The Tribeca Film Festival has just announced the films in its Narrative Competition sections, now split along US and International lines, World Documentary Competition, and Viewpoints sections. Features screening in the Spotlight, Midnight, and Special sections will be announced next week. Today’s films represent more than half of the anticipated 101 features in this year’s 15th annual festival, including the 23 documentaries noted below:
World Documentary Feature Competition:
ALL THIS PANIC
What is it like to come of age in New York City? First-time director Jenny Gage follows vivacious sisters, Ginger and Dusty, and their high school friends over the course of their crucial teen years. In this sensitive and cinematic documentary, Gage captures all the urgency, drama, and bittersweetness of girlhood as her subjects grapple with love, friendship, and what their futures hold.
BETTING ON ZERO
Allegations of corporate criminality and high-stakes Wall Street vendettas swirl throughout this riveting financial docu-thriller. Controversial hedge fund titan Bill Ackman is on a crusade to expose global nutritional giant Herbalife as the largest pyramid scheme in history while Herbalife execs claim Ackman is a market manipulator out to bankrupt them and make a killing off his billion dollar short.
Head Chef Ben Reade and Lead Researcher Josh Evans from Nordic Food Lab are on a mission to investigate the next big trend in food: edible insects. Filmmaker Andreas Johnsen follows the duo on a globe-trotting tour as they put their own haute-cuisine spin on local insect delicacies (bee larva ceviche, anyone?) in the pursuit of food diversity and deliciousness.
Bill Ross and Turner Ross
In the summer of 2015, legendary musician David Byrne staged an unprecedented event at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center to celebrate the art of color guard – synchronized dance involving flags, rifles, and sabers – by pairing regional color guard teams with performers, including St Vincent, Nelly Furtado, and Ad-Rock. More than a concert film, CONTEMPORARY COLOR is a cinematic interpretation of a one-of-a-kind live event, courtesy of visionary filmmakers Bill and Turner Ross.
DO NOT RESIST
Director Craig Atkinson, through keen and thoughtful observances, presents a startling and powerful exploration into the rapid militarization of police forces in the United States. Filmed over two years, in 11 states, DO NOT RESIST reveals a rare and surprising look into the increasingly disturbing realities of American police culture.
THE HAPPY FILM: A GRAPHIC DESIGN EXPERIMENT
Stefan Sagmeister, Ben Nabors, and Hillman Curtis
Designer Stefan Sagmeister takes us on a personal journey to find out what causes happiness. Experimenting with three different approaches – meditation, therapy, and drugs – Sagmeister embarks on an entertaining and introspective quest, accented with a whimsical panoply of graphics, charts, and proverbs. THE HAPPY FILM may not make you happier, but it will surely move you to reexamine your own pursuit of happiness.
Joseph Martin and Sam Blair
Passionate in his anti-Semitic beliefs, Csanád Szegedi was the rising star of Hungary’s far-right party until he discovers his family’s secret – his maternal grandparents were Jewish. The revelation prompts an improbable but seemingly heartfelt conversion from anti-Semite to Orthodox Jew. This captivating and confrontational film explores the complex and contradictory character of Szegedi, prompting deep questions about Szegedi’s supposed epiphany.
A genre-bending documentary, demystifying the fantasy of true love. From an Alaskan strip club, a Hawaiian island, and the streets of NYC – revelatory stories emerge about a deeper definition of love. Set to a hypnotizing score by Flying Lotus and executive produced by Shia LaBeouf.
MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART
Like many gay men in the 1980s, Miguel moved from Puerto Rico to New York City; he found a career in theater and a rewarding relationship. Yet, on his deathbed he grappled to reconcile his homosexuality with his Catholic upbringing. Now, decades after his death, his niece Cecilia locates Miguel’s estranged lover to understand the truth, and in the process opens up long-dormant family secrets.
Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway
How does one reintegrate into society after making peace with a life sentence? California’s controversial and notoriously harsh three-strikes law was repealed in 2012, consequently releasing large numbers of convicts back into society. The Return presents an unbiased observation of the many issues with re-entry through the varied experiences of recently freed lifers.
Charting Bassem Youssef’s rise as Egypt’s foremost on-screen satirist, TICKLING GIANTS offers a rousing celebration of free speech and a showcase for the power of satire to speak for the people against a repressive government. Where this story differs from the familiar success of Youssef’s idol, Jon Stewart: Bassem’s jokes come with serious, dangerous, and at times revolutionary consequences.
