High-Profile Tribeca Film Festival Begins to Unveil Lineup of Low-Profile Films

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03/07/2011 4:28 PM |

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The Tribeca Film Festival today announced 43 of the 88 features that’ll screen at this year’s festival in late April, comprising the Narrative and Documentary competitions as well as the Viewpoints section (as with most film sections, Tribeca makes a vast lineup more manageable by forcing films into one of several vaguely defined, speciously distinct sections. “Cinemania” and “Spotlights” are yet to be announced).

Indiewire has the full film lists and descriptions, as well as some quotes and numbers which put the whole thing in context.

Most notably, Director of Programming David Kwok tellis indiewire, the lineup is very heavy on first-time filmmakers: “all but three in the documentary competition debuting their first feature and roughly half in the narrative section.” Also worth mentioning is the geographic range of the selection, which draws from 32 countries.

So, first-timers and foreigners—the people, in other words, most likely to think that Tribeca is a much bigger deal in the film world than it actually is.

Which is perhaps unfair to the festival: there’s historically been some very good stuff at Tribeca—perhaps especially the stuff you’re maybe least likely to have heard of. What Tribeca is best at delivering, though, isn’t what it promises: namely, corporate-sponsored star power in fashionable Lower Manhattan.

Coming after Sundance and SXSW, with their long-cultivated scenes, Tribeca will never really be a natural home for American independent films—I’ve actually heard colleagues make jokes to the effect of “American indie film that played Tribeca” being the biggest red flag they know. And all other American festival films roll out in the fall, in time for awards season.

So it’s natural that the strongest Tribeca titles will be docs and foreign titles, of which there is an endless supply always in need of filtration. It’s just so strained, isn’t it—you wonder how much longer companies like ESPN will be willing to brand themselves through their affiliation with a festival that offers a grab-bag selection of new and established world-cinema names somewhere between New Directors/New Films and Toronto and screens mostly at the Village East.

One Comment

  • Kind of a stretch, don’t you think? Why not celebrate Tribeca for responding to criticism with an uncharacteristically “low key” lineup and refined sections, instead of taking pot shots at “first-timers and foreigners”? I never understand why film people would be interested in tearing down film events.