The people who used to brag about not owning a TV set are the same ones who now complain that there are too many shows– or so it was observed on a recent episode of Difficult People. Obviously, orange is the new black and the small screen is the new big screen, but up until a few years ago, New York City didn’t have a festival dedicated to what used to be called the idiot box. That changed in 2013, when we finally got a version of Los Angeles’s PaleyFest. That returns next month with some free screenings of shows like The Mindy Project and Fuller House. And now the folks behind the Tribeca Film Festival have announced a Tribeca TV Festival, also coming next month.
After the premiere of Hell on Earth at the Tribeca Film Festival, an audience member asked filmmakers Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested why they had chosen The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS, as the subtitle has it, as the topic of their documentary.
“It’s the greatest tragedy of our generation and we had to address it,” Quested told a crowd Wednesday at Cinépolis Chelsea.
Back when I was doing the Ask a Waiter column for B+B’s sister blog, Grub Street, I had a highly memorable encounter with ultra-suave doorman Fabrizio Brienza, who at the time was the gatekeeper of a lounge at the Plaza Hotel. While most doormen try to justify their social Darwinism with the obligatory spiel about cultivating diversity (they just want a “nice mix,” a la Studio 54), Fabrizio was more upfront: “My policy of doing the door is really simple,” he said in his Italian accent. “If you look good and you’re cool and you’re stylish and you’re surrounded by beautiful, chic, chic girls, I’ll take care of you.”
You know you’re not at a typical post-screening Q&A when someone in the audience asks the filmmakers, “Do you still love each other?”
Zefrey Throwell and Josephine Decker had just premiered Flames, a nakedly honest (and I do mean nakedly honest) portrait of their nearly one-year relationship, and the question could have just as easily been, “Do you still hate each other?”
Remember those mysterious cubeheads at Astor Place? Well, now we know what they were up to. No, they weren’t trying out the hot new headware. Turns out they were shooting a short for a campaign by the Tribeca Film Festival called “See Yourself In Others.”
Mysterious live-installation by the Alamo (Photo: Anaka Kaundinya)
Ugh, the Tribeca Film Festival is up to something cool at Astor Place — but they won’t tell what! Sneaky fellows. What we do is know is that there are folks (volunteers? actors? unsuspecting people on their way to work taken hostage by the crew? sad!) wearing mirrored cubes on their heads and just… standing around near the Cube cube. They’re also being filmed, so our best guess is that it’s an empathy-generating live-installation for some sort of performance art film.
In case you needed yet another film festival to bookmark this summer, Nitehawk Cinema has announced the lineup for its third annual summer documentary series. Starting Monday, July 18, Nitehawk will be screening four documentaries which were presented in the Tribeca Film Festival back in April.
The series starts off straight away with a jury favorite: Do Not Resist won Tribeca’s Best Documentary Feature. Craig Atkinson’s directorial debut focuses on the disconcertingly rapid militarization of the police in the United States– a timely subject if ever there was one.
On the 19th, Nitehawk will be screening Jenny Gage’s All This Panic, a coming-of-age story about seven teenage girls in New York. On the 20th, there will be a screening of Maurizio Cattelan: Be Right Back, Maura Axelrod’s portrait of the artist Maurizio Cattelan.
On the 21st, the final film in the series will be Vanessa Gould’s Obit, which takes you into the offices (and yes, “the morgue”) of The New York Times obit writers. We caught that one at Tribeca and can tell you it’s a must-watch if you’ve ever wondered how many obits the Times has prewritten for living people. (Spoiler: about 1,700.)
All screenings will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and will take place at 7:30pm, at Nitehawk Cinema (136 Metropolitan Avenue between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue).
Queens-born rapper Awkwafina (the alter-ego of Nora Lum) says she’s been doing some serious “hustling” in the last couple of years: recording an album, putting out an NYC guidebook, and making the big move to Greenpoint. She’s not there for the cute boutiques and charming scenery (after all, she made her fame with “NYC Bitche$”, in which she deftly buried an entire section of our humble Brooklyn borough for being overrun not just by transplants, but adult-baby transplants). Rather, she has a “rent control situation” weighing in her favor (“I’d live anywhere if it was cheap,” Lum told us last spring).
Taking a stance against nuclear weapons proliferation might not be as controversial as hating on vaccines– as we saw when Tribeca Film Festival announced it was pullingVaxxed: From Cover-Up toCatastrophe, the doc made by a disgraced doctor that pushes the dubious theory linking autism to vaccines. But the filmmakers behind The Bomb(premiering Saturday, April 23) are nevertheless hoping t0 strike an equally urgent chord with festival audiences, even if they’re reluctant to call it an “activist” film.
“Well, it’s an immersive film and music experience. It’s a human story, too,” explained Smriti Keshari, one-half of the filmmaking team behind theimmersive, multimedia documentary focused on the persistent threat of nuclear weapons. “It’s one that makes you realize just how powerful individuals can be when they care about something. I think all art is political if it’s a reflection of what’s happening around you.”