New York, NY [March 21, 2006] – The 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by American Express, today announced the line-up for its Showcase, Restored/Rediscovered and Midnight sections, plus two late additions to its previously announced Spotlight section.
From the crowd-pleasers of Showcase, to the re-mastered classics of Restored/Rediscovered, to the alternative edginess of Midnight, every stripe of film aficionado can find plenty to enjoy in these three sections.
New to NY, these films have been highlights of other festivals.
Akeelah and the Bee, directed and written by Doug Atchison (U.S.A.) - New York Premiere. A Lionsgate Release. Akeelah is a precocious 11-year-old from south Los Angeles with a gift for words. Despite her mother's objections, she enters several spelling contests, and with the support of a special tutor and the entire neighborhood, she earns a spot at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. This uplifting film stars Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Curtis Armstrong, and Keke Palmer.
Al Franken: God Spoke, a documentary directed by Christine Hegedus and Nick Doob (U.S.A.) – New York Premiere. This hilarious doc about one man's unceasing battle against the Right tracks Al Franken's transformation from mild-mannered comedy writer to full-on political player. Featuring appearances by Ann Coulter, Michael Moore, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Henry Kissinger.
Black Sun, a documentary directed by Gary Tarn (U.K.) – New York Premiere. Where there is no vision, does the artist perish? In this haunting, original first-person narrative, NYC-based French painter and filmmaker Hugues de Montalembert, who lost his sight after a mugger threw paint thinner in his eyes, narrates his journey into sudden blindness and out of despair, as composer-turned-filmmaker Gary Tarn's mesmerizing web of sounds and images recreates the world from his point of view.
Brothers of the Head, directed by Louis Pepe and Keith Fulton, written by Tony Grisoni (U.K.) – New York Premiere. An IFC Release. London, 1975. Conjoined twins with a creepy, crypto-erotic bond take the burgeoning glam/punk scene by storm in this eerie mockumentary-style adaptation of Brian Aldiss' novel. Luke and Harry Treadway deliver searing performances as two very different parts of one fatally compromised whole, and the film and its music will stick with you for days.
Close to Home (Karov La Bayit), directed and written by Dalia Hager and Vidi Bilu (Israel) – New York Premiere. In this critically acclaimed study of Israeli women and compulsory military service, two diametrically opposed women are thrown together on patrol in Jerusalem: Mirit is respectful of her military superiors, while Smadar barely conceals her desires for rebellion. When a bomb explodes, the two reconcile their differences, and a tenuous friendship is forged.
Eden, directed and written by Michael Hofmann (Germany) – North American Premiere. In this charming culinary comedy, Gregor is a distinguished chef who specializes in aphrodisiac dishes but can't seem to work his sensual magic on women. When the portly chef meets the delectable but married Eve, he gets a taste of true love. But can their shared gastronomical passions turn into something more substantial?
Hanging Garden (Kuutyuu Teien), directed and written by Toshiaki Toyoda (Japan) – New York Premiere. Meet the Kyobashis, a model suburban Japanese family. Or are they? In director Toshiaki Toyoda's skillful examination of contemporary domestic malaise, a mother's plan for the perfect family initially seems to be working, but we soon learn that her perceived perfection is a lie that each family member chooses to believe at the expense of reality.
The Heart of the Game, a documentary directed and written by Ward Serrill (U.S.A.) – New York Premiere. A Miramax Release. In the tradition of Hoop Dreams, this heart-pounding documentary about girls, race, and basketball follows a talented if occasionally self-destructive teenage star and her coach over the course of six years as she, her team, and her coach suffer crushing defeats and soaring victories on and off the court.
