observances, presents a startling and powerful exploration into the rapid militarization of police forces in the United States. Filmed over two years, in 11 states, Do Not Resist reveals a rare and surprising look into the increasingly disturbing realities of American police culture.
The Happy Film: a GRAPHIC Design Experiment, directed by Stefan Sagmeister, Ben Nabors, and Hillman Curtis. (USA) – World Premiere. Designer Stefan Sagmeister takes us on a personal journey to find out what causes happiness. Experimenting with three different approaches—meditation, therapy, and drugs—Sagmeister embarks on an entertaining and introspective quest, accented with a whimsical panoply of graphics, charts, and proverbs. The Happy Film may not make you happier, but it will surely move you to reexamine your own pursuit of happiness.
Keep Quiet, directed by Joseph Martin and Sam Blair. (U.K., Hungary) – World Premiere. Passionate in his anti-Semitic beliefs, Csanád Szegedi was the rising star of Hungary’s far-right party until he discovers his family’s secret—his maternal grandparents were Jewish. The revelation prompts an improbable but seemingly heartfelt conversion from anti-Semite to Orthodox Jew. This captivating and confrontational film explores the complex and contradictory character of Szegedi, prompting deep questions about Szegedi’s supposed epiphany. In English, Hungarian with subtitles.
LoveTrue, directed by Alma Har’el. (USA) – World Premiere. Alma Har’el, director and cinematographer of the 2011 TFF Best Documentary Feature Bombay Beach, returns with LoveTrue, a genre-bending documentary, demystifying the fantasy of true love. From an Alaskan strip club, a Hawaiian island, and the streets of NYC—revelatory stories emerge about a deeper definition of love. Set to a hypnotizing score by Flying Lotus and executive produced by Shia LaBeouf. A TFI Documentary Fund grantee.
Memories of a Penitent Heart, directed by Cecilia Aldarondo. (USA, Puerto Rico) – World Premiere. Like many gay men in the 1980s, Miguel moved from Puerto Rico to New York City; he found a career in theater and a rewarding relationship. Yet, on his deathbed he grappled to reconcile his homosexuality with his Catholic upbringing. Now, decades after his death, his niece Cecilia locates Miguel’s estranged lover to understand the truth, and in the process opens up long-dormant family secrets. In English, Spanish with subtitles.
The Return, directed by Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway, written by Kelly Duane de la Vega, Katie Galloway, and Greg O’Toole. (USA) – World Premiere. How does one reintegrate into society after making peace with a life sentence? California’s controversial and notoriously harsh three-strikes law was repealed in 2012, consequently releasing large numbers of convicts back into society. The Return presents an unbiased observation of the many issues with re-entry through the varied experiences of recently freed lifers.
Tickling Giants, directed and written by Sara Taksler. (USA) – World Premiere. Charting Bassem Youssef’s rise as Egypt’s foremost on-screen satirist, Tickling Giants offers a rousing celebration of free speech and a showcase for the power of satire to speak for the people against a repressive government. Where this story differs from the familiar success of Youssef’s idol, Jon Stewart: Bassem’s jokes come with serious, dangerous, and at times revolutionary consequences. In Arabic, English with subtitles.
Untouchable, directed by David Feige. (USA) – World Premiere. When a powerful Florida lobbyist discovered his daughter was sexually abused, he launched a crusade to pass some of the strictest sex offender laws in the country. Today, 800,000 people are listed in the sex offender registry, yet the cycles of abuse continue. David Feige’s enlightening documentary argues for a new understanding of how we think about and legislate sexual abuse.
Established in 2011, Viewpoints is Tribeca’s home for films with bold directorial visions, and embraces underrepresented perspectives, styles, and characters. The films encompass the fully realized, hyperreal worlds of High-Rise, Equals, Nerdland, and The Loner, while other films immerse us in the very real points of view of Syrian refugees, inmates in solitary confinement, and adult students pursuing their high school diploma. These 25 films are made up of 11 documentaries and 14 narratives from 15 countries.
Nerdland, directed by Chris Prynoski, written by Andy Kevin Walker. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Nerdland is an R-rated cartoon comedy about celebrity, excess, and two showbiz nobodies, John (Paul Rudd) and Elliott (Patton Oswalt), with a plan to become famous—or even infamous—by the end of the night. Featuring an army of comedy cameos including Hannibal Buress, Laraine Newman, Mike Judge, Kate Micucci & Riki Lindhome, and Molly Shannon.
Abortion: Stories Women Tell, directed by Tracy Droz Tragos. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. In 1973, the US Supreme court decision Roe v. Wade gave every woman the right to have an abortion. In 2016, abortion remains one of the most divisive issues in America, especially in Missouri. Award-winning director and Missouri native Tracy Droz Tragos sheds new light on the contentious issue by focusing on the women and their stories, rather than the debate. An HBO Documentary Film.
Actor Martinez, directed and written by Nathan Silver and Mike Ott. (USA) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Arthur Martinez is a computer repairman and aspiring actor who commissions indie directors Mike Ott and Nathan Silver to film his life. In the directors’ first collaboration, we see them follow Arthur as he goes to work, drives around, and auditions for a love interest (Lindsay Burdge), leading them to question the meaning of the project, and ultimately that of identity and stardom.
