The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) has unveiled further documentary premieres for next month’s event, including a sequel to Josh Fox’s Oscar-nominated Gasland (pictured), and a doc from actor Whoopi Goldberg.
Fox’s Gasland Part II and Goldberg’s I Got Somethin’ to Tell You will both play in TFF’s ‘Spotlight’ section, which features 33 films – 21 narratives and 12 docs – that “blur the lines of independent and mainstream filmmaking.” Twenty-three films in the selection will have their world premieres at the festival, which TFF says is a record number.
“The documentary films in the Spotlight section this year highlight several famous individuals – including one very cute cat – who use their wit and bold personas to make us think and laugh,” said Genna Terranova, TFF’s director of programming.
The festival has also unveiled a number of special screenings, which including the world premiere of Bill Siegel’s The Trials of Muhammad Ali, and a screening of Barbara Kopple’s Sundance hit Running from Crazy.
TFF is also launching ‘Storyscapes,’ a new range of programs that attempt to bridge filmmaking and technology. This multi-platform/transmedia initiative “celebrates new trends in digital media and recognizes filmmakers and content creators who employ an interactive, web-based or cross-platform approach to story creation,” the festival says.
Among the featured projects is Robots in Residence, in which “pre-programmed robots collaborate with festival audiences to direct and shoot a documentary in its entirety.”
The new program was curated by the TFF programming team along with Ingrid Kopp, the director of digital initiatives for the Tribeca Film Institute. Storyscapes will present five selections at a public, interactive installation in NYC from April 19-21.
The latest confirmed titles come after TFF yesterday unveiled details of its competition documentaries.
Details of the non-fiction Spotlight and Special Screenings selections, and the Storycapes selections, follows below, with descriptions provided by TFF.
The Director, directed by Christina Voros. (Italy) – World Premiere, Documentary.
How do you make one of the world’s most revered fashion brands your own? That is the task facing creative director Frida Giannini in this authoritative look at the past, present and future of The House of Gucci, directed by director/cinematographer Christina Voros (Kink) and co-produced by James Franco. Taking advantage of rare, behind-the-scenes access, Voros shows how the Florentine trendsetter has been re-imagined in the past few years.
Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, directed by Chiemi Karasawa. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.
Broadway legend Elaine Stritch remains in the spotlight at 87 years old. Join the uncompromising Tony and Emmy Award-winner both on and off stage in this revealing documentary. With interviews from Tina Fey, Nathan Lane, Hal Prince and others, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me blends rare archival footage and intimate cinema vérité to reach beyond Stritch’s brassy exterior, revealing a multi-dimensional portrait of a complex woman and an inspiring artist.
Gasland Part II, directed and written by Josh Fox. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.
Two years ago, Josh Fox introduced us to hydraulic fracturing with his Oscar-nominated exposé Gasland. Now this once-touted energy source has become a widely discussed, contentious topic. In his follow-up, Fox reveals the extreme circumstances facing those affected by fracking.
Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia, directed by Nicholas Wrathall. (USA) – International Premiere, Documentary.
Anchored by intimate, one-on-one interviews with the man himself, Nicholas Wrathall’s new documentary is a fascinating and wholly entertaining tribute to the iconic Gore Vidal. Commentary by those who knew him best – including filmmaker/nephew Burr Steers and the late Christopher Hitchens – blends with footage from Vidal’s legendary on-air career to remind us why he will forever stand as one of the most brilliant and fearless critics of our time.
I Got Somethin’ to Tell You, directed by Whoopi Goldberg. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.
Having broken racial and sexual boundaries as a pioneering comic talent, the late Moms Mabley has long been an icon in the comedy world. Now Whoopi Goldberg takes a deep dive into Mabley’s legacy via recently unearthed photography, rediscovered performance footage and the words of numerous celebrated comedians. A true passion project for Goldberg, I Got Somethin’ to Tell You shows Mabley’s historical significance and profound influence as a performer vastly ahead of her time.
In God We Trust, directed and written by Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.
