The Tribeca Film Festival shorts section has long been a launchpad for up-and-coming filmmakers. This year, however, Tribeca boasts some big names in addition to its discoveries.

A short documentary, Auschwitz, is narrated by Meryl Streep; Danny DeVito has a family affair in his short Curmudgeons, starring his daughter and produced by his son; Matthew Modine also directs his daughter, alongside Ed Asner, Kevin Nealon and Elizabeth Perkins in Short SexStarring Austin Pendleton, directed by Gene Gallerano and David H. Holmes, stars Austin Pendleton, Meryl Streep, Olympia Dukakis, Ethan Hawke, and Natalie Portman; Sandra Oh stars in The Scarecrow; Michael Cera starts in That Dog; and Zosia Mamet, Jane Krakowski and Steve Buscemi star in Mildred and The Dying Parlor.

As we mentioned in our feature film lineup announcement, Tribeca had a 1.9% acceptance rate this year for all submissions. (Out of 6,626 submissions to the festival, 130 will be screened.) 

Additionally, Whoopi Goldberg has curated an animated shorts program this year, Whoopi’s Shorts, which features films directed by both established and emerging talent from around the world.   

Festival Hub Opening Night

Performance by Juliette Lewis and the Licks following the screening.

  • Hard Lovin' Woman, directed by Michael Rapaport. (USA) – World Premiere. In this heavy-hitting rock documentary, director Michael Rapaport explores the sacrifices acclaimed actress Juliette Lewis makes to pursue her first love, music. Bucking industry politics and critics, self doubt, and physical injury, Lewis leads us on a deeply personal journey through her own authentic, independent, and raw sonic world.
  • Becoming: Bradley Theodore, directed by Matt Pizzano. (USA) – World Premiere. Two years ago, artist Bradley Theodore didn’t know how to paint; he was also suffering through the darkest moments of his life. This story is a testament to how one's life can be turned around through sheer dedication to self-teaching and self-promotion.

California Dreaming

Tribeca becomes bi-coastal with our first program of stories about an L.A. kind of life.

  • The Duke: Based on the Memoir "I'm The Duke" by J.P. Duke, directed by Max Barbakow, written by Derek J. Pastuszek and Andy Siara. (USA) – New York Premiere. Mired in a concussed haze, an ex-NFL linebacker struggles to adjust to life off the field on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • The Board, directed by David Shane, written by Scott Organ, David Shane. (USA) – World Premiere. A socially-challenged high school kid tests his ultimate system for making a successful first-time call to his crush.
  • The Chauffeur, directed and written by Brian Burton. (USA) – World Premiere. Donald is an artist. Donald is musician. Donald is an actor. But Donald lives in Los Angeles... so to everyone else, Donald is the chauffeur.
  • Girl Band, directed and written by Kerry Furrh, Cailin Lowry, and Olivia Mitchell. (USA) – World Premiere. It’s a beautiful morning in the middle of fucking nowhere. Four best friends/bandmates are packed and ready to make their long-anticipated road-trip move to Los Angeles, but their hometown keeps getting in the way.
  • That Dog, directed and written by Nick Thorburn. (USA) – US Premiere. A dark comedy of errors unfolds as two interloping idiots inadvertently wreak havoc on the lives of others.
  • Super Sex, directed and written by Matthew Modine. (USA) – World Premiere. It's always hard to find something for a dad (Ed Asner) who has everything. He says he just wants to be loved. So, his children (Kevin Nealon and Elizabeth Perkins) provide it in a way they never before imagined—Super Sex!

First Impressions

Looks are deceiving as we traverse the globe in search of the truth.

  • Operator, directed by Ben Hakim, written by Lior Zalmanson. (Israel) – International Premiere. A single mom works as a human drone operator, killing people on a daily basis in order to make a living. How much of it all does she take home? In Hebrew with subtitles.
  • One Good Pitch, directed by Parker Hill, written by Parker Hill and Evan Ari Kelman. (USA) – World Premiere. After some time apart, Andrew hopes that a game of catch will help him reconnect with his father.
  • Winds of Furnace (Aire quemado), directed and written by Yamil Alberto Mojica Quintana. (Mexico) – World Premiere. In a half-urbanized community in the Mexican tropics, Santiago and his friends, Antonio and Miguel, are having a fun afternoon sharing jokes, pranks, and dreams as they straddle the boundary between childhood and adult life. In Spanish with subtitles.
  • Balcony, directed and written by Toby Fell-Holden. (U.K.) – North American Premiere. In a neighborhood rife with racial tension, a local girl falls for a recent arrival who is the victim of prejudice and shame. In Dari, English with subtitles.
  • Catch a Monster (Coger Un Monstruo), directed and written by Michael Y. Lei. (Bolivia, USA) – World Premiere. A lonely boy finds himself trapped in a dark fantasy come alive in the streets of La Paz, Bolivia. In Spanish with subtitles.
  • Shok, directed and written by Jamie Donoughue. (Kosovo, U.K.) – New York Premiere. The friendship of two boys is tested to its limits as they battle for survival during the war in Kosovo. Based on true events. In Albanian, Serbian with subtitles.

