When the greatest city in the world (patent pending) is home to your film festival, it seems pretty obvious that said film festival should play plenty of films about said city — a love letter or ten, if you will — and this year’s Tribeca Film Festival appears to be taking that to heart. The festival, now in its thirteenth year, will hit New York City this April 16 through April 27, and the first half of the festival’s slate (the second half will be announced tomorrow) is very heavy on the Gotham-influenced fare.
Think of it this way — at this year’s Tribeca, you can take in at least seven films about New York and its various neighborhoods, and then you can step outside into that actual city. Wild stuff, you guys. These seven films span the city and its far reaches, while also spanning a number of cinematic genres (there’s comedy here, but there’s also some hard drama), and covering topics from ballet to hot dogs and everything in between. Take a look at some of the New York City-centric films (narrative and documentary!) that Tribeca will be offering this year, along with some notes on offerings that – sigh – take place elsewhere.
1. Five Star, directed and written by Keith Miller. (USA) – World Premiere.
A member of the notorious Bloods since he was 12 years old, Primo takes John, the son of a fallen gang member, under his wing, versing him in the code of the streets. Set amongst the streets of East New York, Five Star blends documentary and fiction as director Keith Miller (Welcome to Pine Hill) carefully eschews worn clichés of gang culture to offer a compelling portrait of two men as they are both forced to confront the question of what it really means to be a man.
2. Glass Chin, directed and written by Noah Buschel. (USA) – World Premiere.
After going down in the fifth round, boxer Bud Gordon bowed out of the limelight. Now residing in a fixer-upper apartment in New Jersey with his girlfriend, Bud longs for his former Manhattan glory. In an effort to get back in the game, he makes a deal with a crooked restaurateur. But quick schemes rarely bring easy pay-offs and as the consequences of his business negotiations unfold, Bud has to make a choice between his integrity and his aspirations.
3. Loitering with Intent, directed by Adam Rapp, written by Michael Godere and Ivan Martin. (USA) – World Premiere.
After running into a film producer eager to invest in a new project, aspiring writers Dominic and Raphael need to come up with a script fast, so the pair head to the seclusion of rural Fire Island, NY, to churn out their masterpiece. But when Dominic’s siren of a sister (Marisa Tomei) turns up desperate for reprieve from her boyfriend (Sam Rockwell), they soon realize they’re in for more than they bargained for. Isabelle McNally and a hilarious Brian Geraghty round out this latest effort from director Adam Rapp.
4. X/Y, directed and written by Ryan Piers Williams. (USA) – World Premiere.
Ryan Piers Williams directs and stars alongside America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn and Melonie Diaz in a character-driven drama centered around four restless New Yorkers, and their shifting sexual and romantic relationships as they search for a sense of intimacy and self-identity. As Mark, Jen, Sylvia, and Jake navigate through their emotionally-arrested states, X/Y reveals the honest and wanton desire we all have to connect with someone and what is at stake when that connection fades.
5. 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.
6. Famous Nathan, directed and written by Lloyd Handwerker. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.
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.
7. Summer of Blood, directed and written by Onur Tukel. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative.
Misanthropic and immature Eric faces a premature mid-life crisis after his girlfriend leaves him. With no career and even less charisma in bed, it seems like this loveable loser is beyond hope, until one fateful summer night when a vampire bites him in a Brooklyn alleyway. The next day, Eric finds his confidence invigorated and his stomach in excruciating pain that can only be cured by one thing…blood. Onur Tukel directs and stars in this delightfully dark comedy about love, lust, and humanity.
The festival will feature a grand total of 87 feature-length films, and you can learn more about 47 of them at the festival’s official site.
The 2014 Tribeca Film Festival will run in New York City from April 16 through April 27. The rest of the festival’s slate will be announced later this week, so check back for more information right here.