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The Eighth Annual Tribeca Film Festival: It's A Wrap

By Janet Walker

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The Eighth Annual Tribeca Film Festival has closed for another season to rave reviews. The twelve-day film extravaganza previewed eighty-six films from thirty-three countries. Lower Manhattan played host to the hundreds of journalists, filmmakers, media and celebrities that came from around the world to participate in the annual celebration of film, music and culture. Founder’s Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hathoff were on hand throughout the two week film party.

The Opening Press Conference of the Eighth Annual Tribeca Film Festival. *

The prevailing themes of this year’s festival were films that presented provocative material and did not shy away from the intellectually, ethically and morally challenging topics, relationships and situations.

Barry Levinson’s Poliwood, premiered under a monsoon that couldn’t diminish the buzz and anticipation for this Political expose on the American media machine. The film tracked The Creative Coalition, a bi-partisan group of entertainment professionals, including writers, actors, directors and others in the industry, through the recent political campaign. Highlighting feelings of discontent between industry and non-industry professionals, the film captured a polarized America based upon the “celebrity” obsession that fascinates the world.  Identical viewpoints were voiced and non-industry professionals were collectively ignored due to the paparazzi and the power of the media. 

Academy award winning and "Poliwood" Director Barry Levinson.

To Mr. Levinson’s credit and direction he gave opportunity for those individuals to have a platform, to voice their opinion and to share their feelings that are clearly understandable especially in this contemporary world.  There are honest answers and honest exchanges as he documented one of the most important political campaigns in recent history. 

Rounding out The Top Ten from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival are the following:

Newsmakers –Russian in Subtitles – A high body count action thriller with a twist. The film has an attention grabbing beginning that carries it through the streets of Moscow into the Ministry of the Interior and highlights the contemporary world of social media and marketing. Based on the remake of Johnny To’sBreaking News” Russian director Anders Banke packs the 110 minutes with exhilaration and suspense.  The all-star Russian cast make it a must see. It should be released in selective US markets and widely through Europe. See it if you get a chance! Rent it if you can.

The Russian action thriller, "Newsmakers." *

Soundtrack for a Revolution – Executive Produced by Danny Glover; This documentary tenderizes the emotions immediately and through the use of riveting images and stories mixed with the music and lyrics that propelled the Civil Rights movement through times of trial, triumph and sustained them through their sorrow, the film weaves a historical timeline that is stunning with reality of a not that long ago season. It holds the audience captive from beginning to end.

Matthew Modine at the premiere of "Poliwood."

Handsome HarryHandsome Harry is a provocative and uncomfortably challenging film that deals with relationships. The emotional levels throughout the film are authentic and create a stirring look at a life that we love, that we loathe and that we live.  The past is never forgotten and some events, no matter how hard one tries, stay buried. Campbell Scott and Jamey Sheridan create uncomfortable authenticity. The film is not yet rated and I don’t believe it will get past the MPAA without significant edits. The edits will give it a wider release and sometimes a small compromise for the greater good is better than huge controversy with limited acceptance. I hope it does well and strikes the right message.

Tribeca Film Festival Co-founder, Jane Rosenthal.

An Englishman in New York – is a docu-drama detailing the last years of Gay icon Quentin Crisp’s life. New York, circa 1980’s; New, Gay and Out Manhattan in all its shock is shown and the effects of one man and a glib comment made publically to mask the trepidation of the oncoming storm associated with Aids or as it was then labeled the gay plague. The films deals follows Quentin twenty years through the shock and fright as the Aids epidemic becomes a horrific replacement to the gay bashings and beatings that plagued the community prior to the explosion of freedoms and through his long relationship with Gay Publisher, Phillip Steel. The film stars John Hurt as Quentin Crisp with Swoosie Kurtz, Cynthia Nixon and Dan O’Hare.

Attending the Premiere of Barry Levinson's "Poliwood,"actress Swoosie Kurtz.

City Island – is the Tribeca Film Festival’s Heineken Audience Winner. The film is one I did not get to see. As it is voted the Audience Winner by theatergoers is a good bet that it’s a worthwhile picture. It stars the always smoldering Andy Garcia and Julianna Margolis. Abandoning his trademark good looks Garcia adopts the everyman style.  It is a story of temptation, obsession and curiosity and follows the normally dysfunctional family through their daily secret lives. The film is directed by Raymond De Felitta.

Director Spike Lee, Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Uma Thurman at the opening press conference. *

The Girlfriend Experience – Details the life of a $2000.00 an hour escort and her personal determinations to remain “desirable” in a profession that has a limited time run.  The film reveals relationships that are more common than the moral majority would like the world to believe. It is interesting and, if you can get past the sexual predications of the diaper wearing Wall Street executive,  certainly insightful and, in these tough economic times, not as uncommon as one would believe.

Attending the premiere of "Poliwood," actress Ellen Burnstyn.

