New York, NY [March 13, 2007] – In the second of three feature film program announcements, the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by American Express, today released the line-up for its Encounters, Restored/Rediscovered and Midnight sections and two special events offering innovative combinations of images and sound.
The new Encounters section offers a compelling range of titles by both emerging and established talents, films which are likely to provoke some of the liveliest comments at the festival. Included in this exciting line-up are the World Premieres and the directorial debuts of films by Mary Stuart Masterson, Diego Luna and Jon Poll.
The popular Midnight section continues to present genre titles running the gamut from hilarious to horrifying. Those seeking something different and edgy will be rewarded with adventurous and innovative options.
"The Encounters section features some established talents demonstrating their skills outside of the areas for which they are known,” said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival. "Overall, the films in this section, and in Midnight, present fresh new perspectives from a diverse
group of filmmakers."
The Restored/Rediscovered and special events link this year, as Festival Executive Director Peter Scarlet commented, "This year we're bringing works from the past to our audiences in ways that make them seem new again. We are doing that in two ways: first, by presenting some magnificent new restorations from around the world of key films which have either disappeared from view in this country, or were never properly exhibited here. Second, we're showing the work of two artists who couldn't be more different - except that they've taken material from the past and re-worked it in exciting new ways."
Paolo Chierchi Usai's work as a film archivist and historian has given him unequalled access to extraordinary images created during the tumultuous century since moving images first appeared. Now he's set them to the breathtakingly beautiful PASSIO of Arvo Pärt – based on the Passion According to the Gospel of St. John - and we will present this unusual work for its first live performances in North America at screenings in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Trinity Church. (Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Secundum Joannem, directed and written by Paolo Chierchi Usai. An Isabella Rossellini Presentation. Calligraphy and handcoloring by Brody Neuenschwander. Accompanied by Arvo Pärt's “Passio” perfomed live by The Trinity Choir, Owen Burdick, Conductor; Robert P. Ridgell, Organist.)
The artist known as DJ Spooky returns to NY with a new re-mix of his boundary-defying work "Rebirth of a Nation," in which he deconstructs and re-mixes D.W. Griffith's enormously influential and still controversial 1915 silent, "The Birth of A Nation". Paul Miller, AKA DJ Spooky explains, "The film inhabits a space between art and artifact, and the working model for the whole project is Director as DJ. It's all about the remix. And hey, I live in Tribeca, so I'm especially happy to be doing this show in my home town."
The complete list of films selected for Encounters, Rediscovered/Restored and Midnight include:
From a tale of Italian immigrants and the American experience, to a rape victim seeking revenge on her attacker, to the true story of Norway high school’s baseball coach Kent Stock, with documentaries exploring the jazz legend Anita O’Day, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, collector/curator Sam Wagstaff, Nazi hunter and humanitarian Simon Wiesenthal, to a tale of Italian immigrants and the American Experience and with an awkward teen who names himself the school “psychiatrist,” many of these films either depict the achievements of artists who manifested their considerable talents in a variety of ways, or are works by artists stretching their talents into new area.
The Air I Breathe, directed by Jieho Lee, written by Jieho Lee and Bob DeRosa. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. A businessman (Forest Whitaker) bets his life on a horse race, a gangster (Brendan Fraser) sees the future, a pop star (Sarah Michelle Gellar) falls prey to a crime boss (Andy Garcia), and a doctor (Kevin Bacon) must save the love of his life. Based on a Chinese proverb, these four overlapping stories dramatize the four emotional cornerstones of life: happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love.
The Animated World of John Canemaker (U.S.A.) Continuing Tribeca's celebration of New York-based independent animators, this program features the work of John Canemaker, a pre-eminent animation teacher, filmmaker, author and historian, who won an Oscar for his animated short The Moon and the Son in 2006. A selection of short films spanning Canemaker's career will be shown.
Anita O’Day - The Life of a Jazz Singer, directed by Ian McCrudden & Robbie Cavolina (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. An intimate and deeply moving tribute to jazz diva extraordinaire Anita O'Day, completed just weeks before her death in November 2006. Packed with terrific clips and anecdotes from friends and fellow musicians, this enjoyable documentary zips along at the speed of her renowned up-tempo interpretation of "Sweet Georgia Brown.” work in progress.
