The 2021 Tribeca Festival™, presented by AT&T, today unveiled its feature film lineup. The Festival’s 20th anniversary edition will be a celebration of audiences coming back together with comedic, music-centered, and socially-conscious films from diverse storytellers using art to inspire, illuminate and above all else, entertain. The 2021 Tribeca Festival will run June 9-20 with live in-person events at outdoor venues across all New York City boroughs.
Festival passes are on sale now. Tickets to attend the Festival go on sale on May 3, 2021. Visit https://www.tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets.
The features program will include 66 films from 81 filmmakers from across 23 different countries. The line-up includes 56 world premieres, 1 international premiere, 4 North American premieres, 1 U.S. premiere, and 4 New York premieres. This year’s program includes 15 directors returning to Tribeca with their latest projects, and over 60% of the feature films are directed by female, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ filmmakers. This year’s Festival received a record high of 11,222 total submissions across all categories.
“Despite the challenges our industry faced this past year, it did not stop filmmakers, artists, and storytellers from creating compelling, entertaining, and thought-provoking content,” said Paula Weinstein, Chief Content Officer of Tribeca Enterprises. “The selections for each of these categories represent the tenacity and commitment of our creative community and we are so proud to include them as part of this year’s Festival and share them with our returning in-person audiences.”
“After a year of closed cinemas, canceled gatherings, and virtual everything, it is with joy and hope that we finally invite New Yorkers out of their homes and back to the movies. Immersed in the city itself, Tribeca 2021 will bring once-in-a-lifetime big-screen experiences to filmmakers and audiences alike as we reconnect, re-imagine, and reopen through the shared experience of film,” said Cara Cusumano, Festival Director and Vice President of Programming for the Tribeca Festival.
“In celebration of the reopening of New York’s cultural life, Tribeca’s 20th anniversary International Competition will introduce a new generation of storytellers from around the world who will premiere their films at a time when the preciousness of big screens has never been more appreciated or missed. Inventive, thrilling and compelling, the films are, at their essence, about human connections. This simple theme can take infinite paths, and in the hands of these engaging storytellers, the emotion in these stories transcend countries, languages, and cultures with an intimacy that is ultimately human,” said Frédéric Boyer, Artistic Director.
Special curated Juneteenth programming highlighted throughout different verticals of the Festival will celebrate voices from the African Diaspora, with special emphasis on African-American artists, performers, filmmakers, and interdisciplinary creators.
The feature categories include 6 U.S. Narratives, 6 International Narratives, and 8 Documentary competition features. Additionally, the feature line-up includes 8 Spotlight Narratives, 11 Spotlight Documentaries, 13 Viewpoints, 3 Midnight, 7 Movies Plus selections, 3 Tribeca Critics’ Week. In addition, 53 feature films from the 2020 festival program will be screened. Full descriptions of the sections are below.
Many of the films will also be available for U.S. audiences to view online the day after they premiere in person through the Tribeca at Home virtual hub.
As previously announced, the 2021 Tribeca Festival Opening Night film will be In the Heights, the screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical, directed by Jon M. Chu.
The Tribeca Festival is curated by Festival Director and VP of Programming Cara Cusumano, Artistic Director Frédéric Boyer; VP of Filmmaker Relations & Shorts Programming Sharon Badal; Senior Programmer and VP of Immersive Loren Hammonds; Senior Programmers Liza Domnitz (features, TV, and NOW), and Lucy Mukerjee (features); Programmers Ben Thompson (shorts), José F. Rodriguez (features); Karen McMullen (features), Leah Sarbib (podcasts); and program advisor Paula Weinstein, along with a team of associate programmers.
Additional programming will be announced in the coming weeks. Follow @Tribeca on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and at tribecafilm.com/festival #Tribeca2021
2021 Feature Film Selection:
U.S. NARRATIVE COMPETITION
Tribeca’s U.S. Narrative Competition showcases extraordinary work from breakout independent voices and distinguished filmmaking talent. These world premieres will vie for the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, and Best Actress.
Catch the Fair One, directed and written by Josef Kubota Wladyka. Produced by Mollye Asher, Kimberly Parker, Josef Kubota Wladyka. (United States) – World Premiere. In this absorbing revenge thriller executive produced by Darren Aronofsky, a Native American boxer embarks on the fight of her life when she goes in search of her missing sister. With Kali Reis, Daniel Henshall, Tiffany Chu, Michael Drayer, Kimberly Guerrero, Lisa Emery, Kevin Dunn.
God’s Waiting Room, directed and written by Tyler Riggs. Produced by Tyler Riggs, Suvi Riggs. (United States) – World Premiere. As the summer drags on in central Florida, a young musician, a charismatic hustler, and a man adjusting to life after prison intersect on a dangerous path. With Nisalda Gonzalez, Matthew Leone, Tyler Riggs, Michelle Nuñez, Ray Benitez, Renata Eastlick. In English, Spanish with English subtitles.
Mark, Mary & Some Other People, directed and written by Hannah Marks. Produced by Hannah Marks, Pete Williams, Jon Lullo, Brendan Walter, Jonathan Duffy, Kelly Williams. (United States) – World Premiere. Young newlyweds Mark and Mary agree to try exploring other sexual partners, with surprising results in this unexpectedly charming love story from writer/director Hannah Marks. With Ben Rosenfield, Hayley Law, Odessa A’Zion, Nik Dodani, Matt Shively, Sofia Bryant.
The Novice, directed and written by Lauren Hadaway. Produced by Ryan Hawkins, Kari Hollend, Steven Sims, Zack Zucker. (United States) – World Premiere. Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan, 2009) plays Alex Dal, a queer college freshman who joins her university’s rowing team and undertakes an obsessive physical and psychological journey to make it to the top varsity boat, no matter the cost. With Isabelle Fuhrman, Amy Forsyth, Dilone Kate Drummond, Jonathan Cherry, Charlotte Ubben.
Poser, directed by Ori Segev, Noah Dixon, written by Noah Dixon. Produced by Drew Johnson, Juli Sasaki, Brett Reiter, Josh Nowak. (United States) – World Premiere. Lennon observes on the sidelines of the thriving Columbus indie music scene, yearning for a personal connection that might shepherd her into the inner sanctum. Enter the enigmatic Bobbi Kitten, who takes Lennon under her confident wing—unwittingly entangling herself in a dark obsession. With Sylvie Mix, Bobbi Kitten.
