Starting this Wednesday April 13 through Sunday April 24, the 15th annual Tribeca Film Festival, one of the most prolific U.S. film festivals, begins. Opening with the American documentary, “First Monday in May,” follows the creation of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “China: Through the Looking Glass,” exhibition, by curator Andrew Bolton and is directed by New Yorker, Andrew Rossi (“Page One: Inside the New York Times”) should be a grand kick-off for the festival.
I’ll be attending Tribeca for a week looking for some of the newer LGBTQ titles premiering at the festival for their World or North American premiere. There are quite a few hot titles we’ll be looking at including the documentary, “Strike a Pose” about Madonna’s seven male dancers from the Blonde Ambition tour and the narrative feature, “King Cobra” covering the early porn years of Sean Paul Lockhart (aka Brent Corrigan) and his involvement with film producers and murder. It stars James Franco, Christian Slater, Alicia Silverstone and Molly Ringwald.
Here is a look at some of the other LGBTQ related titles screening at Tribeca, which we will be looking to bring back to Austin this September: (all synopsis’ provided by Tribeca Film Festival)
“Check It” directed by Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Fed up with being abused and harassed on the brutal inner-city streets of Washington D.C., a group of gay and trans teens form a gang to fight back. This raw and intimate portrait follows four Check It members as they struggle to find a way out of gang life through an unlikely avenue: fashion.
“Strike a Pose” directed and written by Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan. (Netherlands) – North American Premiere, Documentary. To the fans, they were the unforgettably talented men who supported the career of one of the world’s most beloved and controversial music artists: Madonna. Behind the scenes they were an impressionable group of young dancers whose lives were forever changed by her influence. Strike a Pose reunites the men 25 years later, providing the chance to learn about the emotional truth behind the glamorous facade.
“King Cobra” directed and written by Justin Kelly. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. This ripped-from-the-headlines drama covers the early rise of gay porn headliner Sean Paul Lockhart (Garrett Clayton), aka Brent Corrigan, before his falling out with the producer (Christian Slater) who made him famous. When Sean decides he’d be better off a free agent, a cash-strapped pair of rival producers (James Franco and Keegan Allen) aim to cash in by any means possible. With Alicia Silverstone and Molly Ringwald
“Reset (Relève)” directed and written by Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai. (France) – International Premiere, Documentary.Stunningly gorgeous and delicate in both subject and treatment, Reset depicts renowned choreographer and dancer Benjamin Millepied (also known for choreographing the dance sequences in Black Swan) as he attempts to rejuvenate the Paris Opera Ballet in his new position as director. With appearances by composer Nico Muhly, Opera alumna Aurélie Dupont, and designer Iris van Herpen, Reset is a delightfully aesthetic affair. In French with subtitles.
“AWOL” directed by Deb Shoval, written by Deb Shoval and Karolina Waclawiak. (USA) – World Premiere. Joey (Lola Kirke) is a young woman in search of direction in her small town. A visit to an army recruiting office appears to provide a path, but when she meets and falls in love with Rayna (Breeda Wool) that path diverges in ways that neither woman anticipates. Building on the award-winning short of the same name, director Deb Shoval crafts a clear-eyed love story, and an impressive feature film debut.
“Women Who Kill” directed and written by Ingrid Jungermann. (USA) – World Premiere. Morgan and Jean work well together as true crime podcasters because they didn’t work well, at all, as a couple. When Morgan strikes up a new relationship with the mysterious Simone, their shared interest turns into suspicion, paranoia, and fear. Ingrid Jungermann’s whip smart feature debut is an adept and wry comedy on modern romance’s hollow results, set in an LGBTQ Brooklyn. With Ingrid Jungermann, Ann Carr, Sheila Vand, Shannon O’Neill, Annette O’Toole, Grace Rex
“Memories of a Penitent Heart” directed by Cecilia Aldarondo. (USA, Puerto Rico) – World Premiere. Like many gay men in the 1980s, Miguel moved from Puerto Rico to New York City; he found a career in theater and a rewarding relationship. Yet, on his deathbed he grappled to reconcile his homosexuality with his Catholic upbringing. Now, decades after his death, his niece Cecilia locates Miguel’s estranged lover to understand the truth, and in the process opens up long-dormant family secrets. In English, Spanish with subtitles.
“California” directed by Marina Person (Brazil) – North American Premiere. Narrative. The year is 1984, and Brazil is on the cusp of massive political change. Estela is a high school woman preparing to travel to California to visit her uncle, who is a music journalist and pop-culture connoisseur. She focuses on keeping up her grades to go on her trip while navigating romance, sex and social pressures. But when Estela’s uncle suddenly returns to Brazil sickly thin and pale, intending to get his things in order, the family’s quiet mourning hints at the nascent AIDS epidemic of the ’80s. Set to the musical and cultural touchstones of the era—Bowie, the Cure, Kerouac’s On the Road—Califórnia tells a nostalgic coming-of-age story very much of a moment in time, but also speaking to universal experiences of family, love and growing up.
“Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four” directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. In 1994, four women were tried and convicted of a heinous assault on two young girls in a court case that was infused with homophobic prejudice and the Satanic Panic sweeping the nation at that time. Southwest of Salem is a fascinating true crime story that puts the trial of the San Antonio Four in context of their ongoing search for exoneration.