The Tribeca Film Festival turns 15 this year. The little festival that could has
grown up to become one of the most well known festivals, and also a springboard for up
and coming talent. This year, despite some initial controversy, the festival is only getting
better by evolving to include TV, and interactive installations.
The festival (founded in 1988 by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal) has been
making headlines recently because of the one film it’s not showing due to the decision to
program, and then to pull the anti-vaccination documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to
Controversy. De Niro initially thought the film would provoke thoughtful discussion.
However, after protest, the film was dropped from the lineup. Which, also caused
arguments about weather festivals should include films about all points of view, even the
controversial ones. This incident is by far the most controversy the festival has faced in
its 15 years. Now, with the start of the festival fast approaching all those involved are
eager to focus on the films and TV that will be showing.
TFF is making quite the splash as it jumps into the TV world. They are calling it
Tribeca Tune In, and, according to the festival website, it will premiere six new series,
including TNT’s Animal Kingdom, OWN’s Greenleaf, AMC’s The Night Manager,
HBO’s The Night Of. Along with the premieres, there will be special showings, including
a retrospective screening of the final episode of HBO’s Six Feet Under.
This year the TFF is also delving into immersive and interactive exhibits.
According to The Wall Street Journal, “The festival showcases emerging technologies as
storytelling platforms, using special interactive exhibits, virtual-reality experiences and a
new Snapchat Shorts competition.” However, perhaps the most exciting immersive
project is The bomb, a documentary about the evolution of nuclear weapons. The film
will close the festival staged as a theater-in-the-round played on giant screens to a live
score by band the Acid.
Although people are excited about the TV and immersive content, it is always the
movies that create the most buzz for the TFF, and this year is no different. Some of the
most anticipated films include The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, starring Jason Sudeikis
as a widow who bonds with a homeless teen; All We Had, the directorial debut of Katie
Holms; A Hologram for the King, adapted from the Dave Egger’s novel and staring Tom
Hanks; The First Monday in May, a documentary about the Metropolitan Museum of
Art’s Costume Institute exhibition, China: Through the Looking Glass; The Meddler, a
comedy staring Rose Byrne and Susan Sarandon; and Wolves, a drama led by the always
magnificent Michal Shannon. Shannon also shows up in the festival centerpiece Elvis &
Nixon, which details the iconic meeting the two had at the White House when the singer
sought to be deputized into the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs by the
president (played by Kevin Spacey).
The Tribeca Film Festival will take place April 13-24 in New York City.
Words By Nailah Bakari