by Sam Juliano
The Tribeca Film Festival, now in it’s eleventh year has been steadily gaining in popularity and in perception among the world’s cineastes. Founded by the actor Robert DeNiro, the eleven day film celebration, primarily offered up in four houses, but also extended to other venues for special events, features over 200 features and shorts, and a plethora of films that will eventually win release in theatres within months of the festival’s conclusion. The Festival is divided into several categories and awards a $25,000 prize to the winner of the “Heinecken” audience award, determined by exit voting on a small white ballot and simple rating from one 1 to 5. The “Spotlight” selections are usually the most prestigious, while the ‘World narrative competition,’ ‘World documentary competition,’ ‘Viewpoints,’ ‘Cinemania’ and ‘Short film programs’ regularly yield some great surprises. It’s a time the sitting is overcome by movie fans from around the world, and visits from directors, stars and industry people. Appearing in the Tribeca line-up is a dream come true for aspiring artists and it’s usually the first stop for eventually distribution and acceptance.
Tribeca Film Festival followers usually get a fair chance to piece together schedules, because of the programming that usually offers four screenings of any given feature or shorts compilation. In some instances, like the world premiere of The Avengers or the two screenings of Michael Winterbottom’s Trisha -which is only screening twice- schedules won’t permit for expanded coverage, bit in exceedingly large measure, most fans will be able to see the vast majority of films on their must-see lists.
The Festival launched on Wednesday April 18th with galas and special events, and on Thursday when the regular screenings went full-swing, a restored print of Jaws was shown at a drive-in location near the World Trade Center. The first four full days of the festival were attended in force by Yours Truly, with a total of ten feature films successfully negotiated, a few of which were most impressive. A full round-up will be published at WitD after the festival concludes, one that will also include a listing of the event’s favorite works.
So far I have seen (with either Lucille or Broadway Bob in tow) Youssi, Una Noche, The Girl, Polisse, Struck by Lightning, Xingu, Graceland, Whole Lotta Sole, Take This Waltz and Sleepless Nights, with most screenings introduced by the film’s directors and main actors and topped off by Q and A’s. The Tribeca Film Festival is a portal to world culture and of the new talents that are hoping to break through and make their own mark on the cinematic landscape.
Three of the films were outstanding: Sleepless Nights, Take This Waltz and Polisse. Lucille passed on two of the films that I saw and went into other theatres to see Your Sister’s Sister, and a documentary. She really loved the former. Broadway Bob passed on seeing Polisse with me, and instead took in Jack and Diane, which he disliked.
For movie fans the Tribeca Film Festival is cause for excitement and gleeful anticipation, and the 2012 event has started off most impressively. But there’s much more to come!