Creating an account with gives you access to more features and services, like our weekly newsletter and other special features just for the film community.

Large article 117401723 marquee

TFF '11: World Documentary Features

A dozen films will compete in the World Documentary Feature Competition at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival.


Today the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), presented by American Express®, announced the first 44 feature films of the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival slate, comprising the World Narrative and Documentary Competition film selections, and one new section: Viewpoints.


The rest of the features slate will be announced on Monday, March 14, with the list of short films to follow one week later. The complete list of features will be posted online on Monday, March 14, in the 2011 Film Guide. The 10th Tribeca Film Festival will take place from April 20 to May 1 in lower Manhattan.
In a record year for submissions, the 2011 film slate was chosen from a field of 5,624 entries. TFF 2011 will include feature films from 32 countries, including 43 World Premieres, 10 International Premieres, 19 North American Premieres, 7 U.S. Premieres and 9 New York Premieres. 99 directors will present feature works at the Festival, 54 of whom are making their feature directorial debuts. 12 feature film directors are making a return to Tribeca.


“In programming the Festival this year we had to make some incredibly difficult decisions, but we are excited about the quality, ingenuity, risk-taking and diversity of this year’s program,” says David Kwok, Director of Programming. “We are particularly proud that we have 12 directors returning to Tribeca with their feature films as well as the opportunity to showcase an excellent number of films that have been supported by the Tribeca Film Institute.” In addition, he continued, "We believe the competition this year is one of our most diverse yet—it includes countries and genres never before represented and highlights the spectrum of world cinema out there today."


Documentaries have always been one of the Tribeca Film Festival's strong suits. The 12 films in this year's World Documentary Feature Competition tackle today’s stories with their own singular approach to the evolving nonfiction form.


Together, this slate of films tells a global story of human connection. Enjoy!


Bombay Beach
Bombay Beach
Directed by Alma Har'el
(USA, Israel)
North American Premiere
The rusting relic of a failed 1960s development boom, the Salton Sea is a barren California landscape and symbol of the failure of the American dream. Using a stylized amalgam of nonfiction and choreographed dance set to the music of Beirut and Bob Dylan, Bombay Beach revisits this poetically fruitful terrain to find a motley cast including a bipolar seven-year-old, a lovelorn football star, and an octogenarian poet-prophet—creating a moving, distinctive, and slightly surreal documentary experience.


Bully Project


The Bully Project
Directed by Lee Hirsch
World Premiere
More than 18 million young people in the U.S. will be bullied this year. This alarming documentary takes us into a disquieting year in the life of several students joining this staggering statistic. As teachers and parents struggle to find the answers, the students do what they can to survive a school day. Rare access and emotionally charged footage offer a never-before-seen exploration of America’s bullying crisis and a necessary call to action.


The Carrier
Directed by Maggie Betts
World Premiere
Young mother Mutinta is a Zambian subsistence farmer in a polygamous marriage who has just learned she is HIV positive. Newly pregnant, Mutinta does everything she can to protect her unborn baby while navigating complicated family dynamics and village politics. Newcomer Maggie Betts sculpts a sensitive observational portrait of one woman’s struggle leading up to her newborn’s birth. In Tonga with English subtitles.


Cinema Komunisto
Cinema Komunisto
Directed by Mila Turajilic
North American Premiere
For 32 years, Leka Konstantinovic was the personal film projectionist for Yugoslavian president and noted film enthusiast Josip Broz Tito. Comprised of interviews with Konstantinovic and other important figures in the brief but glowing history of Yugoslavian cinema, as well as archival clips from more than 60 films, Cinema Komunisto is a vibrant, fascinating celebration of a film industry—and a nation—that no longer exists. In Serbian with English subtitles.


Despicable Dick


Despicable Dick and Righteous Richard
Directed by Joshua Neale
World Premiere
Richard has been pissing people off for 50 years. A recovering alcoholic from North Dakota, he finally musters the courage to complete the eighth and ninth steps of the 12-Step Program. With a list of everyone he’s wronged—from ex-wives to ex-mistresses, abandoned children to slighted pals—Richard tries to make amends. But has he really changed? Soulful folk music and rich characters bring levity and humor to an emotional story of redemption.


Give Up Tomorrow
Give Up Tomorrow
Directed by Michael Collins
International Premiere
In 1997, Paco Larrañaga was arrested for the murder of two sisters on a provincial island in the Philippines. Over the next 13 years, his case became the highest profile in the nation’s history, and the focal point in a far-reaching exposé of gross miscarriage of justice. At once an engrossing murder mystery, a courtroom drama, and a stunning indictment of national corruption, Give Up Tomorrow is an enraging true crime chronicle. In English, Spanish, Tagalog with English subtitles.
Note: This film received support from Tribeca All Access and the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund.


Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Directed by David Gelb
North American Premiere
An appetizing documentary in every sense, Jiro Dreams of Sushi follows 85-year-old master sushi chef Jiro Ono, paying lushly photographed homage to the process of preparing the artisan sushi that earned Ono’s esteemed Sukiyabashi Jiro restaurant three Michelin stars. From the complicated relationship between Jiro and his sons to the ins and outs of the tuna auction, this spirited film profiles all aspects of Jiro’s craft in tantalizing style and detail. In Japanese with English subtitles.


Koran by Heart
Koran By Heart
Directed by Greg Barker
World Premiere
The world’s preeminent Koran-recitation competition takes place each year in Cairo, drawing Muslim children from as far as Tajikistan and the Maldives to perform in front of a panel of prominent judges. Following these talented youngsters from their intense preparation regimes through the rigorous rounds of the tournament, Koran By Heart is both an inspirational competition film and an engaging survey of the unique experiences of Muslim children throughout the world. In Arabic, Dhivehi, English, Tajik, Wolof with English subtitles.


Love During Wartime
Love During Wartime
Directed and Written by Gabriella Bier
North American Premiere
Jasmin and Assi are newlyweds, but building a life together seems impossible: She’s an Israeli, he’s a Palestinian. When their homelands turn their backs on them, they choose to live in exile. This tender tale of a love infiltrated by politics follows a real-life Romeo and Juliet on their odyssey from the Middle East through an inhospitable Europe. As their hopes rise and then fade with each bureaucratic hurdle, will their love survive? In Hebrew, Arabic, English, German with English subtitles.


Marathon Boy
Marathon Boy
Directed by Gemma Atwal
(UK, USA, India)
North American Premiere
Gemma Atwal’s fascinating and dynamic epic follows Budhia, a four-year-old boy plucked from the slums of India and trained as a marathon prodigy by Biranchi Das, a larger-than-life judo coach who runs an orphanage in the eastern state of Orissa. But over the next five years and dozens of marathons, Budhia’s roller-coaster journey turns from an uplifting story of promise and opportunity to one of greed, corruption, and broken dreams. In Oriya, English, Hindi with English subtitles.
Note: This film received support from the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund.


Our School
Our School (Scoala Noastra)
Directed by Mona Nicoara and Miruna Coca-Cozma
(USA, Switzerland)
North American Premiere
Our School follows three Roma (commonly known as Gypsy) children in a rural Transylvanian village who are among the pioneer participants in an initiative to integrate the ethnically segregated Romanian schools. Touching on issues ranging from institutionalized prejudice, public education, and the intractability of poverty, but always firmly rooted in the hypnotic rhythms and profound reality of the Roma community, Our School is a deeply affecting, often infuriating, and ultimately bittersweet story of tradition and progress. In Romanian with English subtitles.


Semper Fi
Semper Fi: Always Faithful
Directed by Rachel Libert and Tony Hardmon
(USA) — World Premiere

Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger's loyalty was always to the Marine Corps. But after his nine-year-old daughter died of a rare type of leukemia, Jerry¹s relentless search for answers leads to a shocking discovery exposing one of the largest water contamination sites in U.S. history. Living by the Marine creed, this drill instructor-turned-activist puts his own pain aside and takes on the top brass in an impassioned struggle for justice on behalf of his fellow soldiers and family.


This year, 12 narrative and 12 documentary features all making their North American, International, or World Premieres will compete for combined unrestricted cash prizes amounting to $150,000 and donated artwork from Chanel’s artists program, featuring renowned artists including Robert De Niro Sr., Inka Essenhigh and Stephen Hannock.


Awards in the World Narrative and World Documentary Competitions will be presented in the following juried categories:
»» Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature, sponsored by AKA Hotel Residences;
»» Best New Narrative Director (for first-time feature directors in any section), sponsored by American Express;
»» Best Actress in a Narrative Feature;
»» Best Screenplay in a Narrative Feature [new for 2011];
»» Best Cinematography in a Narrative Feature [new for 2011];
»» Best Documentary Feature;
»» Best Editing in a Documentary Feature [new for 2011]; and
»» Best New Documentary Director (for first-time feature directors in any section), sponsored by American Express.


In addition, films in the World Narrative Competition, World Documentary Competition, Viewpoints, Spotlight and Cinemania are eligible for the Heineken Audience Award, the audience choice for best feature film.


Check out more of the slate:

TFF 2011: World Narrative Feature Competition
TFF 2011: Cinemania
TFF 2011: Special Screenings
TFF 2011: Spotlight
TFF 2011: Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival
TFF 2011: Viewpoints

Learn more: TFF 2011 Ticket Packages
Get ahead of the crowd and buy your advance ticket package today!


Want more Tribeca news?

Follow Tribeca on Facebook.

Follow Tribeca on Twitter, and use hashtag #tribecafest.

Register for My Tribeca today, and subscribe to the Tribeca Newsletter.


What you need to know today