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The 2012 Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), presented by founding sponsor American Express, today announced its lineup of 60 short films, 26 of which are world premieres. Drawn from over 2,800 submissions (!), the shorts will screen in nine thematic programs during the Festival—5 narrative, 3 documentary, and 1 experimental—charting a wide range of cultural perspectives and geographic coordinates.
The TFF 2012 roster includes films from 25 countries and territories, including Australia, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Egypt, France, Germany, Haiti, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Palestine, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Scotland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine.
“With a terrific balance of comedy and drama in the programs, this year’s shorts lineup is sure to take TFF audiences on an amazing ride, twisting between narrative invention, documentary insights, and experimental landscapes,” said Sharon Badal, TFF Head of Shorts Programming. “We’re thrilled to have so many international short films in this year’s selections, particularly from countries whose work may be new to our filmgoers.”
The year’s lineup reflects a particularly wide range of stylistic signatures and storytelling techniques. Highlights include Triptych, a documentary program focusing on art, music and physical beauty, and a decidedly testosterone-heavy edition of our ever-popular New York shorts program (titled Men-Hattan this year in honor of its unusually masculine bent), which will include the world premiere of writer-director (and TFF alum) Neil LaBute’s BFF.
Other returning TFF directors include Julia Bacha, Matthew Bonifacio, Shawn Christensen, David Darg, Sasha-Waters Freyer, Martin Laporte, David B. Levy, Charles Lim, Bryn Mooser, Jay Rosenblatt, and Joel Schlemowitz. The bold-faced names who either perform or are interviewed in the films include terrific character actors and musicians, include Jamie Lee Curtis, Rachel Dratch, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Fassbender, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Rachael Harris, Hugh Masekela, Sting, and Lily Tomlin.
Without further ado, may we present the nine thematic programs…
Men-Hattan – Narrative
Our New York shorts program takes a decidedly masculine turn in these testosterone-infused tales.
In 1964 a young pediatrician begins his residency at Willowbrook, only to discover that the institution’s medical personnel are conducting U.S. Army-funded experiments on the children (based on true events). A poor kid from Brooklyn with college dreams fights the fates for a chance to change his life in Turning a Corner. Each morning Vincent, a down-on-his-luck New Yorker, waits at the B61 bus stop, but when mysterious Sal joins him, an unlikely friendship develops. A conservative Seattle shoe designer travels to New York City for the first time and experiences an unforgettable night in Migraine. Jack and Jill have been “best friends forever,” and when Jill suspects that her boyfriend is cheating on her, Jack offers to help her in BFF. At the lowest point of his life, Richie gets a call from his estranged sister, asking him to look after his nine-year-old niece Sophia for a few hours in Curfew. A young man suspects the girl he is dating to be hiding a secret after she routinely orders massive amounts of food to go in Doggy Bags.
Willowbrook · Directed by Ross Cohen, written by Andrew Rothschild · USA · World Premiere
Turning a Corner · Directed and written by David B. Levy · USA · New York Premiere
B61 · Directed and written by Michael Buscemi · USA · World Premiere
Migraine · Directed and written by Matthew Bonifacio · USA · World Premiere
BFF · Directed and written by Neil LaBute · USA · World Premiere
Curfew · Directed and written by Shawn Christensen · USA · New York Premiere
Doggy Bags · Directed and written by Edward Burns · USA · World Premiere
Character Flaws – Narrative
These shorts provide a glimpse into self-identity and self-discovery.
Yasemin lives in her own world of fantasy with the notes she feels and the sounds she sees, as she spends a day with her mother and grandfather in Time of the Plums. In Donkey, David, a London banker who was the most popular child in class, bumps into Stanley, whom he bullied in high school, resulting in a powerful encounter. The Fourth of July in Los Angeles is always about Fireworks, as two adolescent brothers set out on a quest to impress a group of girls. Once the show begins at this drive-in theater, the concession stand closes for the clerk’s private performance, but tonight his victims seek revenge during Intermission Time. After participating in an execution by lethal injection, a doctor is so overcome by Angst that he decides to find a way out. A 12-year-old boy in a war-torn fishing village in Somalia must decide between falling into the pirate life or rising above to choose the path of an honest fisherman in Asad. Overweight Maori woman Kiri awakens powerful memories when she takes a trip with family and friends to the Whakatiki River, where she spent many summers as a girl. Teacher of the Year is a day in the life of Ethan Collins, a severely depressed, foul-mouthed elementary school teacher whose wife’s recent infidelity and departure have left him questioning everything in his life.
