Category Archives: Filmmaking


A Survey of Documentaries from Tribeca Film Festival Alumni on the 2008 Feature
Documentary Academy Award(r) Shortlist

2 Day Series to Take Place January 8 and January 10, 2009 at Tribeca Cinemas

December 10, 2008 – New York, NY – The Tribeca Film Institute and Gucci announce a
two day series “Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund presents: Docs on the Shortlist.”
Presented by the Fund which offers finishing funds to documentaries of social
significance, the new series offers filmgoers the opportunity to see a selection of
the documentary contenders shortlisted for the nomination for Best Feature
Documentary for the 81st Academy Awards(r). This series is also supported by media
sponsor indieWIRE, the start page for independent and specialty films.

Launching on Thursday, January 8 and continuing on Saturday, January 10, the two day
series brings together filmmakers who have been part of past Tribeca Film Festivals
to screen their new documentary films, which are currently being recognized by the
Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Six of the 15 documentaries under
consideration for nomination will be screened; the films in the series are: At the
Death House Door, The Garden, I.O.U.S.A., Man on Wire, Pray the Devil Back to Hell,
and They Killed Sister Dorothy.

The series will be hosted by three Oscar(r) nominated documentary filmmakers and
Tribeca alumni Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp) and Marshall Curry (Street
Fight) and last year’s Oscar(r) winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to
the Dark Side), also a Tribeca alumnus. All of the screenings will feature special
appearances by the filmmakers and will be followed by Q & A’s moderated by Curry,
Ewing, Gibney, or Grady.

“This series emphasizes our commitment to supporting filmmakers in every stage of
the filmmaking process,” said Brian Newman, CEO of Tribeca Film Institute. “We are
happy to provide this opportunity for audiences who are interested in quality
documentary films, as well as for those that may have missed these movies the first
time around or can’t wait to see them again.”

“Tribeca has been a great booster for documentaries, showcasing them at the
festival, supporting them with the Gucci fund, and now with this series,” says
Marshall Curry, whose documentary, Street Fight, won the Audience Award at Tribeca,
and went on to be nominated for an Oscar(r). “Like a lot of documentary filmmakers,
I appreciate everything Tribeca has done for me and the filmmaking community.”

Two of the selections received an award and/or critical praise at the 2008 Tribeca
Film Festival: James Marsh’s Man on Wire had its New York premiere at TFF and Gini
Reticker’s Pray the Devil Back to Hell world premiered at 2008 Tribeca Film Festival
and took home the Best Documentary Award.

Submissions for the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund offering finishing funds of
$100,000 for 2009 are currently open.


Park City, UT— Sundance Institute announced today the program of short films selected to screen at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. This year the Festival’s Short Film Program comprises a record 96 short films from 5,632 submissions, from U.S. and international filmmakers. Submissions grew by 10% over last year. The 2009 Sundance Film Festival runs January 15-25 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance, Utah.

“The shorts program at Sundance has long been a place to discover new talent, and this year’s directors are no exception,” said John Cooper, Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming. “We are seeing very accomplished filmmaking, with some of the most entertaining and engaging films in the Festival.”

“It is indicative of the quality of the work that we programmed a record 96 films this year. The program is terrific from top to bottom, with a nice balance of different genres, tones and styles,” said Trevor Groth, Sundance Film Festival Senior Programmer. “From clever animation and really funny performances to provocative subject matters and completely bizarre imagery and stories, this year’s filmmakers are truly original storytellers. We are thrilled to be able to present them in theatres at the Festival and a selection of them online through iTunes for those who can’t make it to Park City.”

Short films screen in Festival theatres prior to a feature film or as part of one of the Festival’s eight short film programs. During the Festival, a Short Film Jury awards prizes based on outstanding achievement and merit in U.S. and International Short Filmmaking. The 2009 Short Film Program Awards Ceremony will be held Tuesday, January 20th.

This year, the Sundance Film Festival will highlight an exclusive selection of 10 short films over 10 days on the iTunes Store ( All 10 films will be available as FREE downloads beginning January 15 and running through January 25, 2009. Sundance has partnered with Shorts International to provide digital distribution services and encoding services to the selection of 2009 films.

The short films selected for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival are:

This year’s 47 U.S. short films were selected from a record 3,267 submissions. This year’s program includes an adaptation of an Elmore Leonard short story; a comedy about questionable spaghetti recipes; the newest work by an Oscar-nominated filmmaker; a haunting animation about WWI, a documentary portrait on the fascinating short life of the actor who played Fredo in The Godfather; an original recorded monologue of a Harvey Milk speech; and a documentary from the famed director of Weather Underground about one of China’s first massive shopping malls.

U.S. Dramatic Shorts
Abbie Cancelled (Directors: Dumb Bunny)—Two couples who have never met find themselves engaged in an awkward dinner after their mutual friends cancel at the last second.

Acting for the Camera (Director: Justin Nowell; Screenwriter: Thomas Nowell)—An acting class. Today’s scene: the orgasm from ‘When Harry Met Sally.’

Asshole (Director: Chadd Harbold; Screenwriter: Bryan Gaynor)—Vincent Allen goes to the doctor for a diagnosis. The diagnosis: he’s an asshole.

Boutonniere (Director: Coley Sohn)—A dark comedy revolving around a simple teenage girl’s attempts to survive her overbearing mother’s exuberant plans for a prom she’d rather not attend.

Choices (Director: Rashaad Ernesto Green)—Explores a young man’s thought process as he makes love to his girlfriend.

Concerto (Director: Filippo Conz; Screenwriter: Jon Haller)—A drama about the lengths men will go to find a moment of grace in a violent world.

Copper On The Chopping Block (Director: Kai Orion)—Tormented by the cultural reality he finds himself in, Yalmer plots revenge upon a close relative.

Countertransference (Director: Madeleine Olnek;Screenwriters: Madeleine Olnek and Cast)—A comedy about an awkward woman with assertiveness problems who seeks the questionable help of a therapist.

The Dirty Ones (Director: Brent Stewart)—Two Mennonite sisters are traveling throughout Southern states with the body of their dead grandmother lying in the trunk bed.

HUG (Director: Khary Jones)—Drew is a musician with a contract ready to sign. When Asa, his friend and manager, realizes Drew is off his meds the across-town drive to sign the contract becomes significantly more complicated.

Knife Point (Director: Carlo Mirabella-Davis)—An evangelical family passing through upstate New York gives a ride to an unusual traveling knife salesman.

Little Canyon (Director: Olivia Silver)—Greta’s dad is moving the family cross-country. Promising a
California paradise he packs half the household into a dented station wagon. All that’s missing is Mom.

Little Minx Exquisite Corpse: Rope A Dope (Director: Laurent Briet)—Alana, a 10-year-old bad-ass little girl goes head to head with a professional boxer in a jump rope contest.

Little Minx Exquisite Corpse: She Walked Calmly Disappearing Into The Darkness (Director: Malik
Hassan Sayeed)—A young man tries to sort out what has happened during the chaos of a street side

The Nature Between Us (Director: William Campbell; Screenwriter: Trey Hock)—Radical dudes, mega babes and a secret crush stumble into a neon-drenched universal oneness.

Nobody Knows You, Nobody Gives a Damn (Director: Lee Stratford; Screenwriter: Rebecca Thomas)—A young mother struggling with post-partum depression inadvertently connects with her infant child through attempts to sort out her sexual relationships.