Queen of Glory, directed and written by Nana Mensah. Produced by Jamund Washington, Kelley Robins Hicks, Baff Akoto, Nana Mensah, Anya Migdal. (United States) – World Premiere. Ghanaian-American Sarah is all set to abandon her Ivy League doctoral program to follow her married lover across the country. Her plans are derailed, however when her mother’s sudden death leaves her the owner of a neighborhood bookshop in the Bronx. With Nana Mensah, Meeko Gattuso, Oberon KA Adjepong, Adam Leon. *Part of the Juneteenth programming
Over Tribeca’s 20-year history, the non-fiction film selections have exhibited work from emerging and renowned filmmakers, including future Academy Award® winners. This year’s films will compete for Best Documentary Feature, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing.
All These Sons, directed by Bing Liu, Joshua Altman. Produced by Zak Piper, Kelsey Carr, Bing Liu, Joshua Altman. (United States) – World Premiere. On Chicago’s South and West sides, the scourge of guns and gangs is destroying countless lives. Taking matters into their own hands, two men dedicate their lives educating, empowering and healing young Black men at high risk for being victims—or perpetrators—of deadly gun-violence.
Ascension (Ascension 登楼叹), directed by Jessica Kingdon. Produced by Kira Simon-Kennedy, Jessica Kingdon, Nathan Truesdell. (United States) – World Premiere. The absorbingly cinematic Ascension explores the pursuit of the “Chinese Dream Driven by mesmerizing—and sometimes humorous—imagery, this observational documentary presents a contemporary vision of China that prioritizes productivity and innovation above all. In Chinese with English subtitles.
Blind Ambition, directed by Robert Coe, Warwick Ross, written by Warwick Ross, Robert Coe, Paul Murphy, Madeleine Ross. Produced by Warwick Ross, Robert Coe. (Australia) – World Premiere. The inspiring story of four Zimbabwean men who form their country’s first Wine Tasting Olympics team and the mission that drives them to compete. In English, Shona with English subtitles.
Fathom, directed by Drew Xanthopoulos. Produced by Megan Gilbride. (United States) – World Premiere. Filmmaker & cinematographer Drew Xanthopoulos delivers a visual and aural wonder of a documentary—an immersive and sensorial film that follows researchers working to finally decode the communication of humpback whales. With Dr. Michelle Fournet, Dr. Ellen Garland. An Apple TV+ release.
The Kids, directed by Eddie Martin. Produced by Shannon Swan. (Australia) – World Premiere. 26 years after indie cult classic Kids was released to an unsuspecting nation, this documentary explores the divergent paths of the original cast, delivering an unflinching look back at one of the most iconic films of the 1990’s.
Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres, written, directed and produced by Suzanne Joe Kai. (United States) – World Premiere. Suzanne Joe Kai’s intimate documentary shows us how the Rolling Stone writer and editor defined the cultural zeitgeist of the ’60s and ’70s. With Ben Fong-Torres, Cameron Crowe, Annie Leibovitz, Carlos Santana, Elton John, Steve Martin, Bob Weir, Quincy Jones, and more.
On the Divide, directed and written by Leah Galant, Maya Cueva. Produced by Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Amanda Spain, Elizabeth Woodward. (United States) – World Premiere. On the Divide brings us into the lives of three Latinx people in McAllen Texas, whose different beliefs end up coming to a head at the last abortion clinic in the US/Mexico border. In English, Spanish with English subtitles.
The Scars of Ali Boulala, directed by Max Eriksson, written by Max Eriksson, Mikel Cee Karlsson. Produced by Mario Adamson, Ashley Smith. (Sweden, Norway) – World Premiere. In Max Eriksson’s audacious debut, Swedish skateboarding prodigy Ali Boulala—alongside other pros like Rune Glifberg and Arto Saari—looks back on the DIY videos and fast-paced lifestyle of his coming-of-age in the ’90s skating scene. With Ali Boulala, Rune Glifberg, Arto Saari, Ewan Bowman, Dustin Dollin, Kevin “Spanky” Long. In English, Finnish, Swedish with English subtitles.
INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE COMPETITION
The New-York based Festival breaks its geographical boundaries with the International Narrative Competition, welcoming filmmakers from abroad to join a global platform for contemporary world cinema. These films will compete for Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, and Best Actress.
All My Friends Hate Me, directed by Andrew Gaynord, written by Tom Palmer, Tom Stourton. Produced by Tom Palmer. (UK) – World Premiere. Genuine but increasingly insecure Pete is cautiously excited about reuniting with his college crew for a birthday weekend of memories, partying and earnest reconnection at a picturesque English manor. Best laid plans, dear audience. With Tom Stourton, Charly Clive, Georgina Campbell, Joshua Mcguire, Antonia Clarke.
Brighton 4th, directed by Levan Koguashvili, written by Boris Frumin, Levan Koguashvili. Produced by Irakli Rodonaya, Olena Yershova, Levan Koguashvili. (Bulgaria, Georgia, Monaco, Russia, United States) – World Premiere. Tribeca shorts alum Levan Koguashvili returns to the festival with this warm and sensitively rendered story of a Georgian wrestler, Kakhi, en route to Brooklyn to help his son out of a gambling debt. With Levan Tediashvili, Nadezhda Mikhalkova, Giorgi Tabidze, Kakhi Kavsadze. In English, Georgian, Russian with English subtitles.
Do Not Hesitate, directed by Shariff Korver, written by Jolein Laarman. Produced by Leontine Petit. (Netherlands) – World Premiere. A truck carrying a Dutch military convoy on a peacekeeping mission breaks down somewhere in the desert. As a group of soldiers waits for a repair team to arrive, they encounter a local boy who refuses to leave. With Joes Brauers, Tobias Kersloot, Spencer Bogaert, Omar Alwan. In Arabic, Dutch, English with English subtitles.
