Tribeca: Short Film Lineup Highlights Gun Violence Documentaries

Courtesy of Naiti Gamez
'Lessons From a School Shooting'

The film festival will feature 10 thematic shorts competition programs.

The 17th annual Tribeca Film Festival on Tuesday announced its lineup of short films set to make their debut in New York City.

This year, the fest’s competition will include 55 short films in competition and feature 29 world premieres. The films, curated from submissions, include the works of both international and U.S. filmmakers, with 40 percent of the selections being directed by women, coming at a time in which the representation of female directors in Hollywood continues to receive public scrutiny. 

“In addition to contemporary, timely storytelling, both narrative and documentary this year, we are infusing our traditional programming with a little more fun,” Sharon Badal,Tribeca vp filmmaker relations and shorts programming, said in a statement. “Our amazingly visual Sci-Fi program returns, and we’ve added a lighthearted comedic program along with a family-friendly program, so we truly do have something for everyone.” 

The fest will feature 10 thematic shorts competition programs that each celebrate “hope, humor and determination.” The shorts will range from themes dubbed “Bold Moves,” “Home Sweet Home,” “Into the Void,” “Lighten Up!,” “Loose Ends,” family-friendly films “Magic Act,” “Make or Break” and the return of the New York shorts program, "Homemade," which includes world premiere documentaries directed by New York-based filmmakers. The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival also will return this year for its 12th edition.

In wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the festival will also feature the hybrid program dubbed "Aftermath," with films focused on “compassion and humanity as vital tools in coping with gun violence.” Director Kim Snyder will premiere her documentary Lessons From a School Shooting, following with a candid conversation alongside producer Maria Cuomo, Sandy Hook surviving teacher Mary Ann Jacob and Parkland student Ryan Deitsch.

The animated shorts section will be curated by Whoopi Goldberg. 

Below is the full shorts program that will be featured during this year’s festival, which is set to run April 18-29.


The shorts program will explore the impact of gun violence followed by an extended Q&A.

Surviving Theater 9, directed and written by Tim McGrath. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Narrative. After the mass shooting at a  midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, filmmaker Tim McGrath and his fellow survivors offer an inside look in this intriguing and inspiring movie. With Corben Bernsen, Chelsey Crisp, Brittany Ishibashi, Luke Columbero, Tim McGrath, Stacey Oristano. 

Lessons From a School Shooting, directed by Kim Snyder. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. Following the Sandy Hook Massacre, a priest from Dunblane, Scotland, reaches out to Father Bob offering support 16 years after a school shooting in his own town. The men bond over personal trauma and responsibilities. In the aftermath, the U.K. reformed its gun laws; the U.S. responded with inaction. With Monsignor Bob Weiss, Monsignor Basil O’Sullivan. 

Animated Shorts Curated by Whoopi G

The animated films will showcase imaginative storytelling and captivating craft. This program is suggested for those 14 and older.

Brooklyn Breeze, directed and written by Alex Budovsky. (USA) - North American Premiere, Short Narrative. Brooklyn Breeze is a visual journey through different parts of Brooklyn, some of the iconic spots and others not often seen by the visitors, based on a tune recorded by New York based Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra.

Late Afternoon, directed and written by Louise Bagnall. (Ireland) - New York Premiere, Short Narrative. Disconnected from the world around her, Emily drifts back through her own memories, looking to her past in order to fully embrace her present. With Fionnula Flanagan, Niamh Moyles, Lucy O’Connell, Michael McGrath. 

The History of White People in America, directed by Jonathan Halperin, Ed Bell, Aaron Keane, Pierce Freelon, Drew Takahashi, written by Pierce Freelon and Jon Halperin. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. The invention of race in America gets an animated musical treatment.

Two Balloons, directed by Mark Smith, written by Mark C. Smith. (USA) - New York Premiere, Short Narrative. Two travelers return to a place crossed by stars and clouds where love is at the beginning of everything.