Our Neck Of The Woods (Director: Rob Connolly)—Bob Underwood’s mundane life manufacturing plastic lawn-ornament deer is disrupted by an enchanting Georgian (the country) refugee whom Bob decides to rescue–whether she needs it or not.

Pencil Face (Director: Christian Simmons)—A young girl makes friends with an unlikely being able to bring her dreams to life. But behind his smile lurks something unsettling.

Sparks (Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt)—The story of a former rock and roll goddess who may or may not have burnt her house down. Adapted from the writings of crime novelist Elmore Leonard.

Predisposed (Director: Philip Dorling; Screenwriters: Philip Dorling, Ryan Nyswaner)—A conservative son is pulled into the messy mission of helping his manipulative drug addicted mother score. In working together they realize they’re not so different, and that some personal qualities are deeply embedded in our genes.

Protect You + Me (Director: Brady Corbet)—A reminder of a long-forgotten event, combined with a
challenging situation, provokes a man to extreme action.

Rite (Director: Alicia Conway)—A young girl faces an unsettling ritual.

Short Term 12 (Director: Destin Daniel Cretton)—A film about kids and the grown-ups who hit them.

Small Collection (Director: Jeremiah Crowell)—A love story caught in the corridors of memory. Through fragments of conversations still echoing in now empty places, we piece together the record of a relationship cut short.

Trece Años (Director: Topaz Adizes)—A young man returns home to his family in Cuba for the first time in 13 years experiencing a divide greater than physical distance.

Wunderkammer (Director: Andrea Pallaoro; Screenwriters: Andrea Pallaoro and Orlando Tirado)—An exploration of the dynamics of the co-dependent relationship between an aging woman and her mentally challenged son.

The Young and Evil (Director: Julian Breece)—A highly intelligent but troubled gay black teenager sets out to seduce an HIV-positive prevention advocate into giving him the virus.

U.S. Documentary Shorts
575 Castro St. (Director: Jenni Olson)—Set to the original audio-cassette recorded by Harvey Milk in
November 1977 to be played, ‘in the event of my death by assassination’.

The Archive (Director: Sean Dunne)—An eight-minute documentary about the world’s largest vinyl record collection examining the man who owns them and the current state of the American record industry.

Chop Off (Director: M.M. Serra)—An exposition of the dark, fearful recesses of the human psyche by filming the body modification of performance artist R.K. who literally risks ‘life and limb.’ R.K.’s body is his medium and amputation is his art.

Good: Atomic Alert (Director: Max Joseph)—An examination of nuclear arms asking; who has them, what are their intentions, and what would happen if a nuclear weapon hit New York City?

Good: Internet Censorship (Directors: Morgan Currie, Lindsay Utz, James Jones; Screenwriter: Mattathias Schwartz)—Internet censorship can take many forms, from restricting private internet access to blocking
searches for politically volatile keywords. This film explores how different countries apply their bodies of censorship to cyberspace.

I Knew It Was You (Director: Richard Shepard)—John Cazale appeared in just five films — The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather, Part Two, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Deer Hunter — and all were nominated for Best Picture. This documentary is a fresh portrait of the acting craft and a tour through the
movies that defined a generation.

The Kinda Sutra (Director: Jessica Yu)—A combination of interview and animation, that explores the youthful misconceptions of a spectrum of people over the universal question: How are babies made?

So the Wind Won’t Blow it All Away (Director: Annie P. Waldman)—Two and a half years after Hurricane Katrina, desiring to graduate high school with their friends, a group of students return to New Orleans despite their parents’ relocation and absence.

Sister Wife (Director: Jill Orschel; Screenwriters: Alexandra Fuller, Jill Orschel)—DoriAnn, a Mormon Fundamentalist, shares a husband with her younger biological sister. During a private bathing ritual, DoriAnn explores the surprisingly universal challenges of her marriage.

SUSPENDED (Director: Kimi Takesue)—The film both documents and re-contextualizes the experience and perception of suspended time capturing a range of evocative moments that reveal states of emotional and physical suspension.

Utopia, Part 3: The World’s Largest Shopping Mall (Directors: Sam Green, Carrie Lozano)—A tour of the world’s largest shopping mall, located near Guangzhou, China. Built three years ago, the South China Mall was supposed to be a celebration of consumerism and Vegas-like spectacle.

U.S. Animated Shorts
Dear Beautiful (Director: Roland Becerra; Screenwriters: Roland Becerra, Meredith DiMenna)—The sudden appearance of exotic flowers in New Haven spawns an unprecedented epidemic that threatens to destroy the city. Paul and Lauren, a married couple, are caught between the catastrophe and their own troubled

Field Notes From Dimension X: Oasis (Director: Carson Mell)—Captain Fred T. Rogard muses in isolation on planet Oasis.

From Burger It Came (Director: Dominic Bisignano)—An animated film that recounts early 1980s-era Cold War fears of a young boy in middle America. Using a variety of techniques, the visual narrative is colorfully assembled over semi-documentary audio conversations between a grown adult recounting his fears and his mother’s memory of the time and her own concerns.

Hot Dog (Director: Bill Plympton)—Our plucky hero joins the fire company to save the world from house fires and gain the affection he so richly deserves. Typically, the results never turn out the way he planned.

I Am So Proud Of You (Director: Don Hertzfeldt)—Dark family secrets cast a shadow over Bill’s recovery; in this second chapter to Don Hertzfeldt’s ‘Everything will be OK’. (Winner of the 2007 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Grand Jury Prize, U.S.).

I Live In The Woods (Director: Max Winston)—A Woodsman’s fast-paced journey, fueled by happiness, slaughter, and a confrontation with America’s God.

Joel Stein’s Completely Unfabricated Adventures (Director: Walter Robot; Screenwriter: Joel Stein)— Journalist Joel Stein takes us on an animated adventure through the waste treatment plant of Orange County.

Western Spaghetti (Director: PES)—Everyday objects become delicious ingredients as we learn how to cook spaghetti through stop-motion.

The Yellow Bird (Director: Tom Schroeder; Screenwriter: Jay Orff)—The animated journey of a young man fleeing the draft during World War I. After taking a job on a cattle ranch in eastern Montana an accident occurs causing him to reflect back on his life as he seeks medical attention in a nearby town.

This year’s international shorts include 41 films from 18 countries. Films include futuristic French computer animation; a spoof of Swedish pornography; a funny film about an aspiring magician; a love spat between a penguin and a polar bear; intergalactic space travel and the story of a senior citizen weightlifting champion.

International Dramatic Shorts
2 Birds/Iceland (Director and Screenwriter: Runar Runarsson)—A group of young teenagers embark on a journey from innocence to the stark reality of adulthood.

2) Secret Machine/Germany (Director: Reynold Reynolds)—2) Secret Machine is the second from a three- part cycle exploring the unperceivable conditions that frame life using stop motion animation to portray the
futuristic deconstruction of the female protagonist’s form.

A’Mare/UK (Director: Martina Amati; Screenwriters: Martina Amati and Dario Cané)—Andrea and Felice are two kids whose lives center on the sea. One day during a fishing excursion their usual routine is disturbed when something unexpected appears from the water.

The attack of the robots from Nebula-5/Spain (Director: Chema García Ibarra)—”Almost” everybody is going to die very soon.

BAIT/Israel (Director: Michal Vinik)—On a hot summer day, tomboy teenager Nitzan is on her way fishing. Will she catch the right fish?

The Blindness of the Woods/Argentina (Directors and Screenwriters: Martin Jalfen, Javier Lourenco)—A narrative that combines the naive simplicity of fairytales with the Nordic erotic movies from the 1970s.

