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TFF 2011: Spotlight

Tribeca casts a Spotlight on 33 highly anticipated new releases and festival favorites, sure to provoke discussion and entertain audiences.

Today, we've announced the next round of feature films in the slate for the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, which will take place April 20 to May 1. This year's Spotlight section, co-sponsored by JetBlue Airways, includes 33 films—16 docs and 17 narratives—that highlight the work of established directors and rising talents. 16 of the films in this exciting mix of current global cinema will world premiere at Tribeca.


"Now that the majority of the program has been announced, I believe you will see the rich variety and quality of the films and talent that we are presenting at Tribeca this year,” said David Kwok, Director of Programming. “The program is about both discovery and showcasing a broad range of filmmaking to our eclectic and diverse audiences who are passionate about film."


“This year’s Spotlight is a mixture of carefully selected festival favorites from around the globe, highly anticipated  releases, a number of new works by high profile filmmakers and films with subjects of special note,” said Genna Terranova, Senior Programmer.


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.


The 33 highly anticipated new releases and festival favorites in the Spotlight section will provoke discussion and be sure to entertain. Catch this panorama of international and American cinema—often featuring recognizable subjects and performances from bold-faced names—before they hit theaters.




The Assault (L’assaut)
Directed by Julien Leclerq
Written by Simon Moutairou and Julien Leclerq
(France) – International Premiere, Narrative

Christmas Eve, 1994. In war-torn Algiers, four men uniformed as border guards hijack Air France Flight 8969, foreboding doom for all 220 passengers. But on their arrival in Marseilles, the elite French SWAT force waits to avert tragedy…. Based on the harrowing true story of one of the most successful anti-terrorist operations in history, and incorporating actual news footage, this action-packed thriller from Julien Leclercq (Chrysalis) is packed with heart-pounding intensity. In French with English subtitles.


Beats Rhymes Life


Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest
Directed by Michael Rapaport
(USA) – New York Premiere, Documentary

The most groundbreaking act to emerge from the New York hip-hop scene of the early ’90s, A Tribe Called Quest electrified a generation with its brand of jazz-infused beats and intelligent rhymes before dramatically disbanding in ’98. In his directorial debut, Michael Rapaport draws from eight months of total access to uncover the history and inner workings of the Tribe. Featuring De La Soul, Kanye West, Common, Mos Def, Ludacris, Beastie Boys, and more. A Sony Pictures Classics release.


Carol Channing


Carol Channing: Larger Than Life
Directed by Dori Berinstein
Written by Dori Berinstein and Adam Zucker
(USA) – World Premiere, Documentary

The story of legendary performer Carol Channing’s life is as colorful as the lipstick on her big, bright smile. Director Dori Berinstein captures the magic and vivacity of the 90-year-old icon and throws it at the screen like roses at the stage during curtain call. You’ll have a grin on your face and a tear in your eye, evidence that the original Dolly Levi is still glowin’, still crowin’, and still goin’ strong.


Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame


Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (Di Renjie)
Directed by Tsui Hark
(Hong Kong, China) – US Premiere, Narrative

In a fantastical steampunk version of ancient China, legendary sleuth Detective Dee returns from exile to help solve a series of suspicious murders on the eve of the coronation of the country’s first empress. A period epic from genre master Tsui Hark, Detective Dee is an action-packed, visually breathtaking Sherlock Holmes-style mystery featuring stars Andy Lau, Li Bingbing, Carina Lau, and Tony Leung Ka-fai. In Mandarin with English subtitles. An Indomina Releasing release.


Fire In Babylon


Fire In Babylon
Directed by Stevan Riley
(UK) – North American Premiere, Documentary

Played against the backdrop of the national liberation movements of the ’70s and ’80s, this lively documentary pays tribute to the golden age of cricket in the West Indies as the teammates set out to triumph over their former colonial masters and make a name for themselves on the world stage. This celebration of the power of sports as a vehicle for social change is set to a thumping reggae beat featuring Bob Marley, Gregory Isaacs, and Burning Spear.


