Tribeca Film Festival has announced 82 of the 98 feature films that’ll show this year when the festival kicks off April 19. A good $160,000 of prize money will be up for grabs among the 32 films in the competition category, so folks, it’s time to stop worrying about the dopey Oscars and whether Moonlight or La La Land should’ve won.
Among the highlights of this year’s lineup are Aardvark, featuring Jenny Slate as a therapist who treats Zachary Quinto; Flower, a dark comedy featuring appearances by Adam Scott and Tim Heidecker; Saturday Church, a coming-of-age story centered around a Bronx transgender youth community; Thirst Street, a new one from Stinking Heaven director Nathan Silver; The Boy Downstairs, in which a young New Yorker played by Zosia Mamet inadvertently moves in with her ex; Chuck, in which Liev Schreiber plays the hard-nosed Jersey boxer who inspired the Rocky movies (Elisabeth Moss, Jim Gaffigan and Naomi Watts also make appearances); My Art, in which New York artist Laurie Simmons plays an aging artist and Lena Dunham and Parker Posey also appear; and The Clapper, a comedy from filmmaker Dito Montiel (of the East Village-set A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints) starring Ed Helms as a paid audience member who tries to romance Amanda Seyfried (Tracy Morgan, Russell Peters, and Mark Cuban also appear).
Documentary subjects include Elián González, NYPD whistleblower Frank Serpico, Stonewall activist Marsha P. Johnson, Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi, New York street artist Shadowman, foul-mouthed comic Gilbert Gottfried, Republican hit man Roger Stone, the Rodney King riots, and Whitney Houston (as portrayed by controversial Kurt and Courtney director Nick Bloomfield). Other docs not to be missed include war correspondent Sebastian Junger’s Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS, and a documentary about Junger’s colleague Chris Hondros, the photographer killed in Libya in 2011. Acclaimed documentarians Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land) and Alex Gibney (Going Clear) return with films about the citizen journalists of the Syrian war and an unsolved murder in Ireland, respectively.
Here’s a look at the films that have been announced so far, via Tribeca. Ticket packages are now on sale and single tickets for movies ($12-$21) and Tribeca Talks panels ($40) will go on sale March 28.
U.S. Narrative Competition
Tribeca’s U.S. Narrative Competition recognizes the extraordinary work emerging from thriving American independent film communities today, affirming Tribeca’s commitment to discovering and elevating truly fresh, independent voices. These ten films will compete for the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, and Best Actress.
Aardvark, directed and written by Brian Shoaf. (USA) – World Premiere. While battling her own anxieties, therapist Emily Milburton (Jenny Slate) spends her time listening to other people’s problems. Her professional and personal worlds collide when Emily’s newest patient, Josh Norman (Zachary Quinto), walks through her door. Mentally ill and experiencing hallucinations, Josh harbors complex feelings for his estranged brother, Craig (Jon Hamm). Things begin to get interesting when Emily falls for Craig. With Sheila Vand, Tonya Pinkins, Marin Ireland.
Abundant Acreage Available, directed and written by Angus MacLachlan. (USA) – World Premiere. Still reeling over the recent death of their father, siblings Jesse (Terry Kinney) and Tracy (Amy Ryan) are attempting to settle into their new lives in his absence. Their simple existence is unexpectedly disrupted by the sudden arrival of three mysterious brothers, camping on their land and possessing a surprising connection to their family farm. With Max Gail, Francis Guinan, Steve Coulter.
Blame, directed and written by Quinn Shephard. (USA) – World Premiere. Abigail (Quinn Shephard) is an outcast who seeks solace in fantasy worlds. When high school drama teacher Jeremy (Chris Messina) casts her in Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible,’ Abigail’s confidence blooms. But soon her relationship with Jeremy begins to move beyond innocent flirtation, and it in turn fuels a vengeful jealousy that quickly spirals out of control and brings about a chain of events that draws parallels to Salem. With Nadia Alexander, Tate Donovan, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Tessa Albertson.
The Endless, directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, written by Justin Benson. (USA) – World Premiere. Years after escaping a cult as teenagers, brothers Aaron and Justin return to their former home after receiving a mysterious message. While Aaron is quickly drawn back into the fold, Justin remains uneasy. However, neither can deny it when strange events begin happening that seem to mirror the cult’s unusual axioms. Following their Tribeca breakout, Resolution, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead direct and star in another intensely original genre hybrid. With Tate Ellington, Callie Hernandez, James Jordan, Lew Temple.
Flower, directed by T by Alex McAulay, Max Winkler, Matt Spicer. (USA) – World Premiere. Rebellious and quick-witted, 17-year-old firecracker Erica Vandross (Zoey Deutch) kills time with her friends gawking at older men in bowling alleys and sexually scheming guys out of their money. However, her biggest scheme is still to come when her mother asks her boyfriend and his troubled, fresh-out-of-rehab son to move in with them in this biting dark comedy. With Kathryn Hahn, Adam Scott, Tim Heidecker, Joey Morgan, Dylan Gelula.
Keep the Change, directed and written by Rachel Israel. (USA) – World Premiere. In a support group for adults living with autism, David—a smooth talker struggling to hide his disability—meets a woman with similar learning challenges, and they quickly forge an intimate bond. Starring a cast of nonprofessional actors on the autism spectrum, Keep the Change details an underrepresented community with authenticity, optimism and humor. With Brandon Polansky, Samantha Elisofon, Nicky Gottlieb, Will Deaver, Jessica Walter, Tibor Feldman.
