Next week sees the arrival of New York’s 17th annual Tribeca Film Festival, running 18th-29th April, boasting a vast array of film and TV screenings, starry anniversary reunion events, concerts, on stage interviews and discussions, as well as a focus on games and VR experiences. Below are just some of this year’s highlights, for the full lineup and to purchase tickets for films and events visit the official Tribeca website: https://www.tribecafilm.com/
Stars and filmmakers set to attend this year’s festival include Steven Spielberg, Liam Neeson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sam Rockwell, Alec Baldwin, Bradley Cooper, Jamie Foxx, Spike Lee, Brian De Palma, Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Viola Davis, Thandie Newton, Saoirse Ronan and Tribeca Co-Founder Robert De Niro.
The 2018 edition opens with the World Premiere of documentary LOVE, GILDA, directed by Lisa D’Apolito, saluting the career of Saturday Night Live comedian Gilda Radner. Fellow comedians who feature in the doc include Chevy Chase, Bill Hader, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph.
Another World Premiering documentary, The Fourth Estate, from Oscar-nominated director Liz Garbus, closes this year’s festival. The film follows the inner workings and investigative reporting at The New York Times during the tumultuous first year of the Trump administration in a climate where the president declared that the majority of US news outlets are “the enemy of the people.” Following the closing night screening there will be an on stage discussion featuring director Liz Garbus and key figures at The New York Times.
Drake Doremus’ sci-fi romance Zoe is the festival’s Centrepiece Gala selection. Starring Ewan McGregor, Léa Seydoux and Theo James, the film is set in a future world where technology can replicate the high of true love, leaving two research lab colleagues yearning for a genuine connection. Zoe also features Rashida Jones, Christina Aguilera, Miranda Otto and Matthew Gray Gubler.
Schindler’s List – 25th Anniversary
Continuing Tribeca’s annual tradition of celebrating the anniversaries of important films and reuniting those responsible for making them, the 25th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust drama, Schindler’s List, will be marked on Thursday 26th April at New York’s beautiful Beacon Theatre. As well as receiving critical acclaim, the film went on to win seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, seven BAFTAs and three Golden Globes. Following the screening there will be a conversation with Steven Spielberg and cast members Liam Neeson, Sir Ben Kingsley and Embeth Davidtz.
Scarface – 35th Anniversary
Thursday 19th April sees the 35th anniversary celebration of Brian De Palma’s modernisation of Howard Hawks’ 1932 classic. One of the most referenced films in pop culture, from South Park and The Simpsons to Breaking Bad, Scarface received three Golden Globe nominations as well as a Razzie nomination for Brian De Palma. Al Pacino will revisit his iconic performance in a post-screening discussion with his co-star Michelle Pfeiffer and director Brian De Palma.
In the Soup – 25th Anniversary
1992 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Alexandre Rockwell’s In the Soup, celebrates its 25th anniversary with the world premiere of a 4K restoration of the film on Tuesday 24th April at the SVA Theatre. Steve Buscemi stars a struggling screenwriter living in a crumbling NYC apartment who falls for the girl-next-door. After the film’s Sundance win, the film all but disappeared and only one damaged archival print remained. Now thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, the film’s print has been restored. After the Screening there will be an on stage conversation with director Alexandre Rockwell, cast members Steve Buscemi, Jennifer Beals and Sam Rockwell and cinematographer Phil Parmet.
TIME’S UP Event
On Saturday 28th April at the Tribeca Festival Hub, TIME’S UP will host its inaugural New York event with a day of conversations with activists, filmmakers, storytellers and legal experts including early TIME’S UP supporters such as Ashley Judd and Julianne Moore. The day is set to “explore how we got here, the women who came before us to make this work possible, and what’s next for TIME’S UP and beyond.” Participants will include Sienna Miller, Sarah Jessica Parker, Amber Tamblyn and Marisa Tomei. Net proceeds from the day will go to the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund. Donations to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund can be made here https://www.gofundme.com/timesup
Films receiving their World premieres in Tribeca’s Spotlight Narrative section include:
Magic Mike star Alex Pettyfer making his directorial debut with noir thriller Back Roads, in which he stars as a young man caring for his three sisters after their mother (Juliette Lewis) is imprisoned for murdering their abusive father. When he strikes up an affair with a married woman (Jennifer Morrison), long-dormant family secrets bubble to the surface.
