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March 2006
2006 Tribeca Film Festival news

37 World Premieres From Eleven Countries IN COMPETITION

New York, NY [March 15, 2006] - The 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by American Express, today announced the line-up for its International and NY, NY Competition categories for its Fifth Annual Festival, taking place April 25 - May 7, 2006. The International Narrative Features and International Documentary Features Competitions reflect the vitality of the world arts community and include 33 films, eleven of which are World Premieres.

The NY, NY Narrative Features and NY, NY Documentary Features Competitions capture the diverse perspectives of living in and experiencing New York and include 26 films, all of which are World Premieres. The jurors for the competition categories will be announced at a later date.

For the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, a total of 169 feature films and 99 shorts were selected from 4,100 film submissions, including 1,950 feature submissions - three times the total submissions from the first festival in 2002. Of th e features selected there are 90 World Premieres, ten International Premieres, 29 North American Premieres, seven U.S. Premieres and 28 New York City Premieres from 40 countries.

"Our record-number of film submissions this year reflects the growing strength of the Festival," said co-founder Jane Rosenthal. "This year's program includes a wide range of talent and perspective from around the globe."

"These films give cause for optimism about the vital state of filmmaking all over the world," said Peter Scarlet, Executive Director. "They also remind us of the unparalleled capacity of movies to give us a better chance to come to grips with the increasingly perplexing world we live in."

Titles of films selected for competition follow.

International Narrative Feature Competition

From outspoken explorations of societies in crisis to ironic portrayals of the perils of fame, the films selected for this section represent a broad range of work, primarily by debuting directors, with a few titles by more established international film artists. Includes 17 films, four of which are World Premieres:

* The Architect, directed and written by Matt Tauber (USA) - World Premiere. A Magnolia Pictures Release Based on Scottish playwright David Greig's The Architect, Tauber's debut feature pits an architect (Anthony LaPaglia) against a female community resident who lives in a dangerous housing project that he designed. By contrasting two Chicago families in divergent economic circumstances, The Architect ably explores political, sexual, and class issues. Also starring Isabella Rossellini.

* Backstage, directed by Emmanuelle Bercot, written by Bercot and Jérôme Tonnerre. (France) - U.S. Premiere. An adolescent groupie (Isild Le Besco) zeroes in on her Blondie-like idol (Emmanuelle Seigner) after the singer chances to cross her orbit on a publicity tour. Gradually their lives intertwine as, with near-operatic intensity, the film delves into the emotional dependency on both sides of celebrity culture.

* Blessed By Fire (Iluminados por el Fuego), directed by Tristán Bauer, co-written by Bauer, Edgardo Esteban, Gustavo Romero Borri, and Miguel Bonasso (Argentina/Spain) - North American Premiere. A former infantry mate's overdose sparks wartime memories for Esteban, who tries to reconcile his life today with the part of him that died along with his ideals and comrades in the war for the Falkland Islands. The harrowing account from Argentine director Bauer, based on a memoir, reminds us that survivors keep fighting long after leaving the battlefield.

* Brasilia 18%, directed and written by Nelson Pereira dos Santos (Brazil) - International Premiere. A star medical examiner is called to Brasilia, the administrative capital of Brazil, to confirm the identity of a beautiful, young congressional aide's dead body. But his scientific rigor soon leads him to details of a multi-layered political scandal. This wild thriller by Cinema Novo pioneer Nelson Pereira dos Santos is a hallucinatory meditation on governmental corruption.

* Choking Man, directed and written by Steve Barron (USA) - World Premiere. The social anxiety of a morbidly shy Ecuadorian dishwasher working in a Queens diner provides the psychological engine that powers this intense blend of drama and magical realism from famed music video director Steve Barron. Newcomer Octavio Gómez Berríos gives a quietly effective performance in the "title" role. Also starring Mandy Patinkin.

* Colour Me Kubrick, directed by Brian Cook, written by Anthony Frewin (UK, France) - International Premiere. John Malkovich gives a hilarious tour-de-force as Alan Conway, a conman who successfully passed himself off as the famed and notoriously reclusive director for the last decade or so of the filmmaker's life. Combining breathtaking chutzpah undeterred by a barely fleeting knowledge of Kubrick's work, Malkovich's Conway switches accents, costumes and mannerisms with sly delight.

* The Free Will (Der Freie Wille), directed by Matthias Glasner, written by Glasner, Judith Angerbauer, and Jürgen Vogel (Germany) - North American Premiere. This sometimes shockingly graphic German film delves into the dark and complex world of Theo, a convicted rapist released from prison and readjusting to civilian life. The path he follows is rarely straight, and when he makes an attempt at a romantic relationship, the film expands into a compelling, multi-layered exploration of uncharted psychological territory.

* Holiday Makers (Ucastnici Zajezdu), directed by Jiri Vejdelek, written by Vejdelek and Michal Viewegh (Czech Republic) - World Premiere. A vacation based on a tour package to a seaside hotel in Croatia turns into a wild party when an eclectic mix of Czech tourists arrive by bus at the hotel. Slapstick humor and heartwarming moments abound in this classic Czech style comedy.

