This past weekend I had the opportunity to check out the Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan, NY. It was my final weekend in New York City, and I couldn’t think of a better way to experience the city than through this event. It had it’s ups and downs, from an amazing after-party with John Forte of the Fujees and Natasha Bedingfield, to the lowest point as I sat out in the rain “umbrella-less” for an hour and 30 minutes trying to get in to the premier of “Take This Waltz” with Seth Rogen and Michelle Williams.
Below is a quick look at a few of the films I was able to watch over the weekend.
Feature Narrative, Viewpoints
Directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead
Expecting father, Michael heads out into the woods to convince his best friend Chris to clean up and wean off his addictions to hard drugs and the lifestyle that comes with it. Michael handcuffs Chris to the side of his beat up house, unfortunately located on an Indian Reservation with a past. The two characters begin noticing some weird occurances around the house and in the woods, including photos, videos, and historic documents of the present. The dark humor and unexpected eeriness combines well with a verbal assault of language. I can’t spoil the ending, but if you can make it through the language (there are 1-2 swear words in every sentence, on average) then you will enjoy the curiosity and creepiness of the woods filled with occult, Russian mystery, and drug abuse. Vinny Curran does an excellent job of portraying a crackhead friend struggling to detox while chained to a wall. While his character moves very little, the identity creates is incredible.
Watch the trailer here
|photo courtesy of http://www.capitalnewyork.com/|
Feature Documentary, directed by Petter Ringbom (@petterringbom)
John Forte (@John_forte) was nominated at the age of 21 for his work on a multi-platinum Fugees album, but since then his life has changed dramatically. In 2001 he was convicted of drug possession and sentenced to 14 years in federal prison. In 2008 the sentence was commuted and he was given a chance to go out into the world and share what he was blessed with, his music. This is a truly redemptive story involving one mans second chance and his pursuit of more than he ever had. Viewers can catch a glimpse of the challenges and hardships of touring on international soil.
My Review: A bright film of inspiration and encouragement, beautifully shot with the best lighting out of every film I watched at Tribeca. Lithuanian singer and songwriter Alina Orlova is charmingly beautiful and will hopefully rise up through this film.
Jack and Diane
World Narrative Competition
directed by Bradley Rust Gray
Featuring Juno Temple and Riley Keough (Elvis Presley’s Granddaugther)
This horror story meets LGBT romance was the oddest of the films that I saw. Diane, an adorable European girl, stumbled into Jack (played by Riley Keough) while roaming the streets of Manhattan searching for a phone. The tomboy and sweet blond quickly fall into love, but with little conversation or interaction beyond some physical touch. Diane encounters numerous visions of a monster that follow her throughout their summer. I struggled with the lack of character development in this film, but the cute film takes a frightening turn in the final minutes that was not expected. Bradley certainly threw in a handful of open-to-interpretation moments of silence or extended shots without any action or movement.
|photo courtesy of backstage.com|
Directed by Tom O’Brien
Fairhaven was an intriguing story of three high-school friends years later, each in their own search for identity and purpose, a commonality amongst many of my current friends that have graduated from college and are finding themselves seeking truth. Director and writer, Tom O’Brien stars as the protagonist as a single man in Fairhaven, Massachusetts aspiring to be a full-time writer. He struggles to make the leap away from the fishing industry and can’t seem to find his place in Fairhaven, as he sits in on a happy laughter class in hopes of connecting with the teacher. My favorite dialogue of the entire film includes the former high school football stars’ constant conversations about quarterback Tom Brady. When his friend Dave’s father passes away, a visit back to Fairhaven evokes hometown memories, young love stories, and the reminiscing of their lives years before. The third character, Sam, opens up about his divorce while seeking compassion and love without forgetting his daughter. The three best friends struggle as hidden demons and past regrets come up in conversation over drunken nights and brokeness.
One of the most intriguing parts about this film was the city of Fairhaven. The small town seemed to develop it’s own character throughout the film. Some of the best shots included scenic views of the water or the snow-covered streets. An honest story of pain, compassion, and love in the search of happiness, I was impressed by Fairhaven’s ability to build character identity. Everyone walked out of that screening connecting with one of the characters.
Watch the trailer here