Familiar faces fill Tribeca’s bill

Fest to preem 'Kitty,' 'House,' 'Demme'

A correction was made to this article on Apr. 6, 2004.

NEW YORK — The Tribeca Film Festival has announced a lineup of 65 features for its Spotlight, Showcase, Restored & Rediscovered and Midnight sections, with premieres including Ed Burns’ latest, “Looking for Kitty”; David Duchovny’s directing debut, “House of D”; and John Walter’s humorous docu-tribute “In Search of Ted Demme.”

Program was announced by Tribeca fest exec director Peter Scarlet and by event co-founders Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff.

“The festival’s lineup offers a tremendous opportunity for discovery — whether it’s glimpsing a debut film by a promising new talent, being among the first in town to see the latest work by one of the acknowledged masters or finally catching up with a classic in a pristine new print,” Scarlet said.

Newly introduced Spotlight section aims to mix groundbreaking films from new talents and seasoned directors.

Burns’ Gotham-set story of the bond between a high school baseball coach and a down-on-his-luck private investigator stars the director with David Krumholtz.

Duchovny also works both sides of the camera in his emotional fable about a man trying to resolve the turmoil of his present relationship by looking to the past. Robin Williams, Tea Leoni, Erykah Badu and Frank Langella also star.

Johnny Depp, Kevin Spacey, Natalie Portman, Don Cheadle, Ben Stiller, Steve Buscemi, Gina Gershon and Denis Leary appear in Walter’s film, which chronicles a chaotic memorial tour of the urn containing the ashes of director Ted Demme.

Stritch stretch

Also in the Spotlight lineup is the Gotham premiere of HBO docu “Elaine Stritch at Liberty,” an expanded recap of the Broadway diva’s Tony-winning one-woman show with behind-the-scenes footage, by D.A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus and Nick Doob.

Screening as a companion piece is Pennebaker’s 1970 film of the marathon recording session for the cast album of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company,” which featured Stritch.

Other docs featured include “Bush’s Brain,” by Joseph Mealey and Michael Paradies Shoob, about White House strategist Karl Rove.

Showcase entries include Disney documentary “America’s Heart and Soul,” Louis Schwartzberg’s ode to the U.S. landscape and people, recording encounters that range from a Vermont farmer to an Appalachian coal miner; and Tim Daly and J. Clarke Mathis’ indie drama about a woman’s reckless bid to deal with the death of her fiance, “Bereft,” starring Vinessa Shaw and Tim Blake Nelson.

Also screening is Shawn Regrutto’s Manhattan fast-lane tale “Point & Shoot,” a personal, video-journal account of a fashion photographer’s affair with a model; and Ruth Leitman’s docu about female grapplers in the 1940s, “Lipstick & Dynamite, Piss & Vinegar: The First Ladies of Wrestling.”

Iraq tack

Iraq is the focus of two films in the section: “Saddam’s Mass Graves,” by Jano Rosebiani, which examines the legacy of the Hussein regime; and impromptu post-Saddam sketchbook “War Is Over!” from Bahman Ghobadi, director of “A Time for Drunken Horses” and “Marooned in Iraq.”

Scheduled for a special premiere slot is Lilibet Foster’s docu feature “Brotherhood,” a character-driven, cinema verite-style immersion in the lives of New York City’s firefighters, focusing on three key squads in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. Pic was produced by @radical.media, which co-produced Errol Morris’ Oscar winner “The Fog of War.”

The New York Fire Dept. commissioner and a large number of firefighters are expected to attend the May 3 screening in Lower Manhattan, which also serves to honor the heroism and courage illustrated in the film.

Fest’s Midnight lineup includes Anika Poitier’s mockumentary “Devil Cats,” about a fictitious Los Angeles all-girl band; Dick Rude’s “Let’s Rock Again!” which recaps the director’s longtime association with late Clash rocker Joe Strummer; and Jeff Lieberman’s “Satan’s Little Helper,” which stars Amanda Plummer in a dark satire about a boy convinced he’s living inside his favorite deadly videogame.

Restored classics

The Restored & Rediscovered section, co-curated by Martin Scorsese, includes new prints of Elia Kazan’s “East of Eden,” John Cassavetes’ “Shadows,” Richard Fleischer’s “So This Is New York” and Melvin van Peebles’ “Sweet Sweetback’s BaadAsssss Song,” which screens alongside Mario Van Peebles’ tribute to his father, “Baadasssss!,” in the Spotlight lineup.

As part of the 10th anniversary celebration of democracy in South Africa, Tribeca will feature a number of films from that country, including Odette Geldenhuys’ “Being Pavarotti,” Mark Bamford’s “Cape of Good Hope,” Jane Kennedy’s “Cinderella of the Cape Flats” and Rudzani Dzuguda’s “Mix.”

The Tribeca fest runs May 1-9.

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