New York, NY [March 9, 2009] – The 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by American Express, the founding sponsor of the Festival, today announced the first 38 films to be presented among the 86 feature length and 46 short films at this year’s Festival. The titles unveiled include 24 World Narrative and Documentary Competition films, as well 14 Discovery selections, showcasing new and emerging voices in film. The eighth annual Festival also announced eleven advance selection and discount ticket packages, which will be available for purchase beginning March 9, 2009 for American Express Cardmembers and for the general public on Monday, March 16, 2009. The 2009 Tribeca Film Festival will take place from April 22 to May 3, 2009 in lower Manhattan.
The 2009 film selection encompasses feature films from 33 different countries, including 48 World Premieres, 5 International Premieres, 14 North American Premieres, 3 U.S. Premieres and 11 New York City Premieres, as well as 8 titles, which are part of the third annual Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival. 81 directors will be presenting feature works at the Festival, with 37 of these filmmakers presenting their feature directorial debuts. 23 of the 81 directors are women. The 2009 feature films were chosen from a total of 2,254 feature submissions.
“Each year we look forward to bringing our films to the most engaged movie-going audience and providing filmmakers a global stage,” said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival. “Film festivals play a critical role in the life of a film. Tribeca is here to support these films and filmmakers along their journey. We are very proud of the slate this year and hope everyone will come and enjoy the festival.”
“The films this year will either entertain you, allow you to escape to faraway places, or encourage you to think about familiar stories in new ways,” said Nancy Schafer, Executive Director of the Tribeca Film Festival.
“I’m really excited about the fantastic mix of talent we have this year. There are many impressive debut directors and astounding performances by up-and-coming actors whom I believe have strong futures ahead of them,” said David Kwok, Director of Programming. “When considering these films alongside the remarkable new work being presented by established talent, I think viewers will be pleased by what they find in our competition and discovery sections.”
LIST OF WORLD NARRATIVE AND DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION AND DISCOVERY FILMS
World Narrative and Documentary Competition
This year, twelve narrative and twelve documentary features will compete for combined unrestricted cash prizes amounting to $100,000, including prizes totaling $50,000 from American Express for the Best New Narrative and Documentary Filmmakers.
The complete list of films selected for the World Narrative Feature and World Documentary Competition is as follows:
World Narrative Feature Competition
Sponsored by Delta Air Lines
A compelling cross-section of bold creative visions from every corner of the globe come together in this year’s World Narrative Feature Competition. Presenting a diverse array of unique voices, this international film collection includes premieres from a wide range of directors, such as U.S. indie veterans the Polish brothers and Tony-nominated Conor McPherson, as well as exciting newcomers. Together, these filmmakers introduce us to tales on life, death and all the various forms of love in between – from a girl-loves-girl story set in Buenos Aires, to a dysfunctional family in a Connecticut suburb in the 80’s, to a young Israeli woman’s attempt at stitching together the shattered fragments of her life after surviving a suicide bomber explosion. The 12 films in this section will compete for Best Film, Best New Filmmaker and Best Actor and Actress prizes.
· Handsome Harry, directed by Bette Gordon, written by Nicholas T. Proferes. (USA) - World Premiere. Harry (Jamey Sheridan), a divorced father and former sailor, lives a simple life in his small town. But when his dying best friend sparks Harry¹s drive to confront his past, buried secrets resurface and force him to deal with painful memories. This unique and eloquent film also features Aidan Quinn, John Savage, and Campbell Scott.
· Queen To Play (Joueuse) – directed and written by Caroline Bottaro. (France, Germany) – World Premiere. Sandrine Bonnaire plays an inquisitive hotel maid captivated by a vacationing couple (Jennifer Beals, Francis Renaud) playing chess. Thus begins her obsession with mastering the game and transforming her uninspired life. An American expat (Kevin Kline) mentors her in the game that alters both their lives in this delightful feel-good French import. In French with English subtitles.
