The 14th edition of the Tribeca Film Festival taking place from April 15 to April 26 in New York City has announced the films selected for screening in the Spotlight screening section.
Co-sponsored by Brookfield Place and The Lincoln Motor Company, Spotlight is destination for today’s most talked about themes and filmmakers and will feature 40 films: 23 narratives and 17 documentaries with 24 of those films being world premieres. Debuting new work from master directors such as the Taviani Brothers (CAESAR MUST DIE), Michael Winterbottom (THE TRIP TO ITALY), and Neil LaBute (DEATH AT A FUNERAL), audiences will also be introduced to new voices like first time director Henry Hobson’s MAGGIE and PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL producer Abigail Disney’s directorial debut THE ARMOUR OF LIGHT.
Audiences will also see familiar performers taking on unique and challenging roles such as Jessica Biel’s turn as a yoga instructor in BLEEDING HEART, Arnold Schwarzenegger as a dedicated father whose daughter is succumbing to a zombie plague in MAGGIE, Academy Award winner Patricia Arquette as a real-life mob moll in THE WANNABE, and Oscar Isaac bringing William Monahan’s sociopathic stalker to life in MOJAVE.
Likewise, documentary films in the Spotlight section are rich with profiles of important artists and thinkers ranging from seminal figures like Noam Chomsky (REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM) and Peggy Guggenheim (PEGGY GUGGENHEIM – ART ADDICT) to cultural influencers like Roseanne Barr (ROSEANNE FOR PRESIDENT) and DJ AM (AS I AM: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF DJ AM).
“The Spotlight section highlights many familiar faces as well as new ones, while the films’ stories deliver unconventional perspectives and fresh commentary,” said Festival director, Genna Terranova.
Here are the films selected in the Spotlight screening Section:
Radu Jude (Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic) – North American Premiere, Narrative
A police officer and his son travel across Wallachia in 1835, hunting down a runaway gypsy slave. In their journey across the countryside they encounter people of different religions and nationalities, each with their own prejudices and opinions on the state of the country. Shot in 35mm black and white, Radu Jude’s AFERIM! Is a gripping look into the political and religious landscape of 19th century Romania. In Romanian with subtitles.
Claudia Llosa (Canada, France, Spain) – New York Premiere, Narrative.?
In parallel narratives, single-mother Nana (Jennifer Connelly) has a mysterious experience at the hands of a traveling healer, years later her troubled son Ivan (Cillian Murphy) sets out in search of his now absent mother. Academy Award®–nominee Claudia Llosa’s (THE MILK OF SORROW) decade-spanning family drama is a dreamlike rumination on faith, forgiveness, and family, set against an otherworldly frozen landscape. A Sony Pictures Classics Release.
Among the Believers
Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi (Pakistan) – World Premiere
An unsettling and eye opening exploration into the spread of the radical Islamic school Red Mosque, which trains legions of children to devote their lives to jihad, or holy war, from a very young age. With incredible access and chilling footage, Among the Believers is a timely and relevant look into the causes that have led to the growth of radical Islam in Pakistan and around the world. In Urdu with subtitles.
Tim Blake Nelson (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative
On a snowy night in New York City, a Columbia professor is brutally mugged on the doorsteps of an apartment building. Director Tim Blake Nelson’s haunting meditation of city life traces the chain of events that precipitate the attack, examining the inextricable and unforeseen forces that bring a group of disparate individuals together. Featuring a star-studded ensemble including Sam Waterston, Kristen Stewart, Glenn Close, and Cory Stoll.
Jeff Tremaine (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary
In the 1960s, truck-driver Nick Piantanida discovered skydiving, and set out to break the world record for highest parachute jump by taking a helium balloon to the edge of space. Over the course of a year, his dream to launch the first civilian space program drove him to obsession. An ESPN Films release.
The Armor of Light
Abigail Disney (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary
This inspiring documentary digs into the deep affinity between the evangelical Christian movement and America’s gun culture — and how one top minister and anti-abortion activist undergoes a change of consciousness to challenge prevailing attitudes toward firearms among his fellow Christians.
As I AM: the Life and Times of DJ AM
Kevin Kerslake (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary
Adam Goldstein, better known as DJ AM, was a man with deep passions and aggressive demons. As I AM is an insider’s look into the life of the late, famed mash-up pioneer: his professional successes that made him the first million-dollar deejay in the United States and his incredibly complex personal life that was lived under the specter of drug addiction.
