The Tribeca Film Festival is making with the announcements (see below for the full list of movies announced thus far), but they are keeping a couple of films a secret at the moment. But not from Stu Van Airsdale and the gang at Reeler, who have found out the big hot shit premieres this year. Including one about a certain home town boy who got bit by a radioactive spider.
Yes, Spider-Man 3 – which shot mere blocks from where the Tribeca Film Festival is held – will be premiering at the festival (US premiere, anyway, as Sony is world premiering it in Tokyo). Also making their first appearances are Lucky You, the Eric Bana/Drew Barrymore movie directed by Curtis Hanson that Warner Bros has been shuffling around the calendar so much it has acquired quite the scent du merde. Also making their debuts, according to Stu, are Angelina Jolie’s documentary (yes, she directed it) A Moment in the World, and Fred Durst – yes, the guy who did it all for the nookie – with his The Education of Charlie Banks.
Some other great movies will be playing. Take my word on it and go see Heckler, part of the Midnight series. Also playing the Midnight series is Black Sheep, which I have heard so much about and can’t wait to check out. Charlie Bartlett stars the great Robert Downey Jr., so I’ll be there for that. And Suburban Girl, the adaptation of The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alec Baldwin, will be playing as well.
Below is the list of all the movies officially announced so far. And seriously, Heckler. Click here for the trailer.
New York, NY [March 12, 2007] – The 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by American Express, today announced the line-ups for its World Narrative and World Documentary Feature Film Competitions as well as its selections in the Spotlight category for the sixth annual festival, taking place April 25 – May 6, 2007.
The 2007 Tribeca Film Festival will present a total of 159 feature films and 85 shorts selected from 4,550 film submissions, of which 2,250 were feature film submissions. These selections include 75 World Premieres, four International Premieres, 32 North American Premieres, 18 U.S. Premieres and 20 New York City Premieres. This year’s festival includes films from 41 countries including Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mali, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Russia, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, U.K., Ukraine, U.S.A and its territory Puerto Rico.
Eighteen narrative features and 16 documentary features will compete for combined unrestricted cash prizes amounting $100,000. These 34 films, from 25 countries, include 10 World Premieres.
The Spotlight section presents a combination of both narrative and documentary films that were created by acclaimed filmmakers, including Michael Apted, John Dahl, Patrice Leconte, Shane Meadows, Goran Paskaljevic and Carlos Sorin. These directors are part of a diverse line-up of 22 features from nine different countries.
The festival, while young, continues to attract films expressing compelling views from filmmakers from around the globe and around the corner,” said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival. “This year’s festival presents diverse, original, and, most of all, good storytelling which will encourage dialogue, entertain, and celebrate filmmaking.
Our Festival, and especially its narrative competition, continues to present outstanding new work by some of the top names on the international scene as well as by striking new voices,” said Peter Scarlet, Executive Director of the Festival. “And as in years past, we hope that our selection of documentaries will provide viewers with a few useful tools in making sense of our increasingly confusing world.”
The complete list of films selected for Competition and Spotlight include:
World Narrative Feature Competition
From a musician staging a concert in Iraqi Kurdistan to a lawyer infiltrating the Korean underworld of New York, the films in this section take us on a cinematic journey across the globe. Presenting established and emerging directors from around the world, these films feature a wealth of high profile acting talent from Daniel Auteuil as Napoleon to Lukas Haas as a New Jersey vigilante and America Ferrara involved with a Colombian kidnap victim.
* Born and Bred (Nacido y Criado), directed by Pablo Trapero, written by Pablo Trapero and Mario Rulloni. (Argentina) – U.S. Premiere. When his life is shattered by a terrifying accident, a successful interior designer winds up in the desolate extremes of Patagonia, trying to find himself among other lost, disaffected men. Pablo Trapero’s haunting film demonstrates why he is at the cutting edge of Argentina’s most exciting cinema.
* Gardener of Eden, directed by Kevin Connolly, written by Adam Tex Davis. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. In this dark comedy, Adam Harris’ (Lukas Haas) aimless life consists of working at a deli, living with his parents, hanging with his friends and…well, that’s about it. Stuck in a rut, he loses it all, but soon finds new purpose when he accidentally captures a serial rapist. With Giovanni Ribisi and Ericka Christensen. Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.
* Half Moon, directed and written by Bahman Ghobadi, (Iran, Iraq, Austria, France) – U.S. Premiere. Graying but determined, Mamo is a famed Kurdish musician who obtains permission to cross the Iranian border to give his first concert in Iraqi Kurdistan. But the journey poses endless challenges, especially when he tries to bring a female singer from Iran, where performances by women have been silenced since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. In Kurdish and Farsi. Winner of the Golden Shell, 2006 San Sebastian Film Festival. A Strand Release.
* Lady Chatterley, directed by Pascale Ferran, written by Pascale Ferran and Roger Bohbot. (France, Belgium) – North American Premiere. Winner of 5 major prizes, including Best Film and Best Actress, at the 2007 César Awards, France’s equivalent of the Oscars this frankly sensual yet never vulgar film is based on the second of three versions of D.H. Lawrence’s tale about an earthy passion that is both innocent and subversive. A Kino International Release.
· The Last Man (Atlal/Le dernier homme), directed and written by Ghassan Salhab. (Lebanon, France) – North American Premiere. In Beirut, a city where so much blood has been spilled in seemingly interminable political conflicts, the sudden appearance of what appear to be victims of a serial killer isn’t especially alarming. A 40-year-old doctor (Michel Chahine, astonishing) develops links to the victims, and begins to exhibit strange and disturbing symptoms of his own.
