'Redbelt' a cinch for Tribeca/ESPN fest


NEW YORK -- David Mamet's mixed martial arts drama "Redbelt" has been chosen as the gala premiere at the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.

Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as a noncompeting jujitsu trainer who rescues an action star (Tim Allen) from a beating, leading him to a life in Hollywood and eventually back to the ring. Emily Mortimer and Alice Braga also star.

The Sony Pictures Classics release will have its world premiere in the sports-themed Tribeca Film Festival section on April 25, followed by a bicoastal release May 2 and a national rollout the following week.

The film provides the Tribeca/ESPN fest with a rare sports film from a highbrow director. It also allows it to mend some fences with a high-profile SPC presentation: SPC co-president Tom Bernard complained about poor turnout for his 2007 Tribeca entry "Vitus," which he said was possibly caused by added uptown venues drawing away downtown crowds. The uptown venues have been removed this year.

The Tribeca fest runs April 23-May 4 in downtown Manhattan.