Adult Life Skills, directed and written by Rachel Tunnard. (U.K.) – World Premiere, Narrative. Anna (Jodie Whittaker) is stuck: she’s approaching 30, living in her mother’s shed, and spending her time making movies with her thumbs. Her mom wants her to move out; she just wants to be left alone. Adult Life Skills is an off-beat comedy about a woman who’s lost, finding herself. With Jodie Whittaker, Brett Goldstein, Lorraine Ashbourne, Alice Lowe, Edward Hogg, Eileen Davies, Rachael Deering, Ozzy Myers.
After Spring, directed by Ellen Martinez and Steph Ching. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Close to 80,000 Syrian refugees live in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. After Spring immerses us in the rhythms of the camp, the role of the aid workers, and the daily lives of two families as they contemplate an uncertain future. Executive produced by Jon Stewart, this is a fascinating journey through the camp’s physical and human landscapes. In Arabic, English, Korean with subtitles.
As I Open My Eyes (À peine j’ouvre les yeux), directed by Leyla Bouzid, written by Leyla Bouzid and Marie-Sophie Chambon. (France, Tunisia, Belgium, United Arab Emirates) – US Premiere, Narrative. As I Open My Eyes depicts the clash between culture and family as seen through the eyes of a young Tunisian woman balancing the traditional expectations of her family with her creative life as the singer in a politically charged rock band. Director Leyla Bouzid’s musical feature debut offers a nuanced portrait of the individual implications of the incipient Arab Spring. With Baya Medhaffer, Ghalia Benali, Montassar Ayari, Aymen Omrani, Lassaad Jamoussi, Deena Abdelwahed, Youssef Soltana, Marwen Soltana. In Arabic with subtitles. Presented in association with Venice Days.
Between Us, directed and written by Rafael Palacio Illingworth. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Longtime couple Henry (Ben Feldman) and Dianne (Olivia Thirlby) are afraid that if they finally tie the knot it would mean the end of their days as free-spirited urbanites. But a whirlwind night apart involving temptations from a duo of strangers (Analeigh Tipton and Adam Goldberg) will either make them realize why they are together in the first place or finally drive them apart forever. With Scott Haze, Peter Bogdanovich, Lesley Ann Warren.
Califórnia, directed by Marina Person, written by Marina Person, Mariana Veríssimo, and Francisco Guarnieri. (Brazil) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Nostalgic, sweet, and at moments poignantly funny, Califórnia is a coming-of-age tale about a high school student, Estela, growing up in São Paulo in the 1980s. Estela is doing all she can to get to California to visit her glamorous and cultured uncle. While focused on keeping her grades up, her life is complicated by romance, sex, and social pressures. With Clara Gallo, Caio Blat, and Caio Horowicz. In Portuguese with subtitles.
The Charro of Toluquilla (El Charro De Toluquilla), directed and written by Jose Villalobos Romero. (Mexico) – International Premiere, Documentary. Jaime García appears to be the quintessentially machismo mariachi singer, yet beneath his magnetic confidence lies a man struggling to maintain a relationship with his estranged family while living as an HIV-positive man. In Jose Villalobos Romero’s remarkable cinematic debut, he utilizes vivid tableaus and stylized perspective to paint a beautifully unique and emotional portrait of a man divided. With Analia Garcia Hernandez, Rocio Hernandez, La Paloma, Andrea Dominguez, Ventura Garcia. In Spanish with subtitles. A TFI Latin America Media Arts Fund grantee.
Children of the Mountain, directed and written by Priscilla Anany. (USA, Ghana) – World Premiere, Narrative. When a young woman gives birth to a deformed and sickly child, she becomes the victim of cruelty and superstition in her Ghanaian community. Discarded by her lover, she is convinced she suffers from a ‘dirty womb,’ and embarks on a journey to heal her son and create a future for them both. With Rukiyat Masud, Grace Omaboe, Akofa Edjeani, Adjetey Annang, Agbeko Mortty (Bex), Dzifa Glikpo, Mynna Otoo. In Twi with subtitles.
Detour, directed and written by Christopher Smith. (U.K.) – World Premiere, Narrative. After his mother ends up in a coma under suspicious circumstances, a law student (Tye Sheridan) decides to drown his sorrows at a seedy bar. The next morning, he wakes up to the realization that he may have hired a hitman (Emory Cohen) and his girlfriend (Bel Powley) to take out the suspected perpetrator (Stephen Moyer) of his mother’s life-threatening accident.
Equals, directed by Drake Doremus, written by Nathan Parker. (USA) – US Premiere, Narrative. Set in a sleek and stylish future world, Drake Doremus’ sci-fi romance envisions an understated dystopia, where all human emotion is seen as a disease that must be treated and cured. Against this backdrop, coworkers Nia (Kristen Stewart) and Silas (Nicholas Hoult) begin to feel dangerous stirrings for one another. An A24 release.
14 Minutes from Earth, directed and written by Jerry Kolber, Adam “Tex” Davis, Trey Nelson, and Erich Sturm. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. On October 24th, 2014, a secret three-year mission by a small crew of engineers came to fruition deep in the desert of New Mexico. There, a human being (Alan Eustace) was launched higher than ever before without the aid of a spacecraft—shattering all records. This film documents the mission and its greater implications for the scientific community and stratospheric exploration.
haveababy, directed by Amanda Micheli. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Amanda Micheli’s haveababy opens with a YouTube-based competition for a free round of in vitro fertilization, courtesy of a Las Vegas fertility clinic. Through this controversial contest, Micheli explores the complexities of America’s burgeoning fertility industry and paints an intimate portrait of the many resilient couples determined to have a baby against all odds.
