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Relationships, real-life personalities lead Tribeca festival

Actor and director James Franco at last year’s Tribeca Festival.

A scandalous affair, dysfunctional family dramas, missing babies, a blind piano player, Legos and James Franco make up an eclectic slate of spotlight films and documentaries at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

The lineup of out-of-competition films announced yesterday in the Spotlight section of the New York-based Tribeca festival, a section reserved for more prominent actors and directors, comprises 31 feature films, nine of which are documentaries.

Highlights include Dito Montiel’s Boulevard, an existential family drama starring Robin Williams and Kathy Baker, crime thriller Every Secret Thing and 5 to 7, an intense love story between an aspiring novelist and the wife of a French diplomat, starring Anton Yelchin and Berenice Marlohe.

“Many films feature real-life personalities who’ve accomplished extraordinary feats, while in other films we see personal relationships at pivotal moments of transition,” Genna Terranova, Tribeca’s director of programming, said in a statement.

Actor-filmmaker-writer Franco, a staple of the independent film community, will see the premiere of the film adaptation of his book of short stories, Palo Alto by director Gia Coppola, and also stars in Paul Haggis’ gritty love tale Third Person.

In the documentaries, Keep On Keepin’ On explores the challenges of a talented 23-year-old blind piano player, while documentarian James Spione takes a look at the journey of two people charged under the US Espionage Act in Silenced.

An untitled documentary by filmmakers Daniel Junge and Kief Davidson on the fans of Lego plastic toy building blocks will also have its world premiere at the film festival.

Organizers also announced seven films in the Midnight section, which profiles “boundary-pushing genre films,” and five installations in the Storyscapes section, which showcases interactive, multimedia storytelling formats. Championing independent movies and projects from US and international filmmakers, the Tribeca Film Festival was co-founded by actor Robert De Niro in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks on New York’s World Trade Centre. The festival is aimed at reviving the economy and culture of Lower Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighbourhood. Organizers say the festival has generated an estimated US$850 million in economic activity since its first year in 2002. This year’s edition will run from April 16 to 27.

In the competition categories announced earlier this week, 12 narrative films and 12 documentaries will vie for cash prizes amounting to US$215,000 and artwork donated by contemporary artists. The festival’s opening day selections are Gabriel by newcomer filmmaker Lou Howe and starring actor Rory Culkin in a coming-of-age tale, and Dior and I, a documentary exploring the behind-the-scenes world of the Parisian designer brand Christian Dior.

AP

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