* Lost In Beijing (Ping Guo), directed by Li Yu, written by Li Yu and Li Fang. (China) – North American Premiere. This tragicomic look at modern-day life in China’s capital may not be especially daring for Western viewers in terms of its sexual content, despite the battle its producers fought with censors at home, but its depiction of a ménage-a-quatre involving a young woman, her boss, her husband and her boss’s wife is decidedly unlike anything else we’ve seen from the People’s Republic.
· Making Of, directed and written by Nouri Bouzid. (Tunisia) – International Premiere. Bahta, 25, heads up a group of break dancers, but the outbreak Bahta¹s a young break dancer in Tunisia but after the eruption of hostilities in Iraq in 2003, he falls in with a group of fundamentalists, whose brainwashing is intended to make him a suicide bomber. In the framing story, the actor playing Bahta doesn¹t know how the film will end, and he and the director have conflicts of their own. Winner, Gold Tanit, Carthage Film Festival.
· My Father My Lord (Hofshat Kaits), directed and written by David Volach. (Israel) – International Premiere. This powerful and heartbreaking film takes a look at the price that may be exacted by a rigid observation of religious tenets. Its central character, a respected rabbi in an ultra-Orthodox community — who is also a father and husband — is forced to come to terms with the demands of his faith and the welfare of his own family.
* Napoleon and Me (Io e Napoleone), directed by Paolo Virzi, written by Furio Scarpelli, Giacomo Scarpelli, Francesco Bruni, Paolo Virzi. (Italy, France) – North American Premiere. Napoleon’s exile on the Italian island of Elba is seen through the eyes of a young teacher who reviles the former emperor (played by Daniel Auteuil), but must serve as his librarian in this light-hearted costume drama that’s as fast-paced as an operetta and spiked with Tuscan humor. Featuring Monica Bellucci as the intriguing Baroness.
* Playing the Victim (Izobrazhaya zhertvu), directed by Kirill Serebrennikov, written by The Presnyakov Brothers. (Russia) – North American Premiere. One of Moscow’s top theatre directors has adapted his own successful play into a cinematic marvel in which a young slacker is employed by the police to literally "play the victim" in videos reconstructing crimes. His dangerously escalating disgust with the world is portrayed in a visual style so inventive that it’s only when he receives nocturnal visits from his father’s ghost that the echoes of Hamlet are evoked. Winner, Grand Prize, Rome Film Festival
* Still Life (Sanxia Haoren), directed by Jia Zhang-Ke. (Hong Kong, China) – U.S. Premiere. This poignant human drama is set against a surreal, metaphorically loaded backdrop — a Yangtze town that will soon be submerged by the Three Gorges Dam. Like the director’s other films (Platform, Unknown Pleasures, The World), it’s an empathetic portrait of those left behind by a modernizing society, and a unique hybrid of documentary and fiction.
* Times and Winds (Bes vakit), directed and written by Reha Erdem. (Turkey) – U.S. Premiere. This unforgettable, beautifully observed film is a lyrical and haunting portrait of life in a remote Turkish mountain village, where three pre-teens struggle with dreams and desires that are utterly specific and personal, and yet somehow universal. An extraordinary score by Arvo Pärt adds to the electrifying experience.
* Towards Darkness (Hacia la Oscuridad), directed and written by Antonio Negret. (Panama, Colombia, U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Colombia’s rampant kidnappings are the brutal reality at the heart of this nail-biting thriller. A young photographer is abducted, held for ransom, and forced to contemplate imminent death while his family makes desperate covert deals to secure his release. Featuring America Ferrara. In English and Spanish.
· Two Embraces (Dos Abrazos), (Mexico) – International Premiere. Four people forced to fend for themselves in life — a burdened twelve-year-old boy, the cashier he has a crush on, an angry taxi driver and the estranged daughter of one of his passengers — come together in two embraces. An auspicious film debut and poignant tale of lonely people who find a glimmer of hope in each other in today’s Mexico City.
* Two in One (Dva v odnom), directed by Kira Muratova, written by Evgenii Golubenko and Renata Litvinova. (Ukraine) International Premiere. This celebrated director’s “exquisite cruelty” appears front and center when the death of a stage actor turns a theatrical drama into a real one. Two in One’s two parts, “Stagehands” and “Woman of a Lifetime” celebrate the psychological richness that lurks just beneath the surface of banal reality—if murderous stagehands, lascivious fathers, and vengeful daughters can be described as banal.
· Vivere, directed and written by Angelina Maccarone. (Germany) – World Premiere. On Christmas Eve, Francesca sets out from her small town for the big city, Rotterdam, to find her little sister, who has run off to follow her musician boyfriend. On the way, she picks up Gerlinde, a heartbroken older woman at the end of her rope. This exquisitely photographed tale employs a fragmented timeline to illustrate the story of three lost souls on the run.
* West 32nd, directed by Michael Kang, written by Michael Kang and Edmund Lee. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. After hustling his way onto a homicide case, an ambitious young lawyer (John Cho) infiltrates the gritty Korean underworld of New York, searching for clues. When he meets his match in the syndicate, they’ll both do anything to get to the top. It’s a raw and thrilling race. In English and Korean.
