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The Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday unveiled the second half of its slate, which includes performances by Paul Rudd, Paul Giamatti Julianne Moore and stuntwoman-actress Zoe Bell among its feature film selections in the Spotlight and Midnight sections.
The 12th edition of the festival, which will take place from April 17-28 in New York, also revealed its lineup for the new Storyscapes section as well as Special Screenings.
The Spotlight section features 33 films — 21 narratives and 12 documentaries — that blur the lines of indie and mainstream filmmaking. Twenty-three films in the selection, including a Bernie Madoff documentary (In God We Trust) and the Rudd-Giamatti starrer Almost Christmas, will make their world premieres at the festival, a record number for the section.
The Midnight section — formerly known as Cinemania — will open with Dark Touch and includes an international sampling of seven horror titles. Special screenings this year include the reintroduction of the Restored/Rediscovered program with Charles Lane’s Sidewalk Stories and a special screening of Alberi by Michelangelo Frammartino.
“The documentary films in the Spotlight section this year highlight several famous individuals — including one very cute cat — who use their wit and bold personas to make us think and laugh,” said Genna Terranova, director of programming. “A mix of established filmmakers and rising talent top off the rest of the section with features exploring some fresh takes on unconventional relationships.”
As for the Midnight section, programmer Cara Cusumano said this year’s lineup “is more diverse and entertaining than ever before and a true celebration of the innovative, risky and groundbreaking stories and styles that can only be found in genre cinema.”
New to TFF this year is Storyscapes, a multiplatform transmedia program that celebrates new trends in digital media and recognizes filmmakers and content creators who take an interactive, web-based or cross-platform approach to storytelling. Curated by the TFF Programming team along with Ingrid Kopp, director of digital initiatives for the Tribeca Film Institute, the Storyscapes program will present five selections at an interactive public installation from April 19-21.
“The possibilities for telling stories are evolving, and our aim is to create an immersive space where this participatory, transmedia work can be experienced,” Kopp said. “I cannot think of a better location than New York City for such a vibrant conversation around this emerging art form.”
The festival, which tapped music rock doc Mistake for Strangers, about New York indie band The National, for its opening-night slot, will unveil its big-ticket closing-night film March 18. Last year, The Avengers closed out Tribeca. On Tuesday, the festival released the first half of this year’s lineup. The short-film program will be announced the week of March 11.
The full list of films selected for Spotlight, Midnight, Special Screenings and projects in Storyscapes is below, with synopses provided by the festival:
Adult World, directed by Scott Coffey, written by Andy Cochran. (USA) — World premiere, narrative. Amy (Emma Roberts) is naïve, awkward and anxious to get her poetry career off of the ground. She begrudgingly accepts a job at the local sex shop, Adult World, while pursuing a surefire kick-start for her success: a mentorship with reclusive writer Rat Billings (John Cusack). As Amy’s world melds with that of Adult World, she slowly learns that inspiration can be found in the most improbable places.
Almost Christmas, directed by Phil Morrison, written by Melissa James Gibson. (USA) — World premiere, narrative. Two French Canadian ne’er-do-wells travel to New York City with a scheme to a get rich quick selling Christmas trees. Easygoing charmer Rene (Rudd) clashes with misanthropic ex-con Dennis (Giamatti), whose wife Rene just stole. Still, this odd couple must make an honest go of it in the buddy comedy co-starring Sally Hawkins.
At Any Price, directed by Ramin Bahrani, written by Hallie Elizabeth Newton and Bahrani. (USA) — New York premiere, narrative. The robust farming industry of Iowa is the backdrop for this father-and-son story. Dean Wipple (Zac Efron) longs to be a professional racecar driver. His father Henry (Dennis Quaid) plans to make him the heir to their family farming empire. When Henry’s ethics and expansion practices come under fire, the family must unify or risk losing everything. Temptation, ambition and competition are the driving forces behind this modern-day drama co-starring Heather Graham and Clancy Brown. (A Sony Pictures Classics release.)