Kill Gil (Volume 1), a documentary directed by Gil Rossellini (Italy) – New York Premiere. Gil Rossellini (son of Italian filmmaker Roberto and brother of actress Isabella) documents his battle with a rare and devastating bacterial infection, which made him a paraplegic. Shot in a charmingly low-tech, off-the-cuff manner, Kill Gil (Volume 1) conveys a tremendous sense of hope and perseverance, while avoiding pat feelings of pity and morbidity. In English.
loudQUIETloud, a documentary directed by Steven Cantor and Matthew Galkin (U.S.A.) – New York Premiere. The Pixies reunite 12 years after their inauspicious split and set out to re-conquer the world, and their own demons. This dazzling concert doc eschews rock-god clichés and goes straight to the heart of four people who need music-and one another-more than they ever knew.
Madeinusa, directed and written by Claudia Llosa (Peru, Spain) – New York Premiere. The title heroine of this stunning debut work lives in a remote Andean village where, every Easter weekend, the villagers live sinfully without fear of celestial reprisal. When our ostensible hero blows into town from the big city and meets the heroine, what could spin into a classic fairy-tale takes a surreal, satisfying turn.
The Sacred Family (La Sagrada Familia), directed and written by Sebastián Campos (Chile) – New York Premiere. In this keenly observed debut feature, architecture student Marco brings Sofia, his new and impulsive girlfriend, home to meet his parents over Easter weekend. Sofia's flirtatious, manipulative ways soon crack the veneer of Marco's bourgeois family, turning the entire household upside-down.
The Shutka Book of Records, a documentary directed by Aleksandar Manic (Serbia and Montenegro) – New York Premiere. In the Balkan town of Shutka, the Romani (Gypsy) population is thriving and everyone is considered a champion at something. This droll film introduces us to a variety of Shutka's colorful, comically self-assured champions, from the boxer and the lovemaker to the grave robber and the vampire hunter.
Sound of the Soul, a documentary directed by Stephen Olsson (U.S.A.) – New York Premiere. In a world where religions often drive people apart, Sound of the Soul offers a joyfully welcome reminder that spirituality can also bring us together. The film explores Morocco's historic heritage of tolerance, and showcases a stunning array of brilliant musicians at the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music, whose profound expressions of love and longing are unforgettable.
Taking Father Home (Bei Ya Zi De Nan Hai), directed by Ying Liang, written by Ying Liang and Peng Shan (China) – New York Premiere. Filled with bitterness and a thirst for revenge, a 17-year-old boy leaves his rural Chinese village to seek out the father who abandoned him 6 years earlier. But once the boy arrives in the big city of Zigong, the long-awaited encounter with his father leads him to make a dramatic decision. In Mandarin.
Viva Zapatero!, a documentary directed and written by Sabina Guzzanti (Italy) – New York Premiere. When Italian comedienne Guzzanti's satirical TV show was canceled after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's media corporation filed a 20-million-euro lawsuit, she got serious, sort of. Following in the footsteps of Michael Moore (only far more talented at imitating her target), Guzzanti exposes the seedy underbelly of Berlusconi's Right-wing regime in this viciously funny work.
Wah-Wah, directed and written by Richard E. Grant (U.K.) – New York Premiere. A Roadside Attractions Release. Partially based on childhood of this first-time director (and well-known actor) in British-controlled Swaziland, Wah-Wah paints a picture of colonialism on the wane and frames it with the story of a boy's awakening to the wider world. Starring Gabriel Byrne, Miranda Richardson, and Emily Watson.
Word Play, a documentary directed by Patrick Creadon (U.S.A.) – New York Premiere. An IFC Release. Tag along with Will Shortz, the legendary crossword editor of the New York Times, as he and his fellow word enthusiasts construct the newspaper's brainteasers and the annual American Crossword Tournament, which Shortz founded. Also featuring interviews with crossword-puzzle devotees Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, Jon Stewart, Ken Burns, the Indigo Girls, and others. Co-presented by the New York Times.
Renewing the Festival’s commitment to highlighting remarkable treasures from the history of cinema, 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.
