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TFF '10: Discovery

The Discovery section, sponsored by MOFILM, presents 17 diverse documentary and narrative films from new voices.



The 2010 Discovery section, sponsored by MOFILM, offers a diverse selection of films by new talent (thus the title!). These 17 films offer something for everyone, starting with documentaries about the North Pole, Congressional redistricting, urban surfing, the collaborative process of seminal downtown New York artists, and a Middle East comedy tour.


All in all, Discovery films present innovative visions from emerging voices, telling stories that range from light and fun to provocative and timely. From a prep school student who starts an underground movement to recruit fellow misfits to a lesbian-drag performer comedic love story set in Rio, from an envelope-pushing slap at the art world to unemployed friends who commit a seemingly inconsequential crime, these exciting narratives introduce us to characters stepping into varying situations that will change the course of their lives. This section features performances by the likes of Amy Sedaris, Jesse McCartney and Jay Baruchel. Also included here is the writing/directing debut of Omar Rodriguez Lopez of the Grammy-winning rock band Mars Volta.


Note: Three films here will also make their debut on the new Tribeca Film Festival Virtual premium platform: Elvis & Madona, The Sentimental Engine Slayer, and Into the Cold. Passes available now!


Beginning April 21, two others will be available on demand via Tribeca Film: The Infidel and The Trotsky.


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Arias with a Twist


Arias With a Twist: The Docufantasy
Directed by Bobby Sheehan
(USA)—North American Premiere

A joyously uplifting celebration of the creative process and the inventive, outrageous downtown art scene of New York of the past 30 years, Arias with a Twist focuses its lens on the inspired collaboration between cabaret and drag artist Joey Arias and master puppeteer Basil Twist, whose groundbreaking 2008 show brought them some of the biggest success of their careers. Featuring never-before-seen footage of Andy Warhol, Jim Henson, Keith Haring, Grace Jones, and Divine.


Beware the Gonzo


Beware the Gonzo
Directed and written by Bryan Goluboff
(USA)—World Premiere

Eddie "Gonzo" Gilman is starting a revolution. When the wild-eyed rebel journalist is ousted from his prep school's newspaper by its über-popular editor, Eddie fronts an underground movement to give a voice to all the misfits, outcasts, and nerds. Soon the power of the press is in Eddie’s hands... but will he use it wisely? Ezra Miller, Jesse McCartney, Zoë Kravitz, Campbell Scott, and Amy Sedaris star in this pitch-perfect teen comedy.




Directed by Ashley Horner, written by Sean Conway
(UK)—World Premiere

Love and lust entangle over a sweltering summer as a novice photographer, Manchester, documents his sweaty affair with his taxidermist girlfriend, Noon. But when a wealthy art-world pornography collector "discovers" Manchester as a genius, the trappings of the art world are unleashed upon the unsuspecting couple, shattering Noon's trust and heart. Director Ashley Horner captures the yearning and desire that can simultaneously strengthen and burn romance.


Elvis and Madona


Elvis & Madona
Directed and written by Marcelo Laffitte
(Brazil)—North American and TFF Virtual Premiere

The lives of a beautiful biker babe and a tall blonde drag performer intertwine in this vibrant Rio-set romantic comedy. Elvis is an aspiring young photographer delivering pizzas to make ends meet. Madona's plans for a spectacular drag show have just been dashed when her rotten sometime lover steals all her money. When they meet by chance, Elvis and Madona's unlikely love will help them chase their dreams and deal with the obstacles that arise along the way. In Portuguese with English subtitles.




Directed by Jeff Reichert
(USA)—World Premiere
This wake-up-call doc exposes the hidden history of our country's redistricting wars, mapping battles that take place out of public scrutiny but shape the electoral landscape of American politics for decades at time, posing a threat not just to Democrats and Republicans, but democracy as a whole. Featuring stories from nine states, Gerrymandering takes a hard look at the framework of our democracy and how it provides our politicians a perfectly legal way to control electoral outcomes.




The Infidel
Directed by Josh Appignanesi, written by David Baddiel
(UK)—International Premiere

Mahmud Nasir (comedian Omid Djalili) may not be the most observant Muslim, but deep down he is a true believer. His life is turned upside down when he learns he was adopted—but most scandalous is that his birth mother was Jewish! And his given name was Solly Shimshillewitz! As Mahmud tumbles into a full-scale identity crisis, a true comedy of religious errors unfolds. With Richard Schiff and Matt Lucas. A Tribeca Film release.


Into the Cold


Into the Cold
Directed by Sebastian Copeland
(USA)—World and TFF Virtual Premiere

The absolute top of the earth is a place few try to reach on foot. Even fewer succeed. With the vast arctic ice vanishing rapidly, photographer, extreme adventurer, and environmental advocate Sebastian Copeland sets out to reach the North Pole on the centennial of Admiral Peary's reach in 1909. This inspiring documentary follows their tumultuous two-month trek—not just through piercing cold and merciless terrain, but straight into the depths of the soul.