Before Midnight, directed by Richard Linklater, written by Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Linklater. (USA) — New York premiere, narrative. In the third chapter in the star-crossed tale of Jesse and Celine, director and co-writer Linklater fast-forward to nine years after their last meeting. Hawke and Delpy star as the companions who find themselves at yet another crossroads in their twisting but passionate relationship. (A Sony Pictures Classics release.)
Big Bad Wolves, directed and written by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado. (Israel) — World premiere, narrative. A vigilante cop and a vengeful father capture and interrogate an accused serial killer. Keshales and Papushado’s follow-up to Rabies (TFF 2011) examines what would you do if someone hurt the one you loved most? (In Hebrew with subtitles.)
Bottled Up, directed and written by Enid Zentelis. (USA) — World premiere, narrative. In this modern-day drama, Melissa Leo stars as a woman who loves an addict. Complaining of back pain months after a car accident, Sylvie’s (Marin Ireland) addiction to painkillers is clear to everyone except her mother, Faye (Leo). A promising solution appears in Becket (Josh Hamilton), but relationships and loyalty are soon tested when his feelings fall in an unexpected place.
Byzantium, directed by Neil Jordan, written by Moira Buffini. (U.K., Ireland) — U.S. premiere, narrative. Neil Jordan’s returns to the realm of vampirism through the story of Clara (Gemma Arterton) and her daughter Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan). Creatures from Clara’s past come calling, and these immortals are forced to relocate. But dire consequences follow when Eleanor makes a connection with a local boy (Caleb Landry Jones) and slowly reveals the truth of who they are and how they survive. (An IFC Films release.)
A Case of You, directed by Kat Coiro, written by Justin Long, Keir O’Donnel, and Christian Long. (USA) — World premiere, narrative. A young writer (Long) woos a cute and quirky barista (Evan Rachel Wood) by creating an embellished online profile. When she falls for his alter ego, he must keep up the act or lose his dream girl.
Cycling with Moliere (Alceste à bicyclette), directed and written by Philippe Le Guay. (France) — International premiere, narrative. Once-great actor Serge Tanneur (Fabrice Luchini) now spends his days alone, cycling through the windblown landscape of France’s Île de Ré. Even an offer from his old friend Gauthier (Lambert Wilson) to return to the stage in Molière’s The Misanthrope fails to draw his interest — at least, at first. Phillippe Le Guay’s charming comedy of egos colliding on the French seaside turns into a neatly crafted, wonderfully performed search for the creative spark.
The Director, directed by Christina Voros. (Italy) — World premiere, documentary. How do you make one of the world’s most revered fashion brands your own? That is the task facing creative director Frida Giannini in this authoritative look at the past, present and future of The House of Gucci, directed by director/cinematographer Christina Voros (Kink) and co-produced by James Franco. Taking advantage of rare, behind-the-scenes access, Voros shows how the Florentine trendsetter has been reimagined in the past few years.
Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, directed by Chiemi Karasawa. (USA) — World premiere, documentary. Broadway legend Elaine Stritch remains in the spotlight at 87 years old. The film follows the Tony and Emmy Award-winner both on and off stage and includes interviews with Tina Fey, Nathan Lane, Hal Prince and others.
The English Teacher, directed by Craig Zisk, written by Dan Chariton and Stacy Chariton. (USA) — World premiere, narrative. Teacher Linda Sinclair (Julianne Moore) balances her staid home life with an incredible passion for her subject, but her routine is forever altered when a former star pupil and his unsupportive father re-enter her life. TV director Craig Zisk (Scrubs, Weeds and United States of Tara) tackles the big-screen project, which co-stars Greg Kinnear, Nathan Lane, Michael Angarano and Lily Collins. (A Cinedigm and Tribeca Film co-release.)
Gasland Part II, written and directed by Josh Fox. (USA) — World premiere, documentary. Two years ago, Fox introduced audiences to hydraulic fracturing with his Oscar-nominated exposé Gasland. Now this once-touted energy source has become a widely discussed, contentious topic. In his follow-up, Fox reveals the extreme circumstances facing those affected by fracking.