God Bless Ozzy Osbourne


God Bless Ozzy Osbourne
Directed by Mike Fleiss and Mike Piscitelli
Produced by Jack Osbourne, Marc Weingarten, and Jordan Tappis

(USA) – World Premiere, Documentary
Ozzy. For four decades, the name has been synonymous not just with a singular brand of blistering heavy metal, but also with a life lived to the extreme. Made for fans and the uninitiated alike, this definitive portrait of a troubled icon—told in part through the eyes of his family—relives Ozzy’s artistic triumphs while chronicling his arduous journey to sobriety and peace.


Good Doctor


The Good Doctor
Directed by Lance Daly
Written by John Enbom
(USA) – World Premiere, Narrative

When lonesome first-year medical resident Dr. Martin Blake (Orlando Bloom) finally gets the respect he so desperately craves from an enchanting teenage patient, he’ll do anything to keep her in his care…. In this slow-burn psychological thriller, Lance Daly’s (Kisses) keen eye and a restrained yet forceful performance by Bloom paint a gripping portrait of the accelerating depths of obsession.



A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
Directed and written by Peter Huyck and Alex Gregory
(USA) – World Premiere, Narrative

Jason Sudeikis leads an ensemble cast of bright comic talents as Eric, a thirtysomething party animal famous among his close circle of friends for his lavish summer theme parties at his father’s swanky Hamptons pad. But when members of the crew start settling down, and Eric’s dad announces plans to sell the beach house, Eric decides it’s time for one last party to go out with a proverbial bang—a good old fashioned orgy. With Lindsay Sloane, Lucy Punch, Leslie Bibb, Lake Bell, Tyler Labine, and Will Forte. A Samuel Goldwyn Films/SPWA release.


The Guard


The Guard
Directed and written by John Michael McDonagh
(Ireland) – New York Premiere, Narrative

Curmudgeonly small-town sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson, In Bruges) has a confrontational personality, a subversive sense of humor, a dying mother, a fondness for prostitutes, and absolutely no desire whatsoever to work with a straight-laced FBI agent (Don Cheadle) in from the States on a cocaine-smuggling case. Venerable Irish character actor Gleeson fills his acid-tongued cop with an irreplaceable charm, and his banter with Cheadle will leave you in stitches. A Sony Pictures Classics release.


The Hideaways


The Hideaways
Directed by Agnès Merlet
(France, Ireland) – World Premiere, Narrative

The Furlong men have unusual powers. Grandpa goes blind when he thinks of sex, Dad fries electronics when he’s afraid… but young James has a far more fearsome power. After losing everyone he loves, he flees to the woods to live alone. But when he’s discovered by a beautiful teenage cancer patient, their romance leads James on a journey back to civilization. Agnès Merlet (Artemisia) directs this whimsical fable about learning to live with the curses—and blessings—we inherit.


Higher Ground


Higher Ground
Directed by Vera Farmiga
Written by Carolyn S. Briggs and Tim Metcalfe
(USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative

Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) makes her directorial debut and stars in an adaptation of Carolyn S. Briggs’ memoir. Set in a tight-knit spiritual community at the height of feminism in the 1960s, Higher Ground is an exquisite study of one woman’s internal struggle with love and relationships. Farmiga delivers a nuanced performance straight from the gut, with compelling support from John Hawkes, Donna Murphy, Bill Irwin, and Joshua Leonard. A Sony Pictures Classics release.


Janie Jones

Janie Jones
Directed and written by David M. Rosenthal
(USA) – US Premiere, Narrative

Ethan (Alessandro Nivola), a struggling musician content with his on-the-road rock-and-roll lifestyle and his much younger girlfriend (Brittany Snow), has his life turned upside down with the arrival of a 13-year-old daughter he never knew he had. Left with the responsibility of raising Janie Jones (Abigail Breslin), a shy but talented aspiring musician herself, Ethan embarks with Janie on a road trip of music, discovery, and father-daughter bonding. A Tribeca Film release.