High-Rise, directed by Ben Wheatley, written by Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley. (U.K.) – New York Premiere, Narrative. Based on J.G. Ballard’s novel of the same name, High-Rise stars Tom Hiddleston as Dr. Robert Lang, a newcomer to a recently constructed complex in which the residents are stratified by social class. But when the power goes out, the tenuous hierarchy rapidly descends into chaos. Luke Evans, Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, and Elisabeth Moss co-star. A Magnolia Pictures release.
Houston, We Have a Problem!, directed by Žiga Virc, written by Žiga Virc and Boštjan Virc. (Slovenia, Croatia, Germany, Czech Republic, Qatar) – World Premiere. The space race and NASA’s moon landing are as much part of our national identity as they are fodder for conspiracy theories. Houston, We Have a Problem! adds new material to the discussion on both fronts, as filmmaker Žiga Virc investigates the myth of a secret multi-billion-dollar deal involving America’s purchase of Yugoslavia’s space program in the early 1960s. In Croatian, English, Serbian, Slovene with subtitles.
The Human Thing (La Cosa Humana), directed by Gerardo Chijona, written by Francisco García and Gerardo Chijona. (Cuba) – International Premiere, Narrative. Gerardo Chijona’s (Ticket to Paradise) newest film opens with a thief breaking into the home of a famous writer, and unknowingly stealing what turns out to be the only manuscript of his upcoming story. In desperate need of money, he submits it to a contest, which will see him competing with the very writer he robbed. With Héctor Medina, Enrique Molina, Carlos Enrique Almirante, Vladimir Cruz, Miriel Cejas, Amarilis Núñez, Osvaldo Doimeadiós, Mario Guerra, Alejandro Rivera. In Spanish with subtitles. Presented in association with the Havana Film Festival New York.
Keepers of the Game, Directed by Judd Ehrlich. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Lacrosse is a sacred game for Native Americans, traditionally reserved for men. When a women’s varsity team forms in upstate New York, they aim to be the first Native women’s team to take the championship title away from their rivals Massena High. With the indigenous community torn, they find that more than just the championship is on the line.
The Loner, directed and written by Daniel Grove. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Daniel Grove’s neon-soaked feature debut follows reformed mobster Behrouz, who is haunted by memories of being a child soldier in Iran in the 1980s. As he pursues the American Dream in Los Angeles Behrouz finds it increasingly difficult to stay away from the seedy underbelly of the city. Grove’s neo-noir is a smart, action-packed, and colorful thriller with an electrifying score. With Reza Sixo Safai, Helena Mattsson, Parviz Sayyad, Julian Sands, Laura Harring, Dominic Rains.
Night School, directed and written by Andrew Cohn. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Indianapolis has one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country. For adult learners Greg, Melissa, and Shynika, a high school diploma could be a life-changing achievement. Andrew Cohn’s absorbing documentary observes their individual pursuits, fraught with the challenges of daily life and also the broader systemic roadblocks faced by many low income Americans, including wages and working conditions.
Obit, directed by Vanessa Gould. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Within the storied walls of The New York Times, a team of writers is entrusted with reflecting upon the luminaries, icons, and world leaders of our day. Vanessa Gould’s fascinating documentary introduces us to those responsible for crafting the unequaled obituaries of the NYT. As we’re taken through their painstaking process we learn about the pressures accompanying a career spent shaping the story of a life.
Poor Boy, directed by Robert Scott Wildes, written by Robert Scott Wildes and Logan Antill. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative.
Romeo and Samson Griggs, two reckless, misfit brothers living on the outskirts of town, survive by hustling, gambling, and thieving. In an attempt to leave their lot behind for good, they design their most complex and financially rewarding long con yet. With Lou Taylor Pucci, Dov Tiefenbach, Michael Shannon, Dale Dickey, Pat Healy, Amy Ferguson, Justin Chatwin, and Amanda Crew.
The Ride, directed and written by Stéphanie Gillard. (France) – World Premiere, Documentary. The Ride takes us along the annual 300-mile trek through the South Dakota Badlands. There, young men and women of the Lakota Sioux ride horseback and reflect upon the history of their ancestors. This intimate, stunningly photographed account captures the thoughts and emotions of the young riders and the adults who guide them along their journey.
SOLITARY, directed by Kristi Jacobson. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. With unprecedented access, director Kristi Jacobson offers a deeply moving portrait of life inside solitary confinement within a supermax prison. Filmed over the course of one year, this riveting film tells the story of the complex personalities that dwell on either side of a cell door while raising provocative questions about the nature of crime and punishment in America today. An HBO Documentary Film, and a Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund grantee.
Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four, directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. In 1994, four women were tried and convicted of a heinous assault on two young girls in a court case that was infused with homophobic prejudice and the Satanic Panic sweeping the nation at that time. Southwest of Salem is a fascinating true crime story that puts the trial of the San Antonio Four in context of their ongoing search for exoneration.
Sponsored by The Lincoln Motor Company
The Spotlight section is Tribeca Film Festival’s home for today’s marquee filmmakers, star performers and big issues. This year’s Spotlight is a family affair, with many films examining families large and small, natural and adopted, stable and struggling. The family of an elderly man, seeking an assisted suicide, rally around him in Youth in Oregon, while the once tight-knit families of Little Boxes and Family Fang try to recapture their intimacy after unexpected change. Fathers and sons clash in Phenom and Wolves, while the mothers and daughters of All We Had and The Meddler lean on each other when everything else seems to be falling apart. One family is threatened by the New York City legal system in Custody, while a new family is forged between lost souls in section opener The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Having once formed their own makeshift family on the road, the dancers of Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour reunite for Strike a Pose and point to another theme of the section that emerges strongly in the documentary selections: the power of the arts and the journey of the artist. Whether it’s visual artists like Banksy and Chris Burden or the dancers of Reset and Strike a Pose; the comedians of The Last Laugh and Pistol Shrimps or the Asian-American rappers fighting for respect in Bad Rap; many films in this year’s selection highlight the versatile power of the arts to affect individuals and culture itself in myriad ways, perhaps none more strongly than Midsummer in Newtown, a resonant testament to the power of art to heal a community after tragedy.