Captain Coulier (Space Explorer)/Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Lyndon Casey)—An aloof space captain becomes restless amongst his robotic crew. Maybe intergalactic space travel isn’t his shtick.

Crocodiles and I/Brazil (Director and Screenwriter: Marcela Arantes)—The emotional conflicts and
discovery typical of adolescence are expressed in Rachel’s daily life and dreams.

Instead of Abracadabra/Sweden (Director and Screenwriter: Patrik Eklund)—Tomas is a little bit too old to still be living with his parents, but his dream of becoming a magician leaves him with no other option.

James/Northern Ireland (Director: Connor Clements)—A young Irish man grapples with the impulses and thoughts about being gay.

Jerrycan/Australia (Director and Screenwriter: Julius Avery)—While attending a party, five bored kids decide to blow something up. A childhood game seals the fate of Nathan, who risks everything after he is bullied, and is forced to make a life and death decision.

Love You More/UK (Director: Sam Taylor-Wood; Screenwriter: Patrick Marber)—Two teenagers are drawn together by the Buzzcocks’ single ‘Love You More’ during the summer of 1978.

Miracle Fish/Australia (Director: Luke Doolan)—A young outcast finds solitude in a fantasy world only to be brought back to reality when faced with a psychotic man.

Omelette/Bulgaria (Director: Nadejda Koseva; Screenwriter: Georgi Gospodinov)—While a woman makes an omelette we learn how difficult it is to make ends meet.

PAL/SECAM/Russian Federation (Director and Screenwriter: Dmitry Povolotsky)—At the dawn of
Perestroika, little Boris, ravaged by hormones, seduces the neighborhood with his mother’s VCR.

A Mate/Finland (Director: Teemu Nikki; Screenwriters: Teemu Nikki and Jani Pösö)—Pera wants to try something kinky in the bathroom and he asks his straight mate to help him. However, Pera’s wife comes home a bit too soon.

Netherland Dwarf/Australia (Director and Screenwriter: David Michôd)—Harry really wants a rabbit. Harry’s dad really wants his wife back. And somehow in the middle of all this wanting, they both seem to have forgotten that they already have each other.

Next Floor/Canada (Director: Denis Villeneuve; Screenwriter: Jacques Davidts)—During an opulent and luxurious banquet, complete with hordes of servers and valets, eleven pampered guests participate in what appears to be ritualistic gastronomic carnage.

The Stronger/UK (Director: Lia Williams)—Who is stronger? The wife or the mistress?

Ten For Grandpa/Canada/USA (Director and Screenwriter: Doug Karr)—An introspective look at the enigmatic life of an influential ancestor that pushes an individual to immerse himself in a nefarious web of danger and infamy.

This is Her/New Zealand (Director: Katie Wolfe; Screenwriter: Kate McDermott)—As she watches her younger self in the throes of childbirth, Evie’s deliciously wry commentary reveals exactly what life has in store for her new baby daughter, her loving husband, and the six-year-old ‘bitch’ who will one day steal his affections and destroy Evie’s life.

Treevenge/Canada (Director: Jason Eisener; Screenwriter: Rob Cotterill)—Sometimes Christmas is worth crying over.

The Watch/Argentina (Director: Marco Berger)—Two young men find a surprise connection during an impromptu sleepover.

Wet Season/Singapore (Director and Screenwriter: Michael Tay)—Utilizing stop-motion animation, the production pays tribute to the filmmaker’s real-life father who passed away six years ago.

International Documentary Shorts
China’s Wild West/UK (Director: Urszula Pontikos)—This part observational, part impressionistic study of a day in the life of a Muslim community, illustrates their hopeful efforts to discover jade in the harsh conditions of a dried-up riverbed in a remote town on the Silk Road in Western China.

Lessons from the Night/Australia (Director and Screenwriter: Adrian Francis)—As dusk approaches and workers stream out of the city, Maia is about to begin her day. She reflects on life, work and toilet bowls as she goes about her nightly cleaning round through silent, empty spaces.

Ma Bar/UK (Directors: Finlay Pretsell, Adrian McDowall)—Bench pressing isn’t a hobby for 73-year-old Bill McFadyen – it’s a way of life, and he is on a quest to be the best in the world

Magnetic Movie/UK (Directors: Semiconductor: Ruth Jarman + Joe Gerhardt)—Natural magnetic fields are revealed as chaotic ever-changing geometries, as scientists from NASA’s space sciences laboratory excitedly describe their discoveries.

My Surfing Lucifer/Switzerland (Director: Kenneth Anger)—Using found footage, we’re introduced to the short life of Bunker Spreckels, Clark Gable’s stepson and surfing legend.

The Real Place/Canada (Director: Cam Christiansen; Screenwriter: Blake Brooker)—An animated poetic film celebrating the life and spirit of playwright and librettist John Murrell.

Steel Homes/UK (Director: Eva Weber)—Self-storage units are windows into human histories: the silent cells with their discarded objects and dust-covered furniture are inscribed with past dreams, secret hopes and of lives we cannot let go.

International Animated Shorts
Cattle Call/Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Matthew Rankin, Mike Maryniuk)—A high-speed animationfilm documenting the art of livestock auctioneering.

A Film from My Parish: 6 Farms/Ireland (Director: Tony Donoghue)—An animated film shot on location in North Tipperary. It consists of six stories by six farmers from one parish.

hear, earth, heart/France (Director: Yi Zhou)—A white box unfolds to reveal a surreal and shifting landscape of fragmented clouds, suns, mountains, stardust, darkness, and flames that eventually freeze in time and space.

John and Karen/UK (Director and Screenwriter: Matthew Walker)—John the polar bear apologizes to Karen the penguin after an argument.

Keith Reynolds can’t make it tonight/UK (Director and Screenwriter: Felix Massie)—Keith Reynolds leaves his hat in his car. This isn’t the only mistake he makes today.

Lies/Sweden (Director: Jonas Odell)—Three perfectly true stories about lying. In three episodes based on documentary interviews we meet the burglar who, when found out, claims to be a moonlighting accountant, the boy who finds himself lying and confessing to a crime he didn’t commit and the woman whose whole life has been a chain of lies.

Mister Cok/France (Director and Screenwriter: Franck Dion)—Mister Cok is the owner of a large bomb factory. Looking for efficiency and profit, he decides to replace his workers by sophisticated robots; however one of the workers does not accept being discarded so easily.

Out of Control/Mexico (Director: Sofia Carrillo)—Remote and alone, various personalities share feelings of solitude in the interior of a labyrinthine house.

Skhizein/France (Director: Jérémy Clapin; Screenwriters: Jérémy Clapin and Stéphane Piera)—Having been struck by a 150-ton meteorite, Henry has to adapt to living precisely ninety-one centimeters from himself.

This Way Up/UK (Directors: Adam Foulkes, Alan Smith; Screenwriters: Adam Foulkes, Alan Smith,
Christopher O’Reilly)—Laying the dead to rest has never been so much trouble.

New Frontier Shorts
The New Frontier category champions the expansion of the craft of cinematic storytelling beyond what is traditionally found in theatres. The eight New Frontier short films play either in one of the short film programs, before features, or at New Frontier on Main.

All Through the Night/USA (Director: Michael Robinson)—A charred visitation with an icy language of control: “there is no room for love”. Splinters of Nordic fairytales and ecological disaster films are ground down into a shimmering prism of contradictions in this hopeful container for hopelessness.

