Pickups on the road to Tribeca

Acquisitions, fest award winners highlight sidebars

The Tribeca Film Festival's Spotlight, Showcase and Restored/Rediscovered sections were unveiled Monday, featuring more pickups from other recent fests than any in Tribeca history.

The fest's complete list of 122 features seems to emphasize quality over quantity, with fewer films that feature name stars and directors available for acquisition when compared with last year and more award winners from other festivals in the mix.

The 17-feature Spotlight lineup is full of low-budget titles picked up by familiar indie distributors. They include Sundance pickups from Sony Pictures Classics (Jay and Mark Duplass' comedy "Baghead" and Jonathan Levine's coming-of-age drama "The Wackness") and Magnolia (James Marsh's World Trade Center tightrope documentary "Man on Wire" and Christopher Bell's bodybuilding docu "Bigger, Stronger, Faster").

IFC Films has two Festival de Cannes pickups — Tom Kalin's true-crime drama "Savage Grace," with Julianne Moore, and Harmony Korine's surreal "Mister Lonely" — and one from Toronto, Guy Maddin's autobiographical "My Winnipeg."

Roadside Attractions and Echo Lake are represented with Santosh Sivan's period drama "Before the Rains," as are First Look Studios with co-writer/star John Cusack's satire "War, Inc." and Arthouse Films with Christina Clausen's docu "The Universe of Keith Haring."

The Weinstein Co. tops the Spotlight list with four entries: Julian Schnabel's rockumentary "Lou Reed's Berlin," John Crowley's U.K. youth crime drama "Boy A," Chris Barker and Mike Slee's African docu "Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins" and Jose Padilha's Brazilian corruption drama "Elite Squad." The latter won Berlin's Golden Bear, one of several top fest winners in the Spotlight and Showcase lineups.

None of the 10 Showcase films has domestic distribution. Seven are docus, including politically themed features from Algeria (Jean-Pierre Lledo's "Algeria, Unspoken Stories"), Germany (Ayat Najafi and David Assmann's "Football Under Cover") and the U.S. (Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers' Iraq War-themed "Lioness").

These sections add four films to the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival lineup, including "Bigger," "Football," Liberation/ ESPN/Red Envelope's Sundance soccer pickup "Kicking It" and Beastie Boy Adam Yauch's basketball-themed "Gunnin' for That #1 Spot."

Four films in the Restored/ Rediscovered section are Haile Gerima's 1975 Ethiopian drama "Harvest 3000 Years," Curtis Harrington's 1961 mystery "Night Tide" with Dennis Hopper, Federico Fellini's 1968 Edgar Allan Poe adaptation "Toby Dammit" with Terence Stamp and Rene Clair's 1929 French silent film "Two Timid Souls."

Three films will be presented with talks by their filmmakers or other experts: Emilio Estefan's docu of wife Gloria Estefan, "90 Miles: The Documentary," Errol Morris' Abu Ghraib docu "Standard Operating Procedure" and Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey." Special screenings will be held of Amos Poe's three-hour meditation on Manhattan, "Empire II," and a newly restored version of Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West."
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