Tony McNamara (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative
Awkward Ed Wallis (Nat Wolff) needs help fitting in and turns to his neighbor Ashby Holt (Mickey Rourke) for help. Ashby’s unforgiving brand of tough love soon tests their friendship, and it hardly helps when Ed learns that Ashby is a former CIA assassin. Peppered with upbeat music and standout performances, Ashby is a spirited, self-referential update on Harold and Maude for a John Wick generation. With Emma Roberts and Sarah Silverman.
Michael Petroni (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative
In this spine-tingling supernatural thriller, troubled psychotherapist Peter Bowers (Adrien Brody) is suffering from nightmares and eerie visions. When en uncovers a horrifying secret that all of his patients share, he is put on a course that takes him back to the small hometown he fled years ago. There he confronts his demons and unravels a mystery 20 years in the making.
Diane Bell (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative
Reserved yoga instructor May’s (Jessica Biel) peaceful, clean-living life is thrown out of balance by the arrival of her long-lost sister Shiva (Zosia Mamet), a street-smart yet naive young woman trapped in an abusive relationship. May feels compelled to rescue the hapless Shiva, but she finds herself increasingly drawn out of her sedate world and deeper into Shiva’s chaotic one. The film also stars Edi Gathegi, Joe Anderson, Kate Burton, and Harry Hamlin.
Matthew Heineman (USA, Mexico) – New York Premiere, Documentary
A portrait of two men, both leaders of small paramilitary groups that police different sides of the Mexican drug war. With unprecedented access, this film brings forward deep questions about the breakdown of order and entanglement of modern-day vigilante movements at a time when the government cannot provide basic security for its people. In Spanish and English with subtitles. A release by The Orchard.
Fatih Akin (Germany) – North American Premiere, Narrative
Fatih Akin’s historic epic follows one man’s journey through the Ottoman Empire after surviving the 1915 Armenian genocide. Deported from his home in Mardin, Nazareth (Tahar Rahim) moves onwards as a forced laborer. When he learns that his daughters may still be alive, his hope is revived and he travels to America to find them. In Arabic, Armenian, and Spanish with subtitles.
Neil LaBute (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative
Neil LaBute returns to Tribeca with this sharp-edged comedy treat about the ripple effects of desire, whether it’s followed or left unredeemed. Matthew Broderick and Alice Eve are wonderful together as colleagues with secrets who come to depend on each other for understanding as they go to find a spark of excitement in Albuquerque, after dark.
Down in the Valley
Jason Hehir (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary
How far would you go to save your hometown team? For many Sacramento residents, faced with the nearly certain relocation of their beloved Kings, no boardroom was too distant. One native son proved it. Follow former NBA superstar turned Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson as he battles owners and executives to keep the Kings at home, in this a roaring testament to the passion and power of the small-market fan. An ESPN Films release.
The Driftless Area
Zachary Sluser (Canada, USA) – World Premiere, Narrative
Pierre Hunter (Anton Yelchin), a bartender with unyielding optimism, returns to his tiny hometown after his parents’ death. When he falls for the enigmatic Stella (Zooey Deschanel), Pierre is unknowingly pulled into a cat-and-mouse game that involves a duffel bag full of cash, a haphazard yet determined criminal (John Hawkes), and a mystery that will determine all of their fates. With Alia Shawkat, Frank Langella, Aubrey Plaza, and Ciarán Hinds.
DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: The Story of the National Lampoon
Douglas Tirola (USA) – New York Premiere, Documentary
Using rare, never-before-seen archival footage and in-depth interviews with fans and founders, Douglas Tirola traces National Lampoon’s evolution from underground countercultural movement to mainstream household brand. DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD is a riotous and revealing chronicle of a trailblazing comedic institution and a celebration of creative expression at its radical, envelope-pushing finest.
The Emperor’s New Clothes
Michael Winterbottom & Russell Brand (UK) – International Premiere
Cinema’s prolific writer/director Michael Winterbottom and comedian/provocateur Russell Brand join forces in this polemical expose about inequality and the financial crisis. From London to New York the film combines documentary style, archive footage and comedy to explore how the crisis has gravely affected the 99% and only benefited the 1%.
Far From Men (Loin des Hommes)
David Oelhoffen (France) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative
During the height of the Algerian War, an unlikely bond forms between a reserved French teacher (Viggo Mortensen) and the elusive dissident (Reda Kateb) he must turn over to the authorities. Based on a short story by Albert Camus, David Oelhoffen’s classically conceived period Western is a tense and timely study of war’s political and personal sacrifices. In French with subtitles. A Tribeca Film release.