* The Year My Parents Went On Vacation (O Ano em que meus pais saíram de férias), directed by Cao Hamburger, written by Cláudio Galperin, Cao Hamburger, Bráulio Mantovani, Anna Muylaert. (Brazil) – North American Premiere. It’s the summer of 1970, and twelve-year-old Mauro’s biggest concern is whether Brazil wins the World Cup-until his politicized parents are forced to flee the country, and he is thrust into the alien world of Sao Paolo’s Jewish community. This sensitive drama shows an innocent caught up in a ferociously repressive dictatorship he knows nothing about.
World Documentary Feature Competition
The films in the World Documentary Competition tackle issues from around the globe–from the illegal Palestinian workforce in Israel to the torture practices of the United States abroad. Alongside more personal accounts – from the story of the first Miss Universe to the friendship between two circus-workers in Uzbekistan – the filmmakers in this section explore universal themes – 9/11 widows travel to Afghanistan to help that country’s war widows, Israelis and Palestinians unite to join a weight-loss group and both graffiti and break-dancing are presented as urban cultures that cross geographical, political and racial boundaries.
· 9 Star Hotel (Malon 9 Kochavim), directed by Ido Haar. (Israel) – U.S. Premiere. Slipping through the pre-dawn darkness over highways, through traffic and across the border, Palestinian construction workers go to work clandestinely in Israel everyday. Harr’s raw, handheld photography follows workers who build their own border shanty community to enter Israel more easily, with no choice but to risk their lives simply to earn a living. A Koch Lorber Release.
· Between Heaven and Earth (Tussen Hemel En Aarde), directed by Frank van den Engel, Masja Novikova. (Netherlands) – North American Premiere. In the heart of the Eurasian continent, the ancient center of the world where the Silk Road connected China to Europe, the circus is a deeply rooted cultural phenomenon. This film focuses on two circus artists, whose lifelong friendship under the dictatorship in Uzbekistan is affected by the different political choices they make. In Russian and Uzbek.
* Beyond Belief, directed by Beth Murphy. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Inspired by compassion for others whose loss they recognize as mirroring their own, two courageous women whose husbands died in the Twin Towers on 9/11 turn their grief into a catalyst for action. They travel to Kabul to help other widows, soon recognizing that the plight of the Afghan women leaves them feeling almost blessed. In English and Dari.
* Bomb It, directed and written by John Reiss. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Bomb It tells the story of contemporary graffiti, tracing its roots in ancient rock paintings through Picasso to its place in hip-hop culture in 1970’s New York City. This kinetic documentary looks at graffiti on five continents, using guerilla footage of graffiti-writers in action. You’ll never look at public space the same way again. In English, German, French, Japanese.
· Forging a Nation (Hacer Patria), directed by David Blaustein, written by Irene Ickoickz. (Argentina) – North American Premiere. Accompanied by his mother, cousins, aunts and uncles, the director retraces the steps of his Jewish ancestors, who fled Europe in the 1920s hoping to find in Argentina the land of their dreams. This poignant film journey uses the documentary as a singular tool to explore the multifaceted ways in which the Argentine nation was built.
* I Am an American Soldier: One Year in Iraq with the 101st Airborne, directed by John Laurence. (U.K.) – World Premiere. This unflinching examination of the war in Iraq follows soldiers from the elite 101st Airborne Division for 14 months, from stateside preparations to their deployment in Iraq and back home again. Throughout, soldiers speak candidly about their experience in the military and demonstrate the powerful bond established as they struggle to stay alive.
* Miss Universe 1929, directed and written by Péter Forgács. (Austria) – North American Premiere. Amateur filmmaker Marci Tenczer was smitten with his cousin, Liesl Goldarbeiter and chronicled her rise from a modest childhood in Vienna to the Texas competition where she was crowned the first Miss Universe. Then Hitler upended everyone’s universe. Péter Forgács (Best Documentary El Perro Negro, 2005 Tribeca Film Festival) continues his fascinating exploration of Europe’s private history through home movies.
* Planet B-Boy, directed by Benson Lee. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. A powerful documentary that’s as much about community as it is about dance, Planet B-Boy shows how breakdancing unites B-Boys across political, religious and racial boundaries. Director Benson Lee layers the drama of the world championship competition with the backstories of dancers from the U.S., Korea, Japan and France, and discovers why they are each so committed to their art. In English, French, Japanese and Korean.
· Santiago, directed and written by João Moreira Salles. (Brazil) – North American Premiere. In 1992, João Moreira Salles started making a film about Santiago, the butler who had been working for his parents since his childhood. 13 years later, Salles looked back at the unused material on the now deceased flamboyant servant. Through Santiago’s detailed memories and erudite contemplations and the director’s voice-over, the film reflects deftly on identity, memory and the nature of documentaries. In black and white.
* A Slim Peace, directed by Yael Luttwak. (U.K.) – World Premiere. When 14 women—Israelis, Palestinians, Bedouin Arabs, and American settlers—in the West Bank are brought together with the shared goal of losing weight, they find out they have far more in common than they ever would have imagined. A Slim Peace takes a revealing look at the universal struggle for acceptance, understanding and personal transformation in a land of intractable conflict.
* A Story of People in War & Peace, directed by Vardan Hovhannisyan. (Armenia) – U.S. Premiere. A deeply personal meditation on the horrors of war and its effects is shown through the eyes of Armenian journalist Vardan Hovhannisyan. Weaving together footage he shot during his country’s 1994 conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan over the Nagorno Karabakh region, Hovhannisyan creates a devastating portrait of lasting damage inflicted by the battlefield. In English and Russian.
