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The 2021 Tribeca Festival will close with the world premiere of an untitled Dave Chappelle-produced documentary, produced and directed by Oscar- and Emmy-winning American Factory filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, exploring the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement last summer through the lens of a small Ohio community.
The screening will take place, it was announced last week, in front of a fully vaccinated, 100 percent capacity crowd at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, on Saturday, June 19.
The film follows Chappelle as he launches his outdoor, socially distanced live comedy shows in rural Ohio, providing the community he calls home with economic and comic relief, and serving as an example of courage for the live entertainment community.
Over the summer of 2020, Chappelle hosted a series of shows in Yellow Springs, Ohio, called Dave Chappelle & Friends: An Intimate Socially Distanced Affair, or as it was casually known, “Chappelle’s Summer Camp.” Those shows were some of the few live-entertainment events that could take place during the pandemic and boasted a star-studded guest list.
“Premiering our film at Tribeca and closing out the festival at Radio City Music Hall is a big honor,” Chappelle said in a statement. “Our film is about courage and resilience, something New Yorkers can relate to.”
Bognar added, “Dave and his friends entrusted our team of amazing young filmmakers from Ohio with intimate moments which enabled us to create a moving portrait of artists’ as they navigated a time of fear and isolation.”
And Reichert noted the two are local acquaintances, with her and Bognar based in Ohio: “Dave is our neighbor. We see him in the grocery store and on the street. When Dave came to us with the idea, we were immediately struck by the challenge to tell the story of our part of the world during the pandemic and the national reckoning on racial injustice. This was a historic moment and we really wanted to chronicle this place and this time, it just felt right.”
Tribeca co-founder and CEO Jane Rosenthal added, “This extraordinary documentary is the most fitting to close this historic night at Radio City Music Hall and our 20th festival. We’re huge fans of Dave’s ability to make us laugh, and this poignant story provides us with another look at his unique talent to bring people together and the grand re-opening of a fully vaccinated Radio City after 18 months.”
The event will mark the first one at Radio City Music Hall in over a year, with all guests needing to provide proof that they’re fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine no later than June 5. Exceptions will be made for those under the age of 16, who may also provide proof of a negative test and may only attend with a fully vaccinated adult.
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Sterling K. Brown