Representing the best in short-form narrative, documentary, and animated film-making, the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, programmed by Sharon Badal and Ben Thompson, has announced its diverse and engaging lineup of 63 short films in competition for its 18th edition, including 31 world premieres.
This year’s shorts program includes a cross-section of international and U.S. filmmakers, curated from a record 5,131 submissions, with women filmmakers directing 45% of the selections. The short films will be presented in 11 distinct competition programs, consisting of six narrative, four documentary, and one animation program. There will also be special screening programs for the annual Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival and the debut of shorts from The Queen Collective, a program aimed at accelerating gender and racial equality behind the camera. The flagship New York shorts program this year is entitled Streetwise and contains all world premiere narrative films; our comedy and sci-fi sections are also back by popular demand in the sections Funhouse and Down to Earth. Among the new programs are the music-focused On Tour and the women-focused No Shortcuts documentary programs; curated especially for late-night audiences is the self-explanatory program WTF.
The 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, takes place from April 24th through May 5th. Here are the ones that caught our eye from the 2019 Shorts Program:
Animated Shorts Curated by Whoopi G
Showcasing imaginative storytelling and captivating craft. This program is suggested for those 14 and older.
La Noria, directed and written by Carlos Baena (Spain) – New York Premiere. A young boy who loves to draw and build ferris wheels encounters strange creatures that turn his life upside down. With English subtitles.
Mind My Mind, directed and written by Floor Adams. (Netherlands, Belgium) – International Premiere. When relying on social scripts to survive the social world, it’s not easy to go off-script. Especially if you’re obsessed with German dive bombers and just want to date a girl. With Simon Hodges, Cézanne Tegelberg, Adam Fields, Faye Bloomfield, Lesley Hughes, Elias Vervecken.
History of White People in America: These American Truths, directed by Ed Bell, Clementine Briand, Pierce Freelon, Jon Halperin, Aaron Keane, Drew Takahashi, written by Pierce Freelon, Jon Halperin. (USA) – World Premiere. How skin became color, color became race, and race became power. Or… the relationship of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson in an animated musical.
Down to Earth – These sci-fi shorts explore the “gravity” of their situations.
Storm, directed and written by Will Kindrick (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. An unexpected user is accidentally launched through a series of turbulent splash portals when his government enforced dating app malfunctions in his bathtub. With John Bubniak, Corey Potter, Gwen Van Dam, RJ Howard, Corey L Page.
Bunker Burger, directed and written by Adam Yorke. (Canada) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. The members of an underground, post-apocalyptic bunker invite a psychologist from the radioactive and chaotic surface to audition for a place to live among them. With Enrico Colantoni, Sara Mitich, Tony Babcock, Jennifer Vallance, Sarah Gnocato, Bethanie Ho, Ronnie Rowe Jr., Jake Raymond, Kyana Teresa, Ava Augustin, Danijel Mandic, Greg Zajac, Tanya Bevan, Grant Landry, Emily Siobhan McCourt.
Unregistered, directed by Sophia Banks, written by Erin Dignam. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. Unregistered is a narrative short film following a new couple navigating analog and digital connections in the not-too-distant future of a dystopian Los Angeles. With Dylan Penn, Trevor Jackson, David Lee Smith.
Express Yourself – Shorts that show their true colors.
Ponyboi, directed and written by River Gallo and Sadé Clacken Joseph (USA) – New York Premiere, Short Narrative. Ponyboi, an intersex sex-worker, looks for love and to escape his seedy life in New Jersey. Through an encounter with the man of his dreams, Ponyboi discovers his worth. Ponyboi is the first narrative film by and starring an out intersex individual. With River Gallo, Keith Allan, Aaron Schwartz, Sophie Labelle, Logan Arevelo.
Driving Lessons, directed and written by Marziyeh Riahi. (Iran) – North American Premiere, Short Narrative. According Iranian law, Bahareh must have her traditional, chauvinistic husband accompany her on driving lessons so she and her instructor will not be alone. With Linda Kiani, Alireza Sanifar, Salar Khamseh, Sanaz Mesbah. In Persian with English subtitles.
Maja, directed by Marijana Jankovic, written by Marijana Jankovic, Adam August. (Denmark) – New York Premiere, Short Narrative. Maja, a six-year-old Serbian girl, has a difficult time interacting with the other kids—and she ends up being misunderstood and lonesome. With Selena Marsenic, Jesper Christensen, Dejan Cukic, Marijana Jankovic. In Danish, Serbian with English subtitles.
Forces of Nature – Character docs that demand attention.
99 Problems, directed by Ross Killeen. (Ireland) – International Premiere, Short Documentary. The inside scoop on the murky world of the ice cream business.