* The Sugar Curtain (El Telón de Azúcar), directed by Camila Guzmán Urzúa. (France, Cuba, Spain) – U.S. Premiere. Guzmán Urzúa makes her feature documentary debut with The Sugar Curtain, an intimate portrayal of the singular experience shared by people of her generation — those living Cuba’s utopian dream during the golden era of the revolution. It is also a lament for the end of that dream, which began to fizzle after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In Spanish
* Taxi to the Dark Side, directed by Alex Gibney. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. This documentary murder mystery examines the death of an Afghan taxi driver at Bagram Air Base from injuries inflicted by U.S. soldiers. An unflinching look at the Bush administration’s policy on torture, the filmmaker behind Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room takes us from a village in Afghanistan to Guantanamo and straight to the White House.
* The Tree (El Árbol), directed and written by Gustavo Fontán. (Argentina) – International Premiere. Returning to his childhood home, filmmaker Gustavo Fontán documents his parents’ deliberations over a tree planted the day he was born. Simple questions that pass between them—Is the tree dead? Should we cut it down?—become meditations on history, memory, knowledge and the sensory symphony of daily life.
* A Walk into the Sea: Danny Williams and The Warhol Factory, directed by Esther B. Robinson. (U.S.A.) – U.S. Premiere. Esther Robinson’s engrossing portrait of her uncle Danny Williams-Warhol’s onetime lover, collaborator and filmmaker in his own right-offers an engaging exploration of the Factory era, an homage to Williams’s talent, a journey of family discovery and a compelling inquiry into Williams’ mysterious disappearance at age 27.
* We Are Together (Thina Simunye), directed by Paul Taylor. (U.K.) – North American Premiere. Though they’ve endured painful setbacks, including the loss of loved ones to AIDS, nothing can quell the angelic singing voices of the children in South Africa’s Agape Orphanage. Told with compassion and grace, Paul Taylor’s uplifting documentary celebrates the children’s indomitable spirits and musical aspirations. Includes a special performance by Alicia Keyes and Paul Simon. In Zulu and English.
The Spotlight category was created for unique out-of-competition films with well-known cast members, high-profile directors or timely subject matter. With themes ranging from soccer and poker to a determined shepherdess looking for the perfect husband as well as a documentary about the unsung heroes of humanitarian efforts, this year’s Spotlight category sheds light on diverse issues and emotions with 17 features and documentaries from eight different countries.
· 2 Days In Paris (Deux jours á Paris), directed and written by Julie Delpy. (France) – North American Premiere. Actress Julie Delpy (Before Sunrise) writes, directs, edits, produces, stars in and even composes music for her crowd-pleasing directorial debut. With a snappy comic edge, the story revolves around Marion bringing her American boyfriend Jack (Adam Goldberg) on a visit to Paris. Between clashes of culture, language and flirtatious ex-boyfriends, their relationship is tested in this charming, smart gem. A Samuel Goldwyn Films Release.
* Chops, a documentary film directed by Bruce Broder. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Each year, Jazz at Lincoln Center and its artistic director Wynton Marsalis host the prestigious Essentially Ellington Festival, a competition of high school jazz bands from across the country. This toe-tapping and empowering documentary focuses on one Florida band filled with young musicians who hit all the right notes.
* The Grand, directed by Zak Penn, written by Zak Penn and Matt Bierman. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Woody Harrelson goes all-in to save his dead father’s hotel-casino from a real estate developer in this hilarious mockumentary. His master plan: to win the world’s most famous high stakes tournament, the Grand Championship of Poker. Anteing up the laughs are Werner Herzog, Cheryl Hines, David Cross, Ray Romano and Dennis Farina.
* Invisibles, directed by Mariano Barroso, Isabel Coixet, Javier Corcuera, Fernando León de Aranoa, Wim Wenders. (Spain) – U.S. Premiere. Giving voice to those silenced by international indifference, Academy Award® nominated actor Javier Bardem teams with Doctors Without Borders to produce this powerful collection of short films. Five acclaimed directors shed light on heroic, yet unsung humanitarian efforts to combat international crises, which have thus far remained invisible. In Spanish, English, Lwo, Kiluba and Swahili.
* The Killing of John Lennon, directed and written by Andrew Piddington. (U.K.) – North American Premiere. A riveting, disturbing glimpse into the mind of John Lennon’s killer, Mark David Chapman, during the days leading up to his deadly confrontation with the rock star outside the Dakota. Lines lifted verbatim from Chapman’s own journal give actor Jonas Bell’s unforgettable performance an eerie, chilling precision.
* My Best Friend (Mon meilleur ami), directed by Patrice Leconte, written by Patrice Leconte and Jérôme Tonnerre. (France) – U.S. Premiere. After business associates chide him for his indifference to other people, high-powered art dealer François (Daniel Auteuil) is challenged to produce an actual friend in only ten days, or lose a valued vase. His search sets off a witty, yet thoughtful look at the meaning of friendship from prolific French director Patrice Leconte. An IFC Films Release.
