Programming for several sections of the 16th annual Tribeca Film Festival have just been announced, including the US and International Narrative Competitions, World Documentary Competition, Spotlight Narrative and Documentary, Viewpoints, and Midnight. VR ad Storyscapes will be announced tomorrow, while Galas, Closing Night, and Special Sections will be announced next Tuesday. Today’s films represent 82 out of 98 features in this year’s slimmed down presentation, including the 34 documentaries noted below:
World Documentary Competition:
In her moving and cinematic documentary, Elvira Lind follows American dancer Bobbi Jene Smith as she makes the decision of a lifetime. Bobbi returns to the US, leaving behind a loving boyfriend and a successful 10-year run as a star dancer of the famous Israeli dance company Batsheva. Lind intimately portrays Bobbi’s rigorous creative process as she starts fresh in San Francisco, while still working to maintain a long-distance relationship.
In 1990, a California citizen journalist began recording police interactions with the public. A one-man operation, he titled his work “Copwatch.” Now, decades later, the initiative has expanded to cities around the country, including New York, where Ramsey Orta filmed Eric Garner’s fatal arrest. In her feature film debut, director Camilla Hall crafts an intriguing and timely profile of citizen-journalist-activists who seek to disrupt the ever-present challenge of police violence.
THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P JOHNSON
Featuring never-before-seen footage and rediscovered interviews, Academy Award nominee David France (HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE) follows a new investigation into the mysterious death of self-described “street queen” Marsha P Johnson. Credited as one of the courageous black transgender activists who instigated the Stonewall Riots of 1969, thereby spearheading the modern gay civil rights movement.
Lana Wilson follows up her award-winning film AFTER TILLER with this profile of Ittetsu Nemoto, a Buddhist priest renowned for saving the lives of countless suicidal people. But Nemoto, suffering from heart disease and supporting his wife and young son, risks his life carrying the heavy emotional load to support those who no longer want to live. When saving others takes such a toll, can he find the resiliency to save himself?
NO MAN’S LAND
“We are patriots,” utters one of the characters in David Byars’ detailed, on-the-ground account of the standoff between ranchers occupying Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and federal authorities. That statement – believed to be true by the armed occupiers – underlines the film, which unspools in measured pace and slowly unpacks its loaded meaning.
THE REAGAN SHOW
Pacho Velez and Sierra Pettengill
Constructed entirely through 1980s network news and videotapes created by the Reagan administration itself, Velez and Pettengill’s prescient documentary presents Ronald Reagan as the first made-for-TV president – a man whose experience as a performer and public relations expert made him a unique match for an emerging modern political landscape, and for his chief rival: charismatic Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
A RIVER BELOW
Deep in the Amazon, a renowned marine biologist and a reality TV star are each working to save the indigenous pink river dolphin from being hunted to extinction. When a scandal erupts, ethical questions are raised as murky as the waters of the Amazon River. Mark Grieco’s (MARMATO) surprising documentary digs into the ethics of activism in the modern media age.
Meet the Sensitives, people who are debilitatingly sensitive to modern life – electricity, chemicals, you name it. Their symptoms and coping mechanisms might vary, but they all face the unusual and heartbreaking choice of either living in dangerous and uncertain conditions with their loved ones, or in physical and technological isolation. Director Drew Xanthopoulos captures their lives in cinematic verité style.
In the early 1980s, Richard Hambleton was New York City’s precursor to Banksy, a rogue street artist whose silhouette paintings haunted the sides of Manhattan buildings. Like so many other geniuses of his time, he fell victim to drug addiction, even as his work continued to rise in both demand and value. SHADOWMAN doubles as both a time capsule of a forgotten New York City era, and a redemption story.
A SUITABLE GIRL
Smriti Mundhra and Sarita Khurana
Dipti, Amrita, Ritu, and Seema are all young, modern women in India looking to get married – some desperately, some reluctantly. A SUITABLE GIRL follows them over the course of four years as they juggle family, career, and friends, intimately capturing their thoughts on arranged marriage, giving them a voice, and offering a unique perspective into the nuances of this institution.
There’s a new detective agency in Dallas TX, started by three exonerated men, with decades in prison served between them, who look to free innocent people from behind bars. TRUE CONVICTION follows these change-makers with no small task in front of them as they rebuild their lives and families, learn to investigate cases, work to support one another, and try and fix the criminal justice system.
WHEN GOD SLEEPS
“My songs didn’t make me famous. The fatwa did.” And so we embark on the journey of rapper Shahin Najafi, whose bold style and transgressive lyrics put him in the crosshairs of religious clerics in his native Iran. WHEN GOD SLEEPS tells the story of this tireless artist-activist against the backdrop of the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks and the European right-wing backlash against Middle Eastern refugees.
