The 13th Tribeca Film Festival has announced its complete lineup for next month’s New York celebration, which runs April 16-27. Culled from more than 6,000 submissions, Tribeca 2014 includes 55 world premieres, 37 first-time filmmakers, and 22 female directors. Half the slate had been announced on Tuesday, with Spotlight, Midnight, and Storyscapes films unveiled today, as well as special screenings. “Spotlight and special screenings are an especially dynamic aspect of this year’s program, both in range of styles and stories,” said Genna Terranova, Tribeca’s director of programming. “Many films feature real-life personalities who’ve accomplished extraordinary feats, while in other films we see personal relationships at pivotal moments of transition. We look forward to sharing these engaging stories with audiences.”
Highlights in the Spotlight section include Jon Favreau’s Chef, which co-stars Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman, and Scarlett Johansson; Courteney Cox’s directorial debut, the comedy Just Before I Go; and Katie Holmes playing a schoolteacher who’s not as dainty as she appears in Miss Meadows.
The Midnight section will open with the feature film Preservation, the frightening story of a hunting trip gone awry. But let’s all agree that this category starts and ends with Zombeavers. “Whether they made us laugh, squirm, or plain scared the heck out of us, each of the seven films in this year’s Midnight section never failed to genuinely surprise us with wildly original and unexpected reimaginings of classic genre stories,” said Cara Cusumano, a Tribeca programmer. “From ghost stories to creature features, and even an underdog sports comedy, we’re proud to present an eclectic and adventurous slate of films that we believe represent the year’s most interesting new voices in genre filmmaking.”
Time Is Illmatic, a documentary about the making of Nas’ 1994 album Illmatic, will kick off the Tribeca Film Festival this year on April 16. A performance by Nas himself will follow the world premiere.
Click below for the Tribeca movies, with credits and descriptions courtesy of TFF.
With its focus on marquee directors, prominent actors, and star performers, Spotlight is Tribeca’s showcase for launching breakout films. This year’s program finds maturing millennials navigating the changing nature of their friendships in best-friends comedy Life Partners, and Big Chill-homage About Alex, while older characters also struggle with change – like the New York couple at the center of Ira Sachs’ touching Love is Strange, and a subdued Robin Williams as a late-in-life man finally embracing his authentic self in Boulevard. From the international side, provocateur Roman Polanski finally brings his Cannes hit Venus In Fur to the U.S., while Stellan Skarsgård anchors pitch-black comedy, In Order of Disappearance as an unlikely vigilante. The Spotlight documentaries probe topics from LEGO bricks to Chinese-American cuisine, and include profiles of icons ranging from legendary musicians like The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir in The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir and shock-rock badboy, Alice Cooper, in Super Duper Alice Cooper, to sharp-tongued Texas governor Ann Richards in All About Ann: Governor Richards of the Lone Star State and the (as-of-now) only American winner of the Tour de France, Greg LeMond, whose bitter rivalry with a teammate threatens to derail his career in Slaying the Badger. Rounding out the docs is a an expose of questionable undercover FBI tactics, The Newburgh Sting. With something for every taste, Spotlight is an exciting panorama of premieres sure to stimulate, inspire, and entertain.
• 5 to 7, directed and written by Victor Levin. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Young aspiring novelist Brian (Anton Yelchin) meets Arielle (Bérénice Marlohe), the sophisticated wife of a French Diplomat. They soon embark on a “cinq-a-sept” affair that challenges Brian’s traditional American ideas of love and relationships. A cosmopolitan comedy of manners told with surprising warmth and lightness, 5 to 7 marks writer and producer Levin’s (Mad Men) directorial debut, and welcomes actress Marlohe (Skyfall) as a glamorous, ebullient screen presence. With Glenn Close and Frank Langella.
