Tribeca Festival 2021 Review and Interview: Director Nick Moran talks ‘Creation Stories’


Creation Stories tells the unforgettable tale of infamous Creation Records label head Alan McGee; and of how one written-off young Glaswegian upstart rose to irrevocably change the face of British culture.

I was immediately charmed by director Nick Moran after congratulating him on Creation Stories. “Oh, Thank You! I was very concerned about whether it would work with American audiences, ya know because Trainspotting didn’t work as big as it did over here. And ya know, Lock, Stock, (and Two Smoking Barrels) didn’t work as big as it did over here. So I’m like, are they gonna get this sort of Brit Pop-tastic film. And I’m really excited that everyone I’ve spoken to has really, really liked the film.” I assured him that any cinephile in the US knows what those Trainspotting and Lock, Stock are. I was hard-pressed to find a wall in college without one or both of those posters plastered on them. It was a cultural phenomenon in the late 90s. These films opened the minds of countless fans and future filmmakers.

Creation Stories is of a similar ilk. The film’s pace is like a runaway freight train, easily identifying itself as an Irvine Welsh script. In an early scene, young Allen discovers the Sex Pistols. There is joyous, visceral energy to the editing. Moran was the perfect choice for director. After having spoken with him, it all makes even more sense now. This matches Nick’s personal energy. The entire viewing experience of Creation Stories brought me back to when I was in high school and got riled up on the way to live shows or just listening to bands like Oasis. Having to wait in front of the radio for a song to play, that buzzy anticipation isn’t something today’s generation experiences.

Allen McGee was a hustler and a dreamer. But also an addict. His vices were drugs and alcohol, but also risk. His innate ability to take risks on bands changed the face of music. His influence reached beyond the music industry. McGee had his hands in more than the music scene. His stories are so wild you’d almost believe that they were total BS. Ewen Bremner nails this role. He captures Allen McGee‘s dizzying aura. Allen went from a kid excited about music to establishing an inspired empire. Bremner leaves it all on the screen surrounded by a cast of brilliant players like Jason Isaacs, Suki Waterhouse, Leo Flanagan, and many more, including a brief but memorable appearance from Nick Moran as Malcolm McLaren. The way Moran harnesses Welsh and Dean Cavanagh‘s script melds so well with the era. Bringing on Danny Boyle solidified the film version. The drugs, the parties, the hair, and clothing. The entire look of the film has the impression of what I imagine a really great acid trip feels like. It’s a whirlwind. I cannot begin to imagine what was shot and not used! I would not be mad at an eventual director’s cut version.

Let’s talk about the music. The soundtrack is nothing short of a hit. Combining tracks from The Jesus and Mary Chain, David Bowie, Sex Pistols, and yes, Oasis, Moran explains how he chose what would be featured in the film. “It wasn’t much of a learning curve for me, It was more of a case of going through the record collection I’ve already got, brushing the dust off a few of them, and going, ‘Well, what about this?’ ” He perfectly sums up Creation Stories by saying, “If you don’t know that music, then it’s a great discovery!” It’s a celebratory history lesson in a way.

You can watch Creation Stories through Tribeca At Home beginning tonight. Check out the trailer for a taste of what’s to come.

Available Starting

Wed June 16 – 8:00 PM

At Home


Streaming Tribeca at Home is not available outside the USA

Purchased films remain available to stream on-demand from the above date through June 23


ICYMI: Tribeca movie reviews so far

Tribeca Festival 2021 review: ‘P.S. Burn This Letter Please’ is a joyous history lesson.

P.S. Burn This Letter Please

A box of letters, held in secret for nearly 60 years, ignites a 5-year exploration into a part of LGBT history that has never been told. The letters, written in the 1950s by a group of New York City drag queens, open a window into a forgotten world where being yourself meant breaking the law and where the penalties for “masquerading” as a woman were swift and severe. Using original interviews, never-before-seen archival footage and photographs and stylized recreations, P.S. BURN THIS LETTER PLEASE reconstructs this pre-Stonewall era as Lennie, Robbie, George, Michael, Jim, Henry, Claude, Tish, and Terry—former drag queens now in their 80s and 90s—reveal how they survived and somehow flourished at a time when drag queens were both revered and reviled, even within the gay community. The government sought to destroy them, then history tried to erase them, now they get to tell their story for the first time.

There’s something both nostalgic and tangible about handwritten letters. With technology at our fingertips, they are few and far between and nearly nonexistent to certain generations. In P. S. Burn This Letter Please, a box of letters from the 50s chronicles the lives of a small LGBTQ circle of friends. Through sit-down interviews with the authors, immaculate archival footage and photos, we delve into history. This documentary is phenomenally compelling. If it doesn’t make you grin from ear to ear, you’re out of your mind.

Happiness isn’t the only reaction this film elicits. It is a lesson in oppression, one that sounds all too familiar. We hear about biological family dynamics, the difference between those who accepted and those who broke these beautiful souls down. The majority of the doc is celebratory and juicy. Oh honey, the exquisite fashion. The delicious stories. Hearing the truth from those who lived it is priceless.

I learned an entirely new vocabulary. I learned about the “who’s who” of drag and female impersonators in those years. What was it like to be a performer? Who was actually running the gay clubs? That answer will shock you. To say I was fascinated would be an understatement. The dramatic readings of the letters are to die for. To think what wasn’t included in the film leaves me wanting more. Outside of its Tribeca Festival screening, you can watch P.S. Burn This Letter Please streaming on Discovery +. You will not regret jumping into its fabulousness.


Tribeca Festival 2021 capsule Review: ‘Last Film Show’ is a glorious nostalgic hug for movie lovers.

Last Film Show

When the magic of movies conquers nine-year young Samay’s heart; he moves heaven and earth in pursuit of his 35mm dreams unaware of heartbreaking times that await him.

Stunningly beautiful cinematography, including thoughtful close-ups and overhead shots of Samay’s mother cooking his lunches, will make you remember the impact a great film has on all the senses. Last Film Show is the perfect way to celebrate being back in person at Tribeca. Performances from every single cast member are triumphant. It feels like an ode to film lovers. You’ll fall head over heels in love with Bhavin Rabari in particular. It’s rare that child is so spectacular in a role that you forget that’s it’s a narrative and not a documentary. Last Film Show gives us everything we’ve been missing since this pandemic began. To say much more about the plot is truly a disservice. It’s one I implore you to see for yourself. We’ve missed this more than we realized. Last Film Show is a cinematic masterpiece.

WORLD PREMIERE / Spotlight Narrative Competition


Available Starting

Fri June 11 – 6:00 PM

At Home


Streaming Tribeca at Home is not available outside the USA. Purchased films remain available to stream on-demand from the above date through June 23



Review: ‘The Outside Story’ captures New York City in spirit and charm.



