The 12 films selected in this year’s World Documentary program showcase some of the most important world issues such as law enforcement’s over-reliance on tasers (TOM SWIFT AND THE ELECTRIC RIFLE) and aging nuclear power plants in INDIAN POINT, as well as deep, personal real-life stories that widen one’s perspective on the human condition like AUTISM IN LOVE and rapper Che ‘Rhymefest’ Smith’s reconnection with his estranged father who abandoned him in IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE.
From Saké brewers to Cuban drag racers and the world’s oldest horse race, these truth-telling stories will have audiences laughing, ruminating, and connecting with their human perspectives.
Tribeca Film Festival Director, Genna Terranova, believes the films “exhibit a sophistication in storytelling and a pursuit of truth that we believe will resonate with audiences” .
Here are the films selected in the World Documentary Feature section:
Autism in Love
Matt Fuller (USA) – World Premiere
What does it mean to love and be loved? With remarkable compassion, director Matt Fuller examines the reality of autistic adulthood and shows how the members of this often-misunderstood community cope with the challenge of keeping romance alive. AUTISM IN LOVE is a celebration of accepting the differences in others, and in ourselves.
The Birth of Saké
Erik Shirai (USA) – World Premiere
Traditional and labor-intensive, the production of Saké has changed very little over the centuries. Erik Shirai’s love song to the artisans who have dedicated their lives to carrying on this increasingly rare artform follows the round-the-clock process for six straight months, offering a rare glimpse into a family-run brewery that’s been operating for over 100 years. In Japanese with subtitles.
Camilla Nielsson (Denmark) – North American Premiere
In the wake of Robert Mugabe’s highly criticized 2008 presidential win, a constitutional committee was created in an effort to transition Zimbabwe away from authoritarian leadership. With unprecedented access to the two political rivals overseeing the committee, this riveting, firsthand account of a country’s fraught first steps towards democracy plays at once like an intimate political thriller and unlikely buddy film. In English, Shona with subtitles.
Havana Motor Club
Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt (Cuba, USA) – World Premiere
Reforms have offered opportunity in Cuba but the children of the Revolution are unsure of the best route forward. For a half-dozen drag racers, this means last-minute changes to their beloved American muscle cars, as they prepare for the first sanctioned race in Cuba since 1960. Punctuated by a lively Cuban soundtrack, HAVANA MOTOR CLUB offers a fascinating glimpse at the resilience and ingenuity of the competitive spirit. In Spanish with subtitles.
Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg (USA) – World Premiere
After moving into his childhood home on Chicago’s South Side, Grammy Award–winning rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith hesitantly sets out to reconnect with his estranged father, the man who abandoned him over twenty years ago. IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE is a stirring, multigenerational chronicle of Che’s sincere but often-fraught journey to build a future for his own family by reconnecting with his traumatic past.
Albert Maysles, Nelson Walker, Lynn True, David Usui, and Ben Wu (USA) – World Premiere
The Empire Builder is America’s busiest long-distance train route, running from Chicago to Seattle. Throughout these corridors sit runaways, adventurers, and loners – a myriad of passengers waiting to see what their journey holds. A touching and honest observation, co-directed by the iconic documentarian Albert Maysles, IN TRANSIT breathes life into the long commute, and contemplates the unknowns that lie at our final destination.
Ivy Meeropol (USA) – World Premiere
Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant looms just 35 miles from Times Square. With over 50 million people living in close proximity to the aging facility, its continued operation has generated controversy for the surrounding community. In the brewing fight for clean energy and the catastrophic possibilities of complacency, director Ivy Meeropol weaves a startling portrait of our uncertain nuclear future.
Cosima Spender (UK, Italy) – World Premiere
In the world’s oldest horse race, the Palio, taking bribes and fixing races threatens to extinguish the passion for the sport itself. Giovanni, unversed in corruption, challenges his former mentor, who dominates the game. What ensues is a thrilling battle, filled with the intoxicating drama that is at the center of Italian tradition. In Italian with subtitles.
Song of Lahore
Andy Schocken and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (USA, Pakistan) – World Premiere
Until the late 1970s, the Pakistani city of Lahore was world-renowned for its music. Following the Islamisation of Pakistan, many artists struggled to continue their life’s work. Song of Lahore turns the spotlight on a group of stalwart musicians that kept playing and ultimately attracted listeners from around the world. In English, Punjabi, and Urdu with subtitles.
Thank You for Playing
David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall (USA) – World Premiere
For the past four years, Ryan and Amy Green have been working on That Dragon, Cancer, a videogame about their son Joel’s fight against that disease. Following the family through the creation of the game and the day-to-day realities of Joel’s treatment, David Osit and Malika Zouhali- Worrall create a moving testament to the joy and heartbreak of raising a terminally ill child.
Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle
Nick Berardini (USA) – World Premiere
Do you blame the technology or the person wielding it? With damaging reports of taser-related deaths at the hands of police officers, this conundrum spurs a carefully constructed argument that tasers are in fact lethal, discrediting claims by Taser International that stun guns save lives. Yet more than 17,000 police departments in the United States continue to use the electric rifle.
Leah Wolchok (USA) – World Premiere
The New Yorker is the benchmark for the single-panel cartoon. This light-hearted and sometimes poignant look at the art and humor of the iconic drawings shows why they have inspired and even baffled us for decades. Very Semi- Serious is a window into the minds of cartooning legends and hopefuls, including editor Bob Mankoff, shedding light onto their how their humor evolves.
Is there a World Documentary feature you’d like to know more about or anticipate seeing. Why not keep up to date with the latest news on our dedicated TFF 2015 blog.