• About Alex, directed and written by Jesse Zwick. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. A circle of twenty-something friends reunite for a weekend away to console a suicidal member of their group. Yet, despite their best efforts to enjoy themselves, a tinderbox of old jealousies, unrequited love, and widening political differences leads to an explosion of drama that, coupled with the flammable combination of drugs, wine, and risotto, cannot be contained. A Big Chill for our current social media moment, About Alex is a lighthearted look at the struggles of a generation that has it all – and wants more. Starring Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, Max Minghella, Jason Ritter, Nate Parker, and Maggie Grace.
• Alex of Venice, directed by Chris Messina, written by Jessica Goldberg and Katie Nehra & Justin Shilton. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Workaholic environmental attorney Alex (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has always relied on her husband George (Chris Messina) to take the reins at home. But when he unexpectedly asks for a break, his departure forces Alex to reevaluate her life as she juggles the care of her son and needs of an aspiring-actor father (Don Johnson), all amid the most important case of her life. Actor Chris Messina steps behind the camera for his directorial debut about a woman pushed to the edge who finds the strength to press on.
• All About Ann: Governor Richards of the Lone Star State, directed by Keith Patterson and Phillip Schopper. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. An unmissable documentary for any political junkie, All About Ann celebrates the achievements of larger-than-life Ann Richards, who became the first elected female governor of Texas. Her cool demeanor, acid wit, and passion for social inclusivity made her one of the most powerful and progressive governors in U.S. history, a liberal democrat intent on building “the new Texas.” But, when the 1994 election begins, Richards is faced with her toughest challenge yet, as an increasingly conservative majority turn towards a new, pro-business candidate: George W. Bush. An HBO Documentary Film.
• Boulevard, directed by Dito Montiel, written by Douglas Soesbe. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Nolan Mack, a soft-spoken bank employee, undoubtedly loves his wife Joy, though their cavernous empty house only underscores how disconnected they’ve always been from each other. Nolan finds himself drifting from his familiar present-day life in pursuit of lost time after meeting a troubled young man named Leo on his drive home. What begins as an aimless drive down an unfamiliar street turns into a life-altering series of events. Robin Williams and Kathy Baker deliver quietly stirring performances in this touching film about finding the strength to be true to yourself at any age.
• Bright Days Ahead (Les beaux jours), directed by Marion Vernoux, written by Fanny Chesnel. (France) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. In this sophisticated and sexy drama, a newly retired woman in her 60s (French cinema icon Fanny Ardant, 8 Women, Confidentially Yours) finds herself tumbling into an affair with a much younger man (Laurent Lafitte, Little White Lies), her computer teacher at the local seniors’ club. As she finds herself courting danger – taking her young lover to places they could easily be discovered by her husband (Patrick Chesnais, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) – she must decide if her retirement will mark the end for her marriage, or a new beginning. In French with English Subtitles. A Tribeca Film Release.
• Chef, directed and written by Jon Favreau. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative. After talented and dynamic chef Carl Casper’s (Favreau) social media-fueled meltdown against his nemesis food critic lands him without any job prospects, Chef Casper hits the road with his son and his sous chef (John Leguizamo) to launch a brand new food truck business. Complete with lavish food imagery and a star-studded cast including Sofia Vergara, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, and Amy Sedaris, Favreau’s fresh take on food and chef culture has poignant messages about the media-driven world in which we live and the real meaning of success. An Open Road Release.
• Every Secret Thing, directed by Amy Berg, written by Nicole Holofcener. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. One clear summer day in a Baltimore suburb, a baby goes missing from her front porch. Two young girls serve seven years for the crime and are released into a town that hasn’t fully forgiven or forgotten. Soon, another child is missing, and two detectives are called in to investigate the mystery in a community where everyone seems to have a secret. An ensemble cast, including Elizabeth Banks, Diane Lane, Dakota Fanning, and Nate Parker, brings to life Laura Lippman’s acclaimed novel of love, loss, and murder.