American Minor/USA (Director: Charlie White)—A filmic meditation on the isolated world of an American teen, focusing on the external environment and internal state of a fourteen-year-old, upper-middle class girl.

The Beekeepers/USA (Director: Richard Robinson)—An experimental documentary on the environmental crisis surrounding Beekeeping and Colony Collapse Disorder. It explores this ancient profession in its current crisis and the implications for our environment when millions of bees just disappear.

Horizontal Boundaries/USA (Director: Pat O’Neil)—A film that looks at certain aspects of the geography of California as the ground for cinematic disruption and restatement. It is not a static repositioning, but rather a dynamic one, moving more or less randomly, causing image combinations to be generated unpredictably.

Nightstill/Austria (Director and Screenwriter: Elke Groen)—Night images captured with time lapse

Out of Our Minds/USA (Director: Tony Stone)—A fantasy world spawned from sound. Three time periods and three narratives, one connection–blood. At the center of this life force is the heart.

Theresa’s Story/UK (Director: Maria Marshall)—Side-by-side only two takes of the same incomprehensible emotional improvised story unedited depicting four-year-old Jake Marshall Naef’s world before finally Jake addresses the viewer directly.

Untitled/USA (Directors: Sandra Lea Gibson and Luis Recoder)—A black and white film suggestive of being projected behind a translucent window frame while giving the illusion it is hovering somewhere between the screen and the viewer.

The Sundance Film Festival is the premier showcase for U.S. and international independent film, held each January in and around Park City, Utah. Presenting 120 dramatic and documentary feature-length films in seven distinct categories, and 80 short films each year, the Sundance Film Festival has introduced American audiences to some of the most ground-breaking films of the past two decades, including sex lies and videotape, Maria Full of Grace, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Trouble the Water and Central Station.



* Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and Festival
Founders Sign Strategic Alliance Agreement and Announce Long-Term Cultural

* Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art to Host Film Festival

Doha, Qatar, Nov 23 2008: Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), the organization dedicated
to developing the cultural resources of this Arabian Gulf state as a platform for
international dialogue and understanding, has announced a groundbreaking agreement
with New York’s world-renowned Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), to launch a world-class
international film festival, Tribeca Film Festival Doha. The first festival will
take place November 10 – 14, 2009 and be presented at Doha’s celebrated new Museum
of Islamic Art and in cinemas across Doha.

The announcement of the cultural partnership was made at a special ceremony at the
new Museum of Islamic Art, which was attended by Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa
bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Chairperson of the Qatar Museums Authority Board of
Trustees, and Abdullah Al Najjar, Chief Executive Officer of the Qatar Museums
Authority. Joining on behalf of the Tribeca Film Festival were the co-founders,
Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff.

H.E. Sheikha Mayassa expressed her confidence that the Tribeca Film Festival Doha
will bring together people from around the globe and help to build international
awareness and understanding of Arab culture and the Arab world.

“I invite film enthusiasts from every country to share their passion for this art by
visiting the Tribeca Film Festival Doha,” Her Excellency stated. “In today’s
increasingly globalized world, creative initiatives like this Festival can play a
truly inspirational role by bringing cultures closer together.”

Tribeca Film Festival Doha will be modeled after the annual Tribeca Film Festival in
New York City, which is going into its eighth year. Like the New York event, it will
welcome the community, diverse audiences and the global filmmaking industry. As a
result of an extensive collaboration between TFF and QMA, the Festival has been
designed to showcase the local Qatari community, as well as the broader Arab

Tribeca Film Festival Doha will feature new work from established filmmakers,
alongside film debuts from newly discovered directing talents. The program will
include approximately 40 films, as well as special events. The Festival will launch
“The Doha Conversations”, thought-provoking and insightful dialogues between icons
of world culture set in intimate environments, with the goal of fostering discussion
in Qatar and around the globe. Full details of the festival program and guests will
be announced at a later date.

“The Tribeca Film Festival Doha is destined to become a major annual event in world
cinema,” stated Abdullah Al Najjar. “The Festival will include a wide range of
programming, from outdoor screenings to movies for children, from documentaries to
new Hollywood releases and from independent films to showcases of the very best
works by Arab filmmakers.”
“We are honored to create an enduring cultural partnership with QMA and to announce
the launch of the Tribeca Film Festival Doha next November. Qatar’s
transformational vision for the 21st century with its emphasis on culture and
education is uniquely consistent with the goals and aspirations of the Tribeca Film
Festival,” said TFF co-founder, Jane Rosenthal.

“We hope that film will not only be used as a form of entertainment at Tribeca Film
Festival Doha but play a role in bridging cultures closer together. By learning each
other’s stories, we can see how much we share in common as well as explore and
better understand our differences,” said Robert De Niro.

“In addition to the positive cultural implications, this initiative underscores the
enormous potential of the entertainment market in the Middle East and the strategic
importance of the region to the future of the film industry,” said TFF co-founder
Craig Hatkoff. “We think the key to success will be understanding and respecting
one another’s cultures and traditions. We believe this Festival will lead to many
other important and educational initiatives in Doha and beyond.”

“The Tribeca Film Festival has become a world-renowned event, and its new
partnership with the Qatar Museums Authority will leverage that success and help
further its mission of introducing films and filmmakers to a global audience,” said
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “The Festival’s substantial cultural and
economic impact in New York City is unequivocal, and our hope is that Doha will reap
similar benefits. The expansion of a New York institution like the Tribeca Film
Festival to Doha is a sign of the international significance of New York City cinema
and will help foster new relationships between our two cities.”

Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2001 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and
Craig Hatkoff in response to the events of September 11. The festival’s initial
purpose was to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of Lower Manhattan
through an annual celebration of film, music and culture.

Up to date festival information can be found by visiting the official Tribeca Film
Festival Doha website –

Scriptapalooza Kicks Off Its Eleventh Annual Screenwriting Competition

LOS ANGELES, CA – Scriptapalooza, Inc. is currently accepting submissions for its eleventh annual Scriptapalooza Screenwriting Competition. Script submissions for the reputable competition are read by over 80 top production companies and literary agencies. The first place winner, chosen by Scriptapalooza, receives a $10,000 grand prize. In addition, the Scriptapalooza staff will promote the semifinalists and finalists for a full year after the winners are announced.

With the participation of production companies such as Disney, Miramax, Big Light, Lawrence Mark and Bender-Spink, among others, Scriptapalooza offers what even the largest grand prize could never buy: a guarantee that an “unsolicited” script will be read by leading Hollywood decision-makers. In many cases, the Scriptapalooza scripts are optioned or even bought outright by enthusiastic production companies.

“Now in its eleventh year, we have an unsurpassed track record: over 30 scripts optioned, many scripts sold, two Lifetime movies made, even Emmy winners, and the list goes on,” says Mark Andrushko, president and co-founder of Scriptapalooza. “I started this competition knowing that although everyone has a story to tell, there isn’t always someone listening. I’m delighted Scriptapalooza has helped talented storytellers get heard by the most respected and influential people in Hollywood.”

“Scriptapalooza is the greatest thing ever,” says Colin O’Reilly, First Entertainment. “When scouting for new material, they are the first place I look.”

Aditya Ezhuthachan, Palomar Pictures, adds, “Scriptapalooza is one of the few ways a writer without connections can get a script on my desk.”

Roger Gelber, a third place winner who recently sold his script as a result of the competition, says, “My experience with Scriptapalooza has been phenomenal. Not only did I get a great manager, but I was able to sell my script and begin my writing career, too.”