The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, directed by Bill Purple, written by Robbie Pickering & Bill Purple. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Henry (Jason Sudeikis) and Penny (Jessica Biel) are a New Orleans couple very much in love, until tragedy strikes and Henry is forced to rebuild. Quite literally, it turns out. After he befriends a tough street teen (Maisie Williams), he helps her construct the raft she’ll use to sail across the Atlantic in search of her long lost father. With Jason Sudeikis, Jessica Biel, Maisie Williams, Orlando Jones, Mary Steenburgen, and Paul Reiser.
All We Had, directed by Katie Holmes, written by Josh Boone & Jill Killington. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Ruthie continually makes the best of her mother Rita’s hard luck. When their attempt at settling in a new town hits a stumbling block, even Ruthie struggles to keep it together. Based on Annie Weatherwax’s 2014 novel, Katie Holmes’s feature directorial debut is an enriching coming-of-age drama about a resilient mother and daughter who find strength in each other. With Stefania Owen, Katie Holmes, Luke Wilson, Richard Kind, Mark Consuelos, Judy Greer, and Eve Lindley.
Bad Rap, directed and written by Salima Koroma. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Bad Rap follows the lives and careers of four Asian-American rappers trying to break into a world that often treats them as outsiders. Sharing dynamic live performance footage and revealing interviews, these artists will make the most skeptical critics into believers. With humor and insight, the film paints a portrait of artistic passion in the face of an unsung struggle. With Jonathan “Dumbfoundead” Park, Nora “Awkwafina” Lum, David “Rekstizzy” Lee, and Richard “Lyricks” Lee.
The Banksy Job, directed and written by Ian Roderick Gray and Dylan Harvey. (U.K.) – World Premiere, Documentary. Simultaneously hilarious, wild, and bizarre The Banksy Job further illuminates the crazy world of street art and the peculiar relationships between the artists—in particular, Banksy and the artist known as AK47. An art world, mystery caper, The Banksy Job adds another whacky layer to the Banksy story that can’t be missed.
Burden, directed by Timothy Marrinan and Richard Dewey. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Illustrated with performance, private videos, and recollections from those who knew him, this detailed and innovative documentary looks at the life of the always provocative artist Chris Burden, whose work consistently challenged ideas about the limits and nature of modern art, from his notorious performances in the 1970s to his later assemblages, installations, kinetic and static sculptures, and scientific models.
Check It, directed by Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Fed up with being abused and harassed on the brutal inner-city streets of Washington D.C., a group of gay and trans teens form a gang to fight back. This raw and intimate portrait follows four Check It members as they struggle to find a way out of gang life through an unlikely avenue: fashion.
Command and Control, directed by Robert Kenner, written by Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. A high-stakes documentary thriller, Command and Control—based on Eric Schlosser’s 2013 book of the same name—explores the “human error” that led to an explosion at the Titan II nuclear site just outside Little Rock, Arkansas towards the end of the Cold War, and probes how mutually assured destruction might actually mean self-annihilation.
Courted (L’Hermine), directed and written by Christian Vincent. (France) – North American Premiere, Narrative. When a feared judge of the French court, Xavier Racine (Fabrice Luchini), encounters a French-Danish juror, Ditte Lorensen-Coteret (Sidse Babett Knudsen), at a murder trial, their shared past is slowly uncovered. Understated and engaging, director Christian Vincent (Four Stars, Haute Cuisine) lets two narratives unfold, playing with notions of how we present ourselves and how we wish to be perceived. In French with subtitles.
Custody, directed and written by James Lapine. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Legal and intimate family dynamics dovetail in Custody. Starring Viola Davis as an embattled family court judge with a fraught marriage of her own; Hayden Panettiere as a recent law-school grad flung into a custody case; and Catalina Sandino Moreno as the single mother at the center of the case who risks losing her two children over an ill-timed argument. With Tony Shalhoub, Raul Esparza, Dan Fogler, and Ellen Burstyn.
Don’t Think Twice, directed by Mike Birbiglia. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative. Mike Birbiglia’s true-to-life second feature is set in the world of New York improv comedy, where the members of a tight-knit troupe are thrown into disarray when one of their ranks lands a coveted spot on a top TV show. Produced by Ira Glass and co-starring Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard and Mike Birbiglia.
Team Foxcatcher, directed by Jon Greenhalgh. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Jon Greenhalgh’s Team Foxcatcher chronicles the paranoid, downward spiral of millionaire John E. DuPont that led to the tragic murder of olympic wrestler David Schultz. Never-before-seen home videos shot during Schultz’s time at Foxcatcher Farms shed light on the disturbing events and serve as a poignant memoir to the legacy of the champion wrestler, husband, and father. A Netflix release.
Enlighten Us: The Rise and Fall of James Arthur Ray, directed by Jenny Carchman. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. The self-help industry is worth $11 billion dollars a year; it captivates those seeking happiness, release from suffering, and those longing for a path and a leader to follow. James Arthur Ray, for many, was that sort of leader. But when a sweat lodge ceremony goes horribly wrong, we learn from Ray and some of his followers that their spiritual path was fraught with danger and perhaps even greater suffering.