Roaring 20’s (Années 20), directed by Elisabeth Vogler, written by François Mark, Elisabeth Vogler, Noémie Schmidt, Joris Avodo. Produced by Laurent Rochette. (France) – World Premiere. In a single unbroken shot, Roaring 20’s gives viewers the chance not only to travel to Paris, but to live a day in the life there during the COVID-19 pandemic. Audiences can experience first hand both the universality of life in 2020, as well as the specificity and beauty of a summer day in the French capital. With Vladimir Seguin, Alice de Lencquesaing, Noémie Schmidt, Aurore Déon, Manuel Severi, Adil laboudi, Zoé Fauconnet, Léo Poulet, Fanny Santer, Lila Poulet-Berenfeld, Lilou Guillot, Elsa Guedj, Guillaume Pottier, Mehdi Djaadi, François Mark, Margaux Bonin, François De Brauer, François Rollin, Elie Salleron, Joris Avodo, Paul Scarfoglio, Léa Moret, Elise Tilloloy, Jean Thevenin. In French with English subtitles.
Souad, directed by Ayten Amin, written by Mahmoud Ezzat, Ayten Amin. Produced by Sameh Awad. (Egypt, Tunisia, Germany) – International Premiere. Amin’s assured, harrowing debut follows an Egyptian university student (a breakout Bassant Ahmed) who leads a double life, presenting different versions of herself to her conservative society and her tradition-flaunting peers. With Bassant Ahmed, Basmala Elghaiesh, Hussein Ghanem, Hager Mahmoud, Sarah Shedid, Carol Ackad. In Arabic with English subtitles.
Wild Men (Vildmænd), directed by Thomas Daneskov, written by Thomas Daneskov, Morten Pape. Produced by Lina Flint. (Denmark) – World Premiere. Hilariously ill-equipped to live off the land yet clad in a Neanderthal-like ensemble of animal skins, Martin wanders the Norwegian forest in a misguided attempt to find a sense of purpose and independence, a wife and two children back at home be damned. With Rasmus Bjerg, Zaki Youssef, Sofie Gråbøl, Bjørn Sundquist. In Danish with English subtitles.
Anticipated premieres from acclaimed filmmakers and performers are the focus of the Spotlight Narrative section which continues to be a launching pad for the most buzzworthy new films. This year’s Spotlight section will open with the world premiere of Pan Nalin’s The Last Film Show.
False Positive, directed by John Lee, written by John Lee & Ilana Glazer. Produced by John Lee, Ilana Glazer, Jonathan Wang. (United States) – World Premiere. After fertility struggles, a couple seem to have found their savior in a celebrated reproductive specialist. But as hope transforms to happiness, the now-expectant mother is thrown into a spiral of suspicion, threatening her grasp on reality. With Ilana Glazer, Justin Theroux, Gretchen Mol, Sophia Bush, Zainab Jah, and Pierce Brosnan. A Hulu release.
How It Ends, directed and written by Daryl Wein, Zoe Lister-Jones. Produced by Daryl Wein, Zoe Lister-Jones. (United States) – New York Premiere. It’s the end of the world as we know it…and Liza feels…fine?! Featuring a who’s who of comedic favorites, and shot completely during the quarantine of 2020, How It Ends is a hilarious and poignantly resonant, pre-apocalyptic comedy for our collective ages. With Zoe Lister-Jones, Cailee Spaeny, Olivia Wilde, Fred Armisen, Helen Hunt, Lamorne Morris, Nick Kroll.
India Sweets and Spices, directed and written by Geeta Malik. Produced by Gigi Pritzker, John Penotti, Naomi Despres, Sidney Kimmel. (United States) – World Premiere. In Geeta Malik’s fresh and fun take on the classic coming of age story, a college freshman confronts her parents’ values in order to understand her own evolving identity. With Sophia Ali, Manisha Koirala, Adil Hussain, Deepti Gupta, Rish Shah.
Italian Studies, directed and written by Adam Leon. Produced by Brad Becker-Parton, Joshua Astrachan, Jamund Washington, Andrea Roa, Jason Reif. (United States) – World Premiere. A mysterious woman (Vanessa Kirby) wanders the streets of Manhattan in a confused state. Finding herself inexplicably drawn to a charismatic teenager, she embarks on an adventure with him through the cityscape and into the unknown. With Vanessa Kirby, Simon Brickner, Annika Wahlsten, Annabel Hoffman.
The Last Film Show, directed and written by Pan Nalin. Produced by Dheer Momaya. (India) – World Premiere. A 9-year-old boy in a remote village in India begins a lifelong love affair with cinema when he bribes his way into a rundown movie palace and spends a Summer watching movies from the projection booth. With Bhavin Rabari, Vikas Bata, Richa Meena, Bhavesh Shrimali, Dipen Raval, Rahul Koli. In Other with English subtitles.Opening Night Film Spotlight Section
No Man of God, directed by Amber Sealy, written by Kit Lesser. Produced by Daniel Noah, Lisa Whalen, Elijah Wood, Kim Sherman. (United States) – World Premiere. To better understand the infamous serial killer’s crimes, FBI investigator Bill Hagmaier sits down with Ted Bundy for multiple jailhouse interviews over five years. Their conversations lead to unexpected results, both philosophically and personally. With Elijah Wood, Luke Kirby, Aleksa Palladino, Robert Patrick.
12 Mighty Orphans, directed by Ty Roberts. Produced by Houston Hill, Brinton Bryan, Michael De Luca, Angelique De Luca, Ty Roberts. (United States) – New York Premiere. The true story of the Mighty Mites, the football team of a Fort Worth orphanage who, during the Great Depression, went from playing without shoes—or even a football—to playing for the Texas state championships. Over the course of their winning season these underdogs and their resilient spirit became an inspiration to their city, state, and an entire nation in need of a rebound, even catching the attention of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. With Luke Wilson, Vinessa Shaw, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Wayne Knight, Jake Austin Walker, Scott Haze, Levi Dylan, Jacob Lofland. A Sony Pictures release.
Werewolves Within, directed by Josh Ruben, written by Mishna Wolff. Produced by Jason Altman, Margaret Boykin, Andrew Lieberman, Natalie Metzger, Matt Miller, Benjamin Wiessner, Sam Richardson. (United States) – World Premiere. In Josh Ruben’s video game-inspired horror-comedy, a newly assigned forest ranger checks into a quaint Vermont inn just as a snowstorm cuts him and the eccentric townsfolk off from civilization. Yet frigid weather isn’t their biggest concern—that’d be the bloodthirsty creature picking them off one by one. With Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, Michaela Watkins, Cheyenne Jackson, Glenn Fleshler. An IFC Films release
Documentaries consistently make waves at Tribeca as notable filmmakers and major stories are represented in this section through high-profile premieres.
