When the Tribeca Film Festival recently came around, I jumped at the chance to catch Sunlight Jr.
Rob Meyers' A Birder's Guide to Everything is refreshingly unencumbered by cynicism, which is most likely why Ben Kingsley attached himself to the project for two years while this first-time director was trying to raise the money.
My absolute favorite moment of the festival was while shooting the hilarious Jason Schwartzman. He got up from the set and slowly looked around for a prop while saying, "I'll know it when I see it," and proceeded to go over to my paint supplies.
I can't entirely escape stress. No one can. Our collective experience requires that we endure at least a certain amount of anxiety, especially when we strive for bigger goals that take us outside our comfort zone.
Fraud, redemption, suicide, fear of failure, the ineluctable dance with death, alcoholism, and the addictive joy of creating art -- these are a few of the recurring themes in some of the highlights from this year's Tribeca Film Festival.
I'm often struck by how American feature films -- both studio and indie -- seem to unfold in a social/political vacuum. When was the last time you saw one that took a political perspective, or even account of the larger world beyond the personal conundrums of the characters?
In In God We Trust, interview subjects talk about what they knew of Bernie Madoff's empire, especially as far as who knew what about the "investing" of funds for an elite clientele, and the goings on at the mysterious 17th floor where no one dared tread.
Bluebird is a smart and subtle reminder of how exquisitely fragile the balance of our everyday lives are. A small, seemingly insignificant event, like stopping to admire a bluebird, can contribute to a tragedy whose ripple effects permanently mark the lives of many.
I know very little about indie rock band The National. One of the few things about The National that I do know is that my lack of knowledge about them makes me uncool. As in, if I knew more about The National, I would immediately be perceived as cooler. (I remember falling for this trap with The Decemberists, pretending to be "into them" in an effort to gain credibility. It didn't work and it's unlikely that I'll ever try again.)
Argo deserved the Best Picture Oscar, but perhaps not for all the obvious reasons. I personally found in Ben Affleck's film another reminder that when we don't pay close attention to our history, we tend to repeat the same terrible mistakes, over and over again.
Thank you, Mr. Antoine Fadel, a Lebanese artist living in Dubai. Thank you for your dedication to the arts and to the next generation of movers and shakers.
Over the years, Tribeca has had a hard time finding its voice in the film world. At times it seemed lost between overtly commercial selections and second-rate art-house films. Tribeca is still searching for its voice in the vast film festival market.
Arnel Pineda was a former street kid in the Philippines, singing in a cover band in a Manila club. Suddenly, he was singing in front of 20,000 people in a stadium in Chile -- as frontman for Journey.
Getting a movie made is an Olympian task. Getting a movie made and released is even tougher. So Alex Karpovsky's accomplishment -- writing, directing and starring in two movies that are being released the same day as a double-feature -- seems positively Herculean.
The Texas School Board of Education's debates are on full display in Scott Thurman's riveting Tribeca Film Festival 2012 documentary The Revisionaries, in theaters this week.
Alan Cumming knows a little bit about feeling like a second-class citizen. After all, aside from being a gay man in a straight-dominated world, he's also a Scot who's lived in London.