The Family Fang, directed by Jason Bateman, written by David Lindsay-Abaire. (USA) – US Premiere, Narrative. Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman are Annie and Baxter Fang, children of celebrated performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang (Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett). When the elder Fangs go missing under mysterious circumstances, the siblings are forced to unpack long-dormant and unresolved issues from their unorthodox childhoods as they search for their parents, in Bateman’s caustically funny and deeply felt sophomore feature. With Jason Butler Harner and Kathryn Hahn. A Starz release.
A Hologram for the King, directed and written by Tom Tykwer. (USA, Germany) – World Premiere, Narrative. In Tom Tykwer’s wryly comic adaptation of Dave Eggers’ novel, Tom Hanks stars as a struggling American businessman who travels to Saudi Arabia to sell a new technology to the King, only to be challenged by endless Middle Eastern bureaucracy, a perpetually absent monarch, and a suspicious growth on his back. With Alexander Black, Sarita Choudhury, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ben Whishaw, and Tom Skerritt. A Roadside Attractions release.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople, directed and written by Taika Waititi. (New Zealand) – New York Premiere, Narrative. A spunky orphan and his gruff guardian are forced to flee after a series of misunderstandings send them both into the wilderness as mismatched fugitives. Starring Sam Neill and featuring a hysterically funny performance from newcomer Julian Dennison, director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, and the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok) has crafted a truly touching adventure-comedy. An Orchard release.
A Kind of Murder, directed by Andy Goddard, written by Susan Boyd. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. The Blunderer, written by Carol author Patricia Highsmith, gets a classic film noir treatment in A Kind of Murder, a ’60s-set Hitchcockian thriller that explores how we judge culpability in the death of another. Starring Patrick Wilson, Jessica Biel, and Vincent Kartheiser.
The Last Laugh, directed by Ferne Pearlstein, written by Robert Edwards and Ferne Pearlstein. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. When is comedy not funny? Some would argue, when it’s about the Holocaust. Through interviews and performances featuring people on either side of the issue—including Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Louis C.K., Joan Rivers, Chris Rock, and Abe Foxman—as well as a portrait of a resilient survivor, The Last Laugh offers an intelligent and hilarious survey of what is and is not off-limits in comedy, from the Holocaust and beyond.
Lavender, directed by Ed Gass-Donnelly, written by Ed Gass-Donnelly and Colin Frizzel. (Canada) – World Premiere, Narrative. Abbie Cornish, Dermot Mulroney, and Justin Long star in this hallucinatory thriller about Jane, a photographer who suffers severe memory loss following a horrific car accident. Putting her life at risk, as well as those of her husband and daughter, she must piece together and confront the traumatic past that is haunting her.
Life, Animated, directed by Roger Ross Williams, written by Roger Ross Williams and David Teague. (USA) – New York Premiere, Documentary. Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams tells the remarkable story of an autistic young man, unable to speak for much of his childhood, who regained his ability to communicate through a life-long commitment to Disney animated movies. Life, Animated is a moving illustration of the power of love and understanding to fix those things in life that appear irreparable. An Orchard release.
Little Boxes, directed by Rob Meyer, written by Annie J Howell. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. It’s the summer before 6th grade, and Clark is the new-in-town biracial kid in a sea of white. Discovering that to be cool he needs to act ‘more black,’ he fumbles to meet expectations as rifts are exposed in his tight-knit family, his parents also striving to adjust. This poignant comedy about understanding identity is the second feature from TFF alumnus Rob Meyer. Executive Produced by Cary Fukunaga. With Melanie Lynskey, Nelsan Ellis, Armani Jackson, Oona Laurence, Janeane Garofalo, and Christine Taylor.
Magnus, directed by Benjamin Ree, written by Linn-Jeanethe Kyed and Benjamin Ree. (Norway) – World Premiere, Documentary. Carlsen is known as the ‘Mozart of Chess’ because, unlike many chess grandmasters, he possesses innate ability, an unbelievable memory, and unrivaled creativity. Memorized moves and calculated probability can only carry a chess player so far; Magnus exploits this weakness in his opponents on his way to becoming the World Chess Champion. In English, Norwegian with subtitles.
The Meddler, directed and written by Lorene Scafaria. (USA) – US Premiere, Narrative. Susan Sarandon delivers a magnetic performance as the doting, mother supreme Marnie Minervini, who crosses coasts to drop into the life of her screenwriter daughter Lori (Rose Byrne). Loosely autobiographical, Lorene Scafaria’s heartfelt comedy offers a wryly scripted defense of a woman struggling to cope with familial loss. Co-starring J.K. Simmons, Cecily Strong, Jerrod Carmichael, and Jason Ritter. A Sony Pictures Classic release.
Midsummer in Newtown, directed by Lloyd Kramer. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Midsummer in Newtown is a testament to the transformative force of artistic expression to pierce through the shadow cast by trauma. In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, one grieving couple honors their daughter through music, while community children find their voice through a rock-pop version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Mr. Church, directed by Bruce Beresford, written by Susan McMartin. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. When a dying mother hires a talented cook (Eddie Murphy) to help take care of her young daughter, a lifelong friendship blooms. A tender coming-of-age family drama directed by the Oscar-nominated, Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy). With Britt Robertson, Xavier Samuel, Natascha McElhone, Lucy Fry
My Blind Brother, directed and written by Sophie Goodhart. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative. In Sophie Goodhart’s utterly original romantic comedy, Robbie (Adam Scott) is a champion blind athlete and local sports hero whose brother Bill (Nick Kroll) is always overlooked, even though he runs every marathon by his side. When both fall for the same lady (Jenny Slate), Bill must decide if he will put himself second again, or finally stand up to his blind brother. With Zoe Kazan, Charlie Hewson, Maryann Nagel, and Greg Violand.