• In Order of Disappearance (Kraftidioten), directed by Hans Petter Moland, written by Kim Fupz Aakeson. (Norway) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Upstanding community leader Nils (Stellan Skarsgård) has just won an award for “Citizen of the Year” when he learns the news that his son has died of a heroin overdose. Suspecting foul play, Nils begins to investigate, and soon finds himself at the center of an escalating underworld gang war between Serbian drug dealers and a sociopathic criminal mastermind known only as “The Count.” Hans Petter Moland’s action-thriller is an entertaining and intelligent black comedy set in the dead of frozen Norwegian winter. In English, Norwegian, and Swedish with English subtitles.
• In Your Eyes, directed by Brin Hill, written by Joss Whedon. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative.
East Coast housewife Rebecca (Zoe Kazan) lives a comfortable, sheltered life, but she always knew there was something special about herself. Charismatic ex-con Dylan (Michael Stahl-David) has paid his debt to society and is ready for a fresh start in New Mexico, including a burgeoning flirtation with local good-time-gal Donna (Nikki Reed). When the two polar opposites realize they are strangely connected, an utterly unique metaphysical romance begins in TFF alum Brin Hill’s sweet and smart film, which star Zoe Kazan aptly described as “Joss Whedon does Nicholas Sparks.”
• Just Before I Go, directed by Courteney Cox, written by David Flebotte. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Seann William Scott plays Ted Morgan, a down-on-his-luck everyman who has decided he’s had enough of the hard knocks life has thrown his way. But before saying his final adieu, Ted returns to his hometown to right a few wrongs. Enter a zany cast of characters, including Rob Riggle, Olivia Thirlby, and Garret Dillahunt, who, whilst royally messing up his scheme, manage to teach him a few clumsy, but ultimately valuable lessons.
• Keep On Keepin’ On, directed and written by Alan Hicks, co-written by Davis Coombe. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Eighty-nine year old trumpeting legend Clark Terry has mentored jazz wonders like Miles Davis and Quincy Jones, but Terry’s most unlikely friendship is with Justin Kauflin, a 23-year-old blind piano player with uncanny talent, but debilitating nerves. As Justin prepares for the most pivotal moment in his budding career, Terry’s ailing health threatens to end his own. Charming and nostalgic, Alan Hicks’ melodic debut celebrates an iconic musician while introducing an emerging star of equal vibrancy.
• Life Partners, directed and written by Susanna Fogel, co-written by Joni Lefkowitz. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Nearing 30, Sasha and Paige realize their codependent friendship is preventing either of them from settling down. But when Paige meets the dorky yet lovable Tim, Sasha fears that she’s being replaced. Leighton Meester, Gillian Jacobs, Gabourey Sidibe, and Adam Brody star in a comedy revolving around two friends and the guy that strikes discord in their harmoniously laid-back resistance to growing up. Directed by Susanna Fogel, Life Partners affectionately tackles the intimacy and complexity of female friendship.
• Love is Strange, directed and written by Ira Sachs, co-written by Mauricio Zacharias. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative. Ira Sachs returns to the indie scene following 2012’s acclaimed Keep the Lights On with another new take on modern love. Acting veterans John Lithgow and Alfred Molina star as Ben and George, a Manhattan couple who are finally given the opportunity to make their union official. But when Ben loses his teaching job as a result, the relationship is tested in unconventional ways – leaving them to lean more heavily than ever on their love to hold things together. A Sony Pictures Classics Release.
• Lucky Them, directed by Megan Griffiths, written by Huck Botko and Emily Wachtel. (USA) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. More interested in partying and flirting with young musicians than work, veteran rock journalist Ellie Klug (Toni Collette) has one last chance to prove her value to her magazine’s editor: a no-stone-unturned search to discover what really happened to long lost rock god, Matt Smith, who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend. Teaming up with an eccentric amateur documentary filmmaker (Thomas Haden Church in a delightful performance), Ellie hits the road in search of answers in this charming dramedy set against the vibrant Seattle indie music scene. An IFC Films Release.
