NYFF2019 Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said, “Cinema is the domain of freedom, and it’s an ongoing struggle to maintain that freedom. It’s getting harder and harder for anyone to make films of real ambition anywhere in this world. Each and every movie in this lineup, big or small, whether it’s made in Italy or Senegal or New York City, is the result of artists behind the camera fighting on multiple fronts to realize a vision and create something new in the world. That includes masters like Martin Scorsese and Pedro Almodóvar and younger filmmakers coming to the festival for the first time like Mati Diop and Angela Schanelec.” The 57th NYFF has announced its Main Slate lineup.
We have a special program to thank for two excellent indie films in the past two years – “Lucky Grandma,” by Asian-American filmmakers Sasie Sealy and Angela Cheng, and “Nigerian Prince,” by young, Nigerian-American filmmaker Faraday Okoro. Both films were winners of AT&T Presents: Untold Stories, which is an alliance between AT&T and the Tribeca Film Institute. Now in its third year, the program awards a $1 million cash prize, mentorship and distribution to under-represented filmmakers with a story to tell. Helen Highly Recommends both “Lucky Grandma” and “Nigerian Prince.” Helen also Highly Contemplates the benefits and drawbacks of corporate sponsorship in filmmaking and in Pride parades.
Extra Innings, by new, New York filmmaker Albert Dabah is picking up traction as it won Best Feature at the Manhattan Film Festival last month and has also been chosen as an Official Selection at both the Dumbo Film Festival and the upcoming Jersey Shore Film Festival — June 25th, The Showroom Cinema, Asbury Park, NJ. Also look for the film on June 26th at The Screening Room at Congregation Torat El in Oakhurst, NJ.
The Quiet One, a cinematic memoir of The Rolling Stones’ bassist, Bill Wyman, opens in New York and Los Angeles on June 21. Also Available On Demand starting June 28. Features never-before-seen footage and photos from Wyman’s extensive archive, collected over his lifetime.
Following up on my previous What-to-See article, which focused on Archival Movies at Tribeca Film Festival, I am listing a few more Top Picks that I could not exclude. Here are some films that grabbed my attention during the pre-festival screenings, and which you cannot fail in seeing. I am recommending two Magic Realism films that are beautiful and dramatic, and two Activism films that are urgently important. Plus, one of the several Music Documentaries that I haven’t seen but is sure to be a winner.
It’s Spring in New York and that means one thing to cinephiles: Tribeca Film Festival. I will offer a select list of films that fall into a category defined by my own tangled and perhaps questionable perspective: Archival Movies. This seems to be an unofficial theme this year – films that begin and end with images of VCR tapes or microfilm, drawers full of old photographs or scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, etc. Archival materials are typical components of well-researched documentaries (and TFF is always wonderfully rich with documentaries), but this year the focus seems to be as much about the archival material itself as it is the subject of that material.