Tribeca festival sets panels, special events

Spike Lee, Barry Levinson, Steven Soderbergh on lineup

The 2009 Tribeca Film Festival's panel series and special events will include conversations with directors Spike Lee, Barry Levinson, Steven Soderbergh, Kirby Dick and Alex Gibney.

The fest, which runs April 22-May 3 in New York, will showcase "Tribeca Talks Special Events" around the films "Poliwood" and "Passing Strange."

Levinson will be on hand to discuss his new film "Poliwood" following its premiere. Joining him to discuss the movie about politics and Hollywood will be the film's actors Josh Lucas, Rachael Leigh Cook, Tim Daly, Lynn Whitfield, Tony Goldwyn, Robert Davi and Matthew Modine. NBC News political analyst and writer Lawrence O'Donnell will moderate.

Lee will present "Passing Strange," his filmed version of the 2008 Tony-winning Broadway musical. Joining him for a panel discussion will be the show's creator, Stew, and its co-composer, Heidi Rodewald.

The "Behind the Screens" series will examine serveral films: Cathy Henkel's documentary "The Burning Season"; Barry Ptolmy's documentary "Transcendent Man"; and Mandy Stein's documentary "Burning Down the House: The Story of CBGB."

The lineup for "Tribeca Talks: After the Movies" includes Kirby Dick's "Outrage"; Ian Olds' "Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi"; Leslie Cockburn's "American Casino"; Steven Soderbergh's "The Girlfriend Experience"; Crayton Robey's "Making the Boys"; and the 1960 classic "Inherit the Wind," presented by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Other topics to be explored in panel discussions include "The Big Time to the Big Screen: 30 Years of Sports Filmmaking," presented by ESPN; "The Future of Independents," sponsored by the DGA; "(Untitled): A Case Study for Digital Workflow," a look at the workflow process used on the film "Untitled" with Panavision and Merge Creative Media; "Tools of the Trade: Alternative Distribution, Marketing 2.0, and Beyond," sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter; and "Film: A Matter of Choice," sponsored by Kodak.

A new discussion series, "Tribeca Talks: Pen to Paper hosted by Barnes & Noble" will focus on screenwriters. The lineup includes "Writing Big and Small," with Brian Koppelman and David Levien; "As Good as the Book?" with Julian Kemp; and "Directors as Writers," with Raymond De Fillita, Paola Mendoza, Gloria LaMorte and Jac Schaffer.