Love After Love, directed by Russell Harbaugh, written by Russell Harbaugh, Eric Mendelsohn. (USA) – World Premiere. The world of a mother and her two adult sons feels emotionally untethered following the death of their family’s patriarch. Andie MacDowell, Chris O’Dowd, and James Adomian deliver searing performances in this absorbing story of a family losing and regaining their equilibrium in the wake of loss. With Juliet Rylance, Dree Hemingway, Gareth Williams.
One Percent More Humid, directed and written by Liz W. Garcia. (USA) – World Premiere. Catherine (Julia Garner) and Iris (Juno Temple) are childhood friends home from college for a hot New England summer. As they attempt to enjoy parties and skinny-dipping and the usual vacation hijinks, a shared trauma in their past becomes increasingly difficult to suppress. As the wedge between the friends grows, they each pursue forbidden affairs to cope. With Alessandro Nivola, Maggie Siff, Philip Ettinger, Mamoudou Athie.
Saturday Church, directed and written by Damon Cardasis. (USA) – World Premiere. 14-year-old Ulysses is a shy and effeminate teen being raised in the Bronx by his strict Aunt Rose. He finds escape in a rich fantasy life of music and dance, and soon with a vibrant transgender youth community called Saturday Church. Damon Cardasis’ directorial debut is a rousing celebration of one boy’s search for his identity. With Luka Kain, Margot Bingham, Regina Taylor, Marquis Rodriguez, MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Alexia Garcia.
Thirst Street, directed by Nathan Silver, written by Nathan Silver, C. Mason Wells. (USA, France) – World Premiere. There’s a fine line between lust and obsession—and for flight attendant Gina (Lindsay Burdge), that line is often difficult to see. Grieving over a lover’s suicide, Gina loses her grip on reality after falling for a suave Parisian bartender. Tribeca alum Nathan Silver (Actor Martinez) takes cues from ‘70s Euro erotic psychodramas in this gorgeously retro and piercingly intimate look at one-sided love. With Damien Bonnard, Esther Garrel, Lola Bessis, Jacques Nolot, Françoise Lebrun. In English, French with subtitles.
International Narrative Competition
Representing 20 countries and four continents, Tribeca’s International Narrative Competition is a true global showcase of the best in world cinema today. These 10 international gems will compete for Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, and Best Actress.
The Divine Order (Die göttliche Ordnung), directed and written by Petra Volpe. (Switzerland) – International Premiere. Political leaders in Switzerland cited ‘Divine Order’ as the reason why women still did not have the right to vote as late as 1970. Director Petra Volpe explores this surprising history through the story of Nora, a quiet housewife from a quaint village searching for the fierce suffragette leader inside her. With Marie Leuenberger, Max Simonischek, Rachel Braunschweig, Sibylle Brunner, Marta Zoffoli, Bettina Sucky. In Swiss-German with subtitles.
Holy Air (Hawa Moqaddas), directed and written by Shady Srour. (Israel) – World Premiere. Desperate to care for his pregnant wife and ailing father, Adam (writer/director Shady Srour) embarks on his latest, riskiest business venture: selling bottled holy air. A sharp comedy set in modern-day Nazareth, Holy Air examines the complicated emotions that go into living as a modern, progressive, Christian family on the world’s most spiritual ground. With Laëtitia Eïdo, Shmulik Calderon, Tareq Copti, Dalia Okal, Bian Anteer. In Arabic, English, French, Hebrew, Italian with subtitles.
Ice Mother (Bába z ledu), directed and written by Bohdan Sláma. (Czech Republic, Slovakia, France) – International Premiere. Hana lives alone in a big villa with only weekly visits from her two belligerent sons and their families to look forward to. While on a stroll with her grandson one day, she rescues Brona, an elderly ice swimmer with a hen for a best friend, from drowning. This encounter invigorates Hana, introducing her to a new hobby and unexpected romance. With Zuzana Kronerová, Pavel Nový, Daniel Vízek, Václav Neužil. In Czech with subtitles.
King of Peking, directed and written by Sam Voutas. (China, USA, Australia) – World Premiere. Big Wong and his son Little Wong are traveling film projectionists, screening Hollywood movies for local villagers. Faced with losing custody of his son, Big Wong starts making and selling illegal bootleg DVDs out of the old movie theater where he works, despite Little Wong’s objections. More than a father-son story, King of Peking is a love letter to cinema. With Zhao Jun, Wang Naixun, Han Qing, Si Chao, Geng Bowen, Yi Long. In Mandarin with subtitles.
Newton, directed by Amit V Masurkar, written by Mayank Tewari, Amit V Masurka. (India) – North American Premiere. India, the world’s largest democracy, is preparing for an election—and with more than 800 million voters, this is a logistical puzzle of epic proportions. With disarming charm, this film probes the nature of democracy as Newton, a young, idealistic office worker, becomes the torch bearer for political fairness when he volunteers to head up a polling station in the deepest jungle for 76 remote voters. With Rajkummar Rao, Anjali Patil, Pankaj Tripathi, Raghubir Yadav. In Hindi with subtitles.
Nobody’s Watching (Nadie Nos Mira), directed by Julia Solomonoff, written by Julia Solomonoff, Christina Lazaridi. (Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, USA, Spain) – World Premiere. After giving up a successful soap opera career in his native Argentina for a chance to make it in New York, Nico finds himself staying afloat with odd jobs bartending and babysitting. In a moving depiction of the vibrant city, Nobody’s Watching questions who is watching and how we adjust ourselves accordingly. With Guillermo Pfening, Rafael Ferro, Paola Baldion, Elena Roger, Cristina Morrison, Kerri Sohn, Marco Antonio Caponi. In English, Spanish with subtitles.