ACORN AND THE FIRESTORM
Reuben Atlas and Sam Pollard
For 40 years, the community-organizing group ACORN advocated for America’s poorest communities, while its detractors accused it of promoting government waste and the worst of liberal policies. Riding high on the momentum of Barack Obama’s presidential victory in 2008, ACORN was at its social zenith when a hidden-camera video sparked a national scandal and brought it all crashing down.
With simple rules but a near-infinite number of possible outcomes, the ancient Chinese board game Go has long been considered the holy grail of artificial intelligence. Director Greg Kohs’ absorbing documentary chronicles Google’s DeepMind team as it takes on one of the world’s top Go players in a weeklong tournament, pitting man against machine in a competition that reveals as much about the workings of the human mind as it does the future of AI.
BLURRED LINES: INSIDE THE ART WORLD
Barry Avrich’s in-depth and eye-opening documentary pulls back the curtain on the behind-the-scenes dealings revolving around the contemporary art world. Reputable artists, critics, auctioneers, and collectors demystify the often illusive and complex relationship between art and commerce in this film, which features extraordinary access to industry players.
Tim Golden and Ross McDonnell
Thanksgiving, 1999: Two fishermen on the Florida Straits find a young Cuban boy, Elián González, floating alone in an inner tube. Their discovery evolves into a custody battle between Elián’s Cuban father and his Miami-located relatives that brings the conflict between Cuba and the US to the forefront. Eighteen years later, ELIÁN, executive produced by Alex Gibney, gives the now grown-up Elián the chance to tell his own side of the story.
With unprecedented access to a notoriously reclusive subject, Antonino D’Ambrosio creates a powerful portrait of Frank Serpico, the former NYPD officer who in the 1970s blew the whistle on the corruption and payoffs running rampant in the department. The true story that inspired Sidney Lumet’s American crime classic that bears his name.
GET ME ROGER STONE
Dylan Bank, Daniel DiMauro, and Morgan Pehme
With his bespoke suits and collection of Nixon memorabilia, political firebrand and noted eccentric Roger Stone has been a fixture of Republican politics since the 1970s, yet at the same time has always been an outsider. Despite its success, his brand of confrontational (some would say “dirty”) politics was always publicly rejected by the conservative mainstream, though with the shocking ascendancy of his longtime pet project Donald Trump (interviewed in the film), Stone – the ultimate political trickster – would likely say he was just ahead of his time.
Legendary comedian Gilbert Gottfried has had quite a career. Rocketing to fame in the 1980s, he was thrust into the public consciousness almost immediately thanks to his brash personality, unique worldview, and off-kilter comic timing. Now, foul-mouthed and unapologetic after decades of flying solo in both his work and in his personal life, Gilbert has shockingly reinvented himself… as a family man.
A GRAY STATE
Christmas, 2014: filmmaker, veteran, and charismatic up-and-coming voice of alt-right politics David Crowley and his family are killed in their suburban Minnesota home. Their shocking deaths quickly become a cause célèbre for conspiracy theorists. Executive produced by Werner Herzog, A GRAY STATE combs through Crowley’s photographs, videos, and recordings to investigate what happens when an ideology becomes an all-consuming obsession.
HELL ON EARTH: THE FALL OF SYRIA AND THE RISE OF ISIS
Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested
Chronicling Syria’s descent into unbridled chaos, this gripping and insightful work captures the Syrian war’s harrowing carnage, political and social consequences, and, most importantly, its human toll. From personal stories of family survival and tragedy to keen insight from top experts from around the world, acclaimed filmmaker and author Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested create an informative and comprehensive documentary, as the story continues to unfold.
Beginning with the war in Kosovo in 1999, award-winning photographer Chris Hondros served as a witness to conflict for over a decade before being killed in Libya in 2011. In HONDROS, director and childhood friend Greg Campbell creates a portrait of a man with not only great depth and sensitivity, but a passion for his craft, and an unending talent for creating breathtaking imagery.
I AM EVIDENCE
Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir
Every year in cities around the US, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of rape kits are left untested in police storage facilities. Produced by Mariska Hargitay, I AM EVIDENCE exposes this shocking reality, bringing attention to the way in which police have historically processed sexual assault cases. Through an exploration of survivors’ accounts, the film sheds light on these disturbing statistics, and shows what can be achieved when evidence – and the individuals it represents – are treated with the respect we all deserve.