Surpresa, directed and written by Paulo Patrício. (Portugal) - U.S. Premiere, Short Documentary. A recorded conversation between a mother, Joana, and her 3-year-old daughter, Alice, who is recovering from kidney cancer, forms the heart of this short experimental-documentary animation. With Daniela Duarte, Carina Beringuilho, Joana Amorim, Ana Sofia Gueifão, Inês Almendra. In Portuguese with English subtitles.

The Velvet Underground Played at My High School, directed by Robert Pietri, Tony Jannelli, written by Marina Donahue. (USA) - New York Premiere, Short Documentary. This animated short recounts the Velvet Underground's first gig in 1965, in front of a crowd of shocked kids at a suburban New Jersey high school.

Fire in Cardboard City, directed by Phil Brough, written by Phil Brough, Matt Heath. (New Zealand) - U.S. Premiere, Short Narrative. When a city made entirely of cardboard catches fire, it's up to the local fire chief and his brave deputies to save Cardboard City and its citizens from impending doom.

Bao, directed and written by Domee Shi. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Narrative. An empty-nesting Chinese mom gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life. But she must come to terms with the bittersweet revelation that nothing stays cute and small forever.

Bold Moves

The films will focus on risk takers who tell true tales.

Hula Girl, directed by Amy Hill, Chris Riess, written by Amy Hill. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. Hula Girl is the untold story behind one of the biggest fads in modern American history. At 94 years of age, Joan Anderson has waited 50 years to prove that “a gentleman’s handshake” was hardly a deal and it’s time to set the record straight. With Joan Anderson, Richard Burton, James DiLullo, residents of La Costa Glen retirement home.

Cosmic Debris, directed and written by Patrick Waldrop. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. This documentary depicts the friendship between animator and creator Gabor Csupo (The Simpsons, Rugrats) and the legendary musician Frank Zappa. With Gabor Csupo.

9 at 38, directed by Catherine Lee. (South Korea, USA) - New York Premiere, Short Documentary. Juilliard-trained violinist Hyungjoon Won is about to realize a dream seven years in the making: a joint concert by North and South Korean musicians straddling the 38th parallel. But military aggression and apathy soon threaten to derail his plan. With Hyungjoon Won. In English, Korean with English subtitles.

The Last Storm, directed and written by Liam Saint-Pierre. (U.K., USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. Mark, a 60-year-old fledgling storm chaser who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, sets out across the Midwest with his friend's nephew to search for a twister before the two-month season comes to an end. With Mark Zabawa, Mike Marz. 

Adventure Not War, directed by Max Lowe. (Iraq, USA) - New York Premiere, Short Documentary. Three U.S. veterans travel back into the mountains of Iraq on a mission to heal wounds and to experience the country and its culture, relieved of the shadow of war. With Stacey Bare, Robin Brown, Matthew Griffin. 

Home Sweet Home

From small towns to planet Earth, this lineup of documentaries will celebrate home.

Hey Ronnie Reagan, directed by Maurice O'Brien. (Ireland) - International Premiere, Short Documentary. When U.S. President Ronald Reagan makes a visit to his ancestral home in Ireland, the tiny, anonymous Tipperary village is thrust into the world spotlight. Ballyporeen would never be the same.

Wendy's Shabbat, directed and written by Rachel Myers. (USA) - New York Premiere, Short Documentary. After mourning the loss of her husband Jack of nearly 60 years, Roberta Mahler sought to connect with her Jewish community to ease the loneliness. She did so, surprisingly, at her local Wendy’s. With Roberta Mahler, Sharon Goodman, Michael Goodman, Lou Silberman, Rabbi Isaiah Zeldin, Gerrie Gussman, Winston Bannister. 

Destination Park, directed by Andrew Cohn. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. Deep within Trump's America, a camp of destitute truck drivers confide their anxieties, frustrations, hopes and fears to the chaplain of a Midwest mobile chapel. With Chad Roedema. 