A-ha the Movie, directed and written by Thomas Robsahm, co-directed by Aslaug Holm. Produced by Yngve Sæther. (Norway, Germany) – World Premiere. Featuring new interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, Thomas Robsahm’s portrait of the band behind “Take On Me” follows their creative adventures and challenges after reaching global superstardom—all set to their catchiest synth hooks. With Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen, Pål Waaktaar-Savoy. In English, Norwegian with English subtitles.
Bernstein’s Wall, directed and written by Douglas Tirola. Produced by Susan Bedusa. (United States) – World Premiere. An enlightening, complex look at one of the greatest figures in 20th century classical music whose passion and creativity guided him well beyond the concert hall. With Leonard Bernstein.
BITCHIN’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James, directed by Sacha Jenkins, written by Sacha Jenkins, Steve Rivo, Jason Pollard. Produced by Steve Rivo. (United States) – World Premiere. This incredibly entertaining profile of legendary funk/R&B icon Rick James captures the peaks and valleys of his storied career to reveal a complicated and rebellious soul, driven to share his talent with the world. A Showtime Documentary Films release. *Part of the Juneteenth programming
A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks, directed by John Maggio. Produced by John Maggio, Monica Berra, Richard Lowe, George Kunhardt, Teddy Kunhardt, Matthew Henderson (United States) – World Premiere. This documentary chronicles renaissance man Gordon Parks’ stellar career from staff photographer for LIFE magazine, through his artistic development photographing everyday Americans, through his evolution as a novelist and groundbreaking filmmaker. An HBO Documentary Films release. *Part of the Juneteenth programming
Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story, directed by Laura Fairrie. Produced by John Battsek, Lizzie Gillett. (UK) – World Premiere. Literary phenomenon. Revolutionary storyteller. Feminist icon. Novelist Jackie Collins’s trailblazing and glamorous life is remembered and reconsidered in Laura Fairrie’s admiring documentary portrait. A CNN Films Release.
LFG, directed by Andrea Nix Fine, Sean Fine, written by Andrea Nix Fine. Produced by Andrea Nix Fine, Sean Fine, Abby Greensfelder. (United States) – World Premiere. Academy Award® Oscar winners Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine take us inside the U.S. women’s national soccer league and their continuing fight for equal pay in an effort to create real change in women’s sports. With Megan Rapinoe, Jessica McDonald, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara, Christen Press, Sam Mewis, Julie Foudy. An HBO Max release.
The Lost Leonardo, directed by Andreas Koefoed. Produced by Andreas Dalsgaard, Christoph Jörg. (Denmark, France, Sweden) – World Premiere. The Lost Leonardo tells the inside story behind the Salvator Mundi, the most expensive painting ever sold at $450 million, claimed to be a long-lost masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci. From the moment it is purchased from a shady New Orleans auction house, and its buyers discover masterful brushstrokes beneath its cheap restoration, the fate of the Salvator Mundi is driven by an insatiable quest for fame, money and power. But as its price soars, so do questions about its authenticity. Is this multi-million dollar painting actually by Leonardo – or do certain power players simply want it to be? Unravelling the hidden agendas of the world’s richest men and most powerful art institutions, The Lost Leonardo reveals how vested interests became all-important, and the truth secondary. With Dianne Modestini, Yves Bouvier, Christian Kirk Muff, Robert Simon, Alexander Parish, Luke Syson, Martin Kemp, Frank Zöllner, Jacques Franck. A Sony Pictures Classics Release.
The Price of Freedom, directed by Judd Ehrlich. Produced by Judd Ehrlich, Aidan Tumas, Elena Gaby. (United States) – World Premiere. The NRA has become an increasing force of political influence, challenging gun control legislation as a direct attack on personal freedom. This deep dive into American gun culture is a passionate call to action. With Rep. Gabby Giffords, Sen. Chris Murphy, Rep. Lucy McBath, David Keene, Fred Guttenberg, Nicole Hockley, X González.
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, directed by Morgan Neville. Produced by Caitrin Rogers, Morgan Neville. (United States) – World Premiere. Bad boy chef. Bestselling author. Global adventurer. Academy Award® winner Morgan Neville’s (20 Feet From Stardom) documentary brims with the same energy, curiosity, and deep humanity that made Anthony Bourdain the superstar whose life touched so many. A CNN Films, HBO Max and Focus Features release.
Stockholm Syndrome, directed by The Architects. Produced by Matthew Perniciaro, Michael Sherman, Bow and Arrow Entertainment, Olive Hill Media. (United States, Sweden) – World Premiere. Musician and cultural icon A$AP Rocky explores his life and career while fighting for his freedom after being arrested in Stockholm, Sweden. Placed in solitary confinement amidst the rising tensions of the case becoming a global media storm reaching the highest levels of government, Rocky contemplates who he truly is and how this experience will shape who he is meant to become. With A$AP Rocky.
Wolfgang, directed by David Gelb, written by Brian McGinn. Produced by Jason Sterman, Brian McGinn, David Gelb. (United States) – World Premiere. From acclaimed filmmaker and Tribeca alum David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Chef’s Table) comes another mouthwatering delight of a film about one of the first “celebrity chefs” to rule the scene and a pioneer in the world of California cuisine, Wolfgang Puck. With Wolfgang Puck, Barbara Lazaroff, Byron Puck, Christina Puck, Nancy Silverton, Evan Funke, Ruth Reichl, Laurie Ochoa & Michael Ovitz. In Austro-Bavarian, English with English subtitles. A Disney+ release.
Viewpoints, which includes narratives and documentaries, recognizes distinct voices in independent filmmaking by creating a home for bold directorial visions and embracing distinct characters or points of view.
7 Days, directed by Roshan Sethi, written by Karan Soni, Roshan Sethi. Produced by Liz Cardenas, Mel Eslyn. (United States) – World Premiere, Feature Narrative. As if their pre-arranged date, organized by their traditional Indian parents, wasn’t uncomfortable enough, Ravi and Rita are forced to shelter in place together as COVID-19’s reach intensifies. Hopefully for their sake, opposites do indeed attract. With Karan Soni, Geraldine Viswanathan, Mark Duplass, Zenobia Shroff, Aparna Nancherla, Gita Reddy, Jeffrey Self.
