Tribeca 2017: Documentary Overview

The 16th annual Tribeca Film Festival

April 19-30

Slimmed down slightly since last year’s edition, the NYC event includes just over 50 recent and new documentary features:

Three of the four films featured in the fest’s high-profile Gala section are docs, including opening night offering CLIVE DAVIS: THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES (pictured), Chris Perkel’s portrait of the legendary music executive; and Daniel Kaufman’s CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP: THE BAD BOY STORY, on Sean Combs’ hip hop empire.

A dozen nonfiction debuts face off in the Documentary Competition, among them: Jamie Meltzer’s TRUE CONVICTION (pictured), about three wrongfully imprisoned and later exonerated men seeking to help other innocent people behind bars; Pacho Velez and Sierra Pettengill’s THE REAGAN SHOW, which uses White House videos and news reports to construct a portrait of the first made-for-television US president; Drew Xanthopoulos’ THE SENSITIVES, an intimate portrait of individuals suffering from debilitating environmental sensitivity; Oren Jacoby’s SHADOWMAN, about the attempts to resuscitate the standing of a now-struggling former 1980s NYC art star; David France’s THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P JOHNSON, an exploration of the unexplained death of the NYC trans activist; and David Byars’ NO MAN’S LAND, on the standoff at the Oregon wildlife refuge by armed protestors.

The Documentary Spotlight section offers additional nonfiction programming, including: Nick Broomfield and Rudi Dolezal’s WHITNEY: CAN I BE ME (pictured), which explores the rise and tragic fall of the celebrated performer; Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin’s LA 92, an archive-driven re-examination of the 1992 LA riots; Erik Nelson’s A GRAY STATE, which unravels the political conspiracy theories behind the death of an aspiring filmmaker; Tim Golden and Ross McDonnell’s ELIÁN, a look back at the polarizing case of the Cuban refugee; Antonino D’Ambrosio’s FRANK SERPICO, about the famed 1970s police corruption whistleblower; Dylan Bank, Daniel DiMauro, and Morgan Pehme’s GET ME ROGER STONE, a profile of the outspoken Republican political advisor; and Greg Kohs’ ALPHAGO, charting the face-off between an elite board game champion and an AI opponent.

Among the additional docs appearing at the festival are Alexandra Dean’s tribute to the actress and inventor, BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STORY (pictured); and Tabbert Fiiller’s look at John Lydon’s follow-up to the Sex Pistols, THE PUBLIC IMAGE IS ROTTEN; both in the Special Screenings section; as well as Derik Murray and Adrian Buitenhuis’ portrait of the late actor, I AM HEATH LEDGER; and an episode of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s epic 18-hour docuseries, THE VIETNAM WAR, both presented in the Tribeca TV strand.

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

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