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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

This Year's Tribeca Film Festival Will Feature the Highest Percentage of Women Directors in Its History

Okay, so the number is only 30 out of 119 directors, but the fact that women directors are slowly yet steadily becoming more prevalent at one of the country's premier film festivals is nothing to scoff at. Yesterday the Tribeca Film Festival released its selection of films competing this year in the World Narrative, Viewpoints and Documentary sections, which includes the recently announced Live From New York!

A few of the highlights from the list that I think are most noteworthy:

WORLD NARRATIVES



Franny: directed and written by Andrew Renzi. (USA) – World Premiere. Richard Gere delivers a bravura performance as the title character, a rich eccentric who worms his way into the lives of a deceased friend’s young daughter (Dakota Fanning) and her new husband (Theo James). The narrative feature debut of writer-director Andrew Renzi, Franny is a warm and winsome drama about the pangs of the past, and the families we choose. 



Meadowland: directed by Reed Morano, written by Chris Rossi. (USA) – World Premiere. Sarah and Phil’s son goes missing, shattering their life together and forcing each to find their own way to cope. Cinematographer-turned-director Reed Morano presents a masterfully crafted contemplation on a relationship strained to the breaking point. Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson capture the unraveling emotions with remarkable power, alongside Kevin Corrigan, John Leguizamo, Elisabeth Moss, Giovanni Ribisi, Juno Temple, and Merritt Wever.



The Survivalist: directed and written by Stephen Fingleton. (Northern Ireland, UK) – World Premiere. Self-preservation takes on a new level of meaning in this organic post-apocalyptic drama, where the only way to get food is to farm it. A man is threatened when two starving women stumble across his cabin and demand to stay. Each new mouth to feed strains the limits of what the farm can produce and diminishes their chance for survival. 



Sworn Virgin (Vergine Giurata): directed and written by Laura Bispuri, co-written by Francesca Manieri. (Albania, Germany, Italy, Kosovo, Switzerland) – North American Premiere. As a young woman living within the confines of a Northern Albanian village, Hana longs to escape the shackles of womanhood, and live her life as a man. To do so she must take an oath to eternally remain a virgin. Years later, as Mark, she leaves home for the first time to confront a new set of circumstances, leading her to contemplate the possibility of undoing her vow. In Albanian, Italian with subtitles. 



Wednesday 04:45 (Tetarti 04:45): directed and written by Alexis Alexiou. (Germany, Greece, Israel) – World Premiere. A life's work becomes a prison for jazz club owner Stelios when a shady Romanian gangster calls in his debts. This gripping, underworld drama is a parable on the perils of accumulated debt, and a depiction of the descent of a mostly decent man. Director Alexis Alexiou perfectly balances the complex emotions that drive a man to take the most drastic measures available. In Greek with subtitles.

WORLD DOCUMENTARY FEATURES



In My Father’s House: directed by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg, co-written by Ricki Stern, Annie Sundberg, and Pax Wassermann. (USA) – World Premiere. After moving into his childhood home on Chicago’s South Side, Grammy Award–winning rapper Che "Rhymefest" Smith hesitantly sets out to reconnect with his estranged father, the man who abandoned him over twenty years ago. In My Father’s House is a stirring, multigenerational chronicle of Che's sincere but often-fraught journey to build a future for his own family by reconnecting with his traumatic past.



Very Semi-Serious: directed by Leah Wolchok. (USA) – World Premiere. The New Yorker is the benchmark for the single-panel cartoon. This light-hearted and sometimes poignant look at the art and humor of the iconic drawings shows why they have inspired and even baffled us for decades. Very Semi-Serious is a window into the minds of cartooning legends and hopefuls, including editor Bob Mankoff, shedding light onto their how their humor evolves.

VIEWPOINTS



Being 14 (À 14 ans): directed and written by Hélène Zimmer. (France). – International Premiere, Narrative. Adopting an observational style, Being 14 captures all the secrets, trials, and anguish of adolescence, as experienced by best friends Sarah, Louise, and Jade in their final year of middle school. The narrative plays like a documentary in each true-to-life scene; the camera is witness to their lives unfolding, as it unobtrusively records the moments of a year, after which everything will change. In French with subtitles



Sunrise (Arunoday): directed and written by Partho Sen-Gupta. (India, France) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Social Service officer Lakshman Joshi is led on a chase through the dark gutters and rain-soaked back alleys of Mumbai by a shadowy figure. His pursuit leads him to Paradise, a seedy nightclub seemingly at the center of the kidnapping ring he is investigating. Joshi's hunt brings back memories of his own kidnapped daughter, as his past and current reality converge. In Marathi with subtitles.

The festival will unveil the feature-length films in the Spotlight, Midnight and Special Sections this Thursday. Stay tuned. 

And to purchase tickets for the Tribeca Film Festival, which will take place from April 15 to 26 in New York City, click here

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