November, directed and written by Rainer Sarnet. (Estonia) – International Premiere. Dive into the cold, snowy landscape of 19th-century Estonia, where werewolves and spirits roam free, and Jesus co-exists with kratts, the farmers’ mythological helpers made of tools and bones. Farmer girl Liina’s doomed romance with local boy Hans is at the center of director Rainer Sarnet’s pagan, black and white world, where the characters search for meaning in their surroundings and ponder the existence of the soul. With Rea Lest, Jörgen Liik, Arvo Kukumägi, Katariina Unt, Taavi Eelmaa, Dieter Laser. In Estonian with subtitles.
Sambá, directed by Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas, written by Ettore D’Alessandro, Carolina Encarnacion. (Dominican Republic) – World Premiere. Cisco has his back against the ropes. After spending 15 years in an American jail, he’s returned to the Dominican Republic yet is unable to get a job, a problem compounded by his mother’s ailing health and his younger brother’s delinquent habits. To make money, he’s resorted to illegal street fighting. But Cisco finds a possible salvation in Nichi, an Italian ex-boxer who sees dollar signs in Cisco’s gritty fighting skills. With Algenis Pérez Soto, Ettore D’Alessandro, Laura Gómez, Ricardo A. Toribio. In Spanish with subtitles.
Son of Sofia (O Gios tis Sofias), directed and written by Elina Psykou. (Bulgaria, France, Greece) – World Premiere. Set during the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, 11-year-old Misha is travelling from Russia to live with his mother in Athens in the home of an elderly Greek man she works for. When he learns this man is actually his new father, Misha runs away but doesn’t have the stomach for life on the streets. Returning to his new home, he clings to the stories he grew up with, melding them with reality to create a dark urban fairytale. With Viktor Khomut, Valery Tcheplanowa, Thanasis Papageorgiou, Artemis Havalits, Christos Stergioglou, Iro Maltezou. In Greek, Russian with subtitles.
Tom of Finland, directed by Dome Karukoski, written by Aleksi Bardy. (Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany) – International Premiere. This is the true story of cult artist Touko Laaksonen, better known as Tom of Finland, and the events that influenced his iconic homoerotic drawings. From Finnish army uniforms to motorcycle leathers, Tom finds inspiration in his European post-war surroundings, even as conservative Finland is not quite ready for his transgressive work. Eventually Tom and his art make their way to dazzling Los Angeles in time for the sexual revolution and its aftermath. With Pekka Strang, Lauri Tilkanen, Werner Daehn, Jessica Grabowsky. In Finnish with subtitles.
World Documentary Competition
In its 16 year history, Tribeca’s esteemed documentary competition has showcased discovery directors, future Oscar nominees, and legendary filmmakers. This year’s selection continues the tradition of spotlighting the best in nonfiction film with 12 stories of artists and activists, social justice and personal conflict, politics and romance, and so much more. These films will compete for Best Documentary Feature, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing.
Bobbi Jene, directed by Elvira Lind, written by Elvira Lind, Adam Nielsen. (Denmark, Israel, USA) – World Premiere. In her moving and cinematic documentary, Elvira Lind follows American dancer Bobbi Jene Smith as she makes the decision of a lifetime. Bobbi returns to the U.S., leaving behind a loving boyfriend and a successful 10-year run as a star dancer of the famous Israeli dance company Batsheva. Lind intimately portrays Bobbi’s rigorous creative process as she starts fresh in San Francisco, while still working to maintain a long-distance relationship.
Copwatch, directed by Camilla Hall. (USA) – World Premiere. In 1990, a California citizen journalist began recording police interactions with the public. A one-man operation, he titled his work “Copwatch.” Now, decades later, the initiative has expanded to cities around the country, including New York, where Ramsey Orta filmed Eric Garner’s fatal arrest. In her feature film debut, director Camilla Hall crafts an intriguing and timely profile of citizen-journalist-activists who seek to disrupt the ever-present challenge of police violence.
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, directed by David France, written by David France, Mark Blane. (USA) – World Premiere. Featuring never-before-seen footage and rediscovered interviews, Academy Award nominee David France (How to Survive a Plague) follows a new investigation into the mysterious death of self-described “street queen” Marsha P. Johnson. Credited as one of the courageous black transgender activists who instigated the Stonewall Riots of 1969, thereby spearheading the modern gay civil rights movement.
The Departure, directed by Lana Wilson. (USA) – World Premiere. Lana Wilson follows up her award-winning film, After Tiller, with this profile of Ittetsu Nemoto, a Buddhist priest renowned for saving the lives of countless suicidal people. But Nemoto, suffering from heart disease and supporting his wife and young son, risks his life carrying the heavy emotional load to support those who no longer want to live. When saving others takes such a toll, can he find the resiliency to save himself? In Japanese with subtitles.
No Man’s Land, directed by David Byars. (USA) – World Premiere. “We are patriots,” utters one of the characters in David Byars’ detailed, on-the-ground account of the standoff between ranchers occupying Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and federal authorities. That statement—believed to be true by the armed occupiers—underlines the film, which unspools in measured pace and slowly unpacks its loaded meaning.
The Reagan Show, directed by Pacho Velez and Sierra Pettengill, written by Josh Alexander, Pacho Velez. (USA) – World Premiere. Constructed entirely through 1980s network news and videotapes created by the Reagan administration itself, Velez and Pettengill’s prescient documentary presents Ronald Reagan as the first made-for-TV president—a man whose experience as a performer and public relations expert made him a unique match for an emerging modern political landscape, and for his chief rival: charismatic Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
A River Below, directed by Mark Grieco. (Colombia, USA) – World Premiere. Deep in the Amazon, a renowned marine biologist and a reality TV star are each working to save the indigenous pink river dolphin from being hunted to extinction. When a scandal erupts, ethical questions are raised as murky as the waters of the Amazon River. Mark Grieco’s (Marmato) surprising documentary digs into the ethics of activism in the modern media age. In English, Portuguese, Spanish with subtitles. Earth Day Screening
The Sensitives, directed by Drew Xanthopoulos. (USA) – World Premiere. Meet the Sensitives, people who are debilitatingly sensitive to modern life—electricity, chemicals, you name it. Their symptoms and coping mechanisms might vary, but they all face the unusual and heartbreaking choice of either living in dangerous and uncertain conditions with their loved ones, or in physical and technological isolation. Director Drew Xanthopoulos captures their lives in cinematic verite style.