Barren Lives (Vidas Secas), directed and written by Nelson Pereira dos Santos (Brazil, 1963). A newly-struck copy of a classic early film by Pereira dos Santos, whose Brasilia 18% is premiering at the Festival. Adapted from a novel by Graciliano Ramos, the film follows a ranch hand and his family, who are forced off their land in the early 40’s by a severe drought and social injustice, and head off in search of work and a better life.
Big Combo, directed by Joseph H. Lewis, written by Philip Yordan (U.S.A., 1955) – World Premiere Restoration. The UCLA Film & Television Archive's new restoration of this memorably nasty film noir is especially good news since it was shot by the master of noir lighting, John Alton, and the prints available in recent years didn't do justice to his art. Cornel Wilde, Richard Conte, Brian Donlevy, and Lee Van Cleef give standout performances in this cult classic.
Burning Patience (Ardiente Paciencia), directed and written by Antonio Skármeta (Portugal and Germany, 1983) – North American Premiere Revival. A postman's life is forever changed when Pablo Neruda, the famous Chilean poet and diplomat, is exiled to the postman's remote village. Writer/director Skarmeta's charming, sexy, and largely overlooked film was the original screen adaptation of his own popular novella, which was also the basis for the 1994 film, Il Postino. In Spanish
Fair Wind to Java, directed by Joseph Kane, written by Richard Tregaskis (U.S.A.) World Premiere Restoration. This 1953 South Seas adventure, starring Fred MacMurray and Vera Ralston, is the essence of Republic Pictures' "B" movie style, and it's been lovingly restored to its TruColor glory by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Climaxing with a volcanic explosion that must be seen to be disbelieved, it's the ultimate Saturday matinee experience. Introduced by Martin Scorsese.
On the Bowery, directed by Lionel Rogosin, written by Richard Bagley and Lionel Rogosin (U.S.A., 1957). World Premiere Restoration. On the heels of its lovely restoration of Lionel Rogosin's Come Back, Africa (1960), which premiered at TFF last year, the Cineteca di Bologna has just finished restoring Rogosin's first film, the Oscar®-nominated documentary about the harsh and often shocking realities of life on what in the '50s was New York's Skid Row.
Prix de Beauté, directed by Augusto Genina, written by René Clair and G.W. Pabst (France). As her final starring role, the legendary Louise Brooks plays a typist who wins a beauty contest in this French-shot feature. We are screening the rare silent version, which is somewhat different from the sound version that is usually shown. Preceded by Giovani Pastrone's one-reeler, The Fall of Troy (1911). Both films with live piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin and live translation of French and Italian intertitles.
The River, directed by Jean Renoir, written by Rumer Godden and Jean Renoir (India, U.S.A.). A not-to-be-missed screening of a recent restoration, which returns one of the most memorable and lovely color films of all time to its original glow. A group of English colonials on the banks of the Ganges gradually succumb to India's eternal perspectives. Renoir's images flow with the same languor as the metaphorical river. In English.
Tribute to Nam June Paik, A collection of work by Korea-born, New York-based video art pioneer Nam June Paik, who died in January. Presented in collaboration with the Nam June Paik Studio, Electronic Arts Intermix, and John Hanhardt, Senior Curator of the Film and Media Arts department at the Guggenheim Museum.
The Midnight section continues to challenge and reward viewers. Its twists and turns envelope and entertain the audience that desires something a little outside the mainstream. Whether it be a gay spoof on American Pie or a punk-rock tribute, Midnight also features new horror and slasher comedies to satiate any genre aficionado.
Air Guitar Nation, a documentary directed by Alexandra Lipsitz (U.S.A.) – New York Premiere. Fueled by pure rock energy, this doc chronicles the unlikely birth of the U.S. Air Guitar Championship and the intense rivalries that develop on the way to the event in Finland. Also featured are jam sessions and interviews with notable air guitarists and the "airheads" who follow them.