Learning Curve

Poignant or profound life lessons are embodied in these shorts from here and abroad.

  • Nkosi Coiffure, directed and written by Frederike Migom. (Belgium) – US Premiere. After fighting with her boyfriend on the street, in Brussels' African neighbourhood, Eva escapes into a hair salon. The women in the salon initially support her, seeing a woman in distress. But, when they find out what the fight was about, opinions differ. In Flemish, French, Lingala with subtitles.
  • Game Night, directed and written by Joel Fendelman. (USA) – World Premiere. When a lonely taxi driver happens upon a football field, he falls into a memory of his past.
  • Ping Pong Coach (乒乓), directed by Yi Liu, written by Chieh Yang. (Taiwan R.O.C., USA) – World Premiere. Fifteen-year-old, Tsi-An has fallen in love with her ping pong coach, who happens to be her best friend's father. She asks for private lessons with the hope of getting close to him. In Mandarin with subtitles.
  • A Teachable Moment, directed and written by Jason Jeffrey. (Canada) – World Premiere. Henry lies at the side of the road, bleeding out from a gunshot wound. A young mother with a bizarre sense of what’s appropriate uses his final moments as a teachable lesson for her 6-year-old son.
  • Pronouns, directed and written by Michael Paulucci. (USA) – New York Premiere. A teenager from Chicago decides to reveal their true identity during a spoken word performance.
  • Semele, directed and written by Myrsini Aristidou. (Cyprus) – New York Premiere. A school note becomes just the right excuse for Semele to visit her father at his workplace. In Greek with subtitles.
  • The Scarecrow, directed by Phillip Rhys, written by Phillip William Brock. (USA, England) – New York Premiere. A recently divorced man confronts the rocky shores of loneliness after spending a day with his adolescent son and an encounter with his ex-wife.

Large_lastjourneyoftheenigmaticpaulwr_romain_quirot_2THE LAST JOURNEY OF THE ENIGMATIC PAUL WR, dir. Romain QuirotCredit: Tribeca Film Festival

New York Now

Home-grown New York shorts rooted firmly in the present.

  • A Subway Story, directed by Eugene Kolb. (USA) – World Premiere. Two people recount their first meeting on the New York City subway.
  • Mildred and the Dying Parlor, directed by Alex Gayner, written by Ilan Ulmer. (USA) – World Premiere. Mildred's parents run a dying parlor out of their home. Today's client is not who she expects.
  • You Can Go, directed by Christine Turner, written by Daniel Solé. (USA) – World Premiere. A high school administrator talks down a troubled student.
  • The Mulberry Bush, directed and written by Neil LaBute. (USA) – World Premiere. Two men sit next to each other on an autumn day in Central Park. They make small talk about the weather and the joys of summer. When the conversation turns personal, however, it becomes clear that this is no random encounter, and they are headed toward a startling confrontation.
  • Father's Day, directed by Kiki Lambden Stout, written by Elizabeth Canavan. (USA) – World Premiere. A mother abandons her family on Father's Day, forcing the family to come face-to-face with her devastating disease.
  • Wannabe, directed and written by Matthew Manson. (USA) – World Premiere. NYC, 1991. During a time of tremendous racial strife, a neurotic Jewish boy must win over his crush by first impressing her skeptical Jamaican family.
  • Curmudgeons, directed by Danny DeVito, written by Joshua Conkel. (USA) – World Premiere. A pair of senior citizens have a relationship that shocks both their families in this potty mouthed, but endearing, comedy.

New York Then

These documentary shorts include both human stories and New York’s past.