Time of the Plums (Erik Zamani) · Directed by Sezen Kayhan, written by Sezen Kayhan and Cemil Kavukçu · Turkey · New York Premiere
Donkey · Directed and written by Keir Burrows · UK · New York Premiere
Fireworks · Directed by Victor Hugo Duran, written by Kevin James McMullin · USA · World Premiere
Intermission Time · Directed by Michael Degg · USA · New York Premiere
Angst (Angustia) · Directed by León Rechy · Mexico · International Premiere
Asad · Directed and written by Bryan Buckley · USA · World Premiere
Whakatiki · Directed by Louise Leitch, written by Bernadette Murphy · New Zealand · World Premiere
Teacher of the Year · Directed by Chris Modoono, written by Chris Modoono and Gil Zabarsky · USA · World Premiere
Status Update – Narrative
Life’s surprising twists and turns change the direction of these short films.
In Rung, after a cathedral bell ringer passes away, his spot on the bell-ringing choir is up for grabs and two women find themselves in an unlikely competition for the coveted position. A couple’s relationship goes through its first big test in a crowded spot in Café Regular Cairo. GABI is a sassy, sexy, and strong Puerto Rican woman, but an unexpected family death forces her to return to her native homeland, confronting a place she thought she had left behind. When a man brings his eight-year-old son to a soccer game and the ticket price is higher than he expected, he is desperate not to disappoint the boy in Bad Gones. In Screenshot Kate meets an old friend through Facebook and discovers just how unfriendly a place the internet can be. On his way to a statistics conference, John Wilkins is the victim of a freak accident, sucked out of a plane when an emergency door fails mid-flight at 43,000 Feet. Clark and Becca leave a bar after a night out with friends, and when they pass a homeless man on the street Clark gets an idea in Double or Nothing. Liam and Michael are professional safecrackers who meet on a simple job to relieve an office safe of its contents, but there’s a catch—a light-activated alarm system impels the men to embark on a Pitch Black Heist.
Rung · Directed by Chris Hanratty, written by Mike McPhaden · Canada · International Premiere
Café Regular Cairo · Directed and written by Ritesh Batra · Egypt, India · North American Premiere
GABI · Directed and written by Zoé Salicrup Junco · Puerto Rico · U.S. Premiere
Bad Gones · Directed and written by Stéphane Demoustier · France · International Premiere
Screenshot · Directed and written by Cathal Burke · Ireland · New York Premiere
43,000 Feet · Directed by Campbell Hooper, written by Matthew Harris · New Zealand · World Premiere
Double or Nothing · Directed by Nathaniel Krause, written by Neil LaBute · USA · World Premiere
Pitch Black Heist · Directed and written by John Maclean · UK · New York Premiere
Escape Clause – Narrative
These shorts ponder personal predicaments and the pursuit of happiness.
An Air Force drone pilot operates air strikes in Afghanistan from a base in America, returning each day to his wife and son in suburbia, but when his team makes a lethal mistake, he is forced to face reality beyond the cubicle in Unmanned. Alone in a brightly lit studio, a ballerina recalls her old choreography, leaping and spinning in front of an invisible audience in Prima. Amit and her female life partner Noa have decided to take a crucial step and have a baby, but despite their strong self-confidence, after the baby’s birth neither one of them knows what to do next in Stitches. A French narrator jumps from one dramatic scene to another, confused about the story that he is trying to tell in Voice Over. When Jason and his mother attend a funeral service of someone they have never met, they accidentally wind up leading The Procession. An ordinary suburban mom carefully plans a life-changing trip to Paris, but when her plans go terribly awry, she finds herself alone on the banks of the Seine wondering why the city of dreams cannot magically fill her life with meaning in Picture Paris.
