With the 2015 edition of New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival set to kick off on Wednesday, April 15, 2015, nearly 2 weeks of top flight filmmaking will be showcased, allowing the international film community and general public to experience the power of cinema, as well as promote New York City as the major filmmaking center it is. Over the years, the festival has screened over 1400 films from over 80 countries, across the span of narrative, short, feature, documentary, and transmedia formats. Since its founding, Tribeca has attracted an international audience of more than 4 million attendees and has generated an estimated $750 million in economic activity for New York City.
As we always do, we have compiled a list the 10 films we are most eager to watch at this years edition. Our selections come from the spectrum of the Tribeca slate, excluding in competition films. This year, we notice a heavy focus on content related to inequality, traditionalism, and the ever changing world we live in, but we also have not forgotten how to have some fun. So, take a look and let us know what you are most looking forward to seeing, whether our picks look interesting and any other Tribeca related conversations you may have.
The 2015 Tribeca Film Festival takes place April 16-27, 2014 at various venues around New York City.
Fear, panic, and paranoia pit neighbor against neighbor. Families are ripped apart as loved ones are forced into quarantine. Authorities attempt to maintain control over communities teaming with violence. But with droves of new victims each day, it’s a losing battle for those citizens uninfected by the zombie outbreak. In Henry Hobson’s debut feature, Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger) locates his missing teenage daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin) at the local hospital and insists on bringing her home to care for Maggie himself. Set on a picturesque farm in the Midwest, Maggie is a moving and visually stunning film that takes a quietly observant yet thrilling approach to the zombie genre.
The vivid setting in Matthew Heineman’s groundbreaking documentary evokes a classic western movie: dusty frontiers, and rough-riding buckskin-clad lone rangers. With unprecedented access, Cartel Land gets eyeball deep in this on-the-ground, fiery investigation of illegal narcotic trafficking, and the actions of the vigilante groups on both sides of the drug war. Heineman passionately collages disparate groups with a common aim: to impede the advancement of the Mexican drug cartels, often taking questionable measures to ensure victory. Adventurous, brave, and raw, Cartel Land transcends a visual discussion of good and evil, and investigates the beautifully subjective gray area by asking: must fire be fought with fire? Who decides where might and right meet?
In his second feature, William Monahan turns to the gritty outskirts of Los Angeles in this thoughtful deconstruction of the film industry. Thomas is a talented artist with suicidal tendencies who ventures into the Mojave desert in search of deeper meaning in his shallow existence. When he runs into a simple yet threatening drifter, Thomas’ life is thrown off course. Bringing the audience from the desert outskirts to Hollywood hills, Monahan craftily bridges the two worlds in this uninhibited thriller; a delirious trip laced with humor and violence, where hero and villain collide for a wildly entertaining and smart ride.
Scottish director John Maclean makes his feature debut with this coming-of-age romance, by way of the classic American Western, as seen through the eyes of an outsider. Young Scottish aristocrat Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee) travels to Colorado in search of his love, the evocatively named Rose Ross (Caren Pistorius). Woefully underprepared for the American frontier, he is saved on the trail by a road-weary traveller, Silas Selleck (Michael Fassbender), who joins the quest as guide, protector, and, unbeknownst to Jay, bounty hunter with a sudden leg-up on the competition. Slow West becomes a taut critique of Manifest Destiny as a disruptive force, especially towards natives and immigrants finding themselves on the fringe of America’s drive for progress.
In 1932, after a ten-year exile in the United States, activist Jimmy Gralton returns to Ireland to help his aging mother tend to the family farm. In the face of the new government in power Jimmy reopens a public dancehall that had fallen into disrepair, bravely pushing back against the sharply drawn religious and political margins that lingered after the Civil War. The Hall becomes a gathering place for debate and dancing, though not everyone in the community is in favor of Jimmy’s initiative. Ken Loach depicts a heartfelt struggle of a Leftist leader at a pivotal time in Irish history.
Requiem For The American Dream
Through riveting and candid conversation, Noam Chomsky, regarded as one of the most important intellectuals alive today, provides the definitive discourse on the “Two Americas.” Filmed over the course of four years, the Chomsky interviews expose how a half-century of policies have created a state of unprecedented economic inequality: concentrating wealth in the hands of a few at the expense of everyone else. Requiem For the American Dream provides a unique opportunity to introduce Chomsky to a broader audience and to widen the discussion regarding events that deeply impact all of our lives.
The Emperors New Clothes
Michael Winterbottom, joins forces with actor, comedian, and provocateur Russell Brand for that most unlikely of documentary approaches: an uproarious critique of the world financial crisis. Building on Brand’s emergence as an activist following his 2014 book Revolution, where he railed against The Emperor’s New Clothes pairs archival footage with comedic send-ups conducted in the financial centers of London and New York. Brand spotlights not only how the crisis affected the working class around the world, but also how the uber-wealthy benefited from the downturn.
An angel falling from heaven to hell unexpectedly lands in a Mexican village where his presence affects the villagers in surprising ways. Lucifer is a mesmerizing, moving, and unique experiment in form, presented in the director’s original format, Tondoscope. Maverick director Gust Van Den Berghe presents the final installment in his religious-themed trilogy (Little Baby Jesus of Flandr and Blue Bird) Lucifer, based on the work of Dutch writer Joost van den Vondel by the same name. In Berghe’s rendition of this classic, which is said to be the inspiration for John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Lucifer is not the devil, yet. The Flemish director extended his interpretation of religious ideology through his cinematography, shooting through a lens created for this film that allows it to be projected in a circular format.
Sarah’s (Dianna Agron) life is as bland as the desert town she’s lived in her whole life. With a future devoid of any passion more inevitable with each passing day, she welcomes the sudden appearance of a sexy, spontaneous stranger named Pepper (Paz de la Huerta). Broke and on the run from a debt she cannot pay, Pepper insinuates herself into Sarah’s quiet life while introducing her to the thrill of drugs, sex, and spirituality. Natalia Leite’s striking debut film finds inspiration in the wide spectrum of Nevada’s vivid tableaux, both in the bleached out beauty of the desert and seedy, neon nightlife, as it explores the bond between two women desperate to shift their present reality.
The Machine To Be Another – Embodied Narratives
BeAnotherLab will be presenting a series of Embodied Narratives that will allow you to inhabit the body and life story of another person, while interacting with artefacts from their life. Imagine the possibility of creating stories that can be felt through your own body as something real. For three years BeAnotherLab has been working with an extended community of researchers, artists, activists, and members of the public to create performance-experiments related to the understanding of the other and of the self.
– Steve Rickinson (with additional words from Tribeca Film Festival programming staff)