  • Taylor and Ultra on the 60s, The Factory and Being a Warhol Superstar, directed by Brian Bayerl, written by Brian Bayerl and Michael Huter. (USA) – World Premiere. Warhol Superstar Ultra Violet (Isabelle Colin Dufresne) and Lower East Side Icon Taylor Mead (Poet/Actor/Artist) share their stories of Manhattan in the 1960s.
  • Dead Ringer, directed by Alex Kliment, Michael Tucker, and Dana O'Keefe, written by Alex Kliment. (USA) – World Premiere. There are only four outdoor phone booths left in all of New York City—this is a late night conversation with one of them.
  • Mulberry, directed and written by Paul Stone. (USA) – World Premiere. This cinematic portrait of Little Italy explores how a working class neighborhood of tenement buildings transformed into the third most expensive zip code in the United States. Part funny, part sad, the film investigates how gentrification and rent control are affecting the neighborhood’s long-term residents.
  • The Carousel, directed and written by Jonathan Napolitano. (USA) – World Premiere. In the small town of Binghamton, New York there spins a 1925 carousel that once inspired Rod Serling and has since become a portal into the Twilight Zone.
  • Starring Austin Pendleton, directed by Gene Gallerano and David H. Holmes. (USA) – World Premiere. The most famous actor you've never heard of; Austin Pendleton reflects on his life and craft while his A-list peers discuss his vast influence and what it means to be an original in a celebrity-obsessed world. Includes interviews with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, Olympia Dukakis, and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
  • Joe's Violin, directed by Kahane Cooperman. (USA) – World Premiere. A 91-year-old Holocaust survivor donates his violin to an instrument drive, changing the life of a 12-year-old schoolgirl from the Bronx and unexpectedly, his own.

Past Imperfect

These documentary shorts address historical and timely issues with clarity, creativity and contemplation.

  • We All We Got, directed and written by Carlos Javier Ortiz. (USA) – New York Premiere. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and the country’s recent focus on youth violence, police brutality, and marginalized communities, We All We Got is an elegy of urban America, and an intimate portrait of the people affected by violence in Chicago.
  • Auschwitz, directed by James Moll, written by Lorna Graham. (USA, Poland) – North American Premiere. Auschwitz is synonymous with the Holocaust, but it’s also a place on the map with a surprising history preceding World War II. Narrated by Meryl Streep, this short documentary tells the story of Auschwitz, from its construction to its infamy.
  • Extremis, directed by Dan Krauss. (USA) – World Premiere. A purely observational non-fiction film that takes viewers into the ethically murky world of end-of-life decision making in a public hospital.
  • I Was a Winner (Jag var en vinnare), directed by Jonas Odell, written by Jonas Odell and Richard Dinter. (Sweden) – International Premiere. Told through a mix of documentary interviews and animation, I Was a Winner shares three very different stories on the subject of computer game addiction. In Swedish with subtitles.
  • We Are, directed by Joshua Shelov and Jay Bulger, written by Joshua Shelov. (USA) – World Premiere. We Are chronicles Penn State’s path from the 2011 scandal to the design of their new campus statue. Sculptor Jonathan Cramer drew inspiration for its creation from the 1948 PSU football team that overcame racial adversity with the mantra ‘We Are Penn State.’
  • Ocean Stories: Wyland, directed and written by Patrick Creadon and Greg Goggin. (USA) – World Premiere. Energetic, charismatic, and creative, Wyland is best known for his 100 life-size whale murals found on walls and buildings around the world. The extent of Wyland’s public artwork, his galleries, and his community service projects have made him one of the most recognized artists in the world.

Pressure Points

The weight of the world rests heavily on the shoulders of these international characters.

  • Cherokee, directed and written by Jem Rankin. (Australia) – International Premiere. An uncooperative ex, an argumentative landlord, and a broken front door; Linda's life is just peachy. Her daughter Shelley escapes their dreary reality through a fascination with Native Americans, but subconsciously assumes Linda's anger.
  • For Your Own Safety (Zu Ihrer eigenen Sicherheit), directed and written by Florian Heinzen-Ziob. (Germany) – World Premiere. Jonas works at the hand baggage screening at an airport. He is obsessed with preventing the next terrorist attack. But neither his colleagues, nor his boss appreciate his commitment… In German with subtitles.
  • Jahar, directed by Henry Hayes, written by Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Henry Hayes. (USA) – World Premiere. In the days after the Boston Marathon bombing, a young man must come to terms with the fact that one of his friends is involved.
  • Madam Black, directed by Ivan Barge, written by Matt Harris. (New Zealand) – New York Premiere. When a glamour photographer runs over a child's pet, he's forced to fabricate a story about its disappearance.
  • Hold On (Houvast), directed by Charlotte Scott-Wilson, written by Charlotte Scott-Wilson and Marielot van der Slikke. (Netherlands) – World Premiere. A young cellist has to overcome her fears in order to keep her position in an orchestra. In Dutch with subtitles.
  • Shooting an Elephant, directed by Juan Pablo Rothie, written by Alec Sokolow. (Venezuela, USA, U.K., Nepal) – New York Premiere. Adapted from George Orwell's autobiography—a young British imperial policeman in Burma is given the no-win mission of handling a rogue work elephant, only to find that the role he is destined to play is that of public executioner.