Accepted, directed by Dan Chen. Produced by Jason Y. Lee, Dan Chen, Jesse Einstein, Mark Monroe. (United States) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. The ambitious students of the TM Landry Prep School enjoyed a remarkable 100% acceptance rate into the county’s most elite colleges until an explosive NY Times article exposed the controversial teaching methods of its dynamic founder.
as of yet, directed by Chanel James, Taylor Garron, written by Taylor Garron. Produced by Ashley Edouard, Taylor Garron. (United States) – World Premiere, Feature Narrative. Told entirely through video calls and digital diaries, Naomi (Taylor Garron who also wrote and co-directs) navigates a problematic roommate and a burgeoning romance all while locked down during the Coronavirus pandemic. With Taylor Garron, Eva Victor, Amir Khan, Quinta Brunson, Ayo Edebiri. *Part of the Juneteenth programming
The Beta Test, directed and written by Jim Cummings, PJ McCabe, written by Jim Cummings, PJ McCabe. Produced by Vanishing Angle. (United States) – North American Premiere, Feature Narrative. After indulging in a mysterious, toe-curling sexual encounter, a Hollywood talent agent frantically struggles to keep his career, his relationship, and his sanity from unravelling in Jim Cummings’ satirical thriller. With Jim Cummings, Virginia Newcomb, PJ McCabe, Jessie Barr, Keith Powell, Kevin Changaris. In English, Mandarin, Swedish with English subtitles. An IFC Films release.
Building a Bridge, directed by Evan Mascagni, Shannon Post. Produced by Evan Mascagni, Shannon Post, Nick Capezzera. (United States) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. Building a Bridge profiles Father James Martin, an outspoken New York-based priest and author who works to connect the Catholic Church with the LGBTQ+ community through compassion, inclusion, love, and acceptance.
The Conductor, directed by Bernadette Wegenstein, written by Bernadette Wegenstein and Stefan Fauland. Produced by Annette Porter. (United States) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. In this exhilarating documentary, Leonard Bernstein’s protégée Marin Alsop reveals how she smashed the glass ceiling to become an internationally renowned conductor.
The Death Of My Two Fathers, directed by Sol Guy, written by Sol Guy, Matthew Cooke, Shoshana Guy. Produced by Stine Moisen, Sol Guy. (United States) – US Premiere, Feature Documentary. After putting it off for twenty years, filmmaker Sol Guy finally confronts the six tapes his father recorded before dying. Using those tapes as a framework, Guy recounts his family’s story—and his own—for his two teenage kids. With Sol Guy, William Guy, Travestine Guy, Freye Parkhouse, Barbara Ogletree, Leora Gesser. *Part of the Juneteenth programming
The Justice of Bunny King, directed by Gaysorn Thavat, written by Sophie Henderson. Produced by Emma Slade. (New Zealand) – World Premiere, Feature Narrative. Bunny, a woman at the outskirts of society, fights to be reunited with her children. When her teenage niece needs help, Bunny takes her under her wing, and together, they make a stand against the cards they’ve been dealt. With Essie Davis, Thomasin McKenzie.
The Legend of the Underground, directed and produced by Giselle Bailey, Nneka Onuorah. (Nigeria, United States) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. A timely documentary uncovering rampant homophobia in Nigeria while exploring the lives of several gay men who must choose to live imperiled lives there or flee to the USA. With James Brown Obialor, Micheal Ighadaro, Edafe Okporo, Ayodeji Otuyelu, Olaide Kayode Timileyin. An HBO Documentary Films release. *Part of the Juneteenth programming
North By Current, directed and written by Angelo Madsen Minax. Produced by Felix Endara. (United States) – North American Premiere, Feature Documentary. A thoughtful, provocative rumination on identity and familial responsibility, North By Current turns an unflinching eye toward a family in the process of repair.
Perfume de Gardenias, directed by Macha Colón, written by Gisela Rosario Ramos. Produced by Arleen Cruz-Alicea, Consuelo Castillo, Adriana Ángel, Gisela Rosario Ramos. (Puerto Rico, Colombia) – World Premiere, Feature Narrative. After the death of her husband, a grieving elderly woman is enlisted by a coterie of gossipy elderly women in her neighborhood to plan and create custom funerals – offering seniors a chance to plan in advance how they want their funerals to be presented, and how they want their lives to be celebrated. With Luz María Rondón, Sharon Riley, Katira Álvarez, Carmen Nydia Velázquez, Carmen Milagros Ortiz, Flor Joglar, Abner Rivera. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Sisters on Track, directed by Corinne van der Borch, Tone Grøttjord. Produced by Anita Rehoff Larsen, Tone Grottjord. (United States) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. A coming of age story set in New York, Sisters on Track is about hope, belonging, and the metaphorical and literal sisterhood of young athletes Tai, Rainn, and Brooke Sheppard. A Netflix release.
Wu hai, directed and written by Ziyang Zhou. Produced by Luna Wang, Yini Qian, Li Zhu (China) – North American Premiere, Feature Narrative. A dinosaur theme park in the desert of Inner Mongolia is the setting for this remarkable dynamic drama in which a man’s whole world unravels over the course of three fateful days. With Xuan Huang, Zishan Yang, Tumen. In Chinese with English subtitles.
Always surprising and boundary-pushing, Tribeca Midnight is the destination for the best in horror and genre discoveries.
Shapeless, directed by Samantha Aldana, written by Kelly Murtagh, Bryce Parsons-Twesten. Produced by Lizzie Guitreau, R. Todd Campbell, William Ramsey, Brian C. Miller Richard. (United States) – World Premiere, Feature Narrative. Out in public, Ivy is a New Orleans lounge singer trying to make a name for herself. When alone, though, she suffers from a terrifying eating disorder. And the more she hides her struggles, the stronger her inner demons become. With Kelly Murtagh, Bobby Gilchrist, Jamie Neumann, Marco Dapper, Erika Ashley, Gralen Bryant Banks.
Ultrasound, directed by Rob Schroeder, written by Conor Stechschulte. Produced by Rob Schroeder, Georg Kallert, Charlie Prince. (United States) – World Premiere, Feature Narrative. After his car breaks down, Glen spends one hell of an odd night with a married couple, setting into motion a chain of events that alter their lives plus those of several random strangers. With Vincent Kartheiser, Chelsea Lopez, Breeda Wool, Tunde Adebimpe, Rainey Qualley, Bob Stephenson.