Shadowman, directed and written by Oren Jacoby. (USA) – World Premiere. In the early 1980s, Richard Hambleton was New York City’s precursor to Banksy, a rogue street artist whose silhouette paintings haunted the sides of Manhattan buildings. Like so many other geniuses of his time, he fell victim to drug addiction, even as his work continued to rise in both demand and value. Shadowman doubles as both a time capsule of a forgotten New York City era, and a redemption story.
A Suitable Girl, directed by Smriti Mundhra and Sarita Khurana. (USA, India) – World Premiere. Dipti, Amrita, Ritu and Seema are all young, modern women in India looking to get married—some desperately, some reluctantly. A Suitable Girl follows them over the course of four years as they juggle family, career and friends, intimately capturing their thoughts on arranged marriage, giving them a voice, and offering a unique perspective into the nuances of this institution. In English, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi with subtitles.
True Conviction, directed by Jamie Meltzer, written by Jamie Meltzer, Jeff Gilbert. (USA) – World Premiere. There’s a new detective agency in Dallas, Texas, started by three exonerated men, with decades in prison served between them, who look to free innocent people from behind bars. True Conviction follows these change-makers with no small task in front of them as they rebuild their lives and families, learn to investigate cases, work to support one another, and try and fix the criminal justice system.
When God Sleeps, directed and written by Till Schauder. (USA, Germany) – World Premiere. “My songs didn’t make me famous. The fatwa did.” And so we embark on the journey of rapper Shahin Najafi, whose bold style and transgressive lyrics put him in the crosshairs of religious clerics in his native Iran. When God Sleeps tells the story of this tireless artist-activist against the backdrop of the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks and the European right-wing backlash against Middle Eastern refugees. In English, Farsi, German with subtitles.
Supported by The Lincoln Motor Company
With a focus on marquee filmmakers and star performers, The Spotlight Narrative section is a launching pad for some of 2017’s most exciting new independent premieres for a wide audience of film lovers.
The Boy Downstairs, directed and written by Sophie Brooks. (USA) – World Premiere. Zosia Mamet exhibits winsome charm as Diana, navigating the rite of passage of every single New Yorker: the search for an apartment. She seemingly finds a jewel of a home until realizing her downstairs neighbor is her ex whose heart she broke. Like a true New Yorker, she keeps the apartment. With Matthew Shear, Deirdre O’Connell, Sarah Ramos, Diana Irvine.
Buster’s Mal Heart, directed and written by Sarah Adina Smith. (USA) – New York Premiere. A fugitive hotly pursued by rangers reviews the pathway to his present circumstances and finds conflicting stories. A spellbinding Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) brings impressive range to Sarah Adina Smith’s sophomore feature: a twisting, mind-bending thriller in which the typical rules don’t apply, least of all to a man who cannot be certain of anything he’s done. With DJ Qualls, Kate Lyn Sheil, Sukha Belle Potter, Lin Shaye. A Well Go USA release.
Chuck, directed by Philippe Falardeau, written by Jeff Feuerzeig, Jerry Stahl. (USA) – US Premiere. Chuck is the true story of Chuck Wepner (Liev Schreiber), the man who inspired the billion-dollar film series Rocky—a liquor salesman from New Jersey who went 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali. Wepner suffered numerous losses, knockouts, and broken noses in his ten years in the ring, and lived an epic life of drugs, booze, and wild women outside of it. With Elisabeth Moss, Ron Perlman, Naomi Watts, Jim Gaffigan, Michael Rapaport. An IFC Films release.
The Clapper, directed and written by Dito Montiel. (USA) – World Premiere. Ed Helms stars as Eddie Krumble, a professional audience member who gains unwanted notoriety when a late-night talk show turns his life into a national obsession, threatening his budding relationship with gas station attendant Judy (Amanda Seyfried). Directed by Dito Montiel (Boulevard, Tribeca ‘14), The Clapper is a heartfelt comedy featuring Tracy Morgan, Adam Levine, Russell Peters, PJ Byrne, and appearances from Rob Gronkowski, Mark Cuban and the late Alan Thicke.
Dabka, directed and written by Bryan Buckley. (USA) – World Premiere. When rookie journalist Jay Bahadur (Evan Peters) has an inspiring chance encounter with his idol (Al Pacino), he uproots his life and moves to Somalia looking for the story of a lifetime. Hooking up with a local fixer (Barkhad Abdi), he attempts to embed himself with the local Somali pirates, only to find himself quickly in over his head. Based on the true story of one reporter’s risk-taking adventure that ultimately brought the world an unprecedented first-person account of the pirates of Somalia. With Melanie Griffith. In English, Somali with subtitles.
The Dinner, directed and written by Oren Moverman. (USA) – North American Premiere. Two brothers, congressman Stan and caustic former teacher Paul, are locked in sibling rivalry and are forced to come head to head over a dinner with their wives. As the two couples (Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Steve Coogan and Rebecca Hall) sit down to dine, their dark family secrets are drudged on to the table along with the main course, in this adaptation of the Herman Koch bestseller. With Chloe Sevigny. An Orchard release.