Homeless: The Soundtrack, directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. Thirty years after being taken away from her parents by the state and given up for adoption, singer-songwriter Jenni Alpert went searching for her father. She finally finds him: homeless, toothless, addicted. And a musician, just like her. With "Cami" Jenni Alpert, Don Logsdon, Jill Alpert.

The River of the Kukamas (The El Río de los Kukamas), directed and written by Nika Belianina. (Peru) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. This film takes a tranquil journey through the waters and history of Kukama people, who inhabit the Amazon basin in Peru. With Pablo Taricuarima Pinedo. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Earthrise, directed by Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, written by Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, Adam Loften. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. The Apollo 8 astronauts recount their memories of capturing the first image of Earth from space in 1968 and evokes the awe of seeing Earth framed against the blackness of space. With Frank Borman, James Lovell, Bill Anders.

Into the Void

The lineup will include sci-fi shorts that will "rock your multiverse."

The 716th, written and directed by Andrew Bowen.  (USA) - World Premiere, Short Narrative. After refusing to leave a soldier behind, SCOUT is left to die at the hands of her enemies when a small shuttle arrives to save them. Piloted by an unlikely hero, this not well-planned, at times comical rescue will send these outcasts on an adventure none of them expected. With Andrew Bowen, John Asher, Lauren McFall, Taj Speights.

Bad Peter, directed and written by Zach Strauss. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Narrative. An expectant mother is forced into a humiliating birthing regimen by her automated personal assistant, which thinks it knows what’s best for her and her unborn child. With Frankie Shaw, Ross Partridge. 

Exit Strategy, directed and written by Travis Bible. (USA) - New York Premiere, Short Narrative. A man who is trapped in a time loop must work with his brother to prevent a catastrophic fire. With Christopher O'Shea, Richard Kohnke. 

Let Them Die Like Lovers, directed by Jesse Atlas, written by Jesse Atlas, Aaron Wolfe. (USA) - New York Premiere, Short Narrative. A body-jumping soldier grapples with the morality of her missions in this emotionally charged sci-fi thriller. With Mustafa Shakir, Angela Lewis, Bradley Fisher. 

UI - Soon We Will All Be One, directed by Johannes Mücke, Patrick Sturm, written by Johannes Mücke. (Austria) - World Premiere, Short Narrative. When hard-bitten ranger Kira is sent out to retrieve a drone that has gone astray, she discovers a mysterious, large object in the vast ice lands of Antarctica. Little does she know that inside this object waits a lethal trap not only for her, but for mankind. With Tanja Petrovsky, Dennis Kozeluh, Michael Smulik. 

Laboratory Conditions, directed by Jocelyn Stamat, written by Terry Rossio. (USA) - New York Premiere, Short Narrative. A physician investigating a missing body disrupts an unlawful experiment. With Marisa Tomei, Minnie Driver, Paulo Costanzo, Lisa Renee, Robert Scheid, John Kearney. 

Lighten Up!

The lineup will feature comedic and off-beat stories.

The Last Romantic (El Último Romántico), directed by Natalia García Agraz, written by Natalia García Agraz, Gerardo Lechuga. (Mexico) - International Premiere, Short Narrative. Hector, the employee of the month at a bowling alley, is in love with Magda, his co-worker. With Ulises Galván, Lorea Montemayor, Enrique Arreola, Raúl Briones. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Five Minutes, directed and written by Justine Bateman. (USA) - New York Premiere, Short Narrative. A “parenting class” at a progressive elementary school takes an unexpected, dramatic turn. With Rob Benedict, Rae Dawn Chong, Bre Blair,  Aimee Graham, Steve Agee, Seana Kofoed. 

Love-40, directed and written by Harry Israelson. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Narrative. A friendly tennis match between Alice and Andy takes an abrupt turn when Alice goes to retrieve a stray tennis ball and is bitten by a rattlesnake. With Lola Kirke, Jack Henry Robbins. 

