Wondering what to see at Tribeca? We've got you covered.
Just under two weeks shy of opening night, the Tribeca Film Festival has already made international headlines—and not necessarily in a favorable light. But one misguided programming decision should not eclipse the other gems in Tribeca's lineup. Below, we've highlighted eight buzz-worthy films that deserve to be seen.
AWOL (dir. Deb Shoval)
Madly (dirs. Gael García Bernal, Mia Wasikowska, Sebastian Silva, Anurag Kashyap, Sion Sono, Natasha Khan)
The omnibus is back—with a vengeance. Not to be confused with hyperlink cinema, the resurgence of anthology filmmaking is a great contemporary compromise: it embraces our growing affinity for short-form content without sacrificing the theatrical cinematic form. The connective tissue of Madly is one theme: "love, in all its glorious, sad, ecstatic, empowering, and erotic manifestations." Mia Wasikowska steps into the director's chair for the first time for Afterbirth, a short about a mother struggling with postpartum depression; Gael García Bernal explores the effects of pregnancy on a turbulent relationship; and other directors, including indie stalwart Sebastian Silva, grace the screen with their contributions to the collective film. We can only hope that this high-profile Tribeca premiere grants the omnibus form a stamp of legitimacy. —Emily Buder
Kicks (dir. Justin Tipping)
LoveTrue (dir. Alma Har’el)
Call me a fangirl. I’ve been excited about whatever the glorious DP-turned-director Alma Har’el might do since I saw her wildly inventive documentary-with-choreographed-dance-scenes Bombay Beach at Tribeca in 2011, where it grabbed the Best Documentary award. I wasn’t the only one impressed; LoveTrue EP Shia LeBouf came on board after having seen Bombay Beach himself. After catching a glimpse of the film when Tribeca showed a sneak preview last year, I knew that my anticipation had not been in vain. Har’el’s evocative take on falling in love— with an original score by Flying Lotus— will surely defy your expectations of a conventional documentary. —Liz Nord
I Voted? (dir. Jason Grant Smith)
After Spring (dirs. Ellen Martinez, Steph Ching)
As is the trouble with any humanitarian crisis, it's easy to perceive a human life as a number. That's why we need documentaries. After Spring, executive produced by Jon Stewart, brings us into the human heart of the refugee crisis. Ellen Martinez and Steph Ching capture life inside Jordan's Zaatari Refugee Camp, temporary home to 80,000 displaced Syrians, making it second-largest camp in the world. The documentarians explore the rhythms of daily life, from frustrations involving access to education to the simple struggle to secure food and water. Films like these harbor the greatest power of all: empathy, or the shift in perspective in which we recognize that these refugees could easily be you or me. —Emily Buder
Night School (dir. Andrew Cohn)
Andrew Cohn’s own Michigan roots inform his deeply American work. I’ve been captivated since SXSW in 2013, after seeing his debut effort (with co-director Davy Rothbart), Medora, about a rural Indiana varsity basketball team. The film went on to win an Emmy for Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting. Cohn is back in the middle of the country with Night School, about three low-income students in Indianapolis working toward their high school degrees after hours. Having followed him on social media throughout the film’s production, I know that Cohn feels a sincere connection to his subjects, and I expect his empathy and level of care to shine through on screen in the film. —Liz Nord