Literally, Right Before Aaron, directed and written by Ryan Eggold. (USA) – World Premiere. Still reeling from his breakup with college sweetheart Allison (Cobie Smulders), Adam’s (Justin Long) world is thrown into further chaos when he’s surprisingly invited to attend her wedding. Over a surreal weekend, he stumbles through a nightmarish rehearsal dinner and drinks his way through the reception as he thinks back on where it all went wrong with the one that got away. Ryan Eggold directs this refreshingly unconventional romantic comedy. With John Cho, Luis Guzman, Kristen Schaal, Leah Thompson, Ryan Hansen.
The Lovers, directed and written by Azazel Jacobs. (USA) – World Premiere. Years into a dispassionate marriage, a long-married couple, both seriously involved with other people, resolve to call it quits. To their surprise, their decision reignites a dormant spark that leads to an impulsive affair. Broadway legend Tracy Letts and the always-luminous Debra Winger shine in writer/director Azazel Jacob’s (Terri) latest. With Debra Winger, Tracy Letts, Melora Walters, Aiden Gillen, Tyler Ross, Jessica Sula. An A24 release.
Manifesto, directed and written by Julian Rosefeldt. (Germany) – New York Premiere. All current art is fake. Nothing is original. These are some of the statements exposed in artist Julian Rosefeldt’s stunning piece. Starring Cate Blanchett, we witness a series of vignettes which draw upon artist manifestos that question the true nature of art. A chameleonic Blanchett gives a tour-de-force performance as she transforms in each segment like never before. A FilmRise Release.
Permission, directed and written by Brian Crano. (USA) – World Premiere. Anna (Rebecca Hall) and Will (Dan Stevens) are the definition of long-term monogamy, and with great careers, an impending marriage, and a potential new home, things couldn’t be better. But after a close friend’s joke about her non-existent sexual experience hits too close to home, Anna proposes to Will an experiment to broaden their horizons without sabotaging their relationship: to try an open relationship—together. With Gina Gershon, Francois Arnaud, Morgan Spector, David Joseph Craig, Jason Sudeikis.
Rock’n Roll, directed by Guillaume Canet, written by Guillaume Canet, Rodolphe Lauga, Philippe Lefebvre. (France) – International Premiere. Real-life couple Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard play themselves in this satirical comedy about a couple dealing with aging in the limelight. After Guillaume gets told by a co-star that he’s just not that cool anymore, he goes to increasingly extreme lengths to prove her wrong, putting his happy domestic life to the test. With Gilles Lellouche, Philippe Lefebvre, Camille Rowe, Yvan Attal. In French with subtitles.
Sweet Virginia, directed by Jamie Dagg, written by The China Brothers. (USA) – World Premiere. Jon Bernthal, Rosemarie DeWitt, Imogen Poots, Odessa Young, and a spectacular Christopher Abbott star in this gritty neo-Western with echoes of the early Coen Brothers: a burglary-homicide rattles the residents of a small Alaska town. Jamie Dagg’s sophomore feature is a haunting drama about the predator in each of us, and the prices we pay to start over.
Take Me, directed by Pat Healy, written by Mike Makowsky. (USA) – World Premiere. Ray is in the boutique simulated abduction business. It’s an understandably threadbare market, so he jumps at the chance when a mysterious call contracts him for a weekend kidnapping with a handsome payday at the end. But the job isn’t all that it seems. A black comedy that threads the needle between crime thriller and slapstick farce, Take Me is as twisty as it is funny. With Taylor Schilling, Pat Healy, Alycia Delmore, Jim O’Heir.
Thumper, directed and written by Jordan Ross. (USA) – World Premiere. This suspenseful crime drama follows Kat Carter (Eliza Taylor), the troubled new girl in a school harboring a deep secret. When she attracts the attention of the volatile gang leader Wyatt (a menacing Pablo Schreiber), Kat’s own hidden secrets threaten to put her life in danger. Executive Produced by Cary Fukunaga, the film features raw supporting turns from Lena Headey, Daniel Webber, Ben Feldman, and Grant Harvey.
The Trip to Spain, directed by Michael Winterbottom. (U.K.) – World Premiere. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon reunite with director Michael Winterbottom for another chapter in their hilarious road trip series. This time taking their wit and appetites on a tour through picturesque Spain’s finest fine dining, Coogan and Brydon trade celebrity impressions and witty banter over paella and gazpacho, their comic observations on fame and friendship as dry as the finest Spanish wine. With Marta Barrio, Claire Keelan, Margo Stilley. An IFC Films release.
Supported by The Lincoln Motor Company
Over the past 15 years, Tribeca has solidified itself as one of the preeminent documentary film destinations in the country. The Spotlight Documentary section‘s 16 high-profile world premieres represent the major stories and acclaimed filmmakers that will be making waves in 2017.
ACORN and the Firestorm, directed and written by Reuben Atlas and Sam Pollard. (USA) – World Premiere. For 40 years, the community-organizing group ACORN advocated for America’s poorest communities, while its detractors accused it of promoting government waste and the worst of liberal policies. Riding high on the momentum of Barack Obama’s presidential victory in 2008, ACORN was at its social zenith when a hidden-camera video sparked a national scandal and brought it all crashing down.
AlphaGo, directed by Greg Kohs. (USA) – World Premiere. With simple rules but a near-infinite number of possible outcomes, the ancient Chinese board game Go has long been considered the holy grail of artificial intelligence. Director Greg Kohs’ absorbing documentary chronicles Google’s DeepMind team as it takes on one of the world’s top Go players in a weeklong tournament, pitting man against machine in a competition that reveals as much about the workings of the human mind as it does the future of AI. In English, Korean with subtitles.
Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World, directed and written by Barry Avrich. (Canada) – World Premiere. Barry Avrich’s in-depth and eye-opening documentary pulls back the curtain on the behind-the-scenes dealings revolving around the contemporary art world. Reputable artists, critics, auctioneers and collectors demystify the often illusive and complex relationship between art and commerce in this film, which features extraordinary access to industry players.
ELIÁN, directed by Tim Golden, Ross McDonnell. (USA) – World Premiere. Thanksgiving, 1999: Two fishermen on the Florida Straits find a young Cuban boy, Elián González, floating alone in an inner tube. Their discovery evolves into a custody battle between Elián’s Cuban father and his Miami-located relatives that brings the conflict between Cuba and the U.S. to the forefront. Eighteen years later, ELIÁN, executive produced by Alex Gibney, gives the now grown-up Elián the chance to tell his own side of the story. In English, Spanish with subtitles.
Frank Serpico, directed and written by Antonino D’Ambrosio. (USA) – World Premiere. With unprecedented access to a notoriously reclusive subject, Antonino D’Ambrosio creates a powerful portrait of Frank Serpico, the former NYPD officer who in the 1970s blew the whistle on the corruption and payoffs running rampant in the department. The true story that inspired Sidney Lumet’s American crime classic that bears his name.
Get Me Roger Stone, directed and written by Dylan Bank, Daniel DiMauro, Morgan Pehme. (USA) – World Premiere. With his bespoke suits and collection of Nixon memorabilia, political firebrand and noted eccentric Roger Stone has been a fixture of Republican politics since the 1970s, yet at the same time has always been an outsider. Despite its success, his brand of confrontational (some would say “dirty”) politics was always publicly rejected by the conservative mainstream, though with the shocking ascendancy of his longtime pet project Donald Trump (interviewed in the film), Stone—the ultimate political trickster—would likely say he was just ahead of his time. A Netflix release.
Gilbert, directed by Neil Berkeley, written by Neil Berkeley, James Leche. (USA) – World Premiere. Legendary comedian Gilbert Gottfried has had quite a career. Rocketing to fame in the 1980s, he was thrust into the public consciousness almost immediately thanks to his brash personality, unique worldview, and off-kilter comic timing. Now, foul-mouthed and unapologetic after decades of flying solo in both his work and in his personal life, Gilbert has shockingly reinvented himself…as a family man. With Jay Leno, Bill Burr, Jeff Ross, Whoopi Goldberg, Howie Mandel.
A Gray State, directed by Erik Nelson. (USA) – World Premiere. Christmas, 2014: filmmaker, veteran and charismatic up-and-coming voice of alt-right politics David Crowley and his family are killed in their suburban Minnesota home. Their shocking deaths quickly become a cause célèbre for conspiracy theorists. Executive produced by Werner Herzog, A Gray State combs through Crowley’s photographs, videos and recordings to investigate what happens when an ideology becomes an all-consuming obsession.
Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS, directed by Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested, written by Mark Monroe. (USA) – World Premiere. Chronicling Syria’s descent into unbridled chaos, this gripping and insightful work captures the Syrian war’s harrowing carnage, political and social consequences, and, most importantly, its human toll. From personal stories of family survival and tragedy to keen insight from top experts from around the world, acclaimed filmmaker and author Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested create an informative and comprehensive documentary, as the story continues to unfold. In English, French, Arabic, Kurdish with subtitles. A National Geographic release.
Hondros, directed by Greg Campbell, written by Greg Campbell, Jenny Golden. (USA) – World Premiere. Beginning with the war in Kosovo in 1999, award-winning photographer Chris Hondros served as a witness to conflict for over a decade before being killed in Libya in 2011. In Hondros, director and childhood friend Greg Campbell creates a portrait of a man with not only great depth and sensitivity, but a passion for his craft, and an unending talent for creating breathtaking imagery. Executive produced by Jake Gyllenhaal. In Arabic, English with subtitles.
I Am Evidence, directed by Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir. (USA) – World Premiere. Every year in cities around the United States, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of rape kits are left untested in police storage facilities. Produced by Mariska Hargitay, I Am Evidence exposes this shocking reality, bringing attention to the way in which police have historically processed sexual assault cases. Through an exploration of survivors’ accounts, the film sheds light on these disturbing statistics, and shows what can be achieved when evidence—and the individuals it represents—are treated with the respect we all deserve. An HBO Documentary Film release.
LA 92, directed by Daniel Lindsay, TJ Martin. (USA) – World Premiere. Few images are seared into the American consciousness with the anger and clarity of the beating of Rodney King and the riots following his abusers’ acquittal. Twenty-five years later, Academy Award-winning directors Daniel Lindsay and TJ Martin draw on archival news images and unseen footage to paint an in-depth portrait of those riots and the tempestuous relationship between Los Angeles’ African-American community and those charged with protecting it. A National Geographic release.
No Stone Unturned, directed by Alex Gibney. (USA, Northern Ireland) – World Premiere. In 1994, six men were gunned down and five wounded in a pub while watching a World Cup soccer match in Loughinisland, Northern Ireland. With a police investigation that was perfunctory at best, the case remained unsolved. In this non-fiction murder mystery, Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney reopens the original case to investigate why no culprit was ever brought to justice.
WASTED! The Story of Food Waste, directed by Anna Chai and Nari Kye. (USA) – World Premiere. Each year, $218 billion—or 1.3 billion tons—of food is thrown out. With nearly a billion people worldwide facing starvation, food conservation is a more urgent issue than ever before. Executive produced by Anthony Bourdain, Chai and Kye’s fast-paced and forward-thinking food doc takes viewers on a tour of inventive new ideas for recycling waste and maximizing sustainability from innovative chefs like Massimo Bottura, Dan Barber and Danny Bowien, who turn scraps into feasts before our eyes. Earth Day Screening
Whitney. “can I be me,” directed by Nick Broomfield and Rudi Dolezal, written by Nick Broomfield. (U.K.) – World Premiere. Whitney Houston was the most awarded female recording artist of all time, with more consecutive number one hits than The Beatles, and on top of that she was America’s Sweetheart. Yet despite her fame, talent, and success, she died tragically at the age of 48. Featuring largely never-before-seen footage and Broomfield and Dolezal’s moving documentary tells the story of the girl behind the voice. A Showtime release.