Black, White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Maplethorpe, directed by James Crump. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. In the '70s and '80s, the relationship between legendary curator Sam Wagstaff, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and musician/poet Patti Smith was at the epicenter of New York's revolutionary art scene. This engrossing documentary features interviews with Smith and a bevy of art world luminaries including Joan Juliet Buck, Dominick Dunne, Richard Tuttle, Eugenia Parry and Ralph Gibson.
The Bubble, directed by Eytan Fox, written by Gal Uchovsky, Eytan Fox. (Israel) – U.S. Premiere. Three roommates treat their hip Tel Aviv neighborhood like their own chic paradise, relatively sheltered from Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. But when Israeli boy meets a Palestinian boy at a border checkpoint, this artificial bubble bursts. Director Fox follows up Walk on Water and Yossi & Jagger with this story that shows that even love can't bridge irreconcilable differences.
The Cake Eaters, directed by Mary Stuart Masterson, written by Jayce Bartok. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. A prodigal son's return conjures up old ghosts for three generations of two different families in a small, quiet town. Masterson's debut feature unfolds the intimate secrets and tensions that compel these families to move forward. The dynamic ensemble cast features Kristin Stewart, Aaron Stanford, Bruce Dern, Jayce Bartok, Elizabeth Ashley and Miriam Shor.
Charlie Bartlett, directed by Jon Poll, written by Gustin Nash. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Failing to fit in at a high school run by a disenchanted principal (Robert Downey, Jr.), awkward Charlie Bartlett (Anton Yelchin) is running out of options for making friends-until he names himself the school "psychiatrist." When he starts doling out advice, and the occasional pill, to classmates, his popularity soars in this witty take on teenage insecurity. With Hope Davis. A Sidney Kimmel/MGM Release
Descent, directed by Talia Lugacy, written by Brian Priest, Talia Lugacy. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. A tale of innocence shattered, dreams destroyed and vengeance fulfilled, Descent begins with an idealistic vision of college sweethearts and wild house parties, but quickly falls apart. A rape sends Maya (Rosario Dawson) into a spiral of drugs, rage and despair—until she is reunited with her attacker and offered a chance to settle the score. A City Lights Pictures Release.
The Final Season, directed by David M. Evans, written by Art D'Alessandro. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Baseball is everything in Norway, Iowa, but when government authorities decide the small town's population no longer warrants its own high school, a longstanding baseball tradition is in peril. Sean Astin stars as the new and untested coach who must provide Norway with one exciting final season in this heartwarming story based on true events.
Golden Door (Nuovomondo), directed and written by Emanuel Crialese. (Italy, Germany, France) – NY Premiere. The turn-of-the-century voyage of a poor family from rural Sicily through the "golden door" of Ellis Island and into America is beautifully portrayed in this visually striking, emotionally resonant narrative. Charlotte Gainsbourg portrays the young bride in this new film by N.Y.U. graduate Crialese that was Italy's Oscar submission this year. A Miramax Films release.
Good Time Max, directed by James Franco, written by James Franco and Merriwether Williams. (U.S.A) – World Premiere. Actor James Franco (Spider-Man) cowrites, stars in and directs this stunning drama about two intellectually gifted brothers who take drastically different courses in life. One evolves into a successful doctor while the other leads a roller coaster, drug-fueled existence. But even after growing up and growing apart, they remain inextricably connected to each other.
The Hammer, directed by Charles Herman Wurmfeld, written by Kevin Hench. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. In an underdog comedy that never pulls a punch, an aging boxer now working as a construction worker (Adam Carolla) is convinced by a wily coach to step back into the ring after a 20-year hiatus. Though the former rising champion is well past his prime, he embarks on a rollicking quest for what he missed the first time around: a spot on the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team.
I Have Never Forgotten You, directed and written by Richard Trank, (U.S.A.) – North American Premiere. How did a man who trained as an architect track down some of the world's most notorious war criminals? Discover the history and legacy of legendary Nazi hunter and humanitarian Simon Wiesenthal in this stirring documentary. Narrated by Academy Award®-winning actress Nicole Kidman, it features previously unseen archival footage and interviews with friends, family, and world leaders.