Directed by Sebastian Dehnhardt
(Germany) – World Premiere, Documentary

Six-foot-six Ukrainian brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko emigrated to Germany to begin careers in heavyweight boxing in 1996, and the sport was never the same. After a 15-year reign over the ring, they made history in 2008, becoming the first brothers in the sport to hold world titles at the same time. Through an engaging mix of candid interviews and absorbing fight footage, Klitschko offers a captivating glimpse into the makings of these champion boxing brothers.


l'amour fou


L’amour fou
Directed by Pierre Thoretton
(France) – US Premiere, Documentary

It was called the “auction of the century.” Following the death of his partner in business and life, fashion luminary Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Bergé made the difficult decision to sell off their immense collection of precious art. This luxuriant documentary uses their beautiful possessions as the puzzle pieces to form an equally beautiful portrait of the private world of an icon and the man who loved him. In French with English subtitles. A Sundance Selects release.


Last Night
Directed and written by Massy Tadjedin
(USA) – US Premiere, Narrative

Apart for one night, a happily married couple (Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington) is confronted by temptation that may decide the fate of their marriage. Last Night is ultimately about choices—to be in a relationship with someone, to give yourself to someone physically, to open yourself emotionally, and how to survive all three. Eva Mendes, Guillaume Canet, and Griffin Dunne also star in this sexy, provocative romantic drama. A Tribeca Film release.


Let the Bullets Fly


Let the Bullets Fly
Directed by Jiang Wen
(Hong Kong, China) – International Premiere, Narrative

Set during the Age of the Warlords in the 1920s, this comic western is the highest grossing Chinese film ever. When circumstances force an outlaw (actor/director Jiang Wen) to impersonate a county governor and clean up a corrupt town, the Robin Hood figure finds himself in a showdown with the local “godfather” (Chow Yun-Fat). Full of surprises and grounded with a smart, humorous script, Let the Bullets Fly’s battles are fought with guns and wit. In Mandarin with English subtitles.


Like Water

Like Water
Directed by Pablo Croce
(USA) – World Premiere, Documentary

In the most brutal and often most misunderstood sport in the world, becoming a champion takes more than just blood, sweat, and tears. Like Water follows middleweight Ultimate Fighter Anderson Silva as he prepares to crown his four-year run as the unbeaten king of the sport with a record 12th straight win in the UFC. With intimate access to Silva and his intense training, the surprising and inspiring man behind one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time emerges. In English, Portuguese with English subtitles.


Directed by Billy Corben
(USA) – World Premiere, Documentary

As the owner of legendary hotspots like Limelight, Tunnel, Palladium, and Club USA, Peter Gatien was the king of the New York club scene—until years of legal battles led to his eventual deportation to Canada. This exuberant documentary charts Gatien’s rise and fall against the transformation of New York City, offering a wild ride through a now-closed chapter in the history of NYC nightlife. From the director of Cocaine Cowboys.


The Loving Story
Photograph by Grey Villet


The Loving Story
Directed by Nancy Buirski
(USA) – New York Premiere, Documentary

Nancy Buirski’s moving, evocative documentary recounts the unknown love story of Mildred and Richard Loving, the couple behind the 1967 Supreme Court ruling overturning anti-miscegenation laws in the United States. Drawing from a wealth of stunning archival footage, The Loving Story recreates a seminal moment in history in uncommon style, anchoring a timely message of marriage equality in a personal, human love story.


Mama Africa


Mama Africa
Directed by Mika Kaurismäki
Written by Mika Kaurismäki and Don Edkins
(Germany, South Africa, Finland) – International Premiere, Documentary

Packed with five decades of rare archival footage and captivating melodies, Mama Africa tells the incredible story of Miriam Makeba. First introduced to American audiences by Harry Belafonte, Makeba’s songs exposed the injustice of Apartheid in South Africa to the world—resulting in a 30-year exile from her home country. Throughout her life, Makeba inspired millions through her powerful songs of joy, love, and revolution. In English, French with English subtitles.