Please visit for an application and additional submission details.
Deadlines are as follows:

“early bird” deadline is January 7 – (application fee $40)
regular deadline is March 5 – (application fee $45)
final deadline is April 15 – (application fee $50)

About Scriptapalooza, Inc.
The Scriptapalooza Screenwriting Competition was founded in 1998 with the goal of discovering promising writers and creating opportunities for them in the fiercely competitive entertainment industry. Each year, dozens of production companies and literary representatives sign on to read the participating scripts, resulting in many being optioned or bought outright. The first place winner receives $10,000, and Scriptapalooza promotes the semifinalists and finalists for a full year. Scriptapalooza, Inc., along with its divisions, is widely regarded by writers, producers and agents alike as the most influential and successful competition company of its kind. Divisions include Scriptapalooza Television Writing Competition and Scriptapalooza Coverage Professional Script Analysis. For more information, please visit


New York, NY – October 28, 2008] The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) has announced the selection of five film projects to receive financial and creative support from its inaugural TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Out of 130 applications submitted, the five projects chosen will receive a total of $110,000. The TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund supports narrative projects that tell compelling stories about science and technology or portray scientists, engineers and mathematicians as major characters.

The projects were selected by a committee made up of filmmakers Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream) and Steven Shainberg (Fur, Secretary), producer Caroline Baron (Capote), producer and writer Ann Druyan (Contact), Columbia University Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor of Biological Sciences Darcy B. Kelley, and former Director of the National Institutes of Health, co-recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and President and Chief Executive Officer of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Dr. Harold Varmus.

The selected projects selected and funding are:

· Face Value – $40,000

· The Radioactive Boy Scout – $40,000

· Alva – $10,000

· A Noble Affair – $10,000

· Kitty Hawk – $10,000

“The TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund affords us an opportunity to provide funding at a crucial time in the industry,” said Jane Rosenthal, Co-Chairman of the Board, TFI. “These are projects we would like to see brought to fruition and we are happy to be able to support them with funding and our vote of confidence.”

“We are delighted to partner with the Tribeca Film Institute in supporting these five film projects that showcase the tremendous box office appeal of science and technology themes and characters,” said Doron Weber, program director at the Sloan Foundation. “We expect Face Value and Radioactive Boy Scout to be produced within the next year – there is already significant industry interest and attachments – while developing the other promising scripts for the future.”

“It was exciting to read so many interesting and compelling stories with scientific themes,” said Caroline Baron. “It makes you realize how big a role science plays in all of our lives. The committee feels strongly that we have identified projects where Sloan funding would have the greatest impact.”

Films funded tell stories of a screen siren’s unheralded talents as a pioneering inventor, the true story of a boy scout trying to build a nuclear reactor and win his father’s respect, the controversial life of Thomas Edison, Marie Curie’s passionate personal entanglements on the path to the discovery of Radium, and the intense family drama and intrigues behind the extraordinary achievements of the Wright brothers.

Selected projects for funding:

Face Value – The story of screen siren Hedy Lamarr’s little-known vocation as an inventor and scientist. Working with avant-garde composer George Antheil, with whom she had a passionate affair, Lamarr patented “frequency hopping” to aid the US military in WWII. Little did she know, it would become a key component in most current wireless technology.

Director: Amy Redford; Producers: David Baxter, Gretchen Somerfeld;

Screenwriters: Gretchen Somerfeld, Jose Rivera

The Radioactive Boy Scout – Based on the true story of a 16-year-old Boy Scout in Michigan who, in 1995, attempted to build the core of a nuclear reactor in his backyard shed and was shut down by the Federal government.

Director/Screenwriter: Greg Harrison;

Producer: Danielle Renfrew, William Horberg;

Alva – Was Thomas Edison America’s greatest inventor, or a clever thief with a pioneering acumen for marketing? Alva explores the life of Edison from a precocious young rule breaker, to the full blown ‘Wizard of Menlo Park’.

Screenwriters: Alex Lyras, Michael Dorian

A Noble Affair – Marie Curie was one of the leading feminist figures of the scientific world, facing obstacles in her professional and personal life, both exacerbated by gender discrimination. This is the story of how she proved the existence of the element Radium, thereby paving the way for many discoveries in nuclear science and earning her a second Nobel Prize.

Producer: Anil Baral

Screenwriter: Kathryn Maughan

Kitty Hawk – The story of the Wright Brothers, the original aviation pioneers, that chronicles their journey and struggles towards the first manned flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Director/Screenwriter: Tim Kirkman

Producers: Joshua Astrachan, Lucy Barzun Donnelly, Gill Holland

Submissions for the 2009 TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund open November 12, 2008 and will be accepted through January 9, 2009 (postmark deadline). Fund recipients will be announced in the spring of 2009. Visit for further rules and information on submissions.

About Tribeca Film Institute

The Tribeca Film Institute is dedicated to creative innovation in film and media arts. The Institute creates original programs that draw on the unifying power of film to promote creativity, understanding, tolerance and global awareness. Our commitment is to educate, entertain and inspire filmmakers and audiences alike, while strengthening the artistic and economic fabric of New York City and its Lower Manhattan community.

For more information visit

The Dark Knight, or who is the real Batman?

The headline reads: “The Dark Knight swing past $500,000,000 in tickets worldwide.”

I grew up when Batman was a mere comic book character and, at that, a flawed superhero who sometimes ran with a sidekick, a kid named Robin. None of us wanted to be Robin and if you asked then and also asked now, I could not tell you why. With my friends, I wanted to be Batman because he seemed closest to being real. Or better, Plastic Man, but that is another story. Batman wore a protective suit. He drove a powerful car. Sure, he could fly, but sometimes not very well. He had his bat cave, unrequited love, a fanciful disguise and won his battles by cleverness, strength of purpose, and drive, meaning he outsmarted and outlasted the bad guys. Incidentally, those bad guys were unique, not quite loveable, and easy to hate. It was easy to tell the black hats from the white hats, good from evil. Now along comes director Christopher Nolan and in his two Batman films, he changes the ground rules and effectively removes our empathy for Batman. I am not sure it is for the best, or, more pointedly, the best for my original take on that heroic crime fighter from my youth. In fairness, before Nolan’s two films, the franchise faced death. That is no longer the case.

Despite all the changes, and box office success, this latest entry in the Batman cannon “The Dark Knight” is in some ways a massive failure. The film is loud. It is dark. It makes little or no sense. Yes, it is a fantasy and as such it does not have to make sense to be entertaining. The driving music helps keep the viewer tense beyond reason. Too much happens too quickly. The Joker with his crew plant bombs with impunity. Explosions blow up everything at will. All the characters, good, bad and indifferent, migrate from point to point as if they were transplants from a Star Trek transporter. Yes, I know and understand the movie is a fantasy and anything can happen when you suspend disbelief.

Most of the actors are dull, lifeless, and unconvincing, including and mainly Christian Bale as Batman. Next time Mr. Bale, I would appreciate a bit more emotion, please. Of course, that remarkable performance by Heath Ledger as the Joker, mad as all get out, and very weirdly funny is the only character in the movie with a personality, except for Aaron Eckhart, who has a delicious insane turn in a movie where most everything is predictable and for all that noise and action, actually dull. While watching the film I sometimes wondered what other movies some of the other the actors had wandered in from. Many of scenes felt as if they were strung together only because they seemed like a good fit and in the context of a messy film, it did not matter that a piece of action made little or no sense as long as the action never flagged. And, by the way, it never does.