G.B.F., directed by Darren Stein, written by George Northy. (USA) — World premiere, narrative. The bitter fight for supremacy between a school’s most popular girls takes an unexpected turn when Tanner (Michael J. Willett) becomes its first openly gay student. As they race to bag the big trend in fashion accessories, the “Gay Best Friend,” Tanner must choose between skyrocketing popularity and the friends he is leaving behind. Megan Mullally and Natasha Lyonne co-star.
Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia, directed and written by Nicholas Wrathall. (USA) — International premiere, documentary. Anchored by intimate, one-on-one interviews with Vidal, the documentary is a tribute to the iconic critic. The film includes interviews with filmmaker/nephew Burr Steers and the late Christopher Hitchens.
Greetings from Tim Buckley, directed by Daniel Algrant, written by David Brendel, Emma Sheanshang and Algrant. (USA) — U.S. premiere, narrative. “Like father, like son” is a demanding expression for someone who never knew his dad. When young Jeff Buckley (Penn Badgley) is asked to participate in a tribute concert for his late musician father Tim, music opens his eyes to the artistic legacy that he is destined to follow. Imogen Poots co-stars. (A Tribeca Film release.)
Haute Cuisine, directed by Christian Vincent, written by Etienne Comar and Vincent. (France) — North American premiere, narrative. Chef Hortense Laborie (Catherine Frot) is plucked from relative obscurity to whip up classic French dishes for the most powerful man in the nation. Based on the real-life story of the personal chef to former French president François Mitterand, Haute Cuisine uses the politically charged kitchen and corridors of the Élysée Palace as a backdrop for a parade of mouthwatering dishes. (In English, French with subtitles. The Weinstein Company release.)
I Got Somethin’ to Tell You, directed by Whoopi Goldberg. (USA) — World premiere, documentary. Having broken racial and sexual boundaries as a pioneering comic talent, the late Moms Mabley has long been an icon in the comedy world. Now Goldberg explores Mabley’s legacy via recently unearthed photography, rediscovered performance footage and the words of numerous celebrated comedians.
In God We Trust, directed and written by Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson. (USA) — World premiere, documentary. Bernie Madoff ruined many lives before his arrest in 2008. Perhaps no one was so personally affected as his longtime personal secretary, Eleanor Squillari. The film centers on Squillari’s recollection in the days and months after the arrest, as her obsession with the case grows into her own unique search for clues. In God We Trust exposes previously unknown facts about the greatest financial crime ever committed.
Inside Out: The People’s Art Project, directed by Alastair Siddons. (France, U.K.) — World premiere, documentary. This fascinating documentary tracks the evolution of the world’s largest participatory art project, the wildly popular “Inside Out.” Travel the globe with French artist JR as he motivates communities to define their most important causes by pasting giant portraits in the street, testing the limits of what they thought possible. (In Arabic, Creole, English, French, Spanish with subtitles.)
Lil Bub & Friendz, directed by Andy Capper and Juliette Eisner. (USA) — World premiere, documentary. Called “the most famous cat on the Internet,” the wide-eyed perma-kitten Lil Bub is the adorable embodiment of the Web’s fascination with all things cats. Join Lil Bub and her owner on wild cross-country romp as they meet the Internet’s most famous cat-lebrities. Chock full of adorable kitties, hilarious videos and the dedicated cat enthusiasts who love them, Lil Bub & Friendz is a fun and hip peek behind the memes we know and love. Includes Mike “The Dude” Bridavsky, Ben Lashes, Grumpy Cat, Nyan Cat, Keyboard Cat.
McConkey, directed and written by Steve Winter, Murray Wais, Scott Gaffney, David Zieff and Rob Bruce. (USA) — World premiere, documentary. An all-star roster of sports movie-making talent directs this heartfelt biography of extreme ski trailblazer Shane McConkey, once described as “the most influential skier ever.” McConkey covers forty years and countless high places to track Shane’s conversion from downhill racer to free-skiing marvel to pioneer of a hair-raising new discipline — ski BASE jumping — gives alarming new meaning to the question: how far would you go to be the next big thing?
