Tribeca 2021 Preview – Tribeca at Home

If you’re like me, you’ve simply read about the Tribeca Film Festival from year to year and thought “one day, I’ll go” but the logistics of scheduling yourself for the length of the festival is quite the commitment.  Luckily, the organizers of the fest have found a way to bring Tribeca out of Lower Manhattan out to the communities around the country by introducing Tribeca at Home.  While you may be missing the fun atmosphere that comes with attending a film festival and being in the room when a movie screens for the first time, you can be one of the first audiences to see a title before it’s released or finds a distributor.  Hey, I’ve been to film festivals and seen very good films that haven NEVER come out in the U.S. so…you might get lucky and see a hidden gem that stays hidden!

The final category to examine is brand new this year: Tribeca at Home.  Like many film fests did this year, Tribeca will stream a number of films through their portal so audiences can watch the movies on their computer or compatible devices on their television.  (Side note: buy a Roku, they have every app for every service you could want…screening life is so much easier now!)

Let’s take a look the films I am going to make some time for over the next few weeks.  Surprisingly, we’ll start with several shorts that aren’t part of the other group but do show up in the online-only option.

Almost a Year, directed by Jamieson Baker

Face it, over the next several years the pandemic is going to play a key role in a heaping helping of documentaries, plays, TV shows, movies, and, yes, shorts.  In Jamieson Baker’s Almost a Year, we watch the lives of three New Yorkers over time and witness how they can change with little notice.  This one is produced by Katie Holmes, which is a key reason I have this on my list.  Famous names also attracted me to David, directed and written by Zach Woods and starring Will Ferrell.  The plot doesn’t say much but with a comedian creating the short and Ferrell as the star, it’s not one you can easily skip.  Rounding a sharp turn of tone is Last Meal, from writer/director Daniel Principe, a documentary about the final meals of death row inmates.  Likely one that will be hard to watch, it’s another subject that feels like it could be of some importance later in the year and I’m interested to see how Principe captures this important event. It took 10 years for Caleb Slain’s surreal musical Enough, to make it to the screen and after all that time I’m intrigued to see how it all comes together. There’s a good chance that Agazi Desta’s Waves, could be a sleeper hit if my gut is leading me in the right direction.  A Black, deaf teen heads to the barber shop before prom night but gets paired with the wrong barber – sounds excellent.

David, written and directed by Zach Woods

Digging deeper into the at-home offerings, viewers have a wide range of selections at their fingertips.  From biopics to road-trip comedies to horror to documentaries – even if you wanted to try out just one film, I know you’ll be able to find one title that will spike your curiosity.

Glob Lessons, directed by Nicole Rodenburg

For instance, I’m not all that familiar with the Britpop sounds of the 90’s so Nick Moran’s Creation Stories might not be first on my list, but the appealing cast and nostalgia for the era have absolutely moved this one into a high position on my “to see” list.  As someone that toured through the Midwest with one other person doing a children’s show, Nicole Rodenburg’s Glob Lessons which follows pretty much the same plot is an absolute must in my book.  I also felt an instant attraction to a film like Peace by Chocolate, with its idyllic (or maybe is it familiar) sounding story of a son of Syrian immigrants being torn between honoring his family and following his own dreams. The pandemic theme rears up again in the road trip dramedy No Plan A, directed by Linda G. Mills, and Venus as a Boy, written and directed by Ty Hodges could be a refreshing take on the California/New York mismatched lovers storyline we’ve seen a million times over.

No Running, directed by Delmar Washington

It’s a good thing these next five titles are available in your home because I’m not sure I’d want to be watching them in a dark theater and then have to drive home to a dark house.  Featuring a blind former Olympic hopeful trapped in a secluded house with a trio of criminals and only a third-party app to help her “see” the danger, Randall Okita’s See For Me, looks freaky as all get-out and if this doesn’t land at IFC Midnight I’ll be shocked.  Speaking of IFCMidnight, they’re already represented here with Settlers, directed and written by Wyatt Rockefeller, and set on Mars.  Like every film set on Mars…something terrible happens.  Horror loves a good scary nun film so now we have Agnes to keep us up at night. Directed by Mickey Reece, it concerns two priests who arrive at a convent to determine if one of the nuns is indeed possessed by a cruel demon and finding that it’s another nun they need to worry about instead. If you’re going to take a chance on something, I’d suggest thinking about Delmar Washington’s No Running, which has the makings of a paranoid thriller with supernatural elements to it.  There’s a little bit of a Get Out vibe with a M. Night Shyamalan essence to it. I’m also curious about Asking For It, written and directed by Eamon O’Rourke. Featuring names like Kiersey Clemons, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexandra Shipp, Ezra Miller, Radha Mitchell, Gabourey Sidibe, and Luke Hemsworth and with a plot centered on revenge and frat boy comeuppance, it could be a sly winner.

See For Me, directed by Randall Okita

Right now, I’m only tracking two documentaries in this at-home space but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your own investigation to see if there are others that fit into your tastes better.  As an out and proud MN, I know my RuPaul’s Drag Race stars and of course had a “I remember her when” moment when Bebe Zahara Benet won the first season of the show in 2009.  Now, Emily Branham’s Being BeBe, charts the drag queen’s journey from being the first winner when the show was still finding its feet to now when life has forced certain concessions to be made.  I’m also looking forward to learning more about Will Vinton, the “Father of Claymation” in ClayDream, directed and written by Marq Evans. 

Claydream, written and directed by Marq Evans

So many movies – never enough time to see them all but hopefully over the last three posts you’ve gotten a good taste of what Tribeca has to offer.  Look these titles up, buy your tickets, support this programming because this is a well balanced and diverse line-up.  Keep checking back here for my reviews – I’ll be posting them shortly after the films have premiered officially in person or virtually.

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