With the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival right around the corner, Danielle A. Scruggs shares the films, stars and concepts that we can’t wait to watch.
With 96 movies from 103 filmmakers showing at the 17th annual Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, we are ecstatic for the changes in diversity and inclusion happening on the independent circuit.
Did you know: 46 percent of the films submitted are by women? There are a ton of subjects, genres, stars and concepts to choose from, so much so that it could all be overwhelming to the average cinemagoer.
Don’t worry, though, we got you.
We have compiled a pretty thorough list of 24 movies that have intriguing concepts that are worth checking out throughout the run of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.
When a woman leaves her pimp, it’s called “blowin’ up.” In this documentary, director Stephanie Wang-Breal examines an experimental court in Queens that provides counseling sessions that encourage women brought in on prostitution-and human trafficking-related charges to exit the life. The film traces the ups and downs the women face during the sessions as well as the circumstances that led these vulnerable women into prostitution.
Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes
I’m a jazz head so a documentary about one of the most important record labels in music, Blue Note Records, is something that I have to see. (Fun Fact: the Blue Notes logo inspired the original Okayplayer logo as well.)
Blue Note Records was home to some of the most influential musicians in jazz, including Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Bud Powell, Art Blakey, and Eric Dolphy, and is home to present-day artists like José James, Ambrose Akinmusire and Norah Jones.
The documentary traces the history of Blue Note, from its founding to its latter-day Renaissance, through archival photos and interviews with the label’s alums and fans including Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Rudy van Gelder, and Robert Glasper.
Call Her Ganda
Call Her Ganda tells the story of a transgender Filipina woman who was brutally murdered and left in a motel room in the Philippines in 2014. When a U.S. Marine was identified as the primary suspect, it sparked protests and legal action, revealing undercurrents of transphobia, militarism, and ongoing post-colonial tensions between the United States and the Philippines.
Director Marilyn Ness takes us into some of the toughest neighborhoods in Baltimore during a three-year period of unparalleled violence. Baltimore’s situation represents insight into the distrust between civilians and police officers that have been fostered by decades of police and institutional violence. But it is also a look at the vibrancy of the city as well.
On a personal note, I lived in Baltimore when I attended graduate school at MICA and I found it to be one of the most beautiful cities I have ever lived in. And it was made beautiful by the complete lack of pretension of the people of the city. I was excited to see a documentary on the roster that seems like it will highlight the particular rough hewn beauty of the city.
Dead Women Walking
Dead Women Walking traces the final days of a series of women on death row, from two weeks before one inmate’s execution to mere minutes before another’s. This film co-stars Moonlight ’s Ashton Sanders as the teenage son of one of the women who is imprisoned. Like O.G. and It’s a Hard Truth, Ain’t It, this story traces the human toll of mass incarceration and the enforcement of the death penalty.
Gilda Radner was one of the vivacious original cast members of the cultural comedy institution Saturday Night Live. This documentary uses personal recordings and journal entries to tell the story of Radner most people do not know: her struggles with success, fame, relationships, and battle with ovarian cancer.
It’s a Hard Truth, Ain’t It
It’s a Hard Truth, Ain’t It follows 13 incarcerated men imprisoned at the Pendelton Correctional Facility in Indiana. Over a weeklong workshop inside the prison, filmmaker Madeleine Sackler, who also directed O.G., a drama inspired by the work she did on this documentary, introduces the inmates to the art of filmmaking and encourages them to tell their stories through this powerful medium.
Ollie (Tessa Thompson) is barely making ends meet in her small, economically depressed, town in North Dakota. After she is reunited with her estranged sister, the two face mounting personal and financial pressures that leave Ollie with an impossible choice: returning to an illegal prescription pill selling scheme or leaving everything, including her family behind.
This film marks the feature film debut of writer-director Nia DaCosta. I’m intrigued by this movie not only because it’s work by a black woman director (who are still ridiculously under-represented in Hollywood) but also because it centers on working-class struggles that black people are facing in rural America.
Lila, has a speech impediment that renders her nearly mute in front of strangers. Mo is a drag racer and baker, who has a secret: he can barely read or write. A chance meeting ignites a potential romance for two people from different worlds—if they can just find a way to communicate.
McQueen tells the story of famed fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who tragically took his own life in 2010. The documentary will feature his personal archives and interviews with his friends and family, charting his rise in the fashion world and the creative process behind his provocative designs.
This documentary offers us a look at the groundbreaking TV variety and performance show SOUL!, which showcased black music, dance, and literature from 1968 to 1973.
Troubled American teenager Eze is sent away to his mother’s native Nigeria and gets entangled in scams and corruptions thanks to his con-artist cousin Pius. Nigerian Prince was shot on location in Lagos and finished in less than a year, after filmmaker Faraday Okoro was awarded the inaugural AT&T Untold Stories rant in 2017.