Christopher Nolan’s pseudo intellectualism is the sort that 15-year-old boys wallow in after they learn that all in the world is not what it seems. Video games only add to the confused philosophy of life that inhabits our young. This is true especially when a person can find anything on the Internet to energize a mind that more likely than not overflows with too much potted junk anyway. Nolan, it seems, wants us to believe that the way of the world is a world gone mad, a world in constant chaos, a world mired in hopelessness where evil is good and good is evil. Because of this confusion, morality is non-existent. There is no civility in Gotham City. The people who live there think Batman is out of control, a villain and vigilante. Nolan revels in the hopeless that for some accompanies life in the big city. We have to ask ourselves if Christopher Nolan’s cynicism should be our way of life in a world we cannot control.

Think of the end of the movie with the Joker hanging off the side of a building, facing Batman who finally has his enemy at his mercy. Batman has the opportunity to kill this madman who has been trampling Gotham City with impunity. The Joker taunts Batman and effectively says you can’t kill me because you don’t have the courage to see me die. The Joker may be right. Batman leaves the Joker hanging and runs off to do what he considers his duty elsewhere. Despite this moral dilemma, by allowing the Joker to live, a sequel is sure to come. The box office beckons. And who says Hollywood doesn’t know what it is doing.

When I saw the movie, the audience was attentive and very quiet, except for the occasional intake of breath during an exciting sequence, or a barely suppressed giggle whenever the Joker appeared. I can only guess that the audience assumed it was watching art instead of succumbing to clever commerce.

Just because what we call entertainment, in this case a Hollywood film, makes a lot of money and has a huge and growing audience does mean that it is great. The Dark Knight has all the flaws I mentioned and more. Perhaps Christopher Nolan knows whereof he speaks and his mixed message is the right one in an uncertain world. In a age where terror lies around every corner and in which military might does not often succeed in fighting fanaticism, with extra effort I can understand why the audience is rushing to see a movie where good and bad are not opposites but the same side of a single coin. More and more it seems to be the way of the world. It doesn’t make Christopher Nolan and his writer’s right, but it may make their muddled mess so.

Some may think I do not get it. They may be right, though I think you are not. Really there is not that much to get, and except for a cynical take on life, there is little to hold the movie together. It is a tribute to 21st Century blockbuster movie making, but that is all it is and nothing more.
©Ron Steinman

American News Project


The American News Project ( is dedicated to defending and promoting the public interest through high-quality, investigative video journalism. Our staff includes video professionals who have worked at CNN, BBC, National Geographic, PBS Frontline, Bill Moyers Journal and other respectable media outlets. Our reports (some call them mini-documentaries) regularly end up on prominent media outlets like the Huffington Post.

We are building out our network of freelance filmmakers and video journalists. ANP is run very much like a traditional magazine. Video reports are produced staff reporters and qualified freelancers. Our stories are distributed to hundreds of blogs and major media sites.
We are assembling a community of video journalists and documentary filmmakers who believe in quality, accuracy and in the transformative potential of good multimedia storytelling. Some of the most incisive reporting is produced by those who know the personalities and communities directly affected by issues and events.

If you are a documentary filmmaker or professional video journalist who would like to work with us on stories please click on the link below and fill out your info. … jsp?key=82

We believe that these are seminal times, both in the evolution of media and the project of America. By grinding away at pernicious problems; by holding the powerful accountable; by seeking out universal stories of struggle and transcendence; by highlighting voices overlooked by mainstream outlets; by making a commitment to quality; by partnering with our peers in the independent press; and by assembling an online community of media junkies who hunger to participate, we hope to help pioneer a form of online public-interest broadcasting that is both entertaining and transformative.

So, welcome. We hope you enjoy, and we hope you participate.

“Unknown Realms” by Darryl Knickrehm

“With a click of a button, you open the door in to another world – the one in your mind. That which lurks in shadows now takes a new face, the one inside us all and only unlocked by the imagination. You have fallen into Unknown Realms”

This concerns the launch of the Unknown Realms: Japan channel on various P2P TV and web TV platforms like Vuze, Veoh, iTunes and many others, which coincides with the DVD release of 152 and Rodosha – The Laborer. Finally some of the films that I talked about previously are available on the internet for viewing.

Unknown Realms: Japan is a channel featuring a collection of short films beckoning back to the days of the Twilight Zone, produced by DK PRO (including 152 and Rodosha – The Laborer). The channel explores the mysterious, thrilling and unknown all with a Japanese twist – from psychological mysteries, to stories of haunted train tunnels, to surreal looks at the mundane, including documentaries about hidden aspects of Japan. The channel currently features short films that have screened at various film festivals around the world, including the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Italy. It will also feature future films of DK PRO which are currently in production. Attached is a press release for the Unknown Realms: Japan channel with details and links for the channel in all its available platforms as well as details on all the films screening on the channel and 3 films currently in production (available at A press kit which includes posters, production stills and images for all films can be downloaded at: (14 meg compressed file)

Both 152 and Rodosha – The Laborer are now available on DVD on and all films are currently in negotiation for distribution in addition to being broadcast on Unknown Realms: Japan, so readers would be able to check out the films easily.
Darryl Knickrehm
director DK PRO

Eileen Douglas: Tribeca Film Festival-The Filmmaker’s Life

Being tapped to screen your film at one of the country’s top film festivals. That has to be every filmmaker’s dream. The Tribeca Film Festival 2008 runs April 23rd to May 3rd and, newcomer that it may be, after only seven years on the scene, clearly Tribeca has become one of the best places for a filmmaker’s work to be seen. The Digital Filmmaker spoke with a half dozen fortunate filmmakers whose documentaries and animations are among the many kinds of films selected this year. We particularly wanted to know what they hope or expect being included will mean for their film’s future. Call it a look not at the films themselves, but at the filmmaker’s experience. Some filmmakers have been to Tribeca before and are returning with new work. Some are experiencing the festival for the first time. All echo the sentiment of Carlos Carcas, a first timer who is coming all the way from Spain to screen his film “Old Man Bebo”at the festival.
“Just being a part of the Tribeca Film Festival in itself is an honor. As a filmmaker, it’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase one’s work in a prestigious event. When I heard the film had been accepted to compete in Tribeca, I was in a state of shock and euphoria. I always dreamed about participating in Tribeca, and to go with this film is already a prize.”
For information on the festival and its film offerings the festival’s website is at .

For what the filmmakers have to say, please read on.

Nina Paley “Sita Sings The Blues”

Nina Paley is a returning filmmaker. Two years ago she had a short at Tribeca. One thing she hopes Tribeca will do for “Sita Sings the Blues,” a feature length, animated “breakup film” which receives its North American premiere at Tribeca, is for other festival directors to become aware of it, seeing or hearing of it there. As she explains, it’s a whole lot easier if you know other festival directors are aware of, and also already interested in your work than if you just submit.
“Sita”, which is in what she calls its festival year, screened earlier at the Berlin Film Fesitval, where it had its World Premiere, and “good things came out of Berlin.” Because of Berlin, she was invited to “a whole bunch of other festivals.” Her hope is Tribeca will do the same. And it costs a lot less, she has learned, if they invite you. There are expenses to submitting, for duplication, postage, and so on. These are smaller if festivals ask you to attend.