Brian Tyree Henry takes on his first big screen lead role as Charles Young, a broken-hearted  video editor. Perceiving a betrayal of trust as a sign his girlfriend Isha (Sonequa Martin-Green)  is leaving him, Charles preemptively blows up his relationship and sequesters himself at home.  The fates do not comply and Charles locks himself out of his apartment. Stumbling into a transformational, timely odyssey exploring his community, Charles meets a dynamic ensemble of previously avoided neighbors (including Sunita Mani, Olivia Edward and Asia Kate Dillon) who show him everyone’s got issues and it never helps to keep them all locked up.

The Outside Story is a quintessential New York City one, where people of all backgrounds, ages, and beliefs intersect in one single day. If you’ve ever lived in the city, the statistical possibility that you’ve locked yourself out of your apartment is very high. I’ve definitely done it, in my pajamas without a phone. It’s like a rite of passage.

Charles is a video editor in a bit of a slump. Trying to do the right thing, he accidentally locks himself out. The make it worse, he has no shoes or wallet. Crossing paths with the neighborhood traffic enforcement officer, neighbors of all persuasion, an unreliable friend, and a cat, all while attempting to pack his ex’s belongings. The editing utilizes flashbacks to, in a way, explain how Charles is in this situation.  Managing texts, phone calls, a work project, and post-breakup woes, Charles is left with neighborhood shenanigans and his memories to taunt him.

I’ve been waiting for Brian Tyree Henry to get a leading role since he charmed the pants off of audiences in television, film, and on Broadway for the past 10 plus years. He’s sheer perfection. You just want to spend time with him. You can tell he is thoughtfully listening to his fellow cast by the tone of his responses. That is great acting. His journey culminates in a revelatory and emotional finale. It all just fits beautifully.

The dialogue is genuine and relatable. It’s a peek into lives very different from their own, regardless of social status. It’s a wonderful reminder to pause, take a breath, and look around every once in a while. I also think it might be a secret desire for every city dweller to run across the adjacent rooftops once in their lifetime. We get to live vicariously through Charles and Brain, here. The Outside Story is a love letter to a neighborhood and everyone who lives and survives there. It’s an ode to the perfectly imperfect moments. It’s a gem.


Written and Directed by CASIMIR NOZKOWSKI




Tribeca Film Festival 2019 Review: ‘Charlie Says’ flips the script on the Manson girls.


Charlie Says

Charlie Says, directed by masterful filmmaker Mary Harron and written by Guinevere Turner, tells the familiar story through fresh eyes—those of Manson’s most devoted girls, van Houten (Game of Thrones’ Hannah Murray), Patricia Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon), and Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendón). Thanks to a devoted prison educator who slowly draws the women out from years of a madman’s mesmerizing and abusive spell (Matt Smith), the women’s story is told in eerily detailed flashbacks, forcing them to reflect on the path that leads them to such unforgivable crimes.

This is not a story about Charles Manson. This is a story about three women who were manipulated by a mentally ill man who convinced them they were loved. Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, and Leslie Van Houten, all came to be followers of Charles Manson because they were lost and looking for someone to make them feel important. It’s the performance from Hannah Murray, Sosie Bacon, and Merritt Wever that catapult this story forward. Wever, in particular, is the heartbeat that guides these broken girls into reality. Bacon represents every girl that needed Manson (played by Matt Smith with a quiet but fiercely alarming power) to be their father figure. Murray, as Leslie, is the audience. You feel for these ladies through intercut flashbacks and prison scenes. Each like a peek behind the curtain and into the insanity of a man who thought the Beatles were speaking to him through the ‘White Album”. These women were brainwashed sex slaves. It wasn’t until a feminist teacher Karlene Faith, with enough empathy to teach these women, did anyone begin to realize that they too were victims alongside those murdered. The film is chilling. The structure is disturbingly effective. You end up caring about these women who history has taught us to loathe. Charlie Says is not about Charles Manson. I’ll say it again. Charlie Says is not about Charles Manson. It is about the victims he kept closest to him.


Mary Harron is the writer and director of films including American PsychoThe Moth DiariesI Shot Andy Warhol, and The Notorious Bettie Page. Her television credits include episodes of The L WordSix Feet UnderBig Love, and Oz, and, most recently, The Following (FOX), Constantine (NBC), and Graceland (USA).

Tribeca Film Festival: ‘7 Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss By Passing Through the Gateway Chosen By the Holy Storsh’ is funny in small doses

7 Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss By Passing Through the Gateway Chosen By the Holy Storsh
Feature Narrative
Country: USA
Director: Vivieno Caldinelli
Writer: Justin Jones, Clayton Hewitson, Christopher Hewitson
Starring: Mark McKinney, Taika Waititi, Dan Harmon, Sam Huntington, Kate Micucci
Midwestern couple Claire and Paul are thrilled to find a great deal on an affordable Los Angeles apartment. But the rent is cheap for a reason: cult members keep breaking in at random to commit ritual suicide in their bathtub.

No distribution as of posting.

For a movie that I literally fell asleep during, I will say, I laughed a lot. However, it was too much all together. The wackiness and outlandishness would have been much better served as a series. Almost every person I encountered that had seen, said virtually the same thing. So much potential.

Tribeca Film Festival: ‘Back Roads’ is rural noir

Back Roads
Feature Narrative
Country: USA
Director: Alex Pettyfer
Writer: Adrian Lyne, Tawni O’Dell
Starring: Juliette Lewis, June Carryl, Nicola Peltz, Jennifer Morrison, Alex Pettyfer
A young man cares for his sisters after their mother is imprisoned for murdering their abusive father. When he strikes up an affair with a married woman, long-dormant family secrets bubble to the surface in this noir thriller.

No distribution as of posting.


Alex Pettyfer directs himself in the main role of a man who has a lot on his mind. Just when you think his life can’t get worse, something else emerges. While some saw his performance as flat, I found it incredibly nuanced and full of pain.


This film is the epitome of dysfunctional family life. The plot twists are endless and it is truly emotionally taxing to watch. While the storytelling is dark, it delves deep into issues ranging from depression, guilt, and gender stereotyping. I couldn’t find a loose thread in the acting department and Pettyfer‘s particular performance is gripping.

Tribeca Film Festival announces jury award winners aka what you need to see asap!

The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, announced the jury award winners for the 17th edition. The 2018 Tribeca Film Festival runs through April 29th.

This year first-time directors took home the top feature honors!