We Need To Do Something, directed by Sean King O’Grady, written by Max Booth III. Produced by Bill Stertz, Josh Malerman, Ryan Lewis, Peter Block. (United States) – World Premiere, Feature Narrative. Trapped inside their bathroom for days after a tornado ravages their home, a family of four struggles to keep their composure. That’s nothing, however, compared to what’s coming for them beyond the bathroom’s walls. With Sierra McCormick, Vinessa Shaw, Pat Healy, Lisette Alexis, John James Cronin.
Tribeca’s unique Movies Plus events bring the film experience off the screen with live conversations and performances after each screening.
The Father of the Cyborgs, directed and written by David Burke. Produced by David Burke, Sean O’Cualain. (Ireland) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. Dr. Kennedy made headlines for implanting electrodes in the brain of a paralyzed man then teaching the patient to control a computer. After much controversy he later began experimenting on himself.
After the Movie: A conversation with the filmmakers and scientific experts about Dr. Phil Kennedy’s extraordinary work and legacy within his field of computer-brain interface and beyond. Hosted by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
The Neutral Ground, directed and written by CJ Hunt. Produced by Darcy McKinnon. (United States) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. With sharp humor and a critical sense of curiosity, comedian CJ Hunt documents the fraught removal of four Confederate monuments in New Orleans. As the scope of his film expands, Hunt investigates the origins of a romanticized Confederacy and confronts hard truths much of America has yet to face. With CJ Hunt. *Part of the Juneteenth programming
After the Movie: A conversation with CJ Hunt, Executive Producer Roy Wood Jr. (The Daily Show), and Pulitzer-Prize winning creator of the 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones on confronting the ongoing legacy of America’s Original Sin.
No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics, directed by Vivian Kleiman. Produced by Vivian Kleiman, Justin Hall. (United States) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. A lively look at five LGBTQ+ comic book artists whose careers go from the underground scene to the cover of Time Magazine and the international stage. With Alison Bechdel (Fun Home), Jennifer Camper, Howard Cruse, Rupert Kinnard and Mary Wings.
After the Movie: A conversation with Alison Bechdel, Justin Hall, Rupert Kinnard and Vivian Kleiman.
The One and Only Dick Gregory, The One and Only Dick Gregory, written and directed by Andre Gaines. Produced by Andre Gaines, Valerie Edwards. (United States) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. This revealing portrait of comedian/activist Dick Gregory documents his many personal reinventions throughout the decades, from celebrity to civil rights hero and beyond, while hearing from the incredible entertainers who have been inspired by his blueprint. Executive Produced by Kevin Hart and Lena Waithe, with Dick Gregory, Chris Rock, Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle, Lena Waithe, Harry Belafonte. *Part of the Juneteenth programming
After the Movie: A conversation with Andre Gaines, Executive Producer Lena Waithe, and Special Guests on the impact that Dick Gregory’s work has had on subsequent generations of artists and activists.
Paper & Glue, a JR Project. Produced by Sara Bernstein, Justin Wilkes, Dallas Brennan Rexer, Marc Azoulay. (France, United States) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. From the favelas of Rio de Janeiro to the US-Mexico border to the courtyard of a supermax prison, JR’s large-scale photomurals have turned some of the most provocative spaces of the world into eye-catching immersive art that challenges perspectives and unites communities. In English, French, Portuguese, Spanish with English subtitles.
After the Movie: A conversation with Director and Artist JR.
Reflection: a walk with water, directed and written by Emmett Brennan. Produced by Emmett Brennan, Nick Brennan. (United States) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. Filmmaker Emmett Brennan takes a “pilgrimage with water,” traveling the length of the Los Angeles Aqueduct on foot. Using California’s water crisis as a starting point, Brennan introduces principles to reshape human life with water in mind. With Kathy Bancroft, Connor Jones, Rhamis Kent, Gigi Coyle, Ariel Greenwood, Andy Lipkis.
After the Movie: A special performance by Jacob Collier and Justin Kauflin.
With/In, (United States) – World Premiere, Feature Narrative. Shooting on iPhones during last year’s quarantine, an impressive collective of talent chronicles 2020 pandemic life’s myriad challenges and simple pleasures through narrative shorts. Sometimes poignant, other times funny and consistently free-spirited, this stripped-down anthology turns confinement into creativity.
After the Movie: A conversation with Directors Sanaa Lathan, Maya Singer, Morgan Spector, & more.
TRIBECA CRITICS’ WEEK
Tribeca Critics’ Week is a section of the Festival that presents a curated slate of feature films from film critics including Eric Kohn (IndieWire), Hunter Harris and Tre’vell Anderson.
Ailey, directed by Jamila Wignot. Produced by Lauren DeFilippo. (United States) – New York Premiere, Feature Documentary. Told by the man himself, interwoven with decades of awe-inspiring dance footage of his world-famous dance company, Ailey recounts Alvin Ailey’s life story, from humble his Texan beginnings to becoming one of the most iconic choreographers of his generation. With Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison, George Faison. A Neon release. *Part of the Juneteenth programming
The Ballad of a White Cow (The Ghasideyeh Gave Sefid), directed by Behtash Sanaeeha, Maryam Moghaddam, written by Maryam Moghaddam, Behtash Sanaeeha, Mehrdad Kouroshnia. Produced by Gholamreza Mousavi, Etienne de Ricaud. (France, Iran) – North American Premiere, Feature Narrative. Mina’s life is turned upside down when she learns that her husband Babak was innocent of the crime for which he was executed. Mina starts a silent battle against a cynical system for her own and her daughter’s sake.With Maryam Moghaddam, Alireza Sanifar. In Farsi with English subtitles.
Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It, directed by Mariem Pérez Riera. Produced by Mariem Pérez Riera, Brent Miller. (United States) – New York Premiere, Feature Documentary. From New York City kid to movie star and to women’s rights activist, the indomitable Rita Moreno has enjoyed a storied life in the spotlight. Here the dynamic icon shares the challenges of being a Latina in Hollywood and the triumphs of her incredible 70 year career. With George Chakiris, Héctor Elizondo, Gloria Estefan, Tom Fontana, Morgan Freeman, Mitzi Gaynor, Whoopi Goldberg, Norman Lear, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, Terrence McNally, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rita Moreno, Karen Olivo. A Roadside Attractions release.