· Manos Sucias, directed and written by Josef Wladyka, co-written by Alan Blanco. (Colombia, USA) – International Premiere, Narrative. Towing a submerged torpedo in the wake of their battered fishing boat, a desperate fisherman and a naive kid embark on a journey trafficking millions of dollars worth of cocaine. Shot entirely on location along the Pacific coast of Colombia – in areas that bear the indelible scars of the drug trade – Manos Sucias refuses to glamorize the drug trade but rather seeks to offer a rare glimpse of its devastating effects. Executive Produced by Spike Lee.
• Match, directed and written by Stephen Belber. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. A Seattle couple (Matthew Lillard and Carla Gugino) travel to New York to interview colorful former dancer Tobi (played with remarkable dexterity by Patrick Stewart) for research on a dissertation about dance. But soon, common niceties and social graces erode when the questions turn personal and the true nature of the interview is called into question. Based on the Tony Award-winning play of the same name, Match moves effortlessly between riotous wit and delicate poignancy in this story of responsibility, artistic commitment, and love.
• Miss Meadows, directed and written by Karen Leigh Hopkins (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Prim schoolteacher Miss Meadows (Katie Holmes) is not entirely what she appears. Well-mannered, sweet, and caring, yes, but underneath the candy-sweet exterior hides the soul of a vigilante, taking it upon herself to right the wrongs in this cruel world by whatever means necessary. Things get complicated, however, when Miss Meadows gets romantically entangled with the town sheriff (James Badge Dale) and her steadfast moral compass is thrown off, begging the question: “Who is the real Miss Meadows and what is she hiding?”
• The Newburgh Sting, directed by David Heilbroner and Kate Davis, written by David Heilbroner. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Just 60 miles north of New York City sits the poverty-stricken town of Newburgh, where, in 2009, four men were arrested for a plan to bomb two Jewish centers in the Bronx. But their leader, a suspicious Pakistani businessman planted by the government as an informant, led these men straight into the hands of the authorities. With endless footage gathered from hidden cameras, directors David Heilbroner and Kate Davis investigate just what homegrown terrorism truly means in this shocking and galvanizing exposé.
• Night Moves, directed and written by Kelly Reichardt, co-written by Jon Raymond. (USA) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, and Peter Sarsgaard star as radical activists surreptitiously plotting to blow up Oregon’s Green Peter Dam in an act of environmental sabotage. As their plan marches inexorably towards fruition, they soon discover that small steps have enormous consequences. Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy director Kelly Reichardt crafts another graceful and absorbing film about outsiders searching for a meaningful place on the edges of the system in this atmospheric environmental thriller. A Cinedigm Release.
• The One I Love, directed by Charlie McDowell, written by Justin Lader. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative. In Charlie McDowell’s refreshing and inventive twist on the love story, Ethan and Sophie escape to a country retreat in a last ditch attempt to save their ailing marriage. But what begins as a quiet opportunity to reconnect soon morphs into an unexplainable head trip that forces the couple to confront their relationship in an impossibly unique way. Starring Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss in heartfelt performances, The One I Love turns the romantic comedy upside down with an altogether original take on monogamy, relationships, and how much you ever really know your partner. A Radius-TWC Release.
• The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir, directed by Mike Fleiss. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Drop out of school to ride with the Merry Pranksters. Form America’s most enduring jam band. Become a family man and father. Never stop chasing the muse. Bob Weir took his own path to and through superstardom as rhythm guitarist for The Grateful Dead. Mike Fleiss re-imagines the whole wild journey in this magnetic rock doc and concert film, with memorable input from bandmates, contemporaries, followers, family, and, of course, the inimitable Bob Weir himself.