  • Kent Jones, first-time narrative director and writer, wins Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature and Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film for Diane
  • Marios Piperides, first-time feature narrative director, wins Best International Narrative Feature for Smuggling Hendrix
  • Gabrielle Brady, first-time feature-length documentary director, wins Best Documentary Feature for Island of the Hungry Ghosts
  • Nia DaCosta, first-time feature director, wins The Nora Ephron Award for Little Woods
  • Dava Whisenant, first-time director, wins Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award for Bathtubs Over Broadway
  • Shawn Snyder, first-time feature director, wins Best New Narrative Director for To Dust


  • Diane, Smuggling Hendrix and Island of the Hungry Ghosts Take Home Top Awards in
  • U.S. Narrative, International Narrative, and Documentary Competitions
  • Little Woods Writer/Director Nia DaCosta Wins 6th Annual Nora Ephron Award;
  • Hero Wins Storyscapes Award
  • To Dust and Bathtubs Over Broadway filmmakers awarded as best new filmmakers 
  • Jeffrey Wright and Alia Shawkat Win Best Actor and Actress for U.S. Narrative Competition;
  • Rasmus Bruun and Joy Rieger Win Best Actor and Actress for International Narrative Competition

The 17th annual Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, announced the winners of its competition categories at the awards ceremony this evening, sponsored by Chloe Wine Collection, at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Top honors went to Diane for the Founders Award for Best U.S. Narrative Feature, Smuggling Hendrix for Best International Narrative Feature, and Island of the Hungry Ghosts for Best Documentary Feature. The Festival awarded $145,000 in cash prizes. Tribeca runs through April 29, 2018.

Awards were given in the following feature film competition categories: Founders Award for Best Narrative, International Narrative, Documentary, New Narrative Director, The Albert Maysles New Documentary Director, and the Nora Ephron Award, honoring a woman writer or director. Short films were honored in the Narrative, Documentary, Student Visionary and Animation categories.

The Nora Ephron Award awarded a $25,000 prize to writer/director Nia DaCosta for Little Woods. The award was created six years ago to honor excellence in storytelling by a female writer or director embodying the spirit and boldness of the late filmmaker.

Tribeca honored innovation in storytelling with its Storyscapes Award, which went to Hero. Square’s For Every Kind of Dream series was honored with the 3rd annual Tribeca X Award, which recognizes excellence in storytelling at the intersection of advertising and entertainment.

“It is rewarding to honor films that tell important stories and moved our juries in profound way,” commented Jane Rosenthal, CEO, Executive Chair, and Co-Founder, Tribeca Film Festival. “Whether they excite, incite, inspire or simply entertain, it is a privilege to launch this worthy group with this special honor at Tribeca.”

This year’s Festival included 99 feature length films, 55 short films, and 35 immersive storytelling projects from 46 countries.

Screenings of the award–winning films will take place throughout the final day of the Festival: Sunday, April 29, at various venues. Specific times and ticketing information are available at

The winners of the Audience Awards, powered by AT&T, which are determined by audience votes throughout the Festival via the Festival app, will be announced on April 28.

In addition to cash awards and in-kind services provided by sponsors including AT&T, CHANEL, Chloe Wine Collection, CNN Films, and Nutella, a number of the winners were presented with original pieces of art created by contemporary artists: Ghada Amer & Reza Farkhondeh, Meghan Boody, Nancy Dwyer, Eddie Kang, David Levinthal, John F. Simon Jr., Joan Snyder, and Julia Wachtel, as well as longtime Tribeca supporter Stephen Hannock.

The winners, awards, and comments from the jury who selected the recipients are as follows:


The jurors for the 2018 U.S. Narrative Competition were Justin Bartha, Alexander Dinelaris, Bilge Ebiri, Amy Hobby, Chris Messina, and Lakeith Stanfield.

Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature – Diane written and directed by Kent Jones. Winner receives $20,000, sponsored by AT&T, and the art award “The Lady of Shalott, Cool Evening” by Stephen Hannock. The award was given by on behalf of the jury by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal joined by Fiona Carter, AT&T, Chief Brand Officer.

Jury Comment: “Here we were presented with another very difficult decision, but after careful consideration we have chosen a film that we believe encompasses the beauty, aesthetic, as well as the powerful themes of love, struggle, life, death, and womanhood that are the spirit of this year’s Festival. For those reasons, our selection for this year’s Best Narrative Feature isDiane.”

Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film  Alia Shawkat in Duck Butter. The award was sponsored by Chloe Wine Collection. The award was given by Justin Bartha on behalf of the jury along with Eben Gillette, Vice President of Marketing for Chloe Wine Collection, where they have a website specially for marketing purposes and with and created by a specialized web design company online.

Jury Comment: “To choose a Best Actress this year was a uniquely difficult decision, as this year’s Festival was jam-packed with truly amazing female performances. The actress we eventually chose to highlight gives a strikingly raw, connected, and honest performance about a character struggling to be raw, connected, and honest. This woman also co-wrote, co-produced and helped conceive this film…so it goes without saying that without Alia Shawkat there would be no Duck Butter.”

Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Jeffrey Wright in O.G. The award was given by Justin Bartha on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “This year’s best actor has been transforming himself on stage, film, and television for many years. His performance in this year’s competition entry testifies to his talent, sensitivity, and craft. With masterful restraint, the inner life of his character seethes out of his pores. He has crafted a performance that solidifies his standing as one of the greatest actors working today. The award for Best Actor goes to Jeffrey Wright, for O.G.”

Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Cinematography by Wyatt Garfield for Diane The award was given by Bilge Ebiri on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “A cinematographer has to do more than just shoot pretty pictures. They have to help the director and the cast create a whole world, and then immerse us, the audience, in that world – all the while helping push the story forward visually, in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways. There were a number of exceptionally shot films in competition this year, but we were completely enraptured by the work of Wyatt Garfield for the film Diane

Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Diane written by Kent Jones. Winner receives $2,500, sponsored by Chloe Wine Collection. The award was given by Alexander Dinelaris on behalf of the jury along with Eben Gillette, Vice President of Marketing for Chloe Wine Collection.

Jury Comment: “This year’s diverse collection of films were all founded upon haunting and humorous screenplays about dangerous relationships, battles for redemption, and yes, even chronic back pain. They were fearless, frightening, sad, and soulful. Singling out one of them was an incredibly difficult task. But that was the task we were charged with. Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” The screenplay we selected beautifully illustrated that notion through rich dialogue, complex characters, and elegant simplicity. It is for these reasons and many others that we have selected as the winning Screenplay of this year’s Festival…Diane, written by Kent Jones.”


The jurors for the 2018 International Narrative Competition were Florence Almozini, Martha Coolidge, Andre Holland, Haifaa Al Mansour, and Ray Liotta.