When a powerful Florida lobbyist discovered his daughter was sexually abused, he launched a crusade to pass some of the strictest sex offender laws in the country. Today, 800,000 people are listed in the sex offender registry, yet the cycles of abuse continue. David Feige’s enlightening documentary argues for a new understanding of how we think about and legislate sexual abuse.
A section highlighting both fiction and nonfiction featuring bold directorial visions, the following include the documentary selections.
ABORTION: STORIES WOMEN TELL
Tracy Droz Tragos
In 1973, the US Supreme court decision Roe v Wade gave every woman the right to have an abortion. In 2016, abortion remains one of the most divisive issues in America, especially in Missouri. Award-winning director and Missouri native Tracy Droz Tragos sheds new light on the contentious issue by focusing on the women and their stories, rather than the debate.
Ellen Martinez and Steph Ching
Close to 80,000 Syrian refugees live in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. AFTER SPRING immerses us in the rhythms of the camp, the role of the aid workers, and the daily lives of two families as they contemplate an uncertain future. A fascinating journey through the camp’s physical and human landscapes.
THE CHARRO OF TOLUQUILLA (EL CHARRO DE TOLUQUILLA)
Jose Villalobos Romero
Jaime García appears to be the quintessentially machismo mariachi singer, yet beneath his magnetic confidence lies a man struggling to maintain a relationship with his estranged family while living as an HIV-positive man. In Jose Villalobos Romero’s remarkable cinematic debut, he utilizes vivid tableaus and stylized perspective to paint a beautifully unique and emotional portrait of a man divided.
14 MINUTES FROM EARTH
Jerry Kolber, Adam “Tex” Davis, Trey Nelson, and Erich Sturm
On October 24th, 2014, a secret three-year mission by a small crew of engineers came to fruition deep in the desert of New Mexico. There, a human being (Alan Eustace) was launched higher than ever before without the aid of a spacecraft—shattering all records. This film documents the mission and its greater implications for the scientific community and stratospheric exploration.
HAVEABABY opens with a YouTube-based competition for a free round of in vitro fertilization, courtesy of a Las Vegas fertility clinic. Through this controversial contest, Micheli explores the complexities of America’s burgeoning fertility industry and paints an intimate portrait of the many resilient couples determined to have a baby against all odds.
KEEPERS OF THE GAME
Lacrosse is a sacred game for Native Americans, traditionally reserved for men. When a women’s varsity team forms in upstate New York, they aim to be the first Native women’s team to take the championship title away from their rivals Massena High. But when their funding is slashed, and the indigenous community is torn, they find more than just the championship is on the line.
Indianapolis has one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country. For adult learners Greg, Melissa, and Shynika, a high school diploma could be a life-changing achievement. Andrew Cohn’s absorbing documentary observes their individual pursuits, fraught with the challenges of daily life and also the broader systemic roadblocks faced by many low income Americans, including wages and working conditions.
Within the storied walls of The New York Times, a team of writers is entrusted with reflecting upon the luminaries, icons, and world leaders of our day. Vanessa Gould’s fascinating documentary introduces us to those responsible for crafting the unequaled obituaries of the NYT. As we’re taken through their painstaking process we learn about the pressures accompanying a career spent shaping the story of a life.
THE RIDE takes us along the annual 300-mile trek through the South Dakota Badlands. There, young men and women of the Lakota Sioux ride horseback and reflect upon the history of their ancestors. This intimate, stunningly photographed account captures the thoughts and emotions of the young riders and the adults who guide them along their journey.
With unprecedented access, director Kristi Jacobson offers a deeply moving portrait of life inside solitary confinement within a supermax prison. Filmed over the course of one year, this riveting film tells the story of the complex personalities that dwell on either side of a cell door while raising provocative questions about the nature of crime and punishment in America today.
SOUTHWEST OF SALEM: THE STORY OF THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR
Deborah S. Esquenazi
In 1994, four women were tried and convicted of a heinous assault on two young girls in a court case that was infused with homophobic prejudice and the Satanic Panic sweeping the nation at that time. SOUTHWEST OF SALEM is a fascinating true crime story that puts the trial of the San Antonio Four in context of their ongoing search for exoneration.