My Scientology Movie, directed by John Dower, written by John Dower and Louis Theroux. (U.K.) – International Premiere, Documentary. BBC journalist Louis Theroux joins forces with director John Dower to explore the elusive Church of Scientology. With the help of a former high-ranking Scientologist, Theroux sets out to understand the furtive goings-on of the Church, armed with his irreverent humor and biting irony.
National Bird, directed by Sonia Kennebeck. (USA) – International Premiere, Documentary. Sonia Kennebeck takes on the controversial tactic of drone warfare, and demands accountability through the personal accounts—recollections, traumas, and responses—of three American military veterans whose lives have been shaken by the roles they played in this controversial method of attack. Executive produced by Wim Wenders and Errol Morris. In Dari, English with subtitles.
The Phenom, directed and written by Noah Buschel. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. When major-league rookie pitcher Hopper Gibson (Johnny Simmons) chokes on the mound, he’s sidelined to the minor leagues and prescribed sessions with an unorthodox sports psychologist (Paul Giamatti). In the process, long-dormant conflicts with his overbearing father (Ethan Hawke) are brought to light. The Phenom is a captivating psychological study of an individual caught up in the expectations of the big-league sports machine.
Pistol Shrimps, directed and written by Brent Hodge. (USA, Canada) – World Premiere, Documentary. Sometimes girls just wanna have fun… and ball. Brent Hodge (A Brony Tale, TFF 2014) and Morgan Spurlock (Mansome, TFF 2012) introduce us to an eclectic group of women who play in an LA recreational basketball league, focusing on the Pistol Shrimps, a rag-tag group of actresses (including Aubrey Plaza, Parks and Recreation), comedians, musicians, and mothers who brought nationwide attention to the league that could.
Reset (Relève), directed and written by Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai. (France) – International Premiere, Documentary. Stunningly gorgeous and delicate in both subject and treatment, Reset depicts renowned choreographer and dancer Benjamin Millepied (also known for choreographing the dance sequences in Black Swan) as he attempts to rejuvenate the Paris Opera Ballet in his new position as director. With appearances by composer Nico Muhly, Opera alumna Aurélie Dupont, and designer Iris van Herpen, Reset is a delightfully aesthetic affair. In French with subtitles.
Shadow World, directed by Johan Grimonprez. (USA, Belgium, Denmark) – World Premiere, Documentary. In this eye-popping montage of archival and news footage and interviews, Johan Grimonprez exposes the shadow world of the global arms trade, where corruption, lies, and greed drive covert relationships between politicians, industry executives, military and intelligence officials, and arms dealers. Their aim: to perpetuate war in order to generate more profit, no matter what the human cost. In Arabic, English, Spanish with subtitles.
Strike a Pose, directed and written by Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan. (Netherlands) – North American Premiere, Documentary. To the fans, they were the unforgettably talented men who supported the career of one of the world’s most beloved and controversial music artists: Madonna. Behind the scenes they were an impressionable group of young dancers whose lives were forever changed by her influence. Strike a Pose reunites the men 25 years later, providing the chance to learn about the emotional truth behind the glamorous facade.
Vincent N Roxxy, directed and written by Gary Michael Schultz. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Vincent (Emile Hirsch) is a small town loner, and Roxxy (Zoë Kravitz) a rebellious punk rocker. When they find themselves on the run from the same dangerous criminals, their feelings for one another deepen, despite their dangerous circumstances. Soon, the star-crossed lovers discover violence is never far behind them, in Gary Michael Schultz’s alternately romantic and brutal drama. With Emory Cohen, Zoey Deutch, Jason Mitchell, Scott Mescudi.
Win!, directed and written by Justin Webster. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. With inside access to the players, decision makers, and supporters who were central to the formation of New York City Football Club and its historic inaugural season, Win! offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to build a Major League Soccer team from the ground up, in the country’s most competitive sports market. In English, Spanish with subtitles.
Wolves, directed and written by Bart Freundlich. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Anthony Keller (Taylor John Smith), star of his NYC high school basketball team, is riding his way to Cornell on a sports scholarship. He can only maintain his popular jock facade for so long, as his troubled father Lee (Michael Shannon) has a gambling addiction that threatens to derail his dreams both on and off the court. Bart Freundlich’s powerfully directed drama co-stars Carla Gugino.
Youth In Oregon, directed by Joel David Moore, written by Andrew Eisen. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Frank Langella, Billy Crudup, Christina Applegate, Mary Kay Place, and Josh Lucas star in this dramedy about an ailing man travelling to Oregon to be legally euthanized. Langella is superb, capturing the frustration, resolution, and desperation that swirl around so profound a decision. Actor-turned-director Joel David Moore creates a powerful affirmation on the search that finds value in the life you have.