Unmanned · Directed and written by Casey Cooper Johnson · USA · New York Premiere
Prima · Directed and written by Miguel Calayan · Philippines · World Premiere
Stitches (Tfarim) · Directed and written by Adiya Imri Orr · Israel · World Premiere
Voice Over · Directed by Martin Rosete, written by Luiso Berdejo · Spain · North American Premiere
The Procession · Directed and written by Robert Festinger · USA · World Premiere
Picture Paris · Directed and written by Brad Hall · USA · New York Premiere
Fallout – Narrative
Decisions and repercussions confront the characters in these short films.
Following the tsunami that claimed the lives of his parents, Adirake searches for the white elephant his mother spoke of in this coming-of-age story. After passing the civil service examination Sung-joo returns to her hometown to spend the day with her friend, Shin-hee, who stayed behind, in Chupachups. Taking place in the ex-Yugoslavia of the 1970s, a mother secretly celebrates Easter at home with her children when their father, an army officer and ingrained communist, discovers his family’s clandestine festivities in Easter Eggs. Trotteur is a tale of man versus machine in a duel between a young man and a locomotive. A young couple trapped in a remote estate of empty houses and shrieking Foxes is beckoned from their isolation into a twilight world. Following a deadly pandemic that has decimated the world’s population, a father drives his nine-year-old daughter from the west coast of Australia to the safe zone in Transmission. A young Irishman traveling All That Way For Love across the African continent to get to his doctor girlfriend hitches a ride with a nomadic older couple and becomes embroiled in their complicated history.
Adirake · Directed and written by Tati Barrantes and Andinh Ha · Thailand · International Premiere
Chupachups · Directed by Ji-suk Kyung · South Korea · North American Premiere
Easter Eggs · Directed by Slobodan Karajlovic, written by Slobodan Karajlovic and Jelena Svilar · Croatia · New York Premiere
Trotteur · Directed by Arnaud Brisebois and Francis Leclerc, written by Arnaud Brisebois · Canada · New York Premiere
Foxes · Directed by Lorcan Finnegan, written by Garret Shanley · Ireland · New York Premiere
Transmission · Directed and written by Zak Hilditch · Australia · International Premiere
All That Way For Love · Directed by Henry Mason, written by Thomas Martin · UK · New York Premiere
Long Story Short – Documentary
Past, present and future coexist in this program of short docs from here and abroad.
A Soviet family searching for a modest paradise is swept into the immense Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, recalled through small episodes as Leonid’s Story. Experience the Egyptian revolution through the eyes of a Bedouin falcon trainer who sees the regime fall from afar and speaks of how falconry and government are similar in A Falcon, A Revolution. Over the course of The New Yorker magazine cartoonists’ weekly lunch, four prominent artists share their styles, inspirations, and creative processes in Every Tuesday: A Portrait of the New Yorker Cartoonists. Ballet shoes are worn by delicate girls, but they’re crafted by burly men whose hands tell another story in The Perfect Fit. For the last 53 years, The Last Ice Merchant Baltazar Ushca has harvested glacial ice from the tallest mountain in Ecuador, prompting this tale of cultural change and indigenous people. A tour of the Oregon State Hospital conducted to uncover the deplorable conditions there uncovers thousands of corroded copper urns containing the cremated remains of unclaimed psychiatric patients in Library of Dust.
Leonid’s Story (Istoriya Leonida) · Directed and written by Rainer Ludwigs · Germany, Ukraine · New York Premiere
A Falcon, A Revolution · Directed and written by Md Rezwan Al Islam and Jassim Al Rumaihi · Qatar · North American Premiere
Every Tuesday: A Portrait of the New Yorker Cartoonists · Directed by Rachel Gordon Loube · USA · World Premiere
The Perfect Fit · Directed by Tali Yankelevich · Scotland · New York Premiere
The Last Ice Merchant (El Último Hielero) · Directed by Sandy Patch · USA · World Premiere
Library of Dust · Directed by Ondi Timoner and Robert James · USA · New York Premiere
Help Wanted – Documentary
Political or personal, these short documentaries address some life-challenging situations.