Best International Narrative Feature – Smuggling Hendrix (Cyprus, Germany, Greece) written and directed by Marios Piperides. Winner receives $20,000 and the art award “Can We Turn Our Rage to Poetry” by Joan Snyder. The award was given by Ray Liotta on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “For its unique, comedic exploration of a complicated absurd political situation told in a clear, personal compelling way, the Best International Narrative Feature Award goes to Smuggling Hendrix.”

Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature Film – Joy Rieger in Virgins (France, Israel, Belgium). The award was given by Ray Liotta on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “The acting category was a challenge because all of the characters portrayed were fleshed out individuals, but none more than the 16 year old girl who had to navigate a sexual awakening among a life filled with hardship and yearning.  The actress portraying this character brought to life a sassy, sexually naïve teenager that is universally identifiable. The best actress prize goes to Joy Rieger for her portrayal of Lana in the film Virgins.”

Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature Film – Rasmus Bruun in The Saint Bernard Syndicate (Denmark). The award was given by Ray Liotta on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “For his subtle comedic performance that manages to make a lasting impression on its audience and for his humorous, touching work that transcends both language and culture – he goes on a remarkable journey from a naïve furniture salesman to a murderer who’s battling ALS while selling Saint Bernard’s in China, we have chosen to award Rasmus Bruins from The Saint Bernard Syndicate as best actor.

Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature Film – Cinematography by Albert Salas for Obey (UK). The award was given by Haifaa Al Mansour on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “For its original, daring image-making that, along with bold direction, invites the viewer inside the tense circumstances of its characters lives, we have chosen Albert Salas as best cinematographer for his moving work on the film Obey.”

Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature Film – The Saint Bernard Syndicate written by Lærke Sanderhoff (Denmark). Winner receives $2,500. The award was given by Haifaa Al Mansour  on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “While there were many wonderful scripts in this year’s Festival, we have chosen to acknowledge as best screenplay a comedy that manages to be truly funny and inventive in its exploration of a culture clash. This script was refreshingly original and gave its actors the opportunity to really shine. This year’s award for best screenplay goes to Lærke Sanderhofffor The Saint Bernard Syndicate.”


The jurors for the 2018 Documentary Competition were Dan Cogan, Kirsten Johnson, and Brett Morgen.

Best Documentary Feature – Island of the Hungry Ghostsdirected by Gabrielle Brady (Germany, UK, Australia). Winner receives $20,000, and the art award “Tehran, Iran (June 6, 1989)” by Julia Wachtel. The award was given by Dan Cogan and Kirsten Johnson on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “The Best Documentary award goes to a film that demonstrates extraordinary mastery of the full symphonic range of cinematic tools: cinematography, editing, score, sound design, and, perhaps greatest of all, an exquisite use of metaphor. To a film that moved us deeply, impressed us immensely, and made us feel we were witnessing nothing less than the emergence, fully formed, of a major new cinematic talent, we are thrilled to award the Best Documentary award to Island of the Hungry Ghosts.”

Best Cinematography in a Documentary Film – Cinematography by Niels van Koevorden for Tanzania Transit (Netherlands). Winner receives $2,500. The award was given by Kirsten Johnson on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “To witness the care taken in the framing of each shot of this remarkable film conveys pleasure in and of itself. That the aesthetic rigor of each of these images also opens the space for us to contemplate the challenges of being human with such gentleness is transfixing. This is a movie that dares to have no beginning and no end. We honor Niels van Koevorden with the Cinematography Award for Tanzania Transit because it gives us the deep slow shiver of seeing anew!

Best Editing in a Documentary Film – Editing by Frederick Shanahan, Jon Kasbe, Caitlyn Greene for When Lambs Become Lions (USA). Winner receives $2,500. The award was given by Dan Cogan on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “The award for Best Editing goes to a film that unfolds with the urgency and tension one expects from the best Hollywood thrillers.  From the opening frame to its startling climax, this film kept us on the edge of our seats.  It’s also worth noting that one of the films three editors is also the film’s brilliant cinematographer, producer, and director, Jon Kasbe, and the jury could have recognized him in either of those disciplines.  But ultimately it was the film’s incredible pacing that led us to present the award for Best Editing to the team from When Lambs Become Lions.”


The jurors for the 2018 Best New Narrative Director Competition were Josh Charles, Joshua Leonard, and Zosia Mamet.

Best New Narrative Director – Shawn Snyder, director of To Dust (USA). Winner receives $10,000, and the art award “Flash (To the tender flesh it went)” by Meghan Boody. The award was given by Josh Charles and Joshua Leonard on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “As jurors of Tribeca’s New Narrative Director section, we’ve had the unique honor of spending the past week watching a group of lovingly curated films from first time fiction feature directors. These directors come with their own backstories as unique as their movies… some are fresh out of school, while others have already made significant marks in other arenas. But regardless of their backgrounds, they’ve all now joined the ranks with some of the greats… which among a jury of three actors, also means that they are our future employers. So while Zosia regrets missing tonight, she did ask that we give you each copies of her resume… and Josh and I would love to take a moment to tell you about our special skill sets, which include fire-eating, knot-tying and Parkour.

This choice was not easy. There were many films this year that were made with unique vision, craft and heart that we wish we could recognize.  But ultimately, our decision was unanimous.

For a film that tackles a universal subject in a truly singular manner. A film that begins with loss and grief… but then transcends to take you on an exquisitely odd, sometimes hilarious, and always thought-provoking journey into the heart of our clumsy human struggle to heal and to connect. For the incredible performances of his two lead actors, and for a mastery of tone truly rare in such a young filmmaker, we are honored to present this year’s award to Shawn Snyder for his film, To Dust.”


The jurors for the 2018 Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award were Nelson George, Linda Goldstein Knowlton, Elvira Lind, Basil Tsiokos, and Derek Waters.

Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award – Dava Whisenant for Bathtubs Over Broadway (USA). Winner receives $10,000 sponsored by CNN Films, and the art award “White Bowl” by John F. Simon Jr. The award was presented by Nelson George, Linda Goldstein Knowlton, Basil Tsiokos, and Derek Waters on behalf of the jury along with Jon Adler, Senior Director Development, CNN.

Jury Comment: “The winner of the Best New Documentary Director goes to a film that we chose for many reasons. The story, the specific subject, the journey into a world we never knew existed.  This film also has an element every great film, doc, and story needs…heart. It’s an honor to give the award to Bathtubs over Broadway!”


The jurors for the 2018 Narrative Short Competition section were Steve Aoki, Amy Kaufman, Sheila Nevins, Alex Pettyfer, Norman Reedus, Alysia Reiner, and Ondi Timoner.

