The 2012 Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), presented by American Express®, has announced 46 films selected to play in three sections of TFF 2012: 12 films in World Narrative Competition, 12 films in World Documentary Competition, and 22 films in the out-of-competition Viewpoints section. Viewpoints, established last year, highlights personal stories in international and independent cinema. In addition to these categories, TFF 2012 will present feature-length films in the Spotlight, Cinemania and Special screenings sections; look for announcements on March 8.

For the first time, the documentary and narrative competition sections will have designated opening night films on April 19: The World Before Her will open the World Documentary competition, and Yossi will open the World Narrative competition.

This year’s Festival was curated by a new programming team. The new Artistic Director Frédéric Boyer joined TFF after stints as Artistic Director and Head of Programming for the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival. Geoffrey Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises, has expanded his role in overseeing the Festival program. Genna Terranova has been promoted to Director of Programming, and Cara Cusumano returns as Programmer.

“It’s been so gratifying to watch the new programming team come together and hear their dialogue around film,” said Nancy Schafer, Executive Director of Tribeca Film Festival. “Their passion is inspiring and is reflected in the strength and breadth of the program.”

“The competition of any festival represents a window into its character and its agendas. Tribeca’s competition annually showcases our desire to present exceptional work across a spectrum of storytelling, places of origin, and aesthetics,” said Geoffrey Gilmore. “This year, we present a balanced mix of American and international filmmaking, with what we believe has a special quality and exemplifies a range in the selection.”

In addition to the Competition and Viewpoints categories, the Festival presents feature-length films in the Spotlight, Cinemania and Special Screenings sections, which will be announced on March 8, with the list of short films to follow soon after. The 2012 online Film Guide will go live on Monday, March 12. The 11th Tribeca Film Festival will take place from April 18 to 29 in lower Manhattan.


Ballroom Dancer
Directed and written by Christian Bonke and Andreas Koefoed
(Denmark)—North American Premiere

In 2000, Slavik Kryklyvyy became the World Latin American Dance Champion. Enduring success seemed assured, but instead Slavik’s career sputtered... until redemption seemed possible with his new partner and lover, Anna. But will Slavik’s unwavering ambition prove toxic to their romance? Subtly depicting the pair’s shifting relationship through gestures, glances, and the dance itself, Ballroom Dancer begins as a comeback story and evolves into a movingly intimate tragic romance. In Russian, English with subtitles.

Downeast
Directed by David Redmon and Ashley Sabin
(USA)—World Premiere

Gouldsboro, Maine. Hit hard by the closure of the sardine canning factory, its laid-off residents—mostly 70-year-olds—just want to get back to work. So why is Italian immigrant Antonio Bussone having so much trouble getting federal funds to open a new lobster processing plant? Charged with the spirit of a generation that still gives it 110 percent, this poignant and poetic documentary sheds new light on the trying task of putting America back to work.

Fame High
Directed and written by Scott Hamilton Kennedy

(USA)—World Premiere

Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s follow-up to his Oscar®-nominated The Garden captures all the drama, competition, heartbreak, and triumph among a group of struggling students at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. From the nail-biting freshman auditions to the spectacular senior graduation performance, this endearing coming-of-age documentary is a tribute to discovering your passion and deciding whether you have the talent to take it to the next level.

The Flat (Hadira)
Directed and written by Arnon Goldfinger
(Israel, Germany)—North American Premiere

At age 98, director Arnon Goldfinger’s grandmother passed away, leaving him the task of clearing out the Tel Aviv flat that she and her husband shared since immigrating to Palestine from Nazi Germany in the 1930s. In this emotionally riveting documentary, Goldfinger follows the hints they left behind in a lifetime’s collection of documents to investigate long-buried family secrets and uncover the mystery of his grandparents’ painful past. In Hebrew, German, English with subtitles.

High Tech, Low Life 
Directed by Stephen Maing
(USA, China)—World Premiere

As the Chinese government expands its efforts to “police the Internet” and block websites in the country, and television stations selectively report the news, the rising tide of censorship has aroused a wave of citizen reporters committed to investigating local news stories and crime scenes. This timely and probing documentary tracks rogue bloggers Zola and Tiger Temple as they risk political persecution to become China’s uncensored eyes and ears. In Mandarin with subtitles.

The List
Directed by Beth Murphy
(USA)—World Premiere

After leading rebuilding teams in war-torn cities in Iraq, Kirk Johnson returned to America to establish and advocate for a growing number of Iraqi citizens now targeted by radical militias because they aided the U.S. in the reconstruction effort. TFF alum Beth Murphy (Beyond Belief) creates an affecting portrait of an unlikely but passionate humanitarian who has championed the cause of Iraqi refugees largely ignored by the U.S. government. In English, Arabic with subtitles.

