Sunday, June 4, 2023

The contractually obligated Tribeca 2023 Curtain Raiser

This year's Tribeca Film Festival starts this week and we are better for. 

Growing out of a desire to help bring people into Lower Manhattan after the events of 9/11, its grown into one of the most influential  festivals in the world. This year 229 films will be playing, almost all of them World Premieres. Its a staggering number and some people are actually going to make a run at seeing them all. We will fail of course but you can't help but try.

For me the interesting part of the festival is that since the films are World Premieres, they are unknown quantities. Going into them you really don't know what you are going to get. Those of us in the trenches and seas are the first to see the films. There have been no taste makers to tell us what we should think. Its a frightening thought for some, but for the cinematically adventurous it's a blast. You never know what you are going to actually get- which is why I try to go to everything even the things I would normally avoid- sometimes you strike gold.

I've been covering the fest since 2010 and a lot has changed. Covid is part of it, a change in leadership is another. From a press end what used to be 3 weeks of pre-fest screenings has only been three days so what I've seen is limited. Yes I was sent some films but most are unavailable until the fest starts. It's a fact that will probably reduce my and Ariela's ability to see most of the fest. But we'll still give it ago. It will help that we will be once again getting assist from Liz Whittemore and Reel News Daily with whom we are sharing content. (You'll want to lock and load their website and Liz on Twitter)

As this posts we've seen just over 40 films, features and shorts meaning we've seen roughly 20% of the fest - that's a lot left to see. (I mean there are films like CARLOS, LET THE CANARY SING, THE LEAGUE, DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, STAN LEE, CINNAMON, ISS, WAITRESS THE MUSICAL that we are jonesing to see and films like OF NIGHT AND LIGHT: THE STORY OF IBOGA AND IBOGAINE whose subject has us intrigued)

Coverage of the films proper for each film is embargoed and will drop sometime after the film plays the festival. First reviews drop June 8 and will continue dropping until a week after the festival. Interviews will drop as soon as we do them and get them transcribed.

A note to PR people: if we've seen your film you will get a review but since so many films are playing most most coverage is not going to be right when the embargo drops. There are technical reasons for it, but the important one is if I drop multiple reviews at the same time most of them don't get noticed. Even if I post it later the a single review will get more looks than if I dump 3 or 4 films at the same time. A fact compounded by the fact I'll be on the ground and not highlighting the films on social media until later (readers don't always scroll down every time they drop into Unseen)

And because the one thing that everyone is actually looking for here are then must sees of the films we've seen to date:

SILVER HAZE Vicky Knight gives a performance for the ages as a young woman trying to come to terms with life and the fire that scarred her years before.

AMERICAN SIKH- True story of a Sikh man who bridges divides by dressing as Captain America. This is wonderful.

DADDY ISSUES - Wickedly funny comedy short about a day that goes wrong in an adult dungeon

MY EYES ARE UP HERE- one of the tip top best films of the year of any length is arguably one of the truly great romances of the last decade.

STARLING- bittersweet tale of a mother and father celebrating the birthday of their dead daughter and the daughter trying to come back  spend time with them. Bring tissues.

TO MY FATHER Troy Kostur talks of his life and celebrates his father. I expect this to get an Oscar nomination if not the award itself.

MAESTRA is the tale of a number of women competing to see who is the best conductor. Its a wonderful celebration

YOUR FAT FRIEND  Portrait of blogger Aubrey Gordon and the release of her first book on body image is a film many can find hope in.

GULLSPANG MIRACLE this is wild cinematic ride as two women discover a third who looks exactly like their dead sister. Just see it and belt yourself in.

RULE OF TWO WALLS is another film on the war in Ukraine. While normally I would say run away (there are too many) this is a look at the intersection of art and the war is a one of a kind film. Pulling no punches it is a film where we see the war in no abstract was, we really see the dead and wreckage of war as they are with the result the film is very human look at the toll of the fighting

And now it's time to get ready for the insanity that is Tribeca. If you are going and you see my monster bag come over and say hello.

For more information on the festival and tickets go here.

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