Live Performances Heat Up Tribeca Film Festival Screenings

Musicians, DJs and dancers join in to elevate the theatrical film experience

Generally, a film festival is a place to watch, well, films. But some of the hottest tickets at the 2015 Tribeca Fest are likely to be for events that feature a live performance as well as a screening.

“We’re New York,” says Tribeca Film Festival programming director Genna Terranova. “We have theater, we have comedy, we have music, we have everything. The idea of combining all these wonderful arts that New York celebrates throughout the year into events with cinema only felt natural.”

See More: Tribeca Film Festival Mirrors Changing Faces of New York, Movie Business

An April 22 screening will remind viewers that in the silent film era, live music was a big part of the attraction for audiences. Harold Lloyd’s 1928 silent comedy “Speedy,” about a dedicated Yankees fan, will get a new score by DJ Z-Trip, who will perform it live.

“I’m super excited about it on many levels,” Z-Trip told Variety. “It’s uncharted territory for me as an artist but also for DJ-kind.” He says he will have a plan — the film moves too fast for him to improvise much — but “there’s also this spontaneity of wanting to scratch certain things over the top. I think it’s important to add in a breath of life. I might even at the last second decide to bring in a choir. I have no clue!”

On April 16, Mary J. Blige will appear with Sam Wrench’s documentary “Mary J. Blige — The London Sessions,” which follows her as she records her 13th studio album. Blige will perform live following the screening.

Dance and dancers will grace the festival stage April 19. Ballerina Misty Copeland will engage in a Q&A while the American Ballet Theater’s Erica Lall and Naazir Muhammad will dance following a screening of documentary “A Ballerina’s Tale,” from director Nelson George. The picture follows Copeland through her daily routine, focusing on her position as one of the first African-American female soloists at New York’s ABT in decades.

In honor of Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday, Tribeca will salute Ol’ Blue Eyes on April 21 with a trio of screenings: “Some Came Running,” “High Society” and a special digital restoration of “On the Town.” The latter will be followed by a musical performance featuring Tony Bennett, Ne-Yo and Brandon Flowers (of the Killers fame).

Performances like Z-Trip’s and the others, says Terranova, are important for getting people excited about going to a movie theater. “This is a special way for us to enhance those experiences,” she says.

Tribeca Film Festival Highlights Day-by-Day

April 15, 7:30 p.m., Beacon Theatre
Opening night world premiere — “Live From New York!” about “Saturday Night Live”

April 16, 9:30 p.m., BMCC Tribeca PAC
World premiere of James Franco starrer “The Adderall Diaries.”

April 17, 4 p.m., BMCC
Tribeca PAC Stephen Colbert interviews George Lucas as part of the Tribeca Talks Director Series.

April 18, 9:30 p.m., BMCC Tribeca PAC
World premiere — “The Driftless Area” starring Zooey Deschanel and Anton Yelchin

April 19, 7 p.m., Spring Studios
Screening: “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,” with Courtney Love and director Brett Morgen discussing the film afterward.

April 20, 6 p.m., BMCC Tribeca PAC: Tribeca Talks Directors Series — Bennett Miller (“Foxcatcher”) interviews Christopher Nolan.

April 21, 8 p.m., The Chester
A&E IndieFilms at the Documentary Filmmaker Party and Celebration of Variety’s 10 Documentary Filmmakers to Watch with Variety executive editor Steve Gaydos

April 22, 3:30 p.m., the SVA Theatre: Screening
“Good Will Hunting” director Gus Van Sant join conversation.

April 23, 6 p.m., Spring Studios
The Tribeca Film Festival Awards presentation.

April 24, 7:30 p.m., the Beacon Theatre
40th anniversary screening of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” with some of the Pythons present for a Q&A.

April 25, 7:30 p.m., the Beacon Theatre
Closing night screening of “GoodFellas,” followed by a discussion with the cast, moderated by Jon Stewart.

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