Media For Lunch: Tribeca Film Festival Winners of the Short Film Competition

I love film, theater, television, and storytelling in almost any form. But recently I have developed a deep; heartfelt love for short films. The short form appears to be at the forefront with ingenious and state of the art storytelling. Short films are where many new directors make their mark, experimenting with new techniques and trying out ideas. For example, the popularity of Fede Álvarez’s short film Ataque de Pánico! (Panic Attack!) brought Álvarez his first feature, the remake of The Evil Dead titled, Evil Dead. I hope you will enjoy some the winners from the 12th Annual Tribeca Film Festival, who knows where we’ll be seeing their names attached to next. Be sure to click on the title of the film to view the trailer and learn more about it. 
–MD



Best Narrative Short
The Nightshift Belongs to the Stars
Directed by Edoardo Ponti

Photo: Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

On the eve of their respective open-heart surgeries, Matteo and Sonia forge a friendship through a mutual passion for mountaineering and a promise to climb together in the Dolomites, in Trentino, Italy. Will their hearts survive the challenge? Though Sonia’s husband Mark worries about his wife and feels threatened by Matteo, the two aim for the summit, opening the route to a new beginning and a second chance at life.

Special Jury Mention
Yardbird
Directed by Michael Spiccia

Photo: Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

A young girl who lives in a remote wrecking yard is forced to confront the town bullies when they travel out to torment her father. 

Best Documentary Short
Coach
Directed by Bess Kargman

Photo: Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival
One of college basketball’s most prolific coaches, hall-of-famer C. Vivian Stringer became more well known to the non-sports world when the words “nappy headed hoes” were used to describe the young women she was then leading to the 2007 national championship game. A mother whose career has long been mixed with personal tragedy, Stringer’s handling of the incident is a perfect example of grace under fire. 

Special Jury Mention
Royal American
Directed by Michael Scalisi    

Photo: Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival
A discarded Royal Typewriter from the 1930s is picked up from a trash heap and taken to a repair shop in the Flatiron Building. The subsequent letters written and the responses received, including one from President Clinton, makes this a magical typewriter, one that wistfully questions obsolescence. 

Student Visionary Award
Life Doesn’t Frighten Me
Directed by Stephen Dunn

Photo: Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

On the eve of her thirteenth birthday, Esther Weary must come to terms with the realities of becoming a woman through her clueless grandfather and his pet pug. Life Doesn’t Frighten Me is a coming-of-age comedy about a young woman’s exploration of ugliness and beauty. 

BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Award for Transmedia
Sandy Storyline
Created by Rachel Falcone, Laura Gottesdiener, and Michael Premo

Photo: Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival
Hurricane Sandy was a devastating event that affected millions across the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Caribbean. Sandy Storyline allows those individuals and communities to share their accounts of the storm and its aftermath, with photographs and audio beautifully intertwined through the ingenious Cowbird storytelling platform. 

Sandy Storyline is a truly collaborative project, building a community-generated narrative of the storm that seeks to inspire a safe and more sustainable future. This unique approach to documentary storytelling and civic dialogue is both timely and very personal for a New York audience. It creates a living archive that shows the potential for sharing stories on a very human scale. Contribute your own Sandy stories in the Storyscapes space. 

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Tribeca Film Festival: Flex is Kings

I’ll admit it; I love a good dance flick, I pretty much love any dance film, from early 80s movies such as Beat Street (see “Top Five NYC Subway Movies”),  to the recent crop of dance documentaries that include Every Little Step, First Position andPina. And, yes, even Step Up. It’s a guilty pleasure!  Following the recent crop of dance documentaries, this latest New York centric dance-umentary flexes its muscles to add a bit of gritty edge and social-economic relevance to the dance-doc genre.  Flex is Kingsdirected by Deidre Schoo and Michael Beach Nichols explores the dance movement popularized in East New York (Brooklyn) called flexing. It follows the lives of several street dancers who compete in a dance off competition called Battlefest, a Do-It-Yourself event created and passionately promoted by Reem. Reem does everything, including: maintaining their website (battlefestleague.com), scheduling tours, creating videos, and even providing the dancers a little advice on how to appear more professional (no low riders).  Reem is a man who clearly cares about his community and one of those rare people whose actions makes a difference, which is something needed in an area where the crime rate is high, employment options are low and gang violence is common. Rather than fighting it out on the streets, these gifted young men fight it out on the dance floor where they present a sort of narrative that reflects the violence in their neighborhood.