· Vegas: Based on a True Story, directed by Amir Naderi, written by Susan Brennan, Bliss Esposito, Charlie Lake Keaton and Naderi. (USA) – North American Premiere. Returning to the Festival, acclaimed director Amir Naderi applies his inimitable cinematic style to Vegas. The film takes place away from the glittering strip of luxury mega casinos, but the judgment-clouding greed of Sin City is just as pervasive on the desert outskirts of town, where an otherwise happy family is thrown into turmoil after learning of a forgotten fortune that may be buried beneath their scrubby little home.
World Documentary Feature Competition
Gripping personal tales, illuminating examinations of global events and fresh perspectives on familiar topics comprise the World Documentary Feature Competition. This international selection of captivating non-fiction films provides a rich tableau reflecting the complexity of human experience around the world. These films focus on unique individuals – a genial inventor, an Afghan translator, an Australian environmental policy advocate who actually achieves change. They portray the ever-lasting, forward-pushing energy of youth – Brazilian ballet dancers and American car racers alike; and originally explore an array of political and social issues worldwide from North Korea’s repressive regime to world hunger and one mother’s quirky inquiry into the controversy of male circumcision. These 12 non-fiction entries compete for Best Documentary Film and Best New Documentary Filmmaker.
· The Burning Season, directed by Cathy Henkel. (Australia) – International Premiere. TFF award winner Henkel returns with this powerful portrait of three lives affected by deliberately lit fires raging across Indonesia. Destroying pristine rainforest, endangering wildlife, and contributing to climate change, these fires only benefit the lucrative palm oil industry. Following a carbon-trading entrepreneur, an orangutan rescuer, and a palm oil farmer, this doc inspirationally shows those caught at the intersection of big business and conservation. Hugh Jackman narrates. In English, Indonesian with English subtitles.
· Defamation (Hashmatsa), directed by Yoav Shamir. (Denmark, Austria, USA, Israel) – North American Premiere. Is anti-Semitism an extant threat on the verge of coalescing into a second Holocaust? Or is it a scare tactic used by right-wing Zionists to discredit their critics? Speaking with the head of the Anti-Defamation League, controversial author Norman Finkelstein, and others, Shamir sets out to discover the realities of anti-Semitism today. His findings are both shocking and wryly funny. In English, Hebrew, Russian with English subtitles.
· Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi, directed by Ian Olds. (USA) – North American Premiere. In 2007, the Taliban kidnapped 24-year-old Ajmal Naqshbandi and an Italian journalist. Naqshbandi was one of Afghanistan’s best “fixers”—someone hired by foreign journalists to facilitate, translate, and gain access for their stories. This gripping, tragic story is a behind-the-scenes look into the dangerous and unseen world that happens before we get the news. In English, Dari, Pashto, Italian with English subtitles.
· Garapa, directed by José Padilha. (Brazil) – North American Premiere. Director José Padilha follows up his Golden Bear-winning Elite Squad with this austere, unflinching examination of the realities of chronic hunger for three Brazilian families. At once intimate and universal, Padilha’s hauntingly visual film humanizes the enormity of the global hunger crisis. In Portuguese with English subtitles.
· Only When I Dance, directed by Beadie Finzi. (Brazil, UK) – World Premiere.
Two teenage ballet dancers from the working-class favelas of Rio are determined to dance their way to a better life, but to do so they must grow up against harsh prejudice, doubt, and some of the best dancers in the world. This inspiring doc trails their path to beat the odds and follow their dream of making it in the elite world of professional ballet. In Portuguese with English subtitles.
· Outrage, directed by Kirby Dick. (USA) – World Premiere. Academy Award® nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick (This Film Is Not Yet Rated) delivers a searing indictment of the hypocrisy of closeted politicians who actively campaign against the LGBT community they covertly belong to. Outrage boldly reveals the hidden lives of some of our nation’s most powerful policymakers, details the harm they've inflicted on millions of Americans, and examines the media’s complicity in keeping their secrets. A Magnolia Pictures Release.
