The spring film festival season is about to kick off in a big way with the opening of New York’s own Tribeca Film Festival later this week, and with a schedule that spans eleven days and includes hundreds of features and shorts, the festival is crammed with solid picks for everyone from the casual moviegoer to the hardcore cinephile. This year’s Tribeca is a more down-to-earth affair than it has been in years past (there’s certainly no massive Marvel film opening of closing Tribeca 2013), and that’s a good thing for movie fans looking to make some true discoveries.
Here at NY Reject HQ, we’ve already spent plenty of time poring over the fest’s schedule, all the better to bring you the very best that the festival has to offer. We’re reasonably sure we’ve already picked out some winners for you (just reasonably, really). After the break, check out Team Rejects’ twelve most anticipated films of the Tribeca Film Festival. Trust us, this is one list that has everything.
As perhaps some of you readers know from my overly-enthusiastic Justified recaps, I love me some Oxycontin-related drama. So the promise of an entire documentary about those addicted to Oxycontin is obviously more than intriguing. This documentary delves into the Appalachian town of Oceana, West Virginia and how, in the wake of the decline of the coal industry, people turned to dealing the over-prescribed Oxycontin for monetary gain. Director Sean Dunne weaves together the film through a series of telling interviews with addicts and those affected by them – and he shows everything, from addicts using on camera, as well as the harrowing aftereffects of taking the drug. -Caitlin Hughes
The Pretty One
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, geez, I wish there was a movie that offered me some sort of double serving of the lovely Zoe Kazan, possibly with the wonderful Jake Johnson as well, we’ve got a hell of a film for you. Jenée LaMarque’s feature stars breakout star Kazan as twins Audrey and Laurel, and as is the grand tradition with twins since the years of Sweet Valley, one of them is cool, and one of them is decidedly not. When tragedy strikes, awkward Laurel gets a unique chance – to do over her own life while assuming her sister’s identity – one that will have major repurcussions for everyone involved. -Kate Erbland
James Broughton was a fascinating character, whose life plays out parallel to the whole of 20th century American counter-culture. Both a poet and a filmmaker, he took an important role in the San Francisco Renaissance of the late 1940s. He had a child with Pauline Kael. When he ended up getting married (to a different woman), Stan Brakhage filmed his wedding. I’d go on, but you should really see it for yourself. -Daniel Walber
Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
Elaine Stritch is one fierce bitch, so an entire film chronicling her is poised to be amazing, right? This documentary follows the 87-year-old legend as she embarks upon her final tour across the U.S., interspersed with archive footage of her performances throughout the years. It also promises a deeper meditation on what it’s like to be an aging woman in the industry in such an environment that espouses youth over all else. With interviews from Stritch’s industry friends, like Tina Fey and Nathan Lane, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me promises to bring us closer to our favorite brash grande dame. -Caitlin Hughes
There haven’t always been teenagers. Obviously there have always been people aged 13–19, but we’ve only been thinking of them as “teens” since the late 1940s. How exactly did that happen? Teenage sets out to answer that question, broad though it may be. The result looks to be an entertaining glimpse into the earliest examples of youth culture, in a generation we don’t always think of as hip. -Daniel Walber
Director Laurie Collyer’s follow-up to Sherrybaby, Sunlight Jr. is the story of a down-on-their-luck couple, played by Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon, that discover that they are expecting a baby. Even though they are strained financially, they are in love and nevertheless excited about their new arrival. However, their happiness is threatened when an ex comes back into their lives. This film is an excited prospect, since a new work from Collyer is overdue and also Watts and Dillon are amazing talents who should play off each other quite well and this seems like compelling material for them. -Caitlin Hughes
A Case of You
Yes, Kat Coiro’s latest certainly sounds like some Catfish rehash, but with a winning cast that includes co-writer Justin Long, Evan Rachel Wood, Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage, Busy Philipps, Brendan Fraser, Sienna Miller, and Vince Vaughn, we will certainly give this one the benefit of the doubt. Long stars as nice guy Sam, obsessed with his neighborhood barista (Wood) to the point that he invents a cool, hip, dishy online persona to win her over. Great plan, right? Well, what happens when said plans works, and Wood’s Birdie falls for the fake Sam? Hijinks, we bet. -Kate Erbland
Frankenstein’s Army is a Dutch found footage film about a group of soldiers in the last days of WWII that stumble upon a Nazi factory for zombies. To me, that sounds awesome, but I can understand how many of you might be sick of both zombies and found footage. I’ll reassure you by pointing out that the one of the best found footage film of the last few years is Trollhunter, and one of the most entertaining zombie-adjacent films is Sint. Both of them are Northern European films, and both of them played Tribeca. Be excited about Frankenstein’s Army. -Daniel Walber
The documentary feature debut from the brothers Safdie (Go Get Some Rosemary, The Pleasure of Being Robbed), Lenny Cooke is about its eponymous subject, who was one of the most hyped up high school basketball players ever. However, rather than ever play for the NBA, he instead went nowhere. The film traces back to what went wrong in Cooke’s trajectory and why he never rose to the ranks of a LeBron James or a Carmelo Anthony. I know absolutely nothing about sports, and I have never watched one basketball game, but I have heard amazing buzz surrounding this film and I am excited to witness the human interest story at its core. -Caitlin Hughes
A small town. A school bus. A tragedy. If you’re thinking that Lance Edmands’ Bluebird sounds a bit like Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter, you’re not the only one, but with lots of positive pre-festival buzz, we can’t wait to find out what makes Edmands’ feature debut its own unique animal, even if the two films end up being birds of a feather. -Kate Erbland
Alì Blue Eyes
Claudio Giovannesi’s quiet film of adolescence and cultural conflict has already picked up a couple awards on the international festival circuit, and may grab some more in Tribeca’s Narrative Competition. Nader Sarhan is perfectly cast as a young man caught between his Egyptian family, his Italian girlfriend and the violence of growing up in Rome’s underbelly. As a bonus, its shot by Daniele Ciprì, whose It Was the Son was a hit at Venice last year. -Daniel Walber
You’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger fan of Clark Gregg’s Choke than this girl, which is why I simply cannot wait to check out the multi-hyphenate’s follow-up to his wickedly funny directorial debut. This time around, Gregg takes center stage (don’t worry, Choke star Sam Rockwell does have a part in this one, too) as a fumbling child star agent in Hollywood. Too bad he doesn’t have any actual stars to bank on – until a kid with actual chops comes into his life and, suddenly, LA’s biggest loser needs to actually make good for someone other than himself. -Kate Erbland
For a bigger look at the films of the Tribeca Film Festival, take a look at a brand new supercut from our pals at MovieClips, embedded below.
The Tribeca Film Festival runs in New York City from April 17th until April 28th.