Still Walking – The film mixes modern and strict Japanese culture. It follows the day and night of a contemporary Japanese family as they travel to their parent’s home to commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of the eldest son’s death. The story is interwoven with the universal emotions of loss, betrayal, unrealistic expectations, anger and hurt and the dynamics of families and can be best summed up by the line spoken by the mother, “There is no greater agony that to pray at your child’s grave.”  The film is in Japanese with English Subtitles. It may become available on www.Crunchyroll.com, the website for Japanese television. It’s worth seeing.

Wendie Malick at the premiere of "Poliwood."

In the Loop - A Political Satire on the currents state of British US relations. It is shot on location in New York, London and Washington, DC with frighteningly believable dirty tricks on every level, from the State Department, 10 Downing Street, and The U.N. and of course the staffers who are hoping to bask in the youth light that is creating a golden glow over Washington. It is hilarious with political sex-capades and escapades, double deals and the inevitable untraceable political leaks. The film stars James Gandolfini of The Sopranos as General Miller, British Actor and BAFTA winner, Peter Capaldi as the UK Prime Minister of Communications, Mimi Kennedy as tough as nails Senator Karan Clark and her faithful assistant Liza played by the talented, Anna Chlumsky.

Sting, attending the premiere of "Moon" a Duncan Jones Film.

My Last Five Girlfriends - Another great British Comedy. The film follows a poor British bloke who decides after five tumultuous relationships that he is going to end it all. His suicide attempt results in a series of flashbacks and a trip to the amusement park dedicated to the rides of his life: His past five girlfriends. Each experience is designated by a ride ranging from the cavernous house of horrors to the exhilarating strapped in, with limited protection, all-in, ride of his life. The film is intermittently laced with relationship hints to help everyone as they navigate the treacherous amusement park rides of relationships. Hilarious, enter at your own risk and you must be this tall to enjoy the satire and British humor.  Starring Brendan Patricks and Naomie Harris.

Josh Lucas at the premiere of "Poliwood."

The unsung heroes of the festival, of course, are the sponsors who lend their time, resources and financial support to the festivals mission and by underwriting the daily activities and other events that make the festival memorable and fun. Founding sponsor American Express is dedicated to assisting in the re-building of lower Manhattan and the Tribeca Film Festival through 2013.  The daily sponsors of the Press Lounge included Kodak who also sponsored the Film and Industry Wrap Party at the trendy Mansion in Manhattan’s Chelsea section.

"Poliwood" producers Robert Baruc and Robin Bronk.

The ultra hip nightspot was filled to capacity with all badge holders and industry professionals. The hors d’oeuvres were circulated in abundance with a combination of the trendy mini-burger served complete on a micro-bun to the standard crab cake and sheared tuna. The beverage service was plentiful and friend of the festival Kim Crawford Wines provided an abundant supply of delicious, subtle and smooth, chardonnay’s. 

"Moon" director, Duncan Jones.

The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2001 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff following the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Tyne Daly and Creative Coalition Co-President Tim Daly attending the premiere of "Poliwood."

The Festival Signature Sponsors included the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Apple, Bloomberg, Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), Brookfield Properties, Delta Air Lines, iShares, NBC 4 New York, The New York Times, RR Donnelley, Snapple, Telemundo 47 and Vanity Fair.  The Tribeca Film Festival is also honored to welcome the following new Signature Sponsors: AMC, DIRECTV, Heineken, and NCM.com.

The Kodak Tribeca Film Festival Wrap Party.

Integral partners include Alpha Cine Labs, Brightcove, Broadway Video Digital Media, Directors Guild of America, Dolby Production Services, Kodak Motion Picture Film, Magno Film/Sound/Video, and Panavision, with Supporters Babelgum, Morgans Hotel Group, MUD, NY State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and Television Development, School of Visual Arts, and Shooting People.

The Kodak Party's amazing entertainment spectacular: The Artist slowly moves his body into the bubble until . ..

Friends of the Festival include: Accenture, B.R. Guest Restaurant, CHANEL, Crumpler, Cunard Line, Kim Crawford Wines, L'Oréal Paris, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation/U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, The City of New York Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, Nintendo DSi, Ogilvy, Stolichnaya Vodka, Union Square Ballroom, and ZonePerfect Nutrition Bars. Media Friends of the Festival include: 101.9 RXP, Getty Images, Radio Disney, Screen International, The Hollywood Reporter, Time Out New York, and Variety.

. . He's inside the bubble!

Thanks to all for making the Tribeca Film Festival another incredible out-of-this world experience. 

For more information on the Tribeca Film Festival: http://www.tribecafilm.com/
Poliwood: [email protected] and [email protected] and [email protected]
The Creative Coalition: www.thecreativecoalition.org
Newsmakers: www.newsmakers-film.ru
Soundtrack for a Revolution: www.wma.com; www.wildbunch.biz
Handsome Harry: [email protected]
An Englishman in New York: [email protected]
City Island: [email protected]agency.com and [email protected]
The Girlfriend Experience:  [email protected] and [email protected]
Still Walking: [email protected]
In The Loop: www.ifcfilms.com
My Last Five Girlfriends: [email protected]

All photos except where notoed (*) by Janet Walker courtesy of Pulse Point Productions, Inc.

Published on Dec 31, 1969

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