Docs

“They’re Trying to Kill Us”, “Explant” among Tribeca Online Premieres

Tribeca Festival is introducing a virtual hub, Tribeca At Home, with a selection of feature documentaries for audiences unable to attend the in-person event taking place next month in New ...
May 3, 2021

Tribeca Festival is introducing a virtual hub, Tribeca At Home, with a selection of feature documentaries for audiences unable to attend the in-person event taking place next month in New York City.

The Tribeca Online Premieres section will showcase 35 films including 24 features and 11 shorts. The hub, available only to U.S. audiences, will also include an immersive showcase of 14 VR sections, various podcasts and games programming.

Select features and three previously announced shorts screening in person as part of the Juneteenth program will also be included within the Tribeca Online Premieres focusing on music, health and civil unrest.

The Tribeca Festival runs from June 9 to 20.

The 2021 Tribeca Online Premieres feature documentary and short film lineups are below, descriptions courtesy of the festival.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

Being BeBe, directed by Emily Branham. Produced by Emily Branham, Marc Smolowitz, Jonathan Goodman Levitt (United States, Cameroon)
Online World Premiere.
In 2009, Bebe Zahara Benet was crowned the first winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. But the franchise hadn’t yet achieved notoriety, so without an infrastructure to support her next steps, Bebe is confronted with the fickleness of fame.

ClayDream, directed and written by Marq Evans. Produced by Tamir Ardon, Marq Evans, Nick Spicer, Kevin Moyer (United States)
Online World Premiere
This portrait of the pioneer and “Father of Claymation,” Will Vinton, follows the rise and fall of his Oscar- and Emmy-winning claymation studio, giving the viewer a front row seat to the battle between art and commerce.

Explant, directed by Jeremy Simmons. Produced by Jeremy Simmons, Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey. Executive Produced by Michelle Visage, David Case (United States)
Online World Premiere
Over the past six decades, thousands of women across the globe have become sick with an amalgam of mysterious and severe autoimmune disease symptoms. The common denominator in many of their cases? Breast implants.

The First Step, directed by Brandon Kramer, written by Lance Kramer (United States)
Online World Premiere
In this observational portrait, Black political commentator Van Jones navigates increasingly tense and isolating political and racial divides in his attempt to become a “bridge builder” during the Trump administration.

Mission: Joy, directed by Louie Psihoyos, Written by Doug Abrams, Produced by Peggy Callahan (United States)
Online World Premiere
Building from the bestseller The Book of Joy, Academy Award-winner Louie Psihoyos documents the friendship between Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama — two men who’ve faced immeasurable adversity with an indestructible jubilance.

No Ordinary Life, directed by Heather O’Neill, Produced by Heather O’Neill and Rich Brooks (United States)
Online World Premiere
With revealing access, the documentary No Ordinary Life spotlights the esteemed careers of five courageous camera women who thrust themselves into dangerous circumstances — wars, calamities and uprisings — to bear witness and give a platform to the most vulnerable. O’Neill’s  portrait of these five resilient women brings their sense of purpose — and the risks they took throughout their assignments — to the forefront.

The Phantom, directed and written by Patrick Forbes. Produced by Mark Bentley (United States)
Online World Premiere
The Phantom takes viewers on a searching examination of another dark tale of American injustice, delving deep into the details surrounding a Texas murder to determine whether or not an innocent man was put to death, and exploring the prejudice and discrimination that persists today against America’s Hispanic community.

Primera, directed by Vee Bravo, produced by Vee Bravo, Catherine Gund, Kevin Lopez (Chile)
Online World Premiere
This documentary brings the audience into the volatile circumstances that led to the student uprisings in Chile in late 2019, and how a rising resistance movement — led by student protesters, activists, street artists and community leaders — fought back against the Chilean government’s oppressive policies and militaristic implementation of force. The narrative immerses itself in the exploits of activists that took to the streets to reclaim their country and advocate for a just society.

Tigre Gente, directed by Elizabeth Unger. Produced by Elizabeth Unger (United States)
Online World Premiere
A Bolivian park ranger and a young Chinese journalist risk their lives to go undercover and investigate a new, deadly jaguar trade that’s sweeping South America. Along the way, they grapple with questions of empathy, responsibility, and bridging a cultural gap to prevent the jaguar trade from spiraling out of control.

Turning Tables: Cooking, Serving, and Surviving in a Global Pandemic, directed by Matthew Miele, Produced by Katie Couric, Geoffrey Zakarian, John Molner, Berry Welsh, Jaret Keller, Anne Chertoff-Tavelin, Keelin Ryan.. New York’s Michelin-starred chefs Eric Ripert, Geoffrey Zakarian and Daniel Boulud and neighborhood eateries Melba’s, Hearth and Keens Steakhouse, among others, were at their most vulnerable since the start of COVID-19. Their determination to survive and serve their communities becomes a love letter to New York City focused on hope and resilience, while cooking and serving through a global pandemic.

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS

Desert Dogs, directed by Samuel Morris (Switzerland)
Online U.S.
Aya and Ibrahim both live from one moment to the next, far away from Moroccan conventions. They’ve figured out what makes them the happiest: a wooden board with wheels on it.

Last Meal, directed and written by Daniel Principe, Marcus McKenzie. Produced by Daniel Principe, Marcus McKenzie, Danielle Tinker (Australia)
Online World
The final feasts of death row inmates are served up in this investigation of capital punishment.

Rise Up, directed by Bryan Buckley. Produced by Tina Densmore Bell. (United States, Brazil, Kenya)
Online World Premiere
Who is the definitive modern role model for mankind? Is it a politician? A writer? A scientist? Twelve remarkable children from around the world give their answers

JUNETEENTH DOCUMENTARY FEATURES 

Buddy Guy: The Blues Chase the Blues Away, directed by Devin Amar, Charles Todd, Matt Mitchener. Produced by Sheira Rees-Davies, John Beug (United States)
Online World Premiere
A music-filled profile of guitar legend George ‘Buddy’ Guy, whose unique, intense style, forged from years of gigging in Chicago clubs, inspired generations of blues musicians.

Ferguson Rises, directed by Mobolaji Olambiwonnu, written by Mobolaji Olambiwonnu, Bradinn French, Jeff Striker, Kai Bowe, Daisy Mo. Produced by Mobolaji Olambiwonnu, Daisy Mo, Tanayi Seabrook, TJ Odebunmi, Lisa Smithline, David Oyelowo, Jessica Oyelowo, Nick Moon, Tamika Lamison (United States)
Online World Premiere.
Before George Floyd, before Breonna Taylor, before Black Lives Matter, there was Michael Brown, Jr. Six years after the fatal shooting of an unarmed Brown by a white police officer, and the subsequent days of protest, filmmaker Mobolaji Olambiwonnu brings a new portrait of the community of Ferguson, the family and friends of Michael Brown, and a narrative from within the city of hope, love and renewal.

They’re Trying to Kill Us (pictured), written, produced and directed by John Lewis, Keegan Kuhn, Executive Produced by Chris Paul, Billie Eilish, Keegan Kuhn, John Lewis, Greg Anzalone, Jay Karandikar.
Executive produced by NBA All-Star Paul and Grammy-winning Eilish, They’re Trying to Kill Us is the follow-up feature length documentary to the award-winning film What The Health, focusing on food (in)justice told through the lens of Hip Hop. Audiences journey with co-director Lewis as he crosses the country seeking answers to why Americans of color suffer from disproportionately higher rates of chronic disease than their European American counterparts, while examining the intersections of food, disease, race, poverty, institutional racism and government corruption.

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is a special reports editor at realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.

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