Year of the Scab, directed by John Dorsey. (USA) – World Premiere. During the 1987 NFL strike, teams scrambled to assemble temporary replacements to fill in for their boycotting players. The Washington Redskins were notable for their “scabs,” a collection of cast-offs who nonetheless rode a surprising wave of momentum against all odds. “Year of the Scab” revisits this ultimate underdog story and the men whose ordinary lives were interrupted. Those so-called “scabs” helped break the strike and bring their team to victory, only to struggle for their place in the sports history books.
An ESPN Films release.
Encompassing documentaries, narratives, and hybrid work, American and international films, first time filmmakers and Oscar nominees, Viewpoints is Tribeca’s home for bold directorial visions, underrepresented perspectives, and innovative style.
City of Ghosts, directed by Matthew Heineman. (USA) – New York Premiere, Documentary. The fearless citizen-journalists of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” (RBSS) risk their lives on a daily basis to document and expose the atrocities of the Islamic State in their home city of Raqqa, Syria. Academy Award-nominee Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land) returns to Tribeca with an immersive and deeply personal documentary chronicling the lives of these activists. In Arabic with subtitles. An Amazon Studios release.
Dog Years, directed and written by Adam Rifkin. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Vic Edwards (Burt Reynolds) was one of the biggest movie stars in the world, known for his mustachioed good looks and cocky swagger. With his Hollywood glory a distant memory, the now-octogenarian Vic is prompted to reassess his life with the passing of his beloved dog and the arrival of an invitation to receive a lifetime achievement award from the (fictional) International Nashville Film Festival. With Ariel Winter, Chevy Chase, Clark Duke, Ellar Coltrane, Juston Street.
The Family I Had, directed by Katie Green and Carlye Rubin, written by Tina Grapenthin, Katie Green, Carlye Rubin. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. In The Family I Had, a mother recalls how her seemingly brilliant teenage son came to shatter their idyllic family through one horribly violent and shocking act. Now, left to pick up the pieces, the survivors test the boundaries of their newly defined reality in this moving true crime exploration of the nature and limits of familial love.
The Farthest, directed and written by Emer Reynolds. (Ireland) – International Premiere, Documentary. On the 40th anniversary of Voyager’s eleven-billion-mile flight (and counting), experience a comprehensive behind-the-scenes account from those who built and nurtured this unprecedented deep space achievement. Emer Reynolds creates a vivid celebration of curiosity and exploration for the most audacious project in human history, and one of humankind’s greatest successes.
Flames, directed and written by Zefrey Throwell and Josephine Decker. (USA) – World Premiere. Filmed over five years, Flames follows real-life couple Josephine Decker and Zefrey Throwell from the white-hot passion of first love to the heartbreak of breaking up. But for these two filmmakers, the end of the relationship wasn’t the end of the story. As they continue filming, reconstructing what happened and where it went wrong, lines begin to blur between what was real and what was “the film”—if there’s even a difference anymore. With Hollis Witherspoon, Michael Melamedoff, Joe Swanberg, Matthew Levy.
For Ahkeem, directed by Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Soest. (USA) – North American Premiere, Documentary. Beginning one year before the events in Ferguson, Missouri, Levine and Van Soest’s intimate and cinematic For Ahkeem is the coming of age story of 17-year-old Daje Shelton in neighboring North St. Louis. Falling in love and fighting with mom, Daje struggles with typical teen growing pains, but also must increasingly combat the institutional and social roadblocks that keep black teens like her from succeeding in America.
The Last Animals, directed by Kate Brooks, written by Kate Brooks and Mark Monroe. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Photojournalist Kate Brooks turns her lens from war zones to a new kind of genocide in this sweeping and sobering film. As the single-digit population of the Northern White Rhino ticks closer to extinction, Brooks exposes the epidemic of highly effective poachers and trafficking syndicates, and the heroic efforts of conservationists, park rangers, and scientists to protect these majestic creatures. In Czech, English, French, Lingala with subtitles. Earth Day Screening
Mr Long, directed and written by SABU. (Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan R.O.C., Germany) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Following an assignment gone wrong in Tokyo, professional Taiwanese hitman Mr. Long (Chang Chen) finds himself stranded without a passport in a run-down Japanese village. So naturally Long does what any cold-hearted killer would do in his situation: befriend the locals and open a wildly popular noodle cart. Moving artfully between scenes of slickly choreographed violence and charming, whimsical drama, Japanese director SABU’s latest is a refreshing twist on the gangster genre, offering a surprisingly tender and heartwarming fable of redemption. In Japanese, Mandarin, Taiwanese with subtitles.
My Art, directed and written by Laurie Simmons. (USA) – North American Premiere, Narrative. For artist Ellie Shine (Laurie Simmons), age really isn’t anything but a number. Unhappy with where her career has gone, the single New Yorker flees upstate to recharge her creative spark away from the big city’s various distractions. There, she attracts the romantic interests of three men who accompany Ellie on an odd and unexpected journey toward finding her late-blooming artistic momentum. With Lena Dunham, Robert Clohessy, John Rothman, Josh Safdie, Parker Posey, Blair Brown, Barbara Sukowa.