Ugh!, directed by Jimmy Marble, written by Jimmy Marble, Doug Sacrison. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Narrative. 1990s. Los Angeles. The Future Is Repeating Itself. Oh My God. With Nika de Carlo, Carly Foulkes.

Black Label (Etiqueta negra), directed by David Vergés, written by Guillermo Tato, David Vergés. (Spain) - North American Premiere, Short Narrative. Erik is a night-shift employee from a lonely gas station; Alex is a regular at the shop. One night, something happens that gives them the opportunity to discover who they really are. With Úrsula Corberó, Marcel Borràs, Andrés Herrera, Macarena Gomez, Cristina Brondo. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Welcome Home (Velkommen til oss), directed and written by Armita Keyani. (Norway) - New York Premiere, Short Narrative. An Iranian refugee couple living in the North of Norway invite in two Jehovah's Witnesses when they knock on their door. With Ashkan Ghorbani, Elnaz Asgari, Marianne Lauritsen, Ole Jorgen Farstad. In English, Farsi, Norwegian with English subtitles.

So You Like the Neighborhood, directed and written by Jean Pesce. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Narrative. After Wendy gets dumped and then evicted from her Brooklyn apartment, she befriends some locals, who offer to help her with the eviction. The thing is, they’re mafia members, and by “help,” they mean something rather more nefarious. With Sarah Stiles, Carmine Raspaolo, Ernest Mingione, Vince Bandille, Corey Sullivan, Matt Hopkins, Joe Corrao, Chuck McMahon, Jason Nuzzo, John Forde, Hillary Hamilton, Matt Casuccio. 

Loose Ends

The lineup will explore the theme that "life is unravelling."

The Goodnight Show, directed by Charlie Schwan, written by Charlie Schwan and Wyatt Miller. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Narrative. Being a virgin isn't the end of the world, but when the world is actually ending, the stakes are raised so tragic hero Samuel embarks on a quest to lose his virginity before it's too late. With Spencer Flynn, Ellie Dubin.

Paper Roof, directed and written by Judith Tong. (Singapore) - World Premiere, Short Narrative. Two young sisters, Pamela and Abigail, decide to run away from trouble at home to build a cardboard house together. However, reality soon catches up with them and threatens to put an end to their escapade. With Lee Min Xin, Zhang Zhirou

We Were Three (Vi var tre), directed by Caroline Ingvarsson, written by Caroline Ingvarsson, Gunnar Järvstad. (Sweden, Norway) - International Premiere, Short Narrative. In this true story, three young girls arrive at the airport after a long night of partying during a parent-free trip to England. But a naive joke in the wrong place shatters their friendship. With Selma Modéer Wiking, Sofie Nilsask, Livia Liedholm.

Phone Duty (Дежурство), directed and written by Lenar Kamalov. (Russia) - World Premiere, Short Narrative. A Donbass rebel fighter, whose nom de guerre is Cat, receives orders to sit on phone duty — which, he quickly learns, is not as easy as it first seems. With Zakhar Prilepin, Oleg Chernov, Gleb Kornilov, Mikhail Sivorin, Yuriy Maslak. In Russian with English subtitles.

Salam, directed and written by Claire Fowler (USA, Wales) - World Premiere, Short Narrative. A female Lyft driver navigates the night shift in New York City while waiting to hear life-or-death news from her family in Syria. With Leslie Bibb, Hana Chamoun, Khaled Al Maleh, Jessica Damouni. In Arabic, English with English subtitles.

The Motion of Stars (Die Bewegung der Sterne), directed and written by Jan Prazak. (Austria) - North American Premiere, Short Narrative. Eight-year-old Lena’s favorite book, about the secret relationship between stars and humans, gains special significance when she watches a solar eclipse with her father, an event that changes both their worlds forever. With Ulrich Reinthaller, Lena Madsen, Rainer Doppler, Martina Spitzer, Aaron Friesz, Vivienne Causemann. In German with English subtitles.