Paley particularly likes that Tribeca is in New York, where she lives and where she is happy all of her friends can finally see it, in a theater, with other people, in the dark. The way it should be. Being in New York also makes it easier to manage all the work that goes into presenting it. And, she confides, there are a million things to do. As with many filmmakers, money is tight. Trying to get “Sita” out into the world with no money, she can’t, for example, afford p.r. Many a filmmaker will sympathize with that challenge. At least in New York she knows some people in the press. Honor that Tribeca is, she recognizes every great thing creates new problems. She is overwhelmed trying to make all the arrangements, including making sure all the people who helped her get tickets. A friend says of her “She’s like a wolf running through the woods,” trying to do them all.

Paley has a sales rep, but is still looking for a distributor, which she also hopes will materialize because of Tribeca. She knows “Sita” is a tough sell. A niche. It’s animated, but not for kids. Looking for her best deal, the hope is Tribeca will give it “a big push.” She will also tell you she has always made art. She makes the films she does “because I want to see it. When I started I wasn’t thinking about getting into the Tribeca Film Festival. I was just thinking about the film.”
Of course, being one of the filmmakers at a major festival, she is looking forward to seeing others’ work.
What would she say to aspiring filmmakers about themselves applying to Tribeca? Her advice is simple. “Send it in. Who knows how this works. It’s a mystery.” In her words, “Of course, I’ve had more rejections in my life than acceptance.” Basically, she’s saying, all you can do is not get in. And maybe, miracle of miracles, you will.

When the Digital Filmmaker asks Paley what she got out of Tribeca the last time she was there two years ago, she doesn’t hesitate a moment. With great enthusiasm she will tell you, “They gave me a great bag of swag.” What was in it? “Final Cut Pro!” What else was in there? “Lip balm. Sunglasses. A nice bag. Who cares!” Not when the freebie bag has Final Cut Pro!

Alas, the swag bag laws have tightened. Since last she was at Tribeca there’s been a swag bag crackdown, so she doesn’t expect that again.

But a decent distribution deal would be nice.

Robert Drew “A President to Remember”

Famed documentarian Robert Drew brings an intimate look at President John Kennedy to Tribeca in his “A President to Remember.” He has been to many a festival and to Tribeca before. “What this festival and other successful festivals do… Tribeca more than most,” he tells us, “it creates a two week thriving film community. It energizes people. Broadens your viewpoints.”

Like Paley, he is aware when Tribeca selects a film then many of the other major festivals around the world want you to come. They issue invitations. So it has a multiplier effect. The festivals he cares about are the ones that feature documentaries or are all docs. Tribeca is a broad picture. Hollywood is a part of it, but documentaries are given top billing. He feels well treated there. His film gets reviewed at the head of the list.

Furthermore, he has observed, people make a festival. Good people are the secret. This particular group that works behind the scenes at Tribeca, people you never hear about, “is amazing.” A smart bunch. Some might ask, for example, why another Kennedy film. With them, he didn’t have to explain anything. They knew this is a big year for presidential politics.
The last film he had at Tribeca was of his WWII experience. Unbeknownst to him, while it was screening at the Amsterdam festival, one of Tribeca’s top people was seeing it there and when he got back to the United States, before he could call them, she called him. To Drew, that means the folks who run Tribeca are enterprising. Then he has nothing but praise for the way they handled it. They billed it prominently. Gave it good projection. Got a good audience there.

For “A President to Remember,” this year’s entry, Drew explains, this film is meant for people who didn’t experience JFK directly. He is hoping people will realize once we had a history of great presidents. Which, in his opinion, the current administration doesn’t reflect. What Tribeca is doing for him. First, they selected it. Out of the hundreds of films that are submitted, it is “good for the film that it was selected. Good that then they will show it four or five times with excellent projection, good p.r. Hopefully, it will draw crowds.” More importantly, being in the festival “would then accomplish the purpose of the film, which is to remind people of a great president” who held office at a time when we respected and admired the man in the White House. He thinks the film has a job to do. And this festival will help it do that.

We wanted to know the importance of this festival to him when he’s been in so many. And had so many successes. “Yes, I still get excited.” The film he’s working on is always the most important. And Tribeca is “an important boost.”

Dori Bernstein “Gotta Dance”

Dori Bernstein we reached in post-production, putting the finishing touches on her entry “Gotta Dance.” Two years ago, she was at Tribeca with “Show Business: The Road to Broadway, ” where it premiered, and it was “huge, fantastic, the perfect place to launch the film.” Tribeca launched it “on such a high level” and gave them an opening which attracted distributor attention and press attention. They were given a red carpet spotlight premiere. She calls that “a magical night.” The film dealt with Broadway, and as Tribeca is in New York, the Broadway community came. What happened to them at Tribeca was “very valuable to catapulting the film. As a result, we did get theatrical distribution release. It played all around the country. Now it’s out on DVD.”

Also an incredible experience is what Bernstein says was the personal handling. “Tribeca took such good care of us and the film. Even after the festival was over. They continued to be very supportive of their filmmakers.” Bernstein says the festival put word of their film in their online newsletter. Sent email blasts when it was released, telling people where it was playing. Helped to publicize it throughout its life.

Now she returns with “Gotta Dance.” “Gotta Dance” is a world premiere. She is ecstatic that she got in. Especially after only sending in a rough cut. She felt from Day One that Tribeca was the perfect place for her latest film. It was her dream to get in. But she is well aware, “This is a tough one to get into. At the end of the day, either it fits what they need or it doesn’t, even if you’ve been in before.” But she also knows the festival had confidence in her — seeing just a rough cut — “that it would turn out well and be finished on time.”

She wanted to and is thrilled to be at Tribeca, not only because it is such a spectacular festival, but also “because everyone is here.” Meaning everyone in the film is in New York area. Her senior hip hop dancers and the New Jersey Nets, “which is what makes the screening so special. The lights will come up at the end and the cast of the movie is going to be there.” Up on stage. What a moment. Not only will they get to see the film while the audience does, but the audience will get to see her stars.

Her dream is for every distributor to see the film, fall in love with it and want it desperately.

Tribeca makes that possible.

Douglas Tirola “An Omar Broadway Film”

Douglas Tirola is new as a filmmaker to Tribeca, but not new to Tribeca itself. He’s been before, wearing a different hat. Taking pitches in the All Access program, not screening his own film. This is the first doc he’s directed.
For this particular film, “this was THE festival we wanted to go to.” Tirola always pictured it being at Tribeca. For a few reasons. One of which is that “An Omar Broadway Film” takes place almost entirely in Newark and East Orange, right across the river.

Another because, after being involved for six years with the All Access program, he feels a relationship with the festival. “I think they do a great job. They make you feel they are making a long-term commitment to you.” He feels they really want the movie to go where it can go — beyond the festival circuit. Tirola describes a kindness, feeling treated like family, with all the “support for us and for the film.” He thinks that’s unique. He’s been in other festivals. It’s not always that way. “Since the movie was accepted the level of and amount of support from different people at the festival is extraordinary.”

The Digital Filmmaker talked to Tirola the morning after a pre-Tribeca event. What he found remarkable was that questions from the various festival workers went beyond their immediate area of responsibility. Someone in p.r. might ask about distribution and vice versa. People had actually seen the film. Dozens of films are in the festival and he could see they actually knew his movie. Had actually watched more than the first five minutes of his film (and the others). They could talk about the movie. And because they had actually seen it, Tirola feels they will be better prepared to support it.
His takeaway. Instead of solely being concerned with how the festival fares, they seem to care about what the festival can do for the film. Tirola believes the festival people genuinely care and want his movie to “find its home” not only at but after the festival. For him he will always feel “this connection to Tribeca.” For anything that needs being done, “There are six people helping me, far beyond what does happen at the festival itself.”
His expectations beyond the festival? He has a couple.