Off Label 
Directed by Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher
(USA)—World Premiere

The term “off-label” refers to the use of pharmaceuticals in any way counter to their prescribed dosage and function. Weaving together the powerful, personal stories of misdiagnosed patients, professional guinea pigs, recreational drug users, and soldiers struggling with PTSD, Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher (October Country) expose the breadth of off-label drug use and take us on an emotional road trip through an overmedicated, misdiagnosed, and drug-addled America.

Planet of Snail
Directed by Seung-Jun Yi
(South Korea)—North American Premiere

Deaf and blind, Young-Chan lives in a quiet, isolated world in his small apartment. But when Soon-Ho, an empathetic woman compromised by a spinal disability, comes into his life, a unique love story begins. Poetic and gently paced, Planet of Snail brings to life the sensual world shared by this special couple, and illustrates that the greatest beauty can be found in the smallest and most unlikely love stories. In Korean with subtitles.

The Revisionaries
Directed by Scott Thurman, written by Jawad Metni and Scott Thurman
(USA)—World Premiere

Once in a decade, the 15 members of the Texas State Board of Education meet in Austin to revise the textbook standards for five million schoolchildren. Led by Don McLeroy, a Young-Earth Creationist and Evangelical Christian, the panel implements standards that will ultimately go into effect in science and history textbooks for schoolchildren across the nation. The Revisionaries is a galvanizing peek behind the curtain at the politicization of education.

The Virgin, the Copts and Me (La Vierge, les Coptes et Moi)
Directed by Namir Abdel Messeeh, written by Namir Abdel Messeeh, Nathalie Najem, and Anne Paschetta
(France, Qatar)—North American Premiere

In his feature debut, French-Egyptian filmmaker Namir Abdel Messeeh sets out to investigate the phenomenon of supposedly miraculous Virgin Mary apparitions in Egypt’s Coptic Christian community. But when the secular director faces opposition from skittish producers and his Coptic family, Namir turns the camera on his wonderfully smart-alecky mother and reimagines his film as a touching, uniquely hilarious portrait of family and heritage. In Arabic, French with subtitles.

Wavumba
Directed by Jeroen van Velzen, written by Jeroen van Velzen and Sara Kee
(Netherlands)—North American Premiere

Mysticism and color reign in this stunning documentary steeped in the fishermen lore of Kenya. Revisiting a childhood fairy tale of a spirit-filled island with the magic to either bless or curse a fisherman’s journey, Dutch filmmaker Jeroen van Velzen explores his memories via Masoud, a real-life legend of shark fishing. His glory days long gone, Masoud relives his youth through grandiose stories told with swaggering pride and heartbreaking nostalgia. In English, Swahili with subtitles.

The World Before Her
Directed by Nisha Pahuja
(Canada)—World Premiere

Weaving together the seemingly opposing stories of the Miss India beauty pageant and a fundamentalist Hindu camp for girls, director Nisha Pahuja illuminates the situation of women across contemporary India, drawing surprising parallels in the way women are perceived and the opportunities that are afforded them in both modernizing and traditional cultures. The World Before Her is a riveting, thoughtful profile of the fundamental contradictions of a country in transition. In English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati with subtitles.


Statistics

The 2012 film slate was chosen from a total of 5950 submissions, a record number for the Festival. The 2012 film selection includes feature films from 32 different countries, including 53 World Premieres, 5 International Premieres, 16 North American Premieres, 10 U.S. Premieres and six New York Premieres. A total of 107 directors will be presenting feature works at the Festival, with 33 of these filmmakers presenting their feature directorial debuts. Among these directors, 25 are women. Twenty-six feature film directors are returning TFF filmmakers.

Awards

This year, 12 narrative and 12 documentary features making their North American, International, or World Premieres will compete for combined cash prizes amounting to $180,000 and donated artwork from the Artists Awards program sponsored by Chanel, featuring renowned artists including Cindy Sherman, JR, Kara Walker and Stanley Whitney.

Awards in the World Narrative and World Documentary Competitions will be presented in the following juried categories:

»» Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature, sponsored by AKA Serviced Residences
»» Best New Narrative Director (for first-time feature directors in any section), presented by American Express
»» Best Actor in a Narrative Feature
»» Best Actress in a Narrative Feature
»» Best Screenplay in a Narrative Feature
»» Best Cinematography in a Narrative Feature
»» Best Documentary Feature
»» Best Editing in a Documentary Feature
»» Best New Documentary Director (for first-time feature directors in any section), presented by American Express

New this year, two feature films—one narrative and one documentary—will be selected to receive the Heineken Audience Award, the audience choice for best feature film. Films playing in the World Narrative Competition, World Documentary Competition, Viewpoints, Spotlight and Cinemania sections are eligible. (In past years only one film was chosen by the audience.)


Check out more of the slate:
TFF 2012: World Narrative Competition
TFF 2012: Viewpoints

Get ahead of the crowd and buy your advance ticket package today! Learn more: TFF 2012 Ticket Packages

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