This year, Tribeca fest isn't in a New York state of mind

Axes local section; 1st titles named

The lineups for the Tribeca Film Festival World Narrative and World Documentary Feature Film Competition and Spotlight section slate were unveiled Monday, along with the potentially controversial move to eliminate the New York section of the fest.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Apted, John Dahl, Ed Burns and Shane Meadows will be featured in the selection, along with such stars as America Ferrera, Ray Romano, Bruce Springsteen, Tea Leoni and Debra Messing.

The Tribeca fest was founded in 2002 in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks to support New York artists and the local economy. While there still will be an award for best New York film, the decision to cut the local section might be seen as a move away from the fest's roots and original mission.

"We've spread New York films across all the sections, and we support New York filmmakers, but we didn't want it to seem like, 'Here's the New York festival, and here's the rest,'" said Nancy Schafer, TFF managing director and programmer.

Executive director Peter Scarlet noted that the festival has been international from its inception. "We try to get the best damn films we can," he said.

Schafer and Scarlet said this year's lineup offers a particularly strong selection of films from Latin America, with such titles as "The Year My Parents Went on Vacation" (O Ano Em Que Meus Pais Sairam de Ferias) and "Born and Bred" (Nacido y Criado).

The announced films from the sixth annual fest come from 25 countries and include 10 world premieres. "The festival, while young, continues to attract films expressing compelling views from filmmakers from around the globe and around the corner," TFF co-founder Jane Rosenthal said.

One of the highest-profile entries among the 18 World Narrative competition films is "Entourage" star Kevin Connolly's black comedy "Gardener of Eden," starring Giovanni Ribisi and Erika Christensen, from producer DiCaprio. Other highlights include Pascale Ferran's French D.H. Lawrence adaptation "Lady Chatterley," billed as "sensual yet never vulgar"; Paolo Virzi's biopic "Napoleon and Me" (Lo e Napoleone), starring Daniel Auteuil as the famed emperor; and Jose Antonio Negret's Colombian kidnapping thriller "Towards Darkness" (Hacia la Oscuridad), starring Ferrera.

The 16 World Documentary films in competition include John Reiss' graffiti docu "Bomb It" and the Afghani murder mystery "Taxi to the Dark Side," from director Alex Gibney ("Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room"). Esther Robinson examines her uncle, Andy Warhol's one-time lover, in "A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory," and Paul Taylor looks at a South African AIDS orphanage in "We Are Together" (Thina Simunye), featuring a performance by Alicia Keys and Paul Simon.

The 17 Spotlight films include writer-director-star Julie Delpy's romantic comedy "2 Days in Paris" (Deux Jours a Paris); Burns' romance "Purple Violets," starring Patrick Wilson and Messing; and Zak Penn's casino mockumentary "The Grand," starring Woody Harrelson and Romano.

Other high-profile Spotlight films are Jim Brown's folk music docu "Pete Seeger: The Power of Song," featuring Bob Dylan and Springsteen; Meadows' '80s punk coming-of-age tale "This Is England"; Apted's soccer docu "The Power of the Game"; and Dahl's hitman comedy-drama "You Kill Me," starring Ben Kingsley and Leoni.

The fest, which will unveil 159 features during the next few weeks, runs April 25-May 6.
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