The Motivation, directed by Adam Bhala Lough. (USA) — World premiere, documentary. Go inside the lives and training regimes of eight of the world’s gutsiest professional skateboarders. These fearless stars face unique obstacles on the way to the Street League Championship and the coveted title of best skateboarder in the world. Adam Bhala Lough, creator of the 2003 independent hit Bomb the System (TFF 2003), directs this fresh, energetic documentary in search of the elusive quality that separates the winners from the pack. Features Nyjah Huston, Ryan Sheckler, Chris Cole, Paul Rodriguez, Sean Malto, Rob Dyrdek, Chaz Ortiz, Luan Oliveira and Bastien Salabanzi. In English, Portuguese with subtitles.
The Pretty One, directed and written by Jenée LaMarque. (USA) — World premiere, narrative. Audrey has all of the qualities that her twin sister Laurel wishes she possessed: confidence, style, independence. When tragedy strikes, Laurel has the opportunity to reinvent herself. In a complex performance, Zoe Kazan poignantly captures Laurel’s complex mix of loss and awakening, especially as she begins a new relationship with her neighbor (Jake Johnson). Jenée LaMarque’s first feature film is a quirky, lovely tale of identity and the eternal bond between two sisters.
Prince Avalanche, directed and written by David Gordon Green. (USA) — New York premiere, narrative. Alvin (Paul Rudd) and Lance (Emile Hirsch) spend the summer of 1988 repainting a highway in a fire-damaged forest. The isolation quickly wears thin on Lance, yet an unlikely friendship emerges within their cutting jibes and forced reconciliations to meet the long road that lies ahead. David Gordon Green returns to the lyrical tenor of his earliest films in this potent blend of comedy and road-movie stoicism, based on the 2011 Icelandic film Either Way. A Magnolia Pictures release.
The Project, directed and written by Shawn Efran and Adam Ciralsky. (USA) — World premiere, documentary. The Project profiles the precarious, real-life story of the Puntland Maritime Police Force, a group of Somali pirate hunters. Taking the hijacking of the African waterways and the kidnapping of innocent citizens into their under-trained hands, the PMPF face mutiny, death and a loss of corporate funding in their dangerous quest to free the Middle East shipping industry from terror. The mercenaries’ epic battle makes for an intense, gripping and disarming ride.
Reaching for the Moon (Flores Raras), directed by Bruno Barreto, written by Matthew Chapman and Carolina Kotscho. (Brazil) — North American premiere, narrative. Frustrated poet Elizabeth Bishop travels to Brazil and encounters the beguiling architect Lota de Macedo Soares. Initial hostilities make way for a complicated yet long-lasting love affair that dramatically alters Bishop’s relationship to the world around her. Anchored by magnificent lead performances from Miranda Otto and Glória Pires, Reaching for the Moon is an intimate snapshot of the search for inspiration, wherever and however you find it. In English, Portuguese with subtitles.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist, directed by Mira Nair, written by Mohsin Hamid, William Wheeler, Ami Boghani. (India, Pakistan, USA) — U.S. premiere, narrative. Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake) returns with another spellbinding adaptation of a celebrated bestseller. Pakistan-born Changez (Riz Ahmed) turns a Princeton degree into a cushy life on Wall Street with a gorgeous girlfriend (Kate Hudson). Then the Twin Towers fall, and his American dream shatters amid interrogations and overwhelming national distrust. He soon questions his allegiances, as this thriller exposes the dangers of being a stranger in your own land. Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber and Om Puri also star. An IFC Films release.
Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic, directed by Marina Zenovich, written by Peter Morgan. (USA) — World premiere, documentary. This moving portrait of legendary comedian Richard Pryor chronicles his life from his troubled youth in Peoria, Illinois, to his meteoric rise as one of the most respected comic actors of the 20th century. Often misunderstood during the height of his celebrity, the late superstar has never been profiled this extensively. Marina Zenovich’s revealing and entertaining film lays bare the demons with which he struggled and reminds us just how daring and dangerous artistic freedom can be. Includes interviews with Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Mel Brooks, Quincy Jones, Lily Tomlin, Jesse Jackson.
A Single Shot, directed by David M. Rosenthal, written by Matthew F. Jones. (U.K., USA, Canada) — North American premiere, narrative. A Single Shot brings together a wealth of indie stalwarts, including Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Melissa Leo and Jeffrey Wright, to paint a tense portrait of John Moon, a man attempting to win back his estranged family while desperately outrunning an accidental crime. Director David M. Rosenthal returns to the Festival with this ominously atmospheric and suspenseful backwoods tale of circumstance, based on Matthew F. Jones’s 1996 novel.
Some Velvet Morning, directed and written by Neil LaBute. (USA) — World premiere, narrative. Fred arrives at Velvet’s doorstep, suitcases in tow. He tells her that he has finally left his wife to be with her, news to Velvet since she has not seen him in years and is now with Fred’s recently married son. As Fred’s hopes crash to earth during a conversation brimming with passion, remorse, humor and anger, the twisted heart of a fascinating relationship is revealed. Stanley Tucci and Alice Eve star in this spirited living room drama.
Trust Me, directed and written by Clark Gregg. (USA) — World premiere, narrative. Directed by and starring Clark Gregg and featuring Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, Allison Janney and Amanda Peet, Trust Me follows flailing Hollywood agent Howard, who seemingly strikes gold after signing the next big child star. What results is an unexpected ride through the nasty inner workings of Hollywood, as Howard desperately tries to make it in an industry that has no interest in recognizing his bumbling but ultimately genuine nature.
Whitewash, directed by Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais, written by Marc Tulin and Hoss-Desmarais. (Canada) — World premiere, narrative. The brutality of winter and the power of the mind are aptly portrayed in this dark comedy set in Northern Quebec. Bruce (Thomas Haden Church) is merely trying to survive a harsh winter when he meets Jean. Conflict leads to an accidental death, and Bruce finds himself in a complicated and unexpected place. Grappling with his guilt, Bruce creates a prison from which he cannot escape. Haden Church perfectly utilizes his comic talent in this wry, well-crafted film.
Dark Touch, directed and written by Marina de Van. (France) — International premiere, narrative. Niamh is the lone survivor of a bloody massacre after the furniture and objects in her family’s isolated house take on a monstrous life of their own. The police ignore her wild stories and the family friends and social worker who take her in try to introduce a new life. But in this psychological thriller, Niamh is unable to leave her violent past behind her, endangering everyone who crosses her path.
Frankenstein’s Army, directed by Richard Raaphorst, written by Chris W. Mitchell and Miguel Tejada-Flores. (Netherlands) — International premiere, narrative. In the waning days of World War II, a team of Russian soldiers finds itself on a mysterious mission to the lab of one Dr. Victor Frankenstein. They unearth a terrifying Nazi plan to resurrect fallen soldiers as an army of unstoppable freaks and are soon trapped in a veritable haunted house of cobbled-together monstrosities. Frankenstein’s Army is the wild steam-punk-Nazi-found-footage-zombie-mad scientist film you’ve always wanted.
Fresh Meat, directed by Danny Mulheron, written by Briar Grace-Smith. (New Zealand) — New York premiere, narrative. After a poorly executed escape from the police, a gang of dysfunctional criminals flees to the suburbs and gets more than it bargained for when it crash lands in the garage of an upper-class Maori family whose refined palates have developed a taste for human flesh. This action-packed horror comedy tells a blood-spattered tale of basement butchery and shifting allegiances as these unlikely adversaries enter a deadly showdown. A Tribeca Film release.