Best Narrative Short – Phone Duty, directed by Lenar Kamalov (Russia). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Nutella, and the art award “Learning How to Paint/Make A Wish” by Eddie Kang. The award was given by Alysia Reiner and Ondi Timoner on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “This film shows us the emotional weight inanimate objects can have, and the humanized war in a surprising and impactful way. The award for Best Narrative Short goes toPhone Duty.”

Shorts Animation Award – Late Afternoon directed by Louise Bagnall (Ireland). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Nutella. The award was given by Alysia Reiner and Ondi Timoner on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “This film portrays memory in an insightful and impactful way that opened our hearts. As the animation moves from colorful blobs into meaningful shapes and finally breaks through to her realizing the person she loves the most, we realize the experience of Alzheimer’s with a poignancy that stayed with us all. The Award for Best Animated Short goes to Late Afternoon.”

The jurors for the 2018 Short Documentary and Student Visionary Competitions were Sapphire, Joe Daniels,  Amy L. Kaufman, Susan Lacy, and James Steyer.

Best Documentary Short – Notes from Dunblane: Lessons from a School Shooting directed by Kim A. Snyder (USA). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Nutella, and the art award “Fort Apache” by David Levinthal. The award was given by Joe Daniels  on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “This transcendent film adds a revelatory dimension to a subject that is at the epicenter of public consciousness today. We found the wholly original approach of this film allowed us to feel again about subject matter that had shattered our collective souls and left us numb. An emotional paralysis was lifted as we watched this film that allowed us to engage once again with the brutal reality that is America today. We give the Best Documentary Short to Notes from Dunblane: Lessons from a School Shooting.”

Student Visionary Award – The Life of Esteban directed by Inès Eshun (Belgium). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Nutella. The award was given by Sapphire and Susan Lacy on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “With a rare lyric intensity this film opens a window to a young boy’s difficult navigation from early childhood to young adulthood in a single parent family. We watch the sublime intensity of Esteban’s journey through a world that has given him little, and yet paradoxically allows him to achieve much. The Student Visionary Award goes to The Life of Esteban


The 2018 Storyscapes Award, presented by AT&T, which recognizes groundbreaking approaches in storytelling and technology, jurors were Myriam Achard, Marcie Jastrow, and Nicholas Thompson.

Storyscapes Award – Hero created by Navid Khonsari, Vassiliki Khonsari, and Brooks Brown. Winner receives $10,000, presented by AT&T, and the art award “Miracle” by Nancy Dwyer. The award was given by Mark Wright, VP Media Services and Sponsorships on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “Texture. Beauty. Heat. Life. Hero is an extraordinary story of life in a country under siege. It uses ambitious technology, and pushes viewers right up to, but not past, what one’s senses can bear. It will help you understand where VR is going, but also, viscerally, in some ways where this world is going.”


The 2018 Nora Ephron Award, presented by CHANEL, jurors were Joanna Gleason, Rebecca Keegan, and Sasheer Zamata.

The Nora Ephron AwardNia DaCosta director of Little Woods (USA). Winner receives $25,000, sponsored by CHANEL, and the art award “For Wonder Woman” by Ghada Amer & Reza Farkhondeh. The award was given by Rebecca Keegan on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “For its sure-footed storytelling featuring an unconventional heroine who pushes past expectations of what is bravery in a woman’s life or in cinema. In watching this portrait of a woman at a crossroads in small-town America, we found ourselves wanting to see more stories from this filmmaker and more of her vision of a woman in the world. We chose writer-director Nia DaCosta’s Little Woods.


The 2018 Tribeca X Award, jurors were Bonin Bough, Zachary Heinzerling, and Brian Braiker.

Tribeca X AwardFor Every Kind of Dream series for Square. Directed by Mohammad Gorjestani for Even/Odd. The award was given by Brian Braiker on behalf of the jury.

Jury Comment: “The Square films showed an extremely deft sense of craft in telling a compelling and richly human story while maintaining a strong brand message throughout. We specifically responded to the Sister Hearts film, which elegantly told an poignant story about a marginalized community that was lifting itself up. We specifically responded to the level of intimacy captured with these women who opened up about their intensely harrowing and heartbreaking past, and whose presence and unfiltered character on camera makes us smile and shows a resilience that inspires. The role that Square plays fits seamlessly into the narrative, not lifting its head to show off, but instead lending a hand to the impressive journey these inspirational women have commanded.”

For more information on all of the films in the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, please visit

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About the Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival is the leading cultural event that brings visionaries and diverse audiences together to celebrate storytelling in all its forms, including film, TV, VR, gaming, music, and online work. With strong roots in independent film, Tribeca is a platform for creative expression and immersive entertainment. The Festival champions emerging and established voices; discovers award-winning filmmakers and creators; curates innovative experiences; and introduces new technology and ideas through premieres, exhibitions, talks, and live performances.

The Festival was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in 2001 to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan following the attacks on the World Trade Center. Now in its 17th year, the Festival has evolved into a destination for creativity that reimagines the cinematic experience and explores how art can unite

About the 2018 Partners

As Presenting Sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival, AT&T is committed to supporting the Festival and the art of filmmaking through access and innovation, while expanding opportunities to diverse creators around the globe. AT&T helps millions connect to their passions – no matter where they are. This year, AT&T and Tribeca will once again collaborate to give the world access to stories from underrepresented filmmakers that deserve to be seen. AT&T Presents Untold Stories. An Inclusive Film Program in Collaboration with Tribeca, is a multi-year, multi-tier alliance between AT&T and Tribeca along with the year-round nonprofit Tribeca Film Institute.

The Tribeca Film Festival is pleased to announce its 2018 Signature Partners: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Bai Beverages, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC Tribeca PAC), BVLGARI, CHANEL, Chloe Wine Collection, Diageo, ESPN, HEINEKEN, HSBC, IBM, IWC Schaffhausen, Kia, Montefiore, National CineMedia (NCM), Nespresso, New York Magazine, Nutella, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, PwC, Spring Studios New York, and TUMI.

Review: ‘The Boy Downstairs’ feels close to home.

The Boy Downstairs stars Zosia Mamet (“Girls”) as Diana, a twenty-something writer who moves back to New York City after a two-year stint in London. Upon finding the perfect apartment in Brooklyn, she realizes her downstairs neighbor is actually her ex-boyfriend Ben (Matthew Shear, Mistress America) whose heart she broke when she left town. After an awkward reunion, Diana proclaims her intentions for a genuine friendship. But as old wounds are opened, both Diana and Ben are forced to confront the true nature of their feelings.