In the Beginning Was the Image: Conversations with Peter Whitehead, directed by Paul Cronin. (U.K.) – U.S. Premiere. Peter Whitehead's work as a key independent British filmmaker of the 1960's has been the subject of recent worldwide retrospectives. This documentary on the artist, by a returning TFF filmmaker, is important not only as a portrait, but also as a meditation on the construction of identity. Copresented by Anthology Film Archives.
Chávez, directed by Diego Luna. (Mexico) – World Premiere. Actor Diego Luna (Y Tu Mamá También) steps behind the camera for this heartfelt documentary about the life and career of his countryman, Mexican boxer Julio César Chávez, considered one of the sport's - and Mexico's all-time greats. Luna follows Chávez through the final bouts of his career, even as he proudly passes the torch of boxing to his son.
Lovesickness (Maldeamores), directed by Carlitos Ruiz Ruiz, written by Jorge Gonzales, Carlitos Ruiz Ruiz. (Puerto Rico) – World Premiere. Tales of maddening infatuation—a surprising love triangle, an unfaithful marriage and a hostage situation—weave together artfully in the backyards of Puerto Rico. Passion defeats reason again and again in this melancholy comedy about the selfish search for love and connection. In Spanish.
Music Inn, directed by Ben Barenholtz. (U.S.A.) – North American Premiere. A cinema veteran makes his debut as a filmmaker, aided by a veritable who¹s who of distinguished musicians, to tell the legendary story of how enthusiasts and hip scholars were drawn to Lenox, Massachusetts each summer starting in 1951. There their dedication to jazz and folk supported the founding of the world¹s first permanent school of jazz.
Nobel Son, directed by Randall Miller, written by Randall Miller and Jody Savin. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. In this taut thriller spiked with droll humor, Ph.D. candidate Barkley (Bryan Greenberg) is kidnapped the night before his father Eli (Alan Rickman) will receive the Nobel Prize. When Eli refuses to pay a ransom equal to the $2 million prize, secrets, betrayal and revenge collide. With Bill Pullman, Danny DeVito, Mary Steenburgen, Ted Danson, Ernie Hudson and Eliza Dushku.
The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio (L’Orchestre de Piazza Vittorio), directed by Agostino Ferrente, written by Agostino Ferrente in collaboration with Massimo Gaudioso, Mariangela Barbanete, Francesco Piccolo. (Italy) – North American Premiere. This is the unlikely story of how two energetic Romans created an orchestra comprised entirely of immigrants from all over the world living in one area of the Eternal City. When a group of 30 different musicians playing 15 unrelated instruments finally takes the stage, they provide a rousing call to arms for fans of world music, and all those who believe in the mini-miracles of neighborhood cultural initiatives.
Shotgun Stores, directed and written by Jeff Nichols. (U.S.A) – North American Premiere. A family feud in rural Arkansas erupts in this biblical tale of blood ties and vengeance, sparked when two sets of half-brothers collide at the funeral of their father. This slow-burning thriller recalls the character-driven storytelling of the 1970's, with a lyrical feel for the intimate rhythms and heat-baked landscapes of the forgotten South.
Suburban Girl, directed and written by Marc Klein. (U.S.A) – World Premiere.
Determined to rise through Manhattan's cutthroat literary ranks on her own, an ambitious young book editor (Sarah Michelle Gellar) hesitates to become involved with a high-powered publishing playboy (Alec Baldwin) many years her senior. Personal and professional lines slowly blur in this witty adaptation of Michelle Bank's bestselling book, The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing.
The True Legend of Tony Vilar (La vera leggenda Di Tony Vilar), directed by Giuseppe Gagliardi, written by Giuseppe Gagliardi, Peppe Voltarelli. (Italy) – International Premiere. Using a tongue-in-cheek mockumentary style, this half-true, half-imagined tale is based on the story of real-life singer Tony Vilar. Born in Italy, he later moved to Argentina and became one of the most popular crooners in 1960's Latin America, then mysteriously disappeared, leaving a faint trail apparently leading to New York City. In Italian.
Vitus, directed by Fredi Murer, written by Peter Luisi, Fredi M. Murer, Lukas B. Suter. (Switzerland.) – NY Premiere. A child prodigy yearns for a "normal" life with his parents and eccentric grandfather in this charming family drama, starring the great German actor Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire; Downfall). While his parents plan a future of piano competitions, Vitus would rather learn to fly. He just needs to find an adult who'll let him. A Sony Pictures Classics Release.