• Palo Alto, directed and written by Gia Coppola, adapted from Palo Alto: Stories by James Franco. (USA) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. Popular but shy soccer player April (Emma Roberts) frequently babysits for her single-dad coach, Mr. B. (James Franco), while Teddy (Jack Kilmer) is an introspective artist whose best friend and sidekick, Fred (Nat Wolff), is an unpredictable live wire with few filters or boundaries. One party bleeds into another as April and Teddy finally acknowledge their mutual affection, and Fred’s escalating recklessness spirals into chaos. Palo Alto is a vibrant cinematic immersion into the overlapping stories and emotions that make up the high school experience. A Tribeca Film Release.
• The Search for General Tso, directed by Ian Cheney. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. From New York City to the farmlands of the Midwest, there are 50,000 Chinese restaurants in the U.S., yet one dish in particular has conquered the American culinary landscape with a force befitting its military moniker – General Tso’s Chicken. But who was General Tso and how did this dish become so ubiquitous? Ian Cheney’s delightfully insightful documentary charts the history of Chinese Americans through the surprising origins of this sticky, sweet, just-spicy-enough dish that we’ve adopted as our own.
• Silenced, directed by James Spione. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Only 11 Americans have ever been charged under the Espionage Act of 1917; eight of them since President Obama took office. Academy Award-nominated documentarian James Spione returns to TFF with the incredible personal journeys of two members of that octet, Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou, along with accountability advocate, Jesselyn Radack, who helped bring their cases to light. With resonance in the post-Snowden era, Silenced catalogs the lengths to which the government has gone to keep its most damning secrets quiet, in an impassioned and thought-provoking defense of whistleblowers everywhere. Executive produced by Susan Sarandon.
• Sister, directed and written by David Lascher, co-written by Todd Camhe. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. When unstable Connie (Barbara Hershey) is tragically widowed, she finds it impossible to care for her delinquent adolescent daughter, Nicki, forcing her son, Bill (Reid Scott), to take his sister in. As the two begin to forge a healthy bond, well-meaning Bill implements his own method of treatment for Nicki’s mental troubles, but, when turmoil persists, he must reconcile his beliefs with what actually may be best for his sister. Sister addresses the polemic issue of youth psychotropic drug prescription with restraint and sensitivity.
• Slaying the Badger, directed and written by John Dower. (UK) – World Premiere, Documentary. Before Lance Armstrong, there was Greg LeMond, who is now the first and only American to win the Tour de France. In this engrossing documentary, LeMond looks back at the pivotal 1986 Tour, and his increasingly vicious rivalry with friend, teammate, and mentor Bernard Hinault. The reigning Tour champion and brutal competitor known as “The Badger,” Hinault “promised” to help LeMond to his first victory, in return for LeMond supporting him in the previous year. But in a sport that purports to reward teamwork, it’s really every man for himself. An ESPN Films Production.
• Super Duper Alice Cooper, directed and written by Reginald Harkema, Scot McFadyen, and Sam Dunn. (Canada) – World Premiere, Documentary. Emerging from the Detroit music scene of the 1970s in a flurry of long hair and sequins, Alice Cooper restored hard rock with a sense of showmanship, while simultaneously striking fear into the hearts of Middle America with the chicken-slaughtering, dead-baby-eating theatrics that would cement his identity as a glam metal icon. Meticulously crafted from rare archival footage, Super Duper Alice Cooper tells the story of the man behind the makeup, Vincent Furnier, the son of a preacher, who got caught in the grip of his own monster.
• Third Person, directed and written by Paul Haggis. (Belgium) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. Veteran screenwriter and director Paul Haggis (Crash) brings to the screen a calculated vision of the drama of love. Three stories set in cities known for romance – New York, Rome, and Paris – take raw and personal twists as characters grapple with the difficulties of modern relationships. With a heavyweight cast including James Franco, Mila Kunis, Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, Adrien Brody, and Maria Bello, Haggis once again weaves an intricate narrative out of seemingly separate worlds. A Sony Pictures Classics Release.