* The Optimists (Optimisti) directed by Goran Paskaljevic, written by Vladimir Paskaljevic and Goran Paskaljevic. (Serbia) – North American Premiere. One of Central Europe’s leading filmmakers follows his unforgettable A Midwinter Night’s Dream (TFF 2005) with this new film whose five episodes conjure up a world where people have trouble distinguishing truth from illusions. Each segment reflects the motto of Voltaire’s Candide: “Optimism is insisting everything is good, when everything is bad.”
* Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, a documentary directed by Jim Brown. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen are two of many who attest to Seeger’s importance in this compelling documentary that is more than a simple biography. Using new interviews, archival footage and home movies, Brown presents a social history through the life of one of this country’s most compelling forces for change and, arguably, the most significant folk artist of our time.
* The Power of The Game, a documentary directed by Michael Apted. (U.S.A) – World Premiere. Six stories intertwine in this dramatic and moving examination of the social impact of soccer across the world. Juxtaposing thrilling footage from games leading to and throughout the 2006 World Cup, Apted highlights stories of triumph over adversity from around the globe and skillfully conveys the remarkable transformative power of this sport. In English, German, Farsi, French and Spanish.
* Purple Violets, directed and written by Ed Burns. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Aspiring novelist Patti Petalson’s (Selma Blair) chance encounter with her ex Brian (Patrick Wilson) turns her life upside down in this charming romance. Burns shows a new maturity both behind and in front of the lens as he also pairs with Debra Messing to round-out the foursome of college friends reuniting after years of estrangement.
* Razzle Dazzle, directed by Ken Jacobs. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. A frequently returning TFF filmmaker presents the world premiere of his new experimental narrative opus. Razzle Dazzle confirms Jacobs’ mastery of digital filmmaking in which he treats the image as a painterly canvas, exploring the depths of cubism and abstract expressionism from source material comprising turn-of-the-century stereopticon slides and an early Edison film.
* The Road to St. Diego (El Camino de San Diego), directed and written by Carlos Sorin. (Argentina) – North American Premiere. A young Argentine backwoodsman learns that soccer star Diego Maradona is ailing in a Buenos Aires hospital, and resolves to bring him a tree root he’s uncovered–which he’s certain looks just like his idol. Tracing a pilgrimage filled with humor, Sorin spins a delightfully offbeat tale about the roles that fate, religion and idolatry can play in life.
* Steep, a documentary directed by Mark Obenhaus. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Whether it’s jumping out of a helicopter hovering above the powdery slopes of Alaska’s mountain ranges, or trying to outrun an avalanche in the French Alps, Steep traces the legacy of extreme skiing from its early pioneers to the death-defying daredevils of today.
* Take the Bridge, directed by Sergio M. Castilla. (Chile, U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Four young strangers meet after their failed suicide attempts land each of them in the hospital on the same day. United by circumstance, they may yet discover a reason to live. This fresh, original take on city life pays tribute to the vitality and energy of the Dominican community in Washington Heights. In English and Spanish.
* This Is England, directed and written by Shane Meadows. (U.K.) – U.S. Premiere. It’s the summer of 1983 in northern England. Punks, Mods and Skinheads are on the rise, but employment is not. Eleven-year-old Shaun has lost his father but seems to find a surrogate family in a band of friendly skinheads. When they’re joined by the older, overtly racist Con, who’s just out of prison, the tale takes a much darker turn. An IFC First Take Release.
* Tuya’s Marriage (Tu Ya De Hun Shi), directed by Wang Quan’an, written by Lu Wei and Wang Quan’an. (China) – North American Premiere. A strong-willed shepherdess on the Mongolian steppe, Tuya must face some harsh truths about the future. In need of an able provider, she reluctantly divorces her ailing husband and considers proposals from a string of quirky suitors. This warm, witty tale, featuring stunning cinematography, won the top prize at the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival.
* You Kill Me, directed by John Dahl, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. In this smart, darkly funny drama by John Dahl (The Last Seduction) about addiction and recovery, Ben Kingsley delivers a bravura performance as Frank, an alcoholic contract killer forced to go through a twelve-step program and become a funeral home assistant. Also starring Téa Leoni and Luke Wilson. An IFC Films Release.
From a tale of Italian immigrants and the American experience, to a rape victim seeking revenge on her attacker, to the true story of Norway high school’s baseball coach Kent Stock, with documentaries exploring the jazz legend Anita O’Day, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, collector/curator Sam Wagstaff, Nazi hunter and humanitarian Simon Wiesenthal, to a tale of Italian immigrants and the American Experience and with an awkward teen who names himself the school “psychiatrist,” many of these films either depict the achievements of artists who manifested their considerable talents in a variety of ways, or are works by artists stretching their talents into new area.
* The Air I Breathe, directed by Jieho Lee, written by Jieho Lee and Bob DeRosa. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. A businessman (Forest Whitaker) bets his life on a horse race, a gangster (Brendan Fraser) sees the future, a pop star (Sarah Michelle Gellar) falls prey to a crime boss (Andy Garcia), and a doctor (Kevin Bacon) must save the love of his life. Based on a Chinese proverb, these four overlapping stories dramatize the four emotional cornerstones of life: happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love.
* The Animated World of John Canemaker (U.S.A.) Continuing Tribeca’s celebration of New York-based independent animators, this program features the work of John Canemaker, a pre-eminent animation teacher, filmmaker, author and historian, who won an Oscar for his animated short The Moon and the Son in 2006. A selection of short films spanning Canemaker’s career will be shown.