Daniel Lindsay and TJ Martin
Few images are seared into the American consciousness with the anger and clarity of the beating of Rodney King and the riots following his abusers’ acquittal. Twenty-five years later, Academy Award-winning directors Daniel Lindsay and TJ Martin draw on archival news images and unseen footage to paint an in-depth portrait of those riots and the tempestuous relationship between Los Angeles’ African-American community and those charged with protecting it.
NO STONE UNTURNED
In 1994, six men were gunned down and five wounded in a pub while watching a World Cup soccer match in Loughinisland, Northern Ireland. With a police investigation that was perfunctory at best, the case remained unsolved. In this non-fiction murder mystery, Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney reopens the original case to investigate why no culprit was ever brought to justice.
WASTED! THE STORY OF FOOD WASTE
Anna Chai and Nari Kye
Each year, $218 billion – or 1.3 billion tons – of food is thrown out. With nearly a billion people worldwide facing starvation, food conservation is a more urgent issue than ever before. Executive produced by Anthony Bourdain, Chai and Kye’s fast-paced and forward-thinking food doc takes viewers on a tour of inventive new ideas for recycling waste and maximizing sustainability from innovative chefs like Massimo Bottura, Dan Barber, and Danny Bowien, who turn scraps into feasts before our eyes.
WHITNEY. “CAN I BE ME”
Nick Broomfield and Rudi Dolezal
Whitney Houston was the most awarded female recording artist of all time, with more consecutive number one hits than The Beatles, and on top of that she was America’s Sweetheart. Yet despite her fame, talent, and success, she died tragically at the age of 48. Featuring largely never-before-seen footage and Broomfield and Dolezal’s moving documentary tells the story of the girl behind the voice.
YEAR OF THE SCAB
During the 1987 NFL strike, teams scrambled to assemble temporary replacements to fill in for their boycotting players. The Washington Redskins were notable for their “scabs,” a collection of cast-offs who nonetheless rode a surprising wave of momentum against all odds. YEAR OF THE SCAB revisits this ultimate underdog story and the men whose ordinary lives were interrupted. Those so-called “scabs” helped break the strike and bring their team to victory, only to struggle for their place in the sports history books.
CITY OF GHOSTS
The fearless citizen-journalists of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) risk their lives on a daily basis to document and expose the atrocities of the Islamic State in their home city of Raqqa, Syria. Academy Award-nominee Matthew Heineman (CARTEL LAND) returns to Tribeca with an immersive and deeply personal documentary chronicling the lives of these activists.
THE FAMILY I HAD
Katie Green and Carlye Rubin
A mother recalls how her seemingly brilliant teenage son came to shatter their idyllic family through one horribly violent and shocking act. Now, left to pick up the pieces, the survivors test the boundaries of their newly defined reality in this moving true crime exploration of the nature and limits of familial love.
On the 40th anniversary of Voyager’s eleven-billion-mile flight (and counting), experience a comprehensive behind-the-scenes account from those who built and nurtured this unprecedented deep space achievement. Emer Reynolds creates a vivid celebration of curiosity and exploration for the most audacious project in human history, and one of humankind’s greatest successes.
Zefrey Throwell and Josephine Decker
Filmed over five years, FLAMES follows real-life couple Josephine Decker and Zefrey Throwell from the white-hot passion of first love to the heartbreak of breaking up. But for these two filmmakers, the end of the relationship wasn’t the end of the story. As they continue filming, reconstructing what happened and where it went wrong, lines begin to blur between what was real and what was “the film” – if there’s even a difference anymore.
Jeremy S Levine and Landon Van Soest
Beginning one year before the events in Ferguson MI, Levine and Van Soest’s intimate and cinematic FOR AHKEEM is the coming of age story of 17-year-old Daje Shelton in neighboring North St Louis. Falling in love and fighting with mom, Daje struggles with typical teen growing pains, but also must increasingly combat the institutional and social roadblocks that keep black teens like her from succeeding in America.
THE LAST ANIMALS
Photojournalist Kate Brooks turns her lens from war zones to a new kind of genocide in this sweeping and sobering film. As the single-digit population of the Northern White Rhino ticks closer to extinction, Brooks exposes the epidemic of highly effective poachers and trafficking syndicates, and the heroic efforts of conservationists, park rangers, and scientists to protect these majestic creatures.
DUMB: THE STORY OF BIG BROTHER MAGAZINE
Charting the rise and fall of the irreverent, boundary-pushing Big Brother Magazine, whose taboo-breaking stunts and unapologetically crass humor spawned MTV’s JACKASS and a generation of skaters. Featuring a trove of original footage and interviews with the magazine’s major players, DUMB celebrates the lowbrow legacy of this touchstone of 90’s counterculture.