· Untitled Daniel Junge and Kief Davidson Documentary. (USA, Denmark) – World Premiere, Documentary. Stay tuned for more information on this new documentary exploring the fans of a beloved childhood toy.
• Venus in Fur (La Vénus à la fourrure), directed and written by Roman Polanski, co-written by David Ives. (France, Poland) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Thomas (Matthieu Almaric) is a theater director staging an adaptation of an obscure 19th century Austrian novel. Frustrated by the quality of actresses he has auditioned, Thomas is about to give up when mysterious Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner, Polanski’s wife) arrives in his theater unannounced, knowing every line by heart. As the two begin a fevered, intense, and at times aggressive collaboration, the lines between passion and obsession (and theater and reality) begin to blur in auteur Roman Polanski’s latest New York stage adaptation. In French and German with English subtitles. A Sundance Selects Release.
What do alien invaders and chupacabras have in common with a sword-wielding maniac and the ghost of a turn-of-the-century murderer? They can all be found in Tribeca’s 2014 Midnight program, a collection of this year’s most boundary-pushing genre films from around the globe. Opening Night selection, Preservation, is a moody, intelligent take on the maniac in the woods genre, and an apt foreshadowing of the slew of inhuman baddies that emerge from the darkness to terrify sexed-up teens in Extraterrestrial, Indigenous, and sure-to-be-a-conversation-piece special screening, Zombeavers. Meanwhile, a rookie cop takes on his deranged doppelganger in bizarre German horror-cum-arthouse film, Der Samurai, while the conflict takes a team turn in Intramural, a wacky romp about an underdog flag football team that riffs on classic sports movies with a cartoonish comedic sensibility. Too terrifying, strange, or downright hilarious for daylight hours, these seven films wear their Midnight Movie moniker with pride.
• The Canal, directed and written by Ivan Kavanagh. (Ireland) – World Premiere, Narrative. Film archivist David and his wife are perfectly happy – or so he believes. When a looming secret shatters their marriage at the same time as a turn-of-the-century film reel he is studying reveals their house to be the site of a 1902 multiple-murder, David begins to unravel, and the house’s eerie history threatens to repeat itself. Dripping with tension and chilling to the core, this visceral Irish ghost story is a visually arresting and genuinely shocking journey into the darkness within.
• Der Samurai, directed and written by Till Kleinert. (Germany) – International Premiere, Narrative. A samurai-wielding figure wearing a white dress lurks menacingly in the forest, waiting to descend upon an unsuspecting village in the muddy backwaters of rural East Germany. As heads roll with each stroke of his sword, dutiful, straight-laced cop Jakob becomes increasingly powerless to resist the draw of the Samurai’s feral otherness. The two enter into a bizarre folie à deux as Jakob is forced to confront his own carnal impulses that he has long sought to repress.
• Extraterrestrial, directed by Colin Minihan, written by The Vicious Brothers. (Canada) – World Premiere, Narrative. The Vicious Brothers (Grave Encounters) return to Tribeca with their latest heart-pumping thriller. Five friends set out to a cabin in the woods for a fun weekend getaway – that is, until extraterrestrial visitors turn it into a fight for their lives. The group is pulled from their reverie when a flickering object crashes deep in the woods. As they investigate, the friends stumble across an alien spacecraft, and its inhabitants have not arrived in peace.
• Indigenous, directed by Alastair Orr, written by Max Roberts. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. A group of five American friends on the cusp of adulthood travel to Panama to relax and reconnect. They befriend a local woman in their hotel bar – and despite some ominous whispers – she goes against the specific instructions of her brother and brings the Americans on a daytrip into the pristine falls at the nearby jungle. What begins as an innocent outing to a picturesque waterfall quickly turns terrifying after she suddenly goes missing. As night closes in, the friends realize too late the truth behind the rumors – the legendary, blood-sucking Chupacabra is now stalking them. In English and Spanish with subtitles.