* Anita O’Day – The Life of a Jazz Singer, directed by Ian McCrudden & Robbie Cavolina (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. An intimate and deeply moving tribute to jazz diva extraordinaire Anita O’Day, completed just weeks before her death in November 2006. Packed with terrific clips and anecdotes from friends and fellow musicians, this enjoyable documentary zips along at the speed of her renowned up-tempo interpretation of "Sweet Georgia Brown.” work in progress.
* Black, White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Maplethorpe, directed by James Crump. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. In the ’70s and ’80s, the relationship between legendary curator Sam Wagstaff, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and musician/poet Patti Smith was at the epicenter of New York’s revolutionary art scene. This engrossing documentary features interviews with Smith and a bevy of art world luminaries including Joan Juliet Buck, Dominick Dunne, Richard Tuttle, Eugenia Parry and Ralph Gibson.
* The Bubble, directed by Eytan Fox, written by Gal Uchovsky, Eytan Fox. (Israel) – U.S. Premiere. Three roommates treat their hip Tel Aviv neighborhood like their own chic paradise, relatively sheltered from Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. But when Israeli boy meets a Palestinian boy at a border checkpoint, this artificial bubble bursts. Director Fox follows up Walk on Water and Yossi & Jagger with this story that shows that even love can’t bridge irreconcilable differences.
* The Cake Eaters, directed by Mary Stuart Masterson, written by Jayce Bartok. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. A prodigal son’s return conjures up old ghosts for three generations of two different families in a small, quiet town. Masterson’s debut feature unfolds the intimate secrets and tensions that compel these families to move forward. The dynamic ensemble cast features Kristin Stewart, Aaron Stanford, Bruce Dern, Jayce Bartok, Elizabeth Ashley and Miriam Shor.
* Charlie Bartlett, directed by Jon Poll, written by Gustin Nash. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Failing to fit in at a high school run by a disenchanted principal (Robert Downey, Jr.), awkward Charlie Bartlett (Anton Yelchin) is running out of options for making friends-until he names himself the school "psychiatrist." When he starts doling out advice, and the occasional pill, to classmates, his popularity soars in this witty take on teenage insecurity. With Hope Davis. A Sidney Kimmel/MGM Release
* Descent, directed by Talia Lugacy, written by Brian Priest, Talia Lugacy. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. A tale of innocence shattered, dreams destroyed and vengeance fulfilled, Descent begins with an idealistic vision of college sweethearts and wild house parties, but quickly falls apart. A rape sends Maya (Rosario Dawson) into a spiral of drugs, rage and despair—until she is reunited with her attacker and offered a chance to settle the score. A City Lights Pictures Release
* The Final Season, directed by David M. Evans, written by Art D’Alessandro. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Baseball is everything in Norway, Iowa, but when government authorities decide the small town’s population no longer warrants its own high school, a longstanding baseball tradition is in peril. Sean Astin stars as the new and untested coach who must provide Norway with one exciting final season in this heartwarming story based on true events.
* Golden Door (Nuovomondo), directed and written by Emanuel Crialese. (Italy, Germany, France) – NY Premiere. The turn-of-the-century voyage of a poor family from rural Sicily through the "golden door" of Ellis Island and into America is beautifully portrayed in this visually striking, emotionally resonant narrative. Charlotte Gainsbourg portrays the young bride in this new film by N.Y.U. graduate Crialese that was Italy’s Oscar submission this year. A Miramax Films release.
* Good Time Max, directed by James Franco, written by James Franco and Merriwether Williams. (U.S.A) – World Premiere. Actor James Franco (Spider-Man) cowrites, stars in and directs this stunning drama about two intellectually gifted brothers who take drastically different courses in life. One evolves into a successful doctor while the other leads a roller coaster, drug-fueled existence. But even after growing up and growing apart, they remain inextricably connected to each other.
* The Hammer, directed by Charles Herman Wurmfeld, written by Kevin Hench. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. In an underdog comedy that never pulls a punch, an aging boxer now working as a construction worker (Adam Carolla) is convinced by a wily coach to step back into the ring after a 20-year hiatus. Though the former rising champion is well past his prime, he embarks on a rollicking quest for what he missed the first time around: a spot on the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team.
* I Have Never Forgotten You, directed and written by Richard Trank, (U.S.A.) – North American Premiere. How did a man who trained as an architect track down some of the world’s most notorious war criminals? Discover the history and legacy of legendary Nazi hunter and humanitarian Simon Wiesenthal in this stirring documentary. Narrated by Academy Award®-winning actress Nicole Kidman, it features previously unseen archival footage and interviews with friends, family, and world leaders
* In the Beginning Was the Image: Conversations with Peter Whitehead, directed by Paul Cronin. (U.K.) – U.S. Premiere. Peter Whitehead’s work as a key independent British filmmaker of the 1960’s has been the subject of recent worldwide retrospectives. This documentary on the artist, by a returning TFF filmmaker, is important not only as a portrait, but also as a meditation on the construction of identity. Copresented by Anthology Film Archives.
* Chávez, directed by Diego Luna. (Mexico) – World Premiere. Actor Diego Luna (Y Tu Mamá También) steps behind the camera for this heartfelt documentary about the life and career of his countryman, Mexican boxer Julio César Chávez, considered one of the sport’s – and Mexico’s all-time greats. Luna follows Chávez through the final bouts of his career, even as he proudly passes the torch of boxing to his son.