Bernie Madoff ruined many lives before his arrest in 2008. Perhaps no one was so personally affected as his longtime personal secretary, Eleanor Squillari. Meet Squillari in the days and months after the arrest, as her obsession with the case grows into her own unique search for clues. In God We Trust follows Squillari on her personal journey for justice, exposing previously unknown facts about the greatest financial crime ever committed.
Inside Out: The People’s Art Project, directed by Alastair Siddons. (France, U.K.) – World Premiere, Documentary.
This fascinating documentary tracks the evolution of the world’s largest participatory art project, the wildly popular “Inside Out.” Travel the globe with French artist JR as he motivates communities to define their most important causes by pasting giant portraits in the street, testing the limits of what they thought possible. In capturing the process, Alastair Siddons creates a glowing testament to the power of the image and the role that art can play in transforming lives. In Arabic, Creole, English, French, Spanish with subtitles.
Lil Bub & Friendz, directed by Andy Capper and Juliette Eisner. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.
Called “the most famous cat on the Internet,” the wide-eyed perma-kitten Lil Bub is the adorable embodiment of the Web’s fascination with all things cats. Join Lil Bub and her owner on wild cross-country romp as they meet the Internet’s most famous cat-lebrities. Chock full of adorable kitties, hilarious videos and the dedicated cat enthusiasts who love them, Lil Bub & Friendz is a fun and hip peek behind the memes we know and love. Includes Mike “The Dude” Bridavsky, Ben Lashes, Grumpy Cat, Nyan Cat, Keyboard Cat.
McConkey, directed and written by Steve Winter, Murray Wais, Scott Gaffney, David Zieff, and Rob Bruce. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.
An all-star roster of sports movie-making talent directs this heartfelt biography of extreme ski trailblazer Shane McConkey, once described as “the most influential skier ever.” McConkey covers forty years and countless high places to track Shane’s conversion from downhill racer to free skiing marvel to pioneer of a hair-raising new discipline – ski BASE jumping – giving alarming new meaning to the question, how far would you go to be the next big thing?
The Motivation, directed by Adam Bhala Lough. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.
Go inside the lives and training regimes of eight of the world’s gutsiest professional skateboarders. These fearless stars face unique obstacles on the way to the Street League Championship and the coveted title of best skateboarder in the world. Adam Bhala Lough, creator of the 2003 independent hit Bomb the System (TFF 2003), directs this fresh, energetic documentary in search of the elusive quality that separates the winners from the pack. Features Nyjah Huston, Ryan Sheckler, Chris Cole, Paul Rodriguez, Sean Malto, Rob Dyrdek, Chaz Ortiz, Luan Oliveira, and Bastien Salabanzi. In English, Portuguese with subtitles.
The Project, directed and written by Shawn Efran and Adam Ciralsky. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.
The Project profiles the precarious, real-life story of the Puntland Maritime Police Force, a group of Somali pirate hunters. Taking the hijacking of the African waterways and the kidnapping of innocent citizens into their under-trained hands, the PMPF face mutiny, death and a loss of corporate funding in their dangerous quest to free the Middle East shipping industry from terror. The mercenaries’ epic battle makes for an intense, gripping and disarming ride.
Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic, directed by Marina Zenovich, written by P.G. Morgan, Chris A. Peterson, and Zenovich. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.
This moving portrait of legendary comedian Richard Pryor chronicles his life from his troubled youth in Peoria, Illinois, to his meteoric rise as one of the most respected comic actors of the 20th century. Often misunderstood during the height of his celebrity, the late superstar has never been profiled this extensively. Marina Zenovich’s revealing and entertaining film lays bare the demons with which he struggled and reminds us just how daring and dangerous artistic freedom can be. Includes interviews with Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Mel Brooks, Quincy Jones, Lily Tomlin, Jesse Jackson.
Alberi, directed by Michaelangelo Frammartino. (Italy) –World Premiere, Documentary.