French New Wave-inspired drama Blue Night is directed by documentary filmmaker Fabien Constant, making his narrative feature debut, with a screenplay by House of Cards writer Laura Eason. Ahead of a major performance, famous singer Vivienne Carala (Sarah Jessica Parker) receives a devastating diagnosis from her doctor that sends her reeling through the streets of New York where she reflects on her life. The cast includes Simon Baker, Jacqueline Bisset, Common, Taylor Kinney, Renée Zellweger and Waleed Zuaiter.
A sumptuous adaptation of the classic Chekhov play The Seagull, transports the audience to a picturesque lakeside estate, where a love triangle unfolds between the legendary diva Irina (Annette Bening), her lover Boris (Corey Stoll) and the ingénue Nina (Saoirse Ronan). Elisabeth Moss also stars as Masha.
Based on real events, Stockholm stars Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace and Mark Strong. In 1973, an unhinged American outlaw walked into a bank in Sweden demanding millions in cash in exchange for his hostages. The events that followed would capture the attention of the world and ultimately give a name to a new psychological phenomenon: ‘Stockholm syndrome’.
Emma Forrest’s comedy drama Untogether, follows Andrea (Jemima Kirke) a recently sober writer whose career has stalled. As she attempts not to fall for her one-night stand Nick (Jamie Dornan), her sister Tara (Lola Kirke) dates an aging rock star (Ben Mendelsohn) and throws herself into the arms of her charismatic rabbi (Billy Crystal). Also features Alice Eve and Jennifer Grey.
Christina Hendricks and Anna Camp star in Marianna Palka’s satirical comedy about Egg focusing on two couples and a surrogate as they open up about the complications, contradictions and absurdities of our thoughts on motherhood.
Set over one summer in LA, In a Relationship stars Emma Roberts and Michael Angarano as long-term couple Owen and Hallie. As their relationship faces a turning point, Owen’s best friend Matt (Patrick Gibson) falls for Hallie’s cousin Willa (Dree Hemingway).
Twisty sci-fi drama Jonathan stars Ansel Elgort, Suki Waterhouse and Patricia Clarkson. Jonathan is a young man with a strange condition that only his brother understands. When he begins to yearn for a different life, their unique bond becomes increasingly tested.
Melissa Miller’s All These Small Moments finds Howie Sheffield (Brendan Meyer) at a turning point. As he watches his parents’ (Molly Ringwald and Brian d’Arcy James) marriage crumble, he becomes infatuated with Odessa (Jemima Kirke), a woman he sees each day on the bus ride to school.
Other highly anticipated Spotlight Narrative titles that have played at other festivals include:
Disobedience, from the director of this year’s Best Foreign Language Oscar Winner A Fantastic Woman, Sebastián Lelio. Based on the best-selling novel and starring Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams and Alessandro Nivola, Disobedience received its World Premiere at TIFF. After the death of her estranged rabbi father, a New York photographer returns to the Orthodox Jewish community in North London where she grew up and, in doing so, reignites long-dormant passions and controversies.
Based on the life of the author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, which also premiered at TIFF, stars Elle Fanning as Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, taking in her relationship with poet Percy Shelley (Douglas Booth) and their friendship with fellow Romantic Lord Byron (Tom Sturridge). The cast also features Bel Powley, Joanne Froggatt and Maisie Williams.
This year’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner The Miseducation of Cameron Post, from Appropriate Behaviour filmmaker Desiree Akhavan, receives its New York Premiere at Tribeca. After Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) is caught making out with another girl on prom night, her conservative guardians send her to gay conversion therapy where she forges an unlikely community with her fellow teens. The cast features Sasha lane, Forrest Goodluck, John Gallagher Jr. and Jennifer Ehle.