My Friend Dahmer, directed and written by Marc Meyers. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Before Jeffrey Dahmer became one of the most notorious serial killers of all time, he was a teenage loner. Conducting grisly experiments in a makeshift backyard lab, Jeff was invisible to most, until his increasingly bizarre behavior unexpectedly attracted friends. Based on the cult graphic novel, My Friend Dahmer chronicles the origins of the man, the monster…the high school senior. With Ross Lynch, Anne Heche, Dallas Roberts, Alex Wolff, Tommy Nelson, and Vincent Kartheiser.
Pilgrimage, directed by Brendan Muldowney, written by Jamie Hannigan. (USA, Ireland) – World Premiere, Narrative. In 13th-century Ireland, a cadre of monks travel through the war-torn countryside on a mission to bring their land’s most sacred relic to Rome. But other forces are gaining on them, as the true significance of the relic becomes dangerously apparent. A period drama crossed with an action/adventure road movie, Pilgrimage delivers a profound lesson on religious fervor and the savagery of soldiers with a cause. With Tom Holland, Richard Armitage, Jon Bernthal, John Lynch, Stanley Weber.
A Thousand Junkies, directed and written by Tommy Swerdlow. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Three heroin addicts crisscross Los Angeles in search of relief in this comedy balanced on the fine line between reliance and dependence. With a sensitive eye and gift for the absurd, writer/director/co-star Tommy Swerdlow crafts both the inevitable and the wholly unexpected: a drug movie that struggles to find any drugs, and a road movie that drives in circles. With TJ Bowen, Blake Heron, Bill Pullman, Steven Weber, Dinarte de Freitas.
The Wedding Plan (Laavor et HaKir), directed and written by Rama Burshtein. (Israel) – New York Premiere, Narrative. Spirited bride-to-be Michal is dumped by her fiancé a month before their wedding. Undeterred, she keeps her wedding date, leaving it to fate to provide a suitable groom. With invitations sent, venue booked, and the clock counting down to the big day, Michal goes to increasingly elaborate lengths in her search for Mr. Right, in writer-director Rama Burshtein’s (Fill the Void) funny and poignant romantic comedy. With Noa Kooler, Amos Tamam, Oz Zehavi. In Hebrew with subtitles. A Roadside Attractions release.
Supported by EFFEN® Vodka
Tribeca’s Midnight section is the destination for late night audiences to discover the best in psychological thriller, horror, sci-fi, and cult cinema. This year’s six selections offer new genre experiences for even the most extreme viewer.
Devil’s Gate, directed by Clay Staub, written by Peter Aperlo, Clay Staub. (Canada, USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Struggling to overcome a recent professional tragedy, a tough-as-nails FBI agent (Amanda Schull) relocates to a small North Dakota town to investigate the disappearance of a local woman and her young son. The search leads to the missing woman’s husband’s (Milo Ventimiglia) secluded farm, on which answers, new mysteries, and God-fearing terrors await. Not to mention, something locked and caged down in the basement. With Shawn Ashmore, Bridget Regan, Jonathan Frakes.
Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine, directed by Patrick O’Dell. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine charts the rise and fall of the irreverent, boundary-pushing “Big Brother Magazine”, whose taboo-breaking stunts and unapologetically crass humor spawned MTV’s Jackass and a generation of skaters. Featuring a trove of original footage and interviews with the magazine’s major players, Dumb celebrates the lowbrow legacy of this touchstone of 90’s counterculture. With Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, Steve Rocco, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Tony Hawk, Chad Muska. A Hulu release.
Hounds of Love, directed and written by Ben Young. (Australia) – New York Premiere, Narrative. Dark forces lurk behind the sunny façade of an unassuming Australian suburb in Ben Young’s stylish directorial debut. This ‘80s-set true crime thriller follows 17-year-old Vicki on the night she’s abducted by a disturbed couple. While bound to a bed inside of the kidnappers’ home and subjected to psychological and physical torture, Vicki must find a way to drive a wedge between her unhinged captors and escape by any means necessary. With Emma Booth, Ashleigh Cummings, Stephen Curry, Susie Porter, Damian de Montemas, Harrison Gilbertson. A Gunpowder & Sky release. Presented in partnership with Venice Days.
Psychopaths, directed and written by Mickey Keating. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Over the course of one excessively blood-soaked night, multiple serial killers’ paths cross, leaving a trail of bodies and begging the question: Which psychopath will live to see morning? One of the most exciting and unclassifiable new voices in indie horror, Mickey Keating delivers his wildest ride yet with this ultra-stylish and uber-violent descent into madness. With Ashley Bell, James Landry Hébert, Mark Kassen, Angela Trimbur, Larry Fessenden, Jeremy Gardner, Sam Zimmerman.
Super Dark Times, directed by Kevin Phillips, written by Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski. (USA) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Teenagers Zach and Josh have been best friends their whole lives, but when a gruesome accident leads to a cover-up, the secret drives a wedge between them and propels them down a rabbit hole of escalating paranoia and violence in Kevin Phillips’ atmospheric ‘90s-set mystery-thriller. With Owen Campbell, Charlie Tahan, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Max Talisman, Sawyer Barth, Amy Hargreaves.
Tilt, directed by Kasra Farahani, written by Jason O’Leary, Kasra Farahani. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. There’s something off about Joe. Although his pregnant girlfriend, Joanne, supports him as he devotes more and more time to his passion project, a sprawling documentary about America’s “golden age,” both the film and Joe are becoming increasingly unhinged. Joanne is growing worried about Joseph’s odd behavior…but not as worried as she should be. With Joseph Cross, Alexia Rasmussen, Kelvin Yu, Jessy Hodges, CS Lee.
Correction: An earlier version of this post was corrected because it misidentified the occupation of Laurie Simmons’s character in My Art.