Mamet gives a deliciously sardonic lean to the role that is funny and honest. The manic ways of Shoshanna Shapiro are nowhere in site. This should put Mamet on some serious casting lists. First-time writer-director Sophie Brooks shows us how a person can have a hold on your soul years after parting ways. The script is really smart and refreshing. It doesn’t glamorize the requisite navigation through adult relationships, those messy, real-life moments are the little things that stick with us in the end. Reality is much more awkward and The Boy Downstairs does not shy away from confrontation or feelings. It allows the audience to reflect on their own past emotional conflicts and in this film’s particular case, flashback sequences are the backbone of the plot. Strong performances from Matthew Shear and Dierdre O’Connell make The Boy Downstairs what it is. The chemistry is astounding. Being a grownup is complicated enough, so once you introduce the complexities of love and friendship, all hell will break loose, even if it’s a quiet thing. You can see The Boy Downstairs in theaters today.



Tribeca Film Fest: ‘Love, Gilda’ to open at Beacon Theatre April 18th

An intimate portrait honoring comedy legend Gilda Radner in her own words with readings from her personal diaries and candid interviews with Chevy Chase, Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Cecily Strong and others…

The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, will open its 17th edition with the world premiere of LOVE, GILDA on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. CNN Films presents the feature length documentary – produced by 3 Faces Films in association with Motto Pictures – which opens a window into the world of celebrated Emmy® and Grammy® award-winning comedian Gilda Radner who became a cultural icon the moment audiences first laughed with her on Saturday Night Live’s debut episode. A trailblazer for female comedians, her impact on the entertainment industry has endured almost four decades. The film will premiere opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, the city she called home when she catapulted to fame. Tickets for Opening Night go on sale on March 20 The 2018 Tribeca Film Festival runs April 18-29.

LOVE, GILDA is directed and produced by Lisa D’Apolito with the support of the Gilda Radner estate. The film is a true autobiography of a pioneering woman, told in her own words and in her own voice. It weaves together audiotapes, rare home movies, diary entries, and interviews with her friends and those inspired by her including: Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Cecily Strong; SNL original cast members Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman, and Paul Shaffer; as well as Lorne Michaels (SNL creator and producer), Alan Zweibel (SNL writer), Stephen Schwartz (Broadway composer); Andrew Alexander (CEO of Second City), and long-time friend and actor Martin Short.

Gilda Radner captivated millions of television viewers as an original cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1975-1980. The popularity of her now classic comedic characters Roseanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella, and Lisa Loopner fueled the young talent to meteoric fame in television, movies, and on Broadway. After finding happiness in love with Gene Wilder she received the cruelest joke of all, cancer. Her fight against the disease served as an inspiration to people impacted by the illness to stay positive and to keep laughing no matter what challenges life brings you.

“As a Festival that has always supported women’s voices and is largely run by women we are incredibly proud to celebrate the inimitable voice of Gilda during the opening night of our Festival,” said Jane Rosenthal, Co-Founder and CEO of the Tribeca Film Festival. “Gilda Radner was a powerful comedic force of nature who opened doors and thrilled audiences while becoming one of the most prolific comedians of a generation. Her cutting edge humor was only second to her dedicated leadership in cancer care with her eponymous Gilda’s Club.”

“LOVE, GILDA is the right film at the right time and the perfect way to open our Festival,” said Paula Weinstein, EVP of Tribeca Enterprises. “Gilda is a woman for the ages, an extraordinary talent in film, television, and theater who overcame her personal struggles to make us laugh, to make us cry. She understood the healing power of laughter not simply for her audience but in her own life as she struggled with cancer and lead the way for all of us to make the world a better place.”

First time feature filmmaker Lisa D’Apolito commented, “I fell in love with Gilda Radner while doing pro bono work at Gilda’s Club, the cancer support organization Gene Wilder founded in honor of Gilda, in Greenwich Village where I grew up. This started my journey to discover who Gilda was as a person and as a performer. Gilda inspired me and many other women with her remarkable spirit and unique talent that changed the world of comedy. I’m grateful and honored to share the extraordinary legacy of Gilda Radner at the Tribeca Film Festival.”

LOVE, GILDA brings audiences into the honest and whimsical world of a beloved performer, whose greatest role was sharing her story. The film is produced by Bronwyn Berry, Meryl Goldsmith, and James Tumminia, with Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn (Motto Pictures), Alan and Robin Zweibel, Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton (CNN Films) serving as executive producers.

Submarine is handling sales for the film.

The 2018 Tribeca Film Festival will announce its feature film slate on March 7.

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Tribeca Film Festival – Lessons from 5 incredibly important documentaries

While there weren’t any movies that blew me away this year, these are the ones that managed the important task of highlighting a worthy piece of history that calls for the future.

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

When I was telling a 20-something about my anticipation of seeing this movie, he gave me a confused look. “I’ve heard that name before. But it was a man.” I knew exactly what he was talking about. “No, that’s Hedly Lamarr from Blazing Saddles.” The ultimate Mel Brooks joke.

Anyway, Hedy Lamarr was an amazing woman who, while at the top of her fame of a Hollywood screen queen, had a hobby in science. As much as I enjoyed the content, I think the movie would have benefited cut out most of the clips from her films.

Lesson: Women are just as nerdy as men and that’s AWESOME.

City of Ghosts

As someone who was admittedly not fully educated on Syria, I found this documentary to be amazingly easy to understand. Told from the perspective of the journalists who are seeking to spread the truth, you’ll be inspired by their humanity.

Lesson: We need the press. We NEED them.

A Gray State

There’s little likelihood that I would ever watch the movie that this movie is partially about, but it sure makes for an interesting subject. The story revolves around a young couple who had sunk every penny and a seemingly endless amount of time into producing a movie about the end of the world. The storytelling is what shines here. I’ve never been so pulled and pushed with emotion knowing the outcome.

Lesson: LISTEN to your family.

Intent to Destroy

Turkey has yet to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. Why? Because the term “genocide” was coined after the events took place. Does that make sense to you? How about this, no U.S. President has since used that term. Wow.

Told partly on set of The Promise, starring Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale, it’s mind-blowing seeing the interviews with the extras who are Armenian. Joe Berlinger captures fact and fiction side-by-side.

Lesson: Don’t forget. Don’t FORGET.

Frank Serpico

I hate to admit this, but I’ve never seen Serpico. I knew it was an Al Pacino cop movie, but I had no idea of anything else. As in most cases, the truth is much more interesting. While the pace could be picked up a bit, the story is there and you’ll be shocked.

Lesson: Do the right thing.

Tribeca Film Festival – Round 1 Top Picks – ‘Saturday Church’ ‘Flower’ ‘Super Dark Times’ ‘Take Me’

I enjoy being surprised when watching a movie and these 4 movies were full of surprises.

Flower grabs you from the first scene and it’s the amazing performance of Zoey Deutch that captivates.