Always a thrill for the late night crowd, Tribeca Film Festival’s Midnight section features the best in horror, comedy, action, and camp. Made up of six narrative World Premieres, the section opens with Holidays, a horror anthology from some of today’s most exciting genre filmmakers. The piece even spills over into our Virtual Arcade: the festival is exhibiting Holidays: Christmas VR, which is an extension of Holiday’s Christmas segment. It’s an apt opener, because just as the Holidays gang have reimagined all our favorite seasonal celebrations, the rest of the Midnight filmmakers put their own spin on favorite genre frameworks. From Here Alone’s unsettlingly believable post-apocalypse to Fear, Inc’s Fincher-meets-Saw premise, and King Cobra’s dramatization of a notorious true crime in the amateur porn world, each film infuses classic concepts with its own distinctive flavor.
Holidays, directed by Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer, Nicholas McCarthy, Gary Shore, Sarah Adina Smith, Anthony Scott Burns, Kevin Smith, Scott Stewart, and Adam Egypt Mortimer, written by Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer, Nicholas McCarthy, Gary Shore, Sarah Adina Smith, Anthony Scott Burns, Kevin Smith, and Scott Stewart. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Get in the holiday spirit with this horror anthology from some of today’s most visionary genre auteurs. From a very unholy Easter Bunny to a particularly macabre Valentine’s Day gift, Holidays is a full calendar year of festive stories, bringing out the most twisted and subversive sides of each seasonal celebration. With Seth Green, Clare Grant, Ruth Bradley, Sophie Traub, Jocelin Donahue, Harley, Morenstein, Lorenza Izzo, and Andrew Bowen.
In the Virtual Arcade, the Festival is exhibiting Holidays: Christmas VR, which is tied to Christmas, a part of the Holidays anthology feature.
Fear, Inc., directed by Vincent Masciale, written by Luke Barnett. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. In this referential horror-comedy thriller, horror junkie Joe Foster gets to live out his ultimate scary movie fantasy courtesy of Fear Inc., a company that specializes in giving you the fright of your life. But as lines blur between what is and is not part of the game, Joe’s dream comes true begins to look more like a nightmare. With Lucas Neff, Caitlin Stasey, Chris Marquette, Stephanie Drake, Mark Moses, and Abigail Breslin.
Here Alone, directed by Rod Blackhurst, written by David Ebeltoft. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. A virus has ravaged human civilization, leaving two groups of survivors: those who have managed to avoid infection, and those driven to madness, violence, and an insatiable bloodlust. Living deep in the woods, Ann, Chris, and Olivia are forced to fend off the infected while foraging for supplies. But when a supply expedition goes terribly awry, one among their number must make a terrible choice. With Lucy Walters, Gina Piersanti, Adam David Thompson, and Shane West.
King Cobra, directed and written by Justin Kelly. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. This ripped-from-the-headlines drama covers the early rise of gay porn headliner Sean Paul Lockhart (Garrett Clayton), aka Brent Corrigan, before his falling out with the producer (Christian Slater) who made him famous. When Sean decides he’d be better off a free agent, a cash-strapped pair of rival producers (James Franco and Keegan Allen) aim to cash in by any means possible. With Alicia Silverstone and Molly Ringwald
Rebirth, directed and written by Karl Mueller. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Adam Goldberg, Pat Healy, Harry Hamlin and Nicky Whelan star as members of a mysterious self-help group (possibly a cult). Fran Kranz plays their newest recruit. Rebirth simultaneously satirizes the buddy comedy and embraces the thriller format, resulting in a film that is at one moment hilarious and at the next, deeply disturbing. A Netflix release
Tiger Raid, directed by Simon Dixon, written by Simon Dixon, Mick Donnellan, Gareth Coulam Evans. (U.K.) – World Premiere, Narrative. Two mercenaries in Iraq speed through the dead of night, on their way to execute a covert mission. But as they near their objective, past misdeeds come violently to the surface, in this action-packed two-hander. With Sofia Boutella, Brian Gleeson, Damien Molony
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, directed by Justin Krook. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. From producers Matthew Weaver, Matt Colon, Happy Walters and David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi, TFF 2011) is an energetic, heart-pumping documentary about one of the most eminent DJs working today: Steve Aoki. In the lead-up to Aoki’s biggest show of his career, the doc examines the driving force behind his passion: Rocky Aoki, daredevil showman, Benihana founder, and Steve’s absent father.
Following the film, there will be a conversation and performance with Steve Aoki at The Beacon Theatre.
Don’t Look Down, directed by Daniel Gordon. (U.K.) – World Premiere, Documentary. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, daredevil entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson made an audacious attempt to cross the Atlantic and Pacific in the world’s largest hot air balloon. Don’t Look Down is a personal revelation; a dramatic tale of survival and drive. Branson recounts his experience with uncanny vividity, and reveals how baiting death forever changed him.
Everybody Knows…Elizabeth Murray, directed by Kristi Zea. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. This tribute to the dynamic artist Elizabeth Murray, an intrinsic figure in New York’s contemporary art landscape from the 1970s until the early 2000s, highlights her struggle to balance personal and family ambition with artistic drive in a male-dominated art world. It also addresses her later battle with cancer, at the peak of her career.
Screening in partnership with the Whitney Museum of American Art where the film will screen.
The Man Who Knew Infinity, directed by Matthew Brown, written by Matthew Brown and Robert Kanigel. (U.K.) – New York Premiere, Narrative. In 1913, a self-taught mathematics prodigy Ramanujan (Dev Patel) traveled from his home in India to Trinity College in Cambridge to study with the esteemed professor GH Hardy (Jeremy Irons). Hardy fights for Ramanujan to be recognized as the two struggle with prejudice, illness, and culture on the road to perfecting the theorems that changed the course of history of math. In English, Tamil with subtitles. An IFC Films release.