· Partly Private, directed by Danae Elon. (Canada) – World Premiere. To cut or not to cut? Pregnant with a baby boy, director Danae Elon and her husband face “a big choice about his little penis.” From New York to London, Istanbul to Israel, Elon travels the world in a shockingly funny, sometimes cringe-inducing (they show it, fellas) effort to understand the controversial ritual of male circumcision.
· Racing Dreams, directed by Marshall Curry. (USA) – World Premiere. What Little League is to baseball, go-karting is to auto racing. Oscar®-nominated director Marshall Curry (Street Fight) follows the exhilarating and emotional journeys of three top racers competing for the national championship. Three adolescents and their families must discover if they have the talent and dedication—and sponsorship dollars—to one day become NASCAR superstars. Part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.
· Shadow Billionaire, directed by Alexis Manya Spraic. (USA) – World Premiere. When DHL founder Larry Hillblom disappeared following a 1995 plane crash off his Micronesian island home, dozens of would-be heirs from the Philippines came out of the woodwork to lay claim to his mega fortune. Within the framework of the fantastic legal battle, Spraic’s debut doc slowly uncovers the stranger-than-fiction life of this eccentric billionaire.
· Team Qatar, directed by Liz Mermin. (UK) – World Premiere. Equal parts competition movie and cultural examination, Team Qatar follows the first Qatari national debate team and their springy English coach as they train in Doha, London, and New York in preparation for the world championship in DC. Will this vibrant multicultural team handle the pressure and succeed on the world stage? Part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.
· Transcendent Man, directed by Barry Ptolemy. (USA) – World Premiere. Some hail him as a modern-day Nostradamus, others dismiss him as a crackpot. Futurist and famed inventor Ray Kurzweil is the preeminent theorist on the pending fusion of humans and super-intelligent machines as the next phase of evolution, a "singularity" he predicts will occur within 30 years. This fascinating (and at times terrifying) doc explores the personal ideals behind his controversial ideas.
· Yodok Stories, directed by Andrzej Fidyk. (Norway, Poland) – North American Premiere. Exposing subject matter notoriously shrouded in secrecy, this uplifting and sobering doc chronicles a group of North Korean concentration camp escapees and their contributions to a powerful musical based on their experiences. Blending interviews and scenes from the controversial stage show, director Andrzej Fidyk explores the atrocities they faced as prisoners—and the challenges they face while trying to express them through art. In English, Korean with English subtitles.
Awards in the World Narrative and World Documentary Competitions will be presented in the following juried categories: Best Narrative Feature, Best New Narrative Filmmaker (for first or second-time feature directors), sponsored by American Express, Best Actress in a Narrative Film, sponsored by Delta Air Lines, Best Actor in a Narrative Film, sponsored by Delta Air Lines, Best Documentary Feature, and Best New Documentary Filmmaker (for first or second time feature directors), sponsored by American Express.
In addition, films predominantly shot in New York and/or produced by a New York-based production company will be up for the following awards: Best New York Narrative, and Best New York Documentary. Additional Festival awards include the Heineken Audience Award, the audience choice for best feature film, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short and the Student Visionary Award, sponsored by Apple. Films in the World Narrative Competition, World Documentary Competition, Encounters, Discovery, Midnight, Spotlight or Showcase sections are eligible for the Audience Award.
Fourteen innovative visions from emerging voices encompass the Discovery section. From lighthearted and amusing to provocative and timely, this rich collection of documentaries explores the implosion of Wall Street at the expense of working Americans, an adopted young African American's search for her roots, an irony laden docu-comedy on 80's 'business artist' Mark Kostabi and one last affectionate look at New York’s original punk institution CBGB. The section also features an array of engaging narrative films, including the story of a group of overweight Israeli men who are taken by the art of Sumo to get their mojo back, an all male Swedish synchronized swimming team trying to make it to the world championship, a love story complicated by a device that scientifically predicts one’s soul mate and a B&W jazz musical with a fresh and youthful take on the old MGM tradition.
