Film festival fans rejoice! The annual Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) begins today, Wednesday April 18th and runs through Tuesday, April 29th. BSO will be live during the festival bringing you movie previews, reviews, and interviews with the people behind many of this year’s projects. This year’s lineup includes 101 new features, shorts, Tribeca TV premieres, VR, and the ever-popular Tribeca talks series. A daunting task for a veteran attendee, much less a newbie. But, we are here to help guide you.
Here we go, in no particular order, the films, talks, shorts we want to see:
Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story
This documentary series, executive produced by Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, attempts to be the definitive look at one of the most talked-about and controversial events of the last decade. It recounts the life and legacy of the titular 17-year-old child, who was shot and killed in Florida in 2012, and whose tragic death led to the rise of the #Blacklivesmatter movement.
This is not Jay’s first foray into the documentary series genre, as he was the producer on Time: The Kalief Browder Story, which won a 2018 Peabody Award. The subject matter is so omnipresent, and given our current political and social climate, more films like this while undoubtedly difficult to watch, are necessary if we are to see change.
Say Her Name: The Life And Death of Sandra Bland
One of the more enigmatic cases in an all too familiar scenario that seemingly occurs daily in this country. Sandra Bland was pulled over and arrested for a traffic violation in Waller County, Texas, in 2015. Three days later, she was dead, having apparently committed suicide while in police custody. The case gained national notoriety but three years later, we are still left with many questions and no answers.
Directed by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, this documentary follows Sandra’s family for the two years following her death as they search for answers within the justice system.
For decades the Black roller-rink community has thrived in cities across the country. Fostering camaraderie, shared experiences and hosting performances by hip-hop legends like N.W.A. and Queen Latifah. These skating rinks serve as the hubs for an art form that blends skating and dance, with different styles based on regions. Like many things enjoyed and celebrated by Black culture, it is in a precarious state and under attack from the mainstream. Re-zoning policies have led to rinks closing and long-standing admissions policies, and racially coded “Adult Nights” have nearly banned black patrons.
Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown visit black rink owners and skaters in cities all across America as they introduce this art form to their kids, and dive into the cultural history of skate and the racial politics impacting its present.
The struggle of the rural working class comes to the big screen at TFF. I know, you’re probably bored of hearing this story. But, this one stars the brilliant Tessa Thompson and rising star Lily James. The two are estranged sisters who come together in a moment of crisis. An unexpected pregnancy and the likely loss of home. What do we do when faced with the pressure of basic survival?
Writer-director Nia DaCosta’s debut is an emotionally-charged small-town thriller that weaves timely themes of an economic downturn and the ever prevalent opioid crisis into its intimate story of two sisters just trying to get by.
Tribeca Talks: Storytellers – Alec Baldwin With Spike Lee
Two of the industry’s best storytellers will share the stage at TFF and discuss their relationship to film, their favorite movies, and what makes for a compelling story. Baldwin is an acclaimed actor known for his work on Beetle Juice, The Hunt For Red October, Saturday Night Live, and 30 Rock. Lee, an Academy Award-winning director and producer has brought us groundbreaking films, including Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X, 4 Little Girls, When The Levees Broke, 25th Hour and Inside Man.
Louis, who, 24 years after committing a violent crime is on the verge of release from prison. Facing an uncertain future on the outside he encounters Beech, a newly incarcerated young man who offers him much needed-friendship, though not without unfortunate complications. The younger inmate is a mirror of his older counterpart, stirring instincts within Louis that had long been buried beneath a tough exterior.
One of the best actors living, Jeffrey Wright, delivers a powerful performance as the O.G., Louis. Madeleine Sackler films on location at an actual maximum security prison, using real inmates as actors and extras. This picture has a stark level of realism that gives insight into life as an inmate in America.
A Karate Kid reboot. Need I say more?! In a limited edition television series, Ralph Macchio (Daniel) and William Zabka (Johnny) are the executive producers and star in the series. Thirty years after the All-Valley Karate Tournament of 1984, a down on his luck Johnny Lawrence seeks redemption by reopening the infamous Cobra Kai karate dojo. This reignites his rivalry with a now-successful Daniel LaRusso, who has struggled to maintain balance in his life without the guidance of his mentor, Mr. Miyagi. This will be worth it for the nostalgia alone. No word on if Elisabeth Shue (Ali) makes a cameo.
There are literally hundreds of films, documentaries, shorts, live talks, tv premieres to choose from. This is just a small sampling of what we will see. Tickets are available at the official festival website. Prices are $10 (matinée screenings before 6pm, Mon–Fri), $20 (evening and weekend screenings) or $40 (conversations and special events). You can also purchase passes for individual days or the entire festival.