Continuing the Festival’s commitment to showcasing some of the most significant and amazing artistic achievements in the history of filmmaking, 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.
· Attica, directed by Cinda Firestone. (U.S.A., 1974) – World Premiere Revival.
In 1971, inmates at Attica State Prison seized control of D-yard and took 35 hostages after peaceful efforts for reforms failed. Attica investigates the rebellion and its bloody suppression, revealing institutionalized injustices, sanctioned dishonesty, and abuses of power. Attica provided courtesy of The New York Public Library, Donnell Media Center and New York Women In Film & Television.
· Autumn Days (Días de otońo), directed by Roberto Gavaldón, written by Julio Alejandro, Emilio Carballido. (Mexico, 1962.) – North American Premiere Revival. Pina Pellicer, best known here for her role opposite Brando in One-Eyed Jacks, gives an unforgettably touching performance in this subtle melodrama as a naïve girl who finds work in the big city, then fashions an alternate reality in the wake of a disastrous love affair. Gabriel Figueroa¹s stunning b&w photography invigorates this new restoration from Mexico¹s Film Archive.
The Forty-first (Sorok pervyi), directed by Grigori Chukrai, written by Grigori Koltunov, (Russia, 1956.) – World Premiere Revival. One of the first major films of the post-Stalinist thaw and a 1957 Cannes award-winner, The Forty First’s remarkable power stems largely from the stunning camerawork of Sergei Urusevsky (The Cranes Are Flying, I Am Cuba), who creates a timeless landscape of sand, water and sky for an unexpected love story between a female Red Army sniper and a White Army officer.
· The Letter Never Sent (Neotpravlennoe), directed by Mikhail Kalatozov, written by Valeriy Osipov, Viktor Rozov, Grigoriy Koltunov. (Russia, 1959) – World Premiere Revival. The third collaboration between the phenomenal director/cinematographer duo of Kalatozov and Sergey Urusevskiy (The Cranes Are Flying, I Am Cuba), this film traces four geologists' search for a diamond mine as they face natural disasters in the merciless Siberian wilderness, rendered in all its overwhelming power by an extraordinary, unhinged camera.
· Night of the Hunchback (Shabe ghuzi) directed by Farokh Ghaffary, written by Jalal Moghaddam. (Iran, 1965.) – World Premiere Revival. This dark comedy, a key masterwork of Iranian cinema, has long remained unseen in the West. Adapted from a story in 1001 Nights and set in a popular theatre troupe, the story follows the death of an actor in a farcical accident and the brilliantly elaborate gags and misunderstandings that abound in subsequent attempts to dispose of his body.
The Pelican (Le pélican), directed by Gérard Blain, written by Marie-Helene Bauret, Gérard Blain. (France, 1973) – North American Premiere Revival. Dubbed "the French James Dean," for his roles in films by Claude Chabrol (Le beau Serge, Les cousins) and Howard Hawks (Hatari), Gérard Blain’s work as director never surfaced in the U.S. This is his masterpiece, a moving account of parental love and obsession, filmed in a rigorous style that recalls Bresson or Dreyer-sans religion.
To Die A Little (Morir Un Poco),directed by Álvaro J. Covacevich. (Chile, 1966.) – North American Premiere. Memories About Sayat Nova, directed by Levon Grigorian. (Armenia, 2006.) – North American Premiere. Two Remarkable Rediscoveries: To Die A Little, an unknown jewel of Latin American filmmaking, lost for nearly 40 years until it was unearthed last year, features images recalling Cassavetes and Rouch. Memories About Sayat Nova reveals astonishingly beautiful, newly discovered scenes from Sergei Paradjanov’s masterwork Sayat Nova, which was censored by the Soviet government.
For those audiences in need of something left of center, the Midnight section offers the dark, the creative, the strange, and everything in between. From rat zombies and vampires to alien sex cults, a comedian’s criticism of critics to raunchy blokes doing unheard of stunts, this collection of films may be shocking, creepy, or gross but they’re always fun.
Black Sheep, directed and written by Jonathan King. (New Zealand) – New York Premiere. An entrepreneurial farm owner wants to revolutionize the industry with genetically engineered sheep. But when environmental activists try to stop him, they accidentally unleash his baaaad experiment into the world. And this sheep likes blood. In a country where sheep outnumber humans, the last thing you should ever do is piss them off. An IFC First Take Release.