Seventeen-year-old Erica Vandross (Zoey Deutch) isn’t like most teenage girls. When school’s out, for example, she and her two best friends seduce older men in order to extort money from them—you know, typical extracurricular activities. Much of Erica’s rebellious attitude stems from the abandonment of her biological father, who’s in jail and has left her similarly free-spirited mother (Kathryn Hahn) to raise Erica alone. Everything changes, however, when mom invites her new beau (Tim Heidecker) and his overweight and fresh-out-of-rehab son (Joey Morgan) to move in with them, giving Erica an unexpected connection to the “hot older guy” (Adam Scott) she and her friends obsess over at the local bowling alley.

Where Flower goes from there is part of director/co-writer Max Winkler’s film’s unpredictable energy and edgy charm. Executive Produced by Danny McBride, Jody Hill, and David Gordon Green, Flower blossoms from female-driven coming-of-age comedy into bold and uncompromising directions as its unpredictable narrative unfolds. Front and center throughout is an excellent and multidimensional turn from Zoey Deutch, who solidifies her emerging star status with a performance that’s hilarious, raw, brash, and sneakily tender.

—Cara Cusumano

The handheld style served the material very well. The story moves in all kinds of directions while staying grounded in reality.

Working single mother Amara leaves her two boys at home with domineering Aunt Rose, and Rose has her eyes on the older son, Ulysses. Stealing nylons, wearing his mother’s shoes: Ulysses is just beginning to explore his identity and sexuality. When Rose demands an end to it, the boy escapes to the Village and discovers both supportive friends and the inspiration to become exactly what he is feeling inside. The problem: Rose is waiting back home. Luka Kain delivers a magnetic performance as Ulysses—who in his best moments hears music all around, and yet faces some of the worst circumstances imaginable—in this drama about finding a literal sanctum, so that you can find yourself. It’s a complicated life Ulysses leads, and Damon Cardasis’s musical coming-of-age story is all the better for tackling multiple sides of the young LGBTQ experience, with compassion and heart combined.

—Cara Cusumano

Saturday Church mixes in musical numbers in a way that I enjoyed. It’s always inspiring to see a story of someone discovering their identity and the people that support them.

Enjoying their normal lives in mid-’90s suburbia, Zach and Josh are best friends with numerous shared interests, chief of which is an attraction to their classmate Allison. One seemingly routine day, along with two other friends, Zach and Josh borrow the latter’s older brother’s prized samurai sword to goof around in the local park. But the afternoon soon spirals out of control. Wracked with guilt, Zach struggles to assimilate back into high school life, even as Allison begins to show a romantic interest in him. The situation gets even more complicated once Zach notices a disturbingly off-balance change in Josh’s behavior.

Blurring genre lines throughout, Super Dark Times marks a confidently audacious and impeccably assembled feature debut for director Kevin Phillips. In its adult depiction of innocence corrupted, Phillips’ midnight-dark film has shades of everything from Stand By Me to Donnie Darko and Stranger Things. Yet Phillips’ masterful command of mood, cinematographer Eli Born’s stunning use of wide-screen photography, a few unsettlingly horror-movie-like dream sequences, and the cast’s excellent performances all combine to elevate Super Dark Times above pastiche and into uncompromisingly bold filmmaking.

—Matt Barone

Super Dark Times seems like it’s for teenagers, but it’s really for those who remember being teenagers. Being a teenager feels like everything is so important. Sometimes it actually is. Such is the case for the boys who get themselves into a terrible situation. We see it coming, but it makes it no less impactful. Really amazing performances by the young cast that we will surely see again.

Ray Moody (Pat Healy) is a fledgling entrepreneur, trying to get his company off the ground in Los Angeles. His business: abduction, or as Ray describes his company, Kidnap Solutions, LLC, providing alternative therapy that his clients use for curative reasons. The market for such a service is unsurprisingly niche, and Ray is in dire straits. So when he receives a mysterious phone call late one night contracting him for a weekend abduction with a handsome payday at the end, Ray jumps at the chance. The only problem? His target, business consultant Anna St. Blair (Orange Is the New Black’s Taylor Schilling) may not be all that she seems. Take Me, Pat Healy’s feature directorial debut, threads the needle between crime thriller and slapstick farce. Working with writer Mike Makowsky and Executive Producers Jay and Mark Duplass, the film is a wonderfully droll, Hitchcockian black comedy with excellent lead performances that is as twisty as it is funny.

—Jason Gutierrez

Again, sometimes you know what’s going to happen, but that doesn’t spoil the journey. In Take Me, Pat Healy and Taylor Schilling are in a mental and physical battle. Its twisted sense of humor reminds me of last year’s Tribeca Orchard release, The Overnight, coincidentally also starring Schilling.

So far, Tribeca has not been disappointing!

Watch all the Tribeca Talks from the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival!

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: (L-R) Actor Robert De Niro, director Alfonso Cuaron and director, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki attend Tribeca Talks Directors Series: Alfonso Cuaron at SVA Theatre 1 on April 20, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 20: (L-R) Actor Robert De Niro, director Alfonso Cuaron and director, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki attend Tribeca Talks Directors Series: Alfonso Cuaron at SVA Theatre 1 on April 20, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

Thanks to the wonderful world of technology, all the talks from this year’s festival are now available to watch online! Two especially good ones are below. Enjoy!

Here’s the entire playlist below. Click on the little icon in the top left to scroll through which you want to watch!


Tribeca Film Festival Review: Written & Directed by Ricky Gervais, the Netflix ‘Special Correspondents’ tries very hard to be an 80s comedy

Special Correspondents – Netflix April 29th

American politics and media are aptly satirized in this feature by firebrand comedian Ricky Gervais. A pretentious radio journalist and his ineffectual technician botch an assignment in South America, and decide to fabricate an on-the-scene story while hiding out in a New York City apartment. This scheme spirals out of their control when their escalating story becomes a national headline.

If you can accept that this is a silly comedy and go along for the ride, then you’ll enjoy Special Correspondents. I had to keep telling that to myself over and over as each scene was presented as drama, but was obviously farce. From the very beginning, I compared it to the brilliantly funny, Spies Like Us with Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd. What made that film so funny was that both lead characters were ridiculous and there weren’t major conflicts. It tried to follow a modern formula from a silly 80s-type story.

Tribeca Film Festival: ‘Team Foxcatcher’ from Netflix, ‘Always Shine’ & ‘Little Boxes’

Of the last few days of the festival, these three films were among my favorites.

Team Foxcatcher

Meant to be a retreat for elite American athletes, Foxcatcher Farms, and all it was intended to represent, was lost in the paranoid downward spiral of its troubled benefactor John Du Pont. Heir to the Du Pont family fortune, John Du Pont funneled his considerable resources into his love of sports—wrestling in particular. Aiming to reinvigorate the US Olympic wrestling team, Du Pont created Foxcatcher, and invited gold medal champion Dave Schultz to lead the charge. What began as an idealistic sports idyll soon deteriorated into suspicion, distrust, and ultimately murder.