The Machine, directed and written by Caradog James. (U.K.) –World premiere, narrative. Caradog James adds another layer to the Frankenstein story in the latest gripping sci-fi adventure to come out of the U.K.. Already deep into a second Cold War, Britain’s Ministry of Defence seeks a game-changing weapon. Programmer Vincent McCarthy unwittingly provides an answer in The Machine, a super-strong human cyborg played by the impressive Caity Lotz (The Pact). When a programming bug causes the prototype to decimate his lab, McCarthy takes his obsessive efforts underground, far away from inquisitive eyes.
Mr. Jones, directed and written by Karl Mueller. (USA) — World premiere, narrative. Scott (Jon Foster) is a filmmaker in need of inspiration. He and his girlfriend Penny move into a desolate house hoping to make a breakthrough. Then they discover their neighbor, the elusive Mr. Jones. Famous for his haunting sculptures, Mr. Jones has remained a mystery to the world. Scott and Penny, convinced that they have found the perfect film subject, sneak into his workshop and realize that their curiosity may have chilling consequences. Who is Mr. Jones?
Raze, directed by Josh Waller, written by Robert Beaucage. (USA) — World premiere, narrative. Stuntwoman Zoe Bell (Inglorious Basterds, Kill Bill 1&2) headlines this sly subversion of the women-in-prison genre. After Sabrina (Bell) is abducted, she finds herself in an underground lair, forced to do battle with other innocent women for the amusement of unseen spectators. Each of these reluctant warriors has something to lose, but only one will remain when the game is done. Violent and relentless, Raze takes its video game aesthetic to the deepest and darkest places, rarely surfacing for air. Includes Rachel Nichols and Tracie Thoms.
V/H/S/2, directed by Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard, Eduardo Sanchez, Gregg Hale, Timo Tjahjanto, Gareth Evans, Jason Eisener, written by Barrett, Jamie Nash, Tjahjanto, Evans, Eisener, and John Davies (USA, Indonesia) — New York premiere, narrative. Investigators break into a house, find a vast collection of VHS tapes and play them one by one. The videos include visions of the paranormal, flesh-eating zombies, a shockingly genuine scene of hell on earth and a slumber party gone horribly awry. This highly anticipated sequel to last year’s horror breakout V/H/S features contributions from contemporary genre filmmaking’s leading talents, including the creators of Hobo with a Shotgun, The Raid, You’re Next and The Blair Witch Project. In English, Indonesian with subtitles. A Magnet Release.
A Journal of Insomnia, Project creators: Bruno Choiniere, Philippe Lambert, and Guillaume Braun. (Canada). Insomniacs are both spectators and actors in this large, interactive fresco that combines hundreds of personal reflections on sleepless nights, gathered online from insomniacs around the world since fall 2012. This work, produced by The National Film Board of Canada, provides a cutting portrait of insomnia as a universal and peculiarly wide-ranging affliction and challenges visitors to experience the condition for themselves.
Robots in Residence, Project Creators: Brent Hoff and Alexander Reben. (USA). Robots in Residence challenges Alfred Hitchcock’s claim that “in feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director.” Here there is no god, as pre-programmed robots collaborate with festival audiences to direct and shoot a documentary in its entirety. Robot artist Alexander Reben and filmmaker Brent Hoff forge a provocative new form of documentary storytelling by using robots as a lens through which we take a new look at humanity.
Sandy Storyline, Project Creators: Rachel Falcone, Laura Gottesdiener, and Michael Premo. (USA). Using audio, photography, text and video,Sandy Storyline is an ever-growing documentary narrative as community members and volunteers offer their accounts of the storm and the efforts to recover and rebuild local neighborhoods. The project forges a new type of media in time of crisis, one that is participatory, interactive and designed for community empowerment.
Star Wars Uncut, Project Creator: Casey Pugh. (USA). Love Star Wars but think you would have done it differently? Then this fun, creative and wonderfully nostalgic interactive media project is for you. Using everything from hand-drawn animations to intricate reenactments, fans and series novices created short alternatives to the Star Wars storyline and went online to piece them all together. Discover a whole new approach to Star Wars, one fifteen-second burst at a time.