Dirty Sanchez, directed by Jim Hickey. (U.K.) – North American Premiere. Think Jackass on crack and you've got the boys of Dirty Sanchez-Great Britain's troupe of raunchy madmen on a world tour of depravity. With wicked nasty stunts such as liposuction drinking games, beer enema shotguns, things that shouldn't be done with male genitalia, and more, Dirty Sanchez should be viewed with a cast-iron stomach and a twisted sense of humor. Mature audiences only.
Heckler, directed by Michael Addis. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Comedian Jamie Kennedy confronts hecklers and heckled alike in this wry, spirited documentary. With appearances from limelight veterans like Rob Zombie, Mike Ditka, George Lucas and Bill Maher, Heckler illuminates the often contentious relationship between those in the spotlight and the critics in the crowd.
In the Land of Merry Misfits, directed and written by Keven Undergaro. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. A wrong turn lands a young college graduate in a colorful realm of seriously twisted fairytales and wacky ne'er-do-wells on noble quests. To escape and win back his girlfriend, this unlikely hero must help a whimsical group of madcap misfits thwart the accepted social order and capture "The Grail of Popularity."
The Matrimony, directed by Teng Huatao, written by Zhang Jialu, Yang Qianling. (China) – North American Premiere. In 1920's Shanghai, wealthy Junchu loses his fiancée in a freak accident and is coerced by his mother into marrying Sansan, a near stranger. Soon afterward, Sansan's body is inhabited by the devious ghost of Junchu's dead lover, sending her on a downward spiral of madness and murder in this captivating gothic horror. In Mandarin.
Mulberry Street, directed by Jim Mickle, written by Nick Damici, Jim Mickle.
(U.S.A.) – New York Premiere. One sweltering summer day in Manhattan, the streets explode into chaos as a rat-borne virus breaks out. With every bite, city dwellers turn into bloodthirsty, rodent-like creatures that violently attack other residents. Seven recently evicted tenants fight through the night for survival as the city quickly spirals out of control.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes, directed and written by John Erick Dowdle. (U.S.A) - World Premiere. When hundreds of videotapes showing torture, murder and dismemberment are found in an abandoned house, they reveal a serial killer's decade-long reign of terror and become the most disturbing collection of evidence homicide detectives have ever seen. Brutal and engrossing, actual footage from these tapes mixed with interviews with FBI profiles and victims’ families begin to expose the many layers to this mystery.
Rise: Blood Hunter, directed and written by Sebastian Gutierrez. (U.S.A) - World Premiere. Reporter Sadie Blake (Lucy Liu) awakens in a morgue and realizes she is no longer human. Trying to resist the thirst for blood, she vows to hunt down the sect responsible for her situation, and kill the vampire that changed her. Chalk fill of action, this slayer flick is sure to thrill. With Michael Chiklis. A Destination Films/Samuel Goldwyn Release.
Scott Walker – 30th Century Man, directed by Stephen Kijak. (U.S.A./U.K.) – New York Premiere. Scott Walker is one of rock music's most enigmatic figures. This astonishing look at the reclusive artist features exclusive footage of Walker recording his latest critically acclaimed album, The Drift, as well as interviews with the man himself, famous fans and collaborators such as David Bowie, Radiohead, Brian Eno and Jarvis Cocker.
Unearthed, directed and written by Matthew Leutwyler. (U.S.A.) –World Premiere
When an archeologist obsessed with the mysterious disappearance of an ancient Native American people uncovers a subterranean lair in the New Mexico desert, a blood-thirsty creature is unleashed on a small town. In the wake of the carnage, the people's only hope is a quick-thinking rogue sheriff and the ritual medicine of the lost tribe.
The Workshop, directed and written by Jamie Morgan. (U.K.) – World Premiere. A spiritual search for answers leads the filmmaker to a California workshop run by a guru who promotes sexual adventure-and the existence of aliens. In this amusing and emotional film, Jamie and his friends shed their clothes and inhibitions for a wild ride of sex, fear, love, anger, betrayal and joy. Mature audiences only.
Films in the Midnight sections are eligible for the Audience Award for Best Feature Film.
Synopses, cast and crew credits and press contacts for all these feature-length films can be viewed in the media section of the Tribeca Film Festival website www.tribecafilmfestival.org