Tribeca 2018: The hottest indie flicks you won’t want to miss
It’s just two days until the 17th annual Tribeca Film Festival, kicking off from April 18 for twelve days of movies, talks, panels, virtual-reality experiences, and more, all held in the creatively rich city of New York. Since launching in 2002 by founders Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff, the fest has proved itself to be a vital gathering ground for filmmakers and film buffs alike, serving up a healthy dollop of indie programming that continues to grow each year.
There’s a lot going on at the 2018 event – 96 films from 103 directors (46% of whom are women, don’t you know) – meaning there’s also a lot to be missed. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the ten most anticipated movies to help you whittle down those Tribeca schedules to the absolute essentials.
While we’ve mentioned Zoe before, we think it’s worth another reminder that Tribeca’s centerpiece is not one to miss. The world premiere of Drake Doremus’s sci-fi romance stars Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting), Léa Seydoux (Blue Is the Warmest Color), Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation), and Theo James (Underworld Awakening). Set in the future where new technology can simulate the feeling of true love, two colleagues seek a connection that’s real. What could possibly go wrong?
The Elephant and the Butterfly
Directed by Belgian filmmaker Amélie Van Elmbt (Headfirst) and executive produced by Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), the story follows Antoine who has just returned to his hometown to reunite with his former lover, only to then find himself having to look after her little girl who may or may not be his child. Discussing the film, Scorsese mused, “Amélie has a bright future in cinema, and I’m glad to have been there to help with this beautiful, sensitively made follow-up.”
Directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer, The Seagull sees Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Annette Bening (American Beauty), and Elisabeth Moss (among others) stuck in a lovesick frenzy over the course of a summer weekend in the country. Set in 17th century Russia, the film is a heartbreaking and amusing story of what happens when falling in love with the wrong person, containing heavy doses of lust, infatuation, and upper-class narcissism.
Nigerian Prince follows two characters: a stubborn, first generation Nigerian-American teenager named Eze and his cousin Pius, who is a desperate Nigerian Prince scammer. After Eze’s mother sends him to Nigeria against his will, Eze retaliates by teaming up with Pius to scam unsuspecting foreigners in order to earn money for a return ticket back to America. The film comes one year after director Faraday Okoro won the AT&T and Tribeca’s first Untold Stories pitch contest and was awarded $1 million to make his feature, with Nigerian Prince being the finished result.
Ya girl Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City) is back in a film about a singer who receives grim medical news just before a big show at the Birdland Jazz Club, putting her entire life’s work into perspective. This narrative debut comes from director Fabien Constant, who received critical acclaim for his documentary Mademoiselle C about French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld.
Directed & written by Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman) and starring Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener) & Rachel McAdams (The Notebook), Disobedience follows a woman as she returns to the community that shunned her decades earlier for an attraction to a childhood friend. Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality.
Writer & director Nia DaCosta’s debut is an emotionally-charged small-town thriller that weaves timely themes of economic downturn and the opioid crisis into its intimate story of two sisters just trying to get by. Following Ollie (Tessa Thompson) & Deb (Lily James) – who are driven to work outside the law to better their lives – Ollie illicitly helps the struggling residents of her North Dakota oil boomtown access Canadian healthcare and medication. When the authorities catch on, she plans to abandon her crusade, only to be dragged in even deeper after a desperate plea for help from her sister.
Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda
As one of the most original and intuitive composers of his generation, Ryuichi Sakamoto burst onto the scene and quickly became known for writing unforgettable scores for films like Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence and The Last Emperor. When Sakamoto was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, he devoted his time to writing his ultimate score, thus turning the worst news into the most refined and purposeful moment of productivity in an already successful career. Luckily, Sakamoto’s still alive and even better, director Stephen Nomura Schible (Lost in Translation) was there to document the whole thing. Shot over five years, this graceful music documentary is an elegantly observed examination of the creative process, following as Sakamoto builds from nothing the album he believes will be his legacy.
The Rachel Divide
For this insightful documentary, director Laura Brownson (Lemon) filmed Rachel Dolezal – the “transracial” activist who caused a media storm when she was outed as a white woman (despite the fact she was living as the black president of the NAACP). Capturing the intimate life story of the damaged character, the film also explores how Dolezal still provokes negative reactions from millions who see her as the ultimate example of white privilege.
Night Eats the World
We all love a good zombie flick and Night Eats the World looks like the perfect festival hit to sink your teeth into. (Sorry, we had to.) Based on Pit Agarmen’s novel of the same name, the central story focuses on a man who wakes up to find the world taken over by zombies. However, director Dominique Rocher tackles the worn out horror genre by offering a stripped back version of the undead survival tale, following protagonist Anders Danielsen Lie (Personal Shopper) as he locks himself in an apartment and may (or may not) lose sight of reality.