Tribeca 2015: Documentary Overview

tribecaTomorrow, Wednesday, April 15 sees the opening of the 14th Tribeca Film Festival, which this year will present over fifty feature documentaries before it closes on Sunday, April 26. The event’s nonfiction programming has consistently proven to be noteworthy, and organizers have recognized that in recent years, presenting documentaries as the event’s opening selection, such as this year’s LIVE FROM NEW YORK!, Bao Nguyen’s look at the history and enduring popularity of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. What follows are some highlights of this year’s nonfiction slate:

sakeThe docs likely to garner the lion’s share of attention this coming week are the dozen contenders featured in the World Documentary Competition. Among these are: Ivy Meeropol’s exploration of the state of nuclear energy in the US, INDIAN POINT; Leah Wolchok’s inside look at The New Yorker‘s legendary cartoons, VERY SEMI-SERIOUS; Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt’s profile of a passionate group of Cuban car racers, HAVANA MOTOR CLUB; Erik Shirai’s meditation on saké making, THE BIRTH OF SAKÉ (pictured); Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s portrait of an estranged father and son, IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE; and Albert Maysles, Lynn True, Nelson Walker, David Usui, and Ben Wu’s observation of train travelers, IN TRANSIT.

orionNonfiction featured in Viewpoints, the fest’s section celebrating distinctive visions, include: Jeanie Finlay’s ORION: THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING (pictured), about a musician whose strange career was intertwined with Elvis’ legend; Steve Hoover’s CROCODILE GENNADIY, a portrait of pastor’s crusade to save Ukraine’s street children; Vanessa Hope’s ALL EYES AND EARS, on Chinese-American relations as revealed through three subjects’ stories; Amy Kohn’s A COURTSHIP, which takes an intimate look at a Christian couple’s search for their surrogate daughter’s future husband; and Andrew Jenks’ DREAM/KILLER, following a father’s quest to exonerate his imprisoned son.

imgres-1Several documentaries appear in the Spotlight sidebar, such as: Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s PEGGY GUGGENHEIM – ART ADDICT, about the legendary art collector; David Gelb’s A FASTER HORSE, which looks at the redesign of Ford’s Mustang; Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi’s AMONG THE BELIEVERS, about the systematic jihadist radicalization of Pakistani youth; Erin Lee Carr’s THOUGHT CRIMES, an exploration of the NYPD officer whose grisly fantasies cost him everything; Eric Weinrib’s ROSEANNE FOR PRESIDENT! (pictured), on the outspoken comedian’s 2012 bid for the White House; Abigail Disney’s THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, which examines the contradictions of the union between the religious right and gun lobbyists; Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks and Jared P Scott’s REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM, in which Noam Chomsky reveals the roots of American income inequality; and Michael Winterbottom’s THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES, which explores the same topic via comedian Russell Brand.

ballerina-2Docs appearing in other sections include: David Holbrooke’s tribute to his ambassador father, THE DIPLOMAT, and Robin Hauser Reynolds’ consideration of gender disparity in the tech world, CODE: DEBUGGING THE GENDER GAP, in the Tribeca Talks section; Nelson George’s portrait of an African American ballet dancer, A BALLERINA’S TALE (pictured), and Roger Graef and James Rogan’s behind-the-scenes look at the inimitable comedians’ live stage performances, MONTY PYTHON: THE MEANING OF LIVE, both in the Special Screenings sidebar; and Ryan Harvie and John Paul Horstmann’s chronicle of a fringe group of semi-professional wrestlers, BODYSLAM: REVENGE OF BANANA!, in the fest’s Midnight program.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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