This Exquisite Forest, Project Creators: Aaron Koblin and Chris Milk (USA). Conceived by Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin and produced by Google and Tate Modern, This Exquisite Forest was inspired by the surrealist game “exquisite corpse” and its idea of collaborative creation. The project, hosted at exquisiteforest.com, allows visitors to create short animations right in their web browser. Other users may build on the animation at any point, creating a collection of navigable, branching narratives resembling trees that grow bigger as more artists contribute.
Alberi, directed by Michaelangelo Frammartino. (Italy) –World premiere, documentary. Wrapping the audience in waves of sound, Alberi takes us on a circular journey through the Italian countryside. The marvelous natural music at the tops of the eponymous trees makes way for the rhythmic cadence of civilization—men baring axes and the natural clatter of daily life—before their unforgettable return home from the forest. The singular artistry of director Michelangelo Frammartino (Le quatro volte) is beautifully displayed in this mesmerizing homage to nature. Italian with subtitles.
Alberi will run as an installation in the VW Dome at MoMA PS1 from April 18th through the end of the month, with a special event celebrating the world premiere on the evening of Saturday, April 20.
Sidewalk Stories, directed and written by Charles Lane. (USA) –narrative. The low-budget, New York-in-the-’80s movie that proves that silence is not all that golden, Charles Lane’s magnetic Sidewalk Stories is long overdue for rediscovery. Lane plays a sidewalk chalk artist whose efforts to care for an abandoned toddler are confounded by the oddball homeless characters he meets. Black-and-white and mostly silent, the film is an ingenious and whimsical effort by a black artist to give a voice to those who have none.
Herblock — The Black & The White, directed by Michael Stevens, written by Sara Lukinson and Stevens. (USA) — World premiere, documentary. Herbert Block’s career at The Washington Post spanned fifty-five years and thirteen presidents, a timeframe in which he claimed three Pulitzer Prizes, the Medal of Freedom and a significant role in President Nixon’s resignation. Ben Bradlee, Tom Brokaw, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Jules Feiffer, Ted Koppel and Jon Stewart are among the many commentators bearing witness to Block’s life, work and indelible contribution to American satire in this inviting documentary. Herbert Block to attend.
The Trials of Muhammad Ali, directed by Bill Siegel. (USA) — World premiere, documentary. Brash boxer Cassius Clay burst into the American consciousness in the early 1960s, just ahead of the Civil Rights movement. His transformation into the spiritually enlightened heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali is legendary, but this religious awakening also led to a bitter legal battle with the U.S. government after he refused to serve in the Vietnam War. This film reveals the perfect storm of race, religion and politics that shaped one of the most recognizable figures in sports history.
Running From Crazy, directed by Barbara Kopple. (USA) — New York premiere, documentary. Join actress Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of legendary author Ernest Hemingway, as she examines the mental illness and suicide that colors her family’s history and tries to avert that fate for herself and her daughters. By mixing in remarkable archival footage of the three Hemingway sisters, two-time Academy Award-winner Barbara Kopple expands one famous family’s deeply embedded truths into a broad picture of the courage it takes to face the past and change your future.
Möbius, directed and written by Eric Rochant. (France) — International premiere, narrative. Set in the incomparable beauty of Monaco, Eric Rochant’s first feature in seven years follows undercover Russian FSB officer Gregory Lioubov (Jean Dujardin, The Artist) and international trader Alice Redmond (Cécile De France, Hereafter), who has her own secrets to hide. Their relationship sparks a deadly chase to snag Lioubov’s real target, business magnate Ivan Rostovsky (Tim Roth). Also starring Émilie Dequenne, Möbius is a twisting, sexy spy thriller that fittingly leaves you guessing which way is up. Featuring special guest appearances from director Eric Rochant and main actress Cécile de France.
Email: Tatiana.Siegel@THR.com, Twitter: @TatianaSiegel27
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