Wrapping the audience in waves of sound, Alberi takes us on a circular journey through the Italian countryside. The marvelous natural music at the tops of the eponymous trees makes way for the rhythmic cadence of civilization—men baring axes and the natural clatter of daily life—before their unforgettable return home from the forest. The singular artistry of director Michelangelo Frammartino (Le quatro volte) is beautifully displayed in this mesmerizing homage to nature. Italian with subtitles.
Alberi will run as an installation in the VW Dome at MoMA PS1 from April 18 through the end of the month, with a special event celebrating the world premiere on the evening of Saturday, April 20.
Herblock – The Black & The White, directed by Michael Stevens, written by Sara Lukinson and Stevens. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.
Herbert Block’s career at The Washington Post spanned 55 years and 13 presidents, a timeframe in which he claimed three Pulitzer Prizes, the Medal of Freedom and a significant role in President Nixon’s resignation. Ben Bradlee, Tom Brokaw, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Jules Feiffer, Ted Koppel and Jon Stewart are among the many commentators bearing witness to Block’s life, work and indelible contribution to American satire in this inviting documentary.
The Trials of Muhammad Ali, directed by Bill Siegel. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.
Brash boxer Cassius Clay burst into the American consciousness in the early 1960s, just ahead of the Civil Rights movement. His transformation into the spiritually enlightened heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali is legendary, but this religious awakening also led to a bitter legal battle with the U.S. government after he refused to serve in the Vietnam War. This film reveals the perfect storm of race, religion and politics that shaped one of the most recognizable figures in sports history.
Running from Crazy, directed by Barbara Kopple. (USA) – New York Premiere, Documentary.
Join actress Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of legendary author Ernest Hemingway, as she examines the mental illness and suicide that colors her family’s history and tries to avert that fate for herself and her daughters. By mixing in remarkable archival footage of the three Hemingway sisters, two-time Academy Award-winner Barbara Kopple expands one famous family’s deeply embedded truths into a broad picture of the courage it takes to face the past and change your future.
A Journal of Insomnia, Project creators: Bruno Choiniere, Philippe Lambert, and Guillaume Braun. (Canada).
Insomniacs are both spectators and actors in this large, interactive fresco that combines hundreds of personal reflections on sleepless nights, gathered online from insomniacs around the world since fall 2012. This work, produced by The National Film Board of Canada, provides a cutting portrait of insomnia as a universal and peculiarly wide-ranging affliction and challenges visitors to experience the condition for themselves.
Robots in Residence, Project Creators: Brent Hoff and Alexander Reben. (USA).
Robots in Residence challenges Alfred Hitchcock’s claim that “in feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director.” Here there is no god, as pre-programmed robots collaborate with festival audiences to direct and shoot a documentary in its entirety. Robot artist Alexander Reben and filmmaker Brent Hoff forge a provocative new form of documentary storytelling by using robots as a lens through which we take a new look at humanity.
Sandy Storyline, Project Creators: Rachel Falcone, Laura Gottesdiener, and Michael Premo. (USA).
Using audio, photography, text and video, Sandy Storyline is an ever-growing documentary narrative as community members and volunteers offer their accounts of the storm and the efforts to recover and rebuild local neighborhoods. The project forges a new type of media in time of crisis, one that is participatory, interactive and designed for community empowerment.
Star Wars Uncut, Project Creator: Casey Pugh. (USA).
Love Star Wars but think you would have done it differently? Then this fun, creative and wonderfully nostalgic interactive media project is for you. Using everything from hand-drawn animations to intricate reenactments, fans and series novices created short alternatives to the Star Wars storyline and went online to piece them all together. Discover a whole new approach to Star Wars, one fifteen-second burst at a time.
This Exquisite Forest, Project Creators: Aaron Koblin and Chris Milk (USA).
Conceived by Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin and produced by Google and Tate Modern, This Exquisite Forest was inspired by the surrealist game “exquisite corpse” and its idea of collaborative creation. The project, hosted at exquisiteforest.com, allows visitors to create short animations right in their web browser. Other users may build on the animation at any point, creating a collection of navigable, branching narratives resembling trees that grow bigger as more artists contribute.