A Matter of Taste


A Matter of Taste
Directed by Sally Rowe
(USA) – New York Premiere, Documentary

Eel, violets, and chocolate. Espuma of calf brains and foie gras. They’re the kind of hyper-modern dishes that made virtuosic young chef Paul Liebrandt a fast-rising star in the NYC restaurant world. But after September 11, when haute cuisine took a back seat to comfort food, Liebrandt would have to struggle for a decade in and out of the kitchen to get back to the top. A Matter of Taste mixes sumptuous food with an insider’s view into the complicated relationships between critics, chefs, and restaurant owners.


My Piece of the Pie


My Piece of the Pie (Ma part du gâteau)
Directed and written by Cédric Klapisch
(France) – New York Premiere, Narrative

From Cédric Klapisch, director of 2002 hit L’Auberge Espagnole, comes a financial-era drama with a biting comic edge. When single mom France loses her factory job, she is forced to take a gig as a housekeeper and nanny for Steve, a hotshot Parisian stockbroker. As France and Steve grow closer, it seems both of their minds may be opening to each other’s worldviews—until France makes an unsettling discovery about Steve and events snowball toward a shocking dramatic finale.


New York Says Thank You


New York Says Thank You
Directed by Scott Rettberg
(USA) – World Premiere, Documentary

New York Says Thank You is an epic story following the journey of New Yorkers whose lives were touched by September 11 as they travel the country helping communities rebuild after disasters. Along the way, they face their emotions and ultimately triumph over tragedy through an idea that evolved from a five-year-old New York City boy.


The Perfect Family


The Perfect Family
Directed by Anne Renton
Written by Claire V. Riley and Paula Goldberg
(USA) – World Premiere, Narrative

In this sweet family drama, a devout Catholic (Kathleen Turner) in the running for the coveted Catholic Woman of the Year award must prove that her family actually conforms to the image of “the perfect family” as envisioned by the church, an image she’s put forth with considerable effort her whole life. Also starring Emily Deschanel, Jason Ritter, Richard Chamberlain, and Michael McGrady.


Point Blank


Point Blank (A Bout Portant)
Directed by Fred Cavayé
Written by Fred Cavayé and Guillaume Lemans
(France) – International Premiere, Narrative

Samuel (Gilles Lellouche) is studying to be a nurse and his very pregnant wife, Nadia (Elena Anaya), is relegated to bed rest. But when Nadia is kidnapped right in front of him, to get her back he’ll have to free a man under police surveillance from the hospital in three hours. Point Blank is a taut suspense thriller that gets the adrenaline-inducing action going right from the start and never eases up. In French with English subtitles. A Magnolia Pictures release.




Directed by Adam Kassen and Mark Kassen
Written by Chris Lopata
(USA) – World Premiere, Narrative

Mike Weiss (Chris Evans) is not your typical lawyer. The tattooed and drug-addicted townie has more than his share of personal demons, but can he straighten up long enough to lead a renegade safety-needle inventor to victory against a monopolizing medical supply corporation? This David and Goliath legal drama, based on a true story, exposes the corruption and kickback schemes threatening the lives of millions of health care workers.


A Quiet Life


A Quiet Life (Una Vita Tranquilla)
Directed by Claudio Cupellini
Written by Filippo Gravino, Guido Iuculano, Claudio Cupellini
(Italy, Germany, France) – New York Premiere, Narrative

Two decades after he disappeared from Naples, ex-gangster Rosario has earned all the rewards of a simple life in rural Germany—a lovely young wife, a new son, and a gratifying restaurant/hotel business. But when a pair of mysterious young men take a room at his hotel, Rosario’s violent past catches up with him. The great Toni Servillo (Il Divo, Gomorrah) stars in this slow-burn dramatic thriller, a brilliant addition to the new school of sophisticated, subtly suspenseful Italian crime films. In Italian, German with English subtitles.