Framing Agnes, directed by Chase Joynt, Kristen Schilt. (USA) – North American Premiere, Short Documentary. In 2017, trans artists gained access to a 1950s archive of never-before-seen histories of transgender people. Through reenactment and documentary, they revive the past to redefine the future. With Angelica Ross, Chase Joynt, Max Wolf Valerio, Silas Howard, Zackary Drucker.
Funhouse – It’s all fun and games in these comedic shorts.
Westfalia, directed and written by Haley Finnegan, written by Haley Finnegan. (USA) – New York Premiere, Short Narrative. A couple embarks on an epic road trip in an attempt to gain more followers after their Instagram rival’s fame doubles overnight. With Haley Finnegan, Brian Flynn, Nicholas DePriest, Belle Adams, Laura Lawson Visconti, Nick Visconti.
Lady Hater, directed and written by Alexandra Barreto. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. A self-proclaimed “guy’s girl” finds herself cstuck in an all-female, goddess seminar. With Allyn Rachel, Natalie Zea.
Hard-ish Bodies, directed and written by Mike Carreon. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. A plus-size male stripper knocks on the wrong door and is thrust into the criminal underworld. His only chance to save the club and himself is to do what he does best … DANCE! With Mike Carreon, James C Leary, Regina Soto, Heidi Lornz, Marcone Cangussu, Adam Mengesha, Isaac Garza, Meghan Malone.
Life Preserver – Docs that make a difference.
Keepers of the Wild, directed and written by Adam McClelland. (USA) – New York Premiere, Short Documentary. Keepers of the Wildfollows baby orphan elephants and their human keepers in the constant struggle to keep these majestic, complex and loving animals alive and wild in Kenya’s largest National Park.
A Tale of Two Kitchens, directed by Trisha Ziff, written by Trisha Ziff, Sheerly Avni. (USA, Mexico) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. Two countries, two restaurants, one vision. A Tale of Two Kitchensexplores how a restaurant is a place of dignity and community across Mexico City and San Francisco. In English, Spanish with English subtitles. A Netflix release.
All On a Mardi Gras Day, directed and written by Michal Pietrzyk. (USA) – New York Premiere, Short Documentary. In a gentrifying New Orleans, Demond is part of a secret culture called Mardi Gras Indians, African-American men who spend all year sewing feathered suits to decide who’s “the prettiest.”
No Shortcuts – Navigating life is tough in these female-focused docs.
Reality Baby, directed by Nodlag Houlihan. (Ireland) – International Premiere, Short Documentary. A group of friends is given lifelike baby dolls to care for over 24 hours. How will they rise to the challenges of teenage motherhood?
Little Miss Sumo, directed and written by Matt Kay. (Japan, Taiwan R.O.C., UK, USA) – North American Premiere, Short Documentary. Female sumo wrestling champion Hiyori confronts obstacles both inside and outside the ring in an attempt to change Japan’s national sport forever. In English, Japanese with English subtitles. Also playing in Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival: Sports Shorts
After Maria, directed by Nadia Hallgren. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. Strong Puerto Rican women forced to flee the island after Hurricane Maria have bonded like family in a FEMA hotel in the Bronx. They seek stability in their new life as forces try to pull them apart. In Spanish with English subtitles. A Netflix release.
On Tour – Music docs that speak to heart and soul.
Xmas Cake – This American Shelf-Life, directed by May Yam, written by Petra Hanson. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. A coming-of-middle-age story about a female singer’s journey from hot to not, and what ensues across cultures—from New York to Tokyo. With Petra Hanson.
Lost Weekend, directed by Bradford Thomason, Brett Whitcomb. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. In 1984, two friends from small town Pennsylvania win an MTV contest and the chance to party with Van Halen for 48 Hours. With Kurt Jefferis, Tom Winnick.
A Song Can’t Burn, directed and written by Roscoe Neil. (UK) – New York Premiere, Short Documentary. A Song Can’t Burn follows a Scottish musician working with refugee children who have crossed the border from Syria to Lebanon.
Roads Less Traveled – Destinations unknown.
Black Hat, directed by Sarah Smith, written by Phillip Guttmann. (USA) – New York Premiere, Short Narrative. A pious Hasidic man living a secret double life misplaces his hat one night, which will cause his two separate lives to collide in a way he never imagined. With Adam Silver, Sebastian Velmont, Shelly Kurtz, Alan Lennick, Carolyn Michelle Smith, Nicholas Hylander.
Carlito Leaves Forever, directed and written by Quentin Lazzarotto. (France, Peru) – New York Premiere, Short Narrative. A short poetic film following Carlito, a young man living in an indigenous village at the heart of the Amazonian jungle, who decided to leave and change his life forever. With Carlito Tirira Meshi, Alfonsina Sehua Tioshe.
Jebel Banat, directed and written by Sharine Atif. (Egypt) – North American Premiere, Short Narrative. Two Bedouin sisters hide on a mountain, escaping forced marriages and embarking on a journey of freedom. With Sara Soumaya Abed, Jala Hesham, Soliman El Jebaly. In Arabic with English subtitles.