Large_pronouns_seamus_mulliganferry_1PRONOUNS, dir. Michael PaulucciCredit: Tribeca Film Festival

Rock and a Hard Place

In this music-driven documentary shorts program we start out gently and ramp up to high-energy rock & roll. 

  • Northbound (Mot nord), directed and written by Jørn Nyseth Ranum. (Norway) – North American Premiere. This film shows the first attempt to bring skateboarding to the frozen sandy beaches in northern Norway. Join four of Norway's best skaters in this poetic and playful encounter with the Arctic winter. In Norwegian with subtitles.
  • Pearl, directed and written by Patrick Osborne. (USA) – World Premiere. Pearl follows a father and daughter on the road together; tracing his struggles to make it as a musician and parent, and her coming-of-age and musical journey to fulfillment.
  • Homeland (Hemland), directed and written by Sara Broos. (Sweden) – North American Premiere. A young woman escapes the war in Syria and ends up in the forest in Sweden. Listening to music is a way for her to survive and bring her back, in dreams and memories, to her homeland. This is a film about the power of music and the meaning of the word homeland. In Arabic, English, Swedish with subtitles.
  • Gift of Gab, directed and written by Michael Jacobs. (USA) – World Premiere. Gift of Gab is a portrait of iconic artist Timothy Parker, from the seminal hip hop group Blackalicious, whose battle with kidney disease ends up fuelling the creation of their first album in 10 years.
  • Let's Dance: Bowie Down Under, directed by Rubika Shah, written by Ed Gibbs and Rubika Shah. (U.K., Australia) – North American Premiere. The remarkable, forgotten story behind ‘Let's Dance,’ David Bowie's biggest hit record.
  • Hard Lovin' Woman, directed by Michael Rapaport. (USA) – World Premiere. In this heavy-hitting rock documentary, director Michael Rapaport explores the sacrifices acclaimed actress Juliette Lewis makes to pursue her first love, music. Bucking industry politics and critics, self doubt, and physical injury, Lewis leads us on a deeply personal journey through her own authentic, independent, and raw sonic world.

Warped Speed

We tip our hat to the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek with our very first sci-fi shorts program that will definitely beam you up.

  • Curve, directed and written by Tim Egan. (Australia) – World Premiere. Clinging to a smooth, curved surface high above a sentient abyss, a girl tries to cover the few feet back to safety without losing purchase and falling to her death.
  • The Tunnel (Tunnelen), directed and written by André Øvredal. (Norway) – World Premiere.  In an overpopulated future, a family travels home from the beach in heavy traffic; between them and the gigantic city in which they live, is a tunnel with a horrifying purpose. In Norwegian with subtitles.
  • The Last Journey of the Enigmatic Paul WR (Le Dernier voyage de l'énigmatique Paul WR), directed and written by Romain Quirot. (France) – World Premiere. The red moon threatens our existence on earth. Our only hope is the enigmatic Paul W.R., the most talented astronaut of his generation. But a few hours before the start of the Great Mission, Paul disappears. In French with subtitles.
  • Never Happened, directed and written by Mark Slutsky. (Canada) – International Premiere. After a pair of colleagues have an affair on a business trip they decide it might be for the best if it just never happened.
  • Future Boyfriend, directed by Ben Rock, written by A. Vincent Ularich. (USA) – World Premiere. Stuart and Kaylie are enjoying their third date until Stuart reveals a secret that threatens to derail their relationship. Is he telling the truth, or is it just science fiction?
  • Reality +, directed and written by Coralie Fargeat. (France) – New York Premiere. The brain chip 'Reality+' acts on your sensory perceptions and allows you to see yourself with a perfect physique. All the people equipped with the chip can see your new appearance and you can see theirs. But, the chip is only active for 12h a day... In French with subtitles.

Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival SPORTS SHORTS

Skaters, ballers, and boxers populate this nonfiction program that celebrates the power of a great sports story.

  • Porzingod, directed and written by Conor Byrne. (USA) – World Premiere. A prayer for the New York Knicks.
  • Gonzo @ the Derby, directed by Michael D. Ratner. (USA) – World Premiere. In 1970, writer Hunter S. Thompson and illustrator Ralph Steadman covered the Kentucky Derby forScanlan's Monthly. The resulting article, ‘The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,’ marked the beginnings of gonzo journalism. Gonzo @ the Derby looks at the article and the lasting impact on media and sports journalism.
  • The Boxer (El Púgil), directed and written by Angel Manuel Soto. (Puerto Rico) – World Premiere. El Púgil (The Boxer) narrates the rags to riches story of the super feather underdog Angel ‘Tito’ Acosta ‘El Púgil,’ a young Puerto Rican boxer from the slums of Barrio Obrero, Puerto Rico and his ordeal to becoming World Champion. In Spanish with subtitles.
  • A.C. Green: Iron Virgin, directed by Isaac Feder. (USA) – World Premiere. A.C. Green, Showtime Laker and reigning Iron Man of the NBA, doing the dirty work every night for 1,192 straight games—more consecutive games than any player in NBA history. But, it wasn’t just his durability that separated AC from his NBA brethren: he was a proud virgin, who was saving himself for marriage.
  • The Best Last Best Plane Ride Ever, directed by James Blagden. (USA) – World Premiere. In October of 1986, the NY Mets beat the Houston Astros in the NLCS in one of the most dramatic series of the decade. This film recreates their post-game airplane celebration: three hours of unbridled chaos resulting in an airplane interior that was almost completely destroyed.
  • Skateboarding's First Wave, directed by Don Burgess, written by Ed Buhr. (USA) – New York Premiere.  A look at the early days of skateboarding culture in Southern California, and the group of kids that would shape its role in media and society.
  • 2 Fists Up, directed by Spike Lee. (USA) – World Premiere. An examination of how the Black Lives Matter movement sparked activism at the University of Missouri, its football team, and across the rest of The United States.

Whoopi’s Shorts

This animated shorts program, curated by Whoopi Goldberg, showcases imaginative storytelling and captivating craft from around the world. This program is suggested for those 14 and older. 

  • The Orchestra, directed by Mikey Hill, written by Mikey Hill & Jennifer Smith. (Australia) – New York Premiere. In a world filled with beautiful music, Vernon always seems to strike the wrong note.
  • The Loneliest Stoplight, directed and written by Bill Plympton. (USA) – New York Premiere. The life and times of a neglected stoplight.
  • Lucens, directed and written by Marcel Barelli. (Switzerland) – US Premiere. The story of the first 100%, made-in-Switzerland nuclear power plant… and also the last. In French with subtitles.
  • Fear, directed by Dawn Dreyer, Andrea Love. (USA) – World Premiere. Dr. Zenglo Chen was four when his parents disappeared, victims of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Through Zenglo’s own words and exquisitely crafted hand drawn and stop motion animation, Fear considers the tension between fear and safety; faith and psychology; Chinese and American; and acceptance and healing.
  • Violet, directed by Maurice Joyce, written by Mark Hodkinson. (Ireland) – New York Premiere. Violet is a cautionary tale of a young girl who despises her reflection.
  • The Short Story of a Fox and a Mouse, directed and written by Camille Chaix, Hugo Jean, Juliette Jourdan, Marie Pillier, Kevin Roger. (France) – US Premiere. A lonesome fox hunts a mouse, when two owls interfere with the hunt, their relationship evolves.
  • I am a Pencil (Je suis un Crayon), directed and written by Joe D'Arcy. (Australia, France, Denmark) – New York Premiere. Je suis un Crayon was inspired by the three million people who marched in support of unity, peace, and freedom of expression after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The pencil (like the artist) has an innate drive to create and will always express, irrespective of whether it is granted permission.
  • Shiny, directed and written by Daniel Cloud Campos, Spencer Susser. (USA) – New York Premiere. A damsel in distress gets undressed when a man from the Mid-West puts to rest a world that's obsessed with the priceless, also known as the shiny.