· American Casino, directed by Leslie Cockburn. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Politicians and the media like to talk about the relationship between Wall Street and Main Street, but investigative journalist Leslie Cockburn’s debut feature gets to the guts of the matter, visiting defectors from Bear Stearns and Standard & Poor’s and other high-level players in the subprime mortgage gamble and, on the flipside, visiting the working-class Americans who were the unwitting chips on the table.
· Burning Down the House: The Story of CBGB, directed by Mandy Stein. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Fueled by vintage performances by the likes of Patti Smith, Talking Heads, Television, Bad Brains, and The Ramones, this doc charts the history and far-reaching influence of iconic downtown club CBGB and its fight for survival against the Bowery homeless shelter that sought to shut it down. Sonic Youth, Debbie Harry, Ice-T, Fab 5 Freddy, and others share their passion for the anything-goes spirit of the club and its founder, Hilly Kristal.
· Con Artist, directed by Michael Sladek. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. One of the biggest names in the East Village art scene of the ’80s, “business artist” Mark Kostabi gleefully made a fortune signing and selling artworks painted by a revolving stable of hired hands. This punk-fueled docu-comedy looks back at Kostabi’s ultimately self-destructive skewering of the celebrity art world, and gets as close as one can to a man who’s been called “the black hole of irony.”
· Entre nos, directed and written by Gloria La Morte and Paola Mendoza. (USA, Colombia) – World Premiere, Narrative. Adoring mother Mariana (talented codirector Paola Mendoza) has toted her two children from Colombia to New York to indulge her husband's whim. But when he abruptly abandons the family, she'll have to rely on her own imagination and courage—and that of her remarkable kids (breakthroughs Sebastian Villada and Laura Montana)—to survive insurmountable odds during their first summer in the United States. In Spanish with English subtitles.
· Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, directed and written by Damien Chazelle. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. First-time director Damien Chazelle infuses his black-and-white, vérité-style relationship drama with all that jazzy romance of an old-Hollywood musical. Backed by a grand, alternately rollicking and melancholy score, Guy and Madeline tracks a pair of young lovers in Boston after they separate, search for new romance, and perhaps find their way back to each other.
· A Matter of Size (Sipur Gadol), directed by Erez Tadmor and Sharon Maymon, written by Danny Cohen-Solal and Maymon. (Israel) – World Premiere, Narrative. In this touching, lighthearted comedy, an overweight, underemployed chef and three close friends abandon their weight-loss group to pursue an activity for which girth is a virtue: sumo wrestling. While training, they discover the soul of sumo, realizing that—fat or thin—love and success will only come from being true to themselves. In Hebrew with English subtitles. Part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.
· My Last Five Girlfriends, directed and written by Julian Kemp. (UK) – World Premiere, Narrative. Based on the international best seller On Love by Alain de Botton, this delightful romantic comedy explores with delicious wit and whimsy just how modern urban relationships go wrong. Surveying the wreckage of his last five relationships, thirtysomething Duncan (Brendan Patricks) concludes that love is a battleground where only the fittest survive.
· Off and Running, directed by Nicole Opper, written by Avery Klein-Cloud and Opper. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. With white Jewish lesbians for parents and two adopted brothers—one mixed-race and one Korean—Brooklyn teen Avery grew up in a unique and loving household. Even so, she can't quell her curiosity about her biological African-American roots and decides to contact her birth mother. This choice propels Avery into her own complicated exploration of race, identity, and family that threatens to distance her from the parents she’s always known.