Through fascinating archival footage and never-before-seen home videos shot during Schultz’s time at the farm, director Jon Greenhalgh’s absorbing film unpacks the events leading up to Foxcatcher’s well-documented tragedy, exploring the complex and contradictory character of Du Pont, while serving as a poignant memoir to the legacy of Schultz as a champion wrestler, husband, and father. Team Foxcatcher charts a true American tragedy of Olympic dreams, ambition, mental illness, and murder.

—Cara Cusumano

I haven’t seen the Foxcatcher movie with Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, so I didn’t have any idea what this was about other than wrestling. I was completely shocked at the story, but even more impressed with the storytelling. It builds up slowing, and documents the events through the stories of those who were there.

Fascinating and compelling, it proves once again that truth is stranger than fiction. Releases on Netflix April 29th.

ALWAYS SHINE_web_2Always Shine

Two women, both actresses with differing degrees of success, travel north from Los Angeles to Big Sur for a weekend vacation in Always Shine, Sophia Takal’s twisty, psychological thriller. Both see the trip as an opportunity to reconnect after years of competition and jealousy has driven a wedge between them, but upon arrival to their isolated, forest retreat, the pair discovers that their once intimate friendship has deteriorated into forced conversations, betrayals both real and imagined, petty jealousies, and deep-seated resentment. As the women allow their feelings to fester, each begins to lose their bearings not only on the true nature of their relationship, but on their own identities. Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire) and Caitlin FitzGerald (Masters of Sex) give brave and raw performances as Beth and Anna, two women whose ideas of success are dictated as much by external cultural criterion as their own sense of self-worth. Beautifully photographed and assuredly directed by Takal, Always Shine wraps itself in an evocative shroud of dread and paranoia that lingers long after the final frame.

—Cara Cusumano

On the surface, it’s just a jealous rivalry, but tables turn and suddenly you don’t know what is real anymore. The opening sequence is particularly intense, and sets the stage perfectly for the two women. I also found it quite interesting seeing a woman striking out with a potential suitor, as that’s not normally something depicted. Brilliantly acted and told, this is quite a surprising cinematic treat.

Little Boxes

It’s the summer before 6th grade, and Clark is the new-in-town biracial kid in a sea of white. Discovering that to be cool he needs to act ‘more black,’ he fumbles to meet expectations, while his urban intellectual parents Mack and Gina also strive to adjust to small-town living. Equipped for the many inherent challenges of New York, the tight-knit family are ill prepared for the drastically different set of obstacles that their new community presents, and soon find themselves struggling to understand themselves and each other in this new suburban context.

Director Rob Meyer (A Birder’s Guide to Everything) returns to Tribeca with his second feature, a poignant comedy about understanding identity, featuring a robust cast including Melanie Lynskey, Nelsan Ellis, Armani Jackson, Oona Laurence, Janeane Garofalo, and Christine Taylor. Executive Produced by Cary Fukunaga.

—Tilson Allen-Merry

Subtle and upfront at the same time, I loved the honesty and accessibility of the characters. I struggled through the entire film to place lead actor, Neslan Ellis, as I knew I’d seen him in something before. Turns out, he played Lafayette on HBO’s True Blood, which is as far away from the character in this film as you can imagine. He’s absolutely brilliant as the father in this family that moves to the suburbs after a life in New York City. I absolutely adored the film.

Tribeca Film Festival Review: The tragic & heart-breaking ‘AWOL’


Love can sometimes make us do stupid things. Joey is blinded by her love for Rayna and won’t give up on her. Even after she joins the Army, Joey can’t stop thinking about a life with Rayna and will do every dumb thing she can to make it happen.

While it can be maddening at times, the story of AWOL is full of good intentions. There are several scenes that are blatantly gratuitous, and unnecessary, but the structure flows well and it keeps you engaged.

Tribeca Film Festival Review: Aubrey Plaza & the ‘Pistol Shrimps’


They just wanted to play basketball at their local rec center. This group of women started a movement and are known as the Pistol Shrimps.

The documentary takes you through from the beginning and although there’s nothing ground-breaking, it’s really just empowering to see a bunch of women having fun together and not apologizing for it. Many of the team are comedy writers and performers, so their interviews are particularly funny.

They even have their own podcast!

Tribeca Film Festival Review/Interview: Tracy Droz Tragos talks about the Missouri documentary ‘Abortion: Stories Women Tell’

Director Tracy Droz Tragos has a passion for Missouri stories. After her family moved to California, she used to spend her summers in Rich Hill, Missouri, about halfway between Kansas City and Joplin on Highway 49. She even directed a documentary about three boys from that area in the 2014 documentary, Rich Hill. Heartbreaking and honest, it brought to light a seldom heard story of struggle.

Abortion: Stories Women Tell airs on HBO later this year as part of their documentary series.

No matter your position on the issue, these are the women it affects. From those having them to those opposing. Hear my interview with director, Tracy Droz Tragos, below:

Tribeca Weekend Wrap-Up: 6 stories of love, loss, happiness and fear


Love can make us do some pretty dumb things. Joey is trying to make sense of her life and find direction, but love blinds her better judgement. Told with many gratuitous and unnecessary bits of nudity, the vulnerability and naivety of Joey is what makes this tug at your heart.

Fear_inc_web_1-Tribeca 2016

Fear, Inc

A company that you hire to scare you? Although it has tremendous potential, the execution (no pun intended) didn’t grab me at all. Once again, I gave horror a try. It’s just not for me.

the happy filmThe Happy Film

Surprisingly introspective, this was just as much about the cool design as it was the idea that we can control our happiness. At the beginning, the film tells you that it will not make you happy, and it won’t, but it could give you some insight on how to be.

FOLK_HERO_AND_FUNNY_GUY_web_1Folk Hero & Funny Guy

So much more than the two guys, one girl troupe, this is a story of two friends discovering their friendship again.

Enlighten_Us_web_1Enlighten Us: The Rise and Fall of James Arthur Ray

Remember the sweat lodge incident where people died? Here’s the story of the man behind it, who went to prison for two years. The director is incredibly diplomatic and let the man speak to himself. What I took out of it is how much I am grateful for my friends who love and support me.

HOUSTON_WE_HAVE_APROBLEM_original_1bHouston, We Have a Problem!

Separating fact from fiction is easier in a narrative, but when it’s presented as a documentary, the line is not clear. Besides the subject, the cinematography is really spectacular as the archival footage is lined up with the present.