Docs

“Dior and I,” “1971″ among Tribeca competition titles

Films screening in the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival's Documentary Competition program include Frédéric Tcheng's Dior and I (pictured), Jessica Yu's Misconception, Marshall Curry's Point and Shoot, and Johanna Hamilton's 1971.
March 4, 2014

Dior and I (pictured), director Frédéric Tcheng’s look at designer Raf Simons first Haute Couture line for the famed French fashion house, will open the Tribeca Film Festival’s Documentary Competition program on April 17.

Other highly anticipated docs screening in competition at this year’s even include Jessica Yu’s film about the impact of population growth on women Misconception; Marshall Curry’s Point and Shoot, about a Baltimore biker who joins the Libyan rebel army fight to oust Gaddafi; and Ballet 422, director Jody Lee Lipes’ look at the life and work of choreographer Justin Beck.

Director Johanna Hamilton’s Laura Poitras-back doc 1971 will also world premiere during the festival. The film is about a group of activists who broke into a small FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania to expose a secret surveillance program.

The films are eligible for cash prizes totaling US$215,000, contemporary artworks from the Chanel-sponsored Artists Awards program, as well as Best Documentary Feature, Best New Documentary Director, and Best Editing prizes.

In addition to the 12 Documentary Competition titles, organizers also unveiled the World Narrative Competition films and the out-of-competition Viewpoints program.

Docs screening in the Viewpoints program include the 2012 MIPDoc International Pitch Prize winner An Honest Liar, about magician James “The Amazing” Randi; Jesse Moss’ The Overnighters, which screened at Sundance earlier this year; and Nancy Kates’ HBO-backed Regarding Susan Sontag.

In all, Tribeca will host 55 world premieres, six international premieres, 12 North American premieres, nine U.S. premieres and five New York premieres. The festival takes place from April 16 to April 27 in New York City.

This year’s opening night film, as previously reported, is Time Is Illmatic, a documentary about rapper Nas’ influential 1994 album Illmatic.

The list of World Documentary Competition and Viewpoints programs follows, with descriptions courtesy of the festival:

World Documentary Competition:

1971, directed and written by Johanna Hamilton, cowritten by Gabriel Rhodes.
(USA) – World Premiere.
Forty years before WikiLeaks and the NSA scandal, there was Media, Pennsylvania. In 1971, eight activists plotted an intricate break-in to the local FBI offices to leak stolen documents and expose the illegal surveillance of ordinary Americans in an era of anti-war activism. In this riveting heist story, the perpetrators reveal themselves for the first time, reflecting on their actions and raising broader questions surrounding security leaks in activism today.

Ballet 422, directed by Jody Lee Lipes.
(USA) – World Premiere.
Cinematographer and documentarian Jody Lee Lipes crafts an intimate, fly-on-the-wall documentary offering a rare peek into the hidden world of professional ballet. The film shadows Justin Peck, wunderkind choreographer of the New York City Ballet, as he undertakes the Herculean task of creating the company’s 422nd original piece. Following the creative process from its embryonic stages to its highly anticipated premiere, Ballet 422 is a powerful celebration of the skill and endurance of New York’s most talented dancers—as well as those who remain hidden in the wings.

Dior and I (Dior et moi), directed and written by Frédéric Tcheng.
(France) – World Premiere.
In Frédéric Tcheng’s masterful documentary, one enters the storied world that is the House of Christian Dior with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first Dior Haute Couture collection as Artistic Director, a true labor of love by a dedicated, charming, and often humorous group of collaborators.  Beautifully melding the everyday, pressure-filled components of fashion with a mysterious and elegant reverence for the history of this iconic brand, Tcheng’s colorful homage to the seamstresses of the atelier is nothing short of magical.