· Original, directed and written by Alexander Brøndsted and Antonio Tublén. (Denmark) – World Premiere, Narrative. In this fresh and colorful lovable loser tale, Henry has spent most of his life trying to blend in. When his seemingly normal life turns upside down, his friend convinces him to move to Spain and open a restaurant. But before he can break free of the mundane, he gets sidelined caring for his mentally unstable mother, running into a lost-soul feminist who does performance art in a strip club, and a big bag of steroids. In English, Swedish, Danish with English subtitles.
· P-Star Rising, directed by Gabriel Noble. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. In the early ’80s, Jesse Diaz was a rising star in the hip-hop world. Now a broke single father in Harlem with two children to support, Jesse finds a shot at redemption in his nine-year-old daughter Priscilla Star, a precocious and immensely talented rapper. Director Gabriel Noble follows four years of father-daughter ups and downs as they navigate the grit and the glamour of the music biz.
· Playground, directed by Libby Spears. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Executive produced by George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Steven Soderbergh, this astonishing doc travels to the dark heart of one of the world’s most sinister industries—the child sex trade. Beginning her journey infiltrating brothels in South Korea and Thailand, director Libby Spears soon discovers that the United States is a major player in the human trafficking racket and turns her attention to the homeland. Featuring original artwork by Yoshitomo Nara.
· The Swimsuit Issue (Allt flyter), directed by Måns Herngren, written by Jane Magnusson, Brian Cordray and Herngren. (Sweden) – International Premiere, Narrative. What begins as a joke turns into a new shot at glory for a group of over-the-hill athletes who decide to form Sweden’s only all-male synchronized swimming team. The less they’re taken seriously, the more determined they are to win the world championship in this fun, feel-good comedy about friendship and family. In Swedish with English subtitles. Part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.
· TiMER, directed and written by Jac Schaeffer. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Finding true love is easier than ever thanks to a bio-technological implant called the TiMER, which counts down to the exact time people meet their soul mates. Love-starved Oona (Emma Caulfield, TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is pushing 30, but her TiMER hasn't even started counting down yet. What's worse, she's falling for a guy (John Patrick Amedori, Gossip Girl) who is set to meet his true love in four months. Newcomer Jac Schaeffer crafts a smart romantic comedy that leaves behind the burning question... would you want to know?
· Which Way Home, directed by Rebecca Cammisa. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. In this unprecedented, revelatory doc, director Rebecca Cammisa (Sister Helen) follows three unaccompanied children on a harrowing odyssey away from their homes in Latin America and through Mexico with one mighty shepherding hope: to reach the United States, where they can either reunite with their own families who made the journey before them, or create new lives for themselves.
Contacts for all these feature-length films can be viewed in the press section of the Tribeca Film Festival website: www.tribecafilm.com/festival.
Festival films screen in ten sections: World Narrative Competition, World Documentary Competition, Discovery, Encounters, Midnight, Spotlight, Showcase, Restored/Rediscovered, Galas and Special Events. The remaining feature line-up will be announced on March 11, 2009, with the exception of special events and galas, which will be announced in the coming weeks.
TICKET INFORMATION FOR 2009 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
The 2009 Tribeca Film Festival will offer eleven exclusive ticket packages, featuring three advance ticket selection packages, as well as eight discount ticket packages.
Advance Ticket Selection Packages: Advance selection ticket packages will offer consumers the opportunity to reserve tickets for films they wish to screen ahead of the general public. All films must be selected by April 10, 2009. The advance selection ticket packages include:
· Programmers Picks Ticket Package ($250) - Two general or matinee tickets to six Festival films handpicked for each customer by the Tribeca Film Festival Programming Team
· Harrison Ticket Package ($225.00) - Early online ticket selection prior to public on-sale dates for ten individual general or matinee screenings
· Franklin Ticket Package ($425.00) - Early online ticket selection prior to public on-sale dates for 20 individual general or matinee screenings
Discount Ticket Packages: Discount ticket packages not only offer consumers a reduced ticket price, but also allow them to navigate the film slate by interest. The discount ticket packages include:
· Opening Weekend Ticket Package ($105) – Two (2) general tickets to one film on Friday, April 24; two films on Saturday, April 25; and one film on Sunday, April 26.