“We’re just like a lot of movies. We got it made far enough to submit to festivals and because it got accepted, now that it’s in, we went to final production.” Now that it’s in finished form, with that boost from the festival, obviously, he hopes for theatrical distribution. “The goal is to find a distributor who best understands the film and will get it out to an audience.” And here again, Tribeca is a help. Tirola hasn’t “been to all the festivals in the world, but I will say because Tribeca is in New York City, you get the New York industry people.” More of them are here than most other places that hold festivals. Then there is a further wrinkle. The uniqueness of Tribeca being in New York City, plus the support of the people behind the festival, means you get more diversity in the audience — a great mix of industry people, film devotees and just regular folks. People in the business get to see the film at screenings with regular folks, not just the crew who flew out to see the movie, and “being in New York, where the audience and the crowd is a little tougher, if the movie plays in that bit tougher room and a potential distributor sees the audience is on the side of the movie, that’s an advantage.” After all, Tirola is trying to show there is an audience out there for “An Omar Broadway Film.” Being at Tribeca make that happen.

“An Omar Broadway Film” is about, as Tirola puts it, “a guy who is in prison.” So he can’t be there. But another main character is his mother. A woman who lives in a modest house in East Orange, New Jersey — she gets to be there. Tirola says, “If for some reason this is the only premiere the movie ever has, it’s important for us that the mom be there and it be special.” And Tribeca helps make it special, even going so far as to help them find a place after the screening to have a party.

At the end of the day, “It’s a documentary. This is probably the biggest opening and biggest stage it will have.”

Andy Abrahams Wilson “Under Our Skin”

Andy Abraham Wilson is a first timer. Tribeca is the place where he’s launching his doc, “Under Our Skin” and he calls it “the best venue for this film.” Partly that’s because of the subject matter. “Under Our Skin” is about the Lyme Disease epidemic. And New York and the Tri-state area were a hot spot epidemic area. Hence, a perfect place to premiere.
He hasn’t been there yet, but already he feels what the other filmmakers describe, under the heading, “treating us well and they really care.”

Wilson, of course, hopes for sold out crowds. He’s excited about getting this film out to the public. He’s also excited also being asked to be on a panel, Behind the Scenes. Only three filmmakers will be on that panel and he’s the only non-fiction filmmaker.

Being on a panel can only help. As any filmmaker knows, going to a festival is all about visibility and awareness. Wilson takes it further. Creating awareness and buzz about the film is important. “All filmmakers want to create awareness and buzz about their film.” But he also wants to “create buzz and awareness about the issue. The Lyme Disease epidemic.” His sister had it. He thought she was malingering. This film, he quips is “ penance for the way he treated her.” More earnestly, he had a friend who got sick, then sicker and sicker, with a mysterious illness. Eventually she was seriously ill. He was very concerned. She was very concerned. Many wrong diagnoses followed, until, finally, the diagnosis of Lyme Disease. So the film is as much about the issue. And the issue is personal.

So, it seems, even for a newcomer, is the relationship to Tribeca.

“Everyone wants their film to do well, “ he reminds us. “Tribeca is a big festival. Lots of people are coordinating. It feels like they our holding our hands.” Compared to other festivals, “they seem to have an investment… an engagement with the film.”

“It feels like they are holding our hands.” Wilson has been to other festivals. He doesn’t think all others get that treatment. “Under Our Skin” has a prime screening time. He, too, cites the newsletter, tracking the film after its play.
And, of course, there’s that panel discussion.

Eileen Douglas is a broadcast journalist turned independent documentary filmmaker. Former 1010 WINS New York anchor/reporter and correspondent for “ABC-TV’s Lifetime Magazine,” she is the author of “Rachel and the Upside Down Heart,” and co-producer of the films “My Grandfather’s House” and “Luboml:My Heart Remembers.” She can be reached at

Ron Steinman: JFK and Robert Drew at the Tribeca Film Festival

“A President to Remember: In the Company of John F. Kennedy.” Produced and Directed by Robert Drew; Narrated by Alec Baldwin


Call it nostalgia. Call it remembrance. Call it a reminder of how things were before John F. Kennedy was assassinated forty-five years ago in 1963. In every way, you will be right. Today, President John F Kennedy is a man steeped in myth, especially to today’s generation and probably for anyone under fifty years old. He is an icon unlike almost any other American president except for possibly Abraham Lincoln. Robert Drew’s latest film is not for the cynical, the know-it-alls, or those who will say, I’ve been there, done that. It is an unabashed, affectionate look at John F Kennedy. Few people really know anything about him except the obvious.

Almost fifty years ago Robert Drew helped develop hand-held cameras that allowed him and his crews to enter, as flies on the wall, the inner world of Kennedy – with his permission, of course — as he campaigned for president, then won the Oval Office, and then went through a host of crises that he solved with a dedicated staff. For this film, Drew culled highlights of Kennedy’s life from the four major films he directed about him during those heady years. In “A President to Remember” we watch JFK campaign for president. We witness speeches he made – especially portions of the one about his Catholicism and how it would not affect how he would govern the country. We see excerpts of John Kennedy and Richard Nixon in the debate that changed the tone of the campaign and then helped to turn the election his way.

Importantly, Drew and his cameras had access to the Oval Office during two major confrontations when Kennedy was president. The major foreign crisis was, of course, when the Soviet Union under Nikita Khrushev moved missiles into Cuba. Here we see JFK interacting with his advisors, not panicking, being thoughtful, and being careful because one false step and the world could have seen nuclear war. Kennedy was able to face down the Soviet Union and cause Khrushev and his military to remove the missiles, thus allowing the world to breathe more easily without the possibility of nuclear war.

The other powerful set of scenes that take place in the Oval Office were those during the time when Governor George Wallace of Alabama refused to allow black students to enter the University of Alabama. Driven by Attorney General Robert Kennedy and ably assisted by Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, it was an epic diplomatic battle over state rights between Alabama, in the person of George Wallace, and the Federal government over who had control of desegregation. Troops massed. Large crowds gathered. The nation was tense because Wallace threatened to stand in the schoolhouse door and not admit the two African-American students. We observe the Kennedy brothers being calm and resolute in the face of a defiant George Wallace. We watch as they face down Governor Wallace and finally win. The two students are admitted. President Kennedy goes on TV that night and sets the tone for future government commitments to civil rights. I seriously doubt that any president today would allow such intimate access to show the highest in government at work. I have to wonder what the result of President George Bush going to war with Iraq would have had, had at least some of his discussions been recorded for posterity.

Though the film does not take us through everything in Kennedy’s life, we do get to see him on trips to the Berlin Wall, and his journey to Ireland. We see the sometimes awkward grace of Jackie Kennedy, how she supported him in her role as First Lady, the intimate looks she gives him, and her ability to win people with her smile and her gentle charm.

Is this film worth seeing? If you know very little about John F Kennedy and his presidency, the answer is yes. If you think you know more than you do, the answer is still yes. If you know in detail everything about JFK, the answer is a strong yes. We will probably never see the likes of John F Kennedy again. The film refreshes our memory. Rush to wherever it is playing. It is not comprehensive. It cannot be. It is selective. In these selections, however enough of JFK’s intellect, his wit, his caring attitude, his humanity and his style show through, if even only in small doses, to make the movie worth your time when it comes to a theater near you. This is especially so with the Democratic Party campaign for its candidate for president nearly over and the campaign for a new president about to being.