• Intramural, directed by Andrew Disney, written by Bradley Jackson. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. There comes a time in every fifth-year senior’s life where they must either accept the impending “real world” of jobs, marriage, and payment plans or shirk that responsibility in favor of playing the most glorious intramural football game your school probably doesn’t really care to see. In this full throttle and hilarious send-up of inspirational sports movies, director Andrew Disney harnesses every cliché and overused trope to tell the greatest (and only) intramural sports movie of all time. Featuring an ensemble cast including Kate MacKinnon, Jay Pharoah, Beck Bennett, and Nikki Reed.
• Preservation, directed and written by Christopher Denham, (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Three family members head deep into the woods for a hunting trip that doubles as a distraction from their troubles at home. When all of their gear is stolen, they turn on each other, but soon realize there are much more treacherous forces at work. Actor Christopher Denham takes his second turn in the director’s chair with this finely crafted horror-thriller starring Pablo Schreiber (The Wire, Orange is the New Black), Aaron Staton (Mad Men), and Wrenn Schmidt (Boardwalk Empire).
• Zombeavers, directed and written by Jordan Rubin, co-written by Al Kaplan and Jon Kaplan. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. You know the story: sexy teens head to a secluded lakeside cabin for a weekend of debauched fun, only to be menaced by a mysterious force picking them off one by one. But here, the culprit proves to be a horde of rabid zombie beavers! The B-movie creature feature is making a comeback, and with 2 million views of its trailer in its first two weeks alone, Zombeavers is a veritable phenomenon. And it’s finally here. Special midnight screening.
Tribeca Film Festival’s Storyscapes is a juried section at the Festival to showcase innovative and interactive transmedia work across genres. This year the stories are all around us, bringing to life innovative forms of storytelling that encourage participation and spark imagination. Put on a Virtual Reality headset and experience the visceral power of Use of Force. Immerse yourself in the computer-generated, non-linear experience of Clouds. Vote on the path that Choose Your Own Documentary takes in a live performance that incorporates comedy, film and audience participation. Create your own joyful choir with On A Human Scale. Finally, eavesdrop on the past as you navigate through a 3-D city neighborhood that no longer exists in Circa 1948. These are stories that surround us and stories that involve us. Dive in. Curated by the TFF Programming team along with Ingrid Kopp, Director of Digital Initiatives for the Tribeca Film Institute, the program will present five selections as public, interactive installations at the Bombay Sapphire House of Imagination (121 Varick Street, 7th Floor) starting from April 23 – April 26. The interactive nature of Storyscapes will also extend to the lounge and cocktail bars at Bombay Sapphire House of Imagination. Different locations will trigger specific messages sent to mobile phones; a mixture of facts and stories about cocktails, botanicals, technology and creativity. Guests will be encouraged to share thoughts and observations, which will be projected in the lounge.
• Choose Your Own Documentary, Project Creators: Nathan Penlington, Fernando R. Gutierrez De Jesus, Nick Watson, and Sam Smaïl. Inspired by the Choose Your Own Adventure books of the 1980s, Choose Your Own Documentary tells the story of Nathan Penlington’s discovery of a diary tucked away in one of these books and his attempts to unravel its many mysteries. Part comedy stand-up, part documentary, this is a unique live interactive experience in which the audience plays a vital role. With over 1,566 possible versions, and multiple endings, every performance is different and the audience votes on the path the documentary takes. Where will the story lead? How will the story end? You decide.
• Circa 1948, Project Creator: Stan Douglas with the NFB Digital Studio. Circa 1948 is a new project from internationally renowned artist Stan Douglas. Together with NFB Interactive, he has recreated areas from Vancouver’s history that no longer exist. The locations have been meticulously researched and are recreated in historically accurate 3-D detail, where they become the site of the disembodied voices of the people who once inhabited them. Eavesdrop on the past and explore a seminal turning point in the history of Vancouver through the voices of homeless veterans, gamblers, prostitutes, and police officers. Hearing – but not seeing – the inhabitants, you can navigate the different environments and be immersed in a plot peopled with characters from a disappeared world.
