Ten years ago, the Tribeca Film Festival, which opens this year with a gala screening of The Five-Year Engagement, was founded in response to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. And though it remains one of New York City's most anticipated cultural events, the festival has blossomed from a celebration of the Big Apple as a filmmaking center into a great facilitator and promoter of international film and video culture.
A truly global experience, the festival will feature this year in its World Narrative Competition section new works by Daniel Burman (All In), Eytan Fox (Yossi, a sequel to his acclaimed Yossi & Jagger), and David Riker (The Girl, his first film since 1998's La Ciudad), as well as debut features from Benjamin Dickinson (First Winter, about hipster Brooklynites dealing with a blackout in a remote farmhouse), Lucy Mulloy (Una Noche, about three Cuban teens who take to the sea between their island prison and Miami in search of freedom), and others.
Every year, a small selection of films are celebrated under the Cinemania banner for pushing the boundaries of creativity and genre. Among this year's crop of would-be cult items: Jeremy Power Regimbal's In Their Skin, a home-invasion drama starring Selma Blair; Petri Kotwica's Rat King, a thriller about two teens absorbed into the morbid world of an online computer game; and Frederic Jardin's Sleepless Night, a fresh jolt of "chaos cinema" about a drug heist gone wrong. And for more "high-quality, edgy storytelling from around the globe," there's the Viewpoints program, which this year includes the world premieres of Macdara Vallely's Babygirl, Adam Christian Clark's Caroline and Jackie, Amir Naderi's Cut, and Harmony Korine, Alexey Fedorchenko, and Jan Kwiecinski's The Fourth Dimension.
In the Spotlights section, audiences can discover titles a little more on the beaten track, many of them carryovers from earlier festivals. Among this year's selection are new films by Julie Delpy (2 Days in New York), Álex de la Iglesia (As Luck Would Have It), Cédric Kahn (A Better Life), Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud (Chicken with Plums), Pen-ek Ratanaruang (Headshot), Ira Sachs (Keep the Lights On), Morgan Spurlock (Mansome), Sarah Polley (Take This Waltz), and Michael Winterbottom (Trishna).
Tribeca continues to announce itself as a truly interactive festival. Last year, in a groundbreaking move, it featured Rockstar Games' L.A. Noire as part of a "Tribeca Talks" event with a live gameplay session. And for the third year in a row, the Tribeca Online Film Festival will allow audiences from across the country to experience the festival from the comfort of their homes. Which is all to say that, however you choose to plug into the festival, its programmers assure you that they have a little something for everyone.
Please check back daily for select reviews of the festival's lineup. The Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 18—29. For tickets click here. Ed Gonzalez