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A compelling cross-section of bold creative visions from every corner of the globe come together in this year's World Narrative Feature Competition, sponsored by Delta Air Lines. Presenting a diverse array of unique voices, this international film collection includes premieres from a wide range of directors, such as U.S. indie veterans the Polish brothers and Tony-nominated Conor McPherson, as well as exciting newcomers.
Together, these filmmakers introduce us to tales on life, death, and all the various forms of love in between—from a girl-loves-girl story set in Buenos Aires, to a dysfunctional family in a Connecticut suburb in the 80s, to a young Israeli woman's attempt at stitching together the shattered fragments of her life after surviving a suicide bomber explosion.
“The films this year will either entertain you, allow you to escape to faraway places, or encourage you to think about familiar stories in new ways,” said Nancy Schafer, Executive Director of the Tribeca Film Festival.
Directed and written by Asghar Farhadi (Iran)—North American Premiere
A group of old college pals reunites for a weekend adventure on the sea, but compounding lies and deception quickly lead to catastrophe. Everyone hopes Sepideh's new friend Elly will hit it off with Ahmad, newly divorced form his German wife and in search of an Iranian bride, but Elly disappears on the second day, plunging the group into a complex mystery. Asghar Farhadi took the Best Director prize at Berlin. In Persian with English subtitles.
Directed by Andrew Lancaster, written by Brian Carbee (Australia)—World Premiere
There are dysfunctional families... and then there are the Conways. After a family tragedy, 15-year-old Billy Conway has become the de facto glue between his bitter mom (Geena Davis), distant brother, and stoic dad. But when Billy starts to act out, everything changes for him and his fmaily in this visually stunning, bittersweet drama.
Directed and written by Conor McPherson (Ireland)—World Premiere
Award-winning screenwriter and Tony-nominated playwright McPherson crafts an exquisite atmospheric drama about a widower (Ciarán Hinds, Munich) who sees and hears strange things in his house. His life converges with a beautiful author of supernatural fiction (Iben Hjejle, High Fidelity) and a full-of-himself pop novelist (Aidan Quinn) at an international literary festival that will alter their lives in surprising ways.
Directed and written by Bradley Rust Gray (USA)—North American Premiere
A tender performance by Zoe Kazan is the centerpiece of this delicate, beautifully shot character study. Cherubic college student Ivy is back home in Brooklyn for spring break with her longtime platonic guy pal Al in tow. As her relationship with her boyfriend slowly disintegrates via cell phone, Al's friendship is cast in a new light.
Directed and written by Lucía Puenzo (Argentina, Spain, France)—North American Premiere
Likened to a bold Argentine Thelma and Louise, Lucia Puenzo's follow-up to her Cannes winner XXY wraps a passionate love story in the arms of a pulsating thriller. When an upper-class Argentine falls for her family's sultry Paraguayan maid, the two make plans to run away together, but their hope for escape is derailed when shocking secrets become unveiled. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Directed by Bette Gordon, written by Nicholas T. Proferes (USA)—World Premiere
Harry (Jamey Sheridan), a divorced father and former sailor, lives a simple life in his small town. But when his dying best friend sparks Harry's drive to confront his past, buried secrets resurface and force him to deal with painful memories. This unique and eloquent film also features Aidan Quinn, Steve Buscemi, John Savage, and Campbell Scott.
Directed and written by Darko Lungulov (Serbia, Germany, USA) —International Premiere.
Miserable middle-aged musician Robert suddenly finds himself homeless and in need of quick cash. He accepts an offer from a young, enterprising Serbian immigrant named Branko: Travel to Belgrade, marry Branko's girlfriend, and bring her back to the US. But while on the trip, Robert meets Branko's mother, discovers that happiness comes when least expected, and begins to question whether money or love would be the true cure to his ills. In English and Serbian with English subtitles.
Directed by Rune Denstad Laglo, written by Erlend Loe (Norway)—North American Premiere
A road movie without a road, North is a wry comedy about a former ski champion recovering from a mental breakdown and on a journey to start anew. Having just learned he has a five-year-old son, he hops on his snowmobile with some moonshine, bound for his ex-girlfriend's home in Norway's Far North. His oddball encounters along the way make this fresh and original debut both tender and amusing. In Norwegian with English subtitles.
Directed and written by Caroline Bottaro (France, Germany)—World Premiere
Sandrine Bonnaire plays an inquisitive hotel maid captivated by a vacationing couple (Jennifer Beals, Dominic Gould) playing chess. Thus begins her obsession with mastering the game and transforming her uninspired life. An American expat (Kevin Kline) mentors her in the game that alters both their lives in this delightful feel-good French import. In French with English subtitles.
Directed and written by Omri Givon (Israel)—International Premiere
A young woman struggles to reconstruct her memory of the events immediately following the Jerusalem bus bombing that took the life of her boyfriend and left her back badly scarred. Part memory play, part love story, and part metaphysical thriller, this startling debut feature announces Givon as a forceful storyteller and exciting new voice in international cinema. In Hebrew with English subtitles.
Directed by Michael Polish, written by Mark Polish (USA)—World Premiere
Henry McCarthey (Mark Polish) returns home to give the commencement speech at his high school. But even after almost 20 years, it's as if he never left—he again wants the girl, gets suspended by the principal, and is grounded by his parents. This charmng comedy, featuring Winona Ryder and Hilary Duff, reminds us that time certainly does fly and old flames are hard to put out.
Directed by Amir Naderi, written by Susan Brennan, Bliss Esposito, Charlie Lake Keaton, and Naderi (USA)—North American Premiere
Returning to the Festival, acclaimed director Amir Naderi applies his inimitable cinematic style to Vegas. The film takes place away from the glittering strip of luxury mega casinos, but the judgment-clouding greed of Sin City is just as pervasive on the desert outskirts of town, where an otherwise happy family is thrown into turmoil after learning of a forgotten fortune that may be buried underneath their scrubby little home.
Awards in the World Narrative Competition will be presented in the following juried categories: Best Narrative Feature, and Best New Narrative Filmmaker (for first or second time feature directors), sponsored by American Express.
In addition, films predominantly shot in New York and/or produced by a New York-based production company will be up for the following awards: Best New York Narrative and Best New York Documentary. Additional Festival awards include the Heineken Audience Award, the audience choice for best feature film; Best Narrative Short; Best Documentary Short; and Student Visionary Award, sponsored by Apple. Films in the World Narrative Competition, World Documentary Competition, Encounters, Discovery, Midnight, Spotlight or Showcase sections are eligible for the Audience Award.
The 2009 Tribeca Film Festival is officially announced!
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The 2009 Tribeca Film Festival opener will be Woody Allen's Whatever Works.