* Land of the Blind, directed and written by Robert Edwards (U.K.) - A Bauer Martinez Release. "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely." Lord Acton's dictum applies neatly to this compelling, satirical political drama. Ralph Fiennes stars as a soldier who switches sides to help dissident political prisoner Donald Sutherland overthrow a brutal dictator. But will power still manage to trump morality?

* Love for Share (Berbagi Suami), directed and written by Nia Dinata (Indonesia) - International Premiere. Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world and polygamy is a deeply rooted and controversial tradition. This film addresses the tradition and its malcontents by interweaving the stories of three very different women, each of whom has developed her own living response to polygamy.

* Men at Work (Kargaran Mashgoul-e Karand), directed and written by Mani Haghighi (Iran) - North American Premiere. This subtle and comic political allegory focuses on four middle-class guys who pile into their car for a ski weekend (already a jolt to Western expectations about Iranian movies). A brief stop at a picturesque vista leads to their chance discovery of a prominent rock formation it seems would be oh so easy to tip over, but...

* The Mist in the Palm Trees (La Niebla en las Palmeras), directed by Carlos Molinero and Lola Salvador, written by Molinero and Salvador Maldonado (Spain) - International Premiere. A wealth of extraordinary images culled from archives in Cuba, France, Germany, Spain, and the U.S. trace a Spanish photographer's involvement in the Manhattan Project. At the same time, the film movingly demonstrates how photographs substitute for memories, how memories substitute for love, how war destroys memory, and how science becomes a double-edged weapon.

* A Perfect Day, directed and written by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige (France, Lebanon, Germany) - U.S. Premiere. In this portrait of a character and a society, Malek and his mother struggle with an insidious inertia 15 years after the Lebanese civil war in which thousands disappeared, including Malek's father. The title and situation recall the poignant optimism of Lou Reed's classic song, and the film's own award-winning original music is unforgettable.

* Shoot the Messenger, directed by Ngozi Onwurah, written by Sharon Foster (UK) - International Premiere. Joe, a successful but naive black man, quits his job and becomes a teacher. But when his "enforced education" methods get him fired, his rage towards the black community almost drives him insane. Eventually, he encounters a group of people who help him heal his broken heart and teach him to love and accept the very individuals who frustrate and hurt him the most.

* The TV Set, directed and written by Jake Kasdan (USA) - World Premiere. Mike Klein has just sold his pilot to a network. Little does he know that, once it passes through the hands of one incompetent network executive after another, it may no longer bear any resemblance to his original concept. Jake Kasdan's comic look at the world of network television development stars Sigourney Weaver and David Duchovny.

* Two Players from the Bench (Dva Igrac╝a S Klupe), directed and written by Dejan S╝orak (Croatia) - International Premiere. A Serb and a Croat, who share only a mutual loathing for each other and a love for volleyball, find themselves kidnapped together and under severe pressure to deliver false testimony before the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague. A typically Balkan black comedy with a sardonic edge.

* The Yacoubian Building (Omaret Yacoubian), directed by Marwan Hamed, written by Wahid Hamed (Egypt) - North American Premiere. A record budget, an all-star cast, a script based on a best-seller: Most 28-year-old novices aren't handed this kind of project, especially in Egypt, where the novel's subjects-government corruption, Islamic fundamentalism, homosexuality-are taboo onscreen. But the gamble pays off in this sprawling, compelling, and watchable epic set in a downtown Cairo building that's a symbol of modern Egypt.

International Documentary Feature Competition
The International Documentary Competition has an equally broad range, including two films shot in post-invasion Iraq -from Iraqi and American perspectives, respectively - offering an unusual number of cinematically inventive in-depth explorations of a wide range of headline-making issues. Includes 16 Films, seven of which are World Premieres:

* 37 Uses for a Dead Sheep, directed by Ben Hopkins (UK) - North American Premiere. To preserve their culture, the Pamir Kirghiz people have migrated across Central Asia from the U.S.S.R to China to Afghanistan to Pakistan and finally to remote eastern Turkey, but now they face the most serious threat to their traditions, globalization. Using a variety of techniques, this fascinating, at times comic doc, is as enjoyable as it is informative.

* The Blood of My Brother: A Story of Death in Iraq, directed by Andrew Berends (USA, Iraq) - North American Premiere. A LifeSize Entertainment & Releasing Release. Thoughts of revenge are tempered by more practical concerns in The Blood of My Brother, which shows the war in Iraq from the perspective of an Iraqi family grieving the loss of a son who was killed by an American patrol as he stood guard at a mosque.

* Blue Blood, directed by Stevan Riley (UK) - World Premiere. The boxing film is hit with a fierce uppercut in this clever, genre-tweaking documentary about the training regimen and sparring contests of Oxford University students who step out of the ivory tower and into the boxing ring to settle matters with their Cambridge rivals. In underlining the freedom to not care about failing, or about what other people think, Blue Blood paints a winning portrait of the spirit of the underdog.

