Tribeca hosts five world premieres


Day Zero
Premieres: Sunday, 9:30 p.m., Clearview Chelsea West
Industry Cred: Documentary director and editor Bryan Gunnar Cole's narrative-feature debut stars Chris Klein and Elijah Wood in the story of how a small group of friends in New York react to a fictional reinstatement of the draft.
The Scoop: Cole filmed in 60 New York City locations in just 24 days for less than $750,000, using a handheld camera to help give the "frenzied feel of a mid-'70s indie film," he says. The style seems rather apt for a subject he says hasn't been fully explored since the Vietnam era. "I'd like (the movie) to get people talking about what we're doing today and why."

Gardener of Eden
Premieres: Thursday, 9:30 p.m., BMCC Tribeca PAC (formerly TPAC)
Industry Cred: Directed by Kevin Connolly of HBO's "Entourage" and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, "Gardener" is a black comedy about a slacker (Lukas Haas) who becomes an accidental hero after drunkenly beating up a rapist.
The Scoop: With 27 years in the business, Connolly was well prepared for his feature directorial debut. And while having his longtime friend DiCaprio produce the $3.2 million project certainly didn't hurt, it was the budding director's unique take on the material that earned the film its coveted slot as one of the 18 World Narrative Feature Competition films. Connolly is quick to point out that starring on the HBO series provided some helpful training in navigating the film business. "My life has never been more like the show than it has been getting this film made," he laughs.

Maldeamores (Lovesickness)
Premieres: Friday, 8 p.m., Clearview Chelsea West
Industry Cred: Character actor Luis Guzman stars in this Puerto Rican drama exploring the misguided ways children, adults and the elderly search for love; the film was co-executive produced by Benicio Del Toro and Robert Bevan.
The Scoop: Co-writer/co-director Carlos Ruiz Ruiz calls Del Toro "the godfather of the project": The actor not only encouraged Ruiz to make his first feature after seeing an early short, but he assisted with casting and editing. The Puerto Rico Film Commission provided 80% of the $1.1 million budget; casting Guzman in the Spanish-language picture helped raise the rest. Ruiz thinks Tribeca is the ideal launching pad for the film, noting that "there are more Puerto Ricans in New York than in Puerto Rico!"

Suburban Girl
Premieres: Friday, 9:30 p.m., BMCC Tribeca PAC
Industry Cred: Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alec Baldwin star in this romantic comedy, which is based on two short stories in Melissa Bank's best-selling anthology, "The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing."
The Scoop: First-time feature director Marc Klein is no stranger to the genre, having written 2001's "Serendipity" and adapted 2006's "A Good Year" for the screen. The $9 million Odd Lot Entertainment production also is familiar to several film executives who recently saw a rough cut of the movie and gave notes that Klein says "helped with clarity issues ... we trimmed it to a fighting weight." The new edit and the attendant Tribeca publicity could help attract a distributor for the project.

West 32nd
Premieres: Saturday, 7:30 p.m., AMC 34th Street
Industry Cred: Directed and co-written by Michael Kang (2006's "The Motel"), this crime thriller is set in the heart of Manhattan's Korean-American community.
The Scoop: Kang heard the true story of a youth falsely accused of murder when he collaborated on the script with former Village Voice staffer Edmund Lee, who penned exposes of Korean crime in the late '90s. The resulting feature sheds light on a little-known New York subculture, helping earn the film a spot as one of three U.S. films in Tribeca's World Narrative Feature Competition films.

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