Directed by Eric Drath
(USA) – World Premiere, Documentary

Despite his alpha-male reputation, tennis ace Dick Raskind always felt different from other guys. But it wasn’t until his 40s, after getting married and having a son, that Dick was reborn as Renée Richards. Renée was still dynamite on the tennis court, but being the first transsexual player in the women’s US Open would put her in a spotlight she—or her troubled son—couldn’t escape. This fascinating doc is a testament to both personal and athletic perseverance. An ESPN Films release.


Revenge of the Electric Car


Revenge of the Electric Car
Directed by Chris Paine
Written by P.G. Morgan and Chris Paine
(USA) – World Premiere, Documentary

Behind the closed doors of Nissan, General Motors, and Tesla Motors, the race is on to develop the world’s first, and most economically accessible, electric car. Director Chris Paine’s energetic and beautifully shot follow-up to Who Killed the Electric Car? follows the innovative business models engineered by CEOs and independent entrepreneurs looking to jump-start the global resurgence of electric cars and win over a skeptical public.




Directed by Michael Cuesta
Written by Gerald Cuesta and Michael Cuesta
(USA) – World Premiere, Narrative

For 20 years, Jimmy (Ron Eldard) lived his rock-and-roll fantasy as a roadie for Blue Oyster Cult, but the glory days are gone, and Jimmy just got the boot. Returning to his childhood home in Queens, he finds his mom teetering toward dementia and his high school crush (Jill Hennessy) married to his still-nettling childhood rival (Bobby Cannavale). Building a future means confronting the relationships of the past in this heartfelt coming-of-middle-age tale.


Shakespeare High


Shakespeare High
Directed by Alex Rotaru
(USA) – World Premiere, Documentary

At home, many of them face poverty, gangs, drugs, and a lack of role models, but in their high school drama programs, a diverse group of Southern California teens finds a chance to create a better life. Following several students as they prepare for and compete in the 90th Drama Teachers Association of Southern California Shakespeare Festival, and featuring interviews with Val Kilmer, Mare Winningham, Richard Dreyfuss and executive producer Kevin Spacey, this galvanizing documentary reminds us of the positive impact of arts education on impressionable youth.



The Trip
Directed by Michael Winterbottom
(UK) – US Premiere, Narrative

The glorious English countryside, haute cuisine, and Britain’s best comedians add up to the most satisfying road trip movie in years. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon star as themselves, old friends who wind up touring romantic Lake District restaurants together after Coogan’s American girlfriend bails. Breeding sidesplitting banter about everything from their careers to Romantic poets to who does the best Michael Caine impression, Coogan and Brydon rediscover their friendship and themselves in one hilarious week. An IFC Films release.


When the Drum is Beating


When the Drum Is Beating
Directed by Whitney Dow
(USA, Haiti) – World Premiere, Documentary

The 20-member band Septentrional has been making music for 62 years as Haiti’s most celebrated big band. This inspirational documentary charts the history of Haiti from its triumphant independence from French colonialism to 2010’s devastating earthquake—all set to the vibrant music of Septentrional and punctuated with its members’ personal memories. Featuring a wealth of live rehearsal and performance footage, When the Drum Is Beating is a poignant and high-energy story of resilience. In English, Creole with English subtitles.


Films in the World Narrative Competition, World Documentary Competition, Viewpoints, Spotlight and Cinemania sections are eligible for the Heineken Audience Award, the audience choice for best feature film, in addition to the following awards:


»» Best New Narrative Director (for first-time feature directors in any section), sponsored by American Express;
»» Best New Documentary Director (for first-time feature directors in any section), sponsored by American Express.


Check out more of the slate:
TFF 2011: World Documentary Feature Competition
TFF 2011: World Narrative Feature Competition
TFF 2011: Cinemania
TFF 2011: Special Screenings
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!


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