Watch the trailers for TFF Executive Director Nancy Schafer's favorite movies of the year—from the films that left her buzzing to the flicks she's still dying to see.

Nancy Schafer

I get asked the Top Ten question a lot, and it always makes me hyperventilate, because I think of all the movies I haven’t had a chance to see yet. I thought I’d take a stab at some sort of 2011 discussion, although it’s not technically a top ten.

Let’s start with what I haven’t seen, and you’ll see why I can’t do my top films of the year. These are in no particular order:

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Tribeca alum Tomas Alfredson’s film is getting serious buzz.

Coriolanus: Ralph Fiennes’ directing debut 

We Need to Talk About Kevin: Tilda, Lynne Ramsey…


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Could I be more psyched?

We Bought a Zoo: I’m a Cameron Crowe fan.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: I never thought I’d want to see it after reading the book, but I do. I think it’s the trailer that is reeling me in.

The Muppets: It’s my generation.


Hugo: Marty!

Rampart: The poster alone makes me want to go.


Take Shelter: Jeff Nichols fan.


With all those caveats, you can see why I don’t have a top ten list. But here are some films I like, and why:

Martha Marcy May Marlene: It’s hard not to be smitten with the acting chops of Elizabeth Olsen and John Hawkes. My only complaint is that the camera is too obsessed with her chest, but everyone I mention this to agrees with me and says they thought her chest worthy of adoration.

Rid of Me: There’s something about this Tribeca premiere… Not only did I love the film, and the performances, but I believe in the romantic notion of regional American filmmaking, and this film speaks to that.

The Artist: It makes me smile just thinking about it!


Shame: Oh, my God. The least sexy sex movie you will ever see. It’s hard to recommend a movie like this with its shattered characters and portrayals of despair, but go see it and you’ll see what I mean.  

Drive: There are some flawed bits, but the combo of Carey Mulligan, Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn and a gone-awry con job/heist flick… it’s just pretty awesome.

Beginners: A beautiful film. I have aging parents, and a Jack Russell Terrier… need I say more?


Buck: Many times, truth is better than fiction.

Bridesmaids: When you laugh so hard your side hurts… that’s a good thing! 

The Tree of Life: I got really worried in the beginning that it was going to be all apocalyptic imagery and no story, and I’m truly sorry for Sean Penn, but the rest worked for me. 


The Descendants: I feel I have to mention The Descendants, because I just saw it. I’m not a huge Alexander Payne fan, except for Election. This film didn’t totally change my mind on him, but I will say that Shailene Woodley is worthy of the hype—she and Elizabeth Olsen are the ones to watch this season


Check out more Top Ten lists from Tribeca staffers! What's on YOUR list?