The film is not limited only to the events surrounding Battlefest; it also follows one of the dancers, Jay Donn, who is cast in the role of Pinocchio with a contemporary dance company, Company XIV, that travels to Edinburg, Scotland to participate in the Fringe Festival. His story is rather inspiring as he is able to adapt and hold his own against the other classically trained dancers. Jay Donn seems set to become one of the first of the Battlefest dancers to become commercially successful.  It’s a joy to watch Jay Donn excel in his art and realize his dreams. His joy is palpable, when he shares the news with his mother; her tears of pride are—at least, to this viewer—infectious (I’m rarely a weepy push over).  The film also focuses on a pudgy, conflicted, inspiring and definitely creative bear of a dancer called Flizzo. Flizzo is the flex legend that everyone respects but wants to bring down so they can be champ. Out of the all the artists featured in the film, Flizzo is the most compelling and multi-dimensional. He may not excel in the relationship with the mother of his daughter, but he excels as a respected leader among his fellow dancers, and this flex master can certainly dance—and battle


The music by Chris Lancaster and Jerome Begin of Tranimal provides the film with a layer of emotional power that complements the dance scenes as we watch them move from an internalized place of focused, in-the-moment, bliss that only a dancer can understand. One particular moment that stands out for its poetic beauty occurs when we see one of the artists alone, dancing in the snow. He is indeed, at one with his dance, with his environment, doing what he loves best and the city is his stage.


As a former small theater owner in Manhattan, I can’t help but have empathy for the DIYers and the small performing artist companies trying to survive in the thankless, fame-driven, shiny commercial goal oriented environment of today’s entertainment world. Reem has that passion and drive to do what he loves and affect people’s lives in a positive way. Flex Is Kingsmay lack some history on the evolution of the dance movement, and I would like to have seen the film go deeper in its exploration of the featured dancers lives, but the moments of dance are beautiful, inspiring, and ultimately satisfying for any dance film fan.  

—John David West

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2013 Tribeca Film Festival Daily Still: Fear of Flying

In honor of the 12th Annual Tribeca Film Festival MoviefiedNYC brings you a daily movie still from a festival film that caught our eyes. Be sure to click on the title of the film to learn more about it.


Photo: Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival



Fear of Flying

A small bird with a fear of flying tries to avoid heading south for the winter. 
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2013 Tribeca Film Festival Daily Still: Depart

In honor of the 12th Annual Tribeca Film Festival MoviefiedNYC brings you a daily movie still from a festival film that caught our eyes. Be sure to click on the title of the film to learn more about it.



Photo: Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

Depart


A mini-essay on motion, image tracking and mapping in an explicitly digital form, Depart moves through various modes of software and internet aesthetics to frame images of sublime landscapes and flying vehicles. Set to a score of air traffic control radios, transportation ambience and ominous drones, the accumulating layers of found, manufactured and self-shot footage—plus a swarm of digitally animated fireflies—ease into an ambivalent co-existence. 


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2013 Tribeca Film Festival Daily Still: Mr. Jones

In honor of the 12th Annual Tribeca Film Festival MoviefiedNYC brings you a daily movie still from a festival film that caught our eyes. Be sure to click on the title of the film to learn more about it.



Photo: Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

Mr. Jones

Mr. Jones weaves its reality with supernatural elements and a touch of mysticism. Imbued with ingenuity and vision, this film delivers good old-fashioned scares. 

—Loren Hammonds

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