Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Black Sheep Previews: Tribeca 2009

A couple of days ago, I submitted my application to be accredited for media access to the upcoming 2009 Tribeca Film Festival. Naturally, I want in. And I swear that my showcasing a little preview of what the festival has in store for this year's New York filmgoers is not at all a cheap attempt to encourage a favorable decision from the press department. I mean, I'm sure they'll be pleased to see coverage on the site when they stop by for a visit but my intentions are entirely genuine, I assure you.

In all seriousness though, the 2009 Tribeca Film festival has put together a pretty exciting program this year. Less is more as the festival has compiled a program consisting of 86 feature films, 28% less than last year. Leave it to a trendy New York festival to trim the fat when excess is no longer in fashion. Besides, wait until you hear what they have in store.

The festival opens on April 22 with an impressive world premiere, the return of New York's quintessential director, Mr. Woody Allen. Hot off the success of international exploits, the Spain set, VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA and London based, MATCH POINT, Allen has come home to New York to set his latest feature, WHATEVER WORKS. As is the case with most Allen works, news on the feature is sparse. Actually, it is practically non-existent. I can tell you that WHATEVER WORKS stars Larry David (pictured below), Evan Rachel Wood, Patricia Clarkson and Ed Begley Jr. On premiering his film at Tribeca, Allen says it is, "a lovely idea of showing my film in a film festival in my own city. It's very exciting." I couldn't agree more. I assume Mr. Allen will be there but this has not been confirmed.

Here are a handful of the other films that have captured my acutely focused attention ...

World Premiere
Directed by Jake Goldenberger
Thomas Hayden Church returns home after being away for 25 years against his will with his cancer-stricken girlfriend, played by Elizabeth Shue. Recent Academy Award nominee, Melissa Leo co-stars in this very dark comedy.

World Premiere
Directed by Cheryl Hines
The script itself is certainly intriguing. A wife (Meg Ryan) holds her husband (Timothy Hutton) captive after he announces that he is leaving her for a younger woman (Kristen Bell) until he is ready to commit to making their marriage work. What is even more exciting about this project is that the script was written by the late, Adrienne Shelley (WAITRESS).

World Premiere
Directed by Michael Cuesta
L.I.E. director and TV series, "Dexter" creator, Cuesta returns with his third feature film. This time out he goes the route of an Edgar Allen Poe horror story, in which a single dad with a recent heart transplant has to find the original donor to save him from a horrible fate.

New York Premiere
Directed by Yojiro Takita
The surprise winner of this year's Academy Award for Foreign Language Film, DEPARTURES tells the tale of a cellist who has returned home following the dissolution of his orchestra. Upon his return, he takes a job as an undertaker. I have to see what beat out WALTZ WITH BASHIR and THE CLASS.

World Premiere
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
This film actually debuted in an early cut at this year's Sundance Film Festival but this latest edit marks the first time Soderbergh's latest foray into serious indie fare in its entirety. This is five days in the life of a high-priced New York escort. I can't imagine anything dramatic about that.

And to think these are just six of the films to be making their marks at this year's Tribeca Film Festival. There are 80 others! There is a whole list of other films in official competition that I didn't even mention. Here's the deal, Tribeca people. I will go into detail about your other films once you accredit me. That sounds fair, right? C'mon ... I've got to meet Woody Allen. The man is like a little movie god type for me. In fact, I may actually pee if I do get the chance to meet him.

It would be totally worth it.

The 2009 Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 22 to May 3. For more information on the festival and how to get tickets, visit the official Tribeca Film Festival website.

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