Following the screening there will be an in depth conversation with Dev Patel and the film’s creators. Presented in association with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation/Tribeca Film Institute partnership, this Special Screening Event is co-sponsored by Bira 91.
Geezer, directed and written by Lee Kirk. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Perry (Billie Joe Armstrong) is a happily married father of two living a comfortable but sedate life in the suburbs. On the occasion of his 40th birthday, he seeks to revisit his former life as the lead singer in a popular punk band though his middle-aged reality quickly (and hilariously) clashes with the indulgences of his youth. With Fred Armisen, Selma Blair, Judy Greer and Chris Messina.
With a special live performance from Billie Joe Armstrong following the film.
Maurizio Cattelan: Be Right Back, directed and written by Maura Axelrod. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. An art world upstart, provocative and elusive artist Maurizio Cattelan made his career on playful and subversive works that send up the artistic establishment, until a retrospective at the Guggenheim in 2011 finally solidified his place in the contemporary art canon. Axelrod’s equally playful profile leaves no stone unturned in trying to figure out: who is Maurizio Cattelan? In English, Italian with subtitles.
Screening in partnership with the Guggenheim Museum where the film will screen.
Pelé: Birth of a Legend, directed and written by Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. From the slums of Brazil to center stage at the world’s biggest sporting event, Pelé’s rise to become the youngest-ever World Cup winner, at the age of 17, was nothing short of a miracle. Full of laughs, life lessons, and heart, this inspiring biopic is perfect for introducing a new generation to the greatest soccer player of all time. With Vincent D’Onofrio, Rodrigo Santoro, Diego Boneta, Seu Jorge, Colm Meaney. An IFC Films release.
Followed by a conversation with Pelé.
SHOT! the Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock, directed by Barnaby Clay. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Legendary music photographer Mick Rock is best known for his iconic photographs of David Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Queen, and countless others. In a documentary as rock-n-roll as its subject, Mick Rock guides us through his psychedelic, shambolic first-hand experiences as the visual record-keeper of these myths and legends.
With a special live music tribute following the screening.
The Show of Shows: 100 Years of Vaudeville, Circuses and Carnivals, directed by Benedikt Erlingsson. (U.K., Iceland) – North American Premiere, Documentary. Benedikt Erlingsson brings us a world of imagination with a compendium of wonderful unseen archival footage of circus performers, cabaret acts, and fairground attractions. The films are set to a haunting electronic score composed by members of Sigur Rós in collaboration with Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson.
Screening in partnership with MoMA PS1 where the film will screen inside the VW Dome.
Work In Progress
Ghostheads, directed and written by Brendan Mertens. (Canada, USA) – Work-In-Progress, Documentary. Join us for a special sneak preview screening of Brendan Mertens’ documentary exploring the many faces of Ghostbusters fandom and celebrating 30 years of one of cinema’s most iconic franchises. Featuring interviews with Dan Aykroyd, Ivan Reitman, Sigourney Weaver, and Paul Feig.
Untitled Bill Nye Documentary, directed by David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg. (USA) – Work-In-Progress, Documentary. When it raised over $800,000 on Kickstarter, The Untitled Bill Nye Documentary broke the fundraising site’s records and instantly became one of the most anticipated upcoming documentaries. Join the filmmakers and the titular Science Guy as they preview exclusive scenes from their upcoming doc and discuss their process, collaboration, and fundraising strategy.
TRIBECA/ESPN SPORTS FILM FESTIVAL
Sponsored by Mohegan Sun
The ESPN Sports Film Festival kicks of on Thursday, April 14th with the Gala premiere of The Magic Moment, a documentary chronicling the 1990s Orlando Magic dynasty headlined by superstars Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway. The film will premiere on ESPN that night with live simulcast from the Tribeca red carpet, with special guests including Shaquille O’Neal.
Jeff and Michael Zimbalest return to the Tribeca Film Festival with the World Premiere of their inspiring biopic Pele: Birth of a Legend, about Pele’s rise from the slums of Brazil to become the youngest ever World Cup winner at the age of 17 (Pele will be in attendance). Other films explore a new soccer franchise in New York, a famous chess player, a Native American girls highschool lacrosse team, and an LA recreational basketball league, made up of actresses, comedians, musicians, and mothers.
This Magic Moment, co-directed by Erin Leyden and Gentry Kirby. (USA) – World Premiere. Documentary. In the mid-1990s, Orlando was the epicenter of excitement in the NBA. The young franchise, led by mega-stars Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway, beat Michael Jordan and the mighty Bulls en route to the 1995 NBA Finals. They lost to the Rockets that year but it was clear this team from Orlando was a dynasty in the making. But the Magic’s moment on top was never fully realized – a classic “what-could-have-been” story, where success came fast and big and then ‘poof’, the magic was gone.
El Clásico, directed by Halkawt Mustafa, written by Anders Fagerholt and Halkawt Mustafa. (Norway, Iraqi Kurdistan Region) – North American Premiere
Keepers of the Game, directed by Judd Ehrlich. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary
Magnus, directed by Benjamin Ree, written by Linn-Jeanethe Kyed and Benjamin Ree. (Norway) – World Premiere, Documentary.
My Blind Brother, directed and written by Sophie Goodhart. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative.
Pelé: Birth of a Legend, directed and written by Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative.
Pistol Shrimps, directed and written by Brent Hodge. (USA, Canada) – World Premiere, Documentary.
Win!, directed and written by Justin Webster. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.