U.S. NARRATIVE COMPETITION
Within the feature film lineup, ten new American indies all receiving their World Premieres at Tribeca, will compete for Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Actor and Best Actress. Highlights among the U.S. Narrative competing titles include:
All About Nina in which Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays a rising comedy star whose personal life is a disaster. The film also features Common, Chace Crawford and Beau Bridges.
Doctor Who star Matt Smith takes on the titular role in a biopic about controversial photographer, Mapplethorpe. The film follows art-school dropout Robert Mapplethorpe as he moves into New York’s famed Chelsea Hotel with dreams of stardom and his relationship with music legend Patti Smith (Marianne Rendón).
The unusual premise of Miguel Arteta’s Duck Butter, finds two women (Alia Shawkat and Laia Costa) who are jaded by their previous relationships and decide to make a pact to spend 24 uninterrupted hours together, having sex on the hour. The cast features Mark and Jay Duplass, Kumail Nanjiani and Downsizing’s Hong Chau.
Set in a North Dakota fracking boomtown, Nia DaCosta’s thriller Little Woods sees two estranged sisters, Ollie (Tessa Thompson) and Deb (Lily James), forced back into each other’s lives when their mother dies, leaving them with just one week to pay off her mortgage.
US TV’s The Office writer, producer, and actor, Paul Lieberstein writes, directs, and stars in romantic comedy Song of Back and Neck about a hapless man seeking treatment for his crippling back pain only to discover he has a very unusual talent. The supporting cast includes Rosemarie DeWitt and Paul Feig.
In State Like Sleep, Katherine (Katherine Waterston) travels to Brussels following the death of her husband, where a few loose ends become a whole web of secrets as she untangles her late spouse’s mysterious last days alive. The cast also features Michael Shannon and Luke Evans.
Madeleine Sackler’s O.G. stars Jeffrey Wright as maximum-security prison inmate Louis as he enters the final weeks of a 24 year sentence. Forming a friendship with new inmate Beech (Theothus Carter), he grapples with the looming uncertainty of life outside the prison walls. Feature doc It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It, also directed by Madeleine Sackler and co-directed by thirteen men incarcerated at the Pendleton Correctional Facility in Pendleton, Indiana screens as a companion piece to O.G. Given unprecedented access to a maximum security prison, Sackler worked with a group of inmates to tell their own stories.
INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE COMPETITION
Two British films competing in the International Narrative Competition are Obey and The Party’s Just Beginning. Receiving its World Premiere at Tribeca, Obey, is set in the midst of the 2011 London riots, and stars Marcus Rutherford, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Sam Gittens, T’Nia Miller and Jay Walker. The Party’s Just Beginning, which world premiered at Glasgow earlier this year, stars Karen Gillan, who also writes and directs, as Lucy, a sharp-witted, foul-mouthed, heavy-drinking twenty-something who is still reeling from a recent loss. With Lee Pace, Matthew Beard, Paul Higgins, Siobhan Redmond, Jamie Quinn and Rachel Jackson.
Tribeca’s Midnight section offers night owls the chance to sample some of horror cinema newest additions.
The prize for the longest title in the festival must surely go to Vivieno Caldinelli’s 7 Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss By Passing Through the Gateway Chosen By the Holy Storsh, produced by Elijah Wood. Midwestern couple Claire and Paul are thrilled to find a great deal on an affordable Los Angeles apartment. But the rent is cheap for a reason: cult members keep breaking in at random to commit ritual suicide in their bath! Cast features Kate Micucci, Sam Huntington, Dan Harmon, Taika Waititi and Mark McKinney. Meanwhile Martin Freeman stars in Cargo as an infected father navigating a zombie-riddled Australian Outback with his infant daughter. Fortunately, he’s found an Aboriginal community that may hold the disease’s cure. Unfortunately, he has only 48 hours to live.
New York’s 17th annual Tribeca Film Festival runs 18th-29th April. James Kleinmann is attending the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival for HeyUGuys and will be reporting throughout the festival.