Souls of Totality, directed by Richard Raymond, written by Kate Trefry, Ben Bolea. (USA) - New York Premiere, Short Narrative. Set during the Great American Eclipse, Souls of Totality is a relationship story about the sacrifices we make, the things we don’t say and love’s seemingly supernatural ability to conquer all. With Tatiana Maslany, Tom Cullen, Helen Shaver, Mike Tague. 

Magic Act

The lineup will include family-friendly films.

How Tommy Lemenchick Became a Grade 7 Legend, directed by Bastien Alexandre, written by Nicolas Billon. (Canada) - U.S. Premiere, Short Narrative. Eleven-year-old Ophelia has never been kissed, but she has the perfect plan to remedy that. She finds a suitable candidate — Tommy Lemenchick — and at school the following day, he describes how he became a seventh-grade legend. With Charlie Birdgenaw, Sam Ashe Arnold, Caroline Dhavernas.

Mirette, directed and written by Helen O'Hanlon. (U.K.) - New York Premiere, Short Narrative. In 20th century Paris, a young girl's life is changed by the arrival of a mysterious man, who she discovers is a wirewalker, in this adaptation of the much-loved, Caldecott Medal-winning book. With Tom Conti, Miriam Margolyes, Dixie Egerickx, Jean-Marc Desmond, Bebe Cave.

Earthy Encounters, directed and written by Sam Johnson. (U.K.) - North American Premiere, Short Narrative. Fifteen-year-old Kyle believes he can save his dying older brother with a plant he found in the garden center where he works — the problem is, a shadowy government agency is out to destroy it first. With Fionn O'Shea, Jessica Barden, Pete Sullivan, Luke Baverstock, Nathalie Armin, Johnny Palmiero.

Make or Break

The lineup will include films that feature themes of aspirations and complications.

The Love Letter (Michtav Ahava Lam'em Sheli), directed by Atara Frish, written by Atara Frish. (Israel) - World Premiere, Short Narrative. When Noa finds a special love letter in her locker, she struggles to reconcile her safe, restrained world and her urge to feel — at least for a brief moment — loved. With Gili Beit Hallahmi, Ravit Dor, Shir Abramov. In Hebrew with English subtitles.

Time Traveller, directed and written by Steve Kenny. (Ireland) - New York Premiere, Short Narrative. A Back to the Future-obsessed young Irish traveller strives to finish building his own DeLorean replica before he and his family are evicted from their halting site. With Barry Ward, Tom Doran, Liam Doran, Denise McCormack, Barbara Bergin. 

Knuckles, directed and written by Laura Groombridge. (Australia) - World Premiere, Short Narrative. A man entangled in the violent criminal underworld of bare-knuckles fighting pursues a misguided attempt at redemption. With Tim Phillipps, Mirko Grillini, Simon Todman, Laura Jane Turner. 

Blind Audition, directed by Andreas Kessler, written by Linda Kokkores. (Germany) - New York Premiere, Short Narrative. When violinists and partners Ari and Ron  both get invited to audition for the same solo part in an orchestra, their relationship is put to the ultimate test. With Han Nguyen, Simon Kluth, Horst Kotterba, Sven Gielnik, Tine Kiefl. In German with English subtitles.

The Life of Esteban (Het Leven van Esteban), directed and written by Inès Eshun. (Belgium) - International Premiere, Short Narrative. Esteban, a future Olympic swimmer, has grown up with a single mother and doesn't know who his father is. As he searches for his identity in this poetic short film, he determines swimming is a metaphor for life itself. With Noah Mavuela, Mathis Mavuela, Joshua Tassin, Tine Cartuyvels, Goua Grovogui, Lamine Diouf. In Dutch with English subtitles.

Rise of a Star (Naissance d'une Étoile), directed by James Bort, written by Stéphane Landowski. (France) - World Premiere, Short Narrative. Emma is about to be the new Ballerina at Paris Opera. But something upsets her. A secret. A secret liable to undermine what she has spent a whole life on. With Dorothée Gilbert, Catherine Deneuve, Antonia Desplat, Pierre Deladonchamps. In French with English subtitles.

