Uh oh! Tribeca Film Festival is back for year 14 with some big changes. Since a fifty percent ownership now lies in the hands of the Madison Square Garden Corporation, people were wondering how this would influence the creative vision established by the Founders: Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig M. Hatkoff.
TFF is now a for-profit film festival, but you can breathe a sigh of relief. Apparently Geffrey Gilmore, former Sundance Film Festival ED who climbed on board as Creative Director five years ago has, along with his creative team, kept the vision strong and worked full time to make TFF as competitive culturally as any other US film festival. He brought a number of the ideas he helped develop at Sundance to TFF—including non-movie viewing events that bring together “Ted” like cultural icons and thinkers to discuss subjects from Artificial Intelligence to Robots to the critical role culture plays in a troubled political landscape.
New this year will be the creative hub at Spring Studios, a 150,000 square foot building that will house industry events, tech talks and the press center. The highly in-demand Tribeca Talks will be housed there and this year it includes conversations between Christopher Nolan and Bennett Miller, George Lucas and Stephen Colbert, Cary Fukunaga and James Schamus, and Brad Bird and Janeane Garofalo. It will also feature Harvey Weinstein, Gus Van Sant, Courtney Love, Catherine Martin, and Christine Amanpour. (Courtney Love, oh my!)
Returning will be After the Movie with four films followed by an in-depth discussion by the filmmaker and involving the audience. The one I am excited about is Code, a documentary that exposes the dearth of American female and minority software engineers and explores the reasons for this gender gap. Code raises the question: what would society gain from having more women and minorities code? The discussion following the movie will include director Robin Hauser Reynolds, Qualcomm chief learning officer Tamar Elkeles, GoDaddy chief people officer Auguste Goldman, and Etsy engineering director for infrastructure Jason Wong.
Also returning are the Drive In series, the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair, Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day and kid’s programing.
More good news is that the Tribeca Regal will replace the East Village Regal. That first year, the Tribeca Regal was the theater most of the films showed in, so when we looked out the window we could see what had just happened at the World Trade Center, three blocks away and very visible from the windows. There will also still be screenings on 23rd Street at the SVA Theater and the Bow Tie Chelsea.
Let’s Talk About the Movies
400,000 people participated in TFF last year, you will want to look at the program guide online and buy your tickets early.
I rarely recommend a film that I have not seen. But as I write this preview of the festival, I have not seen most of the films, but I want to because of the subject matter, the Director, or the actors. I also think they will be some of the early sell outs. So please pick up a program guide or look online and decide if you agree. The films I have seen I will note in the list below.
1. The Adderall Diaries
2. Among the Believers
3. The Armor of Light (Abigail Disney)
5. Cartel Land I walked out of the theater stunned by this honest look at the humans we never see but just read about on both sides of the border. It asks hard questions and leaves the audience to answer them. Highly recommended.
6. Indian Point (directed by Ivy Meeropol)
7. Peggy Guggenheim—Art Addict
8. Requiem for an American Dream
9. (T)error Sundance. A portrait of an FB undercover agent and how he was used to build a fraudulent charge of entrapment. The movie shows how he was recruited and why he did it. Surprisingly intimate and detailed.
10. The Cut
11. Dirty Weekend (Neil LaBute)
12. Far from Men (from an Albert Camus story)
13. Slow West Sundance 2015 World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic. At the end of the nineteenth century, 16-year-old Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee) journeys across the American frontier in search of the woman he loves. He is joined by Silas (Michael Fassbender), a mysterious traveler, and hotly pursued by an outlaw (Ben Mendelsohn) along the way.
14. Sworn Virgin
15. Wondrous Boccaccio (Paolo and Vittorio Taviani)
16. As I Am the Life of Times of DJ AM
Plus Tribeca Talks: Secrecy and Power
If knowledge is power, then secrets are weapons. Secrets have always fueled great stories, but what happens when our secrets are breached in real-life?
Join former CIA operative Valerie Plame, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Bart Gellman, We Steal Secrets, The Story of WikiLeaks director Alex Gibney and moderator Cynthia McFadden of NBC News as they explore this timely topic.