The Film Festival as Superpower
I ran off to the Tribeca Film Festival last Thursday night. Now here I am, 23 films later, ready to report for blogging duty. Those 23 films include seven shorts, plus three feature selections I watched on my laptop on the bus, after downloading them thanks to Tribeca’s partnership with the amazing new Jaman service. I’m not sure my fellow passengers were as thrilled by the flicker effects of Ken Jacobs’ RAZZLE DAZZLE as I was. The 23 also included two remarkable films I snuck away from Tribeca to catch at the
The Tribeca festival has attracted more than its share of gripes. Since it was created after 9-11 to aid in the revitalization of lower Manhattan, the festival has managed to squander the affection of many, not unlike another superpower I could mention, with behavior that is, arguably, imperial. The festival has been accused of stomping on filmmakers and other festivals who won’t let Tribeca screen its desired films first, and being crassly profligate in its hoopla. Being the director of a regional film festival, I’m sensitive to the cries of smaller festivals; our fall event is often turned down by filmmakers afraid of blowing their chances (incredibly slim—4 out of 100) of getting into Sundance, the neighborhood bully faced by fall film festivals.
Yet I don’t think gripers are giving enough credit to the terrific programming by Peter Scarlet and his team. Peter is one of the most knowledgeable and tireless film discoverers I know, and shorts programmer Maggie Kim also has a great eye. Out of the hundreds of films on offer, I was able to carve out a program of extraordinary films on the theme of “family,” since I’m shopping for films to screen in our KIN FLICKS program in November. And much of what I saw was so extraordinary, that I can only hope that my festival in November is as good as the festival I attended this past weekend. What I admired, I will pursue for
My personal favorite of the weekend was the new documentary, AUTISM: THE MUSICAL. Less than a year ago, I sat on the balcony of the Georgian Hotel in