NY Shorts: Homemade

The lineup will feature world premiere docs from our New York-based filmmakers.

I Heart NY, directed by Andre Andreev, written by Dan Covert. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. This documentary short examines the life of the creator of the infamous I Heart NY symbol and his struggle to find love for the city during a trying time. With Milton Glaser.

Saul's 108th Story, directed and written by Joshua Carlon. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. Wherein Saul recalls fixing a window. With Saul Moroz. 

Into My Life, directed by Sarah Keeling, Grace Remington, Ivana Hucikova. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. From 1965 to the present, M. Elaine and Cassandra Bromfield, two African-American women, made joyful documents of their lives in Brooklyn’s Lindsay Park Housing Cooperative on 8mm film. Into My Life pays tribute to their drive for self-preservation and self-representation, highlighting the memories, identities and relationships housed within their archive. With Cassandra Bromfield. 

Big Elvis, directed by Paul Stone, written by Mark Winegardner. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. A 960-pound Elvis impersonator becomes convinced he is Elvis Presley's secret love child. With Pete "Big Elvis" Vallee, Brendon Paul, Ron Decar. 

Sidelined, directed by Galen Summer. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. In 1978, several NFL cheerleaders posed in Playboy magazine, having received approval from team management. But when the issue hit newstands, it unleashed a wave of repercussions for the women themselves — and their team.

Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival: Sports Shorts, Sponsored by Mohegan Sun

A spectrum of stories, styles, and sports, this collection of athletically-minded short films will take audiences on the exciting personal journeys of four athletes. 

Locked In, directed and written by Alison Ellwood. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. After falling victim to a pair of illnesses at age 11, Victoria Arlen lived with locked-in syndrome for four years. Locked In tells the story of her recovery and eventual gold medal victory in swimming at the 2012 London Paralympics. With Victoria Arlen.

A Mountain to Climb, directed by Kristen Lappas, written by Tom Rinaldi. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. A Nepali teen, Pratima Sherpa, works to become her country’s first golf star. With Pratima Sherpa, Pasang Sherpa, Kalpana Sherpa. 

Run: The Robert Young Story, directed by Todd Kapostasy (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. Ultra-marathon runner Rob Young attempts to set a record running across the U.S., but his efforts are marred by allegations of fraud.

Sonic Break, directed by Stevan Riley. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. Directed by Stevan Riley (Listen to Me, Marlon), Sonic Break explores the sports psychology and mental training that helped Felix Baumgartner to jump from the Earth’s stratosphere. With Felix Baumgartner, Joe Kittinger. 

Special Screenings

Lessons From a School Shooting, directed by Kim Snyder. (USA) - World Premiere, Short Documentary. Following the Sandy Hook Massacre, a priest from Dunblane, Scotland, reaches out to Father Bob offering support 16 years after a school shooting in his own town. The men bond over personal trauma and responsibilities. In the aftermath, the U.K. reformed its gun laws; the U.S. responded with inaction. With Monsignor Bob Weiss, Monsignor Basil O’Sullivan. Following the screening, there will be a conversation with director Kim Snyder and producer Maria Cuomo Cole along with Sandy Hook surviving teacher Mary Ann Jacob and Parkland, Florida, student Ryan Deitsch. Moderated by actor-director John Slattery.

RX: Early Detection A Cancer Journey With Sandra Lee¸ directed and written by Cathy Chermol Schrijver. (USA) – New York Premiere, Short Documentary. RX Early Detection A Cancer Journey With Sandra Lee follows the intense and intimate journey of a woman whose life becomes dramatically altered when her routine medical check-up delivers a cancer diagnosis. Executive produced by Sandra Lee and Sheila Nevins. After the screening: a conversation with subject Sandra Lee and director Cathy Chermol Schrijver.