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EXCLUSIVE: Geoff Gilmore and Programmers Talk Tribeca 2013 Program, Reveal World Narrative and Doc Competition Slates

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 5, 2013 at 2:20PM

"A number of films personally affected us," says Gilmore, "made an impact on us. They were emotional and memorable, wouldn't leave us for a few couple days. What struck me is how much the films seem to deal with the state of the world; there is a shadow over that storytelling, which moves you and makes you think." Gilmore also recognized a new "resonance between the American work and the international work, films that really speak toward a more singular coherent universal vision."
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Tribeca Film Festival
Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival, founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in 2001, has grown over the past decade into a combination of an international indie showcase catering to the local New York smart-house crowd, a distribution launchpad for filmmakers, and a market for indie pickups. Some 37 films were acquired out of the festival last year. The Fest has screened more than 1,400 films from more than 80 countries since its first edition in 2002, attracting more than 4.0 million attendees and generating some $750 million for New York City.

Set to take place this April 17-28, the fest has announced 46 of the ultimate 89 feature-length films, for its world and documentary programs, listed in full below.

For the past few years Sundance import, Tribeca Enterprises chief creative officer Geoff Gilmore, has been more involved in the programming of Tribeca, along with new artistic director Frederick Boyer, director of programming Genna Terranova and programmer Cara Cusumano. They got on the phone with me to discuss the wide scope of this year's program, from escapist levity to self-reflective views of the world, which was culled from 6005 submissions from 30 countries. They include 53 World Premieres, 7 International Premieres, 15 North American Premieres, 6 U.S. Premieres and 8 New York Premieres. A total of 113 directors will present feature works at the Festival, with 35 of these filmmakers marking their feature directorial debuts.  Among these directors, 26 are women.

"A number of films personally affected us," says Gilmore, "made an impact on us. They were emotional and memorable, wouldn't leave us for a few couple days. What struck me is how much the films seem to deal with the state of the world; there is a shadow over that storytelling, which moves you and makes you think." Gilmore also recognized a new "resonance between the American work and the international work, films that really speak toward a more singular coherent universal vision."

The programmers singled out a few films, from American Lance Edmand's stylish and moving World Narrative Competition opener "Bluebird" to the French film "Just a Sigh" ("Le temps de l'aventure"), directed and written by Jérôme Bonnell, and "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors," Sam Fleischner's Kickstarter-funded feature, "a quiet look at a family as the impending storm Sandy is coming as they struggle with an autistic child," says Terranova. Fleischner is one of several Tribeca filmmakers following up award-winning shorts or first features. His debut narrative feature "Wah Do Dem" won the jury prize for best film at the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival. And Matt Wolf's doc feature "Teenage" follows several promising shorts and "uses found footage in different ways," says Terranova.

Gilmore points to "great spectrum of subjects and aesthetics" in doc filmmaking today, citing especially a dreamlike film shot in East Timor over a decade during the 90s, "Alias Ruby Blade: A Story of Love and Revolution," which is "so far away from the archetype of talking heads doc storytelling."

Terranova also admires "Oxyana," Sean Dunne's look at a West Virginia town in the throes of oxycontin addiction, as well as "Dancing in Jaffa," "a compelling and inspiring tale of a ballroom dance competition in which Israeli and Palestinian children dance together." Another dance film, "Flex is Kings," shows how "access to different equipment makes filmmakers able to get to places they were not able to get to before," adds Gilmore, "as dancers try to get out of their situation in the inner gang world in the Bronx."

The World Narrative Competition Section will open with World Premiere "Bluebird," the Documentary Competition Section will open with the World Premiere of "Big Men," and Viewpoints will open with the World Premiere of "Flex is Kings." All three will screen on April 18. Tribeca is also adding to its program a new media series as well as continuing its transmedia program.

The fest will open April 17 with the already-announced film "Mistaken for Strangers."


This article is related to: Tribeca Film Festival, Filmmaker Toolkit Festival Strategy, Festivals, Festivals


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.