Alone with Her, directed and written by Eric Nicholas (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. In this skin-crawling, fact-based thriller partially shot on surveillance equipment, Doug (Colin Hanks) sets his sights on a young woman, slyly inserts himself into her life, and plants hidden cameras in her apartment. But when another man comes on the scene, Doug must take desperate measures.
Another Gay Movie, directed by Todd Stephens, written by Stephens and Tim Kaltenecker (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. TLA Releasing. In this raunchy, gay spoof of teen movies, a group of high school grads swear they will lose their anal virginity before going to college. And so they spend their summer-and this movie-trying to get laid. Lypsinka, Scott Thompson, and Graham Norton among others make some hilarious cameos. Jokes, costumes, vomit, sex, and gerbils included. Mature audiences only.
Cocaine Cowboys, a documentary directed by Billy Corben (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. When brutal Colombian cocaine lords moved to Miami in the early '80s, they brought with them a form of decadence, drugs, and debauchery that hadn't been seen since the Prohibition days. This stylized, high-energy film reveals how Miami went from a sleepy southern city to a drug-and-murder capital, as told by the people who put the vice in Miami Vice.
The Gravedancers, directed by Mike Mendez, written by Brad Keene and Chris Skinner (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Three old college friends visit their dead friend's grave, where they find a strange song printed on a condolence card. What they do next arouses a trio of psychopathic ghosts who will stop at nothing to see that the friends pay for their indiscretion. Starring Dominic Purcell, Josie Maran, and Tchéky Karyo.
Hatchet, directed and written by Adam Green (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Green's note-perfect homage to late '70s and early '80s slasher movies pits a deformed, hatchet-wielding baddie against a group of young Mardi Gras revelers on a "Haunted Swamp Tour." Filled with boobs, beer, beads, and buckets of blood, Hatchet is sure to make you laugh and jump out of your seat at the same time.
Sam’s Lake, directed and written by Andrew Erin (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. In this debut horror feature, a young woman brings some friends to a lakeside house in an isolated area, where 40 years earlier a deranged teenager murdered his entire family. Instead of relaxation and fun, the group discovers that the murderer's legacy persists and that their own lives are threatened by the legend of Sam's Lake.
Sheitan, directed by Kim Chapiron, written by Chapiron and Christian Chapiron (France) – International Premiere. Three buddies meet two gorgeous girls in a Parisian nightclub and count themselves lucky when the girls invite them to an isolated country house. Upon arrival, they meet a bizarre caretaker (Vincent Cassel) with a sinister smile, and it only gets freakier from there. Sheitan is sure to shock with its envelope-pushing absurdity, high-energy suspense, and first-rate bloody horror.
Too Tough to Die, a documentary directed by Mandy Stein (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. On September 12, 2004, just two-and-a-half days before Johnny Ramone's death, a group of musicians and friends-among them Deborah Harry, Eddie Vedder, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers-staged a benefit concert to celebrate The Ramones' 30th anniversary and to raise money for cancer research. Mandy Stein's touching rockumentary captures that unforgettable evening.
Also as new additions to the Spotlight section we are pleased to announce:
The Road to Guantanamo, co-directed by Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross. (U.K.) - North American Premiere. A Roadside Attractions release . How four British Muslim boys’ wedding trip to Pakistan wound up with one of them missing and the other three interned for years as prisoners being subjected to horrific interrrogations at Guantanamo. This gripping and disturbing film was awarded the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival.
The Gates – excerpts from a work-in-progress by Antonio Ferrera, Albert and David Maysles, Matthew Prinzing. (U.S.A) – World Premiere. In 1979, legendary filmmakers Albert and David Maysles began shooting The Gates as Christo and Jeanne-Claude began pursuing their dream of adorning Central Park with miles of saffron-colored cloth-a massive, controversial, and ultimately successful public art project. The artists will join Albert Maysles in a discussion of the film. An HBO documentary film. Excerpts from another Maysles work-in-progress, The Dalai Lama in Central Park, will also be screened.