Just Like Us


Just Like Us
Directed by Ahmed Ahmed
(USA)—World Premiere
Egyptian-American comic and first-time director Ahmed Ahmed takes us on a hilarious tour from Los Angeles to Cairo, Dubai to Beirut, Riyadh to New York with a gaggle of other stand-up talent, including Maz Jobrani, Tom Papa, Ted Alexandro, Tommy Davidson, and Omid Djalili (The Infidel). Along the way, taboos of culture and geopolitics are exploded, and a younger generation of both comedy talents and audiences is born.

Keep Surfing


Keep Surfing
Directed by Bjoern Richie Lob
(Germany)—International Premiere

This kinetic and fast-paced documentary will put you right on the Eisbach in the heart of Munich, where river-surfing was invented 35 years ago. Stunningly shot with cameras literally on the surfboards, you can sense the exhilaration as they take to the water. With cameos by surfing legends like Nick Carroll and Kelly Slater, Keep Surfing will make you want to hit the waves! In English, German with English subtitles.



Directed and written by Thomas Ikimi
(UK/Nigeria)—International Premiere

British-Nigerian director Thomas Ikimi builds a thrilling psychological drama around an all-consuming central performance by Idris Elba (The Wire). Black ops operative Malcolm Gray is returning home after a botched mission in Eastern Europe. Holed up in a rundown Brooklyn motel room, he is torn between retribution and personal salvation as he mentally unravels. When the walls close in, his story may be all he can leave behind...




Directed and written by Josh Sternfeld
(USA)—World Premiere
In Josh Sternfeld's (Winter Solstice, TFF '03) meticulously crafted murder mystery, a Catskills police detective (Nick Stahl, In the Bedroom) charged with investigating a juvenile homicide in an affluent suburb finds he must return to his struggling hometown of Caswell to find the killers. As his investigation picks up intensity, the grieving mother begins a battle of will and vengeance with members of Caswell, igniting a class war between two vastly different towns in rural America.

No Woman No Cry


No Woman, No Cry
Directed by Christy Turlington Burns
(USA)—World Premiere
More than half a million women each year die from preventable complications during pregnancy or childbirth. In her gripping directorial debut, Christy Turlington Burns shares the powerful stories of pregnant women in four parts of the world, including a remote Maasai tribe in Tanzania, a slum of Bangladesh, a post-abortion care ward in Guatemala, and a prenatal clinic in the United States.


Other City


The Other City
Directed by Susan Koch
(USA)—World Premiere

There's a part of Washington, DC never seen by the tourists and ignored by the mass media. At least three percent of DC is HIV positive, a staggering rate higher than parts of Africa, but the city is also full of encouraging stories of grassroots movements to extend education, combat stigmas, and spread hope. TFF alum Susan Koch's (Kicking It, TFF '08) eye-opening documentary tells the unheard stories behind the growing epidemic in our nation's capital.


Sentimental Engine Slayer


The Sentimental Engine Slayer
Directed and written by Omar Rodriguez Lopez
(USA, Mexico)—North American and TFF Virtual Premiere

Reality and fantasy entangle in the semi-autobiographical tale of a twentysomething misfit's loopy trip through manhood in the dusty US-Mexico border town of El Paso, Texas. While director/writer/star Omar Rodriguez Lopez's psychedelic sonic sensibilities are most well-known for fueling the Grammy-winning rockers The Mars Volta, it is piercingly clear that he is also a riveting and rare voice for independent American cinema. In English, Spanish with English subtitles.




Directed and written by Robert Kirbyson
(USA)—World Premiere

This fun, warmhearted film for the whole family follows the adventures of 10-year-old Billy and his misfit friends as they hatch a scheme to set a Guinness World Record. Along their journey of self-discovery, the boys conquer neighborhood bullies, unite a community, and discover that the only lasting legacy is friendship. With Bobby Coleman, Josh Flitter, Ray Liotta, and Christopher Lloyd.


The Travelogues


The Travelogues
Directed and written by Dustin Thompson
(USA, Italy, France, Germany)—World Premiere

Experimental filmmakers Dustin Thompson and Kathryn Ramey (Yanqui Walker and the Optical Revolution, screening with The Travelogues) explore, in richly textured and multilayered fashion, journeys of adventure and conquest. The Travelogues views the natural and manmade landscape through the lens of the filmmaker’s imagination, and Yanqui Walker portrays real-life American William Walker’s ascent to the presidency of Nicaragua in 1856, raising compelling questions about perception and the construction of history.


The Trotsky


The Trotksy

Directed and written by Jacob Tierney
(Canada)—US Premiere

Like most high schoolers, Leon Bronstein (Jay Baruchel, Tropic Thunder) is having an identity crisis. What differentiates Leon, however, is that he believes he is the reincarnation of Soviet thinker Leon Trotksy and predestined to follow the same path as his namesake. Tackling issues from students' rights to semi-formal dances, this "revolutionary" comedy will have you united in laughter. A Tribeca Film release.


Check out more of the slate:
TFF 2010: World Documentary Feature Competition
TFF 2010: World Narrative Feature Competition
TFF 2010: Showcase
TFF 2010: Special Events
TFF 2010: Spotlight
TFF 2010: Encounters
TFF 2010: Cinemania


Learn more: TFF 2010 Ticket Packages and Virtual Pass
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