The Tribeca Film Festival is a modern New York cultural mainstay. Since it began in 2002 as a response to the 9/11 attacks, this springtime festival is devoted to growth, change, and hope in the film industry. This year’s film selection of 98 features is 20% smaller than previous years, making it the most selective Tribeca Film Festival showing yet. The theme of this year’s selections is change: climate, political, and social. This year, the festival falls on Earth Day, which means a focus on environmental narratives and documentaries. Documentaries like WASTED! The Story of Food Waste and A River Below premiered on April 22 to highlight current climate struggles. One of the most highly-anticipated picks is The Reagan Show, highlighting Ronald Reagan’s presidency with behind-the-scenes footage. This take on president-as-performer is a popular pick after the 2016 elections.
2017 is also an amazing year for female stories and points of view, with 32 of the 98 features selected having a woman behind the camera. The lives of famous women and their experiences also provide material for filmmakers. Whitney. “can I be me,” is a documentary about the career of celebrated musician Whitney Houston. The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson details the hidden history of the black, transgender activist who started the Gay Rights Movement during the Stonewall Riots. After Moonlight became one of 2016’s most acclaimed feature films, there are many more opportunities for wide release films about the experiences of young African Americans. One of these narratives comes in the form For Ahkeem. This coming-of-age documentary, directed by Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Soest, chronicles the struggle of 17-year-old Daje Shelton, who just wants her piece of the American dream. After it debuted in Germany, early viewers lauded this film as the perfect story for black youth living in the Ferguson era of America.
One of the most hard-hitting documentary releases of this year’s festival is Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin’s LA 92. Through previously-unseen footage, these Academy Award-winning directors showcase the terrifying beating of Rodney King and the subsequent fallout in Los Angeles. This film, which is getting its world premiere at the festival, is as relevant as ever during today’s ongoing struggles with police brutality. In addition to film, the Tribeca Film Festival showcases entertainment in other media. The immersive experience of the Blackout virtual reality project will be sure to wow guests with a trippy, subway-car piece of performance art.