Fishtail, directed and written by Andrew Renzi.
(USA) – World Premiere.
The iconic voice and noble philosophies proffered by Harry Dean Stanton punctuate this authentic look at life on the edge of wilderness. Producer of festival favorite, Two Gates of Sleep, Andrew Renzi makes his directorial debut with this glimpse into the rugged lifestyle few Americans still pursue. Follow the cowboys of Montana’s Fishtail Basin Ranch as they survive another calving season in this captivating atmospheric documentary. Set to a seraphic score, Stanton would agree, this is a film for “those of earth-born passion.”

Garnet’s Gold, directed by Ed Perkins.
(UK) – World Premiere.
Twenty years ago, Garnet Frost nearly lost his life hiking near Scotland’s Loch Arkaig. The near-death experience still haunts him to this day, and, in particular, a peculiar wooden stick he discovered serendipitously right before he was rescued. Believing the staff (as he calls it) is actually a marker for a fortune hidden nearly 300 years ago, Garnet embarks on a treasure hunt to search for the lost riches. But beneath the search for gold, lies a poignant pursuit for life’s meaning and inspiration.

Mala Mala, directed by Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini.
(Puerto Rico) – World Premiere.
Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles’ vibrant and visually striking immersion in the transgender community of Puerto Rico celebrates the breadth of experiences among trans-identifying women: from campaigning for government-recognized human rights, to working in the sex industry, or performing as part of drag troupe, “The Doll House.” Unapologetic and unconventional, Mala Mala explores the ways internal and external identity pave the path of self discovery through the unique yet universal stories of its fascinating cast of characters.

Misconception, directed by Jessica Yu.
(USA) – World Premiere.
For almost 50 years, the world’s population has grown at an alarming rate, raising fears about strains on the Earth’s resources. But how true are these claims? Taking cues from statistics guru Hans Rosling, Misconception offers a provocative glimpse at how the world—and women in particular— are tackling a subject at once personal and global. Following three individuals, director Jessica Yu focuses on the human implications of this highly charged political issue, inspiring a fresh look at the consequences of population growth.

Ne Me Quitte Pas, directed and written by Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Koevorden.
(Netherlands, Belgium) – International Premiere.
Left by his wife for another man, Marcel falls into alcoholism and a deep depression, with only his friend Bob, also an alcoholic, to look after him. The friendship between the two men captures the frailty of the male ego and the natural comedy borne from their candid conversations. Ne Me Quitte Pas follows this downward spiral of mid-life crisis in a tender, often humorous, sometimes disturbing, examination of the ‘crisis of masculinity,’ alongside a mesmerizing exploration of mundane rural existence.

Point and Shoot, directed and written by Marshall Curry.
(USA) – World Premiere.
In 2011, unassuming Matthew VanDyke left his home in Baltimore to find adventure and see the world on his motorcycle, only to end up joining the Libyan rebel army to take arms against Gaddafi. Gun in one hand, video camera in the other, Matthew finally finds purpose and meaning in his wanderlust, until he is captured and held in solitary confinement for six months and must decide where his allegiances really lie. Director and TFF award winner, Marshall Curry (Racing Dreams), captures one man’s arresting transformation from a sheltered kid to a soldier on the front lines.

Regarding Susan Sontag, directed and written by Nancy Kates, co-written by John Haptas.
(USA) – World Premiere.
Hungry for life and gracefully outspoken throughout her career, Susan Sontag became one of the most important literary, political, and feminist icons of her generation. Kates’ in depth documentary intimately tracks Sontag’s seminal, life-changing moments through her own words, as read by Patricia Clarkson—from her early infatuation with books to her first experience in a gay bar; from her first marriage to her last lover. Regarding Susan Sontag is a nuanced investigation into the life of a towering cultural critic and writer whose works on photography, war, and terrorism still resonate today.

Tomorrow We Disappear, directed by Jimmy Goldblum and Adam Weber.
(USA) – World Premiere.
The puppeteers, performers, and magicians of the Kathputli colony in Delhi are the last slum-dweller–artists of their kind. When their land is sold to high-rise developers, they must fight for the only home they know. Fending off relocation, they struggle to keep their mystical Indian folk arts alive and to conserve what beauty remains as they are forced into someone else’s vision of the future. Tomorrow We Disappear is not just documentation, but ultimately becomes an extraordinary act of preservation.