* The Bridge, directed by Eric Steel (USA) - World Premiere. In this bold and thought-provoking documentary about suicide and its complex aftermath, Steel spends from dusk until dawn filming the Golden Gate Bridge everyday for a year, capturing nearly two dozen suicides that occurred in 2004. Intercut with these frightening leaps are interviews with the family and friends of the deceased.

* Dear Father, Quiet, We're Shooting... (Avi Hayakar, Sheket yorim...), Directed by David Benchetrit and written by Benchetrit and Senyora Bar David (Israel) - North American Premiere. When war crimes are carried out under orders from officers, military commanders, and political leaders who is responsible? This film allows former members of the Israeli Defense Forces-now conscientious objectors-to recount their experiences in both Lebanon and Palestine, and to question the limits of state power.

* The Dignity of the Nobodies (La Dignidad de los Nadies), directed by Fernando E. Solanas - U.S. Premiere. Following his analysis in A Social Genocide (TFF 2004) of globalization's role in Argentina's economic disaster, this master of the social documentary takes a more optimistic stance here. By celebrating the small, daily victories of thousands of "nobodies," he shows that individual and collective acts might be able to change the world after all.

* East of Paradise, directed by Lech Kowalski (France, USA) - North American Premiere. Underground documentarian and TFF vet Kowalski completes his Wild Wild East trilogy with East of Paradise, in which he attempts to draw a difficult parallel between his mother's post-WWII tenure in a Siberian gulag and his own stint of pornography and hard drugs in 70's New York City. In English and Polish.

* From Dust, directed by Dhruv Dhawan (Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates) - International Premiere. Filmed in post-tsunami Sri Lanka, From Dust follows two survivors and an aid worker, who face a new Sri Lankan law restricting the rebuilding of homes. This sensitive and hard-hitting documentary asks why a natural disaster can create opportunities for some and suffering for others. In English and Sinhala.

* Jesus Camp, directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (USA) - World Premiere. The makers of Boys of Baraka turn their cameras on an evangelical Christian camp of rare devotion. With unprecedented access, the children and parents show how their faith dictates everything from their daily lives to politics. This fascinating doc about a rarely seen world where faith trumps everything else is sure to provoke debate.

* Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, directed by Stanley Nelson, written by Marcia Smith (USA, Mexico) - World Premiere. Featuring never-before-seen footage, Nelson delivers a startling new look at the Peoples Temple, headed by preacher Jim Jones who, in 1978, led more than 900 members to Guyana, where he orchestrated a mass suicide via tainted punch. You may think you know the story, but Nelson uncovers fresh information that will leave you spellbound.

* MAQUILAPOLIS: City of factories, directed by Vicky Funari and Sergio De La Torre (USA, Mexico) - North American Premiere. Just over the border in Mexico is an area peppered with maquiladoras: massive sweatshops often owned by the world's largest multinational corporations. Carmen and Lourdes work at maquiladoras in Tijuana, and it is there that they try to balance the struggle for survival with their own radicalization in this hard-hitting and ultra-relevant documentary.

* The Play (Oyun), directed by Pelin Esmer (Turkey) - North American Premiere. When nine peasant women from a mountain village in southern Turkey decide to write and perform a play based on their life stories, aspects of their personalities emerge that they never knew existed. Esmer's documentary observes the creative stages leading up to the production of the play, and shows us how nine subtly but significantly different women emerge after its staging.

* Shadow of Afghanistan, directed by Suzanne Bauman and Jim Burroughs (USA) - World Premiere. The first in-depth look at the tragic history of this war-torn land and its relationship to today's headlines. The people responsible for this film, one of them a journalist who died in the effort, did their homework, put their lives on the line, and uncovered much of the complex truth about decades of betrayal.

* Sounds of Silence (Sot-e Sokut), directed by Amir Hamz and Mark Lazarz (Iran, U.K., Germany) - World Premiere. In Iran, where half the population is under 30, Western music is banned and the solo female voice has not been heard singing in public since the Revolution. But as this films reveals, young men and women in burgeoning underground bands are defying the system by using the Internet to get their music heard. In Farsi.

* The War Tapes, directed by Deborah Scranton (USA) - World Premiere. Since Homer's time, artists have struggled with the challenge of how to describe the experience of war. Called up for service in Iraq, several members of the National Guard were given digital video cameras. This astonishing film, edited from their footage, provides an unimaginably vivid perspective on an extremely complex and troubled conflict.

* Voices of Bam, directed by Aliona van der Horst and Maasja Ooms (Netherlands) - U.S. Premiere. The earthquake that struck the ancient city of Bam in December 2003 killed over 43,000 people and left twice that number injured or homeless. This sensitive doc reveals the thoughts of the survivors and their eloquent hopes for the future, according them an all-too rare dignity. In Farsi.


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