2021 JURIED FEATURE FILM AWARDS
Awards in the three main competition sections — U.S. Narrative, International Narrative, and Documentary Competition — will be determined by a jury and presented in the following categories: Founders Award for Best U.S. Narrative Feature; Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature; Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature; Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature; Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature; Best International Narrative Feature; Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature; Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature; Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature; Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature; Best Documentary Feature; Best Editing in a Documentary Feature, and Best Cinematography in a Documentary Feature.
In addition, the Festival juries will present the Nora Ephron Award to a woman filmmaker and awards for Best New Narrative Director and The Albert Maysles Award (Best New Documentary Director) for first time feature directors in any section.
Two feature films—one narrative and one documentary—will be selected to receive the Audience Award, the audience choice for best feature film. Films playing in the Competition, Viewpoints, Spotlight, Midnight, Movies Plus, and Tribeca Critics’ Week screenings sections are eligible.
2020 FESTIVAL SELECTIONS
After having their planned Tribeca 2020 premieres canceled, the feature films of the 2020 Festival have been invited back for long awaited in-person premieres in 2021. Participating titles include:
499, directed by Rodrigo Reyes
All the Streets Are Silent, directed by Jeremy Elkin
The Art of Political Murder, directed by Paul Taylor
Asia, directed by Rothy Pribar
Banksy Most Wanted, directed by Aurélia Rouvier, Seamus Haley
Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road, directed by Brent Wilson
Clean, directed by Paul Solet
Contactado, directed by Marite Ugas
Cowboys, directed by Anna Kerrigan
Dear Mr. Brody, directed by Keith Maitland
Enemies of the State, directed by Sonia Kennebeck
Fries! The Movie, directed by Michael Steed
Fully Realized Humans, directed by Joshua Leonard
The God Committee, directed by Austin Stark
Happily, directed by BenDavid Grabinski
Harley, directed by Jean-Cosme Delaloye
Honeydew, directed by Devereux Milburn
I Carry You With Me, directed by Heidi Ewing
I Promise, directed by Marc Levin
Ice Cold, directed by Karam Gill
Jacinta, directed by Jessica Earnshaw
Kiss the Ground, directed by Josh Tickell, Rebecca Tickell
Kubrick by Kubrick, directed by Grégory Monro
La Madrina: The [Savage] Life of Lorine Padilla, directed by Raquel Cepeda
Landfall, directed by Cecilia Aldarondo
Larry Flynt for President, directed by Nadia Szold
The Last Out, directed by Sami Khan, Michael Gassert
Lorelei, directed by Sabrina Doyle
Love Spreads, directed by Jamie Adams
Marvelous and the Black Hole, directed by Kate Tsang
Materna, directed by David Grutnik
Miracle Fishing: Kidnapped Abroad, directed by Miles Hargrove
My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To, directed by Jonathan Cuartas
No Future, directed by Andrew Irvine, Mark Smoot
Not Going Quietly, directed by Nicholas Bruckman
The Outside Story, directed by Casimir Nozkowski
P.S. Burn This Letter Please, directed by Michael Seligman, Jennifer Tiexiera
Pray Away, directed by Kristine Stolakis
Ricky Powell: The Individualist, directed by Josh Swade
She Paradise, directed by Maya Cozier
Simple As Water, directed by Megan Mylan
The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show, directed by Yoruba Richen
Socks on Fire, directed by Bo McGuire
The State of Texas vs. Melissa, directed by Sabrina Van Tassel
Stateless (Apátrida), directed by Michèle Stephenson
Sweet Thing, directed by Alexandre Rockwell
Television Event, directed by Jeff Daniels
This Is Paris, directed by Alexandra Dean
Through the Night, directed by Lora Limbal
Wake Up on Mars (Réveil sur Mars), directed by Dea Gjinovci
Women In Blue, directed by Deirdre Fishel
Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn, directed by Muta’Ali
The Glorious Corner
SLY REVIVED — (via Rolling Stone) Sly Stone, the enigmatic R&B/funk icon, will share his story in a new memoir, Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), arriving Oct. 17 via Questlove’s new publishing imprint, AUWA Books.
Stone co-wrote the new book with Ben Greeman, who’s written memoirs with George Clinton, Brian Wilson, and Questlove (he helped the Roots drummer with his three other books, too). Questlove — who’s directing a documentary about Stone — will also pen a foreword for Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).
In a statement, Stone said, “For as long as I can remember folks have been asking me to tell my story. I wasn’t ready. I had to be in a new frame of mind to become Sylvester Stewart again to tell the true story of Sly Stone. It’s been a wild ride and hopefully my fans enjoy it too.”
Born Sylvester Stewart, Stone’s music career began when he was a child, singing in a gospel quartet with his siblings. In the Sixties, he worked as a radio DJ in the Bay Area, forming various soul groups, including the extremely successful Sly and the Family Stone. The group’s debut,A Whole new Thing, arrived in 1967, and that same year they released their first major hit, “Dance to the Music,” which anchored the band’s second album. Between 1967 and and 1982, Sly and the Family Stone released 10 albums, including classics like Stand! and There’s a Riot Goin; On.
But after the dissolution of the Family Stone, Stone struggled to find success as a solo artist while simultaneously battling drug addiction. Though he got sober, he receded from public life, making only sporadic appearances, like the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a performance at the 2006 Grammys. In 2011, Stone released a new solo album, I’m Back! Family and Friends; in 2016, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys.
Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) is one of several books on the initial slate for Questlove’s new AUWA Books venture. (The Farrar, Straus and Giroux imprint takes its name, by the way, from the bird-call noise Prince used on songs like “Baby I’m a Star” and “Eye No.”) Also on the docket: Questlove’s new book, Hip-Hop Is History, and a book from TikTok star Drew Afualo (both out in 2024).
This is major news for sure. If you’re of a certain age, Sly Stone’s music was the best. The true of story of what actually happened should be cataclysmic. The stories I’ve heard over the years encompass almost everything good and bad about the music industry. I hope the curtain is finally pulled back in this instance.
