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TFF '09: Discovery Section

The TFF 2009 Discovery section includes 14 documentaries and narrative films from fresh new voices in cinema.

Fourteen innovative visions from emerging voices encompass the Discovery section, which includes both stimulating documentaries and moving narratives. From lighthearted and amusing to provocative and timely, the documentaries tell stories about the implosion of Wall Street at the expense of working Americans, an adopted young African American's search for her roots, an irony-laden docu-comedy on 80's 'business artist' Mark Kostabi and one last affectionate look at New York’s original punk institution CBGB.

If narrative tales are more your thing, you will enjoy the story of a group of overweight Israeli men who are taken by the art of Sumo to get their mojo back, an all-male Swedish synchronized swimming team trying to make it to the world championship, a love story complicated by a device that scientifically predicts one’s soul mate, and a B&W jazz musical with a fresh and youthful take on the old MGM tradition.

Two of this year's films—Entre Nos and Off and Running—received support and some initial funding from the Tribeca All Access Program (also known as TAA, part of the Tribeca Film Institute). Tamir Muhammad, Director, Tribeca All Access, proudly explains, “Like most of the filmmakers and projects out of Tribeca All Access, both of these films serve as perfect examples of what happens when you provide access and support to stories that need to be told.  We are proud to champion these filmmakers now and for the rest of their careers.”

 


 

American Casino 

 

American Casino

Directed by Leslie Cockburn
(USA)
World Premiere, Documentary

Politicians and the media like to talk about the relationship between Wall Street and Main Street, but investigative journalist Leslie Cockburn’s debut feature gets to the guts of the matter, visiting defectors from Bear Stearns and Standard & Poor’s and other high-level players in the subprime mortgage gamble and, on the flipside, visiting the working-class Americans who were the unwitting chips on the table.

 

Burning
 

 

Burning Down the House: The Story of CBGB

Directed by Mandy Stein
(USA)
World Premiere, Documentary

Fueled by vintage performances by the likes of Patti Smith, Talking Heads, Television, Bad Brains, and The Ramones, this doc charts the history and far-reaching influence of iconic downtown club CBGB and its fight for survival against the Bowery homeless shelter that sought to shut it down. Sonic Youth, Debbie Harry, Ice-T, Fab 5 Freddy, and others share their passion for the anything-goes spirit of the club and its founder, Hilly Kristal.

 

Con Artist
 

 

Con Artist

Directed by Michael Sladek
(USA)
World Premiere, Documentary

One of the biggest names in the East Village art scene of the ’80s, “business artist” Mark Kostabi gleefully made a fortune signing and selling artworks painted by a revolving stable of hired hands. This punk-fueled docu-comedy looks at Kostabi’s ultimately self-destructive skewering of the celebrity art world and his current obsession with getting back on top.

 

Entre Nos
 

Entre nos

Directed and written by Gloria La Morte and Paola Mendoza
(USA, Colombia)
World Premiere, Narrative

Adoring mother Mariana (talented codirector Paola Mendoza) has toted her two children from Colombia to New York to indulge her husband's whim. But when he abruptly abandons the family, she'll have to rely on her own imagination and courage—and that of her remarkable kids (breakthroughs Sebastian Villada and Laura Montana)—to survive insurmountable odds during their first summer in the United States. In Spanish with English subtitles.

 

Guy and Madeline
 

Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench

Directed and written by Damien Chazelle
(USA)
World Premiere, Narrative

First-time director Damien Chazelle infuses his black-and-white, vérité-style relationship drama with all that jazzy romance of an old-Hollywood musical. Backed by a grand, alternately rollicking and melancholy score, Guy and Madeline tracks a pair of young lovers in Boston after they separate, search for new romance, and perhaps find their way back to each other.

 

a matter of size
 

A Matter of Size (Sipur Gadol)

Directed by Erez Tadmor and Sharon Maymon, written by Danny Cohen-Solal and Maymon
(Israel)
World Premiere, Narrative

In this touching, lighthearted comedy, an overweight, underemployed chef and three close friends abandon their weight-loss group to pursue an activity for which girth is a virtue: sumo wrestling. While training, they discover the soul of sumo, realizing that—fat or thin—love and success will only come from being true to themselves. In Hebrew with English subtitles. Part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.

