Earlier today, the Feature Films for the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival were announced in a MASSIVE press release that ran something like sixteen pages (seen HERE). In order to let you properly digest all of the films in each of the diverse categories, I’ve parsed them out into their own chapters on “The Chronicles”. Let’s take a look at the Documentary Competition.
Like our 2018 lineup, every title in Tribeca’s esteemed documentary competition will make their world premiere at the Festival. Over Tribeca’s 18-year history, the nonfiction film selections have exhibited work from emerging and renowned filmmakers, including future Oscar winners. This year’s films will compete for Best Documentary Feature, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing. Past films include Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing’s Oscar-nominated Jesus Camp (2006), Alex Gibney’s Oscar winner Taxi to the Dark Side (2007), Lee Hirsch’s Bully (2011), Alma Har’el’s Bombay Beach (2011), Orlando von Einsiedel’s Oscar-nominated Virunga (2014), David France’s The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2018), Gabrielle Brady’s Island of the Hungry Ghosts (2018), and Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown’s United Skates (2018).
17 Blocks, directed by Davy Rothbart, written by Jennifer Tiexiera. Produced by Alex Turtletaub, Michael B. Clark, Marc Turtletaub, Rachel Dengiz, Davy Rothbart. (USA) – World Premiere. Using two decades of intimate home video, 17 Blocks tells the story of the Sanford family, whose struggles with addiction and gun violence eventually lead to a journey of love, loss, and acceptance.
The Dog Doc, directed by Cindy Meehl. Produced by Alice Henty, Cindy Meehl. (USA) – World Premiere. Called a maverick, a miracle-worker, and a quack, Dr. Marty Goldstein is a pioneer of integrative veterinary medicine. By holistically treating animals after other vets have given up, Goldstein provides a last hope for pet owners with nothing left to lose.
For They Know Not What They Do, directed by Daniel Karslake, written by Nancy Kennedy, Daniel Karslake. Produced by Daniel Karslake, Sheri Heitker, Barbara Simon. (USA) – World Premiere. When the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality, the backlash by the religious right was swift, severe, and successful. Karslake’s documentary looks at four faith-based families with LGBTQ children caught in the crosshairs of sexuality, identity, and scripture.
Leftover Women, directed, written, and produced by Shosh Shlam, Hilla Medalia. (Israel) – World Premiere. In China, single women are under immense pressure to marry young or face the stigma that comes with being “leftover.” Through marriage markets, matchmakers, and government-sponsored dating festivals, Leftover Women follows three hopeful singles seeking to define love on their own terms.
Mystify: Michael Hutchence, directed and written by Richard Lowenstein. Produced by Maya Gnyp, John Battsek, Sue Murray, Mark Fennessy, Richard Lowenstein, Lynn-Maree Milburn, Andrew de Groot. (Australia) – World Premiere. Michael Hutchence was flying high as the lead singer of the legendary rock band INXS until his untimely death in 1997. Richard Lowenstein’s kinetic yet intimate documentary examines Hutchence’s deeply felt life through his many loves and demons. With Kylie Minogue, Helena Christensen.
Our Time Machine, directed by Yang Sun, S. Leo Chiang, written by S. Leo Chiang, Bob Lee. Produced by S. Leo Chiang, Yang Sun. (China) – World Premiere. Conceptual artist and puppeteer Ma Liang begins work on an ambitious performance piece about time and memory. For collaboration, he turns to his father, a former director of the Shanghai Chinese Opera, who is beginning to lose his own memories. Tribeca Film Institute-supported.
Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, directed by Matt Wolf. Produced by Kyle Martin, Andrew Kortschak, Walter Kortschak. (USA) – World Premiere. Beginning in the 1970s, Marion Stokes recorded an incredible 70,000 VHS tapes of unfiltered daily television. At the time, her compulsion raised eyebrows, but revisited through the lens of today’s media landscape, Stokes’ unusual life’s work becomes an extraordinary archive of television—and American—history.
Rewind, directed by Sasha Joseph Neulinger. Produced by Thomas Winston. (USA) – World Premiere. Rewind is an unflinching personal narrative that reconstructs the unthinkable story of director Sasha Joseph Neulinger’s boyhood and bravely exposes the dynamics of abuse passed through generations.
Scheme Birds, directed and written by Ellen Fiske, Ellinor Hallin. Produced by Mario Adamson, Ruth Reid. (Scotland, Sweden) – World Premiere. As her childhood turns into motherhood, teenage troublemaker Gemma comes of age in her fading Scottish steel town. But in a place where “you either get knocked up or locked up,” innocent games can easily turn into serious crime.
Seahorse, directed and written by Jeanie Finlay. Produced by Andrea Cornwell, Jeanie Finlay. (UK) – World Premiere. Director Jeanie Finlay charts a transgender man’s path to parenthood after he decides to carry his child himself. The pregnancy prompts an unexpected and profound reckoning with conventions of masculinity, self-definition and biology.
Watson, directed by Lesley Chilcott. Produced by Louise Runge, Lesley Chilcott, Wolfgang Knöpfler. (USA, Costa Rica, Tonga) – World Premiere. Founder of Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd, Captain Paul Watson has spent 40 years fighting to end the destruction of the ocean’s wildlife and its habitat. Part pirate, part philosopher, Watson’s methods stop at nothing to protect what lies beneath
A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem, directed by Yu Gu, written by Elizabeth Ai. Produced by Yu Gu, Elizabeth Ai. (USA, UK) – World Premiere. Football and feminism collide in this documentary that follows former NFL cheerleaders battling the league to end wage theft and illegal employment practices that have persisted for 50 years. Also playing as part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.
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Piercing Ken Thoughts: Stay tuned for more alerts from this massive media festival. I’ll be adding each grouping into a post of their own for easier digestion. As we’ve noted earlier, the full press piece was about sixteen pages long and I didn’t want to overwhelm you. What do you think of these films? Which ones are of most interest to you? Chime in down below as I am eager to hear. Tickets and details on how to attend can be learned on the official website linked below. To see the other films in the competition and more about the 2019 festival please click on THIS TAG.
Official Website: https://www.tribecafilm.com/