Film Festivals

WSWD’s Film Picks for the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival

The 11 films you shouldn’t miss at this year’s fest.

Photo courtesy of Falco Ink.

The lineup for this year’s Tribeca Film Festival is one of the strongest in recent memory. Ninety-six narratives and documentaries make their way to lower Manhattan, many of them world premieres from some of the most talented storytellers in the business.

Diversity, in all its forms, is a theme that shines throughout; executive vice president of Tribeca Enterprises, Paula Weinstein, notes, “We are proud to present a lineup that celebrates American diversity and welcomes new international voices in a time of cultural and social activism.” One promising programming note, especially in the wake of Hollywood’s #MeToo movement: Forty-six percent of the films are directed by females—which is the largest amount in the festival’s history.

It will be a cinephile’s year to remember, and What Should We Do?! can be your guide. Here are our picks for what to see this year at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post
(Spotlight Narrative–New York Premiere)
This Sundance darling is one to watch. Chloë Grace Moretz plays Cameron, a teen who is sent to a gay-conversion therapy center after getting caught lip-locking with a girl on prom night. It’s here that Cameron finds a sense of community and home in the very place working to silence her truth.

Sunday’s Illness
(International Narrative Competition–North American Premiere)
Your darkest secrets can only be hidden for so long. Wealthy businesswoman Annabel learns this the hard way when the daughter she abandoned more than 30 years ago suddenly appears in her home. She has one request: to spend 10 days with her mother secluded in the mountains.

Tribeca Film Festival 2018

(Midnight–Narrative–World Premiere)
A global pandemic eradicates a majority of the population, leaving the few survivors running for their lives in a new world overrun by the living dead. With only 48 hours left to live, Andy (Martin Freeman) is in a race against time to find the cure that will save him and his infant daughter. We’ve all seen this story line before, but screenwriter Yolanda Ramke elevates the zombie trope above the guts and gore.

Tribeca Film Festival 2018
Photo courtesy of Falco Ink

Duck Butter
(U.S. Narrative Competition–World Premiere)
Fed up with the challenges and hardships that come with relationships, Naima (Alia Shawkat) and Sergio (Laia Costa) decide to conduct an experiment: to spend an entire day together while having sex on the hour every hour. They agree to complete honesty, but the messy reality of their situation makes them call into question their future together.

(Spotlight Documentary—World Premiere)
His is a tale as old as time. Enter the world of Disney’s secret musical weapon, Howard Ashman, in director Don Hahn’s (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast) documentary following the life and incredible work of the legendary lyricist. From the off-Broadway success of Little Shop of Horrors to the creation of animated classics like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, the famed librettist worked tirelessly until succumbing to AIDS at the early age of 40. Featuring rare interviews with family and friends, Howard is 90 minutes of beautiful storytelling, heartbreak, and pure magic.

Tribeca Film Festival 2018
Howard Ashman directs Ellen Greene as Audrey. / Photo by Peter Cunningham

Yellow Is Forbidden
(Documentary Competition–World Premiere)
Written and directed by Pietra Brettkelly, this documentary spotlights the cutthroat fashion industry through the eyes of Chinese designer Guo Pei. The avant-garde dressmaker reached the height of her career after Rihanna dazzled in one of her handcrafted gowns at the Met Gala, but she comes to learn that it takes more than star power to impress, and become accepted by, Paris’s Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.

The Gospel According to André
(Special Screenings–New York Premiere)
Speaking of couture, Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker Kate Novack offers an in-depth look at the fierce and fabulous tour-de-fashion André Leon Talley—from his childhood days in Jim Crow–era North Carolina to becoming Vogue‘s editor at large to ruling the runway without ever having to walk it.

Tribeca Film Festival 2018
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Mary Shelley
(Spotlight Narrative–U.S. Premiere)
Haifaa al-Mansour’s period drama centers on novelist Mary Shelley, who famously penned the Gothic story Frankenstein as a teenager. Elle Fanning portrays the writer, who goes from living a sheltered existence to falling in love and running away with the scandal-ridden poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, the very man who inspired the monster.

United Skates
(Documentary Competition–World Premiere)
First-time filmmakers Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown invite you into the inner circle of the African-American roller-rink community, an underground subculture of talented skaters you may not have known existed. Even though rinks are rapidly closing around the country, the art of roller-skating continues to defy the odds and is becoming an ever-growing movement.

Tribeca Film Festival 2018
Photo courtesy of 42West

Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie
(Spotlight Documentary–World Premiere)
She may only be 11.5 inches tall, but no one should underestimate the power of the doll that started a cultural movement. Fashion icon, collectible, and stanchion for feminist conversation, Barbie has had a lot of growing up to do since hitting shelves 60 years ago, from her debut as every girl’s dream doll to becoming the subject of lawsuits for idealizing unrealistic body standards. Take it from Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay and the formidable Gloria Steinem, whose interviews will be featured in this Andrea Nevins–helmed documentary.

(U.S. Narrative Competition–World Premiere)
Laia Costa stars in her second film of this year’s festival as Bluebird, a married woman hiking the Appalachian Trail. She is joined by the younger Lake (Thomas Mann), who goes from easygoing companion to an unexpected—and completely out-of-bounds—love interest. If you’re not going to see this flick to witness Costa and Mann’s impossible-to-miss chemistry, the setting of the nature trail is cinematic gold.

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