Celebrating its 17th year of bringing the best and brightest to moviegoers, the Tribeca Film Festival 2018 showcased cinematic gems in both feature- and short-length categories. With an estimated attendance of more than 140,000 attending over a staggering 564 screenings, Talks, Virtual Arcade, Tribeca Cinema360 and games with an additional 1,850,000 people participating in 11 talks via Facebook Live, the possibilities were endless. One of the highlights was Tribeca Talks: TIME'S UP- A Day of Conversation and Action. This year, 46% of the feature films were directed by women, the largest number in the Festival's history. The power of the Tribeca Film Festival could be felt far and wide, as the Festival continues to carry a great impact through a compelling and entertaining programming slate of films.
Founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in 2002 in response to the attacks on the World Trade Center as a way to help the economic growth of the hard hit downtown region through storytelling and culture, the Tribeca Film Festival is one of the brightest points of the year for the thousands who attend to enjoy the films and events, both in person and online. Let’s look back at some of the highlights of this year’s festival as we begin to plan for the wonder that is sure to be TFF 2019.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRE
Director Kate Novack brings the life of fashion icon Andre Leon Talley to life as audiences have never seen before, from growing up in the segregated South to his travels to the catwalks of the world. As a fashion editor, Talley opens himself up and we see him through the eyes of respected names like Marc Jacobs, Anna Wintour, Valentino, Manolo Blahnik and Tom Ford.
From director Sebastian Lelio and based on Naomi Alderman's book, this drama centers on an ostracized woman who returns to her Orthodox Jewish community. The rabbi's daughter Ronit (Rachel Weisz) is reluctant to come back to London following the death of her father. Old feelings and friendships stir up a mixture of sexuality and faith.
YOU SHALL NOT SLEEP (NO DORMIRAS)
Director Gustavo Hernandez presents an unparalleled thriller. A young actress agrees to participate in a new stage play of a famous dramatist. The original play failed when the main actress was plagued by terror in the middle of the run due to several days without sleep. The latest incarnation is to take place at an abandoned psych hospital near Buenos Aires. When sleep deprivation strikes the next group of actors, things go terribly wrong.
Director Michael Mayer and screenplay writer Stephen Karam tackle Anton Chekhov's play The Seagull in a beautifully constructed film that is equal parts comedy, romance and drama. With a stellar cast including Annette Bening, Corey Stoll, Saoirse Ronan, Elisabeth Moss, Mare Winningham, Brian Dennehy and Billy Howle, THE SEAGULL focuses on an aging actress and the interwoven relationships that start out innocently and twist into ties that bind.
An eager science fiction romance from director Drake Doremus, ZOE takes a look at synthetic humans, feelings and the people they are involved with, employing an all star cast in Lea Seydoux, Rashida Jones, Ewan McGregor, Christina Aguilera and Theo James.
THE FOURTH ESTATE
Directed by Liz Garbus, this documentary focuses on the journalists at the New York Times and the first year in office of Donald Trump as President, who declared the majority of the nation's major news outlets as “enemy of the people.”
This feature's world premiere from writer / director Kent Jones focuses on a mother who wrestles with caring for her friends, family and most notably, her drug-addicted son. The riveting cast includes Mary Kay Place, Estelle Parsons, Joyce Van Patten, Jake Lacy and Andrea Martin.
STATE LIKE SLEEP
Mary Kay Place also appears in STATE LIKE SLEEP, a fascinating drama about a woman who travels to Brussels to tie up loose ends after her husband's death and to try to understand the last few days of her spouse. This gem features Katherine Waterston, Michael Shannon and Luke Evans.
THE RACHEL DIVIDE
Director Laura Brownson uncovers the person behind the infamy as we look at Rachel Dolezal, the woman who hit headlines when she was revealed as a white woman living as a black woman and heading up the local N.A.A.C.P. Chapter. Rather than seeing the comical character she has become in the public eye, Brownson peels off layers of the woman behind the controversy.
A surprise standout directed by Keren Ben Rafael, the film focuses on a teenager spending a boring summer in her desolate north coast of Israel until an attractive mysterious writer arrives, spreading tales of a mermaid sighting in their area, sparking renewed interest in their sleepy resort town.
Ansel Elgort, Suki Waterhouse and Patricia Clarkson star in this sleeper of a hit, directed by Bill Oliver. Another sci-fi endeavor, this one focuses on a set of identical twin brothers who share a mysterious existence and things unravel when one wants to change the parameters of their lives.
Director Haifaa Al Mansour, writer Emma Jensen and a cast including Elle Fanning, Douglas Booth, Bel Powley and Tom Sturridge create a successful world to share the story of Mary Wollstonecraft Goodwin and her whirlwind romance with poet Percy Shelley, which lead to her writing the classic Frankenstein before she even turned 20 years old.
Director/ writer Susanna Nicchiarelli's road movie is a swirling tour of the last month's of singer-songwriter Nico, vocalist of Velvet Underground and Warhol star. A brilliant drama that doesn't sugar coat or romanticize the humanity behind the woman.
This brilliant film, written and directed by Robert Budreau, stars Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace, Mark Strong and Christopher Heyerdahl. When a disturbed American man held up a bank in Sweden, demanding millions in return for the hostages he held, the story made headlines around the world, even creating the concept of Stockholm syndrome.
BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY
This documentary features former comedy writer for the “Late Show with David Letterman,” Steve Young. Young stumbles upon Broadway-style industrial recordings for companies that used musicals to sell their products during internal conferences and becomes obsessed with collecting these rare recordings, making friends along the way, tracking down hard to find vinyl recordings and composers of such production numbers. His journey is one of the funniest and most lovely excursions to embark upon.
SATAN & ADAM
Directed by V. Scott Balcerek, this feature documentary put a spotlight on the unlikely and amazing friendship of an aging guitar whiz and a young harmonica phenom, using two decades of footage of Sterling Magee and Adam Gussow plus other fascinating footage featuring The Edge, Reverend Al Sharpton, Harry Shearer, Quint Davis and more.
Falling under the Midnight category of horror gems, CARGO is the perfect edge-of-your-seat thriller that takes place in the Australian Outback following a zombie attack. An infected father tries to find a cure in his remaining 48 hours to live while caring for his infant daughter and grieving his wife's death.
Directed by Faraday Okoro, this feature narrative is a troubling and haunting film that follows a troubled American teenager who is sent to family in Nigeria to straighten his life out. There, he finds himself ensnared in his cousin's money making schemes and corruption.
With films to satisfy the urges of any movie goer, the only question is how will the fine folks at the Tribeca Film Festival top this lineup? Thankfully, we only have a few short months to bask in the wonder of the 2019 edition.
Photo Credit : Christine Connallon