Virunga, directed and written by Orlando von Einsiedel.
(UK) – World Premiere.
Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park, a UNESCO world heritage site, and the last natural habitat for the endangered mountain gorilla. None of that will stop the business interests and rebel insurgencies lurking at the park’s doorstep. Orlando von Einsiedel pairs gorgeous natural scenes from Virunga with riveting footage of the Congolese crisis, raising an ardent call for conservation as a vital human enterprise. Along the way, he spotlights the incredibly dangerous work that is often required to safeguard the environment.

Viewpoints

Art and Craft, directed by Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman.
(USA) – World Premiere.
Mark Landis is one of the most prolific and notorious ‘artists’ of the century. An expert forger of masterpiece art, Landis has duped curators across the nation, further befuddling them by donating his imitations instead of selling them. Many have dedicated years tracking his escapades with one burning question: “Why?” Framed around a cat-and-mouse chase between Landis and those he has hoodwinked, Art and Craft paints a richly complicated portrait of mental illness, skewed philanthropy, and the desire to feel connected.

Famous Nathan, directed and written by Lloyd Handwerker.
(USA) – World Premiere.
Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters, a New York City icon, has left a lasting imprint on the collective memory and palate of Coney Island. Director and grandson of ‘Famous’ Nathan himself, Lloyd Handwerker, takes a look back at the immigrant experience and almost 100 years of family and New York history in this personal documentary gem. Featuring a strong score, colorful and endearing characters, rare archival material, and a nuanced editing style, Famous Nathan will not disappoint New York history enthusiasts.

An Honest Liar, directed and written by Justin Weinstein, Tyler Measom, co-written by Greg O’Toole.
(USA) – World Premiere.
Renowned magician James “The Amazing” Randi, has been wowing audiences with his jaw-dropping illusions, escapes, and sleight of hand for over 50 years. When Randi began seeing his cherished art form co-opted by all manner of con artists, from faith healers and fortune-tellers to psychics and gurus, Randi made it his mission to expose the simple tricks charlatans have borrowed from magicians to swindle the masses. Weinstein and Measom chronicle Randi’s best debunkings, with the help of interviewees including Penn Jillette, Bill Nye, and “Mythbuster” Adam Savage, ultimately showing us how we are all vulnerable to deception, even “The Amazing” Randi himself.

Love & Engineering, directed and written by Tonislav Hristov.
(Finland, Germany, Bulgaria) – International Premiere.
Is there an algorithm for love? Atanas, a Bulgarian engineer living in Finland, is determined to find out. With the help of some of his geeky bachelor friends, he sets up a series of experiments to crack the code and develop a new, scientific approach to dating. This charming and lighthearted documentary follows Atanas and company as they research pheromones, chart brain waves, and try out “hacks” on blind dates, in their quest to find romance in the modern world.

Maravilla, directed and written by Juan Pablo Cadaveira.
(Argentina) – International Premiere.
A true underdog story, Maravilla follows Argentinian boxer Sergio ‘Maravilla’ Martinez, as he sets out to reclaim the title of Middleweight champion that was unfairly snatched from him in 2011 by Julio Chavez, Jr. Focusing on the rise of Martinez from penniless amateur to world champion and sporting celebrity, director Juan Pablo Cadaveira offers a fascinating glimpse into today’s boxing landscape, revealing the politics of the sporting profession that often places entertainment value over the sport itself.

The Overnighters, directed by Jesse Moss.
(USA) – New York Premiere.
After hydraulic fracturing uncovers a rich oil field in North Dakota, a small conservative town is tested as hordes of unemployed men chasing the “American Dream” pour into its borders. Desperate men, often running from their past, find compassion and refuge in the form of a local pastor. However, the more responsibility he shoulders, the more everything threatens to come crumbling down. A film of dualities, this provocative modern-day parable by documentarian Jesse Moss challenges the very fabric of our society.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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