Jonathan Hock (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary
Since 1912, baseball has been a game obsessed with statistics and speed. Thrown at upwards of 100 miles per hour, a fastball moves too quickly for human cognition and accelerates into the realm of intuition. FASTBALL is a
look at how the game at its highest levels of achievement transcends logic and even skill, becoming the primal struggle for man to control the uncontrollable.
A Faster Horse
David Gelb (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary
As the fiftieth anniversary of the Mustang approaches, Ford is launching a redesign, placing the jobs and expectations of thousands squarely on the shoulders of Chief Program Engineer Dave Pericak. Masterfully crafted by TFF alumnus David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi), A FASTER HORSE moves beyond a car lover’s documentary to a resonant examination of American ingenuity, workmanship, and resilience.
Andrew Niccol (USA) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative
Major Tommy Egan (Ethan Hawke) is fighting a war from the safety of a Nevada trailer, but commitment to the mission comes at a price. Gattaca director Andrew Niccol reunites with Ethan Hawke for this timely drama about the human costs of advanced war technology. Co-starring January Jones and Zoe Kravitz. An IFC Films Release.
Paul Weitz (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative
Reeling from a recent breakup and still mourning the loss of her longtime partner, once-famous poet Elle Reid (Lily Tomlin) is surprised to find her teenage granddaughter on her doorstep in need of $600 and a ride. The two embark on an all-day road trip that ends up rattling skeletons and digging up secrets all over town. Co-starring Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Laverne Cox, and Sam Elliott. A Sony Pictures Classics release.
Saverio Costanzo (Italy) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative
After a chance meeting and a whirlwind romance in New York City, Jude (Adam Driver) and Mina (Alba Rohrwacher) become pregnant. Convinced their child will be harmed by the pollutions in the outside world, Mina becomes consumed by protecting her baby, forcing Jude to recognise a terrible truth about why his son’s life could be in danger. A Sundance Selects Release.
Ken Loach (UK, Ireland, France) – North American Premiere, Narrative
James Gralton returns from exile and reopens a public dancehall, bravely pushing back against the sharply drawn religious and political margins of his time. Ken Loach (Winner, Palme- d’or 2006, The Wind that Shakes the Barley) paints a romantic drama about a leftist leader, and a 1930s Ireland that celebrates free speech and thought in the face of oppressive dogma. A Sony Pictures Classics Release.
Henry Hobson (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative
There’s a deadly zombie epidemic threatening humanity, but Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a small-town farmer and family man, refuses to accept defeat even when his daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin) becomes infected. As Maggie’s condition worsens and the authorities seek to eradicate those with the virus, Wade is pushed to the limits in an effort to protect her. Joely Richardson co-stars in this post- apocalyptic thriller. Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions release.
William Monahan (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative
William Monahan’s second feature, starring Oscar Isaac and Garrett Hedlund, is a delirious trip from the fringes of the desert to the center of the film industry. Armed with little more than a knife and two handles of vodka, an on-edge Hollywood director sets out to the Mojave Desert, where he finds a drifter brandishing a rifle and claiming to be the Devil.
A Nazi Legacy: What Our Fathers Did
David Evans (UK) – World Premiere, Documentary
Can you imagine what it means to grow up as the child of a mass murderer? While studying the Nuremberg trials, a lawyer becomes fascinated with two men: both sons of famous Nazi Generals, and both with polar opposite views of their fathers’ hand in the war. A forthright dive into individual perception, A NAZI Legacy: WHAT OUR FATHERS DID adds new meaning to the ties that bind us.
Patrick Brice (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative
Alex and Emily have just moved to LA with their young son. Eager to make new friends, they accept an invitation to a party from the father of their son’s playground mate. After the kids fall asleep, the “playdate” takes a bizarre turn in this racy and hilarious romp. Featuring Judith Godrèche, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, and Adam Scott. A release by The Orchard.
Peggy Guggenheim – Art Addict
Lisa Immordino Vreeland and John Northrup (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary
Bouncing between Europe and the US as often as she would between lovers, Peggy Guggenheim’s life story was as swirling as the design of her uncle’s museum, and reads more like fiction than any reality imaginable. ART ADDICT is a picture into Guggenheim’s world: abstract, colorful, and as salacious as the artwork she revered.