Streetwise – New York shorts that can handle themselves.
The Dishwasher, directed and written by Nick Hartanto, Sam Roden. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. A chef at a fine dining restaurant in New York City asks a Mexican dishwasher to find good tortillas. With Kevin Balmore, Elisha Yaffe, Holly Lynn Ellis, Teddy Cañez, Arisleyda Lombert, Richie Moriarty. In English, Spanish with English subtitles.
Night Swim, directed by Victoria Rivera, written by Victoria Rivera and Neda Jebelli. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. Three teenage girls break into a shut down pool. When uninvited guests show up, their friendship is tested and one of them is left behind. With Adriana Santos, Chloe Roe, Adea Lennox.
Rogers and Tilden, directed by Henry Hayes, written by Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Henry Hayes. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. Fresh out of prison in a Brooklyn he barely recognizes, Marcus is looking to seize his second chance. But first, he needs that driver’s license. With Gbenga Akinnagbe, Curtiss Cook Jr, Lorrie Odom.
Master Maggie, directed by Matthew Bonifacio, written by Julianna Gelinas Bonifacio, Matthew Bonifacio. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. A celebrity acting coach is interrupted by an unknown actor begging for her help for a TV audition. What follows is an unexpected journey for the both of them. With Lorraine Bracco, Neil Jain, Kenan Thompson, Brian Dennehy, Chris Henry Coffey.
WTF – Watch These Films curated especially for late-night.
Twist, directed and written by Aly Migliori. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. No choice but to walk home alone, Hannah sees an opportunity for a ride, but others see an opportunity in her. With Helena Howard, Megan Seely, Henry Dwyer, Mike Donovan, Justin Hofstad, Matthew Russell.
Whiteout, directed by Lance Edmands, written by Lance Edmands, Sarah Tihany. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. When a young couple encounters a strange old man wandering in a snowstorm, they must decide if he needs help, or if he has more sinister intentions. With Sarah Tihany, David Call, Patrick M Walsh Jr.
His Hands, directed and written by Arron Blake, Darius Shu. (UK) – North American Premiere, Short Narrative. Two men of different ages meet for the strangest encounter of their lives. With Arron Blake, Philip Brisebois.
Hunting Season, directed by Shannon Kohli, written by Hannah Levien. (Canada) – New York Premiere, Short Narrative. Callie, a small town gas station attendant, has an unexpected encounter which will change the course of her life forever. With Hannah Levien, Luke Camilleri.
11:50, directed and written by Yiguo Chen. (China) – World Premiere, Short Narrative. In the pouring rain, a junkie takes the hotel key of a man that his car has accidentally killed. As he walks into the hotel and finds that room, he has to face a mysterious journey that will never have an end. In Chinese with English subtitles.
Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival: Sports Shorts
The Boxers of Brule, directed and written by Jessie Adler. (USA) – New York Premiere, Short Documentary. Shaionna, a young Lakota woman, creates a girls’ boxing team to combat the youth suicide epidemic threatening the Lower Brule Sioux Reservation. With the odds stacked against her, she must confront her own demons while fighting to bring hope and healing to her community. With Shaionna Grass Rope, Shilea Grass Rope, Davita Thompson, Pam Ziegler. In English with English subtitles.
Mack Wrestles, directed by Taylor Hess, Erin Sanger. (USA) – New York Premiere, Short Documentary. Mack Beggs loved wrestling—it gave him a sense of purpose and a sense of self. Mack Wrestles takes the audience behind the scenes as this gifted athlete from Euless, Texas, struggles against the outside forces that stigmatize transgender athletes.
The Queen Collective Shorts
These two documentaries were made with the Queen Collective, supported by Procter & Gamble, a program aimed at accelerating gender and racial equality behind the camera. Created by directors B. Monét and Haley Elizabeth Anderson, these short films inspire positive social change and embody Procter & Gamble’s commitment to supporting gender and racial equity, on-screen and behind the scenes.
Ballet After Dark, directed by B. Monét. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. Ballet After Dark tells the story a young woman who found the strength to survive after an attack. She created an organization that is helping sexual abuse and domestic violence survivors find healing after trauma through dance therapy.
If There Is Light, directed by Haley Elizabeth Anderson. (USA) – World Premiere, Short Documentary. Fourteen-year-old Janiyah Blackmon wrestles with her new life in New York City as her mom tries to move her family out of the shelter system and into a stable home. With Janiyah Blackmon, McKayla Blackmon, Jakena Blackmon.
For complete list of shorts please visit TRIBECA’S 2019 SHORT FILM SELECTIONS
Passes, Tickets, and Credentials for the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival
Advance selection ticket packages are now on sale. All packages can be purchased online, or by telephone at (646) 502-5296 or toll free at (866) 941-FEST (3378).