 

my last 5 girlfriends

My Last Five Girlfriends

Directed and written by Julian Kemp
(UK)
World Premiere, Narrative

Based on the international bestseller On Love by Alain de Botton, this delightful romantic comedy explores with delicious wit and whimsy just how modern urban relationships go wrong. Surveying the wreckage of his last five relationships, thirtysomething Duncan (Brendan Patricks) concludes that love is a battleground where only the fittest survive.

 

off and running
 

Off and Running

Directed by Nicole Opper, written by Avery Klein-Cloud and Opper
(USA)
World Premiere, Documentary

With white Jewish lesbians for parents and two adopted brothers—one mixed-race and one Korean—Brooklyn teen Avery grew up in a unique and loving household. Even so, she can't quell her curiosity about her biological African-American roots and decides to contact her birth mother. This choice propels Avery into her own complicated exploration of race, identity, and family that threatens to distance her from the parents she’s always known.

 

Original
 

Original

Directed and written by Alexander Brøndsted and Antonio Tublén
(Denmark)
World Premiere, Narrative

In this fresh and colorful lovable loser tale, Henry has spent most of his life trying to blend in. When his seemingly normal life turns upside down, his friend convinces him to move to Spain and open a restaurant. But before he can break free of the mundane, he gets sidelined caring for his mentally unstable mother, running into a lost-soul feminist who does performance art in a strip club, and a big bag of steroids. In English, Swedish, Danish with English subtitles.

 

P-star Rising

 

P-Star Rising

Directed by Gabriel Noble
(USA)
World Premiere, Documentary

In the early ’80s, Jesse Diaz was a rising star in the hip-hop world. Now a broke single father in Harlem with two children to support, Jesse finds a shot at redemption in his nine-year-old daughter Priscilla Star, a precocious and immensely talented rapper. Director Gabriel Noble follows four years of father-daughter ups and downs as they navigate the grit and the glamour of the music biz.

 

playground
 

Playground

Directed by Libby Spears
(USA)
World Premiere, Documentary 

Executive produced by George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Steven Soderbergh, this astonishing doc travels to the dark heart of one of the world’s most sinister industries—the child sex trade. Beginning her journey infiltrating brothels in South Korea and Thailand, director Libby Spears soon discovers that the United States is a major player in the human trafficking racket and turns her attention to the homeland. Featuring original artwork by Yoshitomo Nara.

 

The Swimsuit Issue
 

The Swimsuit Issue (Allt flyter)

Directed by Måns Herngren, written by Jane Magnusson, Brian Cordray and Herngren
(Sweden)
International Premiere, Narrative

What begins as a joke turns into a new shot at glory for a group of over-the-hill athletes who decide to form Sweden’s only all-male synchronized swimming team. The less they’re taken seriously, the more determined they are to win the world championship in this fun, feel-good comedy about friendship and family. In Swedish with English subtitles. Part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.

 

Timer
 

TiMER

Directed and written by Jac Schaeffer
(USA)
World Premiere, Narrative

Finding true love is easier than ever thanks to a bio-technological implant called the TiMER, which counts down to the exact time people meet their soul mates. Love-starved Oona (Emma Caulfield, TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is pushing 30, but her TiMER hasn't even started counting down yet. What's worse, she's falling for a guy (John Patrick Amedori, Gossip Girl) who is set to meet his true love in four months. Newcomer Jac Schaeffer crafts a smart romantic comedy that leaves behind the burning question... would you want to know?

 

Which Way Home
 

Which Way Home

Directed by Rebecca Cammisa
(USA)
World Premiere, Documentary

In this unprecedented, revelatory doc, director Rebecca Cammisa (Sister Helen) follows three unaccompanied children on a harrowing odyssey away from their homes in Latin America and through Mexico with one mighty shepherding hope: to reach the United States, where they can either reunite with their own families who made the journey before them, or create new lives for themselves.

 



Awards

Films predominantly shot in New York and/or produced by a New York-based production company will be up for the following awards: Best New York Narrative and Best New York Documentary. Films in the World Narrative Competition, World Documentary Competition, Encounters, Discovery, Midnight, Spotlight or Showcase sections are eligible for the Heineken Audience Award, the audience choice for best feature film.

 



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