Christopher Bell (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary
Americans consume 75% of the world’s prescription drugs. After losing his own brother to the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse, documentarian Chris Bell (Bigger, Stronger, Faster) sets out to demystify this insidious addiction. While the war has raged against illegal drugs, Bell attempts to break the hardened correlation that legal means safe.
Requiem for the American Dream
Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary
Anchored by a series of interviews with Noam Chomsky, this definitive documentary of the “Two Americas” is an unvarnished account of how policies have helped concentrate wealth in the hands of a few at expense of everyone else. This is an eye-opening, revised vision of the American Dream, in the wake of a dying middle class.
Roseanne for President!
Eric Weinrib (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary
Comedian Roseanne Barr always went against the odds, first as an assertive housewife struggling to pay the bills on her sitcom. Now she tests the limits of the two-party system, vying for candidacy on the 2012 ballot. Roseanne for President! follows her impassioned campaign journey.
Sleeping With Other People
Leslye Headland (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative
Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie star as two romantic failures whose years of serial infidelity and self-sabotage have led them to swear that their relationship will remain strictly platonic. But can love still bloom while you’re sleeping with other people? Writer/director Leslye Headland’s (Bachelorette) sexy romantic comedy co-stars Amanda Peet, Adam Scott, and Natasha Lyonne. An IFC Films Release.
John Maclean (UK, New Zealand) – New York Premiere, Narrative
At the end of the nineteenth century, 16-year-old Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee) journeys across the American frontier in search of the woman he loves. He is joined by Silas (Michael Fassbender), a mysterious traveler, and hotly pursued by an outlaw (Ben Mendelsohn) along the way. Sundance 2015 World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic. An A24/DIRECTV release.
Franck Ribière (France) – International Premiere, Documentary
Grass fed, grain finished, intricately marbled, and dry aged — the concept of what makes the best steak varies greatly, and it continues to evolve as we move toward more sustainable farming practices. In this gourmet, across-the-world road trip, chefs, farmers, butchers, journalists and other experts weigh in on the various factors at play to help us understand the (r)evolution taking place right now and the challenges ahead. In English, French with subtitles. A Kino Lorber release.
Erin Lee Carr (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary
Convicted yet then acquitted of conspiring to kidnap, rape, kill, and eat several women, NYPD officer Gilberto Valle quickly rose to infamy as New York’s own “Cannibal Cop”. With exclusive access to Valle, Erin Lee Carr’s unflinching documentary asks a fundamental question that challenges our beliefs about the criminal justice system, and even the very nature of right and wrong: can you be guilty of a crime you only thought about committing? A HBO Documentary Film.
Nick Sandow (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative
Gotti obsessed and hopelessly in love, Thomas (Boardwalk Empire’s Vincent Piazza) and Rose (Academy Award®–winner Patricia Arquette) are looking to fit in to a neighborhood where mob ties equal social currency. Amidst events surrounding the 1992 trial of John Gotti, Thomas and Rose attempt to make their mark. Executive produced by Martin Scorsese.
Sean Mewshaw (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative
Years after the accidental death of her folk-singer husband, Hannah (Rebecca Hall) has yet to fully accept her small-town life without him. Then she is approached by a charming New York writer (Jason Sudeikis) intent on penning a biography of her late husband’s life, and Hannah finds herself opening up again. Also featuring performances by Dianna Agron, Blythe Danner, Griffin Dunne, Joe Manganiello, and Richard Masur.
When I Live My Life Over Again
Robert Edwards (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative.
Jude (Amber Heard) is a would-be singer-songwriter still struggling to make her mark. Cash strapped and homeless, she begrudgingly returns to the Hamptons home of her father (Christopher Walken), an over-the-hill crooner desperately charting his musical comeback, in this spunky, soulful dramedy about the personal costs of artistic ambition and the bonds that carry us through.
Wondrous Boccaccio (Maraviglioso Boccaccio)
Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani (Italy) – International Premiere, Narrative
Set against the backdrop of a black plague-stricken Florence, ten young men and women escape to a country estate where they spend their days telling different stories of love, fate, and resurrection. From legendary Italian directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, WONDEROUS BOCCACCIO is a tribute to the stories that emerged from one of the darkest periods in Italian history, and the imaginations that quietly fueled them. In Italian with subtitles.
If you plan on catching one of the amazing films during the Festival, ticket passes, packages and single ticket sales can be viewed and purchased online, by telephone or at a number of select ticket outlets around Manhattan if you reside in the city.
Want to know more about other programs and events running during the Festival? You can find all this and more in our dedicated TFF 2015 blog.