The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival doesn’t end until April 30th so there’s still a few days left to view cinema’s latest and greatest! In case you missed out on the first part of the fest, we’ve got the highlights – from feminist debates to publicity pranks.
Opening night on Wednesday the 19th went off with a bang due to a music spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. Aretha Franklin, Barry Manilow, Jennifer Hudson, Kenny G., Dionne Warwick, Carly Simon, and Earth, Wind & Fire all showed up to perform for special guest of the night, Clive Davis. A documentary about the legendary music mogul, Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, was the first official screening of the festival. One star who Davis is credited for discovering was also the subject of a new documentary at Tribeca. The late singer, Whitney Houston was the focus in Whitney: Can I Be Me.
April 20th was a date for parties and pranks. Film premieres for Flower and Flames both made waves, but for very different reasons. The former of the two is getting rave reviews, especially for the work of young actress Zoey Deutch who stars in the unpredictable coming-of-age story. Documentary film, Flames, chronicles the real-life unraveling of the relationship of directors Zefrey Throwell and Josephine Decker. Despite the experimental plot, it was the film premiere itself that garnered the most shock. Press were alerted that James Franco, Shia LaBeouf and Greta Gerwig were expected on the red carpet but when photographers showed up the stars were no where in sight, instead shutterbugs were greeted by the Flames cast decked out in masks of the rumored celebrities.
Thursday night was jam-packed with events thanks to the unofficial Tribeca opening party, the IWC Schaffhausen’s “For the Love of Cinema” dinner. Hosted by comedian Samantha Bee, the event was attended by guests including Robert DeNiro, Uma Thurman, Rosamund Pike, Zosia Mamet, Christina Ricci, Taylor Schilling, and Anthony Mackie.
Friday was full of conversations about feminism and film. In the afternoon, Tribeca co-founder Jane Rosenthal welcomed guests to the annual Chanel and Tribeca annual Women’s Filmmaker Luncheon. The event celebrates the women presenting work during the duration of the the festival. Diane Lane, Christina Ricci, Dianna Agron, Joy Bryant, Alice Eve, Melanie Lynskey, Bethann Hardison, and Ellen Burstyn all showed up to Tribeca locale, Odeon, to engage in an afternoon focused on women who work in the movie industry.
As thought-provoking episodic series continue to eclipse standard sitcoms, television has stealthily made its way into the film festival circuit (this year, even Cannes is giving in). At Tribeca, brand new Hulu offering, The Handmaid’s Tale had its premier at the fest on Friday night. Earlier that day, a press conference with those involved became the jump-off point for a debate on whether the show should be viewed in a feminist light. Perhaps afraid to taint the marketability of the project, the majority of the cast and crew tried to distance themselves from using the word “feminist” in response to the plot, despite the fact that it is based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel which sees the power of women decline as birth rates fall and female bodies are discarded once deemed un-useful. Only actress, Samira Wiley, stood true to the material. In a phone interview following the press conference, she told The Advocate: “This is no doubt a feminist work. It is a word that I don’t want to be afraid of, and I think, point blank, there’s no hiding it.”
Fashion took over on Saturday, the 22nd with the Zac Posen documentary, House of Z. The film chronicles the career of the young designer, negative reviews and all. The film’s director Sandy Chronopoulous, the designer himself, and former Vogue editor, André Leon Talley participated in a panel on the House of Z. Anther notable presence on Saturday was Burt Reynolds. Robert De Niro supported the eighty-one-year old actor on the red carpet when he showed up for the premiere of his new movie, Dog Years.
On Sunday, Tracy Morgan, Sting and Ed Helms walked the walk for the premiere of The Clapper. The 23rd also saw the first showing of two documentaries – the heartbreaking, I Am Heath Ledger and the much talked about, Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World. Blurred Lines features insider accounts from the most influential and powerful players in the art industry, including renowned artists such as Julian Schnabel and Marina Abramovic, experts from prominent museums like MoMA and art fairs like Art Basel, insiders at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, and leading gallerists. It is arguably the art-focused film drawing the most hype at this year’s Tribeca.
Other art-centric projects generating buzz include Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait; Tom of Finland; Manifesto which stars Cate Blanchett in thirteen different roles inspired by fifty different artist statements; and Shadowman, which chronicles the life of the little known “Godfather of Street Art,” Richard Hambleton. Central fashion, film, and art figures made appearances in Shadowman, including Michael Avedon, Katya Bankowsky, Ann Dexter-Jones, Logan Horne, Young Kim, Rick Librizzi, Josh de Lisser, Maripol, Clara Mathilde McGregor, Eric Mitchell, Mia Moretti, John Newsom, Meredith Ostrom, Michael Phelan, Sophie Plimpton, Polina Proshkina, Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld & Eniko Mihalik, Julia Restoin Roitfeld, Micol Sabbadini, Eve Therond, Nora Vai, Ouattara Watts, Tyrone Wood. The documentary was celebrated with a premiere on April 22nd at San Remo Café where Andy Valmorbida, Nemo Librizzi, and Oren Jacoby were among the guests in attendance.
Chanel played host again on Monday for the Tribeca Film Festival Program held at Balthazar. Tribeca founders, De Niro and Rosenthal both showed up for the event as well as Katie Holmes, Martha Stewart, Lola Schnabel, Gucci Westman, Jonah Hill, Harley Viera-Newton, and Max Winkler.
Wednesday brought one of Tribeca’s most talked about debuts with the premiere of The Circle, which stars Emma Watson. The Beauty and the Beast star turned up on the red carpet alongside her co-star Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson.
Stay tuned for Tribeca part two! Closing festivities will celebrate the forty-fifth anniversary of The Godfather with back-to-back screenings of The Godfather and The Godfather Part II at Radio City Music Hall on April 29th.
-Jasmine Williams for The Untitled Magazine