* Lovesickness (Maldeamores), directed by Carlitos Ruiz Ruiz, written by Jorge Gonzales, Carlitos Ruiz Ruiz. (Puerto Rico) – World Premiere. Tales of maddening infatuation—a surprising love triangle, an unfaithful marriage and a hostage situation—weave together artfully in the backyards of Puerto Rico. Passion defeats reason again and again in this melancholy comedy about the selfish search for love and connection. In Spanish.
* Music Inn, directed by Ben Barenholtz. (U.S.A.) – North American Premiere. A cinema veteran makes his debut as a filmmaker, aided by a veritable who¹s who of distinguished musicians, to tell the legendary story of how enthusiasts and hip scholars were drawn to Lenox, Massachusetts each summer starting in 1951. There their dedication to jazz and folk supported the founding of the world¹s first permanent school of jazz.
* Nobel Son, directed by Randall Miller, written by Randall Miller and Jody Savin. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. In this taut thriller spiked with droll humor, Ph.D. candidate Barkley (Bryan Greenberg) is kidnapped the night before his father Eli (Alan Rickman) will receive the Nobel Prize. When Eli refuses to pay a ransom equal to the $2 million prize, secrets, betrayal and revenge collide. With Bill Pullman, Danny DeVito, Mary Steenburgen, Ted Danson, Ernie Hudson and Eliza Dushku.
* The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio (L’Orchestre de Piazza Vittorio), directed by Agostino Ferrente, written by Agostino Ferrente in collaboration with Massimo Gaudioso, Mariangela Barbanete, Francesco Piccolo. (Italy) – North American Premiere. This is the unlikely story of how two energetic Romans created an orchestra comprised entirely of immigrants from all over the world living in one area of the Eternal City. When a group of 30 different musicians playing 15 unrelated instruments finally takes the stage, they provide a rousing call to arms for fans of world music, and all those who believe in the mini-miracles of neighborhood cultural initiatives.
* Shotgun Stores, directed and written by Jeff Nichols. (U.S.A) – North American Premiere. A family feud in rural Arkansas erupts in this biblical tale of blood ties and vengeance, sparked when two sets of half-brothers collide at the funeral of their father. This slow-burning thriller recalls the character-driven storytelling of the 1970’s, with a lyrical feel for the intimate rhythms and heat-baked landscapes of the forgotten South.
* Suburban Girl, directed and written by Marc Klein. (U.S.A) – World Premiere. Determined to rise through Manhattan’s cutthroat literary ranks on her own, an ambitious young book editor (Sarah Michelle Gellar) hesitates to become involved with a high-powered publishing playboy (Alec Baldwin) many years her senior. Personal and professional lines slowly blur in this witty adaptation of Michelle Bank’s bestselling book, The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing.
* The True Legend of Tony Vilar (La vera leggenda Di Tony Vilar), directed by Giuseppe Gagliardi, written by Giuseppe Gagliardi, Peppe Voltarelli. (Italy) – International Premiere. Using a tongue-in-cheek mockumentary style, this half-true, half-imagined tale is based on the story of real-life singer Tony Vilar. Born in Italy, he later moved to Argentina and became one of the most popular crooners in 1960’s Latin America, then mysteriously disappeared, leaving a faint trail apparently leading to New York City. In Italian.
* Vitus, directed by Fredi Murer, written by Peter Luisi, Fredi M. Murer, Lukas B. Suter. (Switzerland.) – NY Premiere. A child prodigy yearns for a "normal" life with his parents and eccentric grandfather in this charming family drama, starring the great German actor Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire; Downfall). While his parents plan a future of piano competitions, Vitus would rather learn to fly. He just needs to find an adult who’ll let him. A Sony Pictures Classics Release.
Continuing the Festival’s commitment to showcasing some of the most significant and amazing artistic achievements in the history of filmmaking, this section, co-curated by Martin Scorsese and Peter Scarlet, includes newly restored or preserved copies from some of the world’s leading film archives.
· Attica, directed by Cinda Firestone. (U.S.A., 1974) – World Premiere Revival. In 1971, inmates at Attica State Prison seized control of D-yard and took 35 hostages after peaceful efforts for reforms failed. Attica investigates the rebellion and its bloody suppression, revealing institutionalized injustices, sanctioned dishonesty, and abuses of power. Attica provided courtesy of The New York Public Library, Donnell Media Center and New York Women In Film & Television.
· Autumn Days (Días de otońo), directed by Roberto Gavaldón, written by Julio Alejandro, Emilio Carballido. (Mexico, 1962.) – North American Premiere Revival. Pina Pellicer, best known here for her role opposite Brando in One-Eyed Jacks, gives an unforgettably touching performance in this subtle melodrama as a naïve girl who finds work in the big city, then fashions an alternate reality in the wake of a disastrous love affair. Gabriel Figueroa¹s stunning b&w photography invigorates this new restoration from Mexico¹s Film Archive.
* The Forty-first (Sorok pervyi), directed by Grigori Chukrai, written by Grigori Koltunov, (Russia, 1956.) – World Premiere Revival. One of the first major films of the post-Stalinist thaw and a 1957 Cannes award-winner, The Forty First’s remarkable power stems largely from the stunning camerawork of Sergei Urusevsky (The Cranes Are Flying, I Am Cuba), who creates a timeless landscape of sand, water and sky for an unexpected love story between a female Red Army sniper and a White Army officer.