German engineer Jürgen Perthold was intrigued about where his newly adopted stray, Mr. Lee, disappeared to for days on end, so he developed the CatCam to help solve the mystery. Three Mexican immigrants who risk their lives every day rappelling down some of the tallest skyscrapers in Chicago reveal their thoughts about work, mortality, and the people they observe inside the high-rises they clean in Paradise. As the cholera epidemic rages in Haiti and the UN denies responsibility for introducing the disease despite mounting evidence, witness the stories of a young baseball player named Joseph and a Haitian lawyer fighting for victim compensation in Baseball in the Time of Cholera. By vacating the apartment of an elderly building manager we discover the soul of Jean Lewis, a former female Hollywood reporter connected to some of the most renowned stars of her time. Benjaman Kyle was found unconscious outside a Burger King in 2004 without any clothes, identification, or memories, and seven years later no one knows who he is, even the FBI, in Finding Benjaman. Mohammed El Kurd is a Palestinian teenager growing up in the heart of East Jerusalem, but when his family is forced to give up a part of their home to Israeli settlers, local residents begin peaceful protests and in a surprising turn, are quickly joined by scores of Israeli supporters in My Neighbourhood.
CatCam · Directed by Seth Keal · USA · New York Premiere
Paradise (Paraíso) · Directed by Nadav Kurtz · USA · New York Premiere
Baseball in the Time of Cholera · Directed by David Darg and Bryn Mooser · Haiti · World Premiere
Jean Lewis · Directed by Pascui Rivas · USA · New York Premiere
Finding Benjaman · Directed and written by John Wikstrom · USA · New York Premiere
My Neighbourhood · Directed by Julia Bacha, Rebekah Wingert-Jabi, written by Rebekah Wingert-Jabi · USA, Israel, Palestine · World Premiere
Triptych – Documentary
This trio of short documentaries delves into art, music, and physical beauty.
Dreamscapes looks behind and beyond the canvas of artist Stephen Hannock, following him from his Newcastle opening to the canals of Venice and the streets of New York. Alekesam is the story of Hugh Masekela, an international jazz icon and apartheid activist who was exiled from his homeland South Africa for 30 years, and his son Selema, who attempts to embrace the roots of his identity through music and reconnect with his father. Beauty Culture investigates our obsession with beauty and the influence of photographic representations on female body image and the persistent “beauty contest” of daily life.
Dreamscapes · Directed by Wolfram Hissen · USA, France · World Premiere
Alekesam · Directed by Jason Bergh, written by Jason Bergh and Kevin Barth · USA · World Premiere
Beauty Culture · Directed by Lauren Greenfield · USA · World Premiere
Journeys Across Cultural Landscapes – Experimental
Spanning creative journeys across four continents.
The assembled filmmakers invoke diverse cultural landscapes, suggesting a collective struggle of humanity between apocalyptic visions of the past, present, and future, and the redemptive power of the human spirit. Cinematic techniques comprising found footage imagery, historic audio recordings, still photography, animation, collage, Super 8mm (celluloid) filmmaking, and digital cinematography comprise the rich visual and audio landscapes of these films, all made by talented artists, ranging from emerging student voices to experienced filmmakers returning to TFF.
An Incomplete History of the Travelogue, 1925 · Directed and written by Sasha Waters Freyer · USA · New York Premiere
Scenes From a Visit to Japan · Directed by Joel Schlemowitz · USA, Japan · World Premiere
The Valley · Directed and written by Leif Huron · USA · World Premiere
Sinews of Peace · Directed and written by Timo Franc · UK · World Premiere
Barcelona · Directed by Martin Laporte · Canada · World Premiere
Democratic Locations · Directed and written by Thomas Kutschker · Germany · World Premiere
Abyss of Man’s Conscience (ReconoceR) · Directed by Juan Camilo González · Colombia, USA · New York Premiere
Inquire Within · Directed by Jay Rosenblatt · USA · North American Premiere
All the Lines Flow Out · Directed by Charles Lim · Singapore · North American Premiere
Awards & Benefits
Works selected for the 2012 TFF shorts slate are eligible to compete for combined cash and value-in-kind prizes totaling more than $10,000 for Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short and Student Visionary Award. Awards will be presented on Thursday, April 26.
In addition, for the second year running, the recipient of the Tribeca Film Festival’s Best Narrative Short award will qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules. The 2011 TFF Narrative Short Pentecost was nominated for Best Live Action Short at this year’s Oscars, while last year’s award-winning TFF documentary short Incident in New Baghdad was nominated for Best Documentary Short.
Be sure to browse all the films announced so far in the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival Film Guide.
Next Monday, March 19, we will release the dates and times for all films and programs announced by that time. Want more Tribeca news?