• Clouds, Project Creators: Jonathan Minard, James George. A new generation of artists and hackers are emerging and creating tools for poetic and socially engaged experiments in art, storytelling, and technology. 3-D-scanned conversations from this community form a network of ideas explored in a non-linear documentary that is assembled from code, bringing form and content together in a truly exciting way. Clouds will be presented as an interactive installation that you can navigate yourself.
· On a Human Scale, Project Creator: Matthew Carey. On a Human Scale reimagines the people of New York City as a fully playable and immersive video instrument controlled by a piano. Each key triggers a different video of a different person, from a different walk of life, singing a different note. When played together they fuse into a joyful choir that is totally under the control of whoever is at the keyboard. Playing the piano brings to life an audiovisual installation that fuses music, film, people, and technology into a living, singing tapestry of humanity.
• Use of Force, Project Creator: Nonny de la Peña. Use of Force is a fully immersive documentary experience that puts you on scene when migrant Anastasio Hernandez Rojas was killed by border patrol on the U.S.–Mexico border in 2010. Using custom built virtual reality, participants stand alongside witnesses who were trying to stop the events unfolding, offering a profound and visceral experience. Nonny de la Peña is a pioneer of immersive journalism and this is an experience that really puts you in someone else’s shoes.
· 6, directed by Louie Psihoyos. (USA) – Work In Progress, Documentary. From the Academy Award-winning filmmaking team that revealed oceanic atrocities in The Cove comes a bigger and bolder mission. Utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, director Louie Psihoyos assembles a team of activists intent on showing the world never-before-seen images that will change the way we understand issues of endangered species and mass extinction. Whether infiltrating notorious black markets with guerilla-style tactics, or working with artists to create beautiful imagery with unexpected animal subjects, 6 will literally change the way you see the world.
• A Brony Tale, directed by Brent Hodge, written by Ashleigh Ball and Hodge. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Born of internet mecca 4chan, the “Brony” phenomenon is a flourishing community of adult, mostly male, fans of the children’s cartoon My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, a group drawn together by their mutual love of the show’s positive, teamwork-oriented moral. Brent Hodge’s funny and illuminating documentary surveys the members of this surprising subculture, framed by the journey of Ashleigh Bell, one of the show’s voice actors, to embrace her unexpected fan base.
• Journey to the West (Xi You), directed and written by Tsai Ming Liang. (France, Taiwan R.O.C.) – North American Premiere, Narrative. A meditation loosely based on the classical Chinese story by Wu Cheng’en. This groundbreaking new interpretation brings the legendary pilgrimage of a Buddhist Monk into the present tense. Director Tsai Ming Liang bids us to look and listen, providing a timeless take on the spiritual journey of an individual whose main battle is the constant negotiation between the self and the substrate in which he finds himself. Journey to the West proposes that true enlightenment awaits those who endure.
• This Time Next Year, directed by Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy swept along the East Coast, devastating countless communities in its wake. This is one community’s story of what it takes to rebuild. TFF alum Jeff Reichert (Gerrymandering) teams up with co-director/producer Farihah Zaman to follow the residents of Long Beach Island, N.J., during the first full year after the storm. Funded by Tribeca Film Institute with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, this documentary is more than just a film; it is a call to action.
• True Son, directed by Kevin Gordon. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Stockton, Calif., is considered one of the worst cities in the United States, riddled with financial crisis and crime rates rivaling Afghanistan. But where everyone else saw hopelessness, 22-year-old Michael Tubbs saw possibility. In 2012, Tubbs decided to run for City Council to reinvent his hometown, building his campaign from the ground up. In Kevin Gordon’s passionate and inspirational documentary he sets out to beat a politician twice his age and bring his community back from bankruptcy.
The short film program will be announced on March 11.