· The Letter Never Sent (Neotpravlennoe), directed by Mikhail Kalatozov, written by Valeriy Osipov, Viktor Rozov, Grigoriy Koltunov. (Russia, 1959) – World Premiere Revival. The third collaboration between the phenomenal director/cinematographer duo of Kalatozov and Sergey Urusevskiy (The Cranes Are Flying, I Am Cuba), this film traces four geologists’ search for a diamond mine as they face natural disasters in the merciless Siberian wilderness, rendered in all its overwhelming power by an extraordinary, unhinged camera.
· Night of the Hunchback (Shabe ghuzi) directed by Farokh Ghaffary, written by Jalal Moghaddam. (Iran, 1965.) – World Premiere Revival. This dark comedy, a key masterwork of Iranian cinema, has long remained unseen in the West. Adapted from a story in 1001 Nights and set in a popular theatre troupe, the story follows the death of an actor in a farcical accident and the brilliantly elaborate gags and misunderstandings that abound in subsequent attempts to dispose of his body.
* The Pelican (Le pélican), directed by Gérard Blain, written by Marie-Helene Bauret, Gérard Blain. (France, 1973) – North American Premiere Revival. Dubbed "the French James Dean," for his roles in films by Claude Chabrol (Le beau Serge, Les cousins) and Howard Hawks (Hatari), Gérard Blain’s work as director never surfaced in the U.S. This is his masterpiece, a moving account of parental love and obsession, filmed in a rigorous style that recalls Bresson or Dreyer-sans religion.
* To Die A Little (Morir Un Poco),directed by Álvaro J. Covacevich. (Chile, 1966.) – North American Premiere. Memories About Sayat Nova, directed by Levon Grigorian. (Armenia, 2006.) – North American Premiere. Two Remarkable Rediscoveries: To Die A Little, an unknown jewel of Latin American filmmaking, lost for nearly 40 years until it was unearthed last year, features images recalling Cassavetes and Rouch. Memories About Sayat Nova reveals astonishingly beautiful, newly discovered scenes from Sergei Paradjanov’s masterwork Sayat Nova, which was censored by the Soviet government.
For those audiences in need of something left of center, the Midnight section offers the dark, the creative, the strange, and everything in between. From rat zombies and vampires to alien sex cults, a comedian’s criticism of critics to raunchy blokes doing unheard of stunts, this collection of films may be shocking, creepy, or gross but they’re always fun.
* Black Sheep, directed and written by Jonathan King. (New Zealand) – New York Premiere. An entrepreneurial farm owner wants to revolutionize the industry with genetically engineered sheep. But when environmental activists try to stop him, they accidentally unleash his baaaad experiment into the world. And this sheep likes blood. In a country where sheep outnumber humans, the last thing you should ever do is piss them off. An IFC First Take Release.
* Dirty Sanchez, directed by Jim Hickey. (U.K.) – North American Premiere. Think Jackass on crack and you’ve got the boys of Dirty Sanchez-Great Britain’s troupe of raunchy madmen on a world tour of depravity. With wicked nasty stunts such as liposuction drinking games, beer enema shotguns, things that shouldn’t be done with male genitalia, and more, Dirty Sanchez should be viewed with a cast-iron stomach and a twisted sense of humor. Mature audiences only.
* Heckler, directed by Michael Addis. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Comedian Jamie Kennedy confronts hecklers and heckled alike in this wry, spirited documentary. With appearances from limelight veterans like Rob Zombie, Mike Ditka, George Lucas and Bill Maher, Heckler illuminates the often contentious relationship between those in the spotlight and the critics in the crowd.
* In the Land of Merry Misfits, directed and written by Keven Undergaro. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. A wrong turn lands a young college graduate in a colorful realm of seriously twisted fairytales and wacky ne’er-do-wells on noble quests. To escape and win back his girlfriend, this unlikely hero must help a whimsical group of madcap misfits thwart the accepted social order and capture "The Grail of Popularity."
* The Matrimony, directed by Teng Huatao, written by Zhang Jialu, Yang Qianling. (China) – North American Premiere. In 1920’s Shanghai, wealthy Junchu loses his fiancée in a freak accident and is coerced by his mother into marrying Sansan, a near stranger. Soon afterward, Sansan’s body is inhabited by the devious ghost of Junchu’s dead lover, sending her on a downward spiral of madness and murder in this captivating gothic horror. In Mandarin.
* Mulberry Street, directed by Jim Mickle, written by Nick Damici, Jim Mickle. (U.S.A.) – New York Premiere. One sweltering summer day in Manhattan, the streets explode into chaos as a rat-borne virus breaks out. With every bite, city dwellers turn into bloodthirsty, rodent-like creatures that violently attack other residents. Seven recently evicted tenants fight through the night for survival as the city quickly spirals out of control.
* The Poughkeepsie Tapes, directed and written by John Erick Dowdle. (U.S.A) – World Premiere. When hundreds of videotapes showing torture, murder and dismemberment are found in an abandoned house, they reveal a serial killer’s decade-long reign of terror and become the most disturbing collection of evidence homicide detectives have ever seen. Brutal and engrossing, actual footage from these tapes mixed with interviews with FBI profiles and victims’ families begin to expose the many layers to this mystery.
* Rise: Blood Hunter, directed and written by Sebastian Gutierrez. (U.S.A) – World Premiere. Reporter Sadie Blake (Lucy Liu) awakens in a morgue and realizes she is no longer human. Trying to resist the thirst for blood, she vows to hunt down the sect responsible f