· Matinee Ticket Package ($40.00) – Six (6) matinee screenings tickets, two tickets per performance.
· Late Night Films Ticket Package ($40.00) – Six (6) late night film screenings tickets, two tickets per performance.
· Matinee Documentary Film Fan Package ($40.00) – Six (6) matinee tickets to any documentary film in the Festival, two tickets per performance.
· Documentary Film Fan Package ($75.00) – Six (6) general tickets to any documentary film in the Festival, two tickets per performance..
· Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Ticket Package ($45.00) – Four (4) general tickets to films playing in the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, two tickets per performance.
· Award Winners Screening Package ($45.00) – Four (4) general tickets to award winning films playing on May 3, two tickets per performance. Selections must be made by award category, as winners will not be announced until April 30, 2009.
· Music Fan Package ($75.00) – Six (6) general tickets to any music film playing in the Festival, two tickets per performance.
Tickets for the Festival will be $15.00 for evening and weekend screenings and $8.00 for daytime weekday and late night screenings.
Ticket/Package Dates and Purchase Information
Advance selection ticket packages will go on sale Monday, March 9, 2009 for American Express Cardmembers and for the general public on Monday, March 16, 2009. All advance packages can be purchased online at www.tribecafilm.com/festival or by telephone, toll free, at (866) 941-FEST (3378).
Single ticket and discounted ticket package sales begin for American Express Cardmembers on April 14, 2009, for downtown residents on April 19, 2009, and for the general public on April 20, 2009. Single tickets can be purchased online, by telephone, or at one of the Ticket Outlets located at the Tribeca Cinemas Ticket Window at 54 Varick Street, and the AMC Village VII Ticket Window at 66 Third Avenue. Downtown residents can only purchase tickets with a discount at the Tribeca Cinemas ticket window. Discounted packages can only be purchased online and by phone. The 2009 Festival will continue ticket discounts for evening and weekend screenings for students, seniors and select downtown Manhattan residents. Additional information and further details on the Festival can be found at www.tribecafilm.com/festival.
Tribeca Film Festival Online and On-the-Go
Visit the Tribeca Film Festival online and become a part of the My Tribeca community at http://www.tribecafilm.com/register/
Join the Tribeca Film Festival Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribeca-Film-Festival/10854154757 and follow the Festival at Twitter.com/TribecaFilmFest.
Starting March 16, access the film guide online from your mobile device on www.tffmobile.com. Film information can also be accessed on your mobile device by texting* a film's information code to TRBCA (87222). Information codes can be found in the box next to each film and special event listing. (*standard text messaging rates apply).
About the Tribeca Film Festival
Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff founded the Tribeca Film Festival in 2001 following the attacks on the World Trade Center, New York City to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of the lower Manhattan district through an annual celebration of film, music and culture. The Festival’s mission is to help filmmakers reach the broadest possible audience, enable the international film community and general public to experience the power of cinema and promote New York City as a major filmmaking center.
Tribeca Film Festival is well known for being a diverse international film festival that supports emerging and established directors. The Tribeca Festival has screened over 1100 films from over 80 countries since its first festival in 2002. Since its founding, it has attracted an international audience of more than two million attendees and has generated over $530 million in economic activity for New York City.
About the 2009 Festival Sponsors
As Founding Sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival, American Express is committed to supporting the Festival and the art of film making, bringing business and energy to New York City and offering benefits that enhance the festival-going experience.
The Festival is pleased to announce the return of its Signature Sponsors: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Apple, Bloomberg, Brookfield Properties, Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), Delta Air Lines, iShares, NBC 4 New York, RR Donnelley, Snapple, The New York Times, Telemundo 47 and Vanity Fair.
The Tribeca Film Festival is also honored to welcome the following new Signature Sponsors: AMC, DIRECTV and Heineken.