TICKET TO YOUNG — (Via Ultimate Classic Rock) Count Neil Young among those musicians who blame escalating ticket prices for ruining the concert industry. “It’s over. The old days are gone,” Young declared in a message posted to his Neil Young Archives website. “I get letters blaming me for $3,000.00 tickets for a benefit I am doing. That money does not go to me or the benefit. Artists have to worry about ripped off fans blaming them for Ticketmaster add-ons and scalpers.”
The acclaimed rocker’s message was accompanied by a story about the Cure and their recent battle with Ticketmaster. The ticketing giant earned the scorn of the goth rock band and their fans by adding several fees to ticket prices for the Cure’s upcoming North American tour. In some cases, these “unduly high” fees, as Robert Smith called them, resulted in the actual price of tickets nearly doubling from their face value. Ticketmaster eventually agreed to refund some of the cost.
“Concert tours are no longer fun,” Young opined, pointing to ticket fees and scalpers as the culprit. “Concert tours not what they were.”
Young’s thoughts about ticket prices are the latest in his ongoing list of gripes regarding modern touring. In December, the rocker reiterated his refusal to play at concert venues that use factory farms.
SHORT TAKES — Could Big Blue be coming back? Blockbuster for decades was the go-to spot for DVDs and video-tapes. Stay tuned …I love Keanu Reeves, but I must admit I’ve not seen any of the John Wick movies. Chapter 4 opened this past weekend with a $74 million+ score. Rather amazing in this post-covid period.
I pulled up the trailer and was terrifically impressed by the lush visuals; beautiful music and Reeves and Lance Reddick just sensational. I am thinking of a John Wick-weekend where I’ll watch all 4 … Writer/producer Terry Jastrow arrives in NY this week with his wife actress Anne Archer … Whatever happened to the Madonna biopic? You ask three different people and you get three different answers,. Check this one out from IndieWire: https://www.indiewire.com/2023/03/julia-garner-madonna-biopic-fingers-crossed-1234819696/ …
Personally, I don’t think Garner should do it. Mired in controversy already, could it really be any good? … GUESS WHO DON”T SUE: What up-and-coming metal band is using the name of a high-profile manager to score some Manhattan-gigs? They were going to work with the manager until it blew up. Simply shady if you ask me … btw: whatever happened to Wendy Stuart Kaplan? …
Friday was the last episode (for their inaugural season) of Apple TV+’s Shrinking which has just been so excellent in this its debut season. Jason Segal and Brett Goldstein have come up with the best show on streaming yet. Infectiously good and the acting turns from Segal and Harrison Ford are off the charts. The show culminated in a wedding for best-friend Brian (Michael Urie) and ended with a call-back to the show’s very first scene. Remember it? Truly a one-of-a-kind show. We loved it … I’ve heard at least 4 stories on the news this weekend about composting. Is this a hot topic now? Trending is it? … RIP Nicholas Lloyd Webber
NAMES IN THE NEWS –— Alex Salzman; Rob Petrie; Anthony Pomes; Terry Jastrow; Tyrone Biljan; Jacqueline Boyd; Bill McCuddy; Brad LeBeau; Nile Rodgers; Nancy Hunt; Steve Leeds; Terri Epstein; Brenda K. Starr; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; William Schill; Robert Funaro; Vinny Pastore; Maureen Van Zandt; Tricia Daniels; and ZIGGY!
Broadway’s A Doll’s House Meticulously Stunning Revival Soars Like a Birdie Above That Clumsy Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
For a revival to find its footing, it has to have a point of view or a sense of purpose far beyond an actor’s desire to perform a part, whether it suits them or not. It needs to radiate an idea that will make us want to sit up and pay attention. To feel its need to exist. And on one particular day in March, I was blessed with the opportunity to see not just one grande revival, but two. One was a detailed pulled-apart revolutionary revival of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House that astounded. The other, unfortunately, was a clumsy revival of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that fell lazily from that high-wired peak – not for a lack of trying, but from a formulation that never found its purpose.
Relevantly Tuneless Fairytale Bad Cinderella Isn’t Bad, It’s Forgettable
You are seriously asking for it, when you make the title for your musical Bad Cinderella, however the show is not bad, it’s just seriously lacking. For an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, which is normally rich in melody, the only song that has any kind of hold is “Only You, Lonely You” sung by Prince Sebastian (Jordan Dobson or in my performance the wonderful Julio Ray). The lyrics by David Zippel and book by Emerald Fennell, adapted by Alexis Scheer are inane. It doesn’t help that the cast for the most part speaks and sings with mouths full of cotton. The orchestrations sound tinny and computerized, The lead Linedy Genao has no charisma or vocals that soar musically, instead she is rather nasal, like Bernadette Peters with a cold. Why this show is two and a half hours long is beyond me.
The show is based in a town called Belleville (beautiful town en Francais), that is based solely on looks and prides itself on its superficiality. The opening number starts with “Beauty Is Our Duty,” the Queen (a fabulous Grace McLean) is into her hunks including her missing son Charming (Cameron Loyal).
And the fairy godmother (Christina Acosta Robinson) is a plastic surgeon who sings “Beauty Has a Price”. In a day and age, where we are suppose to see past all that, this show is politically incorrect.
Cinderella a Gothic, and a graffiti artist, naturally does not fit into the town’s mold of beauty, which is how she earns her nickname. Her rebel move happens when she defaces a memorial statue of Sebastian’s older brother, Prince Charming. Sebastian is more of a geek, and he and Cinderella are in the “friend zone,” since both lack communication skills in admitting their love.
Sebastian is being forced by his mother, the Queen to find a wife at a ball and invites Cinderella. Cinderella’s stepmother (the always remarkable Carolee Carmello) blackmails the Queen to get one of her daughters Adele (Sami Gayle) or Marie (Morgan Higgins) the gig.
McLean and Carmello are the bright spots in the show and if the show had been about these two, maybe we would actually have a show that could work. These two steal the show.
Cinderella has not one, but two what should have been show stopping numbers “I Know I Have A Heart (Because You Broke It)” and “Far Too Late,” but she does not have the vocals, the character development or the star power to carry them off.
The set and the revenge porn costumes by Gabriela Tylesova, are just over the top, with the storybook set faring much better than the over complicated flowered pastels that waltzed across the stage.
The direction by Laurence Connor is just dull and lacks oomph.
If you like buff men and Chippendale type choreography this is the show for you.
Bad Cinderella, Imperial Theatre, 249 West 45th Street.
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