The Tribeca Film Festival unveiled on Thursday its Discovery and Midnight lineups — 37 pics whose subjects run the gamut from con artists and runaway teens to a Tibetan monk tortured for 33 years and a senior citizen hip-hop dance crew for the New Jersey Nets.
In keeping with the overall reduction in Tribeca fare, Discovery films have been winnowed to 30 titles, from last year’s crop of 39 pics, while the Midnight section, with its creepier selections, has shrunk from 11 to seven.
Tribeca’s dramatic and docu competition films were announced Tuesday (Daily Variety, March 12). The fest runs April 23-May 4.
Hatched in 2006, Discovery introduces emerging filmmakers or films with obscure or provocative subjects; features and docus range from avant-garde to commercial fare.
Of the 30 Discovery pics, 18 are world preems, one is an international debut and 11 are North American firsts. Seventeen come from first-time helmers and seven are sophomore efforts.
A handful of 2007 Discovery titles, among them “Autism: The Musical,” “The Education of Charlie Banks,” “The Business of Being Born,” “In Search of a Midnight Kiss” and “Blue State,” were picked up by distribs, though not all went the traditional theatrical route.
The 2008 Discovery highlights include the following:
- Helmer Brin Hill’s “Ball Don’t Lie,” based on the novel about a streetball player named Sticky with a troubled past, features Nick Cannon, Ludacris and Rosanna Arquette.
- Simon Brand’s “Paraiso Travel,” a B.O. hit in Colombia, follows a man and his girlfriend as they travel illegally from Medellin to Gotham only to have her get lost in Queens. The cast includes John Leguizamo and Ana de la Reguera.
- Russian helmer Aleksei Popogrebsky’s “Simple Things” (Prostye Veshchi) tackles the travails of an anesthesiologist with a runaway daughter, an upset mistress and an unexpectedly pregnant wife.
- Docu “This Is Not a Robbery,” directed and written by Lucas Jansen and Adam Kurland, follows J.L. Rountree, a man who at 87 went from responsible elderly man to notorious serial bank robber.
The Midnight section leans toward campy and eclectic fare spanning Tasmanian cannibals, psychopathic farmers and a small-town suicide ring.
- James Westby’s “The Auteur,” a spoof of a pornographic filmmaker’s attempt to make his best film yet, a triumph over his earlier works, “Five Easy Nieces” and “My Left Nut.”
- Thospol Sirivivat and Piraphan Laoyont’s “Sick Nurses” (Suay Laak Sai), a splatterfest involving a vengeful ghost and sexy organ-harvesting nurses.
- Phedon Papamichael’s “From Within,” a thriller set in an evangelical town plagued by serial suicides.