The Tribeca Film Festival opens Wednesday night with the Jason Segel comedy, "The Five-Year Engagement," but that Hollywood film belies just how New York-centric this film festival really is. amNewYork takes a look at 10 films (well, nine films and a collection of seven shorts, to be technical) that embody the Big Apple.
"2 Days in New York"
Julie Delpy follows up her 2007 film "2 Days in Paris" with this NYC-set movie. Delpy again plays Marion, this time living in New York with her hipster boyfriend, Mingus (Chris Rock) and their children from other relationships. Lots of laughs follow when Marion's Parisian family comes for a visit and meets Mingus for the first time.
In honor of its 150th anniversary of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, aka BAM, director Michael Sladek an accentdek pay tribute to the performing arts center with this documentary, which combines scenes from recent productions, glimpses behind the curtains and a fascinating historical background on the cultural mecca which opened in 1861.
"Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie"
Some younger reads might not know who Morton Downey Jr. is, but for the rest of us, the Mouth, as he was nicknamed, was a polarizing figure in television talk show history. A little bit Jerry Springer, a little big Glenn Beck, Downey's show -- recorded in the NYC suburb of Secaucus, N.J. -- was a sensation and it made the in-your-face, chain-smoking host into a household name. This doc chronicles the life of Downey, who died in 2001, and how his influence echoes through to today.
If a massive blackout were to come during a day colder than imaginable, what would a bunch of Brooklyn hipsters do? Well, at first, the group -- stranded at a country farmhouse -- engaged in what you'd expect: sex, drugs and music. But soon enough, survival trumps all. Written and directed by Brooklyn's Benjamin Dickinson, making his feature debut.
"Jack and Diane"
Brooklyn-based filmmaker Bradley Rust Gray has been planning his NYC-set coming-of-age/lesbian werewolf drama (yes, you read that right) for a while. At various times, several top-notch actresses - including Ellen Page and Olivia Thirlby -- were attached to play protagonists Jack and Diane, roles that ultimately went to Juno Temple and Riley Keough.
"Joe Papp in Five Acts"
The late Public Theater founder Joe Papp gets his due in a documentary that explores the heritage of a man who indelibly shaped the theater landscape by promoting the idea that the arts should be accessible for all. Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Christopher Walken are among the subjects who testify to Papp's enduring legacy.
While this counts more as a sports film then a New York one, this look at the enigmatic fluttering pitch follows a pair of hurlers, recently retired Boston Red Sox player Tim Wakefield and current Mets starter R.A. Dickey who off to another great season this year in Queens. Dickey, Wakefield and former Yankee pitcher Jim Bouton (who wrote "Ball Four") will be at the TriBeCa Drive-In on Saturday for the world premiere, featuring music, triva contests and clinics on how to throw the pitch.
This selection of seven short films are male-centric in nature, but the similiaries stop there. This diverse group of NYC films includes shorts by Neil LaBute and Edward Burns, and cover a range of topics from a shoe designer's first time in the Big Apple to a piece set in 1964 about the Army funding experiments on children.
"Once in a Lullaby: The PS22 Chorus Story"
In 2009, New Yorkers fell in love with the incredibly talented fifth-grade chorus from Staten Island's PS22, which became a sensation after singing footage hit YouTube. Pretty soon, the boys and girls had their biggest gig ever -- the 2011 Academy Awards -- and this documentary chronicles that journey. Following the world premiere on April 23 will be a conversation with directetor Jonathan Kalafer and PS22 chorus teacher Gregg Breinberg.
"Portrait of Wally"
The headlines-generating legal battle over the eponymous Egon Schiele painting, which was seized from a Jewish collector by the Nazis in 1939, provides the backbone of this riveting documentary. When ex-Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau subpoenaed the painting in Jan. 1998, after Austria's Leopold Museum lent it to MoMA for an exhibition, he set off a firestorm that riveted the art world, spurred a decade-long legal fight and raised important questions about the morality of ownership. Director Andrew Sheah, journalist David D'Arcy